Friday, June 02, 2006

The "Duh" Factor

I've noticed lately that there's been a definite increase in the "Duh" Factor around Wahington, D.C.

The term "Duh" can be used a few different ways, as I'm sure you all know. For the purposes of this article, there are two kinds of "Duh" I'll be referring to. There's the plain old "Duh", which shows that something someone has done is incredibly stupid. It can also be used sarcastically to show that one realizes the obviousness of the situation, even as someone else is explaining it in great detail, just as I am doing now, so feel free to go ahead and mutter "well,
duh" before I move on to the important bits. Feel better? Good. Let's get started.

*****


Our first "Duh!" goes to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. It turns out that Frist has broken the law, according to an Federal Exchange Commission (FEC) investigation. Raw Story is reporting that a group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had filed a complaint with the FEC, questioning Frist's handling of campaign contributions. Here's a better explanation from the article:
In June 2000, Senator Frist too $1 million of the money that hadbeen contributed to his 2000 Senate campaign and invested it in the stock market, where it promptly began losing money. In November 2000, Senator Frist sought to collect $1.2 million he had lent his 1994 Senate campaign committee. As a result of the stock market losses, however, Frist 2000, Inc. did not have enough money to repay the loan. Senator Frist solved this problem by having the 1994 and 2000 campaign committees jointly take out a $1.44 million bank loan at a cost of $10,000 a month interest. Frist 2000, Inc. did not report this debt on its FEC disclosure forms.

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) requires full disclosure of any loans taken out by campaign committees. Yet only the 1994 campaign committee, which had been largely dormant, disclosed the loan.
What does all of this mean? It means that Frist, another member of the party that claims moral values, is a criminal but is not being prosecuted for it. (Yet.) Big surprise there.

A friendly "Well, Duh!" to Rolling Stone and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for their detailed, but somewhat slow-on-the-draw article entitled Was the 2004 Election Stolen? Those of us who were actually paying attention back in 2004 have known this was the case since, oh, about 8 PM on Election Night, when the exit polls were showing a huge win for Kerry in Ohio, but more and more precincts were reporting back that Bush had taken them by a smaller, but still ridiculous, margin, thus making the various networks backpedal furiously, stating that the exit polls were flawed.

The thing is, the company that was doing the exit polling had designed the system to be the most accurate yet!
For its nationwide poll, Edison/Mitofsky selected a random subsample of 12,219 voters -- approximately six times larger than those normally used in national polls -- driving the margin of error down to approximately plus or minus one percent.

On the evening of the vote, reporters at each of the major networks were briefed by pollsters at 7:54 p.m. Kerry, they were informed, had an insurmountable lead and would win by a rout: at least 309 electoral votes to Bush's 174, with fifty-five too close to call.
What makes it even weirder is that Edison/Mitkofsky went out of its way to offer an "out" to those who ripped-off the American people!
In its official postmortem report issued two months after the election, Edison/Mitofsky was unable to identify any flaw in its methodology -- so the pollsters, in essence, invented one for the electorate. According to Mitofsky, Bush partisans were simply disinclined to talk to exit pollsters on November 2nd -- displaying a heretofore unknown and undocumented aversion that skewed the polls in Kerry's favor by a margin of 6.5 percent nationwide.
However, this was not the case...

Industry peers didn't buy it. John Zogby, one of the nation's leading pollsters, told me that Mitofsky's ''reluctant responder'' hypothesis is ''preposterous.''(36) Even Mitofsky, in his official report, underscored the hollowness of his theory: ''It is difficult to pinpoint precisely the reasons that, in general, Kerry voters were more likely to participate in the exit polls than Bush voters.''(37)

Now, thanks to careful examination of Mitofsky's own data by [Stephen R.] Freeman and a team of eight researchers, we can say conclusively that the theory is dead wrong. In fact it was Democrats, not Republicans, who were more disinclined to answer pollsters' questions on Election Day. In Bush strongholds, Freeman and the other researchers found that fifty-six percent of voters completed the exit survey -- compared to only fifty-three percent in Kerry strongholds. ''The data presented to support the claim not only fails to substantiate it,'' observes Freeman, ''but actually contradicts it.''
It's a good article, if a bit behind the rest of us. Raw Story and Brad Blog have been on this since the very beginning, as has Black Box Voting. Go read the rest of it, and then do some research on your own. See what you come up with.

