November 29, 2004

Sportsmen Of The Year. To be announced today.

November 28, 2004

My Dinner With Pedro. The New York Post reports that Alex Rodriguez and Pedro Martinez had dinner together back on Thursday, November 18, two days after Pedro met with George Steinbrenner -- the man he once said "doesn't have enough money to put fear in my heart."

Martinez's agent, Fernando Cuza: "Alex gave Pedro the pitch, he told him what the Yankees are about, how Joe Torre runs things, about the clubhouse atmosphere and what's expected." Pedro told a newspaper in Santo Domingo that he "will do the necessary thing. We will do it without favoritism and we will do it well. I want respect, affection and the best possible treatment. I am not requesting anything that Pedro Martinez does not deserve. ... The reception with Steinbrenner was huge. The Yankees have a lot of respect for me. ... [Derek Jeter] stopped to greet me ... in a very pleasant way."

Aren't we supposed to beware when people start referring to themselves in the 3rd person? And he wants respect and affection? I don't think he'd get too much love in the Bronx. Maybe it's just a bad translation. ... Martinez added that if he left Boston, it "will not weigh on my conscience."

Now there's news that the Mets have dipped their toe into the Pedro pool. The Mets' interest was first reported last Wednesday. The following day, Pedro had dinner in Miami with Mets GM Omar Minaya. ... A NL source said the Mets are "heavily interested" and "will be aggressive." Today's papers indicate that an offer will be made.

Sean McAdam's take on all of this is pretty accurate in my opinion. He writes that Martinez is "playing the free agent game under the old rules, the ones that don't apply any more. ... The Red Sox aren't doing the chasing any more; that's the Yankees' role now. ... Internally, the Red Sox have decided on Martinez' value, which they deem to be just under $26 million for two years, with incentives available and an option for a third year. ... If the Yankees choose to give him more than that, the thinking goes, that's their problem. The Red Sox aren't about to lured into a bad deal merely to keep him out of pinstripes."

Boston's initial offer was quite fair -- and they may have sweetened it a bit. I don't think they are going to fool around too much with offers and counteroffers. They will not haggle. John Henry did not do that during the Alex Rodriguez saga last winter. Generally speaking, he had an idea of what felt right financially, he made an offer, and then waited for a decision. And he lived with decision (woo-hoo!).

Pedro can go visit all 29 teams if he likes. I don't think it's going to affect the Red Sox's offer at all. ... And I cannot imagine him pitching in Shea.
Random Notes. Orlando Cabrera's agent says the Red Sox have not returned his phone calls. ... Gabe Kapler signed a one-year deal with Japan's Yomiuri Giants.

The Red Sox have increased their offer to Jason Varitek to four years. In his 2005 handbook (cited below), Bill James predicts that Varitek's batting average will drop 30 points, he'll hit fewer home runs, drive in fewer runs, and play in fewer games. I wonder how that will affect negotiations. ...Doug Mirabelli is close to signing a $1.5 million contract for next year. Other catchers are quickly leaving the market: Damian Miller (who had received an offer from Boston) signed with the Brewers, Mike Redmond is in Minnesota, the Angels exercised Bengie Molina's option and the A's got Jason Kendall from the Pirates.

BDD: "A Boston Dirt Dogs source indicates that free-agent pitcher Carl Pavano 'is definitely signing with Philadelphia.' The only issue apparently holding it up was that Carl's mom is a big Yankees fan. The source indicates that 'Boston wasn't even in the mix at all.'" ... Renovations are underway at Fenway. ... The Red Sox 2005 schedule is here. ... Last Thursday, Michael Silverman reported that a Johnson-to-Yankees deal broke down after the Yankees balked at dealing several prospects and Javier Vazquez to the Diamondbacks. (Who knew the Yankees had "several" prospects?)

Gordon Edes thumbs through the "2005 Bill James Handbook": The Red Sox had three players in the top 10 in pitches per plate appearance: Bellhorn (4th, 4.15), Damon (5th, 4.12), and Varitek (7th, 4.09). ... Foulke allowed the AL's second-lowest average (.185) to LH hitters, while Arroyo allowed a staff-low (and 4th in the league) .227 average against RH hitters. ... Schilling threw a higher percentage of strikes (61.9%) than any other AL pitcher. ... Pedro was 4th in most pitches per start (105.7). ... Ortiz had a .411 OBP against RHP (4th in AL). He also led the AL with 127 Runs Created.
9/11 Commish: Iraqis Are Not "People". On Meet the Press this morning, 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean noted that "less people have died in Iraq so far than have died on 9/11." ... Three responses: (1) the US military estimates that over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed in the ongoing invasion, (2) why does Kean continue to make subtle connections between Iraq and 9/11? and (3) it is apparently asking too much to have the media, aka the White House stenographers, correct such bold-faced lies.

Just more bullshit from Kean, who until quite recently was in business with Khalid bin Mahfouz, one of the world's top financiers of terrorism and Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law. That juicy tidbit was reported in January 2003 by that wild conspiracy rag ... Fortune Magazine (Original URL:,15114,410237,00.html).

Orwell at work: This report mentions the damage done by "an insurgent vehicle-borne improvised explosive device" -- i.e., a car bomb.

November 23, 2004

W - XYZ! Wardrobe malfunction! Call the FCC!

