Daily Archives: May 8, 2004

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Speaking of Undocumented Features

…I stopped by eyrie.net to see what was new. Um…would you believe CSI: New Avalon? Yes, it’s time for forensic science to meet anime, science fiction, Marvel and DC Comics, and…well, just about everything else. The CSI folks work for the International Police Organization, which includes Lensmen. Sara’s a Salusian (the skunk-looking folks from Ninja High School) and so’s Gil, and Warrick Brown’s a Corellian. Raven and Starfire from Teen Titans make an appearance.

There are two “episodes” up at present: “Locard’s Exchange” and “Parallel Lines”.

Here’s a look at the dossiers of the CSI: New Avalon team.

ObCatholicism:

“The casing on the -left- was recovered after a firefight on Babylon 6 two years ago – an IPO ally against a bunch of militant xenos from the Church of Man. It, and 172 more just like it, came from the weapons of a man called Brother Neo.”

Grissom glanced up from the photo. “-Brother- Neo?”

“Yeah. He’s a monk – of the Holy Order of Saint Ignatius the Defender.”

“Are you saying this pistol-packing monk is our killer?”

“No,” Nick said, shaking his head. “Different caliber, different tool marks, but the same -kind- of marks…These rounds,” Nick said, tapping the photo on the right, “were processed by a droid ammunition handler. The Ignatines make them.”

“Most monks make wine,” Grissom remarked with an arched eyebrow.

“Ignatius was a pretty hardcore saint,” Stokes said. “His order’s dedicated to battling against wickedness. They have a group of itinerants who roam the galaxy spreading St. Ignatius’s justice.”

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Megas XLR — Anime Fanfic on TV

Once upon a time, the Net’s anime fans didn’t have much fanfic to choose from. But there was one huge unapologetic crossover, mainly starring Larry Stu versions of the writers and Leibowitzes of the writers’ friends, but filled with entertainment for every fan who read it. Action! Drama! Comedy! Obscure references! Computer geeking! And most importantly — new and improved versions of every anime and sf starship, mech, or weapon they wanted! The series was Eyrie Productions’ age-spanning epic, Undocumented Features, and even after all these years, it is still rolling along.

But now, someone has dared to mount a challenge. Someone gone pro.

Megas XLR is the saga of a guy who finds a giant robot in a junkyard and customizes it within an inch of its life. Its head is gone, so he replaces it with a convertible. He can pilot it because of his long experience with video games, from Atari on. Just as he and his slacker buddy are preparing to set out on a spree through their native New Jersey, more giant robots show up: first Kiva, a woman from the future military, and then the Glorft, the evil aliens who originally designed the robot (before Kiva customized the captured prototype herself). Kiva is won over and the Glorft defeated, but none of them can get home to the future until Kiva can make a new time travel device. And so, Coop and his giant robot Megas become the defenders of the Earth.

This show is killer, especially if you’re my age. (The younguns will miss a few references.) Megas can do virtually anything that any heroic giant robot has ever done, right down to the rocket-propelled fists. There are also plenty of other pop culture and anime references — for example, I howled when Megas’ chest opened to reveal the wave motion gun from Starblazers. (Which was the size of the bow of a battleship, so it was even funnier to see it stuffed into Megas’ comparatively smaller chest.)

And did I mention Coop is the only overweight action hero on television? (Unless you count Cadet Porky on Duck Dodgers in the 23 and 1/2 Century.)

“But what about the Larry Stu?” you ask. Heh. Take a look at the creators’ pictures over in the Akron Beacon Journal. Now scroll down to see pictures of Coop and Jamie. Gee. How did they ever design Coop and Jamie’s appearance? Hmmmm.

What can I say? I loved it. It’s going to be on Saturdays on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block at 7 and 7:30 PM tonight, with an additional showing at 12:30 in the afternoon. Watch it. Tape it. Tell your friends. This is good stuff.

Here’s lots more about Megas XLR from DVD Vision Japan and AnimatedBliss. The Megas vs the Universe game on Cartoon Network. Be sure to click on “Jester’s Advance” and “Chase Masters V” for some retro fun.

ObCatholicism: one neighborhood building Megas accidentally destroys is “St. Prynoski Elementary School”. The kids are out on the playground and cheer, of course. (And “Prynoski” is the name of the ep’s director.)

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Bush’s Campaign Visit to Lebanon

So the President left Dayton, hit I-75 at Needmore, and progressed to Lebanon down the open highway — open to the bus, that is; closed to everybody else. He was heading down to Lebanon for a speech at the historic Golden Lamb Inn. (Charles Dickens slept here. Lebanon was an important town in canal days — more important than Dayton by far.) It was a comparatively short speech. The important event, for the blogosphere anyway, came afterward.

Lynn Faulkner, a Republican but not a fan of Bush, and a 9/11 widower, stopped the President as he was going to return to the bus and introduced him to his daughter Ashley with the words, “This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9/11.” Bush of course spoke to the girl and did his best to convey his condolences. Lynn Faulkner took a picture of the moment and emailed it to his friends and family. They of course passed it on. The next day, the wire services picked up the story and photo.

Here are Mr. Faulkner’s comments, from the Washington Dispatch:

I stumbled upon this site and was interested by comments posted about this photo.

A 3+ year member of the White House Press Corps told me today this was the best image of the President captured by anyone in his 3 years of traveling with him everywhere. Why? Because none of them were anywhere around! They had already been ushered back into the busses to leave.

Bush was speaking to the child alone but looking into the eyes of the father when that dad lifted his camera to save the precious memory for his heartbroken child.

Bush did not expect to be photographed and the father struggles with concerns that he wrongly exposed this private moment to the whole world.

You see – this photo was never intended to be seen by anyone other than 15 family members and friends whom he e-mailed it to on Tuesday night. But those 15 were so moved by what they saw that they sent it to 15 more who felt the same and did the same over and over.

48 hours later it was being seen by tens of thousands (millions???) But you were never meant to see it!

Eyes ARE the windows to the soul. I got an unexpected look through those windows and LIKED WHAT I SAW INSIDE. I lifted my camera only to save a precious and absolutely REAL moment for my heartbroken child — To record a precious gift meant for her alone. It is purely coincidental that anyone other than the original intended 15 ever saw this photo.

