August 29, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 08/29/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
McCain picks Alaska Gov. Palin as running mate - (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain has picked Alaska Gov. Sarah as his running mate, a senior McCain campaign official told CNN on Friday. 1 of 2 Palin, 44, who's in her first term as governor, is a pioneering figure in Alaska, the first woman and the youngest person to hold the state's top political job. (READ MORE)

Obama accepts, vows change - DENVER -- Barack Obama on Thursday night completed his historic journey from a freshman lawmaker with soaring oratory to America's first black major-party presidential candidate, accepting the Democratic nomination and promising a stadium full of supporters a bold change that would fix "the broken politics of Washington" after years of Republican rule. (READ MORE)

'Rainmaker' lobbyist aids Biden - When Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. started a new political fundraising committee three years ago, he turned to a longtime Washington insider for help - the partner of a lobbying firm co-founded by his son. (READ MORE)

McCain won't be ignored nearing VP pick - DENVER John McCain and other Republicans have been masterful this week at inserting themselves into Barack Obama's Democratic National Convention, repeatedly stealing part of the limelight with hard-hitting ads, an aggressive effort to court disaffected Clinton supporters and tantalizing visits by possible Republican vice-presidential candidates. (READ MORE)

Carter: Bill Clinton 'hurt his wife's candidacy' - DENVER Taking a rare shot at another White House alumnus, former President Jimmy Carter tells The Washington Times that Bill Clinton became an unwittingly divisive figure during the Democratic primaries who hurt his wife's chances to win the presidency with a series of verbal gaffes. (READ MORE)

Obama readies attack strategy - DENVER Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama will use the 68-day sprint to the election finish line to unleash a hard-hitting campaign attack that casts Republican opponent Sen. John McCain as a well-heeled, aging war hero who is out of touch with most Americans. (READ MORE)

Democrat criticizes 'shadowy' practices - DENVER Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the House Democrats' chief fundraiser, said Thursday his Republican counterparts are using "shadowy organizations" to skirt campaign finance laws and target Democratic candidates nationwide. (READ MORE)

U.S. economy jumps in second quarter - The U.S. economy grew at a surprisingly vigorous 3.3 percent pace in the second quarter, much faster than first reported, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Gross domestic product (GDP) during the April-June period increased much faster than the 1.9 percent rate the government reported last month. The upward revision was much larger than economists expected. (READ MORE)

Pentagon Reports U.S. Airstrike Killed 5 Afghan Civilians, Not 90 - A U.S. military review of an airstrike last week in western Afghanistan maintains that only five civilians were killed, Pentagon officials said yesterday, a finding that starkly contradicts reports by the United Nations and Afghan officials that the civilian death toll from the bombing... (READ MORE)

Obama, Accepting Nomination, Draws Sharp Contrast With McCain - DENVER, Aug. 28 -- Sen. Barack Obama, the first African American to lead a major-party ticket, accepted the Democratic nomination for president Thursday night, sharply criticizing Republican John McCain and casting the election as "our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise... (READ MORE)

GOP Considers Delaying Convention - Republican officials said yesterday that they are considering delaying the start of the GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul because of Tropical Storm Gustav, which is on track to hit the Gulf Coast, and possibly New Orleans, as a full-force hurricane early next week. (READ MORE)

Putin Asserts Link Between U.S. Election and Georgia War - MOSCOW, Aug. 29 -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he had reason to think U.S. personnel were in the combat zone during the recent war in Georgia, adding that if confirmed, their presence suggested "someone in the United States" provoked the conflict to help one of the... (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Charles Krauthammer: The Perfect Stranger - Barack Obama is an immensely talented man whose talents have been largely devoted to crafting, and chronicling, his own life. Not things. Not ideas. Not institutions. But himself. Nothing wrong or even terribly odd about that, except that he is laying claim to the job of crafting the coming history of the United States. A leap of such audacity is odd. The air of unease at the Democratic convention this week was not just a result of the Clinton psychodrama. The deeper anxiety was that the party was nominating a man of many gifts but precious few accomplishments -- bearing even fewer witnesses. When John Kerry was introduced at his convention four years ago, an honor guard of a dozen mates from his Vietnam days surrounded him on the podium attesting to his character and readiness to lead. Eerily missing at the Democratic convention this year were people of stature who were seriously involved at some point in Obama's life standing up to say: I know Barack Obama. I've been with Barack Obama. We've toiled/endured together. You can trust him. I do. (READ MORE)

