Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dragging Obama across the finish line

Today, Instapundit wrote that "the fix is in" and the mainstream media is totally "in the tank" for Obama. The Anchoress and Protein Wisdom have similar posts confirming the overwhelming bias for the Democratic candidate.

Day by day, the evidence continues to mount. On Sunday, the Boston Globe added a sidebar feature of the "best editorial cartoons of the week." I got up to twenty cartoons without finding one remotely critical of Obama. It starts out with a two-faced John McCain and moves on to illustrations critical of President Bush, Sarah Palin, and Congresional Republicans. The Democratic leaders who have pushed Congressional approval down to historical lows? Not a smudge for them.

Then, today, I got my Newsweek. Four years ago, Newsweek's assistant managing editor hoped that the media would gain the Kerry/Edwards ticket 15 points in the polls. This year they must be shooting for 30.

Let's start with the cover which depicts Obama as "Mr. Cool" and McCain as "Mr. Hot." So, right off, it's Fonzie vs. the guy with a temper.

The first picture of Obama (p. 5) has a sun-dappled candidate, smiling and waving to cheering fans from his campaign bus. On the next page, there is absolutely the worst possible picture of McCain, scowling on an airplane as journalists swarm around him. The caption: "Risky Business." No subtext here, folks, move along...we're all objective journalists.

Moving over to "Conventional Wisdom": Up arrow for Obama! Down arrow for Palin. McCain & Biden share a side-to-side arrow. David Letterman, who spent a week attacking McCain for skipping his show? Up arrow, natch. Over at Perspectives, more editorial cartoons, both of them ridiculing President Bush.

Almost nobody in the mainstream media has an interest in asking the most fundamental questions about Barack Obama's qualifications to be President. The closest I saw was Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes" who needed three tries to get Obama to explain why he has the skills to sit in the Oval Office:

KROFT: But what is there specifically about you? You mentioned disposition. You mentioned disposition. What skills and traits do you have that would make you a good president?

OBAMA: Yeah. You know I am very good at analyzing complicated problems. Hearing all voices. Getting all perspectives. And then taking some decisive action in terms of moving us in a direction that's gonna solve the problem. And you know, that was true when I worked across the aisle on issues like ethics reform, or nuclear proliferation. It's been true when I was in the state legislation, when I provided tax cuts to people who needed them. But also made sure that, as we were moving women from welfare to work, that they had the kinds of transportation assistance or health care assistance or other things that they needed. You know, I am a practical person, somebody who, I think, can cut through some very complicated problems and figure out the right course of action. Now, there's one other element that I think is important that we need in the presidency right now. And that is somebody who understands what it's like to struggle. And understands what people are going through all across America. You know, I come from pretty modest beginnings. And I know what it's like to scratch and claw to get to where I am. I know, you know, what it's like watching your mom have to go to school and work at the same time. Or, you know, watch your grandparents live in a small apartment because they're trying to help the next generation. You know, I don't get a sense that the kinds of folks that my mom and my grandparents were, the kinds of folks that Michelle's mom and dad were, who were able to make it 20, 30 years ago, even without a college education, I don't get a sense that people in those same circumstances now feel like they've got those opportunities. And I think an insistence that the American dream, American promise, gets passed on to the next generation, that somebody's fighting for that middle class, working class, for group of people who have to work, and are working very hard but aren't getting a real fair shake right now -- I think that's what's needed in the White House right now.
So, Obama can analyze problems and can "figure out the right course of action" - all of which should be a surprise to the Annenberg Foundation who saw the miserable failure of Obama's attempted reform of Chicago schools. Oh, and Obama has struggled like no other American at private schools and through student loans at Columbia and Harvard.

It's fitting that Obama believes in the American Dream that anybody can become President.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Too bad it's an election year

I'm not going to assign blame for the bailout collapse. The whole thing is just so depressing. But let me make one point: as readers of this blog know, I've been agitating for entitlement reform for years. Unfortunately, politicians are caught between the "will of the people" and what's best for the country, often leading to paralysis. In the case of Social Security reform, everybody in Washington knows the system can't go on at its current rate, but nobody is willing to cut a popular program. So nothing happens.

In the case of the bailout bill, nobody in Washington wanted to bail out Wall Street (due to populist or conservative principles) even though they knew it was the right thing to do for the overall economic health of the country. So nothing happened.

I'm reminded of a quote by Winston Churchill: "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

Extra – Christian Science Monitor: "Why the bailout bill went down"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Amazing Race update – A new race begins!

Season 13 starts tonight and we're introduced to the teams. One couple seems to think the Race is a form of marriage counseling; they'll be heading to divorce court after a couple days. The token older couple is two hard-core hippies, wearing tie-dyes. There's quite a bit of eye candy. Astonishingly, there are no "life partner" teams this season.

Phil arches his eyebrow and GO! Teams race up the steps at Los Angeles Olympic Stadium to their bags to find their first destination: Salvador, Brazil. It's a dash for the airport and one team makes the fatal mistake of following another team who happens to be hopelessly lost. Teams can book an American or United flight to Brazil, although the United flight arrives three hours later. This is standard TAR fare on the first leg to split up the eleven teams.

Once in Salvador, teams must find a certain sandwich shop for the next clue. The "separated" wife on one team tells her husband: "You speak Spanish, tell the driver we need to go fast." Except they speak Portuguese in Brazil. Heh. At the sandwich shop, teams must move an overloaded candy cart to a plaza. New Yorkers Terence and Sarah arrive first and head to the next stop at a military base, where they'll stay for the night. At the base, there's another split-up tactic as teams sign up for three groups departing in 15-minute intervals.

The next stop is Pelourihno and teams have a lot of trouble finding a taxi outside the military base. Once at the site, it's the Detour: "Hard way up" or "Soft way down." "Hard way up" involves climbing up the stairs at a church on your hands and knees; the "Soft way down" requires climbing down a very high cargo net, which is not for the acrophobic. Brother and sister Nick and Starr climb down and head to the Pit Stop at some offshore fortress. Except for the Frat Boys, everybody does the cargo net and arrive in the order they started climbing down. The Woodstock couple Anita and Arthur arrive last and are eliminated.

