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Life after sleep
I’m still editing the weekly paper at school, and this week’s issue, which was finished for copy by 1 a.m., was delayed for hours by computer problems (my DSL at home is broken) and slow design. I expect to finish just before the sun comes up.

After thinking on this, I decided against blaming my staff for my discomfort. Most of them did their work on time, and no one can control the quirks of a PC or internet connection. Truth be told, I really don’t mind staying up for hours finishing a newspaper. It’s the best vocation in the world. I’m lucky to have found it.

I’m mostly bitter about my remaining committments at NU. After four years of disrespecting me and belittling my newspaper, the school is about to lose me. I am struggling through two final journalism classes, and while I enjoy my final political science seminar, the Medill classes are a pointless slog, full of busywork (MS Access tests, “media analyses” of November 2002 AIDS coverage) that is truly painful to sit through. And I don’t speak lightly. Sitting through a lecture on the merits of South African journalism after having sacrificed 24 hours to produce an actual newspaper causes me pain. I grip my pen, capped, and jab it into my thigh so as to stay awake.

On Tuesday, rested up, I’ll go back to class. My newspapers will have been thrown out by janitors whose managers have heard repeated requests not to touch these papers and their specialized racks. The management of Medill will have made no complaint. But they’ll expect me to fill out more excel spreadsheets and lists of questions for professional journalists.

I say this, Medill: You wasted me while you had me, and I’m gone in five weeks. I’m gonna do a bang-up job on the actual reporting you’ve assigned me, and then I’m gone. And if you want me to slug my salary back into the school, start respecting the journalism me and my staff are doing right now.

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Apple switch ads? How … quaint
Just in case you were afraid the Dean campaign hasn’t completely turned into a suicide cult, here they go asking supporters to choose one of three shittily-produced ads to broadcast in Wisconsin.

Some of the bloggers are … nonplussed.

Are you crazy?

ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY CRAZY?!?!?!?

AFTER ALL THESE MONTHS THIS IS THE BEST YOU CAN COME UP WITH, STEVE MCMAHON?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!??!

AFTER SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS IN MONEY FOR YOUR COMPANY THIS IS THE BEST YOU CAN COME UP WITH????

These Switch ads have been around since last SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If it matters, the best of the bunch is Max, the woman at the end. BUT IF YOU THINK THIS IS GOING TO WIN US WISCONSIN, YOU ARE INSANE!!!!!

PEOPLE IN WISCONSIN NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOWARD DEAN!

I’m sorry for shouting, blog friends, because I don’t mean to shout at you. I’m shouting at STEVE MCMAHON and all of the people on the Dean media team who have wasted our money so spectacularly.

So many of us were hoping for an amazing Rob Reiner-directed ad. What we got were switch ads that have been around for MONTHS, that we could have aired months ago, and that barely touch Dean’s AMAZING RECORD.

You should be ashamed. I am disgusted.

I’m not disgusted. What the hell did the Dean donors think they were getting for their donations? Something competent?

UPDATE: I’m remembering now that Russ Feingold won lots of acclaim for his 1992 ad campaign – roughly produced, home-movie-style affairs that portrayed the underdog candidate walking around his neighborhood and visiting his opponents’ mansions. Zephyr Teachout hints at this in her “please don’t kill me!” post.

I see a few differences.

1.) Feingold was an unknown state senator with less money than his competitors. Dean is a former frontrunner who has earned the endorsement of Al Gore and outfundraised his opponents. These ads don’t smack of “we’re the scrappy underdog.” They smack of “we’re broke, please vote for Dean.”

2.) It’s a takeoff on an ad … for computers. Dean is already winning rich white liberal votes. How is a tribute to a computer ad going to win him working class or black votes?

3.) Feingold actually appeared in his ads – likeable, friendly. Dean’s unfavorables are the highest of any Democrat. Why not correct that by putting him and Judy in cute ads?

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I call “bullshit!” on Howard Dean
Sorry, I’m a bit consumed with real life quandaries and haven’t been following much political news except for the gratifying collapse of Howard Dean.

