Sunday, September 26, 2004

Gimme a Break

Memo to John "F" Kerry: You're not a Kennedy, okay pal? If that's what you wanted to be, you should have married that lady on Dateline before the Governor of California beat you to it. Playing touch football in the park doesn't make you look Kennedyesque -- it makes you look stupid. Yes, it's better than kitesurfing...but just as pretentious.

Hey, I understand that you're grasping at straws here, but if you're going to try to do stuff to make people connect you with JFK, at least try to find something that's not such a blatantly obvious ploy. Like, I don't know...make a great speech or something. That would be considered Kennedyesque, wouldn't it? Or how about just not coming off as such a jerk? It would at least be a start.

New Campaign Slogan



"Vote for the person I'm pointing at, people!"

What the Hell Happened to Us?

Three weeks ago, we were the toast of the town -- a Vodkapundit link in the midst of all the Memogate madness -- and we spiked at over 1,200 pageviews. Then, disaster struck. We decided to start listening to our readers (actually, just the reader who took the time to write us an email) and changing our color scheme, even though we'd previously vowed not to kowtow to such impervious demands. The result? We kept changing colors faster than John Kerry changes positions on Iraq (sorry, had to do it), and in the ensuing mess, we torpedoed into an ugly freefall. Today we're down to about 5 pageviews a day, including the 4 times we check the site each day just to make sure it still exists.

Obviously, we've got a problem. Is it us? Or is it the readers? Not sure (but clearly, not us). We've started to add some photos to the mix and we're really going to try to start writing some linkable posts to attract a few more readers. In the meantime, enjoy us wallowing in our own self-pity. We coulda been a contender! But no! We had to change the colors!

Friday, September 24, 2004

Kerry Photo of the Week

Prescience!

A day or two after the Memogate story broke, we called for former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite to weigh in on the controversy. Today is September 24th, and finally, Sir Walter has broken his silence. Like the good member of the Old Media that he is, Cronkite urges caution and patience (one recalls Col. Buck Turgidson's "I'd hate to judge before all the facts are in..." in Dr. Strangelove) before deciding what he thinks of all this commotion. Walter, come on! This is the blogosphere! We don't have time for the kind of fact-checking they do at, say, CBS!
"We must wait while CBS management conduct the investigation they have promised. We can then decide what our reaction should be," said Cronkite, 87, who was in Boston Thursday night to pick up an award.

"The reaction at the moment of course is embarrassment for everyone who is connected to CBS, and that embarrassment, I hope, will be squashed in time as we know what happened," he said.
I wouldn't bet on it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Exactly...

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Take a Memo!

William F. Buckley weighs in on Memogate and Dan Rather's allegations, which of course are fake but accurate. It's typical WFB (as in typically good), but one line in particular, which he used to explain why it might not be so heinous that Bush gained his spot in the Guard through "influence," jumped out to us as the kind of thing that probably will end up in Bartlett's:
Influence can get you to the head of the line to get your driver's license; corruption is when you fail the test, but get the license anyway.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Oh, The Humanity!



Why do you do this to us, John? Let's save the dancing in the streets until after you win, okay?

What Rather Doesn't Seem to Get

No one cares. Even if the Bush story is true -- even if he was AWOL and a lousy member of the Air National Guard -- we don't care. It's not going to change who's getting our vote.

Now I know all the geniuses at CBS think that if they could only come up with something equivalent to the SwiftVets, they could swing this thing back in Kerry's favor. But the reason the SwiftVets were so damaging wasn't just what they said -- it was the fact that Kerry had made his service in Vietnam the cornerstone of his campaign. Maybe I didn't get the memo, but I haven't noticed Bush talking on the stump about what a hero he is for flying planes in the National Guard.

The other reason this isn't going to stick is that, as a general rule, we're much more forgiving of presidential scandals than presidential candidate scandals, which often completely destroy a candidacy (Gary Hart, Joe Biden, among others). That's why Iran-Contra didn't kill off Reagan, and why Clinton was able to weather Monica and impeachment. Unless the President is doing so poorly (and we're talking Gray Davis-bad) that we'd want to get him out of office regardless, or the scandal is so unbelievably bad and stupid (yes, we're talking about Nixon), we're going to give him the benefit of the doubt, because, after all, he is the President of the United States, and regardless of what the "experts" say, we do still have some respect for the power of that office. So even if this story is true...er, accurate, we don't care, Dan. You think you are going to change our vote by providing us (questionably relevant) reasons not to vote for George W. Bush; the truth is you'd have a lot more success if you found a good reason to vote for John Kerry and did stories about that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Sullivan Sizzles!

Apparently yesterday's Soxblog post was enough to kick Andrew Sullivan's ass back into gear. Is this post a sign that he's regaining his old form?
...this astonishing statement from Rather to Howie Kurtz:
"If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story. Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.'"
Memo to Rather: you can't break that story, because someone else in pajamas already did. Check the frequency, Kenneth. You are so far from being out front on this, you are leagues behind in the dust. Have you heard of the Internet? You can find it on that weird machine in your office they call a computer...

Kerry Officially Loses It

What Don't You Get?

MoveOnPAC has assembled what they're calling the "Kerry Kit: Reasons to Believe and Tools to Win." It includes video of Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony, articles (one of which is a Paul Krugman column), and literature that, "makes John Kerry's record clear and reveals his plan for the future of America. And we enclose action tools, so that you can get active and help folks discover the real John Kerry."

No doubt this kit is the answer to the Kerry campaign's recent struggles since, as we all know, once people get to know John Kerry, they invariably like him...

Paging Secretary Kaus

Leading with the chin!

Last week, after John Kerry proposed creating a "Department of Wellness," Mickey Kaus posited that what Kerry really needs is a Department of F***ing Perspective. Speaking of someone in need of a little perspective, Jay Leno has been talking politics with Nikki Finke at LA Weekly (Drudge linked earlier today). Sadly, Leno comes off as, um, not all that smart. Some excerpts:
Nikki Finke: The media seems to only present the Republican spin and to not present the other side of what’s going on.

