In which I take a photograph to commemorate President Obama taking office.
In which I ponder pardons on inauguration day
On Bush's surprise visit to Iraq, an Iraqi Journalist threw his shoes at him.
In the middle of the news conference with Mr Maliki, a reporter stood up and shouted "this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog," before hurtling his shoes at Mr Bush, narrowly missing him.
"All I can report is a size 10," Mr Bush said according to the Associated Press news agency.
Surprisingly witty for dubya - and also good reactions on display. He waves off the security guys who were about to bundle him out. Honestly, this is probably his most impressive performance of the whole presidency.
I give people the truth unfiltered by rational argument...
I believe that the government that governs best is the government that governs least.. and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq
Reality has a well known liberal bias...
Think about it! I haven't!
Bush has to sit there and he gets absolutely rinsed... I'm amazed that in this day and age the spin doctors allowed this. It's absolutely heartwarming that it can still happen. Very funny.
He also starts to attack the whitehouse correspondants (see about 10 minutes in)
I'd like to welcome you to Washington DC, the chocolate city with a Marshmallow centre...
Lots of people are looking quite annoyed but trying to appear to be in good humour, several are looking genuinely amused. The majority of people in the room seem to be really enjoying it - the speech gets a bit weak when it gets to the 'press secretary' section.
The Shrub has been called up for Jury Duty in Texas. He has asked to postpone as he 'has other commitments'. The Judge has sent six alternate dates.
Surely this highlights a misnomer, especially in a system with the principle of the seperation of powers, the executive should be made exempt from such service for the duration of the term of office.
So, there is to be an enquiry into how Katrina was handled. Good.
However, it is a bad move for Bush to head it.
If the Whitehouse did not act properly, then the enquiry lead by Bush is unlikely to point the finger. Eventually people will find out.
If the Whitehouse acted properly, and the enquiry agrees, then people will suspect coverup. There will be nothing to find out, but people will keep digging.
Either way, it is a no-win scenario (not that this thing has any 'winners').
Sure, set up the enquiry, but make it truly independent, or this decision will come back and bite you, Mr. President.
A poll by the BBC world service shows just how unpopular the Bush administration is across the globe. Some of the response is predictably ridiculous, and predictably brief, other people have more to say.
For myself, it hardly comes as a surprise. The only surprise is that it's news to some in the US.
So, Kerry Concedes. Apparently he will make a formal statement at 1800GMT (under an hour). It's hard to imagine what could possess half of the US to vote for Shrub, but there it is. I'm living in the UK, and have only met one person (in august) who leaned toward Bush. Nevertheless, this is the result - and we have to live with it.
Despite some irregularities which need to be stamped on, and hard (e.g. lack of paper record in some states, misregistration of voters etc) - the vote seems to have been better than in 2000. There are still massive problems in the system (e.g. media not having to be impartial, calling results before polls shut, voter registration and so on). I'm certainly surprised to have a result on the 3rd Nov, I thought it would run on.
I have seen a statement from the Whitehouse which says 'More people voted for Bush than for any other president'.
This may be true - but I do hope that the Whitehouse remembers that this is because things went right to the wire in a divided country with a bigger population than at any point in history. The challenger got the second most votes.
The worst result would be if Bush assumed that he had a mandate to press ahead regardless, to ignore the massive shot across his bows. To think that he needs to make history without the spectre of re-election. In short, as the election was so close he needs some modesty.
I won't be holding my breath.
I still think that David Brin's Suggestion is a very good one:
Imagine a candidate or new President Elect making the following pledge:
"If I become president, I promise to ask my honorable opponent to pick a panel of Americans who will have control over my appointment calendar one afternoon per month. And I expect my opponent to serve on that panel. On that afternoon, I shall meet with -- and listen to -- any individuals or delegations that panel may choose. Millions of Americans will then know that I do not live in a tower of ideological isolation. I will answer questions and hear dissenting points of view."
It would cost the incumbant nothing, except a few hours of time once a month. It would be a superb gesture. Imagine if this had been said in the campaign... it could have been followed with the question 'I wonder if my opponent will make the same pledge?'
I have my fingers crossed that Bush will seek to unite, especially in the international arena. He promised to be a uniting leader in 2000 and we were disappointed. Let us hope not to be disappointed again.
Wil Wheaton, ex. TNG and author of 'Just a Geek', has posted his first real political post on his excellent website. He posted yesterday, so apologies for being a little behind the times. Well worth a read.
On the US election day, there is an excellent piece in the Independent today, which seeks to explain why the world seems to have an unprecedented interest in the outcome of this election (indeed, Gore/Bush was a matter of passing interest in comparison).
This was put together for the film, 'outfoxed'.
The site has a wonderful quote from a Fox Journo:
Though in every effort not to appear neutral (heaven forfend), the article finishes with 'Am I going to go with a Massachusetts liberal or a Texas ranger?'
One of the commenters here points out that 'I think we should watch what the Faux News folks say today. This is very likely rigged for a "Get out there and make us liars" message'
In related news, a deputy in Florida is reported to have punched a journalist who was 'was enforcing a new county rule prohibiting reporters from interviewing or photographing voters lined up outside the polls'. According to the Yahoo article, 'the law prohibits police from standing in the immediate vicinity of polling stations unless they are voting or called in to handle a disturbance.'
There is a helpful article here for people who have not received absentee ballots in time
The latest electoral vote projections are here - the methodology has been to use the last dated poll published. Over the past month there have been major swings as the margins are wafer thin across a range of states.
Let us just hope that the election does turn out to be free and fair, and that no skullduggery takes place. I won't hold my breath for this, especially when the person in charge of the election in a state can be partisan.
Our media, and to some extent, our electoral system, have failed us. They've presented this election as a choice between longer and shorter war, slightly different views on domestic issues, slightly different plans for economic reform. It's not any of those. It's not even "the economy, stupid!" Those are all the "overlay."
The one simple, clear-cut, black-and-white issue in this election, where one candidate is on each side of the line, is corruption. We have someone with ties to all the major financial and political scandals of the last 25 years... and someone who's investigated or prosecuted those very scandals.
(Update: Apologies that the link no longer works - but the above should give a sense of what it said)
A senior official in the Bush Campaign has said:
"We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. "And anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us."
A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."
He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.
It's good for Bush that Bin Laden is still out there? That explains a lot...