Poor George -- always trying to measure up to Unca Dick.

November 22, 2004

A Poster. The story.

The website.

November 21, 2004

Sox Increase Pedro Offer. While the Red Sox may have guaranteed Pedro Martinez a third year as part of their contract offer, Tony Massarotti of the Herald says "there were indications yesterday the club was getting frustrated and annoyed at the public manner in which negotiations are being conducted." Then again, in another story also running in today's Herald, Mazz says there is "reason to be optimistic about talks between the Sox and both" Pedro and Varitek. ... So who knows?

Mazz adds that if the Yankees' four-year offer is legit, that "would almost certainly deliver Martinez to New York." I disagree. ... The Red Sox added seven players to their 40-man roster yesterday: lefthander Juan Cedeno, righthander Manny Delcarmen, righthander Luis Mendoza, shortstop Hanley Ramirez, righthander Anibal Sanchez, catcher Kelly Shoppach and righthander Chris Smith. ... The Globe's review of "Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the 2004 Season" by Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King.

November 20, 2004

Hot Stove. The day after the Yankees-Pedro meeting, Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein flew to Florida and met with Pedro and John Henry. The Wednesday meeting apparently was not a quick response to the New York news, but had been scheduled beforehand.

Epstein returned to Boston on Thursday to meet with Carl Pavano, who also hung out at Curt Schilling's house. Pavano plans also to meet with the Yankees, Orioles, Tigers, Angels and Mariners.

Newsday reported today that the Red Sox had upped their offer to Pedro, possibly offering a guaranteed third year. The Post mentioned two separate rumors that the Yankees had made an offer to Pedro: either 3 years at $15 per with a 4th year option or 4 years totaling $50. Several Yankee officials debunked both stories.

Any future contact with the Yankees regarding Pedro will be with Brian Cashman, who isn't all that keen on signing Martinez. ... Boston is considering Placido Polanco as a backup to both Mark Bellhorn and Bill Mueller. ... Sadly, Dale Sveum will be coaching third base next season. ... On Wednesday, Boston made a two-year offer to the 35-year-old catcher Damian Miller, somewhere between $6.5 million to $7 million. ... Slappy McBluelips: "To play with Pedro is one of the dreams I still have yet to accomplish."

Tony Massarotti has some inside info about the AL MVP voting: David Ortiz's first-place vote came from Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal; Manny Ramirez was at the top of San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser's ballot. Mazz voted for Vlad.

November 18, 2004

Yankee Fans Speak Out. I got a chuckle at the newsstand ...

November 17, 2004

When Pedro Met George. When I heard that Pedro Martinez and George Steinbrenner met in Tampa yesterday, I got a queasy feeling in my stomach. I know a large reason for the meeting is to squeeze the Red Sox and I honestly cannot see Martinez ever wearing pinstripes, but just the mere idea of a meeting seems wrong.

The Boston and New York papers are all over it, of course, but there is little consistency in the key parts of reporting. Some say Pedro asked for the meeting, some say Steinbrenner did. Some say Pedro told Steinbrenner he really wants to be a Yankee, others say it is merely a negotiating ploy acted out in front of the Red Sox. What remains true is that anything the Yankees do with Pedro will be because of Steinbrenner. Most people in the Yankees front office want little to do with Martinez. In fact, Steinbrenner didn't even let GM Brian Cashman know about the meeting beforehand.

So there isn't much to discuss at this point. The meeting happened. I want Pedro to stay in Boston. And I believe he will stay in Boston. ... I didn't look everywhere today, but here's some press:

From Boston:

Globe: "Nineteen days after he issued an informal promise to never sign with the New York Yankees, Pedro Martinez yesterday listened as George Steinbrenner tried to persuade him otherwise. ... 'We had a good meeting, Steinbrenner said, without elaborating. ... Several other teams are expected to court Martinez, including the Angels and Cardinals."

Herald: "It is believed that the afternoon meeting, which wasn't the first between Martinez and a Yankees official this offseason, was arranged by [Pedro's agent Fernando] Cuza, but Steinbrenner was a more-than-willing participant. There was no indication, however, that salary figures were discussed. ... A source close to Martinez said last night, however, that the Yankees' interest was 'very, very genuine.' ... A Martinez departure wouldn't lead to mourning on Yawkey Way. Many in the organization have been fed up by his late arrivals, a frequent diva attitude, mood swings and his thin skin when it comes to dealing with criticism."

From New York:

Newsday: "The two sides didn't conduct serious negotiations, according to multiple sources, instead treating the day as a 'Get to know you' session. The Yankees' first pitching target, the sources said, is still Arizona's Randy Johnson. ... Martinez told The Boss how much he wanted to be a Yankee, according to one source ..."

Newsday (again): "Eventually, all children looking for a bigger allowance are told to ask their daddy. So it comes as no surprise to learn that Pedro Martinez, a free agent looking to score, is suddenly the biggest George Steinbrenner and Yankees fan on earth. The Boss met with Pedro for a late lunch yesterday, and they immediately struck a deal. Both agreed: Let's make this as public as possible. It would serve them right, since they share the same goal: to squeeze the Red Sox."

Post: "Don't do this, George. ... Whenever those titillating images of Pedro Martinez in pinstripes start filling your imagination, open your eyes. Shake away the madness. ... His act wouldn't work here, George. Those jags he goes on when he won't speak to the press, when he won't come to the ballpark on time, when he leaves the stadium early ... all that stuff was tolerated in Boston. That's who the Red Sox are."