John E. Schwarz: Tax. Spend. Create Great Jobs. - The mantra of the free market has gained such a hold on Americans that Sen. John McCain recently aired an ad exclaiming, as if it's a given: "Higher taxes, more government spending, so fewer jobs." A similar obvious "truth" for many Americans these days, in the words of Rush Limbaugh, is that "the government can't create wealth; it can only destroy it or confiscate and redistribute it." If it is true that higher government taxation depresses job creation and that the government can't create wealth (only the free market can), it becomes rational for struggling workers to vote Republican on economic grounds. They don't need cultural issues to get them to vote that way, as author Thomas Frank famously says occurs in Kansas, and across the nation. Democrats have failed to provide a compelling counter-mantra about the economy. For all their emphasis on connecting with the middle class, they will have a hard time winning votes until they have a narrative that competes effectively with the GOP's. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: Barack "The Silencer" Obama's Gangland Assault on Free Speech - Where are all the free speech absolutists when you need them? Over the past month, left-wing partisans and Democratic lawyers have waged a brass-knuckled intimidation campaign against GOP donors, TV and radio stations, and even an investigative journalist because they have all dared to question the radical cult of Barack Obama. A chill wind blows, but where the valiant protectors of political dissent are, nobody knows. On August 11, I called the American Civil Liberties Union national headquarters in New York for comment about the Chicago gangland tactics of one of these groups -- a nonprofit called "Accountable America" that is spearheaded by a former operative of the Obama-endorsing MoveOn outfit. "Accountable America" is trolling campaign finance databases and targeting conservative donors with "warning" letters in a thuggish attempt to depress Republican fundraising. (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Obama: Too Cool by Half? - Obama is the perfect candidate, not for the nation, but for Democrats, who have been waiting for Godot since George W. Bush's first-term inauguration -- someone to deliver them, to deliver America from the wretched George W. Bush. The paradoxical Democratic Party, which holds itself as the party of the people, often manages to find a presidential candidate that is anything but a man of the people. From Adlai Stevenson to John F. Kennedy to Michael Dukakis to Al Gore to John Kerry, and now, Barack Obama. Elite, intellectual, erudite, sophisticated? Arguably so in most cases. But common? Someone who can relate? Only in their Utopian dreams. This year, the party's unspoken, perhaps even unrealized yearning for a super-elitist nominee is an outgrowth not only of the party's self-perception as superior to red-state, flyover America but also eight long years of perceived suffering under the "reign" of George W. Bush. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: Singing the Blues in a Blue State - I have no idea who decided that liberal states would be called blue and conservative states would be red, but I suspect it was a left-winger because it makes absolutely no sense. Red, after all, has always been the color associated with the far left. Thanks to the flag of the late, unlamented, Soviet Union being the hammer and sickle on a field of red, Communists have always been referred to as reds, except of course when they were referred to, even more appropriately, as morons and imbeciles. Be that as it may, I live in California, a state that is bluer than the blue Pacific. My state is not only on the left side of the map, it’s to the left of Barack Obama. This is a state that is represented in the U.S. Senate by Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, for crying out loud! Allegedly, we have a Republican governor, but Arnold Schwarzenegger is only slightly more conservative than his wife, Maria Shriver. (READ MORE)

