Could New York and California

Could New York and California be swing states? I’m getting pretty worried. California has long been more competitive than is thought. A poll from September 9th had Kerry leading Bush by only 52-42. One from August 20th has him leading by only 49-46. These are not “Solid Kerry” numbers. I’ve only heard about the New York problem today. Two new polls show Kerry leading by 47-41 and 48-40. That’s more competitive than Minnesota. If these states go Bush, the election is his by a landslide. Why? California has 55 electoral votes – more than 50% more than Texas, which is #2 with 34. New York is #3 with 31. These states are much, much more important electorally than Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin or any of the other states currently classified as “swing states”. So, again, if they go Bush, this is 1984.

I’m with Brad DeLong; this

I’m with Brad DeLong; this is getting way too weird for my tastes:

The former secretary for the Texas Air National Guard officer who supposedly wrote memos critical of President Bush’s Guard service said Tuesday that the documents are fake but that they reflect documents that once existed.

Marian Carr Knox, who worked from 1957 to 1979 at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, said that she prided herself on meticulous typing and that the memos first disclosed by CBS News last week were not her work.

“These are not real,” she told The Dallas Morning News after examining copies of the disputed memos for the first time. “They’re not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him.”

Mrs. Knox, 86, who spoke with precise recollection about dates, people and events, said, “I remember very vividly when Bush was there and all the yak-yak that was going on about it.”

She added that she does not support Mr. Bush as president, deeming him “unfit for office” and “selected, not elected.”

So, they’re forgeries, but are technically accurate, and still really, really do not matter. In other news, the AWOL project has found a document of real importance pertaining to Bush’s guard service:

A newly discovered document that was withheld by the White House when it released “all the records” shows that Bush promised to serve in the Air National Guard well beyond the termination of his six year Military Service Obligation.  In this document, simply labeled “AGREEMENT”, Bush acknowledges that his training will require “the expenditure of extensive public funds” and in exchange for “undergraduate pilot training”, he agreed to serve for at least five years after the completion of that training.  (It has not been determined what “undergraduate pilot training refers to.   Bush completed his initial pilot training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia on November 26, 1969, his “Pre-Interceptor Training at Ellington AFB in February, 1970, and his F-102 pilot training was completed on June 20, 1970.

The source of this document was someone with unquestioned access to it, and there is no doubt regarding its authenticity.  There is also no question that it has been withheld by the White House.  The USA Today website has a complete sets of the documents released on February 13 on their site, and it does not contain copies of this important agreement.  In addition, the White House has repeatedly claimed that all documents in Bush’s files were released, and this document originated in those files.

 The legitimacy of the document is further buttressed by its being mentioned in at least one other document which was released by the White House.  A document labeled “Preview and Grade Determination”, dated May 29, 1968, lists among its attachments an “AF Form 125 (includes 5 yr agreement.).  And although the AF Form 125 (a “Pilot Training Agreement”), and most of the other documents listed as attachments, were part of the White House release, nothing that could be identified as a “5 year agreement” was released in February.

So Bush skimped on his commitment to draft-dodging. How courageous. Also, Josh Marshall links to a Nick Kristof article that reveals that Bush admitted to a Harvard Business School professor that his dad got him into the Guard, further buttressing Ben Barnes’ allegations. None of this is looking good for Bush, and thus all is well in the universe.

Dwight Meredith has a horrifying

Dwight Meredith has a horrifying story from the Texas prison system:

James Monroe Mims is a 53 year old, mentally ill Texan. In 1978, Mims was involved in a “domestic standoff” in which he allegedly shot at two Dallas Police officers. He was charged with two counts of attempted muder. I surmise from the brief news stories that he shot but did not kill the officers. Mims was never tried on those charges as the Texas courts found him to be mentally incompetent to stand trial. Mims suffers from schizophrenia.

As a result of his incompetence, Mins was confined at the Terrell State Hospital where he has remained for the last 26 years. A finding of incompetence to stand trial is not a final determination. Should a criminal defendant regain competence, he may still be put on trial for the underlying crime.

Accordingly, at various times over the last 26 years, Mims was brought before the court for a hearing to determine whether or not he was able to stand trial. He has always been found to remain incompetent due to his mental illness.

