September 9, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 09/09/2008

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)
Congress weighs the fate of Fannie, Freddie - WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Congress should view the next few months as a "time out" in the highly charged debate over what to do with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (READ MORE)

Pakistan's Zardari sworn in as president - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The widower of assassinated former Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto took office as the country's new president Tuesday, facing immediate pressure to crack down on Islamic militants and address daunting economic problems. (READ MORE)

Russia to keep troops in Georgia breakaway regions - MOSCOW - Russia said Tuesday that it will station troops in two Georgian breakaway provinces for the foreseeable future, reaffirming its plans less than 24 hours after agreeing to pull forces from Georgian areas around Abkhazia and South Ossetia. (READ MORE)

Ike kills 4 in Cuba, takes aim at Mexico, US Gulf -HAVANA - Hurricane Ike roared south of Cuba's densely populated capital of fragile aging buildings after tearing across the island nation, ravaging homes, killing at least four people and forcing 1.2 million to evacuate. (READ MORE)

Bush keeping Iraq troop levels mostly steady - WASHINGTON - President Bush on Tuesday plans to order 8,000 more combat and support troops out of Iraq by February, a measured drawdown that will leave nearly the same level of U.S. forces in the war zone for the rest of the year. (READ MORE)

Russians pilfer U.S. equipment - Russian forces seized U.S. military equipment during the recent fighting in Georgia in addition to five vehicles whose capture was reported earlier, the Pentagon said Monday. (READ MORE)

Overseas debt drives bailout of Fannie, Freddie - CHARLOTTESVILLE Foreigners own a big chunk of the debt issued by America's two mortgage giants, broadening the fallout of any failure beyond U.S. borders and giving the Bush administration one more powerful reason to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (READ MORE)

Missouri a Midwest 'must win' - COLUMBIA, Mo. As Missouri goes, so goes the nation. It's an easy catchphrase for the ever-battleground Show Me State, but it has never rung more true than this anything-goes election cycle. (READ MORE)

Bush: Troops to divert to Afghanistan - President Bush will announce Tuesday the diversion of some U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, in a speech that marks a turn in focus for his administration as it approaches its last four months in office. (READ MORE)

Takeover jolts markets, jars mortgages - Stock markets soared around the world Monday and mortgage rates dropped precipitously as investors welcomed the U.S. Treasury's move to take responsibility for the debts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (READ MORE)

Independents flocking to McCain - Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain has gotten a jolt of support right where he wanted it - from the independent voters whom he courted so aggressively at last week's convention - and now holds a healthy lead over his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, in the chase for that key constituency. (READ MORE)

U.S. Missiles Said To Kill 20 in Pakistan Near Afghan Border - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 8 -- At least 20 people were killed and 25 were injured Monday when missiles fired by U.S. Predator drones hit a religious school and the house of a powerful Taliban commander in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border, according to witnesses and a Pakistani security official. (READ MORE)

British Jury Renders Split Verdict in Airliner Bomb Plot - LONDON, Sept. 8 -- A British jury reached a split decision Monday in Britain's most high-profile terrorism case, convicting three men of conspiracy to murder but reaching no decision on whether they intended to destroy transatlantic airliners with liquid bombs. (READ MORE)

White House Sets Aside U.S.-Russia Nuclear Agreement - The White House today pulled from congressional consideration an agreement with Russia for civilian nuclear cooperation, a move designed to show the administration's displeasure with Russian military actions in Georgia in the past month. (READ MORE)

Rangel Says He Didn't Know of Loan Terms - Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) did not know that the Caribbean resort villa he purchased 20 years ago was financed with a no-interest mortgage from the developer and has generated $75,000 in income that he should have reported on tax and financial disclosure forms, his lawyer said yesterday. (READ MORE)

ObamaTax 3.0 - The good news is that Barack Obama said on ABC Sunday that he might not go through with his plans to increase taxes. The bad news is that the economy has to be mired in recession to avoid the largest tax increase in the nation's history. (READ MORE)

