Politics1
The Most Comprehensive Online Guide to American Politics
search POLITICS1:

BLOG ARCHIVE:

October 1-15, 2004
September 16-30, 2004
September 1-15, 2004
August 16-31, 2004
August 1-15, 2004
July 16-31, 2004
July 1-15, 2004
June 16-30, 2004
June 1-15, 2004
May 16-31, 2004
May 1-15, 2004
April 16-30, 2004
April 1-15, 2004
March 15-31, 2004
March 1-14, 2004
February 15-29, 2004
February 1-14, 2004
January 17-31, 2004
January 1-16, 2004
December 16-31, 2003
December 1-15, 2003
November 17-30, 2003
November 1-16, 2003
October 29-31, 2003

Contribute to Politics1 ... It's fast, easy and secure!


POLITICAL BLOG ROLL:

KINDA NEUTRAL:
ABC News: The Note
CNN: Morning Grind
Political Wire
MSNBC: First Read
CJR: Campaign Desk
Political State Report
WatchBlog
Command Post
Coming Up Daisies
FactCheck.org
WSJ: Best of the Web
D.C.'s Political Report
PressThink

DEM/LEFT:
DNC: Kicking Ass
DCCC Blog
DailyKos
John Kerry
Howard Dean/DFA
Emerging Dem Majority
Amer Prospect: Tapped
Arianna Huffington
Al Franken
Eric Alterman
ElectaBlog
TNR: &c
TNR: Campaign Journal
Blogging of the President
Joe Trippi
Swing State Project
Battlegrounds & Ballot Boxes
David Brock/Media Matters
Josh Marshall
Wonkette
MyDD
Mathew Gross
Matthew Yglesias
ACT Blog for Victory
Off the Kuff

GOP/RIGHT:
RNC (GOP.com)
George W. Bush Blog
Bush Blog (Unofficial)
National Review: Corner
C-Log
Real Clear Politics
Andrew Sullivan
John Ellis
Mickey Kaus
Virginia Postrel
Instapundit
Hugh Hewitt
Daniel Drezner
Daily Pundit
Bully Pulpit
World Mag Blog
Right Wing News
Volokh Conspiracy
Brothers Judd
Right Wing News
Power Line

Contribute to Politics1 ... It's fast, easy and secure!

POWERBase
Premier Ad. Click here to learn about premier ad placements on Politics1.

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. FLORIDA (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Bush widens his lead in this key contest state. Bush-52%, Kerry-43%, Nader-1%. NEW JERSEY (Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.): Race in this usualy Dem stronghold remains very close. The numbers: Kerry-45%, Bush-44%. OHIO (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Bush's narrow lead still holding. The results: Bush-49%, Kerry-47%. PENNSYLVANIA (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): The lead keeps see-sawing here. The new numbers: Bush-49%, Kerry-46%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.30.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATE. OHIO: US Senator George Voinovich (R) looks like a safe bet to win re-election. A new University of Cincinnati poll shows Voinovich leading State Senator Eric Fingerhut (D) by a vote of 64% to 34%. Would colorful TV show host Jerry Springer have performed any worse had he entered this race after his flirtation with it last year? Safe Republican ... and Springer is now weighing a 2006 run for Ohio Governor.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.30.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATES. COLORADO: A surprise in the open CD-3 race, as the GOP was expected to be strongly favored to hold this seat. According to the new KOAA-TV/SurveyUSA poll, State Rep. John Salazar (D) is leading State Natural Resources Director Greg Walcher (R) by a surprisingly wide vote of 52% to 40%. Interestingly, the same statewide poll showed Salazar's brother Ken trailing by 5% in the open US Senate race. Toss-Up. KENTUCKY: Congresswoman Ann Northup (R) -- who usually faces close races -- appears to be holding onto her swing seat in CD-3. The new WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Northup at 52% and Clerk of Courts Tony Miller (D) at 41%. Leans Republican. WASHINGTON STATE: In the open CD-8 seat, Dems are hoping to score a pickup for the seat being vacated by Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn (R). The new KING-TV/SurveyUSA poll -- the first post-primary survey -- shows a very tight contest. The numbers: radio talk show host Dave Ross (D) - 45%, King County Sheriff Dave Reichert (R) - 43%. Toss-Up. OKLAHOMA: CD-1 Congressman John Sullivan (R) is safely cruising to re-election over former Tulsa School Board President Doug Dodd (D). A KJRH-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Sullivan leading by a 60% to 31% vote. Safe Republican. ARKANSAS: Another strong incumbent is CD-2 Congressman Vic Snyder (D). The incumbent is always viewed as a promising GOP target, but he surives every time. This year appears to be similar. The new KTHV-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Snyder leading State House Minority Leader Melvin Parks (R) by a comfortable vote of 54% to 37%. Democrat favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.30.04 |

REPORT FROM IRAQ: OF TALK RADIO AND BAD CRABS. Time for our latest report from Iraq. Our friend and special correspondent Lt. James Crabtree of the 1/23 Marines gives us his latest update from their location in northwestern Iraq.

Dear Readers of Politics1.com,

Hello once more from Al-Asad, Iraq. The other day I was eating lunch in our chow hall with one of our battalion surgeons, LCDR Levett, when he told the following joke. I liked it so much that I'm going to repeat it here:

One day a young Marine was standing at attention in a formation for inspection. When the commander came in front of the Marine he looked him over closely and said, "Marine, your jacket is frayed."
The young Marine quickly said, "No sir! This is a Marine jacket. It's not afraid of anything!"

Well, all continues to go well out here. Yesterday we were able to get a bunch of the Houston area Marines on the phone to say hello to their families and loved ones over the airwaves of "The Sam Malone Morning Show" on KRBE 104.1 FM in Houston. We made the call around 3 pm our time and got cut off once while on hold, but we were finally able to get through. About 20 minutes before we were going to call all the phones in the tent had gone dead. Fortunately our satellite dish reacquired the signal and everything was fine. All of the Marines were in a line and had been told to keep their comments quick in order to get everyone on the air before the segment ended or we got cut off again. I'm glad to say it went exactly as planned. I received emails later in which people told me that they could hear everyone real well and that the station even replayed the segment a few more times later that day. Sam Malone was great, too. He asked about sending care packages and such. The show wants to make our call a regular feature on the last Tuesday of each month. It was a big boost to the morale of those that got to call. We have many more Marines that weren't able to make it because of patrols, convoys, work, etc. Hopefully we can get them in next time.

It was very surreal calling in to a 6 am radio show from a tent in Iraq at 3 pm local time. The strangest moment was when they had us on hold right before going on the air and you could hear the Houston morning traffic report. Traffic? What's that? I guess if there were no IEDs on Loop 610 it'd be a pretty good traffic day in our opinion.

I'm also working on setting up some calls to radio stations for Marines from areas outside Houston. The other day I got a great email from Sammy Allred of the "Sammy and Bob Show" on KVET radio in Austin. For political folks, this is the station LBJ and Congressman Jake Pickle started after WWII -- thus the VET part of KVET. Anyway, they are the #1 rated morning show in Austin and have been around for years. They want to have us on and are working on the details right now. I've also been in touch with a reporter from the Shreveport Times and he's interested in interviewing the troops we have from that area.


An early morning moon over our camp yesterday.

We've received a lot of nice emails and letters the last few days from families telling us how much they enjoy the updates. I want to let them know that I plan to cover every section and company while we are out here. Some have specific requests to write about their loved ones. Trust me, we'll be here for at least six more months so I should have time to get to them. And yes, we do have some Marines with us from Oklahoma. On the same note, the profiles I do are on Marines and sailors that volunteer. I don't want to write a profile on someone that doesn't want me to. So, if you know someone over here that wants to be in an update have them see me. I'm pretty easy to find.

I have one final anecdote, of some personal embarrassment, to share before getting back to work. The other day our chow hall served crab. I was hungry, it looked good, and I hadn't had any since I could remember. About an hour after eating the crab my eyes started to itch and burn. I figured I had gotten some sand in them. About 10 minutes later I was in our evening staff meeting when LCDR Levett (the same one that told the joke) said I looked flushed. After I quickly finished briefing my portion of the meeting the battalion commander asked if I was ok and said it looked like my eyes were popping out. A few second later I was on my way to our Battalion Aid Station (BAS) to get hooked up to a benadryl i.v. drip to stop my reaction to a bad crab allergy. I felt like I was going to pass out and my throat was starting to constrict. The doctor and the corpsman were impressive with how quick they went to work. It was even more impressive considering they hooked me up in the dark since the power had gone out. I'm glad they were as close by and as skillful as they were. Needless to say, I won't be eating any more crabs again, but I'm glad to know we have some true professionals over here to provide us our medical care. Of course, everyone got a good laugh out of it later. Our battalion XO, Major Sheridan, probably had the best line when he said:"The Crab can't eat crab."


Corpsman at Al-Asad - Top row (l-r): HMCS Kelley, HM1 Brennen, HM2 Lowry, and HM2 Bohorques.
Bottom row (l-r): HM2 Turner, HM2 Jackson, and Hm2 Chandavong.