Final standings:

#1 - Nick & Starr – Prize: trip to Belize
#2 - Ken & Tina
#3 - Terence & Sarah

(seven other teams)

#11 - Anita & Arthur – PHILIMINATED

Next week: People get their feelings hurt. Maybe team nicknames.
What, me worry? – Jeff Jacoby notes that Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank has been a firm opponent of oversight at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: "Franks' fingerprints are all over the financial fiasco."

Extra - Here are some accomplices you may have heard of.

More - From Sister Toldjah.
Missing the point

The Boston Globe's main editorial today urges Bay Staters to vote against state question #1 which would eliminate the Massachusetts' income tax:

Voters are understandably anxious about their futures, and angry at institutions that have allowed the economy to deteriorate. But eliminating the income tax is not the way to strike back at greedy Wall Street brokers, high gasoline prices, double-dipping public employees, or crashing home values.
There's a certain "don't kick the dog" aspect to this argument. Take note, Boston Globe, that I'm not trying to punish the world, or the oil companies, or the Wall Street executives. I'll be voting "yes" because it's time to send a message to Beacon Hill that we're tired of a government unresponsive to the will of the people:

In 2000, voters approved a phased rollback of the income tax rate from 5.75 percent to 5 percent. The Legislature froze the rate at 5.3 percent in 2002, permitting further reductions only if economic conditions allowed.

Some voters who wanted taxes lowered to 5 percent have decided to support Question 1 to show their anger at the state, said Barbara Anderson, director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, which advocated 5 percent but is now producing bumper stickers that read "Hell Yes! Question 1."
Polls show the ballot question going down to a narrow defeat because most people understand it would unleash chaos in Boston. Deep down, I hope it loses by a single vote.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

And now the facts - The indispensable FactCheck sets the record straight on the various claims and accusations made in last night's debate.
Next up - Is there any question whatsoever that Thursday night's Vice Presidential debate is the most anticipated of this election season? This will be the most significant television event since President Roosevelt addressed the nation after the stock market crash.
The overnight analysis

Slate: "Tie goes to Obama"
Politico: "The Mac is back"
Byron York: "Barack Obama plays Mr. Nice Guy - and loses - in the first debate."
Joe Klein: "Obama wins debate"
Jennifer Rubin is emphatic about "The Winner":

Only the most devoted partisan could deny it was a very, very strong outing for John McCain. On foreign policy he was devastating - making clear how much more resolute and experienced he is. On the bailout and domestic policy he more than held his own. He may have climbed back into this race. For Obama he I think did not answer key questions on the surge and on direct meetings with Ahmadinejad. I imagine the McCain camp is hugely relieved.
CNN rebroadcast most of the debate and I managed to catch up. To use the well-worn sports metaphors, there were no knockout punches or home runs: if you like McCain, you thought he did fine and if you support Obama you felt likewise.
Cool Hand Luke - Food magnate Paul Newman passed today at 83. I thought he was an understated genius in "Nobody's Fool."
For fans of "The Office"

Jim proposes to Pam at a gas station:

A non-verbal observation - I missed a good chunk of the debate tonight because I was on an extended phone call. However, wasn't John McCain supposed to be this frail, old guy? For two hours, the codger stood at a podium and forcefully stood his ground. I start shifting my feet in church if I have to sing a hymn more than three stanzas.

Extra – An even-handed review from Moderate Voice: "To summarize, for two guys who have been less than sterling debaters in the past, they each presented us with surprisingly crisp, no-baloney briefs for their respective candidacies. It was all refreshingly boring and appropriately sober for our trying times."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Everybody's talkin' at me - Almost everybody on my blogroll is live-blogging tonight. Me, I'll wait until it's done before gearing up again.

However, here are some pre-debate predictions. First, it will be impossible to stay on the topic of foreign policy, given the events of the past week. But if and when the topic comes to Iraq, watch for McCain to quote today's main editorial in the Washington Post, citing political progress in Baghdad. Obama will try to ignore recent developments, including the Surge, and say that it was wrong to go to Iraq in the first place. To which I imagine McCain will retort: your running mate voted for it, too. Frankly (on foreign policy), McCain has more arrows in his quiver; Obama has his 2002 speech.
Put on a sweater, kids - Damn, I think I'm going to have to turn on the heat tonight. Brrrr.
Looking forward to question #1

The legacy of the Big Dig lives on. Forever. Boston Globe: "Big hike in tolls for pike looming"

The Turnpike Authority spends more than $100 million a year on debt and interest payments, mostly related to Big Dig construction. Board members and drivers who commute from the western suburbs have long complained that the system is not fair because so many of the drivers who pay for the Big Dig do not use it.
Raise the tolls on the tunnels, not the Pike. You wanted the Big Dig, you can pay for it, Boston.
Rope-a-dope, or just dope?

As we head into the debate tonight, I wanted to highlight Nate Silver's contrarian analysis that McCain was trying to hype up the debate by seeking a delay:

Perhaps, however, rather than trying to postpone the debate, McCain is instead seeking to increase its importance. Surely the drama of the past 30 hours has made it an even more captivating event, probably leading to increased viewership. Moreover, with the subject matter likely to be expanded to include the economy, and the candidates having had less time to prepare, the entire exercise becomes less predictable, with gaffes more likely to occur, but also the potential for "clutch" performances.
Others saw it either as political theater or a stunt that fell flat: "McCain blinks." All this guessing may turn upside down depending on how the candidates perform tonight. If McCain does well, the talking heads will declare his campaign suspension as a brilliant play in the expectations game. If not, Obama may well jump into an insurmountable lead.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Quick post – Way, way too busy lately. Such are the vagaries of a one-man blog. Anyway, I'm getting whiplash from the stock market and Presidential polls. For the record, John McCain would be making a huge mistake by skipping tomorrow night's debate. He clearly outclassed Obama at Saddleback and should take every opportunity to repeat on the public stage.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Amazing Snub

I saw parts of the Emmys Sunday night, and apparently I was the only one. I'm tempted to opine that viewers avoided the annual award show because they thought: Election Year + vapid celebrities = a night of political haranguing. It wasn't quite that bad, although the political persuasions - sorry, "persuasion" singular - was glaringly obvious. Here comes Martin Sheen! Wonder what he'll say?