I’m sorry but the cynics, anti-war leftists, anarchists, America haters, nut-cases and Bush-bashers are so blinded by politics that they cannot recognize strength, compassion, humanity and character even when it is staring them in the eyes.

The “Father”

Posted by: Lynn at May 7, 2004 11:25 PM

I don’t think this story really proves anything politically; as one Washington Dispatch commenter said, everyone in America would like to give that girl a hug. But it’s nice to read.

If you would like to know more about the Faulkners, check out the webpage for the Wendy Faulkner Memorial Children’s Foundation or read a tribute to her in Information Week.

The Cincinnati speech was a lot tighter-knit and hence less interesting, so I won’t blog about it. Only interesting thing was that, once again, somebody yelled out “Viva Bush!” at the beginning. Heh. I want to have that job. It doesn’t necessarily mean the sentiment’s insincere, btw. I’m sure the various local Hispanic groups are glad to yell this stuff out. But whether it’s actually pre-arranged, or whether this is just a popular enough slogan with Spanish speakers, hard to say. Fun to hear, though, I’m sure.

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President Bush’s Campaign Stop at Hara

Thanks to the White House transcript, I can just make some comments here based on the speech out at Hara Arena. First off, you’ll note that this is not the same speech Bush gave up in Maumee. It’s similar in certain areas, and a few sentences are the same, but…hmm. I’d almost say the President’s speechwriters just gave him a stack of outline notecards with a few sentences written out in full, and let him just say things his own way in each place. Which, frankly, would be sensible. It’s obvious that when he just reads along with the teleprompter he tends to stumble.

Anyway, the tailoring is also interesting. The Hara speech spent less time on the economy and jobs, although it made the same points. It spent less time on arguing the case for the war and more time on support for the military — which makes sense, given that we have Wright-Patterson AFB and tend to support the war. Technical issues were added: the search for alternate energy sources, no tax on access to broadband. Education was mentioned, with an appearance by the president of Sinclair Community College to talk about how they can tailor courses to business needs.

Here’s a quote that really struck me:

“The government is not a loving organization. I’m sure there’s loving people in government. I’m one. (Laughter.) But government, itself, is not loving. Government is law and justice. Love comes when somebody, a soul, says, what can I do to make my community a better place? What can I do to mentor a child? What can I do to love my neighbor just like I’d like to be loved myself?

This is pretty much the definition of conservatism: drawing the line between the jobs of the government and of private persons. But this is also the kind of spiritual talk that sounds completely natural coming out of Bush’s mouth, and completely holy-go-pious from Kerry’s. Being religious isn’t a requirement for running for office; but people who aren’t shouldn’t try to pretend that they are. People can tell. It puts them off.

Here’s a cute quote:

My name is Erica Keene. I’m eight years old. And what’s the funnest thing to be — about being President? (Laughter)

The funnest thing is this: making decisions that make the world a better place. (Applause.) I’ve got to make a lot of decisions — some of them you’ll see, and some of them you don’t see — which means that, in order to make good decisions, you better know what you believe, you better stand on principle.

Secondly, in order to make good decisions, I’ve got to listen to smart people. I like to be around smart, intelligent, capable people. I like to walk into a roomful of people like Condi Rice – (applause) — Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld or Colin Powell. (Applause.) I like to tell people the Oval Office is the powerful place. People will stand outside the Oval Office, and they say, I can’t wait to get in there and tell him what for. And then they open the door, and they walk in this majestic shrine to democracy, and they’re overwhelmed by the atmosphere. And they say, man, you’re looking beautiful, Mr. President. (Laughter.) Which means, you better have people around you who tell you the truth. (Laughter.)

A decision-maker must be willing to listen, must be willing to count on others to give good, solid advice. As you go out and gather the vote, remind people I’ve put together a really fantastic team of citizens. And they’re good and honest folks, who are smart and capable.

The best thing about this job is making decisions that I think will influence the world and the country in positive ways.

Let me talk to you real quick about history. I don’t think a President, if he does big things, will be around to see the history of his administration. Oh, yes, there will be the subjective history; there will be the political history; there will be the short-term history about an administration. But you won’t be able to see the big things that have changed: the momentum of freedom in parts of the world that’s desperate for freedom; or a cultural change in the country, to see the ultimate effects of a cultural change from one that — a culture that said, if it feels good, just go ahead and do it, and if you got a problem, blame somebody else, to a culture in which each of understands we’re responsible for the decisions we make in life.

So the idea — the best part of this job is to set in motion big changes of history. It’s unbelievably exciting to be in a position to do that. That’s why I want to be the President for four more years. I see clearly where I want to lead the country. I see the obligations we have as a great nation. We have an obligation, where we see tyranny and slavery, to act. I don’t mean militarily. I mean using our influence to free people. We have the obligation to free people from tyranny, and we have the obligation to free people from disease.

One of the things this country has done that I’m incredibly proud of is we’re leading the fight against HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa, for example. It is an incredibly important mission for this great and compassionate country.

The next question went back to faith:

Yes. You’ve written this question down. That’s dangerous.

Q Yes, but that’s because I’m a little nervous.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, well, don’t worry, it’s just the President. And a huge press corps. (Laughter.)

Q First of all, Mr. President, thank you. I want to thank you for being a man of faith. And as a fellow – (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Okay. He may have a question back there. (Laughter.)

Q Wow. Anyhow, as a fellow man of faith, how has the faith, first, affected you as a man? How has your faith affected you as President? And further, how do you think faith will affect the outcome of the 2004 election? Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. That’s a good question. First, let me make this abundantly clear to you, the job of the President is to promote a society in which people are free to worship as they see fit. (Applause.) A valuable and cherished tradition of America is that you can worship an Almighty if you want to, and you’re just as patriotic if you choose not to — that if you choose to worship, you can worship any religion that you choose. My job is to make sure that that is a absolute part of the American society and future.

From an individual perspective, as a person, I rely upon faith to give me the strength necessary to do my job. One of the interesting parts of the job, something that I discovered as President, is the fact that a lot of people pray for me. That’s a very humbling thought when you think about little old me. People pray for George W. and his family. I don’t ask; people just do. (Applause.) And for that I’m grateful, incredibly grateful.