Jay Leno: I believe the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don’t do their job. They have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.
I'm sorry, did these people not get the f***ing MEMO?!
Nikki Finke: You do believe that the media is in the pocket of the government?

Jay Leno: Yeah, I think to a certain extent. For example, I can watch TV news. If I don’t like that, I have the option of going to the Internet and picking up what may be fact, may be rumor, may be just raw footage. But at least I have the ability to seek out and get news now where I want to get it, which I never could. Unless you’re lazy, as most Americans are, you really can get any news you want. Go on the Internet and get raw footage from Iraq right now, because some guy is broadcasting what they don’t want you to see.
But wait, there's moore...er, more:
Jay Leno: ...And I said to the audience in the warm-up, “You know, Michael Moore is on the show tonight.” Boos. “You know this is America, and it’s free speech. If you don’t like it, please don’t boo. Please be quiet. Or if you want to applaud, you can applaud. But the guy made a movie. Just be polite.” [Emphasis added.]
UPDATE: Disappointed Jay Leno fans, take heart! He comes off so dense and out of touch with reality that the entire interview is likely a forgery!

Quote of the Day!

"This story comes from CBS News, but I believe it, anyway..."
-- Vodkapundit

Fighting in the Alley

The most interesting angle of the Memogate story (at least to us -- see post below) is the scuffle that has erupted between the MSM and the blogosphere. Instapundit (rightly) ravaged Jonathan Klein's "pajamas" crack, and Roger L. Simon sounds like he wants to fight somebody over at the Chicago Tribune. The traditional epithets that were hurled at the Drudge Report (unreliable, gossip, etc.) during the Clinton scandals are being brought out again by those defending the MSM, but this time, because it's so clear that the memos are fake, they just come off like idiots. And even so, the blogostocracy has made it clear that not only are they a force to be reckoned with (see: Raines, Howell and Lott, Trent), but they're not going to let the MSM characterize them as a bunch of 38 year-old single men still living with their moms and blogging from from the basement.

We're Over It

Lots of posting all around the blogosphere today on the Dan Rather/Memo mess over at CBS. But frankly, we're over it. Today is Wednesday and we're in the exact same place we were last Friday: the memos are obviously fakes. How and why did they get on the air?

There's been plenty of speculation on those points, but because CBS decided to stonewall instead of coming clean, everybody's stuck in the mud, with nothing new to report, other than it's even more obvious today than yesterday that the memos are fake. Which is boring. Heck, even the CBS cover-up is boring, because unlike cover-ups that someone has to uncover, we all know it's a cover-up. No drama in that.

The blogosphere's been doing its best to try to keep this thing alive (and for good reason), but frankly, we're getting tired of hearing the same thing over and over.

Wake us up when Dan Rather resigns.

F.Y.I.

Apparently there's a hurricane heading towards North America. Didn't know if you were aware of that or not, so we thought we ought to give you a heads-up.

For a more in-depth look, see our previous hurricane-related post.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

That Was Productive!

We're back to black, as you've no doubt noticed. Apologies to former CO Reader of the Week Robert Saye (of course, he won't even read this post until the end of the week, so who cares!), but we like it this way. And (at least as of now), we're in charge of the color scheme. Sorry if you find it hard to read; if you must read black text on a white background, we suggest copying our snarky posts and pasting them into a Microsoft Word document. (But don't accidentally date it 1973, print it out, copy it a few times, and fax it to Dan Rather!) From now on, we won't be so easily influenced by our readers' opinions (at least when it concerns our color palatte). Don't worry, it won't be that difficult -- we hardly ever hear from them!

Ugh

These new colors are awful. Why did we ever change from the black background?

Words of Wisdom

He's Back

CO Reader of the Week Robert Saye is killing us with kindness...almost.

"I have book marked you in my weekly read file. When you move up to my daily read file, thats when you can say you've made it."

Now that's something to shoot for!

New Color Scheme!

Andrew Sullivan, eat your heart out!

(By the way, we hate the yellow headings, too. But we're working on it.)

Conspiracy Theory

Rich (via Instapundit) from East Tennessee thinks the Democrats are a lot smarter than we are giving them credit for. (His argument makes as much sense as anything else we've read...Feiler Faster Thesis says by tomorrow it may be the CW!)

Kerry's no Gagne

Our pal Soxblog offers some local perspective on the prevalent notion of John Kerry as a "good closer."
The Kerry’s-a-good-closer champions also point to Kerry’s triumph over Bill Weld in the 1996 Senate race. Kerry did win that close race, true enough, but it had nothing to do with him being a good closer. It had everything to do with him enjoying a home court advantage in liberal Massachusetts that simply could not be overcome. The more relevant takeaway from the 1996 race should be how did Kerry almost lose in super Democrat friendly Massachusetts? After all, he had been in the Senate for 12 years at the time – where was the love?

Polls: Overrated

I know we all can't get enough of these national polls lately, but if you really want to understand the shifts going on in the Race for the White House (how cliche!), take a look at this nifty little interactive map from the L.A. Times (registration required). It's an electoral college calculator, complete with a map of all 50 states and their most up-to-date polling data. But here's the most fun: it's interactive! By clicking on the states, you can assign them (based on the polling data provided or your own personal hunch) to the Bush or Kerry column, until one of the candidates reaches the magic number of 270. It's a great way to learn for yourself the importance of swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, as well as explore the different scenarios that would lead to a Bush or Kerry win. But consider yourselves warned: it's a little addictive.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Friends and Enemies

Democrats think that they need to get nasty in order for John Kerry to regain his lead in the polls. I'm not so sure that's a great strategy, but, in the interest of bipartisanship, we'd like to take this opportunity to help them out with a little opposition research. May we suggest interviewing one Bobby Valentine, who managed the Texas Rangers until he was fired by George W. Bush in 1992. Today, Valentine works in Japan, where he manages the Chiba Lotte Marines. Disgruntled former employee, forced to earn a living in the Far East? Sounds like a perfect source of dirt on the President.

