"You left poor Behemoth, betraying him for a glass of brandy -- though it was very good brandy!"

Thursday, October 30, 2003

  Fox Nearly Sues Itself
According to Matt Groening, Fox nearly sued itself over a parody of Fox News on the Simpsons a while back. Here is the streaming audio of Groening's interview on Fresh Air this past week.

I remember seeing the episode (with running scrawl such as "92% of Democrats are gay") and thinking it was one of the most brilliant recent moments on what is after all these years still the best sit-com (and, after the Daily Show, the best show altogether) on TV.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

  Putin's Russia
(reposted from my diary at Kos.)

The arrest of Russia's richest man, YUKOS oil baron Mikhail Khodorkovsky, this past weekend has already produced an explosion of amateur Kremlinology. (For a sampling see this piece in Slate.) The general consensus is that this was unquestionably a political arrest, motivated by the fact that Khodorkovsky was bankrolling Putin's opponents in this December's parliamentary elections. As one op-ed piece in tomorrow's respected English-language Moscow Times (direct link to story, also cited in Slate, is here) has declared: "A coup d'etat has taken place in Russia. The law enforcement agencies have seized power. Everyone knew the coup was coming. And President Vladimir Putin did nothing to stop it." It also unquestionably represents another moment in the struggle for power within the executive branch, between the "silovki" of the FSB (former KGB) who followed Putin's coattails to power, and the so-called "Family," those close to former President Yeltsin who remained and who are known for having close ties to the oligarchs. This is indicated above all by the apparent resignation of Putin’s chief of staff, Alexander Voloshin, the most prominent “Family” member in the administration.

Now Putin has been saying all of the right things: this is about the rule of law, no one should be above the law, and the courts must sort it out. And we should be clear: the oligarchs are not at all free of stain, and if the powers that be want to find a basis for prosecution, they will undoubtedly find one. The privatization of Russia’s assets in the mid-1990’s was entirely rigged in favor of those close to Yeltsin at the time. But Putin has said precisely that Khodorovsky’s arrest does not herald an overall revisiting of this process. This is both good and bad news – it will calm the “nervous” international investors who worry about what this means for the stability of capitalism in Russia, but it also suggests more than anything that this is a selective arrest of a political opponent.

The News Hour had a very good piece on the state of affairs last night with Dimitri Simes and Marshall Goldman. They both commented on how hard it is to find a “good guy” in this situation. First Goldman:

everyone of the oligarchs has a black mark after their name. They have all been engaged in procedures and policies that were questionable. Some of them have said you could not operate legally in that era. So there's the whole issue that anyone can be picked up by Putin or Putin's successor because the reforms that were introduced were so flawed.

Then Simes:

In Russia we have a horrible system of corrupt capitalism and this system since Putin took over was raised on […] two pillars. One security people close to Putin, people from the former KGB and another group the oligarchs. Neither of them was really committed to democracy. What you see today is these two groups are going after each other and Putin increasingly attacking the oligarchs.

We should, by the way, remain deeply suspicious of how this is being reported in the Western press, more or less in black and white, just as it was in the 1990’s when we looked the other way while Yeltsin’s cronies pillaged the nation’s wealth. The Washington Post headline today, for instance, blares: “Billionaire’s Arrest Delineates the Battle for Russia’s Future: Reformers Despair; KGB Veterans Seen Triumphant.” Completely true, of course, except for the insistence of calling those allied with the oligarchs “reformers,” when their position is interminably more complex. Anything allied with capitalism is good, as portrayed in the SCLM, even if it looks more like robber baron capitalism than anything else. (Undoubtedly the fact that YUKOS was in merger negotiations with ExxonMobil has more than a little bit to do with the sputtering outrage.)

Still, even more discomfiting is the reaction of the Bush administration to the politically motivated arrest of one of Russia’s most important men … Nothing. Just last month at Camp David, as Margaret Warner noted on the News Hour last night, Bush declared that Russia is “a country in which democracy and freedom and rule of law thrive.” I particularly liked Prof. Goldman’s response to Warner’s question as to whether Bush is giving Putin too much leeway:

Oh, I think so. Thriving, if that's – I hope that's not the image that President Bush wants to see in the United States.

