Open Thread

I’ll be on planes for the next few hours.

Talk below. Please behave, and don’t feed the troll.


Posted by: on October 24, 2004 06:22 AM

In Dan’s far Left phantasmagoria, every little (in his mind) deviation from proper journalistic standards that works against his extreme views and the candidates, like Kerry, that abides them, should receive harsh criticism.

Here is an example of what Dan lets slide. **EVEN WHEN HE HAPPENED TO BE IN ENGLAND AT THE TIME**, he said nothing when The Guardian called for the assassination of the President of the United States. In fact, the paper called such an act of political terror the only “civilized” thing to do:

“On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod’s law dictates he’ll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr – where are you now that we need you?”

So, Dan, by the omission of any criticism, are you agreeing with the content?

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 06:26 AM

Real Clear Politics, a non-partisan web site that aggregates the leading polls, and currently calls the election for President Bush, had the following to say on the recent shameful interruptions and interference with the rights of the voters and the democratic process:

“Some of the behavior we’re seeing from Democrats in America at the moment ranges from comical to bizarre to deeply disturbing:

* Dredging up decades old images of racism to play on the anger and fear of African-American voters.
* Screeching “YOU’RE A CREEPY LIAR” uncontrollably at the top of their lungs on national TV instead of debating with facts and logic.
* Trashing signs of political adversaries.
* Breaking into offices of political adversaries.
* Throwing cinder block bricks through the front door of offices of political adversaries.
* Shooting bullets through the windows of offices of political adversaries.
* Laying siege to offices of political adversaries
* Paying workers with crack cocaine for voter registration forms – mostly fraudulent ones at that.
* Sending out flyers making fun of the Special Olympics and suggesting that only a mentally retarded person would vote for George Bush.
* Bullying voters in line at polling places.

These are just a few stories from the last week pulled off the top of my head. The list is by no means comprehensive, but it’s plenty enough for Democrats to be ashamed of. And they should be.

The fact is Democrats are angry, desperate, and absolutely beside themselves at facing the prospect of another four years with George W. Bush as President. Frankly, I don’ t blame them.

With so much invested emotionally, it will be a crushing psychological blow for liberals to see Bush reelected a week from this Tuesday. Furthermore, if Bush wins big it could be a defeat that threatens the very foundations of the liberal movement itself.”

Posted by: Az Democrat on October 24, 2004 08:03 AM

If you are going to make these sweeping assertions about Democrats, how about offering some proof?

The crack cocaine thing smacks of a Republican dirty trick designed to make the Democrats look bad.

To blame “Democrats” for these actions is another creepy lie from the extreme right. All of the tactics mentioned are part and parcel of right wing fanatics.

My brother woke up this morning to find his Kerry/Edwards yard sign torn to bits and scattered to the wind while the Bush/Cheney sign across the street was intact.

The Republicans have used fear mongering for decades to dredge up tired old racial prejudices surrounding welfare, education and jobs, preferring to paint all minorities as lazy, ignorant people who can’t figure out how to vote correctly. And don’t forget the dirty trick the Republicans used in South Carolina in their own presidential primary in 2000 when they told voters that John McCain had a “black” child (he had adopted a baby from India).

Pah-leeze! Your laundry list of dirty tricks looks more like it was taken from the Republican manual than the Democrats’.

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 08:18 AM


I’ve noticed a pattern here. Shortly before your Number One Fan changes his posting name, the posts go up in frequency and in their shrillness. During that time, the discussions lose all value whatsoever as the reasoned comments vanish in a sea of #1F’s posts and the responses, which tend to fall into the camp of equally-daft insults, pleas not to engage, or meta-observations like this one.

You have _got_ to do something more permanent to oust the poster. We all know that such an act would not be (as the inevitable shrieking accusation would have it) censorship or a refusal to face facts or a desire to turn the “blog” into a mutual-admiration society. As it is, you’re allowing the forum to be hijacked by and for someone else. If your software can’t support a ban by username or IP address, change to one of the other zillion packages. All the free software weenies seem to have moved from writing their own text editors to “blogware”. Hand-wringing isn’t going to work.