Except that Valentine has donated $4,000 (the maximum amount) to his former boss.

Your Feedback Nets Results!

CO Reader of the Week Robert Saye thinks we have a "pretty good blog," but after reading it for three minutes, he started to get a pounding headache. (The same thing happens when we read Eric Alterman!) Strangely, Mr. Saye thinks the culprit isn't our content -- it's our color scheme! (Hey, this post has a lot of exclamation points!) Now, you might recall that we once vowed not to change this site's colors, regardless of reader complaints. Well, consider this our "We nominated a turkey!" post. Our mea culpa, if you will. We're here to serve you, readers, not our own retinas. Enjoy. (And post some comments or something -- if we can't hear you, we don't know you're out there!)

UPDATE: We're now officially black-text-on-white-background. But it doesn't agree with us. We like our observations casual, but not our graphic design! Which means that we're going to try to whip up something super-snazzy this week...so check back often (and inflate our page views!) so you can be the first on your block to see the new look of Casual Observations!

Instapundit Channels Kaus

A snarky, KF-ish post on Instapundit this morning...at least that's what we saw!
ERIC MULLER continues his unrelenting critique of Michelle Malkin. Frankly, I might find Muller more persuasive if he didn't rely so heavily on David Neiwert, whose tendency to hurl unsubstantiated charges of racism at anyone he doesn't like has cost him rather a lot of credibility in my eyes.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

We Can't Make This Stuff Up

From the L.A. Times (hat tip: Kerry Spot):
[Kerry's reputation as a good closer] was clearly on his mind on a recent evening as he offered a pep talk to the Mansfield Senior High School Tygers. The northwestern Ohio football team had lost its first game of the season, and was heading to the field for their next contest.

Standing in the golden September light, Kerry told the players that sports could teach them a lot about life. "You know the old saying, 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going'? This is when you find yourself. You just go out there tonight and pull that little extra something out of here," he said, clutching his fist to his heart.
Final score: Mansfield 7, Sandusky 34.

What the Hell Happened to This Guy?!

Crazy

Revelation: He's Playing the Wrong Sports!

From (where else?) the New York Times...
"I smell the same New England genius that I smelled in the Dukakis campaign in 1988," Gerald Austin [a leading Ohio campaign consultant for more than 30 years] added. "Kerry wants to run as a man of the people, and where do they put him for photo opportunities? Snowboarding in Sun Valley, shooting skeet in the Ohio valley, and windsurfing off that great working-class vacation paradise, Nantucket. Democrats - at least Ohio Democrats - play softball and touch football."
UPDATE: Instapundit posts the same quote...six hours later than the Casual Observer. Has he been reading this blog? [Not likely--ed. Shut up!]

Sassy!

Wonkette has a great post on 9/11 remembrances:
We don't want to belabor this too much, but on this, the eve of the third anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we would like to call for a moratorium on all reminiscences that rely on what a fucking beautiful day it was. Yeah, it was a really nice day. And then a bad thing happened. You sort of have to be three years old to think that's ironic. Let's honor the victims by not dwelling on the weather.
We concur.

"Our Folks Are Stoked"

John F. Kerry gives his "first wide-ranging interview with a national news organization in more than a month" to TIME Magazine's national political correspondent Karen Tumulty, who, coincidentally, doesn't bring up any of the Swift Vet charges that caused Kerry to go AWOL. But thanks, Karen, for getting it half right.

The interview deserves a full-on Fisking (which I'll leave to the boys over at the New Republic), but it's filled with too many gems not to post on it. My favorite:
TIME: If I could get back to politics--
JFK: I don't talk politics.
I assume this exchange was followed by an awkward pause. But wait, there's more!
JFK: [The Bush-Cheney campaign] spent a lot of money trying to confuse people, but I have been consistent...I would not have interrupted as abruptly the effort to build alliances with other countries.
That's going to be a winner in Allentown. "Would I have interrupted the effort to build alliances with other countries? Yes. But I want to be clear, and this is an important distinction between myself and the President: I would have taken much more time to reach the same decision as he did!"
JFK: I believe very deeply that it takes a new President, a new credibility, a fresh start, to change the whole equation in Iraq. I will get countries involved in ways that the President doesn't have them involved today, and I will get our troops home.
TIME: How? Diplomats say that it is not in our allies' political interest—
KERRY: George Bush has made it not in their interest today. There are all sorts of options with respect to Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds in the region that this Administration is not exploring.
I thought that you were just talking about other countries, not ethnic groups within Iraq. When did they gain sovereignty? I must have missed that memo!
TIME: You can't be more specific?
JFK: I know exactly what I'm going to do, but I'm not the President today.
The theme of Kerry's campaign.
TIME: Are you surprised at the bounce Bush got out of his convention?
JFK: I don't know what you're talking about in terms of the Bush bounce...Polls don't mean anything to me right now....I feel really good. We're on an even playing field, and our folks are stoked.
Surfers and Skateboarders for Kerry: Stoked!
JFK: I think [the Bush campaign is] trying to do everything possible to divert attention from the real issues in front of the country, and their entire strategy for six months has been distorting my record and attacking me because they don't have a record to run on.
I'm sorry, what was that? It sounded like you just said that Bush was the candidate without a record to run on. Maybe I'm getting the candidates confused. I'll have to go back and check the tape...

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Poet Channels Zell

From Sunday's New York Times Magazine:
Deborah Solomon: As poet laureate, don't you think you should be better acquainted with European poetry?

Ted Kooser: Think of all the European poetry I could have read if we hadn't spent all this time on this interview.

We're Smarter Than You!

Our good pal Soxblog makes the observation that the leaders of the blogosphere (Glenn Reynolds, Hugh Hewitt, Mickey Kaus, Roger L. Simon, etc.) are smarter than their counterparts in the mainstream media (yes, yes, I know it's MSM, but all these anagrams are a little too teenage girl IM-ish for my taste...argh! Make that, instant message-ish). Soxblog's we're-smarter-than-you theory is essential unprovable, but it is clear that the names he mentions are part of an aristocracy of bloggers the rest of the blogosphere looks to for publicity and/or validation. But it's not a set-in-stone, House-of-Windsor kind -- it's much more fluid, with talented new bloggers being added, and former leaders who've fallen on hard times (Andrew Sullivan?) being pushed aside. Actually, meritocracy is probably a better word, because there's no other way to gain entrance apart from having a really great blog.