I believe in prayer, and I appreciate the prayers of people. I think the 2004 election will be determined by the American people’s decision as to who best can lead the country. That’s what I think will determine the 2004 election. I think it’s the collective will of the people which make that determination. Some people of faith will participate. Some who don’t necessarily agree with faith will participate. The question of the outcome of the race is who best can describe as clearly as possible a positive and hopeful and optimistic future for every single citizen of this country, regardless of their political party, regardless of their background, regardless of their economic status. That’s what I think will determine the outcome of this election. (Applause.)

See, this isn’t a theocracy. No truly religious person would want it to be.

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Bush’s Campaign Visit to Toledo

(Well, Maumee, actually.) It’s an unusual stop, btw, since Toledo has traditionally been Democrat territory. But apparently the local Republican Party has been making strides — and good for them. So Bush began the day there with a pancake breakfast, following hard on the heels of a house party teleconference with Vice President Cheney the previous week. Kerry was in town on Wednesday of that week, too. Yep, this is going to be interesting.

Anyway, as you’d expect in an industrial town like Toledo, the president focused on the war on terror and jobs. (Well, actually, you’d expect that almost anywhere in the US, come to think of it.) Bush also made a Lileks-like reference to the Seevers, local homeowners who were using their tax cut savings to redo their basement.

“Jeff and Katie can spend their money better than the Congress, in our opinion. It’s the cornerstone of our economic policy to trust them with their own money. They said they’re going to build a new playroom in their house. That’s good for the economy. In other words, they have made a different decision than they would have had they not gotten the tax relief. Somebody has got to build the playroom — unless old Jeff decides to do it himself. But when he hires somebody to build the playroom, somebody has got to buy the materials. When somebody buys the materials, somebody has got to manufacture the materials. In other words, when he makes a decision it begins to ripple throughout the economy.”

The president also had a movie rec:

“….First of all, see the movie, Osama. It’s an interesting portrayal and it’s a sad portrayal of what life was like for a young girl in Afghanistan under the Taliban. This child, of course, never had a chance to go to school, never had a chance to realize her potential, was literally enslaved by the barbaric behavior and attitude and ideology of these backward people. Not only did we uphold a doctrine, not only did we make America more safe and secure, this great, generous, compassionate country liberated — liberated — people from the clutches of tyranny and slavery. And I am proud of our nation for doing so.”

Early on, a Hispanic woman called out “Viva Bush!” to which Bush replied, “Vamos a ganar! That means, ‘We’re going to win!'”

Here’s a transcript of the Maumee pancake breakfast remarks.

Kudos to the Blade for its full and fair reporting, btw. It’s an unashamedly Democratic paper, yet its reporters wrote paragraphs like this:

Mr. Bush’s speech blended a recap of his first term in office with a look to the future, and included the firmness and folksy sense of humor that endears him to many of his backers.

Here’s some of the jokes:

“I, one time, said to a crowd — and my mother was in the audience — I said, Dick Cheney is the finest Vice President the country has ever had. Mother yelled out, ‘Wait a minute, buster!'”

“I appreciate everybody bringing their families… Go ahead and use me as a convenient excuse to skip school. Just tell them the President said, give you an “A”.”

“I’m running against an experienced United States Senator. He’s been there a long time. He’s been there so long, he’s just about on both sides of every issue.”

The audience also got into the act. When Bush spoke about Kerry’s plans to tax the rich (“And guess who ‘the rich’ is? It’s you. Because there’s not enough money when it comes to taxing the rich to pay for all these promises.”), an audience member yelled about Kerry, “Is he going to tax his wife?” The audience laughed, but Bush told the man to “Behave yourself.”

There was also the typical Toledo crowd of protestors and supporters along Maumee’s main drag, according to the Toledo Blade. But even the occasional nasty Toledo union folks are nothing compared to the sort of moonbat thugs that show up at rallies outside the “flyover states”. The two parties mostly stayed on opposite corners, it seems. Heck, you could even bring the kids to see the show:

With a paper sign unfurled behind them, a dozen children stood with flags on a driveway on Dussel Drive waiting for President Bush to speed by.

The youngsters, ages 1 to 7, walked from their nearby day-care centers, carrying a sign that read, “We love the U.S.A.” and they jumped with excitement as President Bush waved through his darkened limo window.

Bush then went back to Toledo Express Airport (the little one — used by both parties’ candidates when I was in school), flew down to Dayton, and made a speech at Hara Arena (the Trotwood speech referred to below). But I’ll save that for the next recap post.

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Bush Press Conference from Southwestern Ohio Campaign Visit

President Bush was in my neck of the woods back on Tuesday. I wasn’t smart enough to take off from work and go see the President on a pretty day, alas. But we’ll run a bit of a recap.

First, compare this to a typical White House press conference. Note how much more thoughtful and open-ended the local reporters’ questions are. (Transcript via the Dayton Daily News.)

The following is the transcript, provided by the office of the White House press secretary, of President Bush’s interview with Dayton Daily News reporter Jim Bebbington and five other Ohio newspaper journalists. It was conducted on the Bush campaign bus during his Tuesday, May 4, swing through southwest Ohio.


Bush: How do you want to do this, kind of rotate around? Go ahead.

Question. You know, you’ve talked a lot about … in your speech about the economy and everything. Can you tell us, you know, you made your promise when you were running four years ago that you would not raise taxes … you said it again today … is that something we can bank on? And what’s it doing for the economy in Ohio?

Bush: I think that cutting taxes has helped a lot. Cutting taxes helped make the recession shallow. Cutting taxes … and economic historians will tell you this is one of the most shallow recessions ever. The second and third tax relief package, in my judgment, provided fuel for the economic growth that’s going on.

The challenge for America is … obviously, look, we need short-term growth; but the real fundamental question is how do we remain a competitive nation for the long run? That requires good tax policy, and you heard the whole litany … good legal policy, good energy policy. The point I make is that rather than lapsing into economic isolationism, which is kind of the alternative to creating an environment which is kind of pro-growth, pro-market policy, is to put policies in place that will literally keep us on the forefront of change. And that’s what I explained to the people today.