Fannie Mae's Patron Saint - Taxpayers are now on the hook for as much as $200 billion to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and if you want to know why, look no further than the rapid response to this bailout from House baron Barney Frank. Asked about Treasury's modest bailout condition that the companies reduce the size of their high-risk mortgage-backed securities (MBS) portfolios starting in 2010, Mr. Frank was quoted on Monday as saying, "Good luck on that," and that it would never happen. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Chuck Norris: The "Maverette" - I'll be honest with you. I'd been giving consideration to third-party candidates. As a conservative with a renewed pledge to bear the legacy of America's Founders, I wasn't going to simply concede to the McCain ticket unless he made a credible (and what might be viewed as a radical) choice for vice president. McCain is a good man, solid in character, and fully capable to lead our country into the future. But America also needs a fresh, reputable outsider who isn't afraid to confront Washington corruption, government gridlock or partisan paralysis. When I heard Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was McCain's choice, I knew she was a woman whom Americans could support and trust. Sarah is tough, smart, competent, credible and confident enough to fight those even in her own party. I believe she even will help to keep McCain accountable and in check. Gov. Palin comes from a small town with small-town values. (READ MORE)

Mona Charen: Is Trig at the Heart of Media's Reaction to Palin? - There were basically two things known about Sarah Palin when her name was announced on Aug. 29 and the mediasphere began to shudder and pulsate: She was a recently elected governor and the mother of five children including a handicapped infant. The scorn from the mainstream press and the left-leaning blog world was both intense and instantaneous. Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic immediately began circulating rumors that Trig was not the governor's baby -- that she had engaged in a huge charade to cover up her teen daughter's illegitimate child. The New York Times reported on the front page that Palin had been a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Eleanor Clift of Newsweek described the reaction of most newsrooms to Palin's elevation as "literally laughter." US Weekly rushed out a cover story picturing Palin holding her baby son with the headline "Babies, Lies, & Scandal." (READ MORE)

Dennis Prager: What I Saw at the Two Conventions - I broadcasted my radio show from both the Democratic and Republican Conventions. Here are some observations: 1. The Democrats in Denver were very excited from Day One, just as excited as I saw them at their last convention in Boston. They went on to lose the general election. But I can see why Democrats find it hard to understand it when their candidate loses. At least at the last two Democratic Conventions, it has been very easy for Democrats to believe that they have the right man and the right message. 2. There were some differences, however. In Denver, the Democrats wanted to present themselves as Middle American as possible. In Boston, the hero of the Democratic Convention was Michael Moore. But in Denver, Michael Moore was nowhere to be seen. Nor was Jimmy Carter heard from. And no Jesse Jackson, either. Also, delegates seemed more formally dressed, and there were more flags and more chants of "USA" than even at the Republican Convention. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: The Vision of the Left - Conservatives, as well as liberals, would undoubtedly be happier living in the kind of world envisioned by the left. Very few people have either a vested interest or an ideological preference for a world in which there are many inequalities. Even fewer would prefer a world in which vast sums of money have to be devoted to military defense, when so much benefit could be produced if those resources were directed into medical research instead. It is hardly surprising that young people prefer the political left. The only reason for rejecting the left's vision is that the real world in which we live is very different from the world that the left perceives today or envisions for tomorrow. Most of us learn that from experience-- but experience is precisely what the young are lacking. "Experience" is often just a fancy word for the mistakes that we belatedly realized we were making, only after the realities of the world made us pay a painful price for being wrong. (READ MORE)

Fred Thompson: The Dangers of Government Guarantees - I’ll bet it came as a surprise to most folks that the financial stability of the world as we know it depends upon the survival of a couple of outfits called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yet that’s what the so-called experts are telling us. Moreover, we taxpayers are now being asked to guarantee Fannie and Freddie’s tab, one that could make the $124 billion S&L bailout of the late 1980s look cheap. So how did we get stuck with this bill? Well, Congress wanted to “do something” about what it saw as a “housing problem.” To them that meant that they should create an even bigger problem. So Congress passed laws that made it easier for hopeful home-buyers to buy houses … even when they couldn’t afford them. Then the Fed and other regulators helped, in the form of easy money and loose credit standards for mortgages. (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Palin's a Tough, Smart Conservative Woman: Deal With It! - Liberals excel in blinding themselves to their own biases and hypocrisy and blaming conservatives for their own sins, all of which they are showcasing in their frantic reaction to the Sarah Palin nomination. Not only are they trying to destroy Palin. They are straight-facedly denying it and accusing Republicans of manufacturing this charge to exhibit phony sympathy for women. Conservatives, after all, couldn't possibly be supportive of female Palin based on merit; it's just a political ploy to purloin Hillary voters. Liberal captives of identity politics just can't comprehend that neither gender nor race matters to conservatives. It's all about the candidate's political philosophy, approach to governance and qualifications to serve -- not those artificial constructs that liberals have exploited through the years. Don't get me wrong. (READ MORE)

