September 10, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 09/10/2008

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)
In Hunt for Bin Laden, a New Approach - PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Frustrated by repeated dead ends in the search for Osama bin Laden, U.S. and Pakistani officials said they are questioning long-held assumptions about their strategy and are shifting tactics to intensify the use of the unmanned but lethal Predator drone spy plane: (READ MORE)

As Campaign Heats Up, Untruths Can Become Facts Before They're Undone - From the moment Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin declared that she had opposed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," critics, the news media and nonpartisan fact checkers have called it a fabrication or, at best, a half-truth. But yesterday in Lebanon, Ohio, and again in Lancaster, Pa., she crossed that bridge... (READ MORE)

Creating a Place Like No Other - The Pentagon Memorial was designed in a studio on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan, but not the kind with skyline views or a brass nameplate on the office door. No, the 280-square-foot studio apartment where Keith Kaseman and Julie Beckman were living at the time was decidedly more modest than that. (READ MORE)

N. Korean Leader Thought To Be Ill - North Korean leader Kim Jong Il did not appear at North Korea's 60th-anniversary parade yesterday, lending credence to intelligence reports that he may be gravely ill after suffering a stroke. (READ MORE)

Russia to Double Its Forces in 2 Regions - MOSCOW, Sept. 9 -- Russia plans to more than double its military presence in the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and station troops there indefinitely, officials said Tuesday, a day after President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to withdraw Russian forces from undisputed Georgian territory by Oct. 11. (READ MORE)

Russia urged to halt arms to Iran, Syria - Israel's envoy to the United States urged Russia on Tuesday not to sell advanced weapons to Iran and Syria despite Moscow's anger over Israeli military cooperation with Georgia. (READ MORE)

GOP bandwagon runs on 'Palin Power'- Call them skirttails — volunteer numbers have skyrocketed, fundraising has picked up and even the polling shows closer races in some down-ticket congressional contests as Republicans say the effects of "Palin Power" are being felt across the country. (READ MORE)

N. Korea denies leader Kim is ill - SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea denied Wednesday that leader Kim Jong Il is seriously ill, granting a foreign news outlet rare interviews with top officials who dismissed reports questioning Kim's health following his absence from a key ceremony. (READ MORE)

S. Korean ship hijacked off Somalia - KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) A maritime official says pirates have hijacked a South Korean bulk carrier with 21-member crew off Somalia's coast. Noel Choong of the piracy watchdog International Maritime Bureau says the ship was seized in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday. (READ MORE)

Gulf area repeats drill as Ike nears - McALLEN, Texas With Hurricane Ike steaming into the Gulf of Mexico, Texas emergency officials Tuesday stood ready to order 1 million people evacuated from the impoverished Rio Grande Valley and tried to convince tens of thousands of illegal immigrants that they have less to fear from the Border Patrol than from the storm. (READ MORE)

Dems agree on offshore oil drilling vote - Capitol Hill Democrats have agreed to vote on expanding oil drilling off the U.S. coast, but have drawn guffaws from Republicans after proposing a second economic-stimulus package. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he is ready to take up at least two proposals that would allow limited oil and gas drilling... (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Michael Gerson: Trig's Breakthrough - In addition to Barack Obama making history as the first African American to be nominated for president and Sarah Palin taking her shotgun to the glass ceiling, there was a third civil rights barrier broken at the political conventions this year. Trig Paxson Van Palin -- pronounced by his mother "beautiful" and "perfect" and applauded at center stage of the Republican convention -- smashed the chromosomal barrier. And it was all the more moving for the innocence and indifference of this 4-month-old civil rights leader. It was not always this way. John F. Kennedy's younger sister Rosemary, who was born in 1918, had a mental disability that was treated as a family secret. For decades Rosemary was hidden as a "childhood victim of spinal meningitis." Joseph Kennedy subjected his daughter to a destructive lobotomy when she was 23. (READ MORE)