I think the larger point is that the blogosphere is a massive marketplace of ideas -- a free market, in the purest sense. And just like capitalism has conquered socialism, so too is the capitalism of ideas and information starting to conquer the quasi-socialism of the mainstream media. American ideals are, for the first time, being applied toward information in a mass media format. No, not everyone is going to like it. But yes, it is good for our country. And the rest of the world as well.

UPDATE: Our "good friend" Instapundit seems to concur with our thoughts on Sullivan ("...I don't think the tone on his blog has been as constructive of late..."). At least that's how we're spinning it!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Remembering 9/11

As you're well aware, tomorrow is the third anniversary of 9/11. I'd imagine that each of us is going to remember what happened in our own way, but it would be worth your time to peruse the New York Times' special 9/11 section of their website.

The Times is a favorite whipping boy of the blogosphere, but it ought to get credit when it's deserved. This is one of those times. An article on the victims who jumped out of the tower is particularly harrowing -- and a necessary reminder of their humanity.

Well, Hello Gorgeous!

We just passed 1,000 page views for today, which, for a blog that is only a week old, is a nice surprise. Thanks for stopping by, bookmarking us, reading us everyday, telling all your friends about us, buying a Casual Observation t-shirt (hey, that's not a bad idea!) and clicking on a bunch of ads so we can pay the rent without having to get a real job. (We can dream, can't we? After all, this is America, people!)

So unless you're my mom, you're probably not going to do all that, but we'd settle for a daily visit to see if we happened to say anything amusing. (Like this, for example.) If you keep reading (and writing comments telling us how great we are...), we'll keep writing them.

And if we start to suck, TELL US! There's nothing more disheartening than having one of your favorite blogs go bad, so if that starts to happen, smack us around a little so we can get our act together. In the meantime, feeding our ego is probably the way to go.

That Clears THAT Up

Drudge has the transcript of the Rather "mea culpa." Here's the juciest tidbit:
The "60 Minutes" report was based NOT solely on the recovered documents .. but on a preponderance of evidence ... including documents that were provided by un-impeachable sources...
To summarize: the fakes didn't come from the President, or any current member of Congress (in other words, impeachable sources). I suppose we can do this by process of elimination, if that's what CBS wants...

If You Build It, They Will Come

That's what our pal SoxBlog told us last week, when this little venture was in its infancy. And look at us now -- people who don't share my last name are actually reading this stuff! Not to be all nerdy and pat ourselves on the back or anything...

Actually, the credit must go to Vodkapundit, who boldly linked to us before anyone else. Which means that, much like the attendees of tomorrow's Haven premiere, he'll be able to brag about being on top of the hip new thing before it was the hip new thing.

Memo? What Memo?

Apparently, Dan Rather didn't get the memo. (Not the fake one, you idiot! The metaphorical one.) Because we are past deciding whether or not the Killian memos are fakes; they are. That was yesterday. Today we want to know how the hell they got onto 60 Minutes II. (Kaus's Feiler Faster Thesis in action!) We want to know who gave the memos to CBS, and who at CBS vetted them. These are legitimate questions, and they need to be answered if CBS wants to retain any shred of credibility. None of this "We found a typewriter that does superscript!" girlie-man talk.

UPDATE: Since Dan Rather is a Texan, and the President is a Texan, many of the nasty things said about Bush can be easily transferred to the CBS anchor (not that we'd ever encourage that kind of thing!). For instance: All Hat, No Cattle. (We have no idea what it means, but it's definitely not good!) And our favorite. Dan Rather: Somewhere a Village in Texas is Missing its Idiot.

Send your entries in the Bush/Rather Name-Calling Contest to
observing casually @ hotmail . com

And That's The Way It Was...

Somewhere, Walter Cronkite is turning over in his grave.

Wait a minute, what's that? He's not dead? In fact, not only is he alive, he, um, recently blasted the blogosphere?
I am dumbfounded that there hasn't been a crackdown with the libel and slander laws on some of these would-be writers and reporters on the Internet. I expect that to develop in the fairly near future.
Would-be writers and reporters? As in, not qualified to work at CBS?

Oh, hello there, irony.

Can't wait for "the most trusted person on TV" to weigh in on this little fiasco. We need Cronkite quotes, people!

Clinton on Line Two

Even the former President seems to have given up on Kerry's campaign:
Days after Democrat John Kerry and former President Clinton had a lengthy, late-night telephone chat to discuss campaign strategy, the two were at it again on Thursday. Only this time, politics weren't involved, says a Kerry aide.

Update!

Someone, anyone please read this blog.

Drudge is on the case...and smelling blood. He transcribes a CNN interview:

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: I know that this story is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn't have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn't going to be -- there's no -- what you're saying apology?
This guy is an idiot. He just doesn't get it. And Dan Rather even has his own blog!

UPDATE: Apparently, people actually are reading this blog. Who would have thought?!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Gimme a Chance!

Now it's pretty much the CW that not only are the CBS memos forgeries, they're very, very poor forgeries. Earlier today, the Casual Observer himself whipped up a little test -- see if you could spot the forged memo. Unfortunately, no one reads this blog, so no one took the test. Still, I spent all of twenty minutes forging a memo and, frankly, I think it's actually quite good. In fact, if who ever was behind Memogate had called me -- a 21 year old college student -- instead of the Ivy League intern who whipped these up in Microsoft Word, I bet no one would have noticed. In fact, I'm offering my services to either party and all major news networks, in the event that they need my services.

the CBS forgery
my forgery

The point isn't that I'm the greatest forger in the world -- just that I'm better than the person who passed these off on CBS. Which leads me to believe that person either, a) didn't care all that much about creating a believable forgery, b) didn't think that CBS would bother to vet the documents, or c) knew that CBS wouldn't bother to check the documents. Option c) is obviously the most troubling, because it suggests collusion between CBS and the forger/sponsor of the forger. And don't think that there isn't anyone at CBS smart enough to figure out the docs were fake -- anyone who has seen The Insider is aware of the kind of scrutiny that something has to undergo before being broadcast by a television network. Which means that for something this obvious to make it through, people (plural) had to look the other way. And those people should be held accountable.