Sarah Palin: Transcript: Governor Palin's Weekly Radio Address - Good morning, this is Sarah Palin -- the governor of Alaska and candidate for vice president. When Senator John McCain asked me to join the ticket last week, he placed a lot of confidence in me, and I'm going to do my level best to be worthy of it. Senator McCain also asked me to fill in for him today in his weekly radio address -- he's putting me right to work. In my speech to the convention last Wednesday, I wanted to share some basic convictions, and also to tell you a little about the path that shaped those convictions. I never really set out to be involved in public affairs, much less to run for vice president. My mom and dad both worked at the local elementary school, and my husband Todd and I, we both grew up working with our hands. I was pretty much your average hockey mom, raising kids, and joined the PTA. When I ran for city council of my hometown, and then for mayor... (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: Annals of Oratory: The Anticlimax - It would have been impossible to match, let alone top, Sarah Palin's suspense-satisfying, chart-busting, positively Obaman performance in St. Paul, which I'd never before thought of as a particularly romantic locale. Then Mrs./Governor/Mooseslayer Palin turned it into a city of lights. What a difference she's made. After two days of ice-stolid Republican stasis, the (counter-)revolution was on! Was there a single, solemn commentator who could avoid saying A Star Is Born after her virtuosa performance? Talk about a hard act to follow. When it came time for his acceptance speech, John McCain and stodgy company had the sense to understand that Sarah Palin's was an impossible act to top. And the wisdom not to try. There was just no way a rhetorically challenged 71-year-old war hero, even Mr. Maverick himself, was going to compete with the telegenic running mate he'd had the genius to pick from nowhere, or, more specifically, Wasilla, Alaska. (READ MORE)

Erik Stanley: IRS Rules Don't Trump the Constitution - Every election season, the debate over faith in public life is sure to take center stage. It should. And on Sept. 8, it will be the subject of a press conference in Columbus, Ohio. Sadly, the organizers have it all wrong. The debate is front and center because it embodies the intersection of two of America’s most cherished freedoms: free speech and religious liberty. Americans have long believed that, in a free and healthy society, such debate should continue—inside and outside the church—without government interference. That’s why we have the First Amendment, and that’s why the Alliance Defense Fund has mounted a challenge to a portion of the Internal Revenue Code that violates it. The ADF Pulpit Initiative will culminate in a sermon delivered Sept. 28 by several dozen pastors nationwide who will evaluate candidates for elective offices and how their positions line up with Scripture. (READ MORE)

David All: Ensuring Content-Neutral Access to the Internet is Vital - Two ideas are dear to conservatives: a belief in the benefits of innovation and the power of free markets. When it comes to technology policy, we generally believe that a hands-off regulatory approach is one that makes the most sense. It’s important for government to stand out of the way and let the market resolve an issue before stepping in and potentially interfering with innovation or the healthy growth of the market. The Internet, despite its origin as a government-funded defense network, has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two decades as a wild flower, unhindered by government regulation. In an important sense, it is a case study in how an unregulated and truly free market can provide a myriad of benefits to consumers and the economy. But this is only half the story. While the edge of the Internet is a place where a thousand flowers bloom: (READ MORE)

James Taranto: Best of the Web: South Side Veterans for Truth - Last week we wrote that "'community organizer' is to Barack Obama what 'war hero' was to John Kerry." We didn't know the half of it. Kerry staked his claim to the presidency on the pretense that he was a war hero, notwithstanding his showy repudiation decades earlier of the war and his fellow veterans. According to a new exposé in the liberal New Republic, Obama, before embarking on a career in politics, similarly, albeit quietly, repudiated "community organizing," only to re-embrace it decades later, apparently out of political expediency. TNR's John Judis tracked down Jerry Kellman, who in 1985 "hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side." Kellman describes a conversation the two "community organizers" had at a conference on "social justice" in October 1987: (READ MORE)