Ruth Marcus: Palin Hits The Motherload - I was driving to school to pick up the kids, listening to conservative talk radio. The subject was, of course, Sarah Palin, and the villains were, of course, liberals. Not just any liberals, but feminist journalist turncoats who preach gender equality until Republicans practice it. I was, it turns out, among them. I'm not telling this story to brag of my notoriety -- I was far down the list -- or to boast about being the Good Mommy. As my kids would be delighted to tell you, I've been anything but recently, as the national conventions collided with the start of school. But the moment captured the topsy-turvy nature of the Palin debate: The loudest voices in the usual stay-at-home chorus cheer Palin's careerism, while many working moms wince at the thought of a vice presidential mother of five. Like a Picasso portrait with body parts askew, nothing in this political set piece is in its accustomed place. (READ MORE)

Kathleen Parker: Arugula Fatigue - "Bring em' on" vs. "Do Tell" With the nomination of one Sarah Palin, presidential politics is no longer a battle of economic policies and national security; it's a Saturday night brawl between the Rednecks and the Elites. On the left, we have the smugly smiling, smarter-than-thou, Ivy Leaguers. On the right, we have the gun-clinging, God-toting, cowboys. Make that cowgirls. The two parties are both more and less than that reduction, of course, but this is approximately how each side now views the other. Barack Obama is an elitist who doesn't understand small-town, traditional America no matter how many times he cites his Kansas roots. And John McCain is, well, who knows? McCain isn't a redneck, but his running mate meets most of the criteria from the elitist's perspective. She hunts, fishes, loves driving four-wheelers, making babies and beating up the boys. (READ MORE)

Michael Medved: Fair to Compare Obama and Lincoln? - Does it make sense to compare Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln? In order to answer widespread objections to the Democratic nominee’s lack of leadership experience, his supporters have developed the annoying habit of citing the sainted sixteenth president as another titanic, world-shaking and divinely anointed figure who ascended to the presidency after few prior accomplishments in politics. According to this misleading analogy, Lincoln lacked an appropriately presidential resume, just as Obama does, and shocked the political establishment of his time in much the same way that today’s Democratic candidate threatens business-as-usual in Washington. True believers feel confident that the absence of qualifications for Barack will block his path to glory and greatness no more than Honest Abe’s shortage of pre-Presidential accomplishment kept him off Rushmore. (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: Palin Investigation Tainted - John McCain’s presidential campaign is calling an ethics investigation led against his vice president, Sarah Palin, by Alaskan Democrats who are actively supporting his rival Barack Obama into question. They contend the man who is heading the investigation against Palin, dubbed "Troopergate," is a partisan Democrat who had endorsed Obama for president and is using his political power in Alaska to damage Palin and the GOP. Members of the McCain campaign are citing a page on Obama’s presidential website that identifies state legislators investigating Palin’s decision to fire the state’s Public Safety Commissioner as Obama supporters. The McCain camp is zeroing on political action taken by Alaskan Democrats Hollis French and Kim Elton against Republican Governor Palin. Both Democrats have endorsed Obama for president and are currently supporting his candidacy, as identified on Obama's website. (READ MORE)

Walter E. Williams: Academic Mismatch II - Last week's column demonstrated the harm, suffered by black students, that results from law school race-based admission policies. The bottom line was that black students who might have done well at lower-tier law schools were recruited to more highly competitive law schools and turned into failures. One might be tempted to place the full blame for such callousness on deans of law schools, but the true villain is the American Bar Association. The American Bar Association is the accreditation agency for all law schools. If a law school has not been accredited by the ABA, it is ineligible for federal funding; its students are ineligible for student loans; most states do not allow graduates of a non-ABA-accredited law school to sit for the bar examination. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: Sisterhood of the Protected Female Liberal Journalists - Let's talk Mommy Wars, double standards and the media elite. Last Friday, Howard Gutman, a member of the Obama campaign's National Finance Committee, attacked Sarah Palin's ability to be a good parent and have a high-powered public life at the same time. In a finger-wagging appearance on the Laura Ingraham radio show, Obama's operative scolded the Republican mother of five children for not putting her professional career on hold. "Your responsibility is to put your family first," Gutman lectured as he singled out Palin's Down Syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter. "The proper attack is not that a woman shouldn't run for vice president with five kids, it's that a parent, when they have a family in need" should get out of the public sphere and stay home. The Gutman standard has now been proffered by countless Obama hacks and water-carrying commentators. (READ MORE)