A simple "oops" from the Eye in the Sky isn't going to cut it.

Fakes?!

CBS News has a scathing attack on the President's service in the Air National Guard that features new memos written by Jerry Killian, Bush's Guard commander. Er, that would be alleged "memos" written by Jerry Killian -- any idiot with half a brain could tell at first glance that something is fishy.

To prove my point, I've posted one of the documents from CBS News, along with another nearly-identical document that has obviously been created on a computer. I link to each below, and have you decide which is the "real" document used by CBS, and which is the forged document (created by me in Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop). Remember, this memo was (allegedly) written by Killian in 1973, using either his own personal word processor or one provided to him by the government.

Version One
Version Two

Now that you've seen them both, find out how you did:

CBS copy
My forgery

- - - - - - - - - - -
See the rest of the CBS documents
How I forged mine (it took 20 minutes):
PDF 01 PDF 02

Scandal!

Oh, it's getting juicy, isn't it, ladies and gentlemen? The Democrats are fighting back, and, between you and me, a lot of people are saying a lot of bad stuff about George W. Bush. Now, if you're the President, this has got to be a little irritating. Not in the sense that you're probably going to have to go on the Daily Show to answer the charges and listen to jokes about snorting coke with Rick James ("The name's George, bitch...can I borrow your Master Charge?"), but that the Democrats just don't seem to get it. I mean, that's got to get frustrating, doesn't it? They've been bad-mouthing you for four years -- and yet you're winning. More bad-mouthing probably isn't going to help; past history would suggest it will probably lead to you winning more.

The other problem is that this is like the boy who cried wolf; after awhile, no one pays attention to the anti-Bush crowd anymore. We smile, look at your homemade t-shirt with a picture of Bush and Hitler on the front, and say, "oh, isn't that nice? You've got an opinion." Then we bolt our doors. And now that you've got some allegations that might actually have merit, you want us to unbolt the doors and accept it without question? Well, sorry. Sell crazy someplace else, we say. And it's not our fault, nor the President's -- it's yours.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Who We're Not Dating

Well I've been an official blogger since, um, almost five days now, and let me tell you, it ain't all it's cracked up to be. Getting a good table at Morton's? Still not happening. Dating Jennifer Love Hewitt (or even Alyssa Milano)? Please. Receiving hate mail? I wish.

The moral of the story is that, just like becoming a Scientologist, super-success doesn't happen overnight. (Or even the next morning.) Which means that I'm going to have to keep on writing witty posts in obscurity for a few more months before I actually start to get feedback or (preferrably) make any money off my Google click-thru ads.

But it's not all doom and gloom here at Observing Casually headquarters. The sun is shining (no, not really, you idiot; I'm posting this at 10:49 p.m.) and we're taking a long, solitary walk on the beach -- metaphorically speaking. We're not John Kerry, we're not Dick Cheney, we're not even Paul Begala (thank goodness!), and for that, we are grateful. For if there's one thing we've (er, I've) learned in these last five days, it's that you can fuck up as much as you want...as long as no one is paying attention.

Monday, September 06, 2004

John Edwards Is Sexy!

I think it's safe to say that we all love the New York Times. Those on the left love it because it makes them think that everything's going great, even when it's usually going to hell, and those on the right love it because, well, pretty much the same reason. Why worry about lowering expectations (a la Matthew Dowd's uber-cautious predictions) when the Times will do it for you?

An article Monday revealed that the Kerry campaign was in the midst of a "slow-motion shake-up." Other than a handful of Clintonites seeping into the ranks and Kerry deciding that maybe he better shut the hell up about Vietnam, it forgot to provide the juicy details of the new shake-up strategy. Luckily, this astute blogger has learned his lesson from Kausfiles -- namely, that the Times often buries the lede. In this case, they did it again -- only in a different story, a day later.

Apparently, the Kerry-Edwards campaign is now being advised by a well-spoken "massage therapist" (we all know that euphemism!) from Minnesota.

Katie Simenson, 41, a massage therapist, accused the Democratic ticket of letting Republicans suggest that Mr. Edwards had taken frivolous cases as a lawyer and that Mr. Kerry was a waffler and soft on defense.

"They're going to run you right over and make you look like idiots," Ms. Simenson said.

Mr. Edwards sought to answer, promising " to fight every day between now and Election Day" and assuring her that Mr. Kerry "is strong, courageous and he is a fighter."

"And I like to believe I am the same thing," he said. But Ms. Simenson shook her head.

"We will - don't shake your head! - we will fight,'' Mr. Edwards continued. "No, we will fight every way we know how. But we are fighting for you, we are not fighting with these politicians. George Bush wants to fight with politicians. We are fighting for you. We want to make your life better - don't argue with me, let me finish.* We're going to stand up - I let you talk, let me finish - we're going to stand up for the things that we believe in."

Afterward, Ms. Simenson pronounced his answer a "typical politician response," but said she would grudgingly vote for Mr. Kerry.

The wrong woman has been running Kerry's campaign! I don't care if she isn't Ivy League -- get her a Blackberry!

*Edwards, perhaps indirectly, may have stumbled upon a new campaign slogan for Kerry: "Don't Argue, Let Me Finish!" It certainly describes their current strategy.

Snow isn't just the Treasury Secretary

Kitty Kelley has a new book out that, according to the Daily Mirror, alleges President Bush snorted lines of coke at Camp David when his father was President. (Laura also "allegedly tried cannabis," which we were just told is another word for marijuana!)

He Did What?!

Now, there are a few ways to look at this, assuming these accusations are true.