Daily News: "[F]or now anyway, it sounds as if Steinbrenner isn't ready to throw money at Pedro and make him a Yankee. People close to the situation say he's obsessed with getting Randy Johnson, and granted Pedro an audience yesterday only because the Red Sox righthander requested one with him. ... People who know Pedro believe he is really just trying to jack up his price with the Red Sox by meeting with the Yankees. ... [T]he fact [is] that Yankee players hate him, no matter what Jorge Posada was saying last week ... No matter what he says publicly, Terry Francona has told people close to him that he can't stand Pedro, and is hoping he does take his shenanigans elsewhere so the Sox manager can begin to restore some order in the clubhouse."
As Seen In Brooklyn. A stenciled image of Johnny Damon has spotted on at least eight lampposts along Court and Clinton Streets in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn. ... City Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Cocola vowed that the offending images would be scrubbed away as soon as possible and "hopefully, in the next day or two, there will be no Johnny Damon in Brooklyn."

November 16, 2004

Most Valuable Players. The votes:

American League
               1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 Total

Guerrero 21 5 1 1 - - - - - - 354
Sheffield 5 8 9 4 2 - - - - - 254
Ramirez 1 14 9 2 2 - - - - - 238
Ortiz 1 - 5 9 2 5 5 - - - 174
Tejada - 1 - 6 2 7 2 4 2 1 123
Santana - - 2 1 7 5 4 2 2 1 117
Suzuki - - 1 - 6 2 6 4 1 6 98
Young - - 1 4 2 2 4 4 3 - 92
Rivera - - - - 2 3 3 3 4 5 59
IRodriguez - - - 1 1 1 - 2 4 2 36
Nathan - - - - 1 1 - - - 1 12
Jeter - - - - 1 - - 1 1 - 11
Kotsay - - - - - 1 - - 1 1 8
ARodriguez - - - - - - - 2 1 - 8
Damon - - - - - - - 1 2 - 7
Konerko - - - - - - - - 1 5 7
Blalock - - - - - 1 - - - - 5
Mora - - - - - - - 8 9 - 5
Teixeira - - - - - - - 1 - 2 5
Hunter - - - - - - 1 - - - 4
VMartinez - - - - - - 1 - - - 4
Durazo - - - - - - - 1 - - 3
Cordero - - - - - - - - 1 - 2
Ford - - - - - - - - 1 - 2
Guillen - - - - - - - - 1 - 2
Matsui - - - - - - - - 1 - 2
Figgins - - - - - - - - - 2 2
Chavez - - - - - - - - - 1 1
Varitek - - - - - - - - - 1 1
National League
           1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  Total 

Bonds 24 7 1 - - - - - - - 407
Beltre 6 21 3 2 - - - - - - 311
Pujols 1 1 20 5 4 1 - - - - 247
Rolen 1 3 7 12 5 3 - - - - 226
Edmonds - - - 5 12 6 2 3 3 - 160
Drew - - - 1 5 6 6 7 - 2 114
Berkman - - - 2 4 6 7 1 - 1 100
Clemens - - 1 1 - 4 3 3 2 1 61
Loretta - - - 1 - 1 3 5 5 1 50
Ramirez - - - 1 1 - 2 2 5 5 42
Gagne - - - - - 3 3 1 - - 30
Beltran - - - 1 - - 1 3 - - 20
Kent - - - 1 - 1 - 1 1 1 18
Finley - - - - - 1 2 - 1 - 15
Alou - - - - - - - 3 2 2 15
Pierre - - - - - - 1 - 1 3 9
Helton - - - - - - - 1 1 4 9
Estrada - - - - - - 1 - 2 - 8
RJohnson - - - - - - 1 - 1 1 7
Thome - - - - - - - - 2 3 7
Smoltz - - - - 1 - - - - - 6
Cabrera - - - - - - - - 1 3 5
Benitez - - - - - - - 1 - - 3
Burnitz - - - - - - - 1 - - 3
Abreu - - - - - - - - 1 1 3
Castilla - - - - - - - - 1 1 3
Oswalt - - - - - - - - 1 1 3
Dunn - - - - - - - - 1 - 2
Zambrano - - - - - - - - 1 - 2
Nevin - - - - - - - - - 1 1
Rollins - - - - - - - - - 1 1

November 15, 2004

Three Blogs. Dedicated to the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

Bullshit Memorial Stadium, which notes that the Giants gave Omar Vizquel a three-year deal. When I saw he had signed, I assumed it was for only one year. An amazing bit of luck for a 38-year-old shortstop going to a non-DH league.

(Not) Just Another Sports Site. His latest entry is on Varitek and his contract request.

Keys To The Game, Jose Melendez's GREAT fount of wisdom. I was sure Jose's site was on my list of links, but it wasn't. Sorry, Jose. ... Also, Jose is publishing a book of his 2004 Keys, which you should absolutely buy. It will be a unique addition to your pile of 2004 World Champions memorabilia.

... Because you know the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, right? That makes the Boston Red Sox the 2004 World Champions of baseball. ... And in the process of becoming World Champs, the Boston Red Sox rallied against the New York Yankees, making the Yankees the only team in baseball history to lose a best-of-7 series when leading by 3 games.