More Corpsman at Al-Asad - Top row (l-r): HMC Slaton, HM3 Petraglia, HM2 Clutts,
HM1 Elliott, HM1 Dickson, and LCDR Levett.
Bottom row (l-r): HM3 Elias, LCDR Willis, and HM2 Nelson.

Thank you, as always, for reading these updates and for all of the great letters, emails, and care packages that you send us. I know I say this in every report, but it's the truth and needs to be said every time. We couldn't do the things we do out here without knowing that we have people that support us. Thank you!

Semper Fi,
James

If you'd like to send the 1/23d any care packages (food items that won't melt, batteries, books, magazines, baby wipes, etc.), please address the packages to Lt Crabtree, 1/23 H&S Co, Unit 41900, FPO, AP 96426-1900 ... and James will ensure that whatever you ship gets distributed to the Marines in the 1/23. If you'd like to read more about our adopted 1/23 Marine battalion in Iraq, please click here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.30.04 |

THURSDAY OPEN THREAD. Debate expectations? Start your spinning! (I'm going to be on a plane when the debate is going on, so I guess I'm going to have to settle for either highlights or a later re-broadcast). FYI: In addition to the official Bush-Kerry debate, FreeMarketNews.com will webcast a debate from Miami featuring excluded Presidential candidates David Cobb (Green) and Michael Badnarik (Libertarian). Ralph Nader was also invited to participate in this alternate debate, but he apparently is skipping it in order to stand outside the real debate in the hope of attracting media attention.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.30.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: George Ajjan, Republican candidate for Congress in New Jersey CD-8; and to PoliticalWebSolutions.com, for sending me a pin from one of their recent Dem congressional clients.

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. MICHIGAN (Inside Michigan Politics/Marketing Resource Group): The contest in Michigan is tightening again. The numbers: Kerry-45%, Bush-43%, Nader-1%. NORTH CAROLINA (WRAL-TV/Research 2000): President Bush is widening his lead. The stats: Bush-50%, Kerry-44%. Interestingly, the same poll showed that 47% said Iraq "was not worth going to war over" -- while 46% took the opposite position. OREGON (Portland Tribune/Research 2000): Kerry still holds a decent lead here. Kerry-50%, Bush-43%. PENNSYLVANIA (Quinnipiac University): Kerry re-took the lead from Bush since last month's Q-poll. The numbers: Kerry-49%, Bush-46%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.29.04 |

NADER NEWS. Independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader was knocked off the ballot in Ohio on Tuesday for failing to file 5,000 valid voter signatures. While Nader's campaign turned in over 15,000 signatures, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R) certified that Nader filed only 3,708 valid ones. In 2000, Nader captured 2.5% of the vote in Ohio. In Wisconsin, a Circuit Court overruled the State Elections Board and removed Nader from the ballot. Nader immediately filed an emergency appeal to the State Supreme Court -- who agreed to rule on the matter by noon on Wednesday.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.29.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATE. DELAWARE: A new WHYY-TV/West Chester University poll shows that Governor Ruth Ann Minner (D) appears to be cruising to re-election over retired Judge Bill Lee (R). The numbers: Minner-42%, Lee-26%, Frank Infante (Libt) - 2%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.29.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATE. OKLAHOMA: A new poll is signaling that the recent bad press stories about former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) -- caused in part by Coburn's own comments -- are taking a toll on his campaign. The latest Daily Oklahoman/Wilson Research tracking poll shows Congressman Brad Carson (D) leading Coburn by a 44% to 39% vote, with Sheila Bilyea (Indep) at 3%. Carson has moved up 3% and Coburn dropped 1% over the past week.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.29.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATE. SOUTH DAKOTA: In the at-large race, the latest Sioux Falls Argus Leader/Mason-Dixon poll shows that freshman Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth (D) is maintaining a comfortable lead over former State Senator Larry Diedrich (R). Herseth defeated Diedrich for the seat in the June 2004 special election by a narrow 51% to 49% vote. The new poll numbers: Herseth-49%, Diedrich-42%, Terry Begay (Libt)-1%. At this point Herseth looks more secure that her boyfriend, 4-term Congressman Max Sandlin (D-TX). Sandlin was gerrymandered into a newly redrawn Republican-leaning district late last year. DELAWARE: I have no idea why anyone wanted to poll on this non-competitive at-large race, but they did. A new WHYY-TV/West Chester University poll shows that Congressman Mike Castle (R) leads social services caseworker Paul Donnelly (D) by a whopping 61% to 15% vote.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.29.04 |

A SUGGESTION FOR THE FIRST KERRY-BUSH "DEBATE." Instead of the 32-page list of rules approved by the Bush and Kerry campaigns -- restrictions so stultifying as to render Thursday's so-called "debate" into nothing more than side-by-side memorized monologues -- I have an idea to liven things up. Under the agreement, the two sides mandate camera angles, the before and after handshakes, who sits in the audience and where, podium height, allowable pens and paper for each candidate, bans props, prohibits the two men from addressing each other directly, imposes severe restrictions on the moderators, etc. So ... here's my idea to fix the problem. Since the debate is to be televised live -- and live TV is, well, LIVE -- what would happen if the moderator, with cameras rolling, says "Gentlemen, these rules are ridiculous. They don't allow for a meaningful exchange of ideas, so I'm simply going to set them aside and tell you how we're really going to do it tonight so that the American people can benefit from a real debate ...." And, while we're at it, I hope the TV networks break the restriction that prohibits them from unexpectedly filming either man while others are speaking while all this is going on.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.29.04 |

WEDNESDAY OPEN THREAD. Wait, no political sex stories today on Politics1 ... no lesbians ... no juicy scandals? Then what are we supposed to discuss today??
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.29.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: Peter Hort, Republican candidate for Congress in New York CD-8.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.29.04

US SENATE OPEN SEAT UPDATES. COLORADO: In a reversal of fortune, Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) finds himself trailing for the first time in the state's open US Senate race. The new KUSA-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows beer magnate Pete Coors (R) at 51%, and Salazar at 46%. Incumbent Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R) is retiring. Toss-up. ILLINOIS: State Senator Barack Obama (D) still holds a landslide lead over former Ambassador Alan Keyes (R). The new Chicago Tribune/Market Shares poll gives the advantage to Obama by a 68% to 17% vote, with "Others" at 3%. Obama has widened his lead by 10 more points since last month's poll. US Senator Peter Fitzgerald (R) is retiring. Safe Democrat. NORTH CAROLINA: Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) is still holding a solid lead in the race for incumbent John Edwards' (D) open seat. According to the new WRAL-TV/Mason-Dixon poll, Bowles leads Congressman Richard Burr (R) by a vote of 49% to 40%. Bowles has held similar leads in most independent polls over the past few months. Leans Democrat.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.28.04 |

MT GOVERNOR RACE UPDATE. MONTANA: A new poll shows the gubernatorial contest in Big Sky country to be tight. According to the Billings Gazette/Mason-Dixon poll, wealthy rancher Brian Schweitzer (D) is at 45%, Secretary of State Bob Brown (R) is at 41%, businessman Stan Jones (Libt) is at 0.5%, and frequent candidate Bob Kelleher (Green) is at 0.3%. Brown has narrowed the gap by six points since this same poll of four months ago. Incumbent Governor Judy Martz (R) did not seek re-election. Rating: Toss-up. In related news, the Presidential contest in the state is a blowout. The same poll showed Bush leading Kerry by a 54% to 36% vote.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.28.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATE. INDIANA: In CD-2, freshman Congressman Chris Chocola (R) has opened up a wide lead over attorney Joe Donnelly (D). According to the South Bend Tribune/Research 2000 poll, Chocola has 53% and Donnelly has 40%. Chocola said the numbers prove he is doing a good job in DC. Donnelly's campaign disagreed, noting that 44% of voters said they still did not know anything about Donnelly -- meaning that the Dem still has much room to move up. Note, however, that the incumbent is above the 50% mark. Republican favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.28.04 |

