Poll on Bush’s Speech Is Even Worse Than It Appears

The 323 adults interviewed were 50% Republican, 23% Democratic and 27% independent.

Poll results are in on President Bush’s speech last night and they are underwhelming, at best. According to the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, an unimpressive but seemingly sturdy 46 percent said they had a “very positive” reaction to the speech.

That number starts to look a wee bit wobbly when you look at the poll’s demographics, however.

The poll was taken immediately after the speech, and the 323 adults interviewed were 50 percent Republican, 23 percent Democratic and 27 percent independent. The margin of error was plus or minus 6 percentage points.

Why are the poll’s demographics tilted so lopsidedly toward the GOP? On CNN, Bill Schneider explained that since Republicans were twice as likely to tune in to hear Dear Leader speechify than Democrats or independents, the cross section represents a true sample of the audience.

Democrats and independents voted with their feet but their “unfavorable” response was simply factored out.

If the sample included all voters, the “very positve” would shrink to half or less. That is seriously bad, especially compared with the 67 percent “very positive” reaction to the “mission accomplished” speech in May 2003.

Bush’s Speech — What Did He Say?

Here is a text analysis of President Bush’s speech delivered at Fort Bragg June 28, 2005.

  • The speech contained 1996 words, 928 of them different words.
  • The compexity factor (lexical density) was 46.3%; readability on the Gunning-Fog Index, where 6 is easy and 20 is hard, was 8.6. On another readability scale where 100 is easy and 20 is hard, and the optimal range is 60-70, the speech scored 46.
  • There were 228 sentences averaging 16.04 words; the longest sentence was 48 words: I said that America’s mission in iraq is to defeat an enemy and give strength to a friend, a free representative government that is an ally in the war on terror and a beacon of hope in a part of the world that is desperate for reform.

The top 10 words in frequency (ocurrences in parentheses):

1. our (67)
2. Iraqi (33)
3. Iraq (29)
4. Iraqis (24); terrorists (23)
5. freedom (20); forces (19)
6. fight (15)
7. military, security, you (14); troops, war, people, know, free (13)
8. them (12); world, your (11)
9. coalition, mission, men (10); defend, new, these, today (9)
10. America, country, elections, enemy, help, operations, nations, women (8); American, way, see, helping, terror, under, work, thank, progress (7)

Most frequently used three-word phrases:

1. Iraqi security forces (7)
2. men and women (5)
3. the American people (5)
4. in the past (5)
5. they failed to (5)
6. in Iraq is (5)
7. complete the mission (4)
8. to complete the (4)
9. the Iraqi people (4)
10. the terrorists and (4)

Columba Bush Livin’ Large in Japan on the Taxpayer Dole

It’s not just Halliburton living large on the taxpayer dole. Florida’s First Lady recently enjoyed the prize behind Door No. 1: an all-expense paid trip to Japan, along with her personal assistant and chef.

Tampa Tribune:

The trade and culture mission made by Bush’s wife, Columba, her executive assistant, Gail Campbell, and governor’s mansion chef Josh Butler hasn’t yielded business deals for the state thus far, but Butler says that from his perspective, the trip was a success because he returned with Japanese recipes to use at the governor’s mansion. He said he also touted attributes of Florida grapefruit.

Well, there you go. He took the time to mention Florida grapefruit. That’s got to be worth, what, $13,000? Let’s hope so, because that’s how much it cost. For starters anyway.

Three state security agents also accompanied Bush, the sister-in-law of the president.

Citing security concerns, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement declined to say how much it cost the state to provide security.

But what’s money when it comes to touring Japan? Isn’t having fun what life’s about, really?

Among other things, the Bush group visited a Buddhist temple and its rock garden, participated in a tea ceremony in a tea master’s house, ate dinner at one of Kyoto’s top restaurants, and attended a geisha performance.

But not everyone is that thrilled with this particular line item.

Ben Wilcox, executive director of Common Cause Florida, a watchdog group, said details of the trip, especially the inclusion of the chef, raise questions about whether taxpayers’ money was used wisely. “It kind of points out the fact that you can basically justify anything to go on a free trip to a far and exotic land.”