I'll never get tired of writing stuff like that.

November 14, 2004

The Week That Was. I promise to be better about getting Sox news up here.

Curt Schilling's surgery went well. His ankle and foot will be immobilized for about a month and he will need six weeks of rehabilitation.

Theo Epstein on Wednesday: "We have so many question marks, we have to remain flexible, add value where we can and get a big bang for our buck. We have solid players already and we can build off of that foundation. It's one of those years where there's so much in the air, we have to be open-minded. We're trying to cast a wide net, but out of respect for our own guys, we haven't got too specific with other free agents. But that time will come."

Jason Varitek wants a 5-year, $50 million deal with a no-trade clause. The Red Sox will not go for that, in part because they do not offer no-trades. Agent Scott Boras cited past examples of no-trade clauses okayed by John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner when they were with other clubs, but the Sox say Boras isn't entirely accurate. ... In the meantime, Boston has asked about Washington-Montreal catcher Brian Schneider.

Pedro Martinez must know that the deal the Red Sox offered him -- two-year, $25.5 million, with $2 million in incentives and a $13 million option for 2007 -- is very fair. Now Friday -- the first day of the 2005 season -- has come and gone and Martinez can now discuss money with other teams. ... In interviews with Hoy and El Nacional, Pedro said his shoulder has fully healed and that he expects to throw in the mid-90s on a regular basis next year. He also said eight teams have expressed an interest in him, including the Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, Cardinals and Marlins. ... Many around baseball think Pedro will remain in Boston.

In the unlikely event that Pedro went to the Bronx, that would be cool with Dumbo Posada: "I have nothing against Pedro - if he's my teammate. The guy's a winner; he knows how to pitch. He does everything possible to win and keep himself in shape. We'd talk it out. I would catch him."

The Red Sox are interested in Carl Pavano, Brad Radke and Jaret Wright. Florida has apparently put a 3/21 offer on the table for Pavano. Schilling -- who opposed Pavano in his major league debut on May 23, 1998 -- would love to have the Marlin free agent in Boston's rotation.

Boston is also one of a few teams interested in either of Oakland's Barry Zito and Mark Mulder. ... Troy Glaus is also in the Sox's sights. Glaus could play third base (with Mueller either moved at 2B or traded) or first (which would mean ditching both Millar and Mientkiewicz). ... LHP Billy Traber was claimed off waivers from Cleveland. ... Derek Lowe could return to Boston with a one-year arbitration deal, but the Phillies are also interested.

All hail David Ortiz -- "cleanup hitter of the world."
Bad News. From Baghdad: "People in Falloojeh are being murdered. The stories coming back are horrifying. People being shot in cold blood in the streets ... the people have nothing to eat. No produce is going into the city and the water has been cut off for days and days. ... There are corpses in the street because no one can risk leaving their home to bury people. Families are burying children and parents in the gardens of their homes. ... Iraqis will never forgive this -- never. It's outrageous -- it's genocide and America, with the help and support of Allawi, is responsible."

Denial of drinking water is a war crime under Article 14 of the second protocol of the Geneva Conventions. Read here and much more here. ... And from AP photographer Bilal Hussein, who tried to leave Fallujah this week: "I decided to swim [across the Euphrates River] ... but I changed my mind after seeing US helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river. ... I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some US snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim. I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through orchards."

From Zogby: "I smell a rat. It has that distinctive and all-too-familiar odor of the species Republicanus floridius. ... In one [Ohio] county where 88% of voters are registered Democrats, Bush got nearly two thirds of the vote ... In 30 [Ohio] precincts, more ballots were cast than voters were registered in the county. ... [N]early 100,000 more people voted than are registered to vote -- this out of a total of 251,946 registrations. These are not marginal differences -- this is a 39% over-vote. In some precincts the over-vote was well over 100%. One precinct with 558 registered voters cast nearly 9,000 ballots. ... Either the raw data from two critical battleground states is completely erroneous, or something has gone horribly awry in our electoral system -- again. ... The facts as I see them now defy all logical explanations save one -- massive and systematic vote fraud. We cannot accept the result of the 2004 presidential election as legitimate until these discrepancies are rigorously and completely explained."

Another report of Election Day trouble in Ohio. ... has launched several fraud audits.

November 12, 2004

AL Cy Young. How about that! They got this one right. In a big way. ... By the way, can John Kruk get any stupider?
                1st   2nd   3rd   Pts

Santana, Min 28 -- -- 140
Schilling, Bos -- 27 1 82
Rivera, NYY -- 1 24 27
Pedro, Bos -- -- 1 1
Nathan, Min -- -- 1 1
FRodriguez, Ana -- -- 1 1
A Speech With Slight Edits:
"The American government also acted decisively when faced by a threat. We are not like the ostrich that sticks its head in the sand so as not to see danger. We are brave enough to look danger in the face, to coolly and ruthlessly take its measure, then act decisively with our heads held high. As a nation, we have always been at our best when we needed determined wills to overcome danger, or a strength of character sufficient to overcome every obstacle, or bitter determination to reach our goal, or a steel heart capable of withstanding every internal and external battle. ...