The first is that, hey Republicans, you're starting to look pretty hip. First I find out Arnold Schwarzenegger is a conservative, now I find out the First Lady has been toking up?! Sign me up!

And it's not like doing cocaine disqualifies you from public office -- just ask DNC Keynoter Barack Obama!

Now, the Bush Campaign could employ the Kerry Strategy of How to Deal With Accusations that Probably are True, in which they'd pretend that Kitty Kelley never wrote the book while at the same time demanding that bookstores not stock it. Of course, we all see how successful that's been...

Or, they could come out and admit that Bush did a lot of stupid things in the past, but that this campaign is about the issues affecting America today. And snorting things up your nose is not one of those issues. (This is the strategy not favored by the Kerry campaign, and, thus, likely the correct one.)

Either way, this isn't going to be as harmful to Bush as the Swift Vets were to Kerry, and here's why: anyone who has a brother or sister knows that whenever there's a fight, the person who gets in trouble is not the one who hit first -- it's the one who hit back. As much as Kerry might claim that Bush is behind the Swift Vets, he's provided nothing more substantial than a messy game of Six Degrees of Karl Rove. Still, if people (and by people we mean swing voters) are put off by the "negativeness" of the SwiftVet ads and buy into the Bush connection, they're going to be more upset by negative ads directed towards Bush -- which, like they did with the Swift Vet ads and the President, they would connect to Kerry. "I just don't like these negative ads," the swing voter says. "Bush started it, but Kerry's no better. This last ad is really nasty." So not only does Kerry undermine his ability to rail against Bush on the negative Swift Vet ads (which is, in itself, questionable), he ends up looking worse than the President.

Don't believe me? Ask your older brother.

Rush Limbaugh Is A Big, Fat Idiot?

Rush

This is CNN's Daryn Kagan. She also, according to Richard Leiby at the Washington Post, is Rush Limbaugh's new girlfriend.

Don't be a hater.

Sharing the Blove

I got an email from Soxblog this morning. (Not to drop names or anything...) Apparently, he's actually read this blog. And he actually didn't think it sucked.

For those of you readers out there who don't know, Soxblog is written by a very astute man from Boston named James Frederick Dwight who has a much better ability to predict the future than, say, those geniuses quoted in the New York Times.

What does Dwight see in this future for this blog? Good things, my friend. Good things. (Though he advises replacing the nutjob writing the posts ASAP.)

Like John Kerry and certain unnamed world leaders, I'm claiming Soxblog's support...just trust me on this one.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

M.C. Hammer

John Kerry's been doing a lot of this on the campaign trail lately:

Pray

He's not actually praying, of course, but making the "praying" gesture toward his supporters. I'd like to tell you why he's doing it, that it dates back to some childhood experience or psychological complex, but, frankly, I have no clue.

Maybe he's just a big doofus.

John F. Kerry

How about that John Kerry Midnight Madness the other night, huh? What? Didn't see it? You were in bed by then? But you noticed that it wasn't excerpted on all those morning shows on Friday? Well there's a reason for that, and I'm not being facetious...

Plastered

Kerry was sloshed.

People, I'm not kidding. Apparently when the new advisors told him to try to be Kennedy-esque, JKF misunderstood. Don't believe me that he was drunk? Here are a few excerpts:
...And you know what else were gonna do? We're gonna do something that makes common sense, which is what we need to restore to the main street of America...

...God only gave us 3% of the world's oil reserves, folks. That didn't change during the time George Bush has been president...

...We need to change the president and have a president who understands that no young American in uniform should ever be held hostage to America's dependence on oil in the middle east. We're gonna liberate ourselves...

...And finally, finally there is this issue of Iraq. We deserve a president this the most serious issue we face right now. And this is not an issue this is not an issue that ought to be the subject of Democrat, Republican. [Unintelligible] it's not that's not where it comes from. This comes from the heart the gut and from the head the common sense of Americans...

...and not be punished by a system that is punitive...

...Let's get back our own democracy in the United States...
I'd link to a transcript, but none exists. Anywhere. The only possible reason for that is that anyone reading it would obviously know that Kerry was trashed.

Please, please go to C-SPAN and watch it for yourself. Then go tell Vodkapundit.

Bill Clinton on line two

"Once again, things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!"
That was said by Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer, but it likely was also said by John Kerry during his 90-minute telephone conversation today with Bill Clinton, who told the Senator to stop talking about Vietnam, according to Matt Drudge. Although Drudge doesn't report what Kerry responded, my guess is, "well then what the hell I am supposed to talk about?!"
Terrorism

John Kerry has a plan to end this.






What? Still here? Oh, you want to know what it is? It's, uh, um...it's...it's at his website.

Paging Dr. Dean

Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism:
"What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and [Osama bin Laden has] been caught along with all his lieutenants. That can happen because of the programs and infrastructure in place."
Of course we all know that what he really means is don't be surprised if you wake up on the day before the election and Osama bin Laden has been captured -- or, as Howard Dean would say, his capture "announced," since, in all likelihood, the President has already caught him and is holding back on the announcement until the most opportune time, politically.

Speaking of Dean, now that we know that the Democratic CW on why Kerry got no convention bounce ("...Kerry advisers said the electorate is already so polarized and partisans so energized that there was far less chance for a big bounce this year...") is not true, perhaps Dean's explanation (that the White House killed the bounce by releasing terrorist-related information "in the middle of [Kerry's] bounce") will be given a little more play. Not that it makes any more sense -- it just gives us another chance to reminisce about the Yell from Hell. Speaking of Zell...

An America of Assholes

Though I've yet to reveal much about myself on this blog (like it matters -- no one is reading it, anyway), I'll throw you this juicy piece of meat: I don't have any kids. And not long ago, I was a kid myself. All of which makes this week's Newsweek cover article (I know you're all just chomping at the bit to devour the next issue; who can live life without being able to talk Newsweek at the watercooler?), titled, "The Power of No." For those of you too lazy to read the article, the premise is that parents these days are having a hard time telling their kids, "no," and the result (according to me, not the article), is that we're raising a nation of assholes.