Bret Stephens: Democratization and Its Discontents - "Yes, Leezza, Leezza, Leezza," leched Libya's Moammar Gadhafi last week on the eve of his meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State in Tripoli. "I love her very much." Posterity will surely not record whether the dictator's feelings were reciprocated. But it will remember that Ms. Rice, who began her tenure as secretary with a ringing call for freedom and democracy, is ending it on a more genial note when it comes to the world's despots. "For 60 years," she said in Cairo in June 2005, "the United States pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither." Yet the U.S. rapprochement with Libya is nothing if not the triumph of the stability agenda over the freedom one. Just ask Libyan democracy activist Fathi El-Jahmi (on whose behalf Sen. Joe Biden has made honorable exertions), assuming you can find him in whatever dark cell Mr. Gadhafi has him. (READ MORE)

John McCain & Sarah Palin: We'll Protect Taxpayers From More Bailouts - The bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is another outrageous, but sadly necessary, step for these two institutions. Given the long-term mismanagement and flawed structure of these two companies, this was the only short-term alternative for ensuring that hard-working Americans have access to affordable mortgages during this difficult economic period. We are strong advocates for the permanent reform of Fannie and Freddie. For years, Congress failed to act and it is deeply troubling that what we are now seeing is an exercise in crisis management rather than sound planning, and at great cost to taxpayers. We promise the American people that our administration will be different. We have long records of standing up to special interests and providing the leadership to change government and make it more accountable to the American taxpayer. (READ MORE)

James Kirchick: The GOP Should Kiss Gay-Bashing Goodbye - Political conventions are memorable not only for what the party grandees say, but for what they leave out. What was noticeably absent from last week's Republican gabfest? Gay-bashing. This is not an insignificant development for Republicans. In 2004, gays featured prominently at the Republicans' convention and in their rhetoric. In February of that year, President George W. Bush announced his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), which would have written discrimination into our country's founding document by stipulating that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. "Because the union of a man and woman deserves an honored place in our society, I support the protection of marriage against activist judges," Mr. Bush declared from the podium at Madison Square Garden. (READ MORE)

Dan Senor: Iraqi Leaders Opposed Biden's Partition Plan - On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Sen. Joseph Biden made a series of stunning arguments in defense of his plan for segregation of Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines. When Mr. Biden first announced his partition plan in May 2006, Iraqi leaders and U.S. officials understood it to mean the establishment of strong Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regional administrations. The Biden plan would have also begun a phased redeployment of U.S. troops in 2006 and withdrawn most of them by the end of 2007. Despite deep resistance from the Iraqi government, Mr. Biden tried to turn his plan into U.S. policy, introducing a nonbinding Senate resolution that called for its implementation. But his effort completely backfired in Baghdad. The proposal ended up unifying all the disparate Iraqi factions in opposition. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who called on the Iraqi parliament to meet and formally reject the Biden plan: (READ MORE)

A Newt One: THE CNN SPIN - "Why is the presidential race dead even after both parties have had their conventions? In a nutshell, it's because the conventions have not changed the basic dynamic of the race. New numbers released by CNN Monday explain just how the presidential race remains so close with 57 days to go until voters weigh in at the polls: the conventions were so successful for both parties that that each essentially canceled the other out." [...] (SOURCE) Now, the truth: Barack Obama was supposed to have crushed John McCain after both conventions. Republicans were to have been reluctant to nominate McCain, and it should have been no contest after Barack made his magnificent Temple/Stadium oration before millions on television. But Hurricane Sarah blew into Minnesota, and everything - EVERYTHING - changed. (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: A Sanctuary For Soldiers - To me, the word sanctuary conjures in my mind, the image of a calm and peaceful place. One that is welcoming and a haven. That’s exactly what one county in North Carolina has declared that they are, and they’ve enlisted the aid of an “Army’s Army” to ensure that any Soldier who comes there, will feel welcome. On Friday, in a statement of support for our country’s military, Cumberland County, NC declared itself the nation’s first sanctuary for Soldiers and their family members. Their desire is to make a military friendly community. One in which Soldiers will feel welcomed. Major roads in the county will be adorned with official blue and white sanctuary signs. Within the Sanctuary, soldiers will be eligible for local services ranging from free child care to job placement for soldiers’ spouses. (READ MORE)