"Three years of Republican leadership in the war on terror have been enough to make plain to the American people the seriousness of the danger posed by terrorism. Now one can understand why we spoke so often of the fight against it. We raised our voices in warning to the American people and the world, hoping to awaken humanity from the paralysis of will and spirit into which it had fallen. We tried to open their eyes to the horrible danger of Saddam Hussein, who had subjected a nation of nearly 25 million people to state terrorism and was preparing an aggressive war against America. ...

"I speak first to the world, and proclaim three theses regarding our fight against the terrorist danger in Iraq.

"The first thesis: Were the American army not in a position to destroy the danger from Iraq, America would fall to terrorists, and all the world shortly afterward.

"Second: The American army, the American people and their allies alone have the strength to save the world from this threat.

"Third: Danger is a motivating force. We must act quickly and decisively, or it will be too late."

November 10, 2004

NL Cy Young Award. Roger Clemens won his seventh Cy Young Award Tuesday.
             1st  2nd  3rd   Pts

Clemens, Hou 23 8 1 140
Johnson, Ari 8 18 3 97
Oswalt, Hou 1 3 5 19
Schmidt, SF -- 1 10 13
Zambrano, Chi -- 1 5 8
Pavano, Fla -- 1 3 6
Gagne, LA -- -- 3 3
Lidge, Hou -- -- 1 1
Sheets, Mil -- -- 1 1
I would have voted for Johnson. Fat Billy from Ohio had 18 wins (to Unit's 16), but Johnson topped him in the following categories:

Starts: 35 to 33
Innings: 245.2 to 214.1
ERA: 2.60 to 2.98
Adjusted ERA+: 171 to 145
CG: 4 to 0
Shutouts: 2 to 0 (inc. a perfect game)
Fewer Hits/9 IP: 6.48 to 7.10
Fewer Walks: 44 to 79
Strikeouts: 290 to 218
Strikeouts/9 IP: 10.62 to 9.16
Walks+Hits/9 IP: 0.90 to 1.16
Lower Opp. Average: .197 to .217
Lower Opp. On-Base: .241 to .292
Lower Opp. Slugging: .315 to .329

The small difference in wins can be chalked up to poor run support -- Arizona scored 0, 1 or 2 runs in 17 of Johnson's 35 starts.
The Elephant in the Voting Booth. Maureen Farrell: "On election night, Peter Jennings looked measurably surprised when he learned that President Bush had provided a tape of himself, sitting in the White House, commenting on his impending victory. It was an unprecedented move. No sitting president had ever addressed the nation while polls were still open. It was just not done. But there was George, exuding confidence, offering an election day reminder of our leader's legitimacy." ... (Much more and links galore)

You can find an ungodly amount of vote fraud links here. Also, Keith Olbermann has been giving this subject a lot of air time this week on his MSNBC show "Countdown." Check it out tonight.
9/11 Commission member Bob Kerrey talks to CNN's Paula Zahn.
Kerrey: "[T]here's a credible case that the president's own negligence prior to 9/11 at least in part contributed to the disaster in the first place."

Zahn: How so?

Kerrey: Well, the The 9/11 report says in chapter eight -- now that it's beyond the campaign, so the promise I had to keep this out of the campaign is over. The 9/11 report in chapter eight says that, in the summer of 2001, the government ignored repeated warnings by the CIA, ignored, and didn't do anything to harden our border security, didn't do anything to harden airport country, didn't do anything to engage local law enforcement, didn't do anything to round up INS and consular offices and say we have to shut this down, and didn't warn the American people. The famous presidential daily briefing on August 6, we say in the report that the briefing officers believed that there was a considerable sense of urgency and it was current. So there was a case to be made that wasn't made.

Zahn: But what we continue to hear from this administration is that the threat was much too diffuse. There was no way you could zero in on the fact that al Qaeda was going to use jets as bombs and ram them into buildings.

Kerrey: That is a straw man. The president says, if I had only known that 19 Islamic men would come into the United States of America and on the morning of 11 September hijack four American aircraft, fly two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into an unknown Pennsylvania that crashed in Shanksville, I would have moved heaven and earth. That's what he said.

Mr. President, you don't need to know that. This is an Islamic jihadist movement that has been organized since the early 1990s, declared war on the United States twice, in '96 and '98. You knew they were in the United States. You were warned by the CIA. You knew in July they were inside the United States. You were told again by briefing officers in August that it was a dire threat. And what did you do? Nothing, so far as we could see on the 9/11 Commission. Now, that's in the report. And we took an oath not to talk about it during the campaign, I think correctly so ..."
If the information was in the Commission's published report -- and it was -- why did the Commission members need to take an oath, vowing to not talk about it during the campaign? Was it simply to avoid pointing out the truth about the Bush administration's negligence? Since Kerrey is not revealing any previously unknown information to Zahn, that's the impression I'm left with.

Wasn't fighting terrorism one of the big issues this time around? Shouldn't every American have as much information as possible when making their decision who to vote for? And these fucking hacks on the Commission were supposed to be non-partisan?!?
A Map.

Pascal: "Using final vote percentages from, I made a map showing the percentage of "red" voters in each state along with the percentage of "blue" voters. The color on top of each state shows the party that won that state's electoral votes."
USA: Tanks In The Streets. Liberal Mom has some screen shots of a video taken during an anti-war demo in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon. According to one report: "At 7:50 PM two armored tanks showed up at an anti-war protest in front of the federal building in Westwood. The tanks circled the block twice, the second time parking themselves in the street and directly in front of the area where most of the protesters were gathered."
Mission Accomplished, Part II. John Ashcroft, in his resignation letter to George Bush: "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved."