Jon Sanders: Lying is Moral When Your God is Electing Democrats - Called "the definitive Democratic insider" by The News & Observer of Raleigh, campaign adviser Gary Pearce has worked for several notable North Carolina Democrats, from Sen. John Edwards to four-time Gov. Jim Hunt, former Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker, and Senate candidate Erskine Bowles (who was White House Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton and is now the president of the University of North Carolina). Right now Pearce co-writes the "Talking About Politics" blog about politics with longtime Republican adviser Carter Wrenn (whose clients included the late Sen. Jesse Helms). Pearce recently told the N&O, "I'm willing to be more candid than are most partisans. I'm not spinning anybody anymore." That candidness was on display this month when this definitive Democratic insider wrote the following: "liberals (or progressives or whatever you prefer) have to understand that your candidates don’t have the luxury of the right-wingers: (READ MORE)

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann: A Strategic Opening For McCain - Many political campaigns run against the wrong candidate. The opportunity to pick on a vulnerable target is so tempting that they are lured into attacking someone who isn’t running. In 1992, the Republicans unleashed their convention barrage at Hillary and left Bill unscathed. In 1996, Dole still ran against Clinton the liberal and ignored the changes in his political positioning. Campaigns go after the flaming red cape, so glittering a target, and leave the matador alone. That’s what the Democratic convention has been doing in Denver. They are so anxious to run against Bush, their animosity is so pent up, that they persist in running against a man who is not seeking a third term. In speech after speech, the Democrats knock the Bush record and then add, lamely, that McCain is the same as Bush. Or they call the McCain candidacy Bush’s third term. It was no accident — or Freudian slip: (READ MORE)

William Rusher: Will the Democrats Win? - The Democrats did what everyone knew they had to do: nominate Barack Obama by acclamation on the first ballot of their convention in Denver. But Hillary Clinton made everyone wait until nearly halfway through the balloting before making that inevitable motion, and in so doing underlined the chief lesson of the convention. The delegates were almost evenly split between her and Obama, and the deep division in the party was painfully evident. The reservation so many delegates had about Obama had one clear cause, and it had nothing to do with the fact that he is black. On the contrary, the fact that he is an African-American counted heavily in his favor, and may have been the decisive factor in his victory. The reservation has to do with his lack of experience. Obama became an attorney, served as a member of the Illinois State Senate for eight years, and was then elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: Report From a Forgotten War (4th in a Series) - HERAT, Afghanistan -- A Taliban sentry fired the first shots shortly after 2:30 a.m. as Afghan commandos and U.S. Special Operations Command troops surrounded the compound at Aziz Abad. Though the Marine Special Operations Team had employed a daring deception to achieve surprise, they were engaged heavily by gunfire from AK-47s and machine guns almost immediately after deploying at the objective. For the next 2 1/2 hours, the 207th Afghan Commandos and their U.S. Army and Marine counterparts were in a running gunfight with heavily armed Taliban fighters inside the walled compound. When enemy combatants on rooftops and in narrow alleyways could not be dislodged by fire from U.S. and Afghan troops on the ground, they were hit by supporting fire from manned and unmanned aircraft overhead. By dawn Aug. 22, it appeared that the commandos and their American advisers had achieved a stunning success. (READ MORE)

Linda Chavez: Crying Wolf on the Economy While Ignoring Real Pains - America is in its darkest hour -- again. It happens every four years when the Democrats take center stage for their national convention. In 2004, we heard that we were in the midst of another Great Depression. For the last week, we've heard more economic doom and gloom. It must have been disappointing news to Dems to read on Thursday that the U.S. economy grew 3.3 percent in the second quarter. It's hard to turn those numbers into a recession, much less a depression. But if the Democrats see disaster on every domestic front, they seem oblivious to the real threats to the United States. There was hardly a word about terrorism, and scant mention of national security during the weeklong gabfest. Wednesday's proceedings, which convention organizers had promised was going to be devoted to national security themes, barely touched on the issue. That is unless you think Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are experts on national security. (READ MORE)