Terence Jeffrey: To Whom Joe Biden Bows - Take a leap of faith. Assume Sen. Joe Biden is an intellectually rigorous man who never fails to act on his own convictions when he votes in the Senate -- and that he is especially careful in thinking things through when he votes on matters of life and death. Now, try to entertain Joe Biden's logic -- on a matter of life and death. "I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception," Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "But that is my judgment." Biden's implication is that it is equally plausible to conclude that life does not begin at conception and that this conclusion ought to command as much respect from rational people as the conclusion that life does begin at conception. For Biden -- if you take him at his word -- the question of when life begins is not determined by science but by religion. It is not only a multiple-choice question, but a question with multiple correct answers. (READ MORE)

Austin Bay: Bin Laden's Slow Rot - In late August 2004, after shutting off the recorder, I asked the British general to tell me how Iraq and coalition forces should handle the complex ethnic, sectarian and security challenge presented by Shia "Mahdi Militia" leader Moqtada al-Sadr. That month, Sadr's thugs had invaded Najaf's Grand Mosque and attempted to bait the coalition into bombing the shrine. The coalition chose to follow the advice passed on by an aide of Shiite Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani: "Let us deal with Sadr. We know how to handle him and will do so. However, the coalition must not make him a martyr." The British general shook his head. "Dealing with Sadr will appear indecisive, as the Battle of Najaf appears indecisive. But in the long run Iraq will be better off if Sadr withers, or defeats himself." (READ MORE)

Andrew Tallman: Why Do They Hate Sarah Palin So? - I assume it is unnecessary to answer the logically prior question of whether or not they hate Sarah Palin. The level of vitriol flung at her over the past week and a half by critics in every liberal outlet ranging from The New York Times to Air America is particularly awe-inspiring given that this is all the longer they’ve even known her name. Ordinarily, such hatred takes years to cultivate. The force and acceleration of their vehemence virtually demands psychoanalysis. Since this sport is in vogue, I’ll give my diagnostic skills a shot at the trophy. Preface: There Is a Pathology - The natural first reaction of a Palin-hater to this column is to deny the hatred. They will say it’s her politics, her religion, or possibly the whiff of scandal some have managed to ladle upon her. But if they’re honest with themselves, they’ll have to admit three simple facts. First, the reasons they give aren’t the reasons they hate. (READ MORE)

Wesley Pruden: The media's gift to McCain/Palin - Ranting at the press is great fun, but usually an exercise for losers, like invoking the spirit of Harry S. Truman on the eve of an election the polls say you're about to lose. But not always. Sometimes the press deserves all the fire and brimstone anyone can throw at it. This looks like one of those times. John McCain and Sarah Palin should consider revising their wills, to leave a little something in the sock for the Assisted Living Home for Gloomy Journalists. Without them, neither Gallup nor Zogby nor Rasmussen nor anybody else would be measuring the size of the remarkable Republican bounce. Pollsters for USA Today give McCain-Palin a 10-point lead among likely voters, a 17-point swing over just the past seven days. Other polls show the first results with John McCain leading the race. We haven't seen the likes of this since George the Elder overcame a comfortable Michael Dukakis margin and never trailed again. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: The Gaffes Keep On Coming - The Obama campaign can't get out of its own way quick enough. These are unforced errors that do nothing but galvanize the GOP base and get people thinking about the character and fitness of the respective tickets. People are starting to realize that Obama simply doesn't have anything to offer beyond empty words. Well, empty words except when he goes and makes still more unforced errors and personal attacks. Alluding to Gov. Palin as a pig? Are you kidding me? That's the kind of red meat that GOPers just love to sink their teeth into. These are unforced errors on top of unforced errors galore by the Democrats. “L-L-L-Let's just list this for a second. John McCain says he's about change too. Exce... an-an-and so I guess his whole angle is, watch out, George Bush! Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy, and Karl Rove-style politics, we're really gonna shake things up in Washington! That's not change. That's... that's just calling some... the same thing, something different. But you know, you can... you-you can put, uh, lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig.” (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Army Focuses On Preventing Suicides During Suicide Prevention Week - In the headlines over the past several months are stories stating that military suicides have increased since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just Monday, the news was full of stories about a Soldier at Fort Hood who shot his 1LT and then turned the gun on himself. Perhaps this tragedy could have been avoided, perhaps not. We’ll never know. Recognizing that suicide is a problem, the Army and the military as a whole has taken steps to try to reduce those numbers. There are multiple things that can affect a Soldier to the point of him or her taking their own life. Things such as depression, stress, medical problems, and often relationship problems. All of these can take a toll on the mental health of a Soldier and can lead to suicide. This week, September 7th through September 13th is the Army’s Suicide Prevention Week. The theme this year is “Shoulder to Shoulder – NO Soldier Stands Alone.” (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: Sarah Palin and the Frontier of American Feminism - This afternoon I confessed, "The main reason I'm so excited about Sarah Palin is in the way she's positively energized the Republican base." While true, I should add that I'm absolutley blown away, frankly, at the radical feminist response to Palin's nomination as the GOP vice-presidential running mate. If you haven't yet, be sure to read Michelle Cottle's case study in the depressing feminist lament, "A Bad Year For Feminism: Can Someone Please Tell Me What Happened?" I think women of the contemporary left are feeling simplyviolated that a conservative mother from a non-contiguous outback state could credibly claim the mantle as America's top female politician. It has to be a shock, which explains the vehemence that accompanies attacks on any and all facets of Palin's version of the feminine mystique. But don't take my word for it. (READ MORE)