We can only assume that Dubya has found no reason to re-evaluate his infamous remark that he had looked into Putin’s soul and seen a man he could trust. But perhaps this is unsurprising. Putin is revealing himself more and more as an unrepentant authoritarian. No wonder Bush believes he has found a soulmate.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

  Our Ally, the Human Rights Nightmare

The Memory Hole has the pictures up: Bush, Powell, and Rumsfeld shaking hands with one Islam Karimov, President of Uzbekistan and one of the world's most renowned human rights violators. Human Rights Watch has the other pictures -- victims of Karimov's oppression, those who have been beaten and died in pre-trial detention.

As the Guardian noted earlier this year:

Independent human rights groups estimate that there are more than 600 politically motivated arrests a year in Uzbekistan, and 6,500 political prisoners, some tortured to death. According to a forensic report commissioned by the British embassy, in August two prisoners were even boiled to death.

The US condemned this repression for many years. But since September 11 rewrote America's strategic interests in central Asia, the government of President Islam Karimov has become Washington's new best friend in the region.

The US is funding those it once condemned. Last year Washington gave Uzbekistan $500m (£300m) in aid. The police and intelligence services - which the state department's website says use "torture as a routine investigation technique" received $79m of this sum.

That we learn nothing from even very recent history seems to be a given with this administration. That we are unable, or unwilling, to connect the dots between cause and effect is nevertheless stunning to me each time it happens. Quick: name another secularist, Soviet-style dictator known for ruthlessly suppressing Islam with whom we formed an alliance of convenience because his opponents were Muslim fundamentalists? (Compare Rumsfeld's smile while shaking his hand with that while shaking Karimov's hand.) (Oh, and just to make it all complete, Jim Maceda of NBC News has already called Uzbekistan "a barren wind-swept expanse of land about the size of California.") (Don't we already have enough problems in California?)

Of course, it is more than just fundamentalist Islam that is attracting us to Central Asia, as anyone with a passing knowledge of the region will know. As Lutz Kleveman, the author of The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia notes in a recent Guardian article, our interest in the vast oil deposits there had developed well before September 11th.

"I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian," said Dick Cheney in a speech to oil industrialists in 1998. In May 2001, the US vice-president recommended in the national energy policy report that "the president makes energy security a priority of our trade and foreign policy", singling out the Caspian basin as a "rapidly growing new area of supply".

Uzbekistan, unsurprisingly, is not the only country with post-Soviet political hiccups in the region. Turkmenistan, if anything, has an even more brutal dictator in Saparmurat Niyazov, who has instituted a Stalinist-style cult of personality and has been implicated in international drug smuggling. Azerbaijan, to the west of the Caspian and along with Kazakhstan the most important possessor of oil reserves in the region has just had a bitterly-disputed election, in which Ilham Aliyev supposedly received 77% of the vote to succeed his father as President, which was marked with rioting and the detention of hundreds of opponents. The Bush administration has already announced that it will accept the results that it's own observers said was a "sham."

All of this barely needs commenting on, but Lutz Kleveman sums it up nicely:

Bush has used his massive military build-up in Central Asia to seal the cold war victory against Russia, to contain Chinese influence and to tighten the noose around Iran. Most importantly, however, Washington - supported by the Blair government - is exploiting the "war on terror" to further American oil interests in the Caspian region. But this geopolitical gamble involving thuggish dictators and corrupt Saudi oil sheiks is only likely to produce more terrorists.

We will reap what we sow.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


A public service announcement from Garry Trudeau.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

  Lockyer's Folly
So it has come to light that California Attorney General Bill Lockyer voted no on the recall, but yes on Schwarzenegger. In essence, he declared all out war on Bustamante.

"I voted for Arnold. First time I've ever voted for a Republican in my life for a partisan office," he said. "I looked at the list (of candidates). It was a crappy list. He represented for me what he did for others – hope, change, reform, opportunity, upbeat, problem-solving. I want that."

Essentially Lockyer, in mid-fall 2003, right after the unscheduled usurpation of the Governor's office by the Republican Party, is declaring the start of the primary campaign for 2006 (of course, it would seem that the political future is extremely bleak for Bustamante anyway after his dismal showing here). Lockyer is saying that Bustamante is so lousy that he would not only cross Party lines, but make sure that he tells everyone about it. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this oh so calculated confession was his dismissal of the charges of criminal sexual behavior against Schwarzenegger: "I'm convinced Arnold didn't really understand that he was caught up in this frat-boy behavior and that it was accepted too frequently in that industry. It was part of the culture."