VOCAL ANTI-GAY KEYES IS PARENT OF A "SELFISH HEDONIST." A month ago, bombastic US Senate nominee Alan Keyes (R-IL) responded to a question from a radio talk show host by saying that gays were all living in sin and "selfish hedonists" -- and answered that he included the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney in that description. In fact, Keyes frequently denounces gays on the campaign trail. However, it turns out that Keyes' own 19-year-old daughter Maya is an out lesbian. Now -- before everyone gets worked up about violations of privacy or that a candidate's family is "off-limits" -- you should note that Maya Keyes chose to out herself online. Also, I didn't report on this story until a day after many of the other sites covered it -- so I'm not doing the outing. Maya is featured in a family photo on the Keyes campaign site (left), and frequently campaigns with her father (although Maya bragged on her own blog site that she usually wears a bunch of "gay pride" rainbow bracelets while doing so). The Chicago political blog Modern Vertebrate first discovered Maya's own blog site, and connected the dots to postings by her on the campaign site that used the same email address. Maya's site has been online for three years, although it appears that she unsuccessfully attempted to hide certain sections of the site in recent days, causing them to be read before she finally deleting several of them on Monday. Maya wrote how she had a political parent, had moved recently to Calumet City (IL), frequently commutes between Illinois and their family home in Maryland, that she accompanies her family on campaign stops, etc. She also posted various pictures of herself and her girlfriend (above) -- along with one of Maya wearing an anti-Bush sticker while making-out with her girlfriend. Like her father, Maya is vocally pro-life (she equates abortion to lynching on her homepage) -- but she otherwise appears to be very liberal and seemingly supports Nader for President. Maya also wrote rather revealingly and sadly about her parents: "My parents and I were seriously not getting along and so we needed some time off from each other; the idea was that after a year of being a wonderful good helping-the-poor type person they would once again like me and therefore be willing to pay for my college [at Brown] I'm not so sure that part of it will work; despite the fact that I'm all about working for global justice THEY don't care about that, THEY only care that I am an evil dyke. And even if I am a charitable dyke I am still a dyke who KISSES GIRLS and especially with the gay marriage thing going on now that's at the front of their minds. So I think I might get back to find out they still don't like me and I won't have a college to go to." And here is what Maya wrote about her parents back on March 3rd: "I remembered pieces of some of my (numerous) conversation/arguments with my parents on the subject of homosexuality. My father, in the middle of explaining why queers are all intrinsically awful people, no matter how lovely they may seem … in the end his argument came down to basically, It’s inherently selfish to be queer because no matter if we say we’re in love it’s only for selfish reasons (read: we just want to hump like bunnies and don’t really care about anything else but physical pleasure) because we don’t have CHILDREN like the beautiful selfless heterosexuals. Ergo, queers live only for self-gratification and no matter what else goes on in their lives, ultimately (consciously or subconsciously) our entire existence is directed towards the purpose of self-seeking pleasure; queers are not capable of anything but selfish actions whether we know it or not. Along the same vein, my mother, after meeting on one of my friends (one of the sweetest, smartest, politest boys I know; someone who would be great to bring home to parents. Any parents but mine.) who she couldn’t help but like, took a while to think of something disparaging to say about him because it is against her principles to actually like any of my friends and finally decided that she didn’t, after all, like him because he had a weak mouth as a result of being one of those homosexuals. She says that homosexuals are all inherently weak people, just as they are all inherently selfish people, because they don’t know how to deny themselves anything." Consider this a behind-the-scenes look at the sad reality behind Alan Keyes' "family values" rhetoric.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.28.04 |

POLITICS AND SEX - PART 2. Yesterday we reported on the non-partisan Votergasm group, which is encouraging voters in 18-25 to vote and then have sex on election night with other voters (and withhold sex from non-voters). In response, a reader emailed us about the FTheVote.com -- a site that seeks to have folks come together to meld pro-sex and anti-Bush sentiments. Visitors to FtheVote.com are urged to seek out Republican voters in swing states and offer sexual favors in exchange for them signing a pledge that they will vote for anyone other than Bush. The idea behind the site is "that liberals are generally better looking and better in bed than conservatives, and liberals will therefore be able to use sex as a political tool to swing the November election." The site is free and contains pix the those partisans who have signed up to be "models" for the cause (plus a few pix of celebrities -- like Ben Affleck and Rosie O'Donnell -- that some pranksters posted). Even the tiny disclaimer is amusing: "This site does not guarantee anyone sex, nor does it guarantee that any votes will be changed." FTheVote.com is a project of the Carbon Defense League, a Pittsburgh-based "collective of media artists, technologists, activists and critical theorists working to explore the intersection between radical theory, traditional activism, and technology subversion." Florida may have hurricanes, but -- as the #1 "swinger" state in the nation -- maybe the models of FTheVote.com can offer up some unexpected perks for the Sunshine State's residents. Warning: Not surprisingly, those offended by adult content should avoid the site.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.28.04 |

TUESDAY OPEN THREAD. My electricity -- post-Hurricane Jeanne damage -- is working again today, so life is good. So, what do you want to discuss?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.28.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: Pete Ponzetti ,Green for Michigan State Board of Education.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.28.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Just two polls out of New England today. MAINE (Critical Insights): Kerry-45%, Bush-42%, Others/Undecided-13%. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Concord Monitor/Research 2000): Kerry-47%, Bush-46%, Nader-2%. PENNSYLVANIA (Philadelphia Inquirer/Temple Univ.): Kerry-49%, Bush-47%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.27.04 |

SENATE RACE UPDATE. In South Dakota, a new independent poll shows US Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D) starting to pull away from former Congressman John Thune (R). The two men had been virtually tied in nearly all polls for the past seven months. The new Sioux Falls Argus Leader/Mason-Dixon poll now show Daschle leading his challenger by a vote of 50% to 45%. Voters don't seem to particularly like either man all that much: Daschle has a 37% unfavorable rating (up 4 points since May) and Thune has a 34% unfavorable rating (up 11 points since May). The NRSC and White House have made Daschle a top national target for the GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.27 .04 |

CONGRESSIONAL RACE UPDATES. PENNSYLVANIA (Keystone Poll/Franklin & Marshall College): In the open CD-13 contest, State Senator Allyson Schwartz (D) appears likely to win the swing seat being vacated by Congressman Joe Hoeffel (D). According to the poll, Schwartz leads surgeon Melissa Brown (R) by a 45% to 34% vote. Schwartz previously lost a primary for US Senator in 2000, while Brown previously lost runs for this US House seat in 1998, 2000 and 2002. Schwartz has raised nearly $2.7 million as of the most recent FEC reporting period, versus $1 million for Brown. FLORIDA: According to Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood's office, former Wilton Manors Mayor Jim Stork (D) waited until too late to file papers withdrawing his once highly touted candidacy for Congress against incumbent Clay Shaw (R). State Democratic official formally disagree with Hood's interpretation -- but it probably won't matter. However, a well-placed Dem source said that the party -- after failed attempts to convince several big-name Dems to run -- had already abandoned plans to find any replacement nominee for Stork even before Hood issued her decision.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.27 .04 |

VotergasmPOLITICS AND SEX. Uninspired by Bush, Kerry and the rest? Well, now you can have another reason for voting. A new non-profit entitled Votergasm has thought of a sure-fire new way to get college students to vote. Votergasm puckishly explain that they were "formed to simultaneously reverse two disturbing trends in American society: low voting rates among young people, and unacceptably low rates of youth sexual activity." Votergasm is openly encouraging young voters everywhere "to pledge to have sex with voters on Election Night, and withhold sex from non-voters." Votergasm "seeks to send 100,000 first-time 18-to-25-year-old voters to polls for the 2004 elections, and to catalyze 250,000 orgasms by the morning of November 3." In case you're wondering -- or wanting to make plans to hook-up on election night -- the group actually has about three dozen election night parties planned. Nearly all of the parties around the nation are set for locations around college campuses, and several are clearly intended to be sex parties. One party location in Texas advises "Porn provided, but can bring own. Bring protection and toys. Flavored condoms okay, leather optional." Others have themes that, not surprisingly, make various plays on the word "Bush."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.27.04 |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD. Still no post-hurricane electricity yet (Day #2) ... but I worked from my folks' house to write these updates. Use today's open thread to start posturing debate expectations for your respective candidates ... or chat about anything else that has you worked up (like the NHL/NHLPA hockey lockout, that still tops my list).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.27.04 |

AN ATTACK ... AND OUR LATEST REPORT FROM THE 1/23 MARINES. For those who did not see it, the following newspaper report on a 1/23 Marine was published Wednesday in the Shreveport Times:

A Local Marine has Been Injured in Combat While Serving in Iraq.

Jacob Schick, a lance corporal with Bravo Company, 1/23rd Marines, a reserve unit headquartered in Bossier City, was injured early Monday Shreveport time, his mother, former local actress and singer Debbie Schick said."I heard from him last night about 10:30 when he called me," his mom said from a passenger waiting area at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. She was waiting to board a flight to Bethesda, Md., where the military is flying him for further medical treatment. "He said 'Mom, I need you to listen, I'm in the hospital here at Landstuhl (the U.S. military hospital in Germany) and I'm OK." "He told me 'I've been hit and my left arm has a compound fracture and my left leg has a compound fracture.' Then I couldn't understand what he was saying to me, and his nurse came on the phone and told me she'd been on the Medevac flight with him and that 'his right foot has been amputated.'"

Schick said her son came out of surgery at Landstuhl on Tuesday afternoon and was OK. "Jacob is a very tenacious young man, a competitor, the guy who is always getting people riled up," she said. Schick, 22, the son of Shreveport banker Woodrow C. "Woody" Schick, joined the local Marine unit shortly after his graduation from Coppell (Texas) High School in 2001, his mom said. In the last year or so he has divided his time between the Dallas area and Shreveport, she said.