The dude’s latest trick is lying to supporters in order to earn quick cash. Here’s what happened: on early Thursday a.m., the governor signed this e-mail.

Dear Supporter,

The entire race has come down to this: we must win Wisconsin.

We must launch our new television advertisement on Monday in the major markets in Wisconsin. To do that, I need your help to raise $700,000 by Sunday. Please contribute $50 today so that we can reserve the air time:

http://www.deanforamerica.com/wisconsinad

We will get a boost this weekend in Washington, Michigan and Maine, but our true test will be the Wisconsin primary. A win there will carry us to the big states of March 2-and narrow the field to two candidates. Anything less will put us out of this race.

All that you have worked for these past months is on the line on a single day, in a single state. We have come so far to change our political process and restore our democracy-we can’t stop now. Your $50 contribution will allow us to get out our message onto the airwaves, and win Wisconsin. Please contribute now:

http://www.deanforamerica.com/wisconsinad

Thank you,

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

You might read this and say: “Wow, Dean is saying that he will win Wisconsin or drop out of the race!”

Nope.

“All I can say is I stand by the e-mail, and I intend to win Wisconsin,” Dean said. “That’s all I’m going to say. I can repeat it 500 times if you like.”

At a Milwaukee news conference, Dean said: “I’m kind of avoiding answering the question.”

Dean, who has touted a penchant for straight talk as a campaign asset, also equivocated on his declaration Wednesday in Seattle that he would win the Washington state Democratic caucuses Saturday. In a phone news conference earlier Thursday, Dean said: “I never predict wins. I just say I think we should win” Washington.

After enjoying early status as the Democratic front-runner, Dean has yet to win a single one of the nine state primaries or caucuses staged so far. Before Wisconsin’s primary on Feb. 17, six states and Washington, D.C., hold their Democratic nominating contests.

[Campaign manager Roy] Neel, after extensive sparring with reporters, cautioned them not to report that Dean would quit following a Wisconsin loss.

“I don’t think that e-mail says if he doesn’t win he’ll be out of the race,” Neel said. “I don’t read it the same way you are interpreting it.”

Let’s go over that again.

“A win there will carry us to the big states of March 2-and narrow the field to two candidates. Anything less will put us out of this race.” – Howard Dean, Feb. 5.

“I don’t think that e-mail says if he doesn’t win he’ll be out of the race.” – Roy Neel, Feb. 5.

There is such a thing as “stepping on” your own message. In this case Dean drove over his message with a Hummer. Then he backed up over it, sped up, and drove over it again. Then he did it again.

The really funny part? His supporters, like battered wives with two black eyes, are still throwing money at him.

ALL RIGHT! WE SHATTERED THE BAT!

Let’s keep it up! And while we’re batting, there’s something else we can do:

Right now it’s really important to write to Wisconsin voters (http://letters.deanforamerica.com) to let them know why we’re supporting Gov. Dean. If you’d like to write, but don’t know what to say, please click my name and download a sample letter. It briefly describes some of the key reasons Dean is the best choice. You can use it as-is, or change it any way you want.

Along with the letter, there’s also a flyer comparing Gov. Dean and John Kerry. If you like it, please distribute it widely.

Go Dean!!!!!

A letter! That’s a great idea! How about this …

Dear voter,
You don’t know me, but I am an educated white liberal who knows that Howard Dean, and no one else, can save our country from whatever your problems happen to be. We are TAKING BACK OUR COUNTRY from people who believe the media hype that our nominee will be chosen in primaries – the same primaries supported by their corporate dollars! Dr. Dean is the candidate not of the SPECIAL INTERESTS, but of several hundred thousand Democrats with considerable disposable income and DSL connections. Not of the firefighters, many of whom supported George W. Bush!

I have included a sign for you to wave outside on primary day. YOU HAVE THE POWER to make a statement that … I’m gonna say special interests are bad. I think that’s it.

Oh, and vote!

So I think Dean’s going to lose, pretty much.