This is so awful that I'm at a loss for words. Fortunately, Robert Scheer is not.

Since frat-boy behavior has at times encompassed serious violations of the law -- including, all too frequently, rape -- it is not clear whether Lockyer is denying the seriousness of the complaints against Schwarzenegger or simply suggesting that the actor was not mentally competent to comprehend the consequences of the alleged acts.


But in the wake of Schwarzenegger's convincing victory, Lockyer apparently decided that the bodybuilder's coattails were too long to ignore for a politician trying to capture the hearts of those fickle swing voters.

Or, take the reaction of state Treasurer and likely 2006 primary gubenatorial rival Phil Angelides,

Angelides bridled at that characterization and said that Lockyer, who is the state's top law enforcement official, was soft-pedaling the allegations.

``As the father of three daughters, I am always deeply troubled by comments that condone or dismiss inappropriate behavior towards women,'' Angelides said.

Lockyer, whatever his good qualities, can only be considered a crass hypocrite for joining the ranks of Schwarzenegger apologists and foresaking his duty as the state's top law enforcement official. I hope that women's groups (and Democrats in general) rush to line up against him in 2006. While he is absolutely correct that the California Democratic Party has some problems, and he has good reason to be frustrated with Davis and Bustamante, this kind of airing of dirty laundry serves first and foremost the Republican Party. And only secondly Bill Lockyer.

One final thought, which is going back to the legal questions that swirled around the recall at its start. Lockyer needed to take sides on these issues. And on every single one of them he took the side that was less advantageous to Davis and/or Bustamante. (I am thinking in particular of the "if applicable" clause in the recall provision that originally had Bustamante suggesting that as lieutenant governor he would takeover in case of a recall and no second ballot provision was necessary.) This may have been Lockyer and his advisers' honest legal opinion. But is there any doubt that if the Party positions had been reversed, if it had been a Republican governor, a Republican lieutenant governor, and a Republican attorney general, that the AG would have found any means possible, however dubious, to help his comrades as much as he could?

Thursday, October 16, 2003

  Busheviks and Bolsheviks, pt. 2
For part two in what is to be a running series on "how the Republicans are like the Bolsheviks" (the very brief pt. 1 is here), I turn to the recent "kerfuffle" over the identical letters to the editor supposedly sent by our soldiers in Iraq but in fact formulated by an over-eager batallion commander desirous of counteracting all of the bad news that the "filter" has been fabricating. Err, reporting.

Now Calpundit has graciously taken them at their word that it was all a well-intentioned effort of this batallion commander to show pride in the work of his unit. This may in fact be the case. But the Bush administration has nevertheless indicated that it will be making a determined effort to avoid the inconvenience of a free media that of a sudden seems to be doing something other than merely reprinting Fleischerian press releases. (Don't they like Scotty as much?) Their allies in the media have picked up the challenge, e.g. Scarborough, who has apparently made it his mission to tell "good news" about Iraq. That this commander would also pick up the signal that one should find creative ways to get around the traditional methods of objective information is unsurprising.

One of the centerpieces of the Soviet propaganda system was the very selective publication of letters to the editor in the official newspapers. The point of this was to demonstrate that the populace, that ordinary folks, were prospering and were independently coming to positive conclusions about the effectiveness of what the regime was doing. Often, these letters actually were real -- people were programmed to write in such a manner, or else they were genuine enthusiasts of the regime, who existed even in the worst of Stalin's terror. At other times they might be ordered by a local leader, eager to fulfill (or overfulfill) what he interpreted to be the signals coming from on high.

Of course, the situation is vastly different here. The Bush administration does not control the media, at least not in the same sense that the Bolsheviks did. But they are, as I noted above, expressing increasing frustration with their failure to paint the world in the manner that they would like it to. They have indicated that they plan to try to get around this fact, and these letters are one possible avenue. Sure, it seems pretty unlikely that they were ordered by Rove (would they really have been so clumsily handled if they had been?); they nevertheless represent another potential weapon in the administration's propaganda arsenal.

[Troll prophylactic (not that I imagine that I could possibly show up on troll radar, but you never know): comparisons between Busheviks and Bolsheviks are done for instructional purposes only; no attempt is being made to imply that Republicans have or would desire to kill 20+ million of their own citizens; awareness exists of the vast ideological and empirical differences involved; in fact, other than whim, one of main points of said comparisons are to highlight how vastly different ideological systems can lead to similar types of behavior (due, in large part, to the universally troubling aspects of self-righteousness and dogmatism in any of its many forms).]