And now to vent. The other night the Emmys handed out its sixth-consecutive reality show award to the greatest show on TV: The Amazing Race. Also, this was the first year they handed out an Emmy for reality show host and TAR's Phil Keoghan was not among the nominees. Instead the hosts worthy of a nomination included a guy who opens briefcases and four others who put on, by all accounts, the worst opening in the history of award shows.

You the man, Phil of the arched eyebrow. New Amazing Race (season 13!) starts Sunday, September 28th.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Your tuition dollars at work - Boston Herald "UMass officials quash credit-for-campaigning offer": "University of Massachusetts officials have quashed efforts by an Amherst campus chaplain to offer two college credits to any student willing to campaign in New Hampshire this fall for Democrat Barack Obama." Color me unsurprised.
Slouching towards socialized medicine

If you love Canada's single-payer system, you'll love Massachusetts. From the Boston Globe: "Across Massachusetts, wait to see doctors grows":

The wait to see primary care doctors in Massachusetts has grown to as long as 100 days, while the number of practices accepting new patients has dipped in the past four years, with care the scarcest in some rural areas.

Now, as the state's health insurance mandate threatens to make a chronic doctor shortage worse, the Legislature has approved an unprecedented set of financial incentives for young physicians, and other programs to attract primary care doctors. But healthcare leaders fear the new measures will take several years to ease the shortage.
Meanwhile, in my neck of the woods:

Amherst family physician Kate Atkinson decided to open her practice to new patients in January partly so she could take on the newly insured, especially since, by her count, 18 doctors in the area had closed their practices over the last two years. Most of those physicians have become hospitalists, caring for patients in the hospital, she said.
Because primary doctors are some of the lowest paid in medicine, Beacon Hill has decided to spend more taxpayer money to call the program a "success" instead of letting the market set the price for a scare resource.

Extra - John Stossel has more on Canadians flying to the States for treatment. Not Massachusetts, Montana.
Traffic! - Thanks for the link, Conservative Grapevine.
So much for "hope." Now it's "whatever it takes."

Here's Ruth Marcus in the WashPost with "Closing the whopper gap":

The symmetry of sin is suddenly looking more equal. Last week, I flayed John McCain for dishonesty -- flagrant and repeated dishonesty -- about Barack Obama's proposals. Obama was by no means blameless, I argued, but his lapses were nowhere near as egregious as his opponent's. I stand by everything I wrote.

But a series of new Obama attacks requires a rebalancing of the scales: Obama has descended to similarly scurrilous tactics on the stump and on the air. On immigration, Obama is running a Spanish-language ad that unfairly lumps McCain together with Rush Limbaugh -- and quotes Limbaugh out of context. On health care, Obama misleadingly accuses McCain of wanting to impose a $3.6 trillion tax hike on employer-provided insurance.

Obama has been furthest out of line, however, on Social Security, stooping to the kind of scare tactics he once derided.
Suffice to say that Marcus has also been reading Factcheck.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Massachusetts Question #1

This November there is a ballot question here in the Bay State to completely eliminate the state's 5.3% income tax. Today's Boston Globe had competing opinion pieces for and against the measure. Despite my anti-tax sentiments, I think it's a rather radical step. However, there's a good chance it may pass this time around because so many people in Massachusetts see it as the only way to force change on an unresponsive State Legislature. For example, at first Beacon Hill did everything they could to subvert the ballot question:

The proponents submitted about 100,000 signatures to the Massachusetts Secretary of State for the first phase of signature collection. 76,084 of those signatures were determined to be valid, with a requirement that 66,593 must be valid for the initiative to proceed to the next step. The next step was for the Massachusetts State Legislature to take up the measure. They declined to pass it by the first Wednesday in May 2008, meaning that the proponents had to collect an additional 11,099 valid signatures by June 18, 2008.
Which they did. And why are so many people willing to approve such a sweeping change to the Massachusetts tax code? From the "Arguments in favor of question 1":

State politicians have not kept faith with their promises to taxpayers. The Massachusetts State Legislature blockaded a ballot question approved by the citizens of the commonwealth in 2000 that would have reduced the state income tax to 5%.
Will democracy win out in the birthplace of liberty? Don't hold your breath: even if the ballot initiative passes, I'm absolutely confident that Beacon Hill will essentially ignore the will of the people yet again.
As the Villages go, so goes Florida - Politico: "Palin draws largest crowd yet for GOP." About 25,000 according to one fire marshal, 60,000 by another's guess. As fate would have it, I'm currently reading a book about the Villages and its strange culture of retirees in golf carts and deed restrictions forbidding lawn ornaments.
Another day, another lie from Obama on Social Security

Factcheck: "Obama's Social Security whopper" takes him to task for suggesting that current seniors would have been affected by a stock market drop. States Factcheck: "False." Not to be confused with a more emphatic Factcheck from yesterday: "False!"

Also, as Althouse notes, Obama has quietly removed his opposition to raising the Social Security retirement age from his web page. Hey Grandma! He wants to take away your check!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Never lose control of the audience - Paul Krugman asks Canadians if they think their health care system is "terrible." He doesn't get the answer he wants.
Back from hiatus - One of my favorite blogs is back up to speed after an extended break: bookmark Scrivener for all your economic commentary.
That was unexpected - For the past year, I've been urging (well, through this blog) for South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki to put pressure on Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe to resign. I guess our signals got crossed: "South African President Mbeki to quit."
And another thing (or three) on Social Security

Every time the stock market takes a steep dive, the usual suspects come out and cry: "Aha! See what privatization would have done!" It's akin to leaving a football game after your team gives up a touchdown in the first quarter. Social Security is a lifetime investment and must be gauged to long-term projections.

First of all, the personal Social Security accounts that were proposed would have diverted only a small percentage of FICA taxes (2% of the 12.4% was often cited) and would have put them into accounts holding Treasury bills. Essentially, they would be the same as current accounts except, if a person died before 65, he/she could pass that money on to survivors.

Second point: let's assume that personal accounts would allow for "risky" investments in stocks. Since 1926, 28% of one-year periods have logged a drop in the stock market, and 13% over a five year period. But over 15-years there has been no decline in value in a stock portfolio. If we account for a mixture of stocks and bonds: 23% experience a loss over one year, and 6% over five-years, but 100% of mixed portfolios gained in value over ten years. For a 60/40 stock/bond portfolio, the 35-year return is an average of 5.1% and the lowest return is 2%. By comparison, Social Security's rate of return for a two-income family with two children is 1.23% and for many people it is actually negative. (Needless to say, when Social Security goes bankrupt in 2041, the rate of return will be negative for everybody.)