Wilcox said he also was curious why the governor’s office did not post any information about the trip on the governor’s Web site, which details minutia of his wife’s activities.

“You would hope there would be some explanation of the trip and what the state gained from it,” Wilcox said.

No doubt that explanation will be forthcoming, along with all the possible reasons for the Halliburton overcharges. In case you missed it, here are a few details from USA Today:

o $617,000 for double-billed soft drinks.

o $1 million in excessive laundry charges.

o More than $560,000 for unneeded heavy equipment, including tractors and trailers.

o $2.2 million for cargo aircraft and $7.6 million for freight costs that “appeared to be duplicate.”

o $1.4 million to pay 146 workers at a facility that had only 62.

Meanwhile, Florida Republicans are all agog over the state Democratic Party’s accounting errors, including a failure on the part of former chair Scott Maddox to pay $2,600 in property taxes. The house in question was bought from and then rented to the FDP’s soon to be former bookkeeper by Maddox’s company, Spectrum Resources. Debbie Griffin-Bruton announced her resignation after admitting she hadn’t kept up with her job duties in the months following her husband’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and eventual placement in long-term care.

Tallahassee Democrat:

Courthouse records indicate Griffin-Bruton and her husband, John Bruton, sold their home to Spectrum Resources for $135,000 in the fall of 2002, when Maddox was mayor and she was financial director of the City Parks and Recreation Department. Knowing Bruton, a former city policeman, was suffering from Alzheimer’s, Maddox said he allowed them to stay in the home for a token rent – which he said he waived completely last year when John Bruton went into long-term care.

Maddox said the Brutons were old friends of his family and that Debbie Griffin-Bruton could continue living in the home despite the current tax penalties and fines…

He said the county sent tax bills to his previous address on Plantation Road, although he moved from that home last June and sold it in April…

“We got no notice about it [the Bruton house] being in arrears,” Maddox told the Democrat.

Although the tax amount is small and other Maddox real estate ventures are up-to-date on the tax rolls…the property-tax tardiness could be ammunition for the kind of attack advertising and negative phone banks that spring up in the late days of a campaign.

Oh I don’t know. Do ya think? I mean, if no one minds Columba jetting to Japan and Dick Cheney’s outrageous stock dividends, why would they care about something like this? But I bet they do.

Supremes to Pensito Review — Cease and Desist

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks earlier this week may hold unforeseen ramifications for Pensito Review. While aimed primarily at such P-to-P products as Grokster and Napster, it appears the ruling also might impact Penster, Pensito Review’s P-to-P truth-sharing network.

Penster is the backbone of Pensito Review, providing the technological means for PR’s editors and readers to “swap” truths. For eample, Trish uncovers a truth in Florida about that rascal Jeb Bush and posts it on Pensito Review. Visitors to the PR Web site can then access that truth and comment on it, thereby “swapping” their own version of the truth with their peers.

Of course, users of Penster do not pay for the truth they access, which is where Pensito Review runs afoul of the Supremes. In the current political environment created by the Bush Administration, truth has value, and that value must be tightly controlled or the truth will become devalued.

For example, the Downing Street Memo was very valuable to the administration as long as it remained a secret. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, the memo’s value has plunged precipitously, according to the administration. By allowing readers to “swap” truths using Penster, Pensito Review is contributing to the devaluation of those truths, since, according to the wingnuts in Washington, the wider truths are disseminated, the less valuable they are. Hence, the admin’s tendency to discount such truths in press briefings.

We here at Pensito Review believe that peer-to-peer truth swapping via the Penster network is protected by the First Amendment.

During the Supreme Court’s debate over the matter, constitutional expert Justice Antonin Scalia maintained that there was no express guarantee of freedom of speech in the Consitution. When Justice Sandra Day O’Connor pointed out that the First Amendment to the Constitution did guarantee freedom of speech, Scalia burst out: “Amendment? What amendment? Nobody told me there were amendments to the Consitution! Jeez!”