Ace: An Unexpected New Minion for Karl Rove (My Dark Master) - Whoooaaah. This guy (or gal; not sure) -- a card carrying Clinton Democrat -- is asking if "we" (by which he means liberalish people) have been "drinking the Kool-Aid for forty years." And then begins saying all sorts of nice things about Republicans. And then starts talking about political realignment. What's interesting -- and new -- is that this guy isn't just looking at this from a personality perspective -- that is, support of Hillary, distaste for Obama. That sort of thing is nice and might even swing an election but has no actual long-term impact. He's actually re-examining his entire devotion to the liberal (or non-liberal, really) project. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Obama's Macaca Moment: It's a Gaffe, Gaffe, Gaffe! - Studiously avoiding all buoyancy, pneumatic, and materials-science analogies, the presidential campaign of Barack H. Obama certainly appears to be in trouble. One symptom of failing candidacies is the tendency to magnify the external problems with personal mistakes, misjudgments, and gaffes. Here is the newest... and it could well become a seam-splitting, steam-leaking, presidential ambition-sinker: “With voters craving change and Obama offering it, McCain has started pushing hard to reclaim the reformer mantle he owned eight years ago. His running mate, Sarah Palin, has energized his conservative base while attracting droves of white women to the Arizona senator's candidacy. The GOP ticket has soaked up a great deal of attention over the last 10 days, between Palin's selection and the party's convention. That has left Obama, the change candidate of the primaries, spending much of his time explaining to voters why McCain and Palin don't deserve the label.... ‘You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig,’ he said to an outburst of laughter and applause from his audience in Lebanon, Va., Tuesday. ‘You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, but it's still going to stink after eight years.’” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Deadly knowledge - “Some say Google is God,” Sergey Brin once said. “Others say Google is Satan.” The same has often been thought of the United States of America. Bob Woodward claims “the dramatic drop in violence in Iraq is due in large part to a secret program the U.S. military has used to kill terrorists,” a program “which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb.” “It is a wonderful example of American ingenuity solving a problem in war, as we often have,” Woodward said. In “The War Within: Secret White House History 2006-2008,” Woodward disclosed the existence of secret operational capabilities developed by the military to locate, target and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent leaders. Woodward has described in his latest book, the War Within, how George Bush spearheaded a makeover of US strategy in Iraq when it was clear that things were not going well. (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Running Scared - It's getting fun to watch as "The One" finds out that he may need to scratch January 21, 2009 out of his anointment appointment book. White women and independents are flocking over to the McCain Palin ticket, and Joe Biden won't be helping by telling people that her being elected would be step backwards for women. Barack Obama is in full defensive mode, not knowing how to react to the media that's suddenly being somewhat warm to the opponent, and realizing that a novice senator with no record, and a 35 year Washington insider aren't exactly "change agents". The problem for him is his lack of a record is starting to show. While Palin can claim some legitimate (and some questionable) reform victories in Alaska, and McCain has a record of bucking his party, Obama's campaign folks claimed are grasping at straws for anything that might look like reform. (READ MORE)