November 9, 2004

Is This Common Practice? Associated Press, November 8: "Surveys of voters just leaving polling places around the nation tilted toward Kerry early in the day and through much of the evening, causing early optimism for a Democratic recovery of the White House. That faded through the night as exit polls were adjusted to reflect official vote tallies."

Shouldn't exit poll stats be final soon after the polls close -- in the same way that pre-season predictions are "final" once the season begins? The AP quote sounds like a kind of CYA-move re: possible hanky-panky with the votes.

From an explanation of exit polls [here]:
Once the polls close, the interviewer will attempt to obtain actual turnout counts, and if possible, actual vote returns for their precinct. One of the unique aspects of the exit poll design is the way it gradually incorporates real turnout and vote data as it becomes available once the polls close.
I'm not sure what this means or how it is done.

November 7, 2004

Pitch To Pedro. The Red Sox have offered Pedro Martinez a contract similar to the one Curt Schilling signed last November. According to the Globe, it's 2 years/$25.5M with a $13M option for 2007 and $2M in potential performance bonuses. However, Pedro will likely wait and listen to offers from other teams (including the Yankees), which will start this Friday.

George King, NY Post, November 2: "And since Martinez has never said he wouldn't play for the Yankees, and since George Steinbrenner always desires marquee players, expect the two to dance throughout the process." ... Pedro to Stan Grossfeld, Boston Globe, October 29: "I promise. I'm not going to the Yankees. I want to stay right here."

Schilling is expected to undergo surgery on Tuesday. ... Boston has also expressed interest in Carl Pavano. ... The Herald claims that if the Sox cannot sign Orlando Cabrera (the Mets may go after him), they'll look at either Barry Larkin or Omar Vizquel. I don't believe this, but in case it's true, I say "Please, no."

Gordon Edes on Ortiz's Tokyo blast. ... Tony Massarotti looks at the decision to resign Jason Varitek and notes that he and John Harper (New York Daily News) are collaborating on a book about the 2004 season. ... Rumors: NYY trade Posada for Randy Johnson, then sign Varitek. Also: Nixon for Hudson.

November 6, 2004

Big In Japan. I got the moon I got the cheese / I got the whole damn nation on their knees.

Ortiz "drilled a lead off homer in the bottom of the fourth about as far one can hit a ball in the Tokyo Dome. It caromed off a strip of lights that separates a cinder block wall from the Teflon roof high above the right field bleachers. Estimated distance: 514 feet. 'I thought for a second it would land in the Dominican, said Ortiz ...

"Ortiz was cheered all evening by two sections of fans among the near capacity crowd of 52,000, who repeatedly chanted 'Let's go Red Sox' every time the lefty-swinger came up to hit. 'I felt like he hit the ball almost twice the length of the stadium,' [starter Shunsuke] Watanabe said about the Ortiz homer. 'Since the count was 3-and-0, I knew I could not walk him. So I threw a fastball knowing he might hit it. I saw one of the greatest home runs in the world.'"

I got the rooster I got the crow
I got the ebb I got the flow
Heh ho they love the way I do it
Heh ho there's really nothing to it
"Mostly Fair". Ninety-two observers from 34 countries in the Organization for Security and Cooperation reported that voting in the US election was "mostly fair." Polish observer Konrad Olszewski and his Canadian team partner, Ron Gould, said the e-voting system in Venezuela was better protected against failures and errors than the computers used in Florida. Olszewski added: "To be honest, monitoring elections in Serbia a few months ago was much simpler."

AP: "A national voting rights group [Count Every Vote 2004] said Friday it documented hundreds of voting irregularities affecting poor and minority voters in seven Southern states -- from long lines and faulty equipment to deliberate voter intimidation. ... The group sent monitors Tuesday to 700 precincts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Democratic congressmen John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, Jerrold Nadler of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida sent a letter to the General Accounting Office yesterday requesting an investigation into irregularities with voting machines used in Tuesday's elections.

Some of the problems? A glitch in one Ohio county gave Bush 3,893 extra votes; faulty memory cards in North Carolina caused machines to lose 4,500 votes; software in Florida began subtracting votes when totals surpassed 32,000; and machines in both Florida and Ohio would either not register a vote for Kerry or would indicate a vote for Bush instead.

Another baffling "computer glitch" affected 57,000 votes in LaPorte County, Indiana.

Two graphs:
Kerry Margin: Exit Poll v Actual Vote, Paper Trail States
Kerry Margin: Exit Poll v Actual Vote, Non-Paper Trail States
Dumb And Gettin' Dumber. Bush on Iraqis and the presence of US forces in that country: "We're there at their invitation."

Anyone else think that Rove et al. have Bush say crazy shit like this every so often just to see how stupid the American people really are? They must laugh their asses off when no one -- including the media -- bats an eye.

It sucks being a part of the "reality-based community."