Posted by: Dan Gillmor on October 24, 2004 08:52 AM

My options at this point are basically to play whack-a-mole (he just comes back with a new address); ban an entire ISP from posting (a big one); shut down comments (I’d rather not); or ignore him.

Until we have better posting software, I’m sticking with my advice to everyone:

Please don’t feed the troll.

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 09:59 AM

Whoa! Ban an ISP? Shut down comments? Sounds like we’re trying to control content here. While I don’t agree with the troll’s style, doesn’t free speech apply everywhere?
It’s your weblog, you get to do with it as you please, just like Clear Channel did with Howard Stern.

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 10:37 AM


Free speech is all well and good but a modicum of civility and reason in discourse is called for. I like to think of the comments section here as a group of adults sitting around having a conversation. If a small child enters the room and throws a tantrum, the child is removed from the room. This is not a violation of his free speech rights; it is an appropriate response by adults who wish to continue their conversation undisturbed.

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 11:39 AM

Some schlock wrote: “If you are going to make these sweeping assertions about Democrats, how about offering some proof?”

Dan won’t permit links on his page anymore.

You can visit “real clear politics . com”, a non-partisan poll-centric site, for links to each and every charge.

Posted b
y: AZ Democrat on October 24, 2004 01:16 PM

I am the “schlock” you are writing about. #1, I don’t know yiddish so I don’t know what “schlock” means. If it’s an insult, here is a Bronx cheer for you. #2, this is the first time I have ever posted here. #3, What’s wrong with free speech? This is still America, isn’t it?

p.s. I haven’t visited “real clear politics,” so I cannot independently ascertain whether or not they are truly nonpartisan, but the name itself is condescending to citizens in general, implying that everything has to be simplified for the average Joe to understand what’s what. The electorate is a lot smarter than the right wing gives it credit for and that will be abundantly clear on Nov. 3rd.

Posted by: Mariane Maffeo on October 24, 2004 01:18 PM

I don’t want to be considered a troll, so I am leaving my legal name and business address so anyone can contact me. The reason I used an alias earlier is that I am afraid of retribution for not supporting the “right” candidate.

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 01:25 PM

I’m sorry, “schlock”, that you’re a political novice, but real clear politics is the premier polling aggregation site on the web.

Their running average of contemporary, leading polls has George W. Bush leading John F. Kerry by 3.1%, with a continuing advantage also in the so-called “Battleground” states.

The reason W’s spread is so low, is an outlier poll by the Associated Press putting Kerry ahead by 6 points (!) — which is currently the only straw extremists like Dan Gillmor and Josh Marshall are holding onto.

The AP’s next poll, in just a few days, will normalize Bush’s lead to 4% or higher. The trend is for Bush. And even more importantly, the breaking news is for Bush.

Turn on your TVs tonight, for cable news after 9pm, or consult the web.

John F. Kerry hits the skids, permanently, tonight. Let’s just say that the contribution of a certain patriot — no less a patriot in the eyes of Conservatives than the Liberal’s vaunted Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon Papers — comes forward tonight.

Kerry will shriek at the top of his lungs about an “illegal” leak of “classified” information. But it’s campaign-ending stuff. He’s finished, tonight.

Posted by: Mariane Maffeo on October 24, 2004 01:32 PM

FACT CHECK: Real Clear Politics, a non-partisan web site…

Web URL issued to John McIntyre, Princeton Class of 1991. This from

“The articles selected invariably demonstrate McIntyre and Bevan’s political bent, about which they are unabashedly forthcoming. The Web site itself informs that RealClearPolitics attempts to counterbalance the common liberal bias of the mainstream press…

“I’m not really a die-hard Republican because my interests are less on social issues, more on taxing and spending,” explains McIntyre, who used to work for the Chicago Board of Options Exchange and stills does a little trading on the side.