Discerning Texan: Obama's Lawyers sue LA Talk Station, claiming "Bias" - Ah, Stalinism. It seems that whenever Obama gets his dander up about a little criticism, he either goes to court to try and shut it down--or to the Justice Department...Can someone who is this thin-skinned really handle the pressures of the Oval Office?? You tell me:
“Radio Equalizer’s Brian Maloney reports on the latest attempt by leftist speech-chillers to level the talk radio playing field…by suing conservative talk radio hosts to shut them up and shut them down: ‘Having failed to shut down conservative talk radio through every means possible, including well- funded attack sites, smear strategies and so much more, the left has opened up a new front on its war against viewpoints they oppose. The new approach: simply sue your political foes right out of business. In what appears to be a test case for what could become a future trend nationwide, a suit has been filed in Los Angeles against conservative talk station KRLA, which is owned by Salem Broadcasting. In the suit, David Birke and attorney Johnny Birke argue that KRLA uses public airwaves to push Republican Party causes, an old lefty chestnut.’” (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION - David Brooks has an editorial piece that begins this way: “None of us have ever lived through an election at a time when 80 percent of voters think the country is headed in the wrong direction. But now that we’re in the thick of it, a few things are clear. From voters, the demand is: Surprise Me Most. For candidates, the lesson is: Weirdness Wins.” You can go read the rest of it. The article talks about how "Democrats have an advantage in a straight up issue contest" and how "the campaign has become a battle between two different definitions of change" etc. etc. But, you know, I think most pundits--both left and right-leaning--miss the point of what's been happening in the last several weeks. The real issue is WHY most Americans believing that the country is headed in a wrong direction and WHAT kind of change they are searching for in this Presidential election. And I think on both those questions the traditional media, the traditional left and right pundits, the traditional Democrats, and the traditional Republicans-- ALL have it wrong. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Bring it on - British columnist: “The world’s verdict will be harsh if the US rejects the man it yearns for.” Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian wrote: “If Americans choose McCain, they will be turning their back on the rest of the world, choosing to show us four more years of the Bush-Cheney finger. And I predict a deeply unpleasant shift. Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start — a fresh start the world is yearning for.” I don’t doubt that. But America must stand strong. Because without Republican Sen. John McCain, Iraq would be Lebanon or Sudan or any of those other garden spots in the world that the UN blue helmets mucked up by not being what America under George Bush has been. (READ MORE)

Chuck Z: Media responsibility - I know, it's an oxymoron, usually. I was struck by something this morning. SeeEnEn has a blurb that says "More Americans get their news from CNN than from any other source." Given that the Average American is busy working five months out of the year to support the rest of the population, and doesn't have time for their own personal daily news research, shouldn't the responsibility of absolutely unbiased and fair reporting rest squarely on their shoulders? Isn't that what is meant by journalistic integrity? If people trust that you are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, then you get the level of trust and respect that Pyle and Cronkite enjoyed. If people knew that they were getting the "straight dope" from you, then milblogs, and blogs in general, wouldn't exist, at least not in the way they currently do. We are here because increasingly, people don't trust mass media. (READ MORE)

The Foxhole: Obama, Protecting the Rights of Terrorists Everywhere - He’s certainly faithful to his constituency. “On Monday in Michigan, Obama became exercised when talking about the need to give even suspected terrorists legal rights. ‘We may think this is Mohammed the terrorist,’ he said at a campaign rally, but ‘it might be Mohammed the cab driver. You might think it’s Barack the bomb-thrower. But it might be Barack the guy running for president.’ Continuing, he got more heated, his voice booming. Referring to the Constitution, he said: ‘Don’t mock the Constitution! Don’t make fun of it! Don’t suggest that it’s un-American to abide by what the founding fathers set up! It’s worked pretty well for 200 years!’ He finished with a sigh: ‘These people.’” Mohammad the cab driver could have explosives in the trunk. Barack the bomb thrower or Barack the candidate. What a choice. And, that’s We the People to you: (READ MORE)