Cliff May: The Big Chill: Islamists Inted to Muzzle Americans' Free Speech - Freedom of speech is under attack. Let us count the ways. The first and most obvious: Those who criticize militant Islamists – from novelist Salman Rushdie to Danish cartoonists to memoirist Ayaan Hirsi Ali – are routinely threatened with deadly violence. It would be black humor to say this is having a chilling effect. The second is “political correctness.” On campuses and within Western governments it is increasingly taboo to label terrorists who slaughter in the name of Islam “Islamist terrorists.” In Canada, “human rights commissions” attempt to enforce this taboo by putting such writers as Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant on trial for the “crime” of expressing opinions that offend Islamic grievance groups — and also for quoting Islamists accurately and thereby casting them in an unfavorable light. If that’s not Orwellian, what is? But it is the third approach that could be most consequential for Americans. (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: White Men Can't Run - I've been watching with patriotic interest the Olympic track and field events. And I notice something about the results that is both remarkable and fascinating. Even so, this something is never commented on by NBC or any of the analysts. Consider the sprints. The winners seem to be overwhelmingly of African, specifically West African, origin. The man and woman who blew away the field in the 100 meter dash were both from the tiny country of Jamaica . Indeed the contestants in general seem to originally come from the same part of the world. Virtually no one from a different race and region even qualifies. Sure there are Canadian and French and American sprinters, but they too tend to be blacks of West African heritage. These races come down to our West Africans against everyone else's West Africans. Now consider the long distance races. The winners once again are overwhelmingly black, this time from East Africa . (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: The Stealth Superstar of Mile High - Barack Obama, in his acceptance speech tonight at Invesco Field in Denver, demonstrated more powerfully than ever why he's the country's greatest public orator since Martin Luther King, Jr. Obama delivered his address to a crowd of roughly 85,000 people, and there's no gainsaying the Illinois Senator's decision to accept the nomination outdoors, turning what should normally be a insider's partisan rally into a town hall meeting for the masses. Barack Obama is America's incomparable political superstar. Obama's speech was less uplifting than combative, but he did what he had to do: He took aim at the Bush administration, and he tied John McCain to the last eight years of GOP rule with more than one pithy turn of phrase. Speaking of the Republican National Convention next week in Minneapolis, Obama put McCain in the partisan crosshairs, warning against four more years of the same: (READ MORE)

Adventures of a Former Detailed Recruiter: I wonder who they will vote for now? - I wonder if the counter-recruiting folks are finding themselves in a bit of a dilemma. For years they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, and tens of thousands of man hours opposing military recruiters in schools. Anti-recruiting initiatives across the country have sought to prevent military recruiters from having the same access to high school campuses that college recruiters enjoy. All of this to prevent military recruiters from being able to offer these eligible students the opportunity to say "yes" or "no". Senator Obama wants to make every child over the age of 10, attending public school, serve the government. If military recruiters calling high school students to see if they want information about the military is enough to make someone bomb a recruiting station, I can't imagine what mandatory community service will make these people do. Hell, they might be mad enough to try and blow up court houses. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: A Historic Moment - I congratulate you Sen. Barack Obama on your achievement. To be nominated, and to accept the nomination to run for the highest office this nation has, is a tremendous accomplishment. This is the kind of situation you've been hoping for from the moment you threw your hat in the ring. I suspect it would bring a tear to the eye of Martin Luther King, Jr., were he alive to witness today's events. Your speech, though I disagree with much of your rhetoric, will be well received. You do know how to give a speech before a crowd. Maybe not in the Bill Clinton league, but close and with practice, you could get there. You are in your own element here, but this is where the rubber hits the road. You have to do more than convince those who already believe in your cause. You have to convince the rest of the nation that you're capable of leading, despite demonstrable the lack of experience (try out your own words on the subject if you need a refresher). (READ MORE)

