Phew.

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I heaved a big sigh of relief tonight. Kerry clearly won the debate, but more important was the fact that for the first time I can actually say I like him. I don’t “love” him, as he’s not near liberal enough for me, but that’s a big change from earlier.

Bush wasn’t near as bad as my expectations were, and I’m trying to be objective, but he really was pretty bad. Not just in debating skills, but in demeanor, uncertainty during certain parts, and just seeming flustered and frustrated. I can objectively say my opinion of any candidate, even one I liked, would diminish if they performed like that.

Kerry was calm, cool, collected, decisive, and took a clear stand on issues that I haven’t been certain of yet. Although to be honest I haven’t paid too close attention to the platforms since I can’t vote here. It is true that I’ve made up my mind already, but even if Bush were to come out and say everything in line with my own beliefs right now I’d know he was lying since there’s 4 years of proof to the opposite. So I don’t feel too bad about not knowing the finer details.

NOOO!!! Say it ain’t so!

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Apparently Fox News might be making it’s way to Canada…

Is Canada Ready for Loudmouth TV?

Now, my issue isn’t with Fox News themselves, necessarily. Sure, I think they are lacking in any kind of journalistic principles and are essentially propaghandists, but these are free countries. If they want to produce mindless garbage, that’s their perogative.

My issue is with the viewers of Fox News. It takes a very lazy, complacent, person to use something like Fox News as their primary news source. How bad is it when a person actively seeks out news that they agree with? How is it any different from those people who read books on how the Holocaust never happened? Most of us would be disgusted at that thought, however those are people who are seeking out news and information that conforms to their beliefs. This isn’t any different.

Sure, I get news from some liberal-leaning sources, but the point is that’s not the ONLY place I go for news. I also check Fox and CNN to see what they’re saying. (On a funny note I’ve heard some people descibe CNN as a “liberal media” network. Come on! What planet are you from? Sure, they look “liberal” compared to Fox, but that’s equivalent to saying someone who’s drank 12 beers isn’t drunk because you drank 24.)

Lets not have anyone who says “Come on, every news source is biased.” While that is true to some extent, Fox is biased by mandate of the owner. If you don’t believe me PLEASE watch the movie Outfoxed.

How many civilian deaths does it take to hold an election?

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… We’re going to find out very soon. Although I’d definitely be willing to bet that if Bush is still in office in January the “election” will be delayed. (He can’t have that many stolen elections so close to each other or else someone might catch on)

Maybe fearing a high voter turnout the administration is trying to beat down the population enough so they don’t bother. Hey, they are trying to spread the All-Mighty American-style Democracy. Since voter turnout is less than 50% here, they couldn’t let Iraq, the new bastion of American-style Democracy, have more than 50% could they?

Anyways, look at the charts of killed and wounded Iraqi civilians:
Iraqi civilian casualties mounting

ACL

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Now that the technical difficulties have been cleared up, the most important piece of news I have to share is the events at the Austin City Limits music festival last weekend. We had a blast. At times it was hard to remember why I was there, since the temperature would get well over 100 degrees fahrenheit all weekend, but then a good band would come on and you’d forget about it.

The best bands that I saw are (in no particular order):
Antibalas
Broken Social Scene
Pixies
American Analog Set
Modest Mouse
Spoon
Franz Ferdinand
Medeski, Martin and Wood

All of these bands are worth checking out.

The biggest suprise for me was the Pixies. Even though everyone I know likes them, I’d never really listened to them, for some reason. Five minutes into the show I was already a fan. I was a fan of all the other bands already, so no real suprises.

I’ve seen American Analog Set multiple times and this was by far the best show so far.

Technical Difficulties

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Apologies to everyone. I’ve been having some technical difficulties with my hosting lately. I had my domain pointed to an old provider where I had cancelled my account. Somehow the DNS entry had not been updated to the new server. Apparently the old service finally decided to delete my account, so I have been without my domain or email for the last 5 days. This is currently just a static page of the last version of the site (pulled from a browser cache.) I will be setting up Movable Type again this weekend and everything will be back to normal. Sorry for the delays.

