Saturday, September 06, 2008

NYeT Watch

The Times cited a "series of disclosures [that] called into question ... how thoroughly Mr. McCain had examined her background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket." As it turned out, though, it was the Times that failed to investigate thoroughly. One of its "disclosures" was false, as the paper admitted this morning:

An article on Tuesday about concerns over Senator John McCain’s background check of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, his choice of running mate, misstated the history of her political party affiliation. As The Times has since reported, she has been a registered Republican since 1982; she was not for a couple of years in the 1990s a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, which advocates a vote on whether her state should secede.

I don't think the McCain campaign needs any lessons from the New York Times on how to conduct a proper factual investigation.

Even If I Want To Take Them Away?

So he tried again. “Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have
the votes in Congress,’’ he said. “This can’t be the reason not to vote
for me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen
back there. I’m not going to take away your guns.’’

Oh, I think they heard the words coming out of his mouth.  But maybe they have also captured the flavor of all the other words and flip-flops, especially with the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Washington DC gun ban.  Here is Jacob Sullum at Reason:

Obama's past positions on gun control and recent statements about gun rights provide little reason to believe he takes the Second Amendment seriously. And as I've argued,
it's hard to see what meaningful restrictions the Second Amendment
imposes on gun control if something like the D.C. law can pass
constitutional muster.

The First Today

Joe Biden is the first politician in the history of the sport to benefit from a sweetheart real estate deal.  OK, make that the first I have noticed today:

While their earnings probably would not be enough to purchase their
Greenville estate today, the Bidens have managed to live in such
splendor partly because of two financially rewarding real estate deals
with political supporters.

In 1996, Biden sold a home in
Greenville for the asking price of $1.2 million -- more than six times
what he paid two decades earlier -- to John R. Cochran III, a top
executive at the MBNA credit card bank that was a longtime political benefactor.

profits from that sale, Biden paid $350,000 cash to real estate
executive and developer Keith D. Stoltz for 4.2 vacant acres -- a long,
narrow lot a few miles from Biden's old home. Stoltz had bought that
same lot five years earlier for the same price.

The "Author"

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Here's a perfect example for you to consider: McCain-Feingold.
The BCRA legislation is famous because of the two principal
sponsors - but did you know there were 41 other co-sponsors in the
Senate alone? They were:

Bayh, Bingaman, Boxer, Cantwell, Carnahan, Carper, Cleland,
Clinton, Cochran, Collins, Corzine, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin,
Edwards, Feingold, Feinstein, Graham, Harkin, Jeffords, Johnson,
Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Lincoln, Mikulski,
Miller, Nelson, Reed, Reid, Sarbanes, Schumer, Snowe, Stabenow,
Thompson, Wellstone, and Wyden.

There's no question that Barack Obama has worked to get bills
passed, in the state Senate and in the Senate. But if Hillary
Clinton had claimed during the primary campaign to have "taken the
initiative to reform Washington by authoring McCain-Feingold,"
something tells me Obama would have pounced on that as a vast
exaggeration - which, of course, it would be.


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About two weeks ago, I wrote in this space that some very large
tectonic plates were starting to move far below sea level in the
financial world. That was based on some unusual patterns I was
seeing in the overnight repo and money markets.

I guessed (but had no information to confirm) that whatever was
in the breeze had something to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,
the pseudo-private corporations that together own or guarantee
about half of all US mortgages, and today account for about 70% of
newly-originated mortgages.

This weekend, there are many reports that Fannie and Freddie
will have their managements and directors dismissed, their equity
extinguished (or nearly so), and enter what's called a government

In essence, the firms will be allowed to continue their current
business operations, but under government control, and their
shareholders will be wiped out.


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That interview was more than enough to
convince Jennifer Rubin
that Governor Palin's role as commander
of the Alaskan National Guard adds more gravitas to the Governor's

I confess I thought the “head of the National Guard” argument
was a weak one in defense of Sarah Palin.  But this is
actually a fairly illuminating interview which explains what she
did and how she did it.  You actually learn something about
Palin and how she operates.

This is one of those instances where the talking point sounds
goofy on the surface, but actually has some merit.

Obama has no similar experience to prepare him to be commander
in chief.

Deploying C-17's and helicopters?!

This is the left's worst nightmare amp'ed up to 11...

The OProblem

Remember this questioning (from Chris Matthews of all people) in an exchange
with Sen. Kirk Watson, Obama's former colleague in the Illinois legislature:

Matthews: Name some of Obama's legislative accomplishments. . .