I believe we ought to make the tax relief permanent. All the tax relief we pass ought to be permanent. I will continue to battle for permanency in the tax code. The best way for me, however, to describe that is the realities of what happens if it’s not permanent. It means there will be tax increases. And that’s what people have got to understand. And that’s why I hold up these examples of people, like today, earlier in Dayton ? the family that will pay $900 additional taxes, if just the smaller aspects … I shouldn’t say “smaller” ? if the initial aspects of the tax code are not made permanent. That’s what you’re seeing right now in the budget process in Washington: permanency on the child credit, and the 10 percent bracket on the marriage penalty. But I believe all aspects of it ought to be permanent.

Mr. President, you made very strong statements condemning the abuse of Iraqi prisoners…

Bush: I did.

…but do you think it would be appropriate for you to apologize to the Iraqi people on behalf of the American people for that?

Bush: Well, I think the best thing I can do is explain as clearly as I can to the American people, it’s abhorrent practices, abhorrent; that we will fully investigate, we will find out the facts. There could be criminal charges filed, so, therefore, I don’t want to go beyond what I’ve said up until now.

But I’m appalled like you’re appalled. I mean, every American is appalled that saw that on TV. It doesn’t represent what we believe. It does not represent our country. And we’ve got a lot of work to do in the Arab world to explain that to people, because the people are seeing a different picture.

Mr. President, ever since Ronald Reagan posed it in …

Bush: Let me say one other thing. Look, I talked to Rumsfeld, Secretary Rumsfeld, yesterday, and he is bringing up … he will brief me tomorrow, as well, about where we are on these different investigations. I was told that shortly after the discovery was made, they began investigating. I didn’t really appreciate what they said … evidently there’s a report out that was talked about, and, yet, high officials in the Pentagon hadn’t seen it yet. Therefore, there are some questions that will be asked and he, himself, is asking those questions. So we’ll find out more of the facts.

And then let’s find out, it all, and then I’ll take the appropriate response after that.

Mr. President, ever since Ronald Reagan posed it in his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter in Cleveland, one of the central questions in any presidential race is, can you honestly say your life is better today than it was four years ago?

Bush: Yes.

Given that Ohio has lost more than a quarter of a million jobs, Iraq, gas prices and other issues, why would you believe Ohioans should answer that question in the affirmative?

Bush: Well, because the economy, which got hard in 2001 because of recession, the stock market started to decline in March of 2000, we’ve been through war, we’ve been through emergency, we’ve been through corporate scandals … and things are better. Things are improving … they’re not as good as they will be, but as we sit here in May of 2004, I can say that the life of the Ohio citizen is improving. The fundamental question is, who will put policies in place to make sure it continues to improve beyond the election cycle?

And, you know, Iraq is, no question, it’s tough right now. On the other hand, I look forward to making the case that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein and America is more secure and safe. And I will continue to make the case about the historic nature of what we’re doing. We have a chance to literally change the world as a result of actions we’re taking, that are taking place.

Look what’s happened: Afghanistan is free, Libya is now disarmed, Iraq is becoming a free country in the heart of the Middle East. Remember, policy up until this point in time was, you know, let us contain, you know, stability. And there was no policy of freedom. And look where it got us. So I believe that their children will be living in a freer world.

By the way, just some other statistics, to complete your question, “are you better off.” Disposable income is up for citizens … that’s across the board in America. Home ownership rates are up. Minority home ownership … and not only up, the highest ever. Minority homeownership is the highest ever. I mean, there are a lot of statistics that I think will make my case that the people of Ohio are better off.

Mr. President, The Blade published a series of articles last year detailing war crimes by U.S. soldiers during Vietnam, and now these reports about the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq. What is it about this problem, and why does it continue to recur?

BUSH: Again, I’m not going to comment about these particular charges. There are charges being filed and I really am not going to go beyond what I’ve already said, because I think it’s very important for the system to work and for these reports to be completed.

The thing that I was pleased to hear from the secretary is that there is an investigation, beyond just this particular case, as to whether there’s any systemic problems. And we need to know that and the country needs to know that. It’s just … it’s early for me to predict the outcome of the report until I see it.

Mr. President …

Bush: We’ll cycle back and give you another question.

Do you … I guess, and let me stay on point on that, does this incident lead you to reconsider how the Army is using the private contractors?

Bush: Again, we just need to get the facts. You’re jumping out ahead. These are, by the way, legitimate questions, but you’re just trying to get me ahead of the full look. And as I said, there is an investigation to look at these specific charges on this incident that we saw in the pictures. But there is also a look at whether or not there is something more systemic going on. And that’s what your question refers to, and I just need to wait and see the full report.

Mr. President, why do you think your support in Ohio has dropped since you took office? And what do you want voters to consider when ….

Bush: Well, I’m not so sure it has. I’m not a poll-watcher, but I’m told we’re doing pretty well here. You know, 2000 was a close race, as I recall.

Three point six percent.

That’s close. (Laughter.) A little bigger than some other states, but nevertheless, it was close. (Laughter.)

I’ve got solid support here. Any time you look at a campaign, you wonder, how strong is the base? Is the base solid? And, if solid, is the base enthused? I will tell you I think it is. Of course, you may think otherwise, but then we’ll only find out once the election occurs. But I feel very good about the party and the party’s ability to reach out to others.

But, look, this is going to be a tough race. I mean, I readily concede it’s going to be a tough race, and I look forward to the race. One of the things I’m trying to say on my bus trip is that I welcome the contest. I welcome the contest of ideas. I welcome the contest to get out and speak to the people. I like going to downtown Lebanon, or I like that … I particularly like those events where I’m able to talk to people and kind of interchange, interface with people and laugh and joke and lay out my points. I like doing that.

The complicating factor this time, as compared to last time, is I’ve also got another job to do. I had a job to do as governor, but we weren’t in session. Well, it turns out a president is not only in session all the time, there’s another dimension to the job, which wasn’t the case for governor, which is foreign policy. So I’ll be meeting with foreign leaders … I’ll be meeting with the prime minister of Singapore tomorrow, the king of Jordan this week … then I’m going to head back out on the trail.