Third point: Social Security once collected 1% of a worker's income and now collects 6.2% (with employee match that could go towards your salary, 12.4%). Retirement savings and investments are no longer the playground of the wealthy, as they were in the 1930s; people are free to make their own choices. Instead, the nanny state has decided to take these choices out of the hands of Americans and give us back (after 50 years of working) what we paid in. As I've said before: Social Security is so great, they had to make it mandatory.
Scaring Grandma, 2008

Factcheck: "An Obama-Biden ad says McCain supports "cutting benefits in half" for Social Security recipients. False!"

For the record, McCain has said that he would seek a bipartisan deal with Congress to fix Social Security's financial problems.During a Republican candidate debate last year in Orlando, Florida, he said:

McCain, Oct. 21, 2007: "Look, what Americans need is some straight talk. They need to know -- every man, woman and child in America needs to know that both of these are going broke. They're going broke and we've got to do the hard things. We've got to fix it for the future generations of Americans. Don't we owe that to young Americans today? I say we do. ... It's got to be bipartisan. ... And you have to got to the American people and say we don't -- we won't raise your taxes. We need personal savings accounts, but we got to fix this system."

The system isn't exactly "going broke." But the latest official projection is that the trust fund will be exhausted by the year 2041, after which current tax rates will finance only 78 percent of currently scheduled benefits. We agree that "straight talk" is needed and that finding solutions will be hard. Ads like this, however, misinform the public and make the job of fixing the system more difficult.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome, why to the Republicans keep trying to fix Social Security when they know the Democrats will demagogue it to death? McCain should simply repeat the opinion of the Social Security Administration that the system is on the path to bankruptcy and the party of FDR should propose solutions. In 2041, when automatic cuts kick in, a whole generation of Americans will realize they've been duped out of their hard-earned money for a negative rate of return.

Extra - Don Surber had a similar thought: "Here’s an idea for Obama: Tell us how you will save Social Security."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Last house standing

Can't stand your neighbors? Build yourself a home 22 feet above sea level and then wait for Hurricane Ike. (HT: Fark)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Let's have this debate on which candidate has a record

Today's main editorial in the WashPost: "John McCain's record on Wall Street oversight gets some misleading spin from Barack Obama"

However, when it comes to regulating financial institutions and corporate misconduct, Mr. McCain's record is more in keeping with his current rhetoric. In the aftermath of the Enron collapse and other accounting scandals, he was a leader, with Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), in pushing to require that companies treat stock options granted to employees as expenses on their balance sheets. "I have long opposed unnecessary regulation of business activity, mindful that the heavy hand of government can discourage innovation," he wrote in a July 2002 op-ed in the New York Times. "But in the current climate only a restoration of the system of checks and balances that once protected the American investor -- and that has seriously deteriorated over the past 10 years -- can restore the confidence that makes financial markets work."

Mr. McCain was an early voice calling for the resignation of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt, charging that he "seems to prefer industry self-policing to necessary lawmaking. Government's demands for corporate accountability are only credible if government executives are held accountable as well."

In 2006, he pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- while Mr. Obama was notably silent. "If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole," Mr. McCain warned at the time.
Hmmm...I think we know why Obama was "notably silent" on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac reform.
Super-intervention time - NYTimes Freakonomics blog explains the recent financial turmoil. Good review.
Down the memory hole

Washington Post, July 2008:

In the four years since he stepped down as Fannie Mae's chief executive under the shadow of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal, Franklin D. Raines has been quietly constructing a new life for himself. He has shaved eight points off his golf handicap, taken a corner office in Steve Case's D.C. conglomeration of finance, entertainment and health-care companies and more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.
Franklin Raines today: "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters."

Hey, remember when an indignant Franklin Raines demanded that the Washington Post clarify his relationship with Obama? Yeah, neither do I.

Activate the Obama-maniacs: Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, and Obama doesn't know that guy who wrecked Fannie Mae. (HT: Ace)

Extra - Long post by Ace on where all those financial advisors are working now. (That is, unless Obama's hackers can update Wikipedia really quick.) Also, the Astute Bloggers find that back in 2003, Massachusetts' Barney Frank was dismissing oversight of Fannie and Freddie.
That Marty McFly looks familiar - Cracked: "8 classic movies that got away with gaping plot holes"
Rush told me it was so - Rachel Lucas: "You're decent but just confused and stupid"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mr. Motown - Let's all tip our hats (and tap our shoes) for the man who created "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," Norman Whitfield who passed away today at 67.
How the Rosenbergs bracketed my college career

When I was a freshman at Rutgers, I attended a conference with Michael Meeropol, son of convicted spies Julies and Ethel Rosenberg, where he pressed for their innocence. Being a freshman, I thought (at the time) there was some validity to his statements and, maybe, the Rosenbergs were blameless victims of the Red Scare.

And then in my senior year, Nikita Khrushchev's posthumous memoir was published where he lauded the Rosenbergs for helping the Soviet cause by stealing nuclear secrets. This led to a spirited discussion in "American Culture in the 1950s" - my last gut class before graduation.

Anyway, via Betsy's Page, there's word that 91-year-old Rosenberg co-defendant Morton Sobell has finally admitted that he and Julius Rosenberg were Soviet agents. "Case closed" writes Ronald Radosh in the LA Times and even the Meeropols cannot keep up the facade anymore.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Drill where there's no oil - Fox News "House passes bill to expand offshore oil drilling": "The House has voted to allow oil drilling off the nation's Atlantic and Pacific coasts if states agree - but only 50 or more miles out. Republicans called the bill a ruse, saying that's well beyond where most of the estimated 18 billion barrels of oil is located."

Of course, heading into an election season, the Representatives voted for political cover. The legislation also rolls back tax breaks on the oil industry and grabs more cash on oil lease royalties, while opening up the most expensive places to extract oil. Let's review the impact on gas prices after a couple of months.
"Didn't anyone learn from the General Betray-Us ads?" - Victor Davis Hanson argues that the uncontrollable and often vitriolic defense of Obama by the media is stirring a backlash.