Woodrow Schick directed all media inquiries to the local Marine unit spokesman, Capt. John Scripture. Scripture said Schick's injuries resulted "from an explosion while conducting combat operations in the al Anbar Province of Iraq." Scripture said the unit was trying to get further details of the action in which Schick was injured, but so far has been unable to do so. "I did talk to Maj. (Mike) Miller today (Tuesday) and he couldn't give me information over an unsecure land line, so I don't have the full story," Scripture said. Miller is the company's commander.

The unit left Shreveport in early June for desert training at TwentyNine Palms in the California high desert, and arrived in Iraq around three weeks ago, Scripture said. The unit is scheduled to return in April.

"I know that God has Jacob in the palm of his hand," his mom said. "I'm proud of what Jacob's done and the country should be proud, too. Those boys believe in what they're doing. The hardest part for him will not be overcoming his physical handicap, but not being with his brothers in war."

I reprinted the above article for you because it relates to the latest report from our friend and special correspondent Lt. James Crabtree of our "adopted" 1/23 Marines in Iraq:

Dear Politics1 Readers,

As many of you already know from a news articled recently posted in the comments blog (reprinted above), our battalion sent its first Marine back home to the states this week due to combat injuries. I won't rehash all of the details since the Shreveport Times and the Gannet News Service already ran the article. I will say though that Lance Corporal Schick of Bravo Company was seriously wounded when his vehicle hit a landmine that had been placed by those that seek to kill us. The quick and skillful response by the Marines in his platoon, and especially the Navy Corpsman, helped to save his life. Lance Corporal Schick will receive the Purple Heart and is now at the military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. You can write to him and his family at

LCpl Jacob Schick
Attn: Marine Corps Liaison
8901 Wisconsin Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20889

I'm sure they would appreciate any letters or cards that you wish to send them.

In other news, our life here continues to be a busy one. It pains me that I can't share in more detail all of the heroic things that these members of 1/23 do on a routine daily basis. When we finally get back home to America there will be some great stories to tell. For now I want to turn to a profile of some very creative Marines and their robot. Hope you enjoy it.

The call of "Bubba up!" may not be one that most people would recognize, but to the warriors of 1/23's Combat Engineers of 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, it means its time for their remote controlled robot named Bubba (above) to go into action. The brainchild of Lance Corporal (LCpl) Howard Akers -- a 23 year-old heavy metal band member from Harrisonburg, Virginia -- Bubba is a robot that literally can mean the difference between life and death for those that from time to time may deal with landmines and IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

The robot is stunningly simple in concept and yet rather sophisticated in its machinery and design. His small camera allows the Marines to remain a safe distance from any suspicious objects and yet see through the hand-held video screen (above) everything Bubba sees. For security reasons the actual speed, distance, and other operational aspects of Bubba cannot be revealed, but suffice it to say, he's already been used here in Iraq several times and always gets the job done.

LCpl Akers does not have the stereotypical background of a Marine. Having had long hair before he entered the Corps, he was seen as a bit of a black sheep in his family because he decided to join the USMC. It's certainly not something his parents would have envisioned. He says they were hippies, however he is probably lucky that he was not given a typical flower child name like Moon or Rainbow or else his drill instructors would have given him no end of grief. When not serving as a reservist with the Combat Engineer Company out of Lynchburg, VA, he makes his living as a member of a heavy metal band named KounterKulture. In fact, the name of the robot came from his alternate stage persona of Bubba Hornswagle. When LCpl Akers first approached his platoon commander, Capt Jonathan Kuniholm, about the idea of making a robot he was told to focus on his job and not to worry about any offbeat ideas. After seeing the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Marines in action during training in California, however, LCpl Akers was able to convince Capt Kuniholm that they could make a robot that would provide the Combat Engineers the same safe standoff from dangerous situations that the EOD robot provides for their Marines. Capt Kuniholm -- also a reservist -- made a phone call to one of his private-sector business partners, Chuck Messer, of the North Carolina company they run named Tackle Design. Messer and another partner, Kevin Webb, quickly donated the parts, design plans, and manpower to assemble Bubba and then shipped him out to the CEBs in 29 Palms, CA. They were also able to get another firm named Traxxas to donate parts for Bubba, as well.


LCpl Akers and LCpl Swenson, with Bubba

LCpl Carl Swenson, 20, of Richmond, VA also became involved with the Bubba project early on. A student at John Tyler Community College in Richmond, he was working security for a Target store to earn money for tuition and hopes to one-day graduate with a degree in criminology. Now, along with LCpl Akers, he is the other half of the Bubba handler team. Together they run, maintain, and transport Bubba. It's a task that they enjoy. Watching them with Bubba is much like seeing a couple of young kids playing with a cool toy. Capt Kuniholm says that many Combat Engineer Marines are "the type of people that as kids loved to blow stuff up and play with firecrackers. We're still that way today." In fact, LCpls Akers and Swenson were part of the unit that recently blew up some caves that the battalion found that had been used as hiding and staging places for Anti-Coalition Forces.

It has been said that necessity is the mother of all invention. With the creation of their robot, LCpls Akers and Swenson have shown that not only can that invention serve to save lives, but it can also be realized with a little bit of know-how, imagination, and the dreams of the little boy inside every Marine, no matter how old they may be.

And finally, to all of you who check out these articles each week, thanks for reading these updates. It makes me feel better to know that there are so many of you out there who are keeping us in your thoughts and prayers each day. I don't think we will ever be able to explain how much that means to us. Every time we get a pen-pal letter, a care package, or free magazines from the likes of National Geographic, The Economist, Texas Monthly, or The Weekly Standard, it brings a small piece of the rest of the world into our lives. Thank you!

Semper Fi,
James

If you'd like to send the 1/23d any care packages (food items that won't melt, batteries, books, magazines, baby wipes, etc.), please address the packages to Lt Crabtree, 1/23 H&S Co, Unit 41900, FPO, AP 96426-1900 ... and James will ensure that whatever you ship gets distributed to the Marines in the 1/23. If you'd like to read more about our adopted 1/23 Marine battalion in Iraq, please click here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.26.04 |

SUNDAY OPEN THREAD. The tropical storm force winds from Hurricane Jeanne knocked down trees and traffic signals in South Florida ... and also knocked out my electricity again. Just like Hurricane Frances three weeks ago. Last time it was four days without power, so no idea how long it will be like this. For now, I've temporarily decamped down to my parents' house (since they have power).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.26.04 |

SATURDAY OPEN THREAD. Hurricane Jeanne is heading for us here in South Florida so I'm heading out the do the hurricane shutters yet again!! And, speaking of ridiculous, check out this story about the 32-page document containing all the pedantic rules negotiated by lawyers for the two campaigns for the first Bush-Kerry debate.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.25.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: E.J. Pipkin, Republican for US Senate in Maryland.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.25.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. FLORIDA (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Bush-49%, Kerry-46%, Nader-2%. FLORIDA (Quinnipiac College): Bush-49%, Kerry-41%, Nader-5%. A leading national pollster, who asked not to be named, told Politics1 he was skeptical of all the recent Florida polls over the past two weeks. "Conditions from Panama City to Pensacola are still just beginning to recover [from Hurricane Ivan], and as of yesterday hundreds of thousands were still without power and essential services. How is it that [those pollsters] could have conducted a statewide poll in Florida [on those dates] and include voters from the western panhandle counties? Any poll that did not include those areas is heavily skewed in favor of Kerry, and I would question the ability to survey voters during a weekend when most were in the process of picking up the pieces from the storm. I have wanted to poll in Florida for the past several weeks, but because at least one part of the state was evacuated under threat of a storm, being hit by a hurricane and/or was without power and phones because of a hurricane strike, it has been impossible to do so in a responsible and professional manner. This fact calls into question the legitimacy of these ... polls," he explained. Interesting. IOWA (WHO-TV/SurveyUSA); Bush-50%, Kerry-46%, Nader-1%. IOWA (KCCI-TV/Research 2000): Bush-47%, Kerry-45%, Nader-2%. IOWA (Fox News): Bush-48%, Kerry-45%. MAINE (WCSH-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-47%, Kerry-46%, Others/Undecided-7%. The "Nader factor" is clearly having an effect here. MICHIGAN (WDIV-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-52%, Bush-42%. MICHIGAN (Fox News): Kerry-46%, Bush-44%, Nader-1%. OHIO (Fox News): Bush-48%, Kerry-45%, Nader-2%. PENNSYLVANIA (Fox News): Kerry-50%, Bush-45%, Nader-1%. WASHINGTON (Elway Poll): Kerry-52%, Bush-38%. WISCONSIN (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Badger Poll): Bush-52%, Kerry-38%, Nader-4%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.24.04 |