Monday, October 13, 2003

  92 Days and Counting
Novak's article exposing the identity of an undercover CIA operative appeared on July 14th. That was 3 months, or, to be exact, 92 days ago. That's 92 days where Bush could have, but hasn't, discovered the identity of the person(s) who leaked Valerie Plame's name. As of midnight tonight, that'll be 2196 hours ago, if we assume that someone first alerted Dubya at noon on July 14th (hey, he likes to sleep late). That's 2196 hours that he could have found out, with a single question or perhaps two, the identity of this/these person(s) and resolved the problem instantly. Okay, if he sleeps half the time, and all indications are that he does, then that's 1098 waking hours where in less than five minutes he could have resolved the matter.

Someone with more internet acumen than myself should set up a clock -- days, hours, minutes, and seconds, since Bush could have, but hasn't, done something about this. Every minute this clock counts off is included in the ongoing and (as of yet) successful coverup.

In the meantime, every time that anyone in the administration says that he wants to get to the bottom of this is yet another indisputable lie.

5 minutes out of 92 days is all it would have taken. It's that simple.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

  Gitmo's Too Good For Him
So Pat Robertson is suggesting that the state department should be nuked. Sounds like provocation to terror to me. While we can all see the poetic justice in sending him down to Guantanamo to spend some time with those Muslims he hates so bitterly, it seems to me that advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government is high treason. Couple this with his prayers for the death (okay, right, retirement) of certain Supreme Court justices and I'd say we have a pattern of behavior.

Cruz Bustamante gets in trouble for accepting money from Indian tribes, and no one in the mainstream media calls Bush for taking money from these folks. (Robertson, the Rev. Moon, etc.) He should be forced to make a choice. Either you take money from and condone the statements of this hateful bozo, or you renounce your ties to him and acknowledge that you are going to antagonize your base. You can't have it both ways. Hopefully whoever the Dem candidate is will have the courage to call him on this, and we'll see where it goes from there.

Friday, October 10, 2003

  Daschle Finds His Voice
... with some help from Biden, Levin, and Schumer. The letter sent by four prominent Democratic Senators to Bush over the bungling of the leak investigation is surprisingly articulate. They highlight in particular the notable delays afforded in the procurement of documents, which, of course, would have afforded the opportunity for the destruction of incriminating evidence. This is the sort of thing with which conservatives hammered the Clinton White House in the endless inconsequential scandals that they attempted to manufacture, and in the current situation, needless to say, it is far more troubling (because it is potentially far more consequential). The letter also delivers a much-needed slam on McClellan's "clearing" of Libby, Abrams, and Rove, based on no evidence other than his own word. (Of course, now it would be nice to hear him sequentially clear all other possible suspects, one at a time, until we find the perpetrators. Because Bush, doncha know, is keen on getting to the bottom of this. But not so keen that he will actually ask anyone any questions, or require them to sign an affidavit)

It is becoming increasingly clear that in addition to the crime committed this past July of exposing an undercover CIA officer, there is a willful cover-up that is currently unfolding. Each statement the administration makes, each action (or, more precisely, inaction) that it undertakes in relation to the investigation should be seen as part and parcel of this cover-up unless it directly relates to the exposure and prosecution of the guilty parties. The truth could be discovered in less than a day if Bush wanted to discover it, and so in truth, each day that goes by further implicates him in criminal obstruction of justice.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

  American Psychopath
I turned on the radio as I got set to do the dishes tonight, and heard a voice shouting, vehemently, furiously. Is this NPR? I thought, wondering if my wife had changed the station. Then the very angry man started sputtering that he knew what Fresh Air was really about, he was on to it. And there, sure enough, was an absolutely flabergasted Terry Gross, trying to get a word in edgewise. Turns out that I had caught the end of her interview with the great American Psychopath, Bill O'Reilly, who was furious that she had subjected him to difficult questioning (how dare she!) and that she had gone easier on Al Franken in her recent interview with him. And, since he couldn't cut off her mic, he cut off his own and left.

Well I went to the Fresh Air website and started listening from the beginning of the interview. I only got through about five minutes because listening to him really does make me ill. (If you have a better stomach than I, you can listen to it here.) I watch no Fox News, and I listen to no AM radio, but I can't imagine any of the rest of them could possibly a bigger hypocrite than this shmuck. (Among other things, he had the audacity to bemoan the declining quality of American political discourse and the resort to ad hominem retorts. Utterly unbelievable.)