Extra - Real Clear Politics: "Media miss the McCain that was going to lose"
Not ready for prime time - Via Winds of Change "The nub of the problem": "While hammering McCain for being a politician and Palin for being unprepared make good copy and excite the base (including the base working in big media companies) it doesn't reassure the typical voter that Obama is ready for the Big Comfy Chair."

Twice as many unaffiliated voters said that McCain is ready for the Presidency while Obama is not. Unless there's a big "gotcha" moment, I can't imagine the debates are going to move these numbers.
Padding a tissue-thin resume with air - Obama takes credit for stimulus package; Democrats shuffle feet, look off in the distance.

Extra - Ace: "If Obama's so scary-qualified, why is he unable to list any real accomplishments and achievements?" Maybe he's modest.
Does anybody in Washington know the meaning of "moral hazard?" - Via Megan, the Federal Reserve is going to essentially purchase AIG.

To turn a phrase: capitalism ain't beanbag. You take your risks and if you succeed you reap the rewards; if you fail, you lose everything.

When rogue trader Nick Leeson concealed huge losses at Barings Bank, nobody came in to save what was then the oldest merchant bank in England (founded 1762). In 1995, the Dutch bank ING purchased the bankrupt Barings (and assumed its liabilities) for a single British pound.

Tough luck, old sport, and let that be a lesson.

More - From Memeorandum.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quick break - I have to finish a project tonight, but I'll leave you with the quote of the day:

"If we’re going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily." - Barack Obama
More - NRO's Campaign Spot: "Just note that if McCain had said that, it would be seen as a sign of age and dementia. If Palin had said that, it would be a sign she's not ready for prime time. If Biden said that, well, that scenario presumes that a reporter would be around to notice, but if he did, it would mean that it's a Monday."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No escaping the black hole of entitlement spending

Armed and Dangerous: "Timing the entitlements crash" (HT: Maggie)

At some point, the U.S. government is going to lose both the ability to increase revenues and the ability to sell bonds. At that point the entitlements system will crash. Transfer checks will either stop issuing or become meaningless because the government has, like some banana republic, hyperinflated the currency in order to get out from under its debt obligations.
I've wasted a billion electrons on this topic, but let's try again: the United States cannot possibly pay for all the obligations it has made to Social Security and Medicare. But since nobody in Washington has the will to state the obvious, we're going to continue borrowing from foreign sources until the whole system grinds to a halt. (Right around the time I want to retire - super!)
Other people's money

In today's Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby shows how Obama's proposed tax hike is a false lesson in "neighborliness":

"Neighborliness." Perhaps that word has a nonstandard meaning to someone whose home adjoined the property of convicted swindler Tony Rezko, but extracting money by force from someone who earned it in order to give it to someone who didn't is not usually spoken of as neighborly. If Citizen Obama, "sitting pretty," reaches into his own pocket and helps out the waitress with a large tip, he has shown a neighborly spirit. But there is nothing neighborly about using the tax code to compel someone else to pay the waitress that tip.

Taxation is not generosity, it is confiscation at gunpoint. Does Obama not understand the difference?

Perhaps he doesn't. Eager though he may be to compel "neighborliness" in others, he has not been nearly so avid about demonstrating it himself. Barack and Michelle Obama's tax returns show that from 2000 through 2004, when their adjusted gross income averaged nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year, their annual charitable donations amounted to just $2,154 - less than nine-tenths of 1 percent.
Ah, but if Obama was less than virtuous in his personal charitable contributions, he'll make up for it by taking money from somebody else. Also, if you'll recall, six months ago Obama said he would raise the capital gains tax - even though it has historically suppressed actual tax revenue - in the interest of "fairness."

"Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20%," said Mr. Gibson. "And George Bush has taken it down to 15%. And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?"

Mr. Obama answered by citing rich hedge fund managers. Raising the capital gains tax is necessary, he said, "to make sure . . . that our tax system is fair and that we are able to finance health care for Americans who currently don't have it and that we're able to invest in our infrastructure and invest in our schools. And you can't do that for free."
So there you have it: Barack Obama wants a tax policy guided by "neighborliness" and "fairness" instead of equity, revenues, and - let's face it - logic. Hold on to your wallet, folks.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Live and let die

ROA: "Paul McCartney threatened with suicide bombers" That's the threat if he plays a concert in Israel. (HT: Jawa Report)

This gives a whole new meaning to "Band on the Run."
Estrogen roundup - Boy, there are a lot of chicks on the Sunday morning talkshows tomorrow morning, talking about (guess who!) Sarah Palin. I hear the Democrats have a vice-presidential candidate, too. Some guy.
Bombing the hand that feeds

Gateway Pundit: "At 9-11 Anniversary Tribute, Muslim Cleric Promises Next Massive Attack Will Be in Great Britain"

They closed the rally by loudly asking: "Now where's my welfare check?"

The two bombers were identified as Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, from the war-torn Horn of Africa nation of Somalia; and Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27, thought to be from the troubled northeast African nation of Eritrea.
As polls show growing public concern about Britain's Muslim community, the fact that Omar has been paid almost $60,000 in state benefits over six years is likely to cause more outrage.
He appears to have been living free in the one-bedroom flat in the northern suburb of Southgate after receiving political asylum.
This might be a good time to plug Mark Steyn's excellent "America Alone."
The blog that was made for this hurricane - Regular updates on Ike are over at the perfectly named Texas Rainmaker.
Least surprising news story today - Fox News: "Tina Fey May Return to Saturday Night Live for Sarah Palin Sketch"

Tina Fey gave a funny speech when "30 Rock" won the Emmy for best comedy by thanking their "dozens and dozens" of viewers. She's a big Hillary supporter, so it will be interesting to see how she spins Palin.

Friday, September 12, 2008

100 year hurricane - CNN: "Hurricane destroyed Galveston in 1900"
Charlie don't surf the Internet

Is this what Obama's campaign has come to? He's ridiculing John McCain because he doesn't know how to use a computer.

Well, I know that a President has to prepare PowerPoint presentations for foreign leaders such as "You can't have your nukes and eat too" and balance the budget with Excel. But then a President has a lot of helpers, too. I think this attack is what the kids today call "lame." Or "boss" - I forget.

