The American Staff

Recent Articles

Devil in the Details

No Sweat, Doctor Just how craven a panderer is Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist? Consider the following: The office of Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman released a report early in December analyzing 13 curricula for abstinence-only education programs currently receiving federal funding. Most of these programs are backed by the religious right and are intended to bring back that idyllic era of sexual ignorance and misinformation in which American youth flourished before Alfred Kinsey ruined everything. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the report found that 11 of the 13 curricula contained significant scientific errors and fallacious use of medical data. One curriculum claimed that condoms often do not reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Another hyped a phony connection between chlamydia and heart disease. A third claimed that HIV/AIDS could be transmitted through sweat and tears. A few days after the report's release, the good doctor Frist -- a real-deal, Harvard-...

Devil in the Details

A Redder Senate in '06? After the pummeling they took on November 2, Democrats consoled themselves by thinking that history will be on their side in 2006. After all, midterm elections normally spell congressional gains for the party out of power in the White House. Sure, that axiom didn't apply in 2002, or in 1998 … but it's a rule , damn it, and Dems clung to it as the election-night horror show unfolded before their eyes. On the Senate side, however, the makeup of the actual seats in play in two years gives Dems little cause for hope. Looking at the 17 Democratic and 15 Republican seats up in the '06 cycle, one is hard-pressed to find a plausible way for Dems to reach a net gain of six -- enough to take back power. “I don't think they have a great chance to take back the majority” in two years, says Jennifer Duffy, managing editor and political analyst for The Cook Political Report . Indeed, just maintaining the status quo won't be a walk in the park. Granted, the terrain will be...

TAP Predicts

Kenneth Baer, TAP Online Columnist Popular Vote : Kerry 50.5%, Bush 48% Electoral Votes : Kerry 299; Bush 239 Prez on 11/3? : We will have both a president and president-elect. Reason : In addition to the dwindling efficacy of phone polling (which made this seem tighter), there are three variables that mattered: 1) unbelievably high voter registration; 2) unusually high turnout; 3) people had the patience and the system had the capacity to process all these votes. Jeffrey Dubner, Associate Online Editor Popular Vote : Kerry 49.5%, Bush 49% Electoral Votes : Bush 286, Kerry 252 Prez on 11/3? : No. Ohio and Florida take their sweet time. Reason : The 6th Circuit rules in favor of Election Day challenges late Monday night. Over 200,000 votes wind up on provisional ballots in Ohio; the reported tally that night shows Bush ahead, and Secretary of State Ken Blackwell refuses to count the provisionals until litigation has been resolved. As a result, Bush becomes the presumptive winner...

Purple People Watch

Florida. The good news for the Democrats is that John Kerry has made inroads into the crucial Tampa Bay media market, the state's key swing area, and looks set to improve on Al Gore's 2000 performance. The bad news is that George W. Bush has made inroads into Florida's African American community, with statewide polling echoing several national results showing the Republicans doing almost twice as well among black voters as they did in 2000. The Democratic solution is to unleash the surrogates. Al Gore was in the state over the weekend and on Monday, starting in Jacksonville and Tallahassee in the north before making his way to more Democratic-friendly Broward and Palm Beach counties, hitting black church after black church along the way, waving the bloody shirt of uncounted votes in an effort to boost turnout. Bill Clinton, after making his debut appearance in Philadelphia, headed down to Miami. The Republicans, meanwhile, are using their surrogates to target another key plank of the...

Purple People Watch

Florida. After lagging narrowly in the polls for several weeks, John Kerry's acquired a narrow 50 percent to 49 percent lead, according to an October 17 poll conducted by Survey USA. Under the circumstances, the "ground game" -- get-out-the-vote efforts and legal and other battles to get votes counted -- will likely be decisive and are, in fact, already under way. So-called early voting began on Monday, and problems are already popping up. Orange County's computers crashed briefly, blocking access to the list of registered voters. Several Broward Country polling places were unable to link their computers to the database that was supposed to be used to verify voter eligibility, forcing election workers to rely on paper lists and calls to the supervisor's office to get by. Shelley Vana, a state representative from Palm Beach County -- site of the infamous "butterfly ballots" that cost Gore the 2000 election -- reported that her absentee ballot was missing one of two pages. "This is not...

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