Growing up, everyone had a kid or two in their class that was spoiled rotten. Usually it was because Mom and Dad were divorced and buying stuff made them feel less guilty. We all knew those were the kids to stay away from. Because they were jerks. And now, most of the kids in this country (at least according to Newsweek), are jerks.

All because their parents don't have the balls to say the word no. People. Come on. It's not that hard. Just think of the last time your spouse asked you for sex. Remember how easy it was?

Go read the Newsweek article. It will make you vomit. Ben just has to have an iPod mini. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- frankly, I'd like one too. The difference between Ben and me? Ben is 9 years old. (Also, Ben now has an iPod mini and I don't.)

But before you start to judge Ben's mom, consider what she had to go through: Ben used that heart-wrenching PLEA, "everyone has one." That, according to the article, was enough to cause Mrs. Goldman to "weaken." Everyone has one?! A nine-year old kid uses the oldest line in the book, and it causes his mom to weaken?

So being a good parent, Mrs. Goldman did her research, asking around the neighborhood to see if everyone really did have one. When she discovered that most of her neighbors were indeed pushovers and had crumbled to those masters of rhetoric, their third grade children, she of course caved as well. And now Ben wants a PowerMac G4. (I actually do have one of those -- paid for with my own money, thank you.)
Now, a growing number of psychologists, educators and parents think it's time to stop the madness and start teaching kids about what's really important—values like hard work, delayed gratification, honesty and compassion.
Oh, those genius psychologists. A growing number (suggesting there are psychologists out there opposed) think we ought to be teaching kids about hard work, honesty and compassion. Thank goodness there are a few PhD-educated souls out there willing to think outside the box!

Go sit in front of the toilet and read the rest of the article.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Independent

I'm a little worried that the last two posts mentioning John Kerry might lead some readers to believe that this is a Kerry-bashing blog. Well, it's not true. This blog is all about equal-opportunity bashing; it just so happens that lately Kerry's been doing all the fucking up and Bush has been leaving the crazy, demon-possesed speeches to crazy, demon-possessed Democratic Senators.

I want to be clear that I have not decided who I will be voting for come November; in fact, I am the textbook undecided, swing voter. Where do I live? In a swing state, of course. And I'm going to give both candidates a chance to make their cases before deciding, in the privacy of the ballot box (though I'll probably pull an Andrew Sullivan or a Mickey Kaus and write a long, self-loathing post about who I'm voting for, and why, and why hate myself for it). Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The point is, I'm looking forward to being wooed. For too long, I've made up my mind during the primaries, only to find out that I'm about as en vogue as the guy who shows up to the party on time. Trust me, fellow swing voters, you're not missing anything; can you really tell me that you wish you know where Carole Mosely-Braun stood on cloning?

And to reinforce my undecided voter credentials, here's something negative about Bush to balance out the blog:

Is it me, or is he going blonde? His hair looks a lot more blonde than it used to.*

*I'm sorry, Bush haters. I got nothing. They're just not fucking up over there. I gotta have something to work with -- I can't just make up stuff like he's Hitler or something.

By Popular Demand

Sometimes a blogger wants to blog something just because they want to, but don't want to make it look like they want to, so to cover their ass, they'll say that they, "I received a lot of email requesting such-and-such." Really, that's how the blogosphere works; I would know...I've been blogging for like six hours now. Not six hours tonight. Six hours total.

Actually, I have no idea. But the whole Steve Jobs Priority List got me thinking. About what might be on the Democratic presidential nominee's to-do list for the weekend.

John Kerry's Labor Day Weekend To-Do List
1. Windsurf
2. Kitesurf
3. Figure out the difference between windsurfing and kitesurfing
4. Plan the next big Skull & Crossbone Society Meeting...er, I mean the next big midnight rally
5. Ask Teresa for lunch money for the week
6. Figure out what the hell is wrong with my campaign
7. Buy a house in the Hamptons
8. Ask Teresa for money to cover the house in the Hamptons
9. Get my own blog.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Hat Tip: Me

In case you live in Florida and you haven't heard, there's a hurricane coming your way. No, not the same one that knocked down a bunch of houses a few weeks ago. A different one, you idiot.

Just wanted to give you a heads-up. Because if your house gets blown down and I hadn't said anything, I would feel partially responsible.

The point is now you can't sue me, suckers.

And although I've never been in a hurricane before, I'd recommend putting cheap plywood over your windows and using some spray paint to write a message to the hurricane, because apparently hurricanes, like Santa Claus, stop to read them. (Maybe the hurricane will even write you back! But don't be fooled by a note from the hurricane in your mom's handwriting.) Messages to the hurricane that have also been uttered by John Kerry in the past month get extra credit!*

Frances

*Hey, it's helped him, hasn't it? (Hat tip: uh...everyone?)

*Update: John Kerry tells Floridians not to panic; "Hurricane Frances is only a 'smear,' not really a tropical storm with hurricane-force winds. At least that's what my staff tells me. Personally, I believe otherwise..."

Bored?

Now, while you might tell your mom that the reason you spend so much time down in the basement on the internet is because you're trying to fulfill your civic duty reading up on the two candidates for city comptroller (what the hell is a comptroller, by the way? A controller with free tickets to that sold-out Journey show you wanted to go to?), the truth is that you're really just surfing the web for some cool sites to occupy your time until you go to bed at 2 am, thus avoiding having to consider how pathetic it is that, as a 38 year old man, you still live with your (adoptive) mother in the same how where your late (adoptive) father was accused of fondling the neighbor boy, who was later killed in Vietnam.

But I digress. My purpose is not to judge. Rather, it is to enhance your surfing experience. And thus, I submit your soon-to-be-favorite website, What's That Bug? The URL, you ask? http://www.whatsthatbug.com, of course! Worried that the spider climbing down the side of the basement's cinderblock wall might be poisonous? Go to What's That Bug. Looking to impress your recently-divorced, 56 year-old co-worker with the DDs? Free entomological knowledge that no woman can resist, at What's That Bug.