Watson: Well, uh, you know, what I will talk about is what he's offering to
the American people.

Matthews: What has he accomplished, you've said you support him. Sir, you
have to give me his accomplishments, you support him for President, you're on
national television. Name his legislative accomplishments, Barack Obama,

Watson: Well, I'm not going to be able to name you specific items of
legislative accomplishments.

Matthews: Can you name any? Can you name anything he's accomplished as a
Congressman? Watson: I'm not going to be able to do that tonight.

Matthews: That's a problem isn't it?

Celebrities can win elections, but can they get anything done?

On How To Lose

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arguments about his experience versus Palin's only highlight the contrast
between his limited time in government and the decades McCain has spent in

I think that second paragraph is bang-on accurate, but underestimates the
danger. It's not just that Obama himself can't be dragged into the
debate. It's that anyone attacking Gov. Palin can't help but raise
questions about Obama's experience, whether they want to or not. That's the
strategic advantage that McCain seized: McCain is already bulletproof on the
experience/achievements criterion, whereas all of the experience (at least as
measured in calendar years) in the Democratic ticket is in the second
slot. There's no way that anyone can talk about Gov. Palin's
experience without the top slot of the Dems' ticket jumping into the
conversation — and if Gov. Palin is perceived to even be close to a tie
with Sen. Obama on experience, then Sen. Obama has lost the

OPrompterless Gasses

In addition to ditching the prompter he went into slightly more detail than he
chose to give when a lot more people were watching at the Ocrapolis.
His key points of evidence, in support of his claim that “global warming is a
serious problem, you know, it’s not just some tree-hugger, uh, sprout-eating
liberal thing,” are that “the polar ice caps are melting, the oceans are

Caps, not cap, and melting. Sure, global warming computer models tell us that a greenhouse warming signal is polar amplification, both poles. And our lyin' eyes tell us the Antarctic is steadily gaining ice mass, and the other end of the planet has a mere 700,000 square miles more ice today than a year ago today. And even NPR has openly struggled over what to call global-warming-without-the-warming after learning that while computer models were still telling us the oceans should be warming, the actual observations were telling us that they were not. Possibly this was Obama’s avatar speaking?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Where Have You Been?

Thus, href="">John
suggests the following response to Barack Obama's question of
McCain: where have you been for 26 years:

Here’s where I have been. I changed campaign-finance law. I changed
telecommunications law. I took on the tobacco companies when other Republicans
wouldn’t. I took on the cable companies when they wouldn’t let people choose
what channels they might want to watch. I saw a standoff in the Senate on
confirming judges and I changed a standoff into a bipartisan agreement. I took
on the earmarks and the Bridge to Nowhere and the breaks for oil companies you,
Obama, voted for in 2005. And I helped change the war in Iraq from a defeat into
what appears to be a victory. Where have you been for 26 years?

The "Working" Class

Beyond that, most of these people build their lives around their work, drawing both much of their self-worth and quite a bit of satisfaction from it. This is the difference between a job and a career.

To be sure, there are those who are rich even though they don’t do much.  Some people win the lottery.  Others inherit lots of money because someone related to them worked really hard and left it to them.  But the vast majority of those who inhabit the upper reaches of the income distribution are there because they’ve worked really hard for a long time.

Somehow, though, they’re not part of the “working class.”

Experience You Can Laugh At

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It occurs to me: If Obama's experience in this presidential campaign is itself to be considered one of his qualifications for the Oval Office, what are we to make of his performance over the last few days? Is this an indication of how he deals with adversity? Because -- and this may be unfair -- it seems to me that over the next 4 years, the President of the United States will face much tougher challenges than watching a cute lady with glasses on TV.

The Platform

Governor Palin's political and media enemies have not yet drawn blood. Thinking to condemn her, for example, the director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance told the Associated Press: "Her philosophy from our perspective is cut, kill, dig and drill." Reasonable people might construe that as a compliment. Indeed, it sounds like a winning slogan, if not a platform.

Down They Go

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The GOP machine has crumbled. Attorney General Renkes resigned. Mr. Ruedrich was fined $12,000. Jim Clark—Mr. Murkowski's lead pipeline negotiator—pleaded guilty to conspiring with an oil firm. At least three legislators have been convicted. Sen. Ted Stevens is under indictment for oil entanglements, while Rep. Don Young is under investigation.