Gabriel Malor @ Aces of Spades: Marine Acquitted in Civilian Trial for Alleged Crimes Committed While In Iraq - The jury returned a verdict after six hours of deliberation. Jose Nazario Jr. was accused of killing four prisoners in Fallujah in 2004. Following his honorable discharge (with a medal of valor) in 2005, an overzealous NCIS investigator recommended to prosecutors in the U.S. that Nazario be charged with murder. “The defence, which did not call any witnesses, argued there was not enough evidence to prove a crime had been committed and told jurors a guilty verdict could endanger US service members by making them second-guess their actions in combat. Nazario, who did not testify, was found not guilty of all charges, including manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon and use of a firearm. If convicted, he could have faced 10 years in prison. One of the jurors speaking after the verdict was read said the panel acquitted him because there was not enough evidence.” (READ MORE)

Pamela Geller: Why hasn't ACORN been stripped of its eligibility? - ACORN has been caught red handed registering dead people many, many times so why are they still allowed to do this? Why is anyone allowed to do this? Why the need for corrupt organizations to "register voters"? If it were done properly, as it should be, every voter would register to vote on their own. Voting is a privilege. If you won't get off yer fat keyster to register, you don't deserve the honor of voting of a free republic. Remember those women in Afghanistan crossing over mountains and valleys just to vote? And Iraq? Think about it. Organizations such as ACORN seem to exist to hijack the system. As early as Novemer 2006, I ran it post,"I SEE DEAD PEOPLE... voting on election day" - appararently a federal grand jury in Kansas City indicted four persons working for the group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), accusing them of submitting more than 40,000 voter registration forms with fictitious names, phony signatures and bogus addresses. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Some Very Heartening Numbers That Aren't Getting Nearly Enough Attention, You Know - Most of the polling buzz seems to center around the Gallup tracking poll -- which for the first time during the Democratic National Convention shows a small bounce (up to +6) for Barack H. Obama. But there are some other numbers that belie the idea that the convention has spawned a significant -- or even noticible -- surge towards the Democrats (yet). Gallup notes that the pre-convention tracking poll found Obama and John S. McCain in a dead-even tie, 45-45; so this represents a 6-point bounce on this particular poll. But -- and this is a very big but -- Obama's support still remains below 50%; he has a 48-42 lead over McCain. This is significant because, in the history of this tracking poll, from the end of March until today, Barack Obama has never been above 50%; and John McCain has never been below 40%. In fact, Obama was up to 49% in late July -- a point higher than today -- and McCain was a point lower then. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: American idle - The National Review has a long piece addressing two questions: a) whether examining a Presidential candidate’s public background is ever legitimate journalism and b) what happens when you do and the candidate is Barack Obama. Describing the importance of Kurtz’s look into the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) the National Review wrote: “The CAC was a major education reform project, proposed by Ayers, which was underwritten by a $49.2 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation, complemented by another $100 million in private and public funding. The project ran for about five years, beginning in 1995. As the liberal researcher Steve Diamond has recounted, Ayers ran its operational arm, the ‘Chicago School Reform Collaborative.’ Obama, then a 33-year-old, third-year associate at a small law firm, having no executive experience, was brought in to chair the board of directors, which oversaw all ‘fiscal matters.’” (READ MORE)

Freedom Eden: William Ayers and 47-Year-Old Barack Obama - An ad from the Obama campaign asks: “With all our problems, why is John McCain talking about the sixties, trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers? McCain knows Obama denounced Ayers' crimes, committed when Obama was just eight years old.” Ayers committed his crimes when Obama was eight years old. So what? That's irrelevant. Obama, as a 47-year-old man, knows about Ayer's crimes. That's what matters, not that he was eight at the time. Obama wasn't eight when on September 11, 2001, in a New York Times article, Ayers said, "I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." To this day, Ayers stands by his acts of terrorism against America. (READ MORE)