At any rate, it does seem like she was asking relatively tough questions (and I stress the word relatively), although couched in her always extraordinarily polite, isn't this interesting? tone. She brought up the transcript from Harper's where he shouted down the son of a 9-11 victim, and she asked whether he regretted suing Al Franken (that is, Fox's suit of Al Franken), which he angrily denied having anything to do with. Maybe there's more of interest, but as I said I can only take so much of him. The only O'Reilly I can take is Atrios's written impersonation, and even then only in small doses.

Update: A long discussion on the Atrios comment boards that I somehow missed is here.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

  Maintain the Base
Another story in the NY Times today about why Democrats are desserting Davis in droves. The quotes are depressing, because it shows how much the Schwarzenegger propaganda machine has succeeded, but they are also a primer of the mistakes Davis has made. Bustamante has not done enough to distance himself from Davis during the campaign and is assumed to be part of the same "administration."

Joyce Allen [a 48 year-old Democrat] said, "I'm not sure I like Schwarzenegger more than anyone else, but I don't want Davis or Bustamante."

Well, this is just depressing, of course, but it shows how people are eternally attracted to the Perot-esque or Ventura-esque "throw the bums out" mentality. That Schwarzenegger has managed to put himself in this position while serving as an intimate cog in the Republican machine shows the failure of the media properly to cover his ties to business and other "special interests" while tripping over themselves to cover Bustamante's Indian gaming money. But the sentiment is an eternal one in American politics, and the California Democratic Party needs to learn (say, from the Dean campaign) on how to reconnect with its roots. That this is an incredibly obvious lesson is beyond dispute. Whether it will sink in or not is questionable.

"He didn't watch his back," said Ms. Schmidt, 36. "He focused on political insiders and the capital rather than keeping touch with his base. He did not consider the political machine of the conservative Republicans. There is an old saying: Keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer. I don't think he did either."

As the article says later on, in many ways Davis was in an impossible position at the start of the recall. He is being blamed for all of the state's economic woes, its budget crisis, etc., when it is clear, as always, that there were a multiplicity of causes. But the public always, rightly or wrongly, blames the man in charge when things go wrong (witness Bush's falling poll numbers; as folks on the blogs often point out, if the occupation were going well and the economy truly recovering, no one would really care about all of the lies and other nefarious activity occurring in the administration).

Davis may not escape this disadvantage, and Bustamante was unable to distance himself from it, but the Dems of California need to think long and hard about how to avoid being put in this situation in the future ...

Thursday, October 02, 2003

  The Goring of Cruz Bustamante
Cruz Bustamante has not run a very good campaign. He isn't a very flashy guy, and that doesn't play well these days. (See Gore, Al.) He looks and smells like the politico, and what proposals he has made toward "fixing" California have the hint of pander to them.

But none of these things explains why Bustamante, a Latino and moderate Democrat in a heavily Latino, strongly Democratic state, is doing as badly as he is in the polls. To explain this more fully, we need to borrow an idea from the Incomparable Howler: we have witnessed the Goring of Cruz Bustamante.

Despite the obvious differences in the campaign, the process is remarkably similar. The media has been attracted to the more "engaging," flashier, and politically vacuous candidate rather than the stiff who seems to lack the political skill to defend himself. (As opposed to Gray Davis, who has also been labeled a stiff but has eminently admirable political skills, although these are more concentrated in the offensive mode.) Schwarzenegger has received free and relatively uncritical media coverage, redoubled by the glamor he supposedly brings to the campaign, and his lack of any sort of political program is deemed a bonus rather than a drawback.

The inequalities of the media coverage in this are absolutely unconscionable. I have documented in several posts below just one example, that hack of hacks, Daniel Weintraub. His vendetta against Bustamante in his "California Insider" blog, and his fixation on the Indian gambling money would be inexplicable if we hadn't seen similar behavior from the media in the past. His most recent outrage in this regard, which I hadn't noticed yet because I lack the stomach to go back to his site too often, is his preposterous accusation that "Cruz has played the race card", by rightly wondering why the hell there has been such a focus on the donations from Indians. Weintraub belongs to that wilfully blind category of writers and (conservative) politicians who can't see that their own fixation with money coming from "special interests," does not apply to rich white businessmen (for example, the firm with a record of environmental abuses whose $100,000 donation to the Arnold campaign(discussed below) he apparently did not find at all perturbing).