Gay Patriot West: Can Obama Stand the Heat? Sarah Palin Can! - As I reading yesterday about Barack Obama’s interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulus, it seemed the Democratic presidential nominee was whining (yet again) about non-existent attacks from the McCain campaign. To be sure, some people on the right have leveled some pretty disgusting attacks on Senator Obama just as some on the left have leveled some pretty disgusting attacks on John McCain and Sarah Palin, but you don’t see the Republican nominee nor his running mate whining about their treatment. They leave it to the campaign staffs–and supporters on the editorial pages and in the blogosphere–to counter such nonsense. The more Obama whines, the more voters will question whether he has the temperament to be president. Defending his hard-hitting campaign style in 1948, then-President Harry S Truman opined, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Paglia to Democrats: Stop being the party of dogma - Camille Paglia takes Democrats to task over their treatment of Sarah Palin and offers a cogent diagnosis of their hysteria — a desperate grasp on their pro-abortion dogma. Palin challenges their ossified view of women and power, and sees her not as a threat to legal abortion, but as someone who can reveal just how intellectually and morally bankrupt their own ideology has become. Paglia points out the flaws and wonders just when Democrats became the party of lockstep thinking: “What I am getting at here is that not until the Democratic Party stringently reexamines its own implicit assumptions and rhetorical formulas will it be able to deal effectively with the enduring and now escalating challenge from the pro-life right wing. Because pro-choice Democrats have been arguing from cold expedience, they have thus far been unable to make an effective ethical case for the right to abortion.” (READ MORE)

Quid Nimis: Settling the Dust - It's been a week and a half since John McCain has chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate. In the media maelstrom that followed, there have been a few voices that have risen above the rest, for me. They seem to pick up threads of what I'm thinking and carry them through to completion, and, although I think that none of them is completely correct (an impossibility), all of them represent serious analysis. Putting them in order from most negative to most positive, from my point of view: Charles Krauthammer presents a pessimistic view of McCain tossing the "experience" card and meeting Barack Obama on his home ground of "change." It's a huge gamble, he argues, and Sarah Palin, while talented, is a slender reed. Kay Hymowitz of City Journal has interesting thoughts about "Red State Feminism," and captures the essence of how female power happens in the real world, away from the dystopian gender wars of liberal identity politics. (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: It’s tough being a combat mom - You know when the boys were little I often found myself in some position that were demanding. You know the shtick — take a kid here, drop a kid there, pick a kid up there, sign that form for that thing and bake cookies for the other. Then one day they join the military and suddenly your understanding of major stress, the value of every moment you spend together, and the fragility of life and the human spirit is honed in and fine tuned. It’s not that you take them for granted when they are little, but we protect our hearts and minds by lulling ourselves into a false sense of security. Then they go to war and your eyes are forced to stare point blank into the sun, so to speak. You know how it is when you stare too long into a source of light? It burns the images you are looking at into your mind so that when you try and close your eyes the silhouette of that image is still there. You can’t escape it and it takes a very long time to erase it from your mind. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Fishy - I didn’t think much of that Obama “lipstick on a pig” thing at first. Even politicians should be allowed to use the English language and speak freely without fear of being smeared, like when Romney made that “tarbaby” remark.* In fact, I thought the second part of the quote, “You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink” showed he was just trotting out cliches to counter the outrageous McCain-Palin seizing of his “Change” mantra, which he’s apparently worried about.** Then I remembered this: And it starts to get a little cute. You could even turn the “fish” thing into an anti-Christian thing, or like Sadly, a Moron, make fishy “fag” jokes if you want. So did Obama intend to call Palin pig who smells like rotting fish? I dunno, maybe. (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: From Baku to Russian-Occupied Georgia - “Russia can have at its borders only enemies or vassals.” – George F. Kennan, United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union “You must draw a white-hot iron over this Georgian land!…You will have to break the wings of this Georgia! Let the blood of the petit bourgeois flow until they give up all their resistance! Impale them! Tear them apart!” – Vladimir Lenin Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, looks as though it might never have been a part of the Soviet Union. It is perhaps the least communist-looking capital in the nine post-communist countries I’ve visited. So much oil money has been pumped into the city that its revival and transformation is nearly complete. The countryside, though, is much rougher and poorer, and my trip across that landscape to Georgia from Baku felt in many ways like a trip backward in time, as if a year were being subtracted from the date for each of the 18 hours I sat on the train. (READ MORE)