But coming here to Ohio was a way to say, this is a state that we’ll contest in, and we’ll contest in a way that gets me in front as many people as I can be in front of and talk about what I believe is right. You’re going to see a variety of campaign events here. Tonight you’ll see … in front of a big crowd, I think, as least as big as it was in Detroit … you’ll see an on-text type speech. The others were more ad lib, particularly the one with the conversation. And I like doing those and we’ve been doing a lot. We’ve done those in Toledo, for example, before, I think it was a community college event up there.

Mr. President, Matt Maupin, PFC Matt Maupin is held hostage, as far as we know, somewhere in the war zone over there. Do you have any message for his parents, who live just in Batavia, just outside of Cincinnati?

Bush: My message is, is that there’s a lot of people praying for the son and praying for them. This has got to be an incredibly trying period of time for them. And the other message is, is that of course any time there’s a soldier that’s missing, we’re doing everything we can to find that person. And I am prayerful, as well, that there will be a joyous day in their life when their loved one is found.

Mr. President, when Senator Kerry was in Toledo last week, he challenged you to come to Ohio and look in the eyes of the unemployed workers who ? some of whom have lost pensions and don’t have health care, and, beyond tax cuts, tell them what you’re going to do for them to make their lot better. What would you say to that?

I’ve given three speeches on that subject already today, which is to provide opportunity for displaced workers to get re-educated, so they can be employed in the jobs that now exist in the state of Ohio… and whether it be Pell Grants or displaced workers programs or trade adjustment assistance, for workers to be able to get the help they need to become employable.

And I’ve supported the extension of the unemployment insurance. But the best thing that a president can do is put pro-growth policies in place, is to grow this economy, and to fight off an economic isolationism that can creep into the conscience of the American political process. We must not become isolated from the world. We must compete.

And as I explained to the people in these events today, that the tendency for other presidents, including myself, is to … we welcome goods and services from overseas. It’s good for the consumers to be able to have that choice. The more product that comes into the country for … the more the consumers have to choose, the more likely it is they’re going to get better quality at better price. That’s a fact of economic life. And, therefore, the role of the president, rather than wall-off America from the world … which in my judgment hurts workers, it certainly hurts Honda workers here in the heartland of Ohio … is to open up markets overseas.

And that’s what we’re spending time doing. We’re spending a lot of time with the Chinese, getting them to understand that pegged currencies is not … modern economies don’t peg their currencies. We’re making some progress there. We’re spending time … we filed suit in the WTO against China. I believe it was an intellectual property matter … or semi-conductor matter, if I’m not mistaken.

The farmers of Ohio, by the way, are benefitting from us … from this administration working to open up markets. The farm community is in good shape. It wasn’t all that long ago that they weren’t in good shape. They’re doing well because of trade. In other words, I would tell the worker that, I can’t make you want to retrain, but I can help you retrain if you choose to. And I will put pro-growth policies in place that enable this economy to grow, so you can find a job.

Now, it may not be in the line of work they had before, I recognize that. But like that lady said today, which I thought was a very poignant story … I don’t know if you know the lady I’m talking about, the single mother of three who was a sales representative … she went back to the community college. She now makes double the amount of money she was making before, because she gained a new skill that was applicable to the jobs which are being created.

I bet if you go around the state of Ohio you’ll find that certainly some of the older industries hurt, and I fully recognize that. But there are new industries springing up. There are new health care opportunities. And the question is, for that worker … and I look them right in the eye, and say, here’s your opportunity, and here’s your help to get there.

This is perhaps a little off the radar screen, but it’s an issue of regional importance in southern Ohio and Kentucky, the …

Bush: Football. (Laughter.)

What can you do about the Reds’ bullpen? (Laughter.)

The tobacco industry is clearly an industry in transition. Do you think there’s a need for any further government regulation? Are we doing enough to discourage the young from smoking? And how do you balance the interests of longtime tobacco farmers against those other concerns?

Bush: Well, they’ve got the quota system in place, the allotment system. And I don’t think that needs to be changed. I do think we need to continue to educate younger smokers about the evils of smoking. And to me, that’s where the emphasis ought to be, particularly targeting teens. It’s an overall part of, kind of demand reduction for things that will hurt kids. And it’s not just cigarettes, it’s drugs and alcohol, as well. And, actually, we’re making some pretty good progress. I don’t know what the tobacco statistics are, but I do know that there has been a reduction in drug use amongst teenagers, which is a very positive development.

Thinking long-term on the war on terror, how are we going to know it’s over?

Good question.

And will it ever be over?

Bush: It becomes less over … or more over when you demolish al Qaeda. It will never be fully over, because there will be pockets of resentment and hatred. It will be less dangerous, however, as we spread freedom. And that’s an important part of this message that I’m telling our fellow citizens. And it’s an important part of my foreign policy, and that is, we reject this notion about … I repeat, this notion about, OK, all we care for is stability in the Middle East. It hasn’t worked. The Middle East is a breeding ground of terrorism because there’s a lot of hatred, frustration and violence.

I believe it’s because there’s not enough freedom in the Middle East. And, therefore, the long-term way to dent terrorist activities is to provide hope. I believe there will be a Palestinian state that is democratic and hopeful. I know it’s in Israel’s interests that there be a Palestinian state, and I know it’s in the Palestinian people’s interest. The Palestinian people need to have leadership that understands that.

Obviously, this is a very difficult subject for some to swallow … not here in this country, but the Middle East. But a Palestinian state is the only hope for there to be peace in the Middle East, for there to be peace in the Israeli-Palestinian issue, because it is a peaceful democracy that will help rout out the terror that could prevent progress from being made. So that’s the long-term issue.

I’m sure … listen, we have terrorists in our own country. Remember the guy in Oklahoma City? Terrorists … but systemic terrorism, where it’s going to … terrorism is bold enough to organize in vast cells can be greatly diminished by tough action and the spread of freedom.

In your Trotwood speech, you said the best way to secure the homeland is to chase these killers down, one at a time. In hindsight, do you think … considering the work still ahead in Iraq and the work still under way in Afghanistan, would you have wanted to stick with Afghanistan longer as the sole focus?