The point is go there, you nitwit. And try not to get any more Fig Newton crumbs on the keyboard, would you?

Please!

Come on, all you readers out there. Let's get some comments, people! Every blogger is an attention whore (at least the ones who bother to update daily). I'm not doing this to amuse myself!*

*Maybe I am.

A Question

Who, besides my mom, thinks that Dave Barry is funny?

What? What's that? He's a blogger? A fellow blogger?! I take it back! He IS funny!

If it's 1989.

Astute Observations...Not Yet, You Idiot!

For those of you without a calendar or a Mom with a calendar, this is the Labor Day weekend coming up. (Fun! Drink Drivers Killing People on the Roads!) And if that were not enough, you also have this little tidbit of information to get excited about -- I'm planning on a massive post this weekend that will be *groundbreaking* for not just the blogosphere but the entire human race. Hubris? I think not. So keep your eyes open. It will be posted sometime this weekend. And you'll thank me for giving you this little heads up. Because like the 38 year old single guy who bought an iPod in 2002, you'll think that you're cooler than you really are for being ahead of the curve.

So How About A Link?

Normally your garden-variety blogger would link to Andrew Sullivan or James Lileks or some news story on the Yahoo! Singapore site or something like that. But I'm not a loser. Also, I know that this blog advertises itself as a mostly political blog, so I'd better post something political after this string of narcissistic tangents about trying to figure out how to post in italics. (I said I wasn't a loser. I didn't say I wasn't slow.)

So I am going to link to perhaps the most astute political commentary I've seen all week. It comes from *another blog* called Knitters For Kerry. Basically it's a page dedicated to people who, no, people who are knitting for Kerry. Yeah. Great title. Here's the genius post of the week, along with the obligatory link.

Note to John Kerry

God damn it, John Kerry, STOP GOING ON VACATION!!!! I just heard on NPR that you are heading to Nantucket for a vacation. The last time I heard about you, you were windsurfing in Oregon. You're sounding a lot like our incumbent these days. You, Mr. Kerry, absolutely have to win this election. And constant fancy pants vacations isn't good enough for me. You gotta get dirty and serious and make your supporters PROUD. Fuck. No more vacations. I know you think you need one. But your country needs to you to try your best. Come on. There's already plenty of things I don't like about you. But in the immortal words of the Cars:
"You're all I've got tonight
I need you
TONIGHT"
So get to it.
You can vacation in 2008 when Hillary takes the reigns.

-- Knitters for Kerry


What The Flip?

This is insane. Here it is 10:53 on a Friday night and I'm trying to figure out how to add links to my blog which no one in the world is reading. Yes, I already wrote an entire post -- a genius post -- discussing why this was the case. Which was deleted. Not by me. By "incompatibility." The moral of the story is that there is a reason that Apple's free browser, Safari (perhaps you've heard of it? No, not the thing you and your trophy wife went on in Africa last January. That was a gnu) is free. Because it doesn't work with BlogSpot...yet. I'm sure that Steve Jobs is on it.

Steve Jobs' Priority List
1. Get people to piss their pants by showing them the new iMac
2. Fight pancreatic cancer
3. Make Safari work better with BlogSpot
4. Call Bono and discuss how cool we both are

Self-Reflexivity Rears Its Ugly Head

Well here we are at my fifth post and I have yet to discover how to alter the texts of my posts. How the hell am I going to make snarky Mickey Kaus-like comments if I can't even figure out how to use italics! And linking? Forget about it.

Guess I'll have to read the manual.

(Also I realized that after signing off on my first post, I've subconsciously stopped. Because it feels a little too Eric Alterman. And I'm not that smug. Yet.)

Not that kind of blog

I just want all you sickos out there who are trolling the blogosphere getting off (not literally, you pervert) on reading other people's diaries to know that this is not -- NOT -- going to be that kind of blog. In other words, I ain't freaking Washingtonienne (you decide for yourself whether or not "freaking" is being used as a modifier). So don't expect me to be talking about doing the nasty with politicos and at the same time destroying whatever shred of dignity I have so that when Playboy comes calling I don't have to think twice about saying yes.

The point is that I'm not going to put up photos of me and my friends, I'm not going to put up a countdown clock tracking the days until I get my driver's license (as I saw on one blog) or something corny like that. I'm not doing this to be loved. I'm doing this for the RE-SPECK. Although if you're a politician interested in paying for sex, shoot me an email...

Talking Smack

Seeing as I've been a blogger for about, oh, I don't know, 20 minutes now, it's time to start talking shit about other bloggers. No, really. In the spirit of tearing others down to feel better about ourselves, I announce (in the spirit of Andrew Sullivan's profligate "so-and-so award" nominees) the first annual crappy "Mom look I have a blog and I made it myself, with HTML code that I learned at that class I'm auditing at the junior college!" blog award.*

*Okay I want to announce that this award has been cancelled, because I've been paging through all the blogs in Blogger (click the Next Blog >> button at the top of this window to see what I'm talking about) and they're all actually really, really good. I didn't read any of them, of course, but they look good. Or at least not bad. Not cringe-inducing, making-fun-of-worthy bad.

So there's no award. Sorry for the premature, uh, excitement.

Second (More Nuanced) Observation

I've spent the last five minutes vacillating over the color of said blog (so far I'm the only viewer, so it would seem to be an unconsequential decision...however IT IS NOT. As of today, we're going to go with white text on black background. Now I know there will be "girlie-men" (in the non-homophobic, Schwarzeneggarian sense of the word) out there who will complain, "It's hard to read, I don't like it, it's hard on my eyes, I can't read white text on black backgrounds because of some physiological reason, etc." But I don't care. It's white-on-black because I think THAT'S easier to read than the traditional black-on-white. Which, by the way, is for girlie men.

The First Observation

Good evening. Welcome to Casual Observations. I am the Casual Observer (in lieu of "The Gamemaster"). Yes, it's a bit ham-handed, but hey, how many cool Blogspot names remain? It's like trying to come up with a witty AOL screenname -- all the good ones are taken.

The Casual Observer it is. We're both over it.

CO