The Foxhole: More National Secrets in the New York Times - Arthur Sulzberger, Qaddaffi and Ahmadinejhad thank you. “The CIA recruited a family of Swiss engineers to help it thwart the Libyan and Iranian nuclear programs as well as an underground network of Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, The New York Times reported Monday. The newspaper said the operation involved Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, who have been accused in Switzerland of dealing with rogue nations seeking nuclear equipment and expertise.” Switzerland has that ass-backwards: They used their expertise to help thwart dangerous rogue nations. You’d think they would be glad, fer Christ’s sake. “The Swiss case against them has been hampered by the destruction of relevant documents, which Swiss officials have said was to prevent their falling into terrorist hands. But the Times said the real reason for the destruction was pressure from the US Central Intelligence Agency, which feared that its ties with the Tinners would be exposed.” Well, thanks to the ever-traitorous NYT, they are now. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Welcome back Carter - President Olympics Boycott mocks the military service of Republican Sen. John McCain. Showing the same judgment he showed in facing hostages in Iran, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and Large Rabbits in his imagination, President Carter told CNN: “‘John McCain was able to weave in his experience in a Vietnam prison camp, no matter what the question was. It’s much better than talking about how he’s changed his total character between being a senator, a kind of a maverick … and his acquiescence in the last few months with every kind of lobbyist pressure that the right-wing Republicans have presented.’” If he thinks his return to presidential politics will help get the Democrat elected this year and redeem his failed presidency, then the man is delusional. The biggest challenge Democratic Sen. Barack Obama faces this year is convincing voters that we can return to 1970s “solutions” without getting 1970s results. (READ MORE)

Dymphna: The Irish Travel to Copenhagen - Ever since Ireland’s citizens voted a resounding NO on the referendum regarding the Lisbon Treaty, there have been mutterings about what the EU will do to the Irish for such temerity. Heaven knows that referendum result was a clear case of the average citizen ignoring the media, the intelligentsia, the politicians, and the whole array of public support for the Treaty, to say loudly and with firm conviction, “no way, José” (take note, American MSM, academia, etc. Your boy is not in until he’s voted in, despite your desperate efforts to pull the lever for everyone). Now, according to The Irish Times it seems that some of Ireland’s civil servants took a quiet trip to Copenhagen earlier this month to ask for advice. The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General’s office sent representatives over to ask about the Danish opt-out decisions: (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: “It wasn’t intended for you” - I’m reading one comment over and over again in response to criticism here and elsewhere about Barack Obama’s speech — that those who criticize it weren’t the audience for it anyway. I admit that I’m a Republican who has no intention of voting for Barack Obama. However, shouldn’t that have been the audience for this speech? Presidential candidates rarely win office by only holding their own partisans. That happened in 1992 and to a lesser extent in 1996 because of strong third-party bids by Ross Perot, but otherwise presidential elections become almost entirely binary affairs. One can help tip the scales by energizing the base, but presidential elections are won by convincing skeptics, not just by pandering to the faithful. When Obama (and John McCain) hit the campaign trail, they know that the audience comprises the faithful. (READ MORE)

Quid Nimis: The Speech - Soaring rhetoric? I don't think so. It sounded like every State of the Union Speech you've ever heard, except the 2002 speech. "We will get rid of government programs that don't work." I've never heard that before. The real challenge for Barack is to name one. The whole speech, except for the part about his parents, sounded exactly like Al Gore's convention speech in 2000, without the "lock box." I started getting all nostalgic. Then he started talking about his patriotism, and all Democrat's patriotism. "We all love our country." That's when the cognitive disconnect started. His adorable wife calls America a "mean" country. She only started feeling proud of her country when her husband started winning primaries. William Ayers, Obama's long-time political crony, is an unrepentant terrorist who enjoys having his picture taken standing on a crumpled American flag. (READ MORE)