SENATE RACE UPDATES. FLORIDA (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Former State Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) - 51%, Former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez (R) - 45%. FLORIDA (Quinnipiac College): Castor-43%, Martinez-42%. Toss-up race for this Dem open seat. IOWA (KCCI-TV/Research 2000): US Senator Chuck Grassley (R) - 66%, former State Senator Art Small (D) - 15%. Republican safe seat. OKLAHOMA (KFOR-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Brad Carson (D) - 45%, former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) - 45%, Sheila Bilyeu (I) - 6%. Toss-up -- and a possible Dem pickup -- in the GOP open seat race. Coburn is running nearly 20-points behind Bush in the state. WASHINGTON (Elway Poll): US Senator Patty Murray (D) - 57%, Congressman George Nethercutt (R) - 37%. Dem favored. Nethercutt will find it very tough to narrow this wide gap.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.24 .04 |

GOVERNOR CONTEST NUMBERS. WASHINGTON (Elway Poll): Attorney General Chris Gregoire (D) - 49%, State Senator Dino Rossi (R) - 38%. WASHINGTON (Tacoma News Tribune/Ipsos): Gregoire-49%, Rossi-43%. One newspaper poll yesterday said the race is a virtual tie, but these two both give the edge to the Dem. Toss-up.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.24.04 |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD. Another hurricane approaches Florida ... belated greetings for a Happy Autumn ... and here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to the official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated! My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: Mike Conaway, Republican for Congress in Texas CD-11.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.24.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. We've got a whole bunch of new independent polls just out. Bush still appears to holding onto some of his lead acquired during his convention bounce, but the Bush lead has narrowed over the past two weeks. ARIZONA (American Research Group): Bush-49%, Kerry-43%. ARIZONA (Mason-DIxon): Bush-50%, Kerry-39%. ARKANSAS (ARG); Bush-48%, Kerry-45%. COLORADO: A new Rocky Mountain News poll shows that state voters are likely to pass the ballot initiative this year that will immediately scrap the statewide winner-takes-all method of awarding Colorado's nine electoral votes to instead adopt a method that proportionally awards electoral votes based upon the popular vote -- meaning that, based on current polls, the winner in the state will take 5 EV and the loser gets 4 EV. The poll showed that 47% support the change, while 35% oppose it. A new Pueblo Chieftain poll shows voters favor the change by a 51% to 31% vote. The change would likely give Kerry at least two electoral voters, even if Bush carries the state. FLORIDA (ARG): Kerry-46%, Bush-45%. ILLINOIS (ARG): Kerry-49%, Bush-43%. Also, a federal court Wednesday refused to overturn a state ruling that knocked Nader off the ballot. LOUISIANA (ARG): Bush-50%, Kerry-42%. MARYLAND (WMAR-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush and Kerry tied with 48% apiece. If these anomalous numbers are confirmed by other subsequent polls, then this usually Dem state should be added to the list of battleground states. MICHIGAN (ARG): Kerry-48%, Bush-40%. MISSOURI (ARG): Bush-50%, Kerry-44%. NEVADA (USA Today/CNN/Gallup): Bush-52%, Kerry-43%, Nader-1%. NEVADA (ARG): Bush-47%, Kerry-45%. NEW HAMPSHIRE (ARG): Bush-47%, Kerry-45%. NEW JERSEY (ARG): Kerry-50%, Bush-42%. NEW JERSEY (Quinnipiac College): Kerry and Bush tied with 48% each. NEW MEXICO (ARG): Kerry-49%, Bush-44%. NORTH CAROLINA (ARG): Bush-49%, Kerry-44%. OHIO (ARG): Bush-48%, Kerry-46%. OHIO (Univ. of Cincinnati): Bush-54%, Kerry-43%. OREGON (KATU-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-48%, Kerry-47%. The Oregon Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a lower court and disqualified Nader from the ballot. PENNSYLVANIA (ARG): Kerry-47%, Bush-46%. VIRGINIA (ARG): Bush-49%, Kerry-43%. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-51%, Bush-46%. WASHINGTON (Vancouver Columbian/Ipsos): Kerry-51%, Bush-42%. WEST VIRGINIA (ARG): Bush and Kerry tied at 46% each. WEST VIRGINIA (USA Today/CNN/Gallup): Bush-51%, Kerry-45%. WISCONSIN (ABC News): Bush-53%, Kerry-45%, Nader-1%. So, what does this dizzying amount of info mean? The National Journal's Hotline places the electoral vote race today at Bush-253, Kerry-208, Undecided-77 ... and Electoral-Vote.com pegs the race today at Bush-273, Kerry-255, Undecided-10.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.23.04 |

SENATE RACE UPDATES. COLORADO (Pueblo Chieftain/Ciruli): Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) - 46%, beer magnate Pete Coors (R) - 45%. Toss-up. SOUTH CAROLINA (SurveyUSA): Congressman Jim DeMint (R) - 51%, State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum (D) -39%. The Dem recently shook-up her staff, but that has not revived her flagging campaign. DeMint favored. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Patty Murray (D) - 53%, Congressman George Nethercutt (R) - 41%. Netherecutt still looks weak, as he continues to lag several points behind the other top GOP statewide candidates here. Murray favored. WISCONSIN (ABC News): US Senator Russ Feingold (D) - 51%, construction executive Tim Michels (R) - 45%. The incumbent's once huge lead here has rapidly dwindled. Leans Feingold.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.23.04 |

GOVERNOR CONTEST NUMBERS. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): Attorney General Chris Gregoire (D) - 47%, State Senator Dino Rossi (R) - 46%. This race looks to be the most competitive gubernatorial contest the state has seen in over two decades. Toss-up.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.23.04 |

CONTROL OF THE US HOUSE. We're trying to find more independent polls on the US House races so you can get a better picture on what is happening there. Republican control of the House still looks secure for 2004, but that doesn't mean there won't be a shift of some seats and possibly a few upsets. KENTUCKY CD-3 (Louisville Courier-Journal): Congresswoman Anne Northup (R) - 47%, Clerk of Courts Tony Miller (D) - 40%, George Dick (Libt) - 2%. Leans Northup, but this is a competitive race. MAINE CD-1 (WCSH-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Tom Allen (D) - 64%, former State Senator Charlie Summers (R) - 30%. MAINE CD-2 (WCSH-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Mike Michaud (D) - 55%, economic development official Brian Hamel (R) - 34%. Both House incumbents are pretty safe in Maine. WASHINGTON CD-5 (KHQ-TV/SurveyUSA): State Rep. Cathy McMorris (R) - 53%, hotel executive Don Barbieri (D) - 39%. McMorris is favored to keep this open seat in GOP hands.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.23.04 |

JEWS AND MUSLIMS APPEAR TO AGREE ON SOMETHING. They don't usually agree on any issues relating to the Middle East, Israel, Arafat, Iraq, and so forth ... but both American Jews and Muslims appear to agree on which candidate they support for President. A poll conducted for the American Jewish Committee -- a group closely aligned with the Israeli hardliners supportive of the Ariel Sharon government -- found that 69% of Jewish-Americans plan to vote for Kerry, while 24% support Bush. These numbers reflect a drop for Bush, who had the support of 31% of Jewish voters in the last AJC poll several months ago. Jewish voters are reliably a heavy pro-Democratic voting block. The surprise is that Arab-Americans have apparently abandoned their previous support for Bush. A new American Muslim Poll conducted by Zogby for Georgetown University's Muslims in the American Public Square (Project MAPS) shows that Muslim-Americans currently back Kerry by a 76% to 7% landslide margin. The same poll of voters in the 2000 race showed that Bush won the Muslim vote over Gore by a healthy 11-point margin. While Jews and Muslims combine to form less than 5% of the US electorate, Jews are a significant voting block in Florida and Arab-Americans are a large voting block in Michigan.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.23.04 |

THURSDAY OPEN THREAD. As you can tell from cruising through the site, I collect campaign buttons. Here's an open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to the official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated! My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: Mike Ferguson, Libertarian for Missouri Lieutenant Governor; and Melissa Bean, Democrat for Congress in Illinois CD-8.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.23.04 |

ANTI-BUSH DIRTY TRICK IN MINNESOTA? Have the Dems -- or, at least, some anti-Bush progressives -- cooked up a pretty clever, dirty trick to play on Religious Right conservatives in Minnesota? Self-admitted political "flake" and public relations consultant Tom Harens (right) -- who served one term as a Democrat in the HarensMinnesota State House in the early 1980s -- qualified for a spot on the Presidential ballot in that battleground state. Harens, who left the Democratic Party in favor of Jesse Ventura's Independence Party several years ago, will appear on the ballot as the nominee of the "Christian Freedom Party." Harens readily admits that party is his own invention and "technically" has zero members. He collected the petition signatures to get on the ballot primarily with the help of several liberal churches, including many in minority communities. Harens, 50, views himself as an economic justice and environmental activist. Republicans are complaining that Harens is running simply to help Kerry by attempting to draw Religious Right votes away from President Bush (much like the Dems complain about Ralph Nader's candidacy) by way of his deceptive political party name. Harens denies the claims, saying he is entirely independent of the Kerry campaign. As a self-described "progressive Christian [and] forever-practicing Catholic," Harens agrees his party is likely to draw votes from Bush ("If that’s the practical effect, I can’t do anything about it"). Harens argues today that both major parties are "morally bankrupted" and that "a true Christian" cannot vote for either Kerry or Bush. On his website, Harens notes that voting for Kerry could be viewed as a "venial sin" (of ignorance and rationalization) but voting for Bush could be a much more serious "mortal sin" (of greed, intolerance, and indifference to the plight of the poor). Harens explains: "Republicanism cares about one thing only -- taking care of Big Money family and friends ... the Christian Right Wing and their allies of Republicanism are the new Pharisees, the ones Jesus chased out of the temple." Harens -- who describes his Presidential campaign as a "Politics of Love" effort to "Send Christ's Love to the 'Christian Right'" -- is pro-living wage, pro-gay rights, pro-life, against the Iraq war, and pro-environmental protection laws. Will Harens draw enough votes from Christian conservatives to deny Bush a win in Minnesota? Only time will tell. In related P2004 news, conservative Presidential candidate Michael Peroutka (Constitution) was knocked off the ballot in Vermont this week on a technicality for not having published a timely newspaper notice of his party's nominating convention. This follows similar disqualifications of Peroutka in recent days in New Hampshire and New York.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.22.04 |