November 5, 2004

More Election Bullshit. "Citing concerns about potential terrorism, Warren County [Ohio] officials locked down the county administration building on election night and blocked anyone from observing the vote count as the nation awaited Ohio's returns. ... The Warren results, delayed for hours because of long lines that extended voting past the scheduled close of polls, were part of the last tallies that helped clinch President Bush's re-election. ... Commissioners made the security decisions in a closed-door meeting last week, but didn't publicize the restrictions that were made until after polls closed. ... Having reporters and photographers around could have interfered with the count, [County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel] said."

In Florida: At DU, batchdem04 posts links to two files and notes that in Palm Beach county "542,835 votes for president were casted, but only 452,061 voters turned out." .... Turns out that happened in a lot of Florida counties, actually (see 1st link). ... See also this chart.

Nothing to see here. Just more "isolated incidents." Keep moving.
1918 - The Film. From Sox fans Kyle Sullivan & Jay Burke: "An independent short film about two life-long Red Sox fans who miraculously land tickets to the World Series. On the way to the big game, disaster strikes at every corner. ... Principal shooting for the film took place October 16-25th and is now complete. ... It will be available for festival screenings (and on independently-released DVDs and VHSs) by January 2005."
Oki-no-Chichi. David Ortiz's two-run single in the sixth inning erased a 2-0 deficit and led an MLB All-Star team to a 7-2 win over a team of Japanese stars before 24,500 in the Tokyo Dome. After the game, Ortiz was given a check for 300,000 yen -- roughly $2,900 -- as the game's "Most Important Player." Ortiz: "I get tired when I wake up, but when I'm in the lineup I'm ready to go. Sure, he [pitcher Koji Uehara] had good stuff. But you know how we do it." [More on the trip.]

Fifteen Red Sox have filed for free agency this month: Pedro, Lowe, Varitek, Cabrera, Mirabelli, Leskanic, Mendoza, Williamson, Myers, McCarty, Reese, Kapler, Adams, Astacio and Burks. [Globe] ... The Red Sox have exclusive negotiating rights with Martinez until November 11 (though other teams can speak with Pedro). Fernando Cuza (Pedro's agent): "There definitely was substantial interest [from other teams]. For being so early in the process, I am surprised. Usually it doesn't heat up until teams are able to exchange money figures."

Curt Schilling says he will have surgery on his right ankle next Monday. ... Nomar is allegedly open to a change of positions (second or third), possibly in New York. ... Theo: "As an organization, we started thinking about 2005 in 2002. That's the way it works. In spring training this year, we were thinking about '05. During the year, we were thinking about '05. You don't wait until the day you stop playing to figure out a plan for the offseason." [Herald]

Millar on WhiskeyGate: "The beginning of the game, like I said, we did a symbolic salute like anyone would do on Christmas, at a wedding, or bar mitzvah. Then after the game, I'm not going to say no one drank Jack Daniels. But this was unfortunate for the city ... we're champions and people are still talking about a silly thing like guys were getting drunk. Baseball's hard enough to play sober. No one was out there playing drunk."
Lucas County, Ohio. At Tuesday night, 10:23 pm, this site showed:

And the votes for President in Hamilton County, Ohio, at 10:29 PM:
Cobb, David Keith - WI       39,541  34.62% 

Kerry, John F. - Democratic 39,541 34.62%
Bush, George W. - Republican 34,804 30.47%
These "oddities" were, of course, quickly "corrected" once news of them spread across the Internet(s).

The point is that, as of now, we have no fucking idea how many people voted for Bush or Kerry in several states, including Ohio and Florida. And so we have no idea who truly won the election.
Bev Harris. She has done more work than anyone else to expose the problems with electronic voting at BlackBoxVoting.Org. From some recent posts at DU: "Our organization has taken the position that fraud took place in the 2004 election through electronic voting machines. We base this on hard evidence, documents obtained in public records requests, inside information, and other data indicative of manipulation of electronic voting systems. What we do not know is the specific scope of the fraud. We are working now to compile the proof, based not on soft evidence -- red flags, exit polls -- but core documents obtained by Black Box Voting in the most massive Freedom of Information action in history. ...

"Strong indications that both Florida and Ohio would be flipped if election manipulations are rolled back. Some indication that fraud may have occurred in at least 30 states. ... Serious anomalies with central tabulators are showing up, in dozens of Florida counties. The ludicrous flaw of the day is, of course, the Broward central tabulator that counted backwards. ... We do not have to accept a fraudulent election. Drop the idea that it's too late to correct this mess. We have a great country, and it is in our nature to roll up our sleeves and tackle tough challenges. We must not shy away from that now, in this critical time.

"I think the mechanisms were in place to steal at least 20 million votes. Documentation, in the form of internal machine audits and copies of polling place tapes, along with other kinds of data like documents that the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters by very significant amounts, along with documentation that indicates remote access security features were disabled for the specific systems that counted around 40 million votes (number is mushy as we are pulling in the docs showing who used modems and who pulled the plug on them) -- well, this documentation is proof ... of something.

"Unless we are hacked out again, we will begin releasing documents this evening. It will be drip drip drip, not a knockout punch. Very small drips, not because we are trying to stall, but because many of the problem documents beget FOIAs for additional, related documents to rule out the bullshit excuses. In many cases we need to avoid calling attention to what we are looking at until we close the exit doors entirely. But you can expect interesting reading ..."

If you can donate to BBV, please do.
Some Seriously Fuzzy Math. Last Tuesday's election was crooked. Read Greg Palast and Mark Crispin Miller.