neo-neocon: How’s that executive experience going, Obama? - Obama recently compared his own executive experience favorably to Palin’s. He’s run a big campaign, he said, and she was mayor of a small town. This conveniently leaves out a few details—that he has a campaign manager, and that her most recent job description was actually governor. But let’s just take him at his word for a moment and see how that campaign of his is actually going right now. Turns out that one of his biggest decisions, when he opted out of public financing and broke a few vows in the process, may not have been such a wise move after all. It seemed worth it back then, when the money was flowing in to Obama at record rates and poor old John McCain could barely rattle a tin cup on a streetcorner. But now it seems that the worm has turned; today the NY Times features an article with the alarming headline, “Straining to Reach Goal, Obama Presses Donors.” (READ MORE)

Michael W: Let’s Be Clear About "World Opinion" - I was going to write something earlier today about the insipid little poll of world opinion concerning the upcoming Presidential Election. That post didn’t happen because I thought it would be too intemperate and contrary to my actual feelings about "world opinion." But then, some ponce has the temerity to write in the Guardian about the wrath that America will suffer if Obama isn’t elected: “[…] But what of the rest of the world? This is the reaction I fear most. For Obama has stirred an excitement around the globe unmatched by any American politician in living memory. Polling in Germany, France, Britain and Russia shows that Obama would win by whopping majorities, with the pattern repeated in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. If November 4 were a global ballot, Obama would win it handsomely. If the free world could choose its leader, it would be Barack Obama.” And? If the rest of the world wants to sign up to be an official American protectorate (as opposed to the free ride they get now), then be my guest. We actually have rules for doing so because, unlike most of the rest of the world, we are a nation of laws. “If Americans choose McCain, they will be turning their back on the rest of the world, choosing to show us four more years of the Bush-Cheney finger. And I predict a deeply unpleasant shift.” Well now I’m shaking in my boots. An "unpleasant shift" you say? (READ MORE)

Some Soldier's Mom: The Week of 9-11... In a Time of War - For the first time in many moons, I have actually watched some television in the evenings. This evening I watched "Battle 360" on the History Channel... the episodes about the USS Enterprise in WWII -- the realistic graphics and animations and the interviews with survivors are inspiring. Fascinating. You can't help but notice the number of commercials for upcoming programs and specials commemorating the 7th anniversary of 9-11-01. There is one show that I would like to see -- the compilation of New Yorkers' photos and film taken on that day....102 Minutes That Changed America. I find it somewhat quizzical (think of Mr. Spock's raised eyebrow) that the two Presidential candidates are making a joint appearance at Ground Zero... I have heard John McCain speak candidly about his thoughts and reactions that day... I have never heard Barrack Obama speak of his. (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillps: Revolution you can believe in - In her game-changing convention speech, Sarah Palin took a swipe at Obama for having been nothing more in his life than a ‘community organiser’. This prompted the Obama campaign to issue a pained defence of community organisation as a way of promoting social change ‘from the bottom up’. The impression is that community organising is a worthy if woolly and ultimately ineffectual grassroots activity. This is to miss something of the greatest importance: that in the world of Barack Obama, community organisers are a key strategy in a different game altogether; and the name of that game is revolutionary Marxism. The seditious role of the community organiser was developed by an extreme left intellectual called Saul Alinsky. He was a radical Chicago activist who, by the time he died in 1972, had had a profound influence on the highest levels of the Democratic party. (READ MORE)

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