WILL CHAFEE "DO A JEFFORDS" NEXT YEAR? US Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) is one of the most liberal Republicans in the US Senate. He's pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control and pro-environmental protections. And -- if the Senate ends up a 50-50 tie after the November elections -- DC insiders believe he would likely weigh the option of bolting to the Democrats. Shortly after US Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont quit the GOP in 2001 and gave majority control of the Senate to the Democrats, Chafee was quoted in some stories saying he would consider switching parties if he ever thought it would "make a difference" on the issues he cares about. In a new sign that Chafee is making an extra effort to draw attention to his independent streak, he surprised a group of journalists Tuesday morning with his comments on the Presidential race. The Providence Journal reported that Chafee backed off his earlier comments about supporting Bush. Today, Chafee stunned listeners by saying that he plans to vote for a Republican for President in November ... but that it would probably not be Bush. When asked to clarify, Chafee said he would likely write-in a Republican but did not yet know who he planned to write-in. When asked if he would write-in for John McCain's name, Chafee said probably not. Chafee -- the only GOP Senator to vote against the President's 2002 Iraq war resolution -- explained: "I'm not sure I like his position on the war." Besides, added the Senator, it doesn't matter who he votes for because Kerry is expected to win Rhode Island by a wide margin. Chafee next faces re-election in 2006.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.22.04 |

"WORKERS OF THE WORLD, BUY STUFF!" While doing site updates here the other day, I visited the official site of the Communist Party-USA. The CPUSA -- once the slavish propaganda tool and a spy network of the now defunct Soviet Central Committee -- has clearly experienced a forced transformation in recent years since the fall of global communism. Gone are the days of Gus Hall, Earl Browder and the other late hardliners of American communism. In their place is a party that now espouses a Gorbachev-style perestroika system of democratic socialism. Of course, the most amusing proof of this new embrace of capitalism is the online store on the CPUSA site. You can buy a CPUSA travel coffee mug (right, for $15!!), buttons, books, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and more. The most ironic item of note can be found on the t-shirts page, where the single most expensive shirt offered for sale is the only garment featuring a picture of Karl Marx. And, FYI, despite lingering rumors to the contrary on some conservative web sites, the CPUSA has not endorsed John Kerry for President (they have, however, urged their followers to vote against President Bush).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.22.04 |

THE "NOVEMBER 2" CAMPAIGN. More than just a date on the calendar -- which, of course, happens to be Election Day -- "NOVEMBER 2" is also a creative advertising campaign created by National Voice. The group is a coalition of organizations and people "who believe in the power of democracy and the wisdom of the American people." National Voice is working to maximize participation in our democratic process by encouraging one of the biggest turnouts ever recorded. National Voice doesn't care who you plan to vote for or the ideology you hold, NOVEMBER 2 is aimed at increasing voter registration, increasing the number of GOTV volunteers, and encouraging increased voter turnout in the upcoming presidential election (especially by younger voters). You can find out more about National Voice on their web site -- plus you can get one of their attention-getting NOVEMBER 2 t-shirts (or make your own shirt). Other similar voter turnout drives -- equally worthy of commendation -- include Declare Yourself, Your Vote Matters, Rock the Vote, My Vote Will Count and We-Vote. And, speaking of free stuff that I get in the mail, many of you know I collect campaign buttons. Here's a deal I'll offer every campaign (and campaign supporter). Send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to the official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Our first thanks for a button sent to me goes out the campaign of Gene Amondson, the Prohibition Party's nominee for President. See, it's that easy: Send me a pin = get a free mention/link here!
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.22.04 |

WEDNESDAY OPEN THREAD. What's on your mind?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.22.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. In Michigan, the new EPIC/MRA poll shows the race as Kerry-48%, Bush-44%, Nader-2% A second Michigan poll out today -- this one the MSNBC/Knight Ridder/Mason-Dixon poll -- has Kerry leading by a 47% to 41% vote, with Nader at 2%. In Iowa, the MSNBC/Knight Ridder/Mason-Dixon poll showed Bush ahead by a 48% to 42% vote, with Nader at 2%. The new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of Iowa voters also shows Bush ahead by a 50% to 44% vote. In Pennsylvania, Kerry led by a close 45% to 44% vote in the MSNBC/Knight Ridder/Mason-Dixon poll. In Missouri, the MSNBC/Knight Ridder/Mason-Dixon poll pegs the race at Bush-48%, Kerry-41%, Nader-1%. Likewise, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Research 2000 poll also shows similar numbers: Bush-49%, Kerry-42%. In Minnesota, the MSNBC/Knight Ridder/Mason-Dixon poll has Bush now ahead by a 46% to 44% vote. In both New Mexico and Oregon, the MSNBC/Knight Ridder/Mason-Dixon polls for both states show Bush-47%, Kerry-43%, with Nader in the 1-2% range. Finally, in Wisconsin, the MSNBC/Knight Ridder/Mason-Dixon poll also has Bush ahead: Bush-46%, Kerry-44%. In related news, a judge knocked Nader off the ballot in Arkansas on Monday, another judge disqualified Nader from the New Mexico ballot on Friday, but Colorado courts reaffirmed Nader's ballot status in that state. Also, the Green Party of Vermont recently refused to file the papers for official Green nominee David Cobb, and last week they instead voted to endorse Nader (who is on the ballot there as an Independent). In other P2004 news, CBS News acknowledged Monday that they "cannot prove that the [alleged Bush National Guard] documents are authentic." They added that they "deeply regret" using them. "This is not a day for excuses. I made a mistake, we made a mistake, and I am sorry for it," added anchor Dan Rather, on what must be one of the worst days of his career.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.21.04 |

UPDATES ON SOME OTHER RACES. NEVADA: US Senator Harry Reid (D) looks pretty solid against anti-gay activist Rich Ziser (R). The new Las Vegas Review-Journal/Mason-Dixon poll shows Reid holding a 54% to 34% advantage. Meanwhile, the CD-3 contest in Nevada is starting to look competitive. That same Mason-Dixon poll shows Congressman Jon Porter (R) leading wealthy gaming executive Tom Gallagher (D) by a 51% to 40% vote. Gallagher has narrowed Porter's lead by 12-points since the same poll of two months ago. Porter said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the numbers, while Gallagher says he now has the momentum. ILLINOIS: A new KMOV-TV/Research 2000 poll shows Barack Obama (D) pulling even further ahead and now certain to score a landslide in November over Alan Keyes (R) for the open US Senate seat. The numbers: Obama-68%, Keyes-23%. KENTUCKY: The Louisville Courier Journal shows that challenger State Senator Dan Mongiardo (D) has not developed into any threat to the re-election chances of US Senator Jim Bunning (R). The numbers: Bunning-51%, Mongiardo-34%. MISSOURI: The new St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Research 2000 poll shows US Senator Kit Bond (R) continuing to hold a comfortable lead over State Treasurer Nancy Farmer (D) by a 53% to 38% vote. However, the open gubernatorial contest remains extremely close: Matt Blunt (R)-46%, Claire McCaskell (D)-45%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.21.04 |

HE'S NEVER HEARD OF YOU, EITHER. Yup, we've brought this reoccurring feature back to profile yet another of the more eccentric Presidential candidates you're unlikely to read about anywhere else. Today we'll introduce you to Jack Grimes of Pennsylvania, Presidential nominee of the United Fascist Union. Grimes -- who previously ran for President as a write-in candidate in 2000 -- bills himself as the "Leader and Director of the United Fascist Union." As for his use of the word "Fascist," this former Army corporal explains he wants to restore a New World Order based upon the governmental style of Imperial Rome "to institute a military dictatorship form of government over the Earth." Grimes believes that "the psychic is the next great step in the evolution of humankind on this planet." And it gets even weirder: Grimes wants to address "the dilemmas now facing America and the whole of Western civilization: Democracy, Christianity, International Capitalism, Earth Changes, U.F.O.'s, government cover-ups, and others." Citing to Cayce and Nostradamus, Grimes predicts that "the United States will be reduced from its present size to a small triangular-shaped land mass through the loss of many of its coastal states." While those quotes come from his old 2000 campaign site, his 2004 website is equally entertaining. Be sure to visit the "Pictures" page to view Grimes and his girlfriend (presumably) posing in their homemade his-and-her future dictator uniforms ... and to view the other pix of them eating at different local restaurants. I though the "Mr. & Mrs. Dictator" pic was my fav, but then I saw the new photo he recently provided to Project Vote-Smart with his Roman Centurian helmet (plus his gloved Satan salute is a nice touch, too, as he is an avowed Satanic follower). Perhaps he was portraying fantasy Roman Emperor Dorkus Maximus. Be sure to also visit the "Speeches" page to read Grimes' 1998 remarks delivered to the "Flying Saucer Society of Dover, DE." Best of all was the Discussion Boards section of his site -- sadly, currently disabled -- in which Grimes exalted his followers to worship Satan. They also contained postings about the problem a supporter was having in getting Grimes to a campaign event in another state:

"The plans f***ed.. seriously nothing i can do.. my mother is wililng to pay for a bus ticket.. i cant leave the state.. there is a warrent out for my arrest.. so we can get you up here and get prepared in no time flat.. however.. the bus is now the only way..."