Poll: Nelson Ahead of Harris in Florida Senate Race

A new Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows that incumbent Florida Senator Bill Nelson is ahead of his best known rival in the 2006 race:

Quinnipiac’s snapshot of that race some 14 months before the primary showed Nelson favored by 55 percent of those asked to 26 percent for [Republican state House Speaker Allan] Bense. [GOP state Senate President Tom] Lee, who is now out of that contest, actually fared a bit better, trailing Nelson 53-30.

Nelson was favored by 50 percent compared to 38 percent for Harris, who may get a challenge from Bense, a wealthy Panama City developer being courted by the White House and Gov. Jeb Bush to get into the race.

The poll had some good news for Katherine Harris regarding the GOP primaries: “Harris would easily defeat either GOP challenger if an election were held now, the Quinnipiac survey indicated. She was favored by 54 percent of the 477 Republicans surveyed to Lee’s 10 percent and just 6 percent for Bense.”

And there was some dowbeat news for Sen. Nelson: “After nearly five years in office, Nelson’s support is lukewarm, even among Democrats. He received a 46 percent job approval rating from those questioned and even 36 percent of the Democratic respondents said they’d rather see someone else in Nelson’s job.”

Finally, the poll showed that some of the tarnish on President George Bush has rubbed off on his Florida man in the Senate: “Florida’s newly elected U.S. Sen. Republican Mel Martinez of Orlando, received a 45 percent compared to 29 percent who disapproved. Another 26 percent said they didn’t know. Martinez was elected last year.”

‘Freedom Tower’ Design for WTC Site Unveiled


With one eye on monolithism and the other on monotheism, the powers that be will unveil the new Freedom Tower design later this morning. Gone is Daniel Libeskind’s dream, replaced with David Childs’ new favored son, an 82-story tower that sorta vaguely kinda echoes the old Twin Tower design. More fun facts about the newcomer:

1) Sits on an “almost impermeable and impregnable” 200-foot concrete and steel pedestal, clad in “ornamental metalwork”
2) Above that, 69 office floors topped with a restaurant, and two observation decks
3) Antenna brings height to—wait for it—1,776 feet!

More to come throughout the day on this, uh, towering story. Before that, more images after the jump.

New York Daily News:

Ground zero’s Freedom Tower, redesigned to address security concerns, will be set back farther from the street, rising from a base clad in shimmering metals chosen for both beauty and blast-resistance…The strengthened structure, which will exceed city fire code requirements, will include extra fireproofing, as well as biological and chemical filters in its air supply system, according to an online statement issued by the Lower Manhattan Development Committee…

While the original plan called for a parallelogram base, in the new design eight triangles rise out of a cubic base connected to an octagon in the newly reinforced middle of the tower, which supports a glass parapet. The tower will be capped with a mast incorporating an antenna, meant to suggest the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

Yet Another Devastating Poll on Arnold: How Low Can He Go?

With a year and a half left in his term as governor, it isn’t practical to start a Recall campaign against Arnold Schwarzenegger – and if I recall, the statute prohibits Recalls within 18 months of the officeholder’s next scheduled election. If there were a Recall right now, a new poll shows that Das Guber would lose:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has lost the support of nearly every segment of the California electorate, with a majority of voters now saying they are not inclined to re-elect him, a new Field Poll has found.

The governor’s once broad-based support has shrunk so much that just 39 percent of voters now say they are inclined to re-elect him, while 57 percent say they are not. The only groups willing to re-elect Schwarzenegger, who has yet to announce whether he plans to run next year, are conservatives and Republicans.

“He looks almost like a typical partisan politician in that profile, whereas last year, he had a unique standing most observers were marveling at,” said Mark DiCamillo, who conducted the poll from June 13 to 19. “He squandered the political capital he once had.”

What is really jaw-dropping is that Schwarzenegger is losing to both Democrats who have announced that they will run against him next year – state Treasurer Phil Angelides and Controller Steve Westly. Neither of these guys are even remotely household names.