Extra - John Judis on the Plank: "Which voters exactly are gong to be outraged by the fact that McCain doesn't know how to use a computer?" I'm sure all the senior citizens in the country are glad to hear that if you can't send email, you're old and busted.

More - Instapundit: "...a combination of cluelessness, sloppiness, and narcissism."
Media agonistes - Fox News: ABC and the Washington Post make edits with regard to Sarah Palin. Honest mistakes, I'm sure, and I'm looking forward to Obama's "exact words" question also.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Eagleton option warms up - Joe Biden says Hillary would have been a better VP pick.

Stop this merry-go-round, Joe wants off!
Lipstick vogue

Has anybody made an Elvis Costello reference today? It's all mine, baby! Anyway, over at Contentions, John Podhoretz writes about the all-consuming issue of the day and why they can't stop talking about it on the cable news shows:

Because the story is golden - because it's Palin, and women, and the question of politesse vs. hardball, and the classic reversal of candidate of the supposed "party of women" getting himself in hot water for saying something his rivals in the "daddy party" could argue with even minimal plausibility was "sexist." Because this is what cable news, and talk radio, and the American media in the 21st century, hunger for. Because you can't imagine what a huge star Sarah Palin has become in less than two weeks, and how the mere mention of her name causes ratings to spike - and so if one anchor were to refuse on principle to lead with it, the channel surfers would just jump away to a rival who was more than happy to feed the bottomless hunger for this latest twist in the tale.

If I were an Obama supporter, I would be more disheartened today than I have ever been about this candidacy, because it is demonstrating not only a lack of sure-footedness, but a rather astonishing amateurishness.
What was striking about Obama's perceived insult is that he's been characterized as this Kennedyesque figure, one of soaring rhetoric and the "politics of hope." Instead, he sounds peevish and small and (maybe) sexist. On top of that, more Americans are coming to the realization that Obama is all talk and no action...and now his talk is starting to backfire.
The nanny state cometh - Good article by Jeff Jacoby in today's Boston Globe "Let government mind your business": "Eternal vigilance, Americans once understood, is the price of liberty. Well, that was then. Americans today are busy absorbing more important lessons. Like "put out that cigarette." And "pull up your pants."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

You know, it was a dumb thing to say

Obama used the idiom "you can't put lipstick on a pig" during a campaign stop. How did the partisan crowd interpret this?

The crowd apparently took the "lipstick" line as a reference to Palin, who described the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull in a single word: "lipstick."
Can we call it a gaffe? Well, as Marc Ambinder correctly points out, it's a phrase Obama (and McCain) have used before and he probably meant no malice, but as a minimum there's some tone-deafness on Obama's part here.

Extra - Victor Davis Hanson wonders why Obama used two metaphors and the other one was an "old" fish. Was it just a fluke or did Obama say it just for the halibut?
Stealing the spotlight - Obama' s con: "I think Obama is jealous" Imagine how Joe Biden feels.
Oh Freddie Mac, Freddie! Freddie Mac, when are you comin' back? - Although these contributions span over a decade, can Barack Obama really be a top recipient of Freddie Mac campaign contributions after only three years in the Senate? I guess he needs the cash.
Keep it up, Frenchy

Actually it's a Brit, tell us Yanks that we're courting some kind of "disaster" which I can only assume is a sternly-worded missive from the United Nations:

If Americans choose McCain, they will be turning their back on the rest of the world, choosing to show us four more years of the Bush-Cheney finger. And I predict a deeply unpleasant shift.

Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start - a fresh start the world is yearning for.
Golly, I can't think of a better way to persuade Joe Sixpack to vote for Obama than to suggest he's a backward, racist, knuckle-dragger, too provincial to understand the concerns of Paris salons. Only in the last paragraph does Jonathan Snootington-on-Avon catch a glimpse of what he's doing.

Of course I know that even to mention Obama's support around the world is to hurt him.
Right ho, Jeeves! Stiff upper lip, and all that. We'll try to weather the storm of European tongue-clucking.

Monday, September 08, 2008

MSNBC: from aqua to turquoise

A couple of weeks ago, my Obamaweek Newsweek magazine had a three page ad spread for MSNBC. The first page was all blue rectangles, with the subheading "Notjustliberalnews.com" followed by an all-red layout with "Notjustconservativenews.com." The last page suggested that MSNBC was the news channel with a "fuller spectrum of news" in a wide rainbow of colors.

Uh-huh, that's quite a spectrum. The professionals at NBC News were mortified at the left-wing antics of their cable namesake during the Presidential conventions:

In interviews, 10 current and former staff members said that long-simmering tensions between MSNBC and NBC reached a boiling point during the conventions. "MSNBC is behaving like a heroin addict," one senior staff member observed. "They're living from fix to fix and swearing they'll go into rehab the next week."
Network execs staged an intervention:

Keith Olbermann may be the "voice" of MSNBC, but network executives have decided to yank the talkmeister off its political anchor desk after the cable channel finished dead last in the Nielsen rankings of all news coverage during the two weeks of political conventions.
For the record, MSNBC was creamed by "fair and balanced" Fox News, who had almost four times as many viewers. Maybe Rachel Maddow will bring some of that Air America magic along to her new digs. Or maybe MSNBC needs a new ad campaign. Something.
Free speech in the Bay State - Boston Globe: "Libel lawsuit filed against Cape blogger" Key quote: "From a crass commercial standpoint, I'm almost hoping the judge doesn't throw it out," said Walter Brooks, the editor and publisher. "Paul Revere must be spinning in his grave."
Headline of the day - From the "What decade is this?" files: "Deadly Ike slams Cuba."
The Eagleton option - I think it's time for all good members of the Party to come to the realization that the Vice Presidential pick has been a disaster.

So the obvious question is: when will Barack Obama dump Joe Biden?
Then she used her salad fork on the main entree, the rube

Governor Sarah Palin made her first gaffe today, according to Huff Post. No wait, a "major" gaffe, when she mistakenly said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had gotten expensive to taxpayers. Because those lending institutions aren't funded by taxpayers, even though their debts are protected with taxpayer money.

What a dolt. I urge the mainstream media and the liberal Left (but I repeat myself) to bring this to the attention of America in all 57 states.

Extra - Minuteman: "Send better gaffes!"