There were numerous problems in Ohio. ... AP (or here): "A computer error with a voting machine cartridge gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in a Gahanna [Ohio] precinct. Franklin County's unofficial results gave Bush 4,258 votes to Democratic challenger John Kerry's 260 votes in Precinct 1B. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct."

Yahoo: "More than 4,500 votes may be lost in one North Carolina county because officials believed a computer that stored ballots electronically could hold more data than it did. ... Local officials said UniLect Corp., the maker of the county's electronic voting system, told them that each storage unit could handle 10,500 votes, but the limit was actually 3,005 votes."

More UniLect trouble in North Carolina: "After candidates and voters awaited Tuesday's election results for more than five hours after polls closed, the County Board of Elections announced a major computer problem that wiped out 4,530 of the 7,537 early votes cast at the elections office, an error admitted by the system's manufacturer."

Bush also got an extra 11,283 votes in North Carolina: "A systems software glitch in Craven County's electronic voting equipment is being blamed for a vote miscount that, when corrected, changed the outcome of at least one race in Tuesday's election. Then, in the rush to make right the miscalculation that swelled the number of votes for president here by 11,283 more votes than the total number cast ..." (Also)

If you want to read about the work being done across the country, check out Democratic Underground. Click "Discussion Forums" and then "Report Voting Problems."

One poster looks at Florida: "Of the 36 counties which have a majority of registered Democrats only 8 of them voted Kerry. 28 went Bush. ... When you look at voter registrations in the various Florida counties and then look at the "actual" results, there is simply NO WAY that something didnt go wrong.

One example: Calhoun County - 8,350 registered voters
82.4% registered Democrats (6,880)
11.9% registered Republicans (933)
Actual results:
Kerry - 2,116
Bush - 3,780
(See here)

Other examples of Democratic Counties with E-Voting Going For Bush:
Franklin County: 77.3% Dems; 15.9% Reps -- 58.5% of all votes for Bush
Holmes County: 72.7% Dems; 21.3% Reps -- 77% of all votes for Bush
Calhoun County: 82.4% Dems; 11.9% Reps -- 63.4% of all votes for Bush

Another DU poster -- Stryguy -- is looking at possible fraud in Ohio. State vote totals can be found here.

Page 23 -- Gahanna 1-B
Bush - 4,258
Kerry - 260

Stryguy says these 4,000 voters appear nowhere else. "Not on page 23 with the senate race; not on page 90 for county commissioner; not on page 129 for Sheriff, County Recorder, Treasurer, Engineer, Corner, Board of Ed, or supreme court justice; not on page 168; not on page 207. Drum roll please!!! Prop 1 on page 285. Gay Unions. The wonderful hate clause that every Bush zombie is voting for. WOW! Those 4,000 voters didn't vote for this either? Crazy crazy!"

And from SoCalDemocrat: "I've been crunching the statistics for several hours. Every state that has EVoting and no audit trails has a 5% unexplained bump for Bush that does not match with exit polls taken. This is not true in states without EVoting or the States that EVote and have audit paper trails. Those states match almost exactly with the exit poll data. As I worked this story, my data source CNN changed out from under me. They altered their site to cover up the exit polling discrepancies." [See "Why Did CNN Change Their Exit Poll Data for Ohio After 1:00 AM?"]


What does all this mean? Beats me, but it certainly deserves investigation.

If Republicans are convinced that everything was above board, and any claims otherwise are just silly, then they should be more than willing to allow a full investigation into these strange numbers. If they have nothing to hide, what's the big deal? Show us everything we want to see. Prove to the world that we are simply tinfoil-wearing wackos. I would love to be proven wrong -- to be exposed as a loony.

If the honest numbers confirm that Bush won, then Bush won. I'll still be dismayed at how many votes he got, but I'll accept it as legit.

November 4, 2004

The World Wants To Know.

Digby: "It's clear that a small majority of the country buy Junior's "Top-Gun" act. His youthful failures are seen as acts of anti-hero rebelliousness. His smart ass attitude is the sign of a macho rogue. He isn't the smartest guy in the class and he's often in trouble, but he's a fearless warrior when it counts. His image is of a fun loving rascal who found himself in an extraordinary position and rose to the occasion. I know it's bullshit, but that's the archetype that his handlers have laid upon him and it's a role he plays with relish. ...

"The Republicans have clearly figured out that they can get a thin majority by fielding charismatic candidates who speak like children. They don't even have to make sense. We know from the polling that most of Bush's supporters are misinformed about his positions on the issues, so it's not a matter of backing his agenda. They don't know what it really is. ... I heard over and over again this election, people who said, "he looks you in the eye," as a reason for voting for him. That's not character. That's performance."

November 1, 2004

The Choice Is Clear. Vote.

Two Quotes. Curt Schilling in Wilmington, Ohio: "One of the best things about playing in the World Series was seeing the footage of soldiers cheering for the Red Sox in Iraq ... We can make sure we elect a president who supports them every step of the way." [From BDD]

CBS: "Gen. Byrne says stories about families in Oregon having to go out and buy for their sons and daughters radio equipment, body armor, GPS gear, computers and night vision goggles because they weren't being issued are true. ... Oregon guardsman Sean Davis told us that his unit was short ammunition ... and lacked radios to communicate with each other."