neo-neocon: The big yawn of political oratory - I’ve said before that I’m not an auditory learner. Although dialogue is fine, and I never had a problem listening intently to clients, the prepared speech has always been an enormous bore to me. This was a big problem when I was growing up. Classes were mainly a bunch of blah-blah-blah (see above cartoon), and this included most of college, which was heavily based on the “lecture to the multitudes in a huge auditorium” system. Religious sermons were something I came to dread. Even poetry and literary readings that interested me made my brain go on walkabout, no matter how many times I resolved that this time it would be different. And my efforts at listening to Books on Tape were laughable. After the first few paragraphs I would invariably start daydreaming and totally lose the thread as the voice became a meaningless drone. Try finding your place in a recorded book once you’ve lost it; it’s hopeless. (READ MORE)

Pros and Cons: SPIEGEL ONLINE - Urban Development: The Battle for the World’s Skyline - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Urban Development: The Battle for the World’s Skyline, suggests that the West is losing the really crucial battle. “A building frenzy is raging in Asia, Russia and on the Persian Gulf. And cities like London and New York don’t have the money to compete. Will Western urban landscapes soon look outdated?” Oh my God!! We’re going to look outdated!! Faux fright aside, the article has some real flaws. He cannot figure out what he thinks the problem is. (He never mentions that most of the world is getting the logic of development for the first time.) Instead, he vacillates. Is it the weak dollar or the strong Euro? I’d say it’s the welfare state and the punitive to savings’ tax regimes that must accompany them - that and the fact that we actually have built up urban cores. Except in the former Soviet Empire, it’s expensive to tear down OK, safe, functional buildings to build megaliths. (READ MORE)

McQ: Obama’s Speech - it should provide red meat for the Republicans - If these are the specifics Obama plans to run on, it should be open season for Republicans. Before I get to a couple of those, did anyone else notice these moments in the speech? Here is Obama denigrating the philosophy of self-reliance: “In Washington, they call this the ‘Ownership Society,’ but what it really means is that you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck, you’re on your own. No health care? The market will fix it. You’re on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don’t have boots. You are on your own.” Yet his self-identified "heroes" did precisely what he denigrated earlier: “In the face of that young student, who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree, who once turned to food stamps, but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.” (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Smelling Smoke In The Ayers - I like to consider myself a reasonably good writer, and one of the hallmarks of a good writer is the general avoidance of cliche's. But there's a reason why a phrase degenerates into a cliche': it's because it has more than a grain of truth. And as I consider the story of the relationship between Senator Barack Obama and unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, and in particular the actions taken by Senator Obama's presidential campaign, I keep hearing certain tired and trite phrases: "Where there's smoke, there's fire." "When you find yourself taking the heavist flak, you know you're over the target." "Methinks the lady doth protest too much." And as much as I eschew cliche's, I also try to avoid conspiracy theories. Hell, some of my favorite pieces were aimed at debunking some of them. (READ MORE)

This Ain't Hell: Shiftless hippies unimpressed by IVAW - Readers may remember back in March the IVAW put out a call to ANSWER, World Can’t Wait, Code Pink, et al. to hold off their protests on the March 15th anniversary of the Iraq War so that the IVAW/VVAW/VFP/SEIU could conduct their Winter Soldier II theater at Silver Spring, MD without competing for the attention of the media. WSII fizzled and got virtually no attention from the media (despite a large presence of media) and a result, the protest against the war which happened five days later, on a Wednesday, drew less than a thousand protesters and, in turn, fizzled out, too. Many of the non-IVAW protest organizations blamed the IVAW for their piss poor performance. Well, that bit of history seems to be repeating itself. According to one of the shiftless hippies caught in the theater of the IVAW yesterday; “It was at this point I started to wonder that we’re doing as well in Iraq as we are. If these tactical geniuses are any indication of the military resources we have at our disposal, it’s a wonder every one of them hasn’t been slaughtered. Anyway, back at Larimer and Speer, the I.V.A.W. negotiated some more (with someone), declared that the delegates had heard their message (somehow), and disbanded.” (READ MORE)

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