Slublog @ Aces of Spades: Brutal Assessment of Barack Obama's Tenure as Campaign Executive - Barack Obama and his followers supporters have tried to make the case that running a national campaign for president is a form of executive experience. If that's the case, then recent events show a marked deficiency in crisis management skills, diplomacy and now...budgeting. “Pushing a fund-raiser later this month, a finance staff member sent a sharply worded note last week to Illinois members of its national finance committee, calling their recent efforts ‘extremely anemic.’ At a convention-week meeting in Denver of the campaign's top fund-raisers, buttons with the image of a money tree were distributed to those who had already contributed the maximum $2,300 to the general election, a subtle reminder to those who had failed to ante up.” (READ MORE)

The Anchoress: Media, Authenticity, Feminism and Election ‘08 - A few days ago I wrote that the ‘08 election may come down to authenticity. I was specifically talking about authentic service and volunteerism exemplified by John McCain and Sarah Palin in their lives versus the troubling and compulsory “volunteerism” being put forth by the Obama campaign, but the piece touched on the authenticity of the candidates as well. We tend to think of authenticity as having a positive value. But yesterday Kate at Small Dead Animals flew an email my direction with the comment: “This is unreal.” Actually, what she sent was not “unreal” but utterly authentic - but the sort of authenticity meant to be kept hidden. The piece, by Heather Mallick, is so relentlessly, needlessly vicious, and so self-revealing that I was embarrassed for the writer. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: The Bishop Takes The Queen - Queen Nancy Pelosi made some rather ridiculous statements regarding the Catholic Church’s position on abortion and despite being corrected by sever members of the clergy, she continued with her misguided statements. Now her Archbishop would like to have a word with her. San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer wrote a letter to the Queen requesting an audience with her to discuss whether she should receive communion. Pelosi agreed to the meeting. The Church is pretty clear on its position regarding abortion. How Nancy Pelosi got the idea that she was qualified to challenge that position is beyond me. Perhaps she was trying to rationalize her pro murder position but whatever the reason, this was clearly “above her pay grade.” (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: What the Media’s Coverage of Palin Tells Us About Them - John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin has certainly thrown the political and journalistic worlds for a loop. Initially, the coverage of Palin reflected the astonishment and the degree of unpreparedness of the MSM in McCain’s selection. Then, as the media recovered, and went about its work of covering the heretofore little-known Palin. Does their coverage of Palin reflect something about the media in this country? What can we learn? Several patterns come out. First of all, the MSM seized upon the stories of 17 year-old Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. They suggested that this is proof that Palin is not a good mother, and that had the McCain campaign known about the pregnancy, they would not have chosen her for vice president. Even in Canada, Margaret Wente, columnist for the Globe and Mail could not contain her disdain for her vision of small-town Americans. (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: Kidnapping: The Taliban’s New Source of Income - Regular readers of The Captain’s Journal know that we oppose the admixture of the war on terror with the war on drugs. Destruction of cash crops doesn’t exactly comport with the notion of winning the cooperation of the population, and for this reason the most experienced and savvy warriors on earth - the U.S. Marine Corps - refused to engage in it when the 24th MEU was active in the Garmser area of operations (The Marines don’t want to antagonize the local population by joining U.S.-backed efforts to destroy the crop. “We’re not coming to eradicate poppy” … “We’re coming to clear the Taliban”). The problem, we have always asserted, is the Taliban. Targeting them and their domiciles is the tactic of choice. We have also previously pointed out that poppy is neither really the problem nor the only Taliban target. In Financing the Taliban we pointed out that the Taliban had imposed fixed taxes on traders and businesses... (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: NEVER HAS ANYONE SACRIFICED SO MUCH FOR SO MANY - Sheesh. The megalomania continues: “Barack Obama, Martyr [Mark Hemingway] John McCormack catches this quote from Obama's high dollar fundraiser at Jon Bon Jovi's house: ‘I hope you guys are up for a fight. I hope you guys are game because I haven’t been putting up with 19 months of airplanes and hotel food and missing my babies and my wife – I didn’t put up for that stuff just to come in second.’” Airplanes? Hotel food? What horrible fate has befallen this noble man. Has one man ever sacrificed so much, for so many? Indeed. As Sarah Palin pointed out, "...only one man in this election...has really ever fought for you" and I would add to that, only