Sunday, September 07, 2008

McCain cracks 50%

USA Today: "Convention lifts McCain over Obama"

The Republican National Convention has given John McCain and his party a significant boost, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken over the weekend shows, as running mate Sarah Palin helps close an "enthusiasm gap" that has dogged the GOP all year.

McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by 50%-46% among registered voters, the Republican's biggest advantage since January and a turnaround from the USA TODAY poll taken just before the convention opened in St. Paul. Then, he lagged by 7 percentage points.
Nice swing. And there's more, buried near the bottom:

In the new poll, taken Friday through Sunday, McCain leads Obama by 54%-44% among those seen as most likely to vote. The survey of 1,022 adults, including 959 registered voters, has a margin of error of +/- 3 points for both samples.
Ten points? Among likely voters? (*rubbing eyes*) I'm not sure how the USA Today/Gallup differs from the "regular" Gallup poll which has the race at a tighter 48%-45% for McCain but I think it's safe to say the Republicans had a good convention.

Extra - Kim at Wizbang has more.

Update (9/8) - The Hedgehog Report has all the latest polls; just keep scrolling down.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ending Social Security as we know it

I want to dissect one paragraph from Barack Obama's address to the AARP and how he would "fix" Social Security's long-term funding problems:

Right now, the Social Security payroll tax is capped. That means most middle-class families pay this tax on every dime they make, while millionaires and billionaires only pay it on a very small percentage of their income.
Yes, and as I've written many times before, the benefits they receive are also capped. Social Security is a proportional system in that you're supposed to get back a benefit in line with the taxes paid into the system. If billionaires pay more, will they get more? Obama steadfastly refuses to say.

That's why I'll work with members of Congress from both parties to ask people making more than $250,000 a year to contribute a little bit more to keep the system sound.
Oh, he's going to "ask" them. Isn't that polite?

It's a change that would start a decade or more from now, and it won't burden middle-class families. In fact, 99% of Americans will see absolutely no change in their taxes - 99%.
The other 1%? Screw 'em. We need the cash.

Social Security, for all its faults, is the last bastion of universality in the federal government: everybody in America receives a benefit proportional to what they put in. Obama's plan would change Social Security traditional role and turn it into a welfare system; and even with the massive tax increase, his plan would cover less than half of Social Security's 75-year shortfall.

Here's former comptroller general David Walker describing the "fiscal cancer" that America is facing unless we address entitlement spending:

What will Obama do for now? Well, it's campaign time:

"The thing about a doughnut hole is that it is empty," Howard Gleckman, editor of TaxVox, the blog of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, wrote Thursday. "There is nothing. And that, it seems, is what is left of Barack Obama's plan to fix Social Security." He added: "Make no mistake, what Obama is really saying is that, at least for the campaign, he is walking away from Social Security and all of its problems."

Obama: working for you the Congo

It seems that I raised some hackles over at Balloon Juice when I joined into their contest to define "elitist." I opined it was somebody who had no significant achievements in life but wrote two autobiographies. In retrospect, "no significant achievements" may have been harsh as FactCheck lists all of Obama's Senate legislation:

An accurate comparison with the Clinton bills listed in the e-mail would have included only the bills Obama has sponsored that have been signed into law. This comparison favors Clinton heavily, since 19 of her bills in seven years have become law, while Obama has had just two in his three years:
S. 2125, A bill to promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
S. 3757, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 950 Missouri Avenue in East St. Louis, Illinois, as the "Katherine Dunham Post Office Building."
What are we waiting for? Give that man the keys to the White House!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Living off "Guitar Hero" royalties now - Matt Hoy: "Heart, which hasn't had a hit in nearly two decades, should be happy that anyone's still playing their music."

Extra - Flopping Aces: "Sarahcuda"
Bring back Mac vs. PC - WSJ: "Microsoft Kicks Off Seinfeld Campaign" Yeah, I saw the first commercial tonight and it was deeply dumb to the point of insulting. It's the kind of ad that makes you wonder: "What were they thinking?"
Obama is a Muslim

There I said it. Nobody in the McCain camp has raised the issue of Obama's race or religious background but he's still playing the perpetual victim where horrible smears are dispensed by little-read bloggers.

So, as a little-read blogger, I might as well write he has a "funny name" and perhaps attended a madrassa, and may be a murtad fitri in the eyes of Muslims.

In anticipation of all the new traffic I'm going to get from rabid Barack Hussein Obama supporters and random Google searches, may I invite you to bookmark Viking Pundit? Stop by once in a while and I'll have new updates on America's first Islamic President.

Extra - Ace: "Is Obama in Trouble? Oh, Guess It's Time to Break Out the Race Card Yet Again"
Photoshop Phever - Fox News - "Top 7 myths, lies, and untruths about Sarah Palin"

Speaking of lies, it looks like US Weekly is feeling the heat from outraged subscribers, some (all?) of which are women.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

McCain's speech - It was mostly boilerplate Republican policy, but the "blessed by misfortune" part was riveting and his peroration had a touch of Sunday preacher as he spoke over a cheering crowd as he urged them to "fight with me."

Update - A successful balloon drop!

Super-mega-update! - They're playing "Barracuda" by Heart! No way! Totally AWESOME!

Flashback to yesterday - "As for me, I'll fall over backward if they bring her [Palin] in to Heart's "Barracuda."

Pump it up to eleven!

Update - Howard Wolfson, who had nothing bad to say about Sarah Palin yesterday, criticized the speech as out of touch and unconvincing for independent voters. Charles Krauthammer disagrees in that McCain had some specific policy positions in a "workmanlike" speech.

My feeling is that it was a mostly forgettable speech which is unfortunate because it's obvious that John McCain is a remarkable man, cut from the cloth of a different American era. He's not eloquent, but he's genuine. Will that be enough for the Republican ticket? We'll see.
Free speech for me, but not for thee - Every four years the Democrats have their convention and the Republicans allow them a week to make their case, with the implicit understanding that the GOP will be extended the same courtesy. And every four years, the Republicans are duped. At the start of his speech, Senator McCain was interrupted repeatedly by Code Pink "truthers" to the point he had to acknowledge the "static" on the ground. Are we to be allowed a night of our own? I guess that's too much to ask.
Glad to hear it - McCain's staff is surely re-writing tonight's speech. Fox News: "Obama says Iraq surge succeeded 'beyond wildest dreams.'"
The media bias that's all in your head - A Rasmussen poll reports that 51% say reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin and 39% say she has more experience than Obama. This is a pre-speech poll: "Palin's highly successful debut on the national stage Wednesday night at the GOP convention is sure to impact these numbers, too."

