Saturday, September 25, 2004

Too Afraid or Too Impaired?

Fear of flying: Woman says nerves ended W's National Guard Service in Texas

This woman says her husband replaced George W. Bush in the Texas Air National Guard because Bush developed a paralyzing fear of flying.

Interesting, but why would he skip his physical if he was just afraid of flying? I still think there's substance abuse behind this whole thing.

And if GW wasn't in Alabama like he said, where was he?

Stories You Won't See on CBS

Because we're not watching, & they're not reporting.

Bush Twists Kerry's Words on Iraq (From AP, in the New York Times.)

The bubble boy
Bush lives in a world immune from the realities of Iraq.
(From Salon, registration required.)

Bush Flip Flops On Strategic Reserves (From Yahoo, headline from Raw Story blog)

UPDATE: The SCLM strikes again: AP has changed the headline in the first story referenced above to "Bush, Kerry Twisting Each Other's Words" -- over the same article about how Bush is twisting Kerry's words. Can you say journalistic integrity? Oh, right, that doesn't exist any more.

Boycott CBS

'60 Minutes' Delays Report Questioning Reasons for Iraq War

CBS News said yesterday that it had postponed a "60 Minutes" segment that questioned Bush administration rationales for going to war in Iraq.


The Iraq segment had been ready for broadcast on Sept. 8, CBS said, but was bumped at the last minute for the segment on Mr. Bush's National Guard service. The Guard segment was considered a highly competitive report, one that other journalists were pursuing.

CBS said last night that the report on the war would not run before Nov. 2.


"We now believe it would be inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election," the spokeswoman, Kelli Edwards, said in a statement.


The CBS statement followed a report in the online edition of Newsweek that described the frustration of CBS News reporters and producers who said the network had concluded that it could not legitimately criticize the president because of the questions about the National Guard report.

OK, now this is me again, although blogger (aargh) won't let me get rid of the blockquote here. This is no longer from the New York Times. This is me:

CBS is now suppressing the story about the fake 'Iraq has been trying to buy yellowcake (uranium) from Niger' documents the Bush Administration relied upon in making their case for war. The publication & reliance upon these fake documents caused tens of thousands of deaths. Apparently, the fake Bush Texas Air National Guard documents have killed a network. CBS is dead.

So, since they aren't going to report both sides of the story any more, why should we watch them? Boycott CBS. The BS network.

Friday, September 24, 2004

What Is John Kerry's Ten Word Telegram?

The Candidates, Seen From the Classroom

This is a great article by Stanley Fisher, dean emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago, on the clarity of the speeches by candidates Bush & Kerry. His freshmen writing class voted overwhelmingly for George W. Bush after doing a side-by-side comparison of Bush & Kerry's speeches as they were excerpted in the September 8th New York Times. Kerry may be smarter, but he gives a lazy & unfocused speech that wanders all over the place.

He concludes:

So what? What does it matter if Mr. Kerry's words stumble and halt, while Mr. Bush's flow easily from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph? Well, listen to the composite judgments my students made on the Democratic challenger: "confused," "difficult to understand," "can't seem to make his point clearly," "I'm not sure what he's saying," and my favorite, "he's kind of 'skippy,' all over the place."

Now of course it could be the case that every student who voted against Mr. Kerry's speech in my little poll will vote for him in the general election. After all, what we're talking about here is merely a matter of style, not substance, right? And - this is a common refrain among Kerry supporters - doesn't Mr. Bush's directness and simplicity of presentation reflect a simplicity of mind and an incapacity for nuance, while Mr. Kerry's ideas are just too complicated for the rhythms of publicly accessible prose?

Sorry, but that's dead wrong. If you can't explain an idea or a policy plainly in one or two sentences, it's not yours; and if it's not yours, no one you speak to will be persuaded of it, or even know what it is, or (and this is the real point) know what you are. Words are not just the cosmetic clothing of some underlying integrity; they are the operational vehicles of that integrity, the visible manifestation of the character to which others respond. And if the words you use fall apart, ring hollow, trail off and sound as if they came from nowhere or anywhere (these are the same thing), the suspicion will grow that what they lack is what you lack, and no one will follow you.

Nervous Democrats who see their candidate slipping in the polls console themselves by saying, "Just wait, the debates are coming.'' As someone who will vote for John Kerry even though I voted against him in my class, that's just what I'm worried about.

I have to agree with him on this. As a trial attorney, I am a professional persuader. I have to make a majority of jurors vote for me, or I lose. So I have to have a tight focused message for every case.

While the best way to prepare a case is to go over my evidence & arguments again & again & again, I can't spill out all the evidence every time I talk to someone about the case. I need to boil it down to its essence.

I use a simple exercise called the ten word telegram. (Taught to me by a great drama teacher.) For a legal case, that theme must identify the parties, the wrong, & the solution that only the jury can provide. My teacher's example was "Greedy developer poisons village well; he must pay." The words in the telegram must be the most powerful words for conveying what I am trying to say. I write this ten word telegram as soon as I get the case, & then I use it to lead off EVERY COMMUNICATION I have with the court & with opposing counsel until the case is over. Until I hear them repeating it back to me. Then I know I'm in their heads, & they're seeing the case my way.

Unfortunately, John Kerry doesn't have a ten word telegram yet. Why is John Kerry running for President? He can't tell you in a a sentence, or in a paragraph. Not even a chapter. He has to give you the entire book, every time. Aaargh!

John Kerry has been campaigning for the job of President of the United States for over one year now, but he hasn't boiled down his argument one bit. Today I turned on MSNBCCBNNBC & CNN a few time during the morning while Kerry was speaking live. Once again he was giving a 45 minute to one hour policy speech. That's just a crazy way to campaign. Modern communication has come a long way since Daniel Webster could stand in a village square & pontificate for 8 hours or more. People just don't have that kind of attention span any more.

Worse than that, as Mr. Fisher rightly points out, that kind of speech tells me that Kerry hasn't really focused in yet. He doesn't know what the core of his message is yet. What are the crucial contested issues in this election? Why should I vote for John Kerry?

So I offer this word of advice to the Kerry campaign. Boil it down. Say to the candidate when he goes off, "Give it to me a sentence." Give me the ten word telegram.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Debate questions

Daily Kos asked his readers to come up with debate questions. This one is my favorite of their suggestions:

"If Andrew Card came to you in that Florida classroom and told you that your family had been carjacked on September 11, would you still have sat there for seven minutes and done nothing?"

Personally, I think we should plant Kristen Breitweiser in the audience & let her ask ALL the questions.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


If America Were Iraq, What Would It Be Like?

A great article by Juan Cole trying to explain to Americans how dire the situation in Iraq is.

President Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the pessimists and implied that things are improving in that country.

What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.

Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.

Read it and weep.

I've Got Five Good Reasons to Vote for Kerry

55 Reasons to Vote for Bush and Republicans in 2004

Or you can take my five reasons, the Lucy Van Pelt School of Persuasion.