one man in this election has really ever sacrificed anything of substance for his country. Contrast the noble Messiah's suffering for his country with these words from John McCain's nomination acceptance speech last week: (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Kosanoia - Kos: “Just what is Todd Palin’s role in the governance of Alaska, anyway? And what might we expect it to be in a McCain/Palin administration?” It is a hoot. Put the coffee down before reading further. Management is not responsible for monitor mopping. This Kos post shows what happens when the left falls a few points behind in a poll or two. Or 10. From the post: “One thing she’s not hiding very well is her Cheney-like penchant for secrecy and inappropriate use of ‘official’ cover to protect e-mails she shared outside of official circles. I mean, if you’ve got a good reason why a professional snowmobile racer needs to be copied on e-mails that are legitimately protected by ‘deliberative process’ privileges, shout ‘em out. Don’t be shy about it. Seriously. Just what is Todd Palin’s role in the governance of Alaska, anyway?” (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Palin: Helping Hollywood Republicans “Out”? - On Friday after returning from St. Paul, a friend and I went out to dinner at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant. As we were finishing up, I heard a loud male voice proclaim how John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin had made him proud to be a Republican — “for the first time in three years.” What struck me was not just the synchronicity of hearing a Republican gushing about our party’s ticket on the day I returned from seeing them nominated, but that he would proclaim his enthusiasm in such a loud voice in a public space in the heart of liberal LA, within a few miles of Hollywood. Normally, when we Republicans discuss politics in Hollywood, we do so in a hushed tones, fearful that some left-leaning player might hear us and thus “black list” us. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Obama: Hezbollah and Hamas Have “Legitimate Claims” - Barack Hussein Obama will be a foreign policy lightweight as president. Everyone knows it. Sensible Democrats realize this fact, and gloss over his lack of gravitas while emphasizing their man’s purported domestic policy skills garnered from his years as a community organizer in Chicago. So don’t expect pearls of wisdom from the O-man concerning matters of international import. However, even with such lowered expectations, this quote drew my attention. It’s old news, but it deserves a repeat exposure now that the campaign has entered the home stretch. This is from a David Brooks column in the NYT last May, and it describes Mr. Obama’s prescriptions for American foreign policy as it concerns Lebanon and “Palestine”: (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Does anyone else think “sandbag”? - Critics of Sarah Palin have accused the John McCain campaign of keeping his running mate in a “cone of silence” for not having her hit the Sunday-morning talk shows immediately after the convention. The McCain campaign played coy, only stating that McCain and Palin would conduct interviews at the times and conditions of their choice. That set off howls of outrage, claiming it to be a verification that Palin couldn’t handle media scrutiny. It seems that Team McCain may have been sandbagging: “But it turns out that she is spending much of Thursday and Friday with Gibson — at the ceremony in Fairbanks, Alaska, and at her home in Wasilla, Alaska. Campaign aides said the anchorman will get extensive, repeated access to Palin throughout her first trip home since becoming the nominee.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: The Biden Plan - New strategy to bypass Obama inexperience includes underscoring Biden’s brilliant handling of the counterinsurgency in Iraq, which led to the success we see today. Commentary maggie explains all, and gives credit where credit’s due. At WSJ, Dan Senor inconveniently observes that Iraqi leaders loudly rejected Biden’s plan to Balkanize their nation. Quick Bidenization roundup follows: Also at Commentary, Peter Wehner, clearly unaware of the important role Biden played in crafting the Bush administration’s victory in Iraq, bizarrely credits … the Bush administration. Actually, George Bush in particular, for bucking the combined weight of the joint chiefs, Casey, Abizaid, the Iraq Study Group, the surrenderists in Congress, and going with Petraeus, Kagan, Keane, etal. (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: (VIDEO) Obama on Economics: ‘Wealth Redistribution is Neighborly’ - It’s just the nice thing to do! Democrat Barack ‘Robin Hood’ Obama told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that his plan to overtax the rich and give that money to the poor is benevolent: “OBAMA: ‘The problem is, if I am sitting pretty and you’ve got a waitress who is making minimum wage plus tips, and I can afford it and she can’t, what’s the big deal for me to say, ‘I’m gonna pay a little bit more’? That’s neighborliness.’” To see Obama go into more detail about his socialist plan, a longer version of the video (1 min. 53 sec.) is here. Obama talks in terms of the rich “being able to afford it”. It’s very entertaining. (READ MORE)