Ralph, a poster on the Kos message boards, put it best earlier this morning:
The media totally backdoored Cruz. […]

Cruz has been getting shafted the entire way. Cruz's story is the American Dream. Arnold retains citizenship in a foreign country. Yet Arnold is the "American" candidate.

Cruz takes money from Brown people. Arnold takes five times as much from rich white businessmen. Cruz is in the pocket of special interests.

Arnold associates with a convicted war criminal and refuses to renounce their association. Cruz was a member of a Latino/a pride student organization. Cruz is branded with ties to hate groups.

The media did a terrible job on this campaign. They were totally distracted by the shiny object.

There you have it, ladies and gents, the Goring of Cruz Bustamante.

One final note about today's rumor that Bustamante is going to drop out. The Goring of Bustamante has the added twist that it is being pursued by the media and also the Davis campaign. Over the past week we have seen a number of headlines, from eminent papers such as the NY Times indicating that it is now a "two man race," between Davis and Arnold, now that polls show Schwarzenegger pulling away. Nevermind that all of these polls show Bustamante much closer to Schwarzenegger than Davis is to beating the recall. Nevermind that according to Barbara Boxer, a recent internal Dem poll shows Bustamante and Schwarzenegger tied at 31 (quoted in this story in the Merc). Why the hell would Bustamante drop out if there is any poll showing him that close? Only a peculiar conjunction of interests between the Davis campaign, the Schwarzenegger campaign, and the news media could let this ludicrous story fly.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

  Grim LA Times Poll: 56 to 42; 40 to 32
Jerome Armstrong on the Daily Kos reports that Davis's campaign, specifically respected pollster Paul Maslin is reporting that their internal polls show that Arnold will absolutely win part two of the recall ballot, meaning that everything hinges on part one. I'll repost my response on the Kos comment boards here:

When Maslin says it's all over on the second half of the ballot and it all hinges on recall or no recall, he's clearly serving his boss. Davis has gone back to his usual strategy of attempting to win by focusing on one opponent and turning this into a Davis vs. Schwarzenegger election. It is, almost unbelievably, working. (If you look at the NY Times and other articles this morning, they all echo the Davis party line.)

The hope in the Davis camp is that they'll motivate folks to vote no on recall thinking that this is the only way to keep Schwarzenegger out. It may well be, but the polls show Bustamante (despite the most incompetent campaign since Gore 2000) still having a better chance on part two than Davis has on part one.

This morning's LA Times poll, for instance, has recall winning 56 to 42, while Schwarzenegger leads Bustamante 40 to 32, which is only a few points outside MOE. For Davis's folks to say that he has a better chance of winning the recall than Bustamante has of beating Arnold is disingenuous at best.

Bustamante's chances, as Jerome Armstrong notes, depend on a very heavy GOTV effort among Latinos. Davis's may very well hinge on a similar effort among African-Americans. Perhaps voting No on Prop 54 will be a motivating factor. It does look bleak on both counts at this point ...

On the second part of Armstrong's question on Kos, whether or not there should be a second recall, I am of two minds. Everything in my gut says begin the Arnold recall on Oct. 8, if they want to go nuclear, we have to as well. But it might not be politically wise: people may be sick of it, they may want to give Arnold a chance, and if Recall 2 gets beaten easily, or, worse, doesn't even get the signatures, then that's even more egg on our faces.

One final thought, repeating myself: the fact that here in CA 55% of likely voters say they'll vote Repub (either Schwarzenegger or McClintock) and only 32% say Bustamante says really terrible things about the campaign Bustamante has run (not to mention the usual SCLM bias toward Arnold and its complicity (see Daniel Weintraub) in the race-baiting anti-Indian gambling strategy of the Pete Wilson run campaign).

UPDATE: The Kos comment boards are focused almost entirely on whether or not there should/will be a second recall. As I mentioned above, I'm not sure there should be one, but I think Kos is right that there definitely will be: there are too many angry people out there for it not to happen. Will it succeed? I have strong doubts: folks will say, give him a chance, let's not do this again, etc.

But more importantly THIS ISN'T OVER YET. And it isn't the first part of the ballot but the second that we should be focusing on. Cruz is closer in the polls than Davis; the polls have been volatile; and we need to make a real concerted GOTV effort.

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