Meanwhile, Drudge is reporting that Palin's speech rivaled Obama's in viewership with just over 37 million viewers.
"The female of the species is more deadly than the male" - Kipling

Writing on Slate, John Dickerson says that Democrats should be worried about Sarah Palin:

Sarah Palin was relentless in her speech Wednesday night. She drilled Barack Obama, elites, San Francisco, the press, and civil libertarians. She even went after Michelle Obama. And she did it all with a smile and a little mischief. Republicans have been flummoxed because Obama seems untouchable, but Palin may have found an effective way to criticize him - while becoming an elusive target in her own right. Want to call her shrill? Go ahead. There are a lot of women like her who vote and who might be listening.
I wonder what's on the mind of Tina "B*tches get stuff done" Fey. Meanwhile, 70s relic Gloria "One free grope" Steinem demonstrates that feminism stops at the Democratic water's edge.
Big Dig update - Falling apart already: "Crack on Big Dig bridge limits trucks": "State officials insist the area where the crack was found, on the Leverett Connector Bridge that links the Tobin Bridge with Storrow Drive and Interstate 93, remains safe. But the latest findings show yet another concern about the $15 billion road project." If only we had spent $16 billion.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sarah's on! - There's no avoiding it: she's a fine looking woman.

She's off to a good, strong start. No deer-in-the-headlights here. Her inflections and gestures are fantastic.

"Average hockey mom" got a huge response for some reason. Pointing and playing to the crowd, very comfortable. The "small town mayor" vs. "community organizer" was popular, too.

Extra - Ann Althouse is live-blogging the speech.

Palin's making some arcane references: the styrofoam Greek columns, "saying one thing in Scranton and another in San Francisco", the self-made Presidential seal, "clinging to religion" but the crowd is eating it up. Does the rest of America get these references? Maybe a bit at a time.

I think she threw in a paraphrase of James 2:14 near the end: "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"

It was good! Yes, it was a prepared speech, but she delivered it with great humor, effectiveness, and poise for somebody thrust into the national spotlight so suddenly. Fred Barnes is gushing: "She's a natural." Yep, that sounds right.

Final word - Fox News just had Democratic spokesman Howard Wolfson on and he kept praising Palin's address. Chris Wallace literally (Joe Biden!) literally had to remind Wolfson that he was invited on to say something critical about the speech. He could only mutter that he disagreed with some of her policies. Funny moment.
Flower power - Politico sez "Clinton aides: Palin treatment sexist": "Sarah Palin found some unlikely allies Wednesday as leading academics and even former top aides to Hillary Rodham Clinton endorsed the Republican charge that John McCain’s running mate has been subject to a sexist double standard by the news media and Democrats."
Red meat Rudy - He's funny and forceful at the same time. The job application metaphor worked pretty well, I thought. He also recalled that Obama voted "not present" more than a hundred times in the Illinois Senate and that an executive doesn't have that option. The crowd is starting to really show some enthusiasm now.
Fresh off the wire - Advance excerpts of Sarah Palin's speech tonight.

As for me, I'll fall over backward if they bring her in to Heart's "Barracuda."
Media bias, 1984-style - Cue the Van Halen music! Way back then, the New York Times thought it was totally awesome to have a female vice-presidential candidate. Let 'er grow.
Do you know those "lies" on the Sarah Palin US Weekly cover?

It turns out they were lies by US Weekly. Oh, and the "liberal bloggers." This video has to be seen to be believed:

That's gonna leave a mark. The "we didn't have time to print the truth" vacillation sounded to me like "Jann Wenner edited the story."
Peggy Noonan's article is inoperative - She has an explanation atop her WSJ piece today on "Open mic night at MSNBC." The video and partial transcript are here. No word on whether Mike Murphy will renounce his description of McCain's pick as "cynical." Ugh.

With friends like this...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What liberal media? - The usually-uncontroversial US Magazine unveils a hatchet job on Sarah Palin. (Check out the comments underneath.) Here's why they did it: "US Weekly is owned by Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone, whose Obama boosterism is almost monomaniacal."
Joe Lieberman speaks - He praises Bill Clinton at the Republican National Convention to scattered applause. Barack Obama, not so much: "Eloquence is no substitute for a record." He's hammering home how McCain reached across party lines to independents and Democrats.
Obama is Palin comparison on experience

Recently, I had a mini-debate with my good friend Dr. Steven Taylor about whether Sarah Palin blunts the "experience" issue or magnifies it. I would say that Barack Obama fell right into the trap set out in plain sight:

Barack Obama contends that he is more experienced in executive matters than Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin because he has managed his presidential campaign for the past 18 months.
Well, I knew the Obama campaign was flush with money but I had no idea it commanded more than Alaska's $11 billion budget. Keep up that line, Obama. You the man.
Character - Fred Thompson is giving his speech lauding John McCain's service and his time as a POW. If even half of what he says is true, the man suffered terribly. Does that make him suitable to be President? Thompson answers: "No, but it reveals his character."

Meanwhile: "Fred Thompson is delivering an astonishingly powerful account of John McCain’s wartime experiences. At the same time, ABC, CBS, and NBC are broadcasting panel discussions about the Sarah Palin pregnancy issue." Of course.

Monday, September 01, 2008

What I miss? - Just got back from camping in Vermont and, wouldn't you know it, about a minute after I crossed the border the random shuffle of my car's CD player picked "Massachusetts" by the Bee Gees.

Update - So that's what I missed: "Palin's teen daughter is pregnant." Uh, OK.

More - This seems to be the only topic they're covering over at Memeorandum.

Extra - Patterico: "Privacy for me, but not for thee"

Link dump - Sometimes I think camping is 90% of work interrupted by 10% of sitting around a fire sipping a beer. Tonight I had to dry out the tent (still damp) and put away the cots, flashlights, and coolers. So for more on Sarah Palin, check out Althouse, Betsy, Maggie's Farm, and Beldar.

Back to work tomorrow.