Neal Boortz: BLATANT STUPEFYING HYPOCRISY - Now let me see if I can present this incredible story to you in an understandable manner. We'll start with the issue – union elections. More specifically, attempts to unionize workforces. I want you to stick with me here because after I do a bit of explaining I'm going to expose you to one of the most blatant examples of political hypocrisy I've ever come across. Going in you need to recognize that union membership has been falling for decades. You only see growth in union membership in government employee unions. This, of course, is troubling to union leaders. It is also troubling to Democrats. Unions, you see, almost exclusively support Democrat candidates, both with money and time. Big money and lots of time. Here's the way union organizing works under the current law. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Just Silly - It was always wicked for servicemen of a certain age - my age - to miss the Cold War. Sure, we had a certain clarity of vision, and yeah, deep inside we knew that “the Russians loved their children too.” And on top of it all, we recognized that Communism - whatever its manifest shortcomings in practical application - at least had a scientific underpinning in theory. Dialectical materialism and all that. Yes, yes. Mutually Assured Destruction was a hideously immoral proposition, but it did have certain pragmatic advantages. So long as the cost of any geo-strategic misadventure was kept ambiguously high, the ICBMs continued to wait coolly in the silos and launch tubes, while the bombers circled on the safe side of their failsafe points. It all seemed such a jolly game. Of course, by the time I’d sworn the oath, the boots had for so long been pressed down in foreign throats that we all presumed that the Hungarians, Poles and Czechs had become accustomed to them, not to mention the Balts. (READ MORE)

Patterico's Pontifications: How Long Will this Suspicious Hiding from the Media Continue?? - By Andrew Sullivan, that is. Until yesterday, the man was a hysterical publisher of approximately 50 posts a day mocking Sarah Palin. Reflecting his tireless journalistic diligence, these posts mostly consisted of a long block quote — perhaps from Wikipedia, or if he was feeling particularly energetic, from Democrat opposition papers. The block quote would be accompanied by one or two breathless lines about how he was stunned, or gobsmacked — or how he found the whole thing jaw-dropping . . . or incredible. Just incredible. Nobody could deny that the Atlantic was getting its money’s worth. But on Sunday night, he published a paean to Sarah Palin’s courage in having Trig, linked a New York Times puff piece about her pregnancy, and has been curiously silent since — with only one post yesterday, a picture from somebody’s window. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Obama gets organized - Last night Paul Mirengoff wrote here about Barack Obama's work as a "community organizer." As Paul notes, David Fredosso explores Obama's three years working for the Developing Communities Project in The Case Against Barack Obama. National Review has also now made Byron York's article "What did Obama do as a community organizer?" accessible online. Also of interest are Steven Malanga's "Organizer in chief" and Richard Fernandez's "And the word was made flesh." One of Obama's two accomplishments in this line of work was agitating for the removal of asbestos from the Altgeld Gardens public housing project on the (far) South Side of Chicago. York refers to it as Obama's "greatest hit." In the US News article "On the streets of Chicago, a candidae comes of age," reporter Kenneth Walsh attirbutes only "partial success" to Obama's asbestos removal agitation. (READ MORE)

McQ: The Extremist, Sarah Palin - I and others have mentioned ad nauseum how the media (and Democrats) seem unable to find a way to approach (attack?) the the Palin phenomenon (I think that’s a fair description to this point) in a steady, measured way. They’ve been all over the place trying to marginalize the Alaska governor and have seen all of their attempts blow up in their faces. They and the Democrats just can’t seem to find the proper angle of attack without making themselves look foolish, petty and hypocritical. That brings us to the latest attack balloon they’ve launched. Sarah Palin is an extremist. Joe Biden tried it out yesterday. Slate’s Gary Kamiya trots it out as well: “[…] Four years after Americans looked at the first term of the worst president in modern history and decided they liked what they saw well enough to sign up for four more years, it’s all too plausible that just when victory is in sight, the most crucial election of our time could be tipped by the 11th-hour appearance of a slick, unqualified, right-wing extremist and religious zealot in designer glasses.” (READ MORE)