Posted by: adamsj on October 24, 2004 01:59 PM

If you want polling aggregation, I recommend going to

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 02:22 PM

adamj, is not polling aggregation.

It’s a strategic collection of single-source polls state-by-state polls designed to favor John Kerry, putting on the best face possible and — ridiculously — placing the candidate ahead.

The “Kerry Edwards” banner at the top of the page is kind of a give-away, even to brain dead liberals.

Posted by: Mariane Maffeo on October 24, 2004 02:43 PM

Well, Schlong, ya got me right in the kisser. I wonder if you would speak to me this way if you were right in front of me. I doubt it. You must be the troll they warned me about. I’m going to stop feeding you now.

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 03:45 PM

Schlock Maffeo, do people actually *pay* you to assist them with communications?

The second sentance on your “business” web page says:

“With traditional boundaries of time and place removed by instaneous communications and transactions, only boundless opportunity exists as you navigate the information superhighway”

“instaneous communications” ??? ROFL! ROFL!

I’m rather carefree here about spelling and grammer (posting in real time via a Nokia cellphone via a home-brewed gateway), so I don’t really care. But isn’t that page supposed to be making an impression on potential clients?

Consider that “catch” a freebie from a fellow professional not exactly in the same, er, league.

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 04:34 PM

adamj, this might interest you:

“For months now, I have been looking at your website first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. It’s become an indispensable part of my ‘media day’.”
– Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics, University of Virginia, on Real Clear Politics.

If you don’t know who Larry Sabato is, your ignorance of politics and polling is extreme — and well-nigh hopeless, at least during *this* election cycle.

Posted by: on October 24, 2004 05:00 PM

Fans of Thomas P.M. Barnett abound on both sides of the aisle, even though he is largely a partisan Kerry man — until recently deluded that Kerry would implement his vision of a unified “Core” exercising a century of enlightened nation-building in “The Gap”.

Barnett had figured he was a shoe-in for a senior foreign policy role in the administration.

I’m afraid he’s been disabused by that notion, and alarmed by the public jockeying for the top foreign policy post between Holbrooke and Biden, two fellows who put demagoguery above any semblance of principal and policy.

Not one to abide a Kerry campaign flunky making him feel small with even a slightly dismissive tut-tut, Barnett penned a stunningly incisive commentary on:

Why Kerry is Losing this Election.

Posted by: adamsj on October 25, 2004 04:28 AM

I stand by my recommendation of as a polling aggregation site. It’s highly usable, and you can drill down easily into the polls not front-paged. is a clearly partisan site–anyone glancing at it would know that. The site is also partisan, but you have to dig into it to find that out. Where has a Kerry/Edwards banner, has ads. (I suppose to a sufficiently cynical observer that tells you what side it’s on.)

I give the nod because it deliberately makes its biases clear. The site does not–I decline to speculate as to whether that is deliberate deception.

P.S. I have a funny story about how my exceptional proofreading of a book edited by Larry Sabato
cost me a production editing job at the University of Arkansas Press, but it’s best told in person.

Posted by: on October 25, 2004 07:00 AM

adamsj continues his raving lunacy. *picks and chooses* among polls, locates those supporting Kerry, and aggregates *those* state-by-state to argue that Kerry is winning.

Real Clear Politics aggregates and averages the leading poll-takers in the nation, presenting an unweighted straight average of recent polls.

adamsj does capture the Democrat mentality: presentation of the truth (Kerry is losing) is the very *definition* of bias.

Is it supposed to surprise me that you were fired from your job for attempting to distort Sabato?

Posted by: adamsj on October 25, 2004 09:55 AM

Did anyone hear something? I didn’t hear anything.

Posted by: on October 27, 2004 10:10 AM

I guess the Democrats rage is lethal. All of this hate should be treated. To run an entire campaign on hate is sad for the sane people and it’s causing the less-than-sane to act in fits of rage. Psychiatrists must make a fortune on these hateful Dems!


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