No, the war on terror is waged on many fronts. It’s not a single-front war. It’s waged on the financial front. We estimate we’ve cut off about $200 million so far. There’s more to do. It requires incredible cooperation between governments to chase their money down. And the war is fought on the use of troops and special forces. The war is fought by sharing intelligence, and finding these people. The war is fought on the diplomatic front, by getting Pakistan to be friendly, for example … al Qaeda helped, when they tried to kill Musharraf twice. But, nevertheless, they’re now an ally in this war. This is a war on multiple fronts.

And we’ve got about … over 10,000 troops in Afghanistan hunting for al Qaeda remnants. All it takes is good intelligence. We don’t need 10,000. We need to have precise location of their targets. Quite the contrary, it was necessary to do what we did when we did in order to make sure we have a better chance of winning the war on terror.

Mr. President, what should Ohio voters consider about you when they go to cast their vote in November?

A vision for the future, that I know where I want to continue to lead the country; that I see clearly what needs to be done to keep us competitive, keep us the best place for people to be able to find work. I know what needs to be done to win the war on terror. I look forward to debating my record on the war on terror, and I look forward to explaining how we need to continue to win the war on terror.

I’ll remind people that Afghanistan is now free, Iraq is becoming free, that Libya has disarmed, that we’ve uncovered a major arms dealer with A.Q. Khan; that we’ve got good relations in the Far East, we’ve got a six-nation coalition that’s dealing with Kim Jong-il, who is a dangerous tyrant; that there’s enormous pressure on Iran now not to develop a nuclear weapon; that in parts of the world where there was not hope, there is, because of our generosity when it comes to HIV/AIDS; we’re the largest food donor in the world. I mean, I look forward to making the case that the world is better off as a result of my presidency, and will be better off if I have four more years.

I look forward to the campaign. When I get on a bus and start moving around your state, it should be an indication that the same guy you saw four years ago who wanted to win then, wants to win now. And that’s an important question for the people of Ohio: Does he have the energy and the drive and the vision to get out there and compete for their vote? And the answer is, absolutely. I want to be the president, because I know where I want to continue to lead the country.

It’s good to see you all.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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Bush Press Conference from Southwestern Ohio Campaign Visit

President Bush was in my neck of the woods back on Wednesday, and in Joy’s the day before that. I wasn’t smart enough to take off from work and go see the President on a pretty day, alas. But we’ll run a bit of a recap.

The major story to come out of the whole thing, at least as far as the blogosphere was concerned, was during the stop in Lebanon, Ohio at the Golden Lamb. For those of you not from around here, Lebanon was a major city in Ohio’s canal days but now is just a pretty small town. Charles Dickens slept at the Golden Lamb back when it was a stagecoach inn; now it’s mostly known

Compare this to a typical White House press conference. Note how much more thoughtful and open-ended the local reporters’ questions are. (Transcript by the Office of the White House Press Secretary, via the Dayton Daily News.)

The following is the transcript, provided by the office of the White House press secretary, of President Bush’s interview with Dayton Daily News reporter Jim Bebbington and five other Ohio newspaper journalists. It was conducted on the Bush campaign bus during his Tuesday, May 4, swing through southwest Ohio.


Bush: How do you want to do this, kind of rotate around? Go ahead.

Question. You know, you’ve talked a lot about � in your speech about the economy and everything. Can you tell us, you know, you made your promise when you were running four years ago that you would not raise taxes � you said it again today � is that something we can bank on? And what’s it doing for the economy in Ohio?

Bush: I think that cutting taxes has helped a lot. Cutting taxes helped make the recession shallow. Cutting taxes � and economic historians will tell you this is one of the most shallow recessions ever. The second and third tax relief package, in my judgment, provided fuel for the economic growth that’s going on.

The challenge for America is � obviously, look, we need short-term growth; but the real fundamental question is how do we remain a competitive nation for the long run? That requires good tax policy, and you heard the whole litany � good legal policy, good energy policy. The point I make is that rather than lapsing into economic isolationism, which is kind of the alternative to creating an environment which is kind of pro-growth, pro-market policy, is to put policies in place that will literally keep us on the forefront of change. And that’s what I explained to the people today.

I believe we ought to make the tax relief permanent. All the tax relief we pass ought to be permanent. I will continue to battle for permanency in the tax code. The best way for me, however, to describe that is the realities of what happens if it’s not permanent. It means there will be tax increases. And that’s what people have got to understand. And that’s why I hold up these examples of people, like today, earlier in Dayton � the family that will pay $900 additional taxes, if just the smaller aspects � I shouldn’t say “smaller” � if the initial aspects of the tax code are not made permanent. That’s what you’re seeing right now in the budget process in Washington: permanency on the child credit, and the 10 percent bracket on the marriage penalty. But I believe all aspects of it ought to be permanent.

Mr. President, you made very strong statements condemning the abuse of Iraqi prisoners �

Bush: I did.

� but do you think it would be appropriate for you to apologize to the Iraqi people on behalf of the American people for that?

Bush: Well, I think the best thing I can do is explain as clearly as I can to the American people, it’s abhorrent practices, abhorrent; that we will fully investigate, we will find out the facts. There could be criminal charges filed, so, therefore, I don’t want to go beyond what I’ve said up until now.

But I’m appalled like you’re appalled. I mean, every American is appalled that saw that on TV. It doesn’t represent what we believe. It does not represent our country. And we’ve got a lot of work to do in the Arab world to explain that to people, because the people are seeing a different picture.

Mr. President, ever since Ronald Reagan posed it in �

Bush: Let me say one other thing. Look, I talked to Rumsfeld, Secretary Rumsfeld, yesterday, and he is bringing up � he will brief me tomorrow, as well, about where we are on these different investigations. I was told that shortly after the discovery was made, they began investigating. I didn’t really appreciate what they said � evidently there’s a report out that was talked about, and, yet, high officials in the Pentagon hadn’t seen it yet. Therefore, there are some questions that will be asked and he, himself, is asking those questions. So we’ll find out more of the facts.

And then let’s find out, it all, and then I’ll take the appropriate response after that.

Mr. President, ever since Ronald Reagan posed it in his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter in Cleveland, one of the central questions in any presidential race is, can you honestly say your life is better today than it was four years ago?