Reverse Spin: Core aeration - The intense battle today on whether John McCain and Sarah Palin are “mavericks” is one that Barack Obama must win or he will lose the election. And I don’t see how he can. McCain’s pick of Palin had many winning strategic dimensions. Commentators are focusing heavily on social issues. The “x” factor, however is reform. The public already believes McCain is a reformer, capable of bucking his own party. Palin has that same reputation. Because Obama and Joe Biden have no such reputations, the strategic edge is great. And few things move voters more strongly than the notion that a politician will do the right thing against the grain of partisanship. That’s why McCain’s ad touting the ticket’s maverick status was answered quickly by the Obama team and why Obama personally challenged Palin today despite the obvious disadvantage of a #1 ticket member going after the other party’s #2. (READ MORE)

Rhymes with Right: A Most Outrageous Charge - Richard Cohen argues that there has been some swiftboating going on since Sarah Palin was picked by John McCain. Only she isn't the victim -- Barack Obama is. “What Obama does not understand is that he is being Swift-boated. The term does not apply to a mere smear. It is bolder, more outrageous than that. It means going straight at your opponent's strength and maligning it.” Yep -- questioning whether being a community organizer is really experience we can believe in is swiftboating -- because that constitutes the strength of Obama's candidacy. I don't know about you, but that looks like a concession as to how week a candidate Barack Obama really is. But somehow Cohen can't find it in him to comment on the scores of false attacks against Sarah Palin and her family. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Politics & Intelligence - One of the bedrock assumptions of the left, at least since the 1960s, is that Democrats are by and large smarter than Republicans. Clive Crook in the Financial Times, while focusing on the disdain which the doyens feel for the hoi pollio, summarizes: “Democrats must learn some respect - Democrats speak up for the less prosperous; they have well-intentioned policies to help them; they are disturbed by inequality, and want to do something about it. Their concern is real and admirable. The trouble is, they lack respect for the objects of their solicitude. Their sympathy comes mixed with disdain, and even contempt. Democrats regard their policies as self-evidently in the interests of the US working and middle classes. Yet those wide segments of US society keep helping to elect Republican presidents. How is one to account for this?” The nomination of Sarah Palin has driven the cognoscenti over the edge. Their attacks on her have distilled and crystallized all of the venom they feel toward their inferiors who have the temerity to challenge their wisdom. (READ MORE)

Cassandra: Palinsanity - There was a time in America when women were the teachers. We were the keepers of family rituals and tradition, of moral standards and rules for everyday living passed from mother to child. We made sure holidays were observed and family ties preserved. The hand that rocked the cradles of this country did, in many ways, shape the world around us as our children moved from beneath our sheltering arms into the world, taking our values with them. It was women who ensured our children knew right from wrong. No decent mother trusted a school to teach her family these things. These were lifetime lessons; learned after playground fights, struggles to complete homework on time or resist the temptation of stealing penny candy from the corner store. More often than not they were lessons learned after we made mistakes, discovered only because someone kept a watchful eye on most everything we did. And after the tears were dried and we'd spent time in our rooms, there came The Talk. (READ MORE)

Lorie Byrd: The Attack Machine is Just Getting Started - Sarah Palin is such an inexperienced lightweight that Barack Obama and all his disciples are working overtime to defeat her. And she isn't even the presidential candidate. Following Palin's incredible speech at the Republican National Convention, polls soared with approval for Palin which put Democrats into full out panic mode. Dems stepped up the rumor-mil and the attack machine even more. Kevin wrote earlier about how many completely false rumors are circulating about Palin and becoming accepted as fact, and provided a fact check link for those trying to debunk them. Kim and others here have written about additional Palin smears, including the supposed gaffe of Palin this week on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The attack machine is far from winding down -- it is just getting started. Melanie Morgan has information about the newest attack on Palin, coming from the leftwing partisan anti-war group. (READ MORE)

Meryl Yourish: Women and the Sarah Palin vote - Let me try once again to explain to the doubters out there why I don’t care that Palin’s views on abortion are different than mine. Or that she’s a “Christianist,” as Asshole Andrew Sullivan keeps calling her. Or that she and I may not see eye to eye on many issues. The fact is, it’s 2008, and it’s about damned time a woman was a member of at least one of the two national presidential tickets. The pundits are telling us that angry would-be Hillary voters won’t vote for Palin. The pundits are wrong. They will vote for Palin, and they are moving to the right for this election—the polls keep coming up McCain, after having been Obama, Obama, Obama. It’s not just a post-convention bounce. It is the excitement that having a femal candidate is engendering (pardon the pun). (READ MORE)

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