"here is a [new] plan my mom came up with.. take a plane to milwalki.. or however the f**k ya spell it then take the bus from there to menmononie.. if that sounds like a cool plan let me know.. her cars wont make it."

"jack.. we are still working as hard as we can, although these times are not easy, i have a court case to go to today, and hang out with my beautiful girlfriend rachel. however even if this does not work out jack, we will still keep in the same ammount of contact, i am not angry, and nobody else should be, it was a misunderstanding of a bussiness, none of our faults, none of us could control this.. i was hoping there was enough money on my end to back this up, but when i looked. my piggy jar was all empty"

In the end, that Wisconsin speech had to be cancelled because the supporters couldn't scrape together enough money for a ticket to get Grimes to the rally. While Grimes failed to achieve ballot status in any states in 2000, he falsely boasts on his site that he was on the ballot in 45 states and placed 6th in the race. He is again running as a write-in candidate and will probably announce his fake "third place" finish minutes as the polls close this year.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.21.04 |

P.S. SEND MORE CARE PACKAGES. Here's the latest report -- more pix and less words this time -- from our friend and special correspondent Lt. James Crabtree of our "adopted" 1/23 Marines in Iraq:

Dear Politics1 Readers,

I'm staying busy right now and will have a more in-depth update to you in a few days. I just wanted to share some photos with you that I like.


This is our sunset over "Can City" ...
but I also think it resembles the planet Tatooine from Star Wars.


Me in front of my field desk (and laptop) and Texas flag.
It's one of my better pictures, I think

Above and below: A crater that 1/23 Marines run past on the old runway whenever
we get a chance to work out. It's from the war and is pretty good sized.
These craters are all over the place!

Also, we are getting so many Marines and sailors volunteering for the KRBE 104.1 FM radio program that I've decided to include all that want to take part. My plan is to try to let each one say their name and a quick hello to whomever they have that might be listening. We still don't know how long "The Sam Malone Show" wants us on the air, but I'll do everything I can to let the guys get on even if for just a few seconds.

Please keep the packages and letters coming. They've slowed down the last few weeks and we still have plenty of troops that would love to have them.

As always, thanks and take care.

Semper Fi,
James

If you'd like to send the 1/23d any care packages (food items that won't melt, batteries, books, magazine, baby wipes, etc.), please address the packages to Lt Crabtree, 1/23 H&S Co, Unit 41900, FPO, AP 96426-1900 ... and James will ensure that whatever you ship gets distributed to the Marines in the 1/23. If you'd like to read more about our adopted 1/23 Marine battalion in Iraq, please click here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.21.04 |

TUESDAY OPEN THREAD. "When you trade your values for the hope of winning, you end up losing and having no values -- so you keep losing," concludes Howard Dean in his new book, which comes out later this week. Wise words for any candidate -- regardless of ideology -- to keep in mind in these final weeks before the election.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.21.04 |

NADER BACK ON FLORIDA BALLOT. The Florida Supreme Court ruled 6-1 on Friday to reinstate Ralph Nader to the ballot in the state. A lower court knocked Nader off the ballot a week earlier, ruling that the Reform Party of the US was no longer a legitimate national party entitled to automatic ballot status for their nominee and that the party's conference call that bestowed the nomination on Nader did not meet the state law requirement that Nader was nominated at a "national convention" of the party. The Florida Supremes hled that as Florida did not specifically define what qualifies as a national party or as a national convention, the court would not seek to do so at this late date in the election season. .
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.20.04 |

NOTHING EXCITING ... BUT, HEY, IT WAS A PRIMARY. Hawaii voters went to the polls on Saturday to select nominees for US Senate, Congress and various other offices. Seven-term US Senator Dan Inouye (D), 80, won his primary in a landslide by capturing 94% against two minor opponents. He is a safe bet to win another term in November over former State Rep. Cam Cavasso, the winner of the GOP primary. In Honolulu, voters narrowed the 10-candidate Mayoral field for the November run-off. Former City Councilmen Duke Bainum (D) and Mufi Hannemann (D) qualified for the non-partisan run-off spots. Bainum spent $2.8 million in the primary and was first with 46%, versus the $1.2 million spent by Hannemann for his second place finish at 43%. Former Mayor and perennial candidate Frank Fasi (R), 84, got the best bang for his buck. He spent just $4,000 and finished third with 10%. Fasi's vote total also blocked either of the top two from scoring an outright win on Saturday.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.20.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Several new Mason-Dixon polls out this weekend from key battleground states. In Missouri, President Bush leads Senator Kerry by a 48% to 41% vote, with Nader at 1%. Meanwhile, Arizona can be removed from the battleground list -- especially with McCain not on the Dem ticket -- as the new poll shows Bush leading Kerry by a vote of 50% to 39%. In New Hampshire, Bush also leads Kerry. The numbers: Bush-49%, Kerry-40%, Nader-3%. In Ohio, the M-D poll also shows Bush leading, but here the President leads by a 49% to 42% vote. In Nevada, M-D has the race as Bush-50%, Kerry-45%. In West Virginia the race appears competitive: Bush-45%, Kerry-44%. As everyone knows, I'm a Kerry supporter by default (as I was a Dean supporter in the primaries) ... but even I'm starting to ask when we're going to start seeing some signs of life from moribund Kerry campaign? And ... in the "Whatever became of ..." category, I'm looking starting to think I need to be looking on the sides of milk cartons these days to find John Edwards garnering attention anywhere. Of course, Dick Cheney also seems invisible these days, but that could be an electoral plus for the Bush ticket.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.20.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. In Colorado, the latest Rocky Mountain News poll shows the Dems continue to look likely to score a pickup in the open US Senate race. The new numbers: Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) - 53%, beer magnate Pete Coors (R) - 42%. In Illinois, a wealth GOP surgeon has jumped into the US Senate race as a write-in candidate. Dr. Mark Kuhnke has this week launched a website to protest Alan Keyes' candidacy -- whom Kuhnke considers a Marylander who is too radically right wing. Kuhnke has no chance of winning, but he did hire a website consulting firm that represents several GOP congressional incumbents. Kuhnke explains that he "will not vote for the designated Republican candidate, the gentleman from Maryland, and cannot vote for the Democratic candidate, his only option was to register as a write-in candidate." For his part, Keyes said this past week that he plans to continue making incendiary comments daily to keep media attention on his campaign.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.20.04 |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD. Whatever.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.20.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Lots and lots of new independent polls released over the past two days. In Colorado, the latest Rocky Mountain News poll shows Bush-45%, Kerry-44%, Nader-3%. The new American Research Group (ARG) poll echoes those numbers in CO: Bush-46%, Kerry-45%. In Pennsylvania, the new Pittsburgh Tribune-Review poll has Bush and Kerry tied with 49% apiece (LV) ... or Bush-47%, Kerry-45% (RV). The new Quinnipiac poll in PA shows nearly identical numbers: Bush-49%, Kerry-48% (LV) ... or Bush-47%, Kerry-44% (RV). In Minnesota, the Minnesota Public Radio/Mason-Dixon poll shows Bush leading by a tight vote of 46% to 45%. The ARG poll of MN voters has the results flipped: Kerry-47%, Bush-45%. Illinois -- usually a Democratic stronghold -- currently looks like a battleground state according to the WBBM-TV/SurveyUSA poll. The numbers: Kerry-49%, Bush-45%. The same could also be said about New Jersey, where the new WABC-TV/SurveyUSA poll also shows Kerry-49%, Bush-45%. In Maine, the ARG poll shows Kerry-48%, Bush-44%. In Oregon, ARG has the race as Kerry-47%, Bush-45%. Moving north to Washington State, ARG pegs the race at Kerry-51%, Bush-44%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.17.04 |