Bush: Yes.

Given that Ohio has lost more than a quarter of a million jobs, Iraq, gas prices and other issues, why would you believe Ohioans should answer that question in the affirmative?

Bush: Well, because the economy, which got hard in 2001 because of recession, the stock market started to decline in March of 2000, we’ve been through war, we’ve been through emergency, we’ve been through corporate scandals � and things are better. Things are improving � they’re not as good as they will be, but as we sit here in May of 2004, I can say that the life of the Ohio citizen is improving. The fundamental question is, who will put policies in place to make sure it continues to improve beyond the election cycle?

And, you know, Iraq is, no question, it’s tough right now. On the other hand, I look forward to making the case that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein and America is more secure and safe. And I will continue to make the case about the historic nature of what we’re doing. We have a chance to literally change the world as a result of actions we’re taking, that are taking place.

Look what’s happened: Afghanistan is free, Libya is now disarmed, Iraq is becoming a free country in the heart of the Middle East. Remember, policy up until this point in time was, you know, let us contain, you know, stability. And there was no policy of freedom. And look where it got us. So I believe that their children will be living in a freer world.

By the way, just some other statistics, to complete your question, “are you better off.” Disposable income is up for citizens � that’s across the board in America. Home ownership rates are up. Minority home ownership � and not only up, the highest ever. Minority homeownership is the highest ever. I mean, there are a lot of statistics that I think will make my case that the people of Ohio are better off.

Mr. President, The Blade published a series of articles last year detailing war crimes by U.S. soldiers during Vietnam, and now these reports about the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq. What is it about this problem, and why does it continue to recur?

BUSH: Again, I’m not going to comment about these particular charges. There are charges being filed and I really am not going to go beyond what I’ve already said, because I think it’s very important for the system to work and for these reports to be completed.

The thing that I was pleased to hear from the secretary is that there is an investigation, beyond just this particular case, as to whether there’s any systemic problems. And we need to know that and the country needs to know that. It’s just � it’s early for me to predict the outcome of the report until I see it.

Mr. President �

Bush: We’ll cycle back and give you another question.

Do you � I guess, and let me stay on point on that, does this incident lead you to reconsider how the Army is using the private contractors?

Bush: Again, we just need to get the facts. You’re jumping out ahead. These are, by the way, legitimate questions, but you’re just trying to get me ahead of the full look. And as I said, there is an investigation to look at these specific charges on this incident that we saw in the pictures. But there is also a look at whether or not there is something more systemic going on. And that’s what your question refers to, and I just need to wait and see the full report.

Mr. President, why do you think your support in Ohio has dropped since you took office? And what do you want voters to consider when �

Bush: Well, I’m not so sure it has. I’m not a poll-watcher, but I’m told we’re doing pretty well here. You know, 2000 was a close race, as I recall.

Three point six percent.

That’s close. (Laughter.) A little bigger than some other states, but nevertheless, it was close. (Laughter.)

I’ve got solid support here. Any time you look at a campaign, you wonder, how strong is the base? Is the base solid? And, if solid, is the base enthused? I will tell you I think it is. Of course, you may think otherwise, but then we’ll only find out once the election occurs. But I feel very good about the party and the party’s ability to reach out to others.

But, look, this is going to be a tough race. I mean, I readily concede it’s going to be a tough race, and I look forward to the race. One of the things I’m trying to say on my bus trip is that I welcome the contest. I welcome the contest of ideas. I welcome the contest to get out and speak to the people. I like going to downtown Lebanon, or I like that � I particularly like those events where I’m able to talk to people and kind of interchange, interface with people and laugh and joke and lay out my points. I like doing that.

The complicating factor this time, as compared to last time, is I’ve also got another job to do. I had a job to do as governor, but we weren’t in session. Well, it turns out a president is not only in session all the time, there’s another dimension to the job, which wasn’t the case for governor, which is foreign policy. So I’ll be meeting with foreign leaders � I’ll be meeting with the prime minister of Singapore tomorrow, the king of Jordan this week � then I’m going to head back out on the trail.

But coming here to Ohio was a way to say, this is a state that we’ll contest in, and we’ll contest in a way that gets me in front as many people as I can be in front of and talk about what I believe is right. You’re going to see a variety of campaign events here. Tonight you’ll see � in front of a big crowd, I think, as least as big as it was in Detroit � you’ll see an on-text type speech. The others were more ad lib, particularly the one with the conversation. And I like doing those and we’ve been doing a lot. We’ve done those in Toledo, for example, before, I think it was a community college event up there.

Mr. President, Matt Maupin, PFC Matt Maupin is held hostage, as far as we know, somewhere in the war zone over there. Do you have any message for his parents, who live just in Batavia, just outside of Cincinnati?

Bush: My message is, is that there’s a lot of people praying for the son and praying for them. This has got to be an incredibly trying period of time for them. And the other message is, is that of course any time there’s a soldier that’s missing, we’re doing everything we can to find that person. And I am prayerful, as well, that there will be a joyous day in their life when their loved one is found.

Mr. President, when Senator Kerry was in Toledo last week, he challenged you to come to Ohio and look in the eyes of the unemployed workers who � some of whom have lost pensions and don’t have health care, and, beyond tax cuts, tell them what you’re going to do for them to make their lot better. What would you say to that?

I’ve given three speeches on that subject already today, which is to provide opportunity for displaced workers to get re-educated, so they can be employed in the jobs that now exist in the state of Ohio � and whether it be Pell Grants or displaced workers programs or trade adjustment assistance, for workers to be able to get the help they need to become employable.

And I’ve supported the extension of the unemployment insurance. But the best thing that a president can do is put pro-growth policies in place, is to grow this economy, and to fight off an economic isolationism that can creep into the conscience of the American political process. We must not become isolated from the world. We must compete.

And as I explained to the people in these events today, that the tendency for other presidents, including myself, is to � we welcome goods and services from overseas. It’s good for the consumers to be able to have that choice. The more product that comes into the country for � the more the consumers have to choose, the more likely it is they’re going to get better quality at better price. That’s a fact of economic life. And, therefore, the role of the president, rather than wall-off America from the world � which in my judgment hurts workers, it certainly hurts Honda workers here in the heartland of Ohio � is to open up markets overseas.