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Dean-ial
Here’s a snippet from Howard Dean’s interview on “Larry King Live” yesterday.

BOB WOODWARD, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, sir.
Governor, my question is, if you put a time line on this, your decline really could be marked with the Al Gore endorsement. As you look back on that, do you think maybe that was a mistake? Would you reconsider that? With this theme that you’re the new person, you don’t represent the old establishment, and certainly Gore did, if you’d said no to Gore, would you be in a better position?

DEAN: Al Gore’s has given the two best speeches in this campaign: one last March talking about the war and the president not being candid with us, and the other in September talking about the loss of our democracy.
I actually do think the endorsement of Al Gore began the decline, not for the reason that you said, because the establishment in Washington really realized that I might be the nominee and they did not like that.
The media folks didn’t like it, the other folks in the race didn’t like it, and they did everything they could to make sure we weren’t.

Al Gore isn’t part of the Washington establishment? What do you have to do to join that club?

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The Dean juggernaut rolls on
Golly, this is stupid. I’ve just received this e-mail from the Dean campaign.

Dear David,

Imagine this story in your local paper next week:

One neighborhood at a time, ordinary Americans stand up for Dean

Block by block, Dean supporters took to the streets yesterday. Ordinary Americans claimed thousands of street corners from Flagstaff to Austin, Green Bay to Miami, sprawling across America one neighborhood at a time, holding signs reading “I am Howard Dean’s Special Interest.” More than 300,000 Americans have donated $88 on average.

Kerry and Edwards and Bush have solicited millions of dollars from large corporate special interests – only Dean has the passion of over half a million people committed to changing America. We have a candidate who doesn’t just talk about change, but has a record of delivering real results.

Next week, on February 7th, the date of the Michigan and Washington caucuses, stand with thousands of other Americans in thousands of neighborhoods to show that the Dean grassroots are here to stay.

It is very simple – just make your own “I AM HOWARD DEAN’S SPECIAL INTEREST” sign (or we’ll send you one if you sign up below). Walk to the corner of your block at 4 PM ET (1 PM PT, 2 PM MT, 3 PM CT, etc). Pick a corner that has some traffic, but is still close to home. Be creative – if a few people find a thousand different ways to be visible for Dean on thousands of street corners, sprawling across America’s small towns and big cities, we can make this happen.

Plan an event online: http://commons.deanforamerica.com
Pledge to stand up for Dean (on your own) on February 7th: http://www.deanforamerica.com/visibility
Download a media advisory to let your local press know that you’re involved: http://www.deanforamerica.com/visibilitymedia
To contribute to give voice to Howard Dean’s message, click here: http://www.deanforamerica.com/contribute
It is our job in a democracy to imagine the world we want to live in, and then act to realize that vision.

This election is about power – who owns our government and who runs it?

If hundreds of thousands of Americans all stand on street corners together, standing with you, standing Dean at the same time, sharing Dean’s message of democracy, results, and courage, we can wake this country up, show our power, and help Dean break through —

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Zephyr Teachout, Dean for America

What the hell are they talking about? This is the kind of namby-pamby, college-student-with-lots-of-time-on-her-hands nonsense that’s been hindering the Dean campaign for weeks. Remember Ryan Lizza’s report on the Iowa caucuses?

Later, at the Kerry victory party downstairs, giddy aides chatter happily about how overhyped and amateurish the Dean ground game was. “The Dean people were on the corner of the street in downtown Des Moines waving signs,” one woman laughs into her cell phone. “They had no sense of organization.”

They still don’t. And they don’t know how to attract the media, either. For one, they are holding the event simultaneously across time zones – 4 p.m. on the East Coast, 3 p.m. in Chicago, etc. But to get on the news, it’s better to hold an event a little bit earlier. They’re running the risk of being ignored along the Eastern time zone. Also, they’ve got a remarkably patronizing view of the media. The campaign plans to put – what – 150,000 people in the streets nationwide. They will be there because the Dean blog told them. And they think they’re entitled for this to be covered by unquestioning, hype-guzzling reporters? Sheesh.