CONSERVATIVE LEADER SAVAGES OHIO GOP GOV. Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist -- one of the founding members of today's national conservative movement within the Republican Party -- was captured on tape this week making some very unflattering comments about Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R). While answering questions from the Republicans Abroad group, he was asked to speak about the key battleground states for President Bush. Here is how Norquist answered: "The key battleground states: we have to hold Ohio. Okay, we have an idiot, stupid, corrupt, dumb, rotten, Republican Governor in the state, who's been busy looting the state, and raising taxes, and lying to gun owners. And his state is the only state in the nation that's lost jobs and isn't recovering because he's been beating the economy to death in the state. But [Taft] is not on the ballot -- George Bush is on the ballot. And we've got to overcome what we've had in Illinois, too, [in 2000] which is a Republican Governor busy raising taxes and pissing everybody off -- and now we've got that in Ohio. It's not helpful. He should be taken out and horsewhipped."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.17.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. In Georgia, Congressman Johnny Isakson (R) looks well on his was to scoring a GOP pickup over Congresswoman Denise Majette (D). The new WXIA-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Isakson holding a huge lead: 58% to 38%. Dems are poised to immediately cancel out that pickup with one of their own in Illinois. The WBBM-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows State Senator Barack Obama (D) destroying conservative activist Alan Keyes (R) by a landslide vote of 65% to 24%. In Oklahoma, Sooner Poll -- a GOP polling firm -- released a new state survey that shows Congressman Brad Carson (D) leading former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) by a 42% to 35% vote. Coburn has been hit in recent days by negative stories related to comments he made calling some state legislators "crapheads," some insensitive remarks about Native Americans made before a group of Cherokee Nation voters, and news stories in which a woman has come forward to say that Coburn -- as a physician -- involuntarily sterilized her during an operation and later allegedly lied to claim he had her oral permission to perform the procedure. Coburn said he performed the procedure years ago while trying to save the woman's life during emergency surgery. In Pennsylvania, yet another poll gives US Senator Arlen Specter (R) a big lead over Congressman Joe Hoeffel (D). According to the ABC News poll, the race is: Specter-55%, Hoeffel-38%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.17.04 |

... AND SOME CONGRESSIONAL RACE NEWS. In Arizona, Congressman Rick Renzi (R) is a top DCCC target, but a Northern Arizona University poll shows he is thus far holding off the challenge from Coconino County Supervisor Paul Babbitt (D). The numbers: Renzi-51%, Babbitt-40%. In Florida, former Wilton Manors Mayor Jim Stork (D) -- who climbed for a time into being a DCCC target race candidate -- quit the contest Friday against Congressman Clay Shaw (R) citing health reasons. Congressman Peter Deutsch (D), who represents an adjacent district and lost the primary for US Senate last month, is rumored to be among the possible replacement nominees for Stork that the party is discussing. A new Dem nominee is expected to be named next week.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.17.04 |

ROSH HASHANAH GREETINGS FROM 1/23 MARINES IN IRAQ. Here's the latest report from our friend and special correspondent Lt. James Crabtree of our "adopted" 1/23 Marines in Iraq:

Dear Politics1 Readers,

Happy Rosh Hashanah. Hope all is well. 2/7 finally caught their last freedom birds home and now we no longer have to wait in line at the chow hall or for the phones. At least not nearly as long of a line as before. Also, the new Commanding General of the Division must have done away with "Gas Mask Wednesdays" (see my older stories if you don't remember this) because we are no longer conducting that "drill." Life is good!

Also, a local radio station in Houston has asked us to call their morning show on September 28th at 6:10 am their time (3:10pm ours). It's called the "Sam Malone Show" on KBRE 104.1. I'm not from Houston and have never heard the show -- and I doubt it's the same Sam Malone that ran the bar on Cheers -- but they ran the request through our Marine HQ in Houston and it sounds legit. I'm working on getting three or four local Houston area Marines to be part of the call so that their friends and families can hear them. We give you more details as we get them.

Here's the newest profile for our "Get To Know Us" campaign. Hope you enjoy it. This week we profile SSgt Ray Wagner of Los Angeles, California. And, right up front, the SSgt also asked me to mention that he's single and that any ladies over 40 who want to contact him should feel free to do so at: 1/23 H&S Co S-6, Unit 41900, FPO, AP 96426-1900. Who knows, I guess that could work. Ha.

SSgt Ray Wagner

In the world of Marine Corps communications there is a popular saying of "You can talk about us, but you can't talk without us." Much like the umpire in a baseball game that is unnoticed until he blows a call, the hard working Marines of 1/23's comm. section are often overlooked until someone's radio stops working. The Marine charged with helping to make sure that the comm Marines continue to toil in relative obscurity is the battalion Comm Chief, SSgt Ray Wagner. A graduate of Blair High School in Pasadena, he still has deep roots in the L.A. area and considers it his home. His parents still reside there and his brother even works on the TV show "Las Vegas" that airs on NBC.

At the relatively young age of 44, SSgt Wagner is seen by most Marines to be one of the more "salty" and experienced Staff NCOs in the battalion. Having entered boot camp during the first year of the Jimmy Carter administration in 1977 SSgt Wagner ended his first active duty tour in 1981. In 1991, after ten years in the civilian world, he decided to rejoin the Corps in time to fight in the first Persian Gulf War. Having been gone for such a lengthy period he had to start over as a 30 year old PFC. Since then he has been deployed overseas eight times and has actually spent each of the last three years deployed somewhere in the global war on terrorism. This tour with 1/23 is his first time with a reserve unit and ironically he was sent to Houston to be a full time active duty Inspector and Instructor Marine as a payback and to keep him from deploying yet again. He has no complaints however. When it comes to deploying he says, "This is what we do." He also remarks that "the Marines of 1/23 tend to be older and more mature" than many he had dealt with on active duty and is impressed that they can do what they do off of only one weekend a month and two weeks a year of training.

SSgt Wagner's days in Iraq are spent ensuring that each and every phone, radio, and data network in the battalion is up and running. This requires countless hours of preventative maintenance and trouble shooting as well as a strong working knowledge of how exactly to keep a network of cables, antennas, wires, handsets, receivers, transmitters and batteries operational in an inhospitable desert environment. The Marines live on the mantra of maneuver warfare and rely on the idea that they can "shoot, move, and communicate" with each other at all times. Faulty or non-existent comm. negates it all.

When not spending his time in the world of comm or on deployments, SSgt Wagner is an avid rugby enthusiast and player. In fact, he's been playing actively since 1981 and was a member of the Armed Forces Rugby team in the last '90's, coached the All-Marine Rugby team in '98, and even managed the US Women's National Rugby team to a 23-19 victory over Canada in August of 2001. During his off hours back in Houston he coaches a women's rugby team. Upon his return to America after this tour he plans to return to college to finish his degree and will retire from the Marines in Feb '07. He also smiles and says that he plans to "eat a big greasy cheeseburger and have a beer." And if that cheeseburger and beer happen to be in L.A. while watching a rugby match, then all the better.

Thanks as always for all of the great letters, emails, and packages. I've also had a lot of Marines tell me their families really love reading these updates. I write them in my spare time and love hearing that folks enjoy them.

Semper Fi,
James

If you'd like to send the 1/23d any care packages (food items that won't melt, batteries, books, magazine, baby wipes, etc.), please address the packages to Lt Crabtree, 1/23 H&S Co, Unit 41900, FPO, AP 96426-1900 ... and James will ensure that whatever you ship gets distributed to the Marines in the 1/23. If you'd like to read more about our adopted 1/23 Marine battalion in Iraq, please click here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.17.04 |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD. It's an open thread ... you know what to do.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.17.04 |

ROSH HASHANAH (THURSDAY) OPEN THREAD. Thursday is Rosh Hashanah -- the Jewish New Year high holiday -- so Ron is taking the day off for religious reasons. Feel free to use this thread to discuss anything political that you'd like ... and Ron will be back with updates on Friday.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.16.04 |

SPECIAL: "THINGS THAT I HATE" OPEN THREAD. Thursday is not only the Jewish New Year, but it is also the first day of the NHL hockey lockout following the breakdown of the NHL-NHLPA negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Thus, I hereby declare today to be "I'm pissed off at the NHL-Gary Bettman-Owners/NHLPA-Bob Goodenow-Players" Day #1. The score: Greed-1, Fans-0. So ... what gets you pissed off? CBS documents ... or Swift Boat vet claims ... Bush or Kerry ... Nader ... spoilers ... major party arrogance ... or possibly some non-political stuff? Tell us!
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 09.16.04 |

IS YOUR CAMPAIGN HIRING? If so, then let us know. We'll post the ad for free for any paid campaign staff positions. See our Jobs page for more details.

The Presidency | P2004 Race | The States | Calendar | Blog Archives
Political Parties | News Links | Issues | Job Bank | Issues | FAQ
Campaign Products & Services | Campaign Buttons | Bookstore | About Us | E-Mail

1997-2004 by Ron Gunzburger. All rights reserved.