"Duh!"
to Michael Chertoff. You remember him, don't you? The guy who was the boss of FEMA during Katrina? He was the one who sent "Brownie" down there to do the "heckuvva job" that Dubya insisted he did. He's an older guy who looks a bit like the Crypt Keeper.

Anyway, Katrina debacle aside, Chertoff has shown to be even dumber than expected, with the Department of Homeland Security having just issued a report to justify cutting spending on national security in New York and Washington, D.C., the two cities that were attacked on September 11th, 2001.

What was Chertoff's reason for cutting that money in New York? Well, because they don't have any national landmarks. (PDF document)

Naturally, the esteemed Senator from the Great State of New York has something to say about that, doesn't she? You betcha! And so does her House counterpart!


Whoops.

You can see some of the other postcards they sent here.

Another cheerful "Well, Duh!" goes out to Helen Thomas, who is about to release a book entitled Watchdogs of Democracy? : The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public.

In the exclusive excerpt posted on Raw Story, Thomas refers to the Dubya's current and former press secretaries as untruthful, Orwellian robots who blindly toe the company line. Again, no big surprise. However, it sounds like a good read, and I intend to pick it up. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon right now.

"Duh" to Ann "The Man" Coulter. She's about to be booted off the voter rolls in Palm Beach County, Florida, where she willfully and intentionally committed a third-degree felony by lying on her voter registration. Along with being removed from voter rolls, she also faces fines of up to $5,000 (pocket change for a media whore who writes hateful books) and up to five years in prison, if convicted.

According to Brad Blog, what's the upside of all of this? Well, everything, really. But the best part is that it finally got the manly skank to shut her pie hole - something nothing else has managed to do.

Even more entertaining, if it turns out that she really does not live in Palm Beach County, which appears to be the case, she could also face charges for taking a $25,000 homstead exemption on her taxes. In order for this to be the case, it has to be proven that her residence in Palm Beach is not her permanent residence.

The hits just keep on coming!

And now, finally, a few giggles that I've found online. Enjoy:

It appears that kubla000 at Daily Kos has found Dick Cheney's super-secret "Undisclosed Location". Jeez...what a pigsty. (Apologies to any pigs who may be offended by this comparison.)

Also on Daily Kos, filmgeek83 has put together a nice little list of things that are necessary to believe, should you decide you want to be a Republican. My favorite is this one:
There's nothing wrong with supporting drunken hunters who shoot their friends and blaming the friends for looking too much like quail.
Speaking of what it takes, have a look at this. It offers a disturbing insight into the actual physiology of being a Republican.

Next, we have a three-month old article from Slate.com, showing the New, Improved, Bush-Approved Bill of Rights.

Ever wonder why you don't hear about most of this stuff in the "left-leaning mainstream media"? This animated cartoon from Robert Smeigel's TV Funhouse (which is regularly shown on Saturday Night Live) might explain it. Let's all get down with the "Conspiracy Theory Rock!"

Democratic Underground has an exclusive story about "Government Appreciation Day" in Washington, D.C., including a description of some of the floats from the parade!
The Big Pharma float won top honors, and for good reason. The float consisted of a giant maze of flowering shrubbery, through which hapless seniors tried to navigate their way. The Conservative American Horticulture Society (a subsidiary of Halliburton) designed the piece, and the multi-million dollar cost to taxpayers was well worth it.

Trailing behind the float was a band of silver-haired citizens, who shook their prescription pill bottles (filled with pebbles, since they can no longer afford the actual medication). It sounded like maracas, and gave the whole thing a Latin flair!

The second prizewinner was the Katrina/NOLA portion of the parade, dozens of empty FEMA trailers being pulled by former New Orleans residents. (I’m told they were paid $10 each for their participation, and Babs Bush was gushing in her “They’re much better off now” praise of the participants’ efforts.)
Good stuff.

And finally, because I firmly believe that it's fun to kick a man while he's dumb, we have the latest and greatest in action figures...

It's... DIHONEST DUBYA, LYING ACTION FIGURE! (Kung-fu grip only available on the "Executive Priveledge" model.)

Oh... One more thing. This picture of Dubya, once again standing on the shoulders of his base:


"My fellow Americans... Hey... Where'd everybody go? Hello?"

And that wraps it up for today. Tune in next time, when we investigate Tom DeLay's plastic head and find a delicious, cream-filled center!

All the best,
Derek
(DCF)

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