World Opinion

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I posted this in response to an email about the world-wide polls about how far ahead Kerry is in world opinion.

This isn’t new, although perhaps now it’s news worthy since the election is coming up. I think I heard in a similar report that worldwide Kerry would win 5-1 over Bush. This is (approximately) shown by the average gap when ahead in the results below: Bush about 9.5, Kerry about 45.

But this really shouldn’t suprise anyone. The rest of the world has had a gun pointed at it and been told “You’re either with us or against us.” Even as the “friendly neighbour to the north” I sure don’t feel safe, especially with Bill O’Reilly threatening to invade Canada :)

Another interesting study recently found that 70% of Americans thought it was important to have a good image throughout the world. 50% of people were unaware that the worldwide image has dropped considerably over the last 4 years. I guess they all watched Fox.

Now, I of course am not advocating that the world be able to vote in the US election, although considering the power the US wields it seems unproportional. However it is an important piece of information that US voters should consider. This is important both because there are likely some intelligent people in the other 95% of the world population and when people don’t like you they are less likely to give you what you want. Considering the US can’t use it’s military against the entire world at the same time to enforce it’s will, it’s got to have some real allies. The more extreme the US becomes the more extreme, in the other direction, other governments around the world will become as the will of their peoples keep moving away from the US. This seems like a very natural consequence and progression.

Who, us? We didn’t do it… we invest in your country.

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Interesting article on Salon today about Senator Grahams new book, Intelligence Matters. It sounds as though the many pages blacked out of the 9/11 investigations may have contained evidence of Saudi government funding of at least 2 of the terrorists on 9/11. Investigations were also blocked to further dig into those questions. Read the article for all the details, or better yet go buy the book.

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/09/08/graham/index_np.html

I’m still suprised this hasn’t been picked up by more news agencies. This coverup sounds like the biggest scandal I can remember in my lifetime. It sure trumps a stained dress – but apparently those sexually repressed Republicans like witch-hunts only when they aren’t digging for real issues (or rather, when they wouldn’t be targetted at a Republican).

But this is as much the fault of most Democrats, who are too scared to make this into an issue. They think any questioning surrounding 9/11 will make them seem “unpatriotic” which is one of the worst acts of propaghanda ever. The Republicans are taking advantage of peoples real desire for patriotism but perverting it for their own ends. Labelling people as unpatriotic for questioning the government is the worst possible thing to happen to Democracy. And these are the people who feel the need to spread their version of Democracy to the rest of the world? No thanks. Fix yours first.

The war psyche

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Interesting article about how a war changes the psyche of the citizens of a country. Basically, people suddenly enter a “Mythic Reality” where their country is 100% correct and their enemies are 100% wrong. No critical thinking goes on and everything becomes completely black and white.

I completely agree with this, and further I think that Bushs handlers are entirely trying to take advantage of it. They’re trying to blind the entire country to Bushs disastrous policies “at home” by only ever mentioning their trigger word “terrorism.” The good side is it’s an opportunity for Kerry to show how dumb the Bushs are in that they’re making the same mistake again – not focusing on domestic issues.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/07/opinion/07krugman.html

Bush by the numbers

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Very good and detailed article detailing Bush “by the numbers.” Bush’s campaign theme seems to be “Things haven’t been great so far, but you know me, and you don’t know him, so vote for me.” I wish everyone had this data – the proof is in the pudding.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=557746

I can think of at least a few other things to add to the list:
15,000 Conservative estimates of the number of civilian deaths as a result of Bushs actions in Iraq and Afghanistan
1 Number of programs called “Healthy Forests Initiative” put in place by Bush that actually remove restrictions on logging.
1 Number of undercover CIA agents whos cover was blown by this White House.
Still Counting Number of lies told to the world in an effort to drum up support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.