Throughout it all, Mrs. Palin has stood for reform, though not populism. She thanks oil companies and says executives who "seek maximum revenue" are "simply doing their job." She says her own job is to be a "savvy" negotiator on behalf of Alaska's citizens and to provide credible oversight. It is this combination that lets her aggressively promote new energy while retaining public trust.

Today's congressional Republicans could learn from this. The party has been plagued by earmarks, scandal and corruption.

Ethics AND free enterprise. What a concept.

Well just the only thing standing between the world and the return barbarism. And integral to the very founding of our country.

And of course, it's only Republicans that need to be taken down. The ODaley machine is pure as the driven snow...

And perhaps you're in a bridge shopping mood today also?

If we don't stand up and take the corruption down then it will take us down. To the depths of the rest of the world.

That ODaley wants to respect us. Because corruption is all they respect. And he knows how to give it to them.


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Later this month it's Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It's one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar, so I'd be obliged, please, if you'd all stay at home, turn off the TV and refrain from your usual activities. Ten days after that it's Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Jews fast and spend the day in synagogue. So I've also asked my Times colleagues not to work then. And I will be mightily offended if I learn afterwards that any of them have been eating.

You might not think I am being serious. But if I was Head of Democratic Services at Tower Hamlets Council in East London, I would be. Last week John Williams e-mailed each of the borough's 51 councillors with a similar instruction.

For the duration of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, they are, he told them - every one of them, Muslim, Catholic, Jew or atheist - to behave during council meetings as strict Muslims.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

All Out Of Caribou

I've had three Palin  posts vanish into the ether.
Clearly the software works for MSNBC. So I'm going to stop trying to post and go
to bed. Longer thoughts tomorrow. The chase:  I thought she did a great
job. Quibbles here and there but few and small. I thought the sarcasm was

She was put on this earth to do two things: kill caribou and kick butt. She's
all out of caribou.

A Terrible Resolve

North of the Border, Andrew Coyne at Macleans isn't necessarily
predisposed to liking Palin, but he admits he href="">witnessed
something very impressive
, calling her "the best natural speechmaker since

It was that good. No, she’s not qualified, and the substance was thin, but my
God — that was perhaps the greatest bit of political theatre I have ever
witnessed. Her critics in the media and in the opposition may regret having
piled on quite so enthusiastically, and with so little heed for who they hurt —
or angered. Watching the tumultuous, ecstatic reaction in the hall, I was
reminded of the famous words of the Admiral Yamamoto after Pearl Harbour: “I
fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant, and fill him with a
terrible resolve."

Steyn On The MSM On Palin

I would like to thank the US media for doing such a grand job
this last week of lowering expectations by portraying Governor Palin - whoops, I
mean Hick-Burg Mayor Palin - as a hillbilly know-nothing permapregnant ditz,
half of whose 27 kids are the spawn of a stump-toothed uncle who hasn't worked
since he was an extra in Deliverance.

How's that narrative holding up, geniuses? Almost as good as your "devoted
husband John Edwards" routine?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

His ODizzyness Obamacles

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Anderson Cooper asked Barack Obama last night to answer the claim that Sarah Palin has more applicable experience than he does. In response, he completely ignores Palin’s status as governor, and then makes the claim that a campaign counts as executive experience:

Update: The McCain campaign has responded to Mark Halperin at Time:

“For Barack Obama to argue that he’s experienced enough to be president because he’s running for president is desperate circular logic and it’s laughable.  It is a testament to Barack Obama’s inexperience and failing qualifications that he would stoop to passing off his candidacy as comparable to Governor Sarah Palin’s executive experience managing a budget of over 10 billion dollar dollars, and more than 24,000 employees.” —Tucker Bounds, spokesman John McCain 2008

By that standard, anyone who ever ran for any public office has executive experience — and that also kills their own experience argument against Palin anyway.


Anbar province is now under the control of the Iraqi Army. From Amit Paley in the Washington Post:

The U.S. military on Monday handed the Iraqi government responsibility for security in Anbar province, the former stronghold of the Sunni insurgency that has now become one of the safest areas in country.
But, whatever. Maybe someone will unearth another Todd Palin DUI arrest from the 1980s and we can get back to real news.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Getting To Know Sarah

Who knew, right? Still, nice catch by the RJC, who just sent this out over email. Hey - what's that over Governor Palin's shoulder?