And that’s what we’re spending time doing. We’re spending a lot of time with the Chinese, getting them to understand that pegged currencies is not � modern economies don’t peg their currencies. We’re making some progress there. We’re spending time � we filed suit in the WTO against China. I believe it was an intellectual property matter � or semi-conductor matter, if I’m not mistaken.

The farmers of Ohio, by the way, are benefitting from us � from this administration working to open up markets. The farm community is in good shape. It wasn’t all that long ago that they weren’t in good shape. They’re doing well because of trade. In other words, I would tell the worker that, I can’t make you want to retrain, but I can help you retrain if you choose to. And I will put pro-growth policies in place that enable this economy to grow, so you can find a job.

Now, it may not be in the line of work they had before, I recognize that. But like that lady said today, which I thought was a very poignant story � I don’t know if you know the lady I’m talking about, the single mother of three who was a sales representative � she went back to the community college. She now makes double the amount of money she was making before, because she gained a new skill that was applicable to the jobs which are being created.

I bet if you go around the state of Ohio you’ll find that certainly some of the older industries hurt, and I fully recognize that. But there are new industries springing up. There are new health care opportunities. And the question is, for that worker � and I look them right in the eye, and say, here’s your opportunity, and here’s your help to get there.

This is perhaps a little off the radar screen, but it’s an issue of regional importance in southern Ohio and Kentucky, the �

Bush: Football. (Laughter.)

What can you do about the Reds’ bullpen? (Laughter.)

The tobacco industry is clearly an industry in transition. Do you think there’s a need for any further government regulation? Are we doing enough to discourage the young from smoking? And how do you balance the interests of longtime tobacco farmers against those other concerns?

Bush: Well, they’ve got the quota system in place, the allotment system. And I don’t think that needs to be changed. I do think we need to continue to educate younger smokers about the evils of smoking. And to me, that’s where the emphasis ought to be, particularly targeting teens. It’s an overall part of, kind of demand reduction for things that will hurt kids. And it’s not just cigarettes, it’s drugs and alcohol, as well. And, actually, we’re making some pretty good progress. I don’t know what the tobacco statistics are, but I do know that there has been a reduction in drug use amongst teenagers, which is a very positive development.

Thinking long-term on the war on terror, how are we going to know it’s over?

Good question.

And will it ever be over?

Bush: It becomes less over � or more over when you demolish al Qaeda. It will never be fully over, because there will be pockets of resentment and hatred. It will be less dangerous, however, as we spread freedom. And that’s an important part of this message that I’m telling our fellow citizens. And it’s an important part of my foreign policy, and that is, we reject this notion about � I repeat, this notion about, OK, all we care for is stability in the Middle East. It hasn’t worked. The Middle East is a breeding ground of terrorism because there’s a lot of hatred, frustration and violence.

I believe it’s because there’s not enough freedom in the Middle East. And, therefore, the long-term way to dent terrorist activities is to provide hope. I believe there will be a Palestinian state that is democratic and hopeful. I know it’s in Israel’s interests that there be a Palestinian state, and I know it’s in the Palestinian people’s interest. The Palestinian people need to have leadership that understands that.

Obviously, this is a very difficult subject for some to swallow � not here in this country, but the Middle East. But a Palestinian state is the only hope for there to be peace in the Middle East, for there to be peace in the Israeli-Palestinian issue, because it is a peaceful democracy that will help rout out the terror that could prevent progress from being made. So that’s the long-term issue.

I’m sure � listen, we have terrorists in our own country. Remember the guy in Oklahoma City? Terrorists � but systemic terrorism, where it’s going to � terrorism is bold enough to organize in vast cells can be greatly diminished by tough action and the spread of freedom.

In your Trotwood speech, you said the best way to secure the homeland is to chase these killers down, one at a time. In hindsight, do you think � considering the work still ahead in Iraq and the work still under way in Afghanistan, would you have wanted to stick with Afghanistan longer as the sole focus?

No, the war on terror is waged on many fronts. It’s not a single-front war. It’s waged on the financial front. We estimate we’ve cut off about $200 million so far. There’s more to do. It requires incredible cooperation between governments to chase their money down. And the war is fought on the use of troops and special forces. The war is fought by sharing intelligence, and finding these people. The war is fought on the diplomatic front, by getting Pakistan to be friendly, for example � al Qaeda helped, when they tried to kill Musharraf twice. But, nevertheless, they’re now an ally in this war. This is a war on multiple fronts.

And we’ve got about � over 10,000 troops in Afghanistan hunting for al Qaeda remnants. All it takes is good intelligence. We don’t need 10,000. We need to have precise location of their targets. Quite the contrary, it was necessary to do what we did when we did in order to make sure we have a better chance of winning the war on terror.

Mr. President, what should Ohio voters consider about you when they go to cast their vote in November?

A vision for the future, that I know where I want to continue to lead the country; that I see clearly what needs to be done to keep us competitive, keep us the best place for people to be able to find work. I know what needs to be done to win the war on terror. I look forward to debating my record on the war on terror, and I look forward to explaining how we need to continue to win the war on terror.

I’ll remind people that Afghanistan is now free, Iraq is becoming free, that Libya has disarmed, that we’ve uncovered a major arms dealer with A.Q. Khan; that we’ve got good relations in the Far East, we’ve got a six-nation coalition that’s dealing with Kim Jong-il, who is a dangerous tyrant; that there’s enormous pressure on Iran now not to develop a nuclear weapon; that in parts of the world where there was not hope, there is, because of our generosity when it comes to HIV/AIDS; we’re the largest food donor in the world. I mean, I look forward to making the case that the world is better off as a result of my presidency, and will be better off if I have four more years.

I look forward to the campaign. When I get on a bus and start moving around your state, it should be an indication that the same guy you saw four years ago who wanted to win then, wants to win now. And that’s an important question for the people of Ohio: Does he have the energy and the drive and the vision to get out there and compete for their vote? And the answer is, absolutely. I want to be the president, because I know where I want to continue to lead the country.

It’s good to see you all.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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