In February of this year, Mims was brought from the mental hospital to the Dallas County jail in preparation for another such hearing,

While awaiting his hearing, Mims received no mental health treatment. The hospital had sent along anti-psychotic medication and anti-seizure medication for Mims. He was never provided those meds while in the Dallas County jail. Some of the jailers made referrals of Mims to the jail psychiatric staff but no mental health professional appears to have seen Mims during his two months in the Dallas County jail.

Towards the end of March, the Dallas County jailers turned off the water to Mims’ cell. Why they did so remains unclear. Some jailers contend that the water was turned off because Mims had flooded his cell. Investigators dispute that contention.

What is not in dispute is that Mims was left in his cell without water for thirteen days. You read that right, the Dallas County jail left a mentally ill human being locked in a cell without water for thirteen days

Via Texas’ best blogger, Charles Kuffner. Read the whole thing; it gets much, much worse, if you can imagine that. This is a travesty; it is sick, it is twisted, and it is the reason the death penalty exists. The fact that this can happen in twenty-first century society is frightening.

Um, about those memos not

Um, about those memos not being forgeries:

A detailed comparison by The Washington Post of memos obtained by CBS News with authenticated documents on Bush’s National Guard service reveals dozens of inconsistencies, ranging from conflicting military terminology to different word-processing techniques.

The analysis shows that half a dozen Killian memos released earlier by the military were written with a standard typewriter using different formatting techniques from those characteristic of computer-generated documents. CBS’s Killian memos bear numerous signs that are more consistent with modern-day word-processing programs, particularly Microsoft Word.

I was wrong. I still don’t think that the memos would have meant anything, but I apologize. I only wish that Dan Rather would do the same. Well, that, or resign.

When will the gun lobby

When will the gun lobby stop pretending that the 2nd amendment protects the right to own guns? They’ve even persuaded Jeralyn Merritt:

TalkLeft does not support the renewal of the assault weapons ban. No matter how you view terrorism, the drug war or street violence, stripping citizens of 200 years of civil liberties is not the answer.

200 years of civil liberties? Maybe 135, because as far as I know, the claim of the right to own guns died in 1939, with the case of U.S. vs. Miller. The Supreme Court stated the obvious, that the 2nd amendment was meant to allow for the creation of a national Army, not to create some sort of right to own weapons. There’s been no such right for 65 years; to say that there was is ludicrous.

We didn’t elect Bush in

We didn’t elect Bush in 2000, and all we got was this lousy mushroom cloud:

A large explosion occurred in the northern part of North Korea on an important anniversary of the communist regime, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Sunday.

Citing an unidentified source in Beijing, Yonhap said the explosion happened on Thursday in Yanggang province near the border with China. The damage and crater left by the explosion in Kim Hyong Jik county was big enough to be noticed by a satellite, the source said.

North Korea was founded on Sept. 9, 1948. Leader Kim Jong Il uses the occasion to stage performances and other events to bolster loyalty among the impoverished North Korean population.

Experts have speculated that North Korea might use a major anniversary to conduct a nuclear-related test, though there was no immediate indication that the reported explosion on Thursday was linked to Pyongyang’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Via Jeralyn Merritt. Now what is arguably our worst enemy in on the planet has, apparently, tested a nuclear weapon. You know, we could have done something about this if we hadn’t invaded a country of no apparent threat to us. But that would have been too hard.

P.S. The U.S. and South Korea are apparently claiming that it wasn’t a nuclear explosion. That one’s just coming soon.

I am sure of only

I am sure of only one thing in the memo controversy: this is the first time a major political scandal has focused on what features of IBM typewriters were available in 1972. The usually extremist Daily Kos actually has a good synopsis of the facts, albeit from a more than slightly anti-Bush standpoint. It’s not really something that can be quoted not in the entirety, and the entirety is pretty darn long. Anyway, if true, it seems to prove the legitimacy of the documents. However, there are often no links to prove its statements. This worries me. I don’t want to be sticking with a decision based on false information. But whether or not the post is truthful, this argument seems pretty silly to me. After all, I think it’s a much bigger story that Bush got special help in dodging the draft than that his superior suspended him from flight duty. The former says a lot about his character; the latter, in my opinion, doesn’t. I just don’t understand the fixation on something so meaningless.