October 21, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 10/21/2008

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

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
White House open to second stimulus - The White House dropped its opposition to a second stimulus bill Monday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke urged Congress to pass legislation to counter what he said could be a long and deep downturn in the economy. (READ MORE)

Va. pharmacy caters to pro-life customers - When Divine Mercy Care Pharmacy opens Tuesday in a Chantilly shopping center, it will have on display a picture of St. John Leonardi, the 16th-century patron saint of pharmacists. (READ MORE)

McCain, Obama remain sketchy on deficit - As much as the war on terror and the economy, the ballooning federal deficit is a certainty the next president will have to face, and plenty of public-interest groups are eager to help the evasive candidates apply the scalpel or hatchet where need be. (READ MORE)

Obama cuts campaigning to visit sick grandmother - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is canceling nearly all his campaign events Thursday and Friday to fly to Hawaii to visit his suddenly gravely ill 85-year-old grandmother, his communications director said. (READ MORE)

Libertarian Barr says he scares McCain - Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr says Republicans are so afraid that he will spoil things for Sen. John McCain that the Republican presidential nominee is shadowing him, scheduling appearances in battleground states to match Mr. Barr's own campaign events. (READ MORE)

McCain targets white Clinton strongholds - SALTLICK, Pa. Despite a double-digit deficit in polls, Sen. John McCain is throwing almost everything he can into Pennsylvania, seeking to flip soft supporters of his Democratic rival - many of whom favored Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primary, with some boldly acknowledging that race was a factor. (READ MORE)

Is limited government passe? - President Bush stood in front of several thousand Republican donors in downtown Washington in mid-June and blasted the Democrats for breaking promises to rein in government spending. (READ MORE)

Pakistanis resist global favorite Obama - LAHORE, Pakistan Barack Obama may be winning in the U.S. and most global popularity polls, but he's a loser in Pakistan. Dozens of students interviewed at two top universities in this country's second-largest city, a cultural melting pot known for its liberal leanings, rejected Mr. Obama as "too aggressive," "irresponsible" and an "enemy of Muslims;" (READ MORE)

Bernanke Endorses Obama - Ben Bernanke apparently wants four more years as Federal Reserve Chairman. At least that's a reasonable conclusion after Mr. Bernanke all but submitted his job application to Barack Obama yesterday by endorsing the Democratic version of fiscal "stimulus." While the Fed chief said any stimulus should be "well targeted," even a general endorsement amounts to a political green light. (READ MORE)

L'affaire IMF - It's a multilateral financial institution that has spent most of its existence dispensing bad loans and worse advice. It has so far been mostly on the sidelines of the global financial panic. Now it turns out that its top official is under internal investigation for a personal relationship with a female member of his staff. No, it's not the World Bank. (READ MORE)

Socking It to Small Business - Barack Obama declared last week that his economic plan begins with "one word that's on everyone's mind and it's spelled J-O-B-S." This raises the stubborn question that Senator Obama has never satisfactorily answered: How do you create more jobs when you want to levy higher tax rates on the small business owners who are the nation's primary employers? (READ MORE)

In Fine Print, a Proliferation of Large Donors - Much of the attention on the record amounts of money coursing through the presidential race this year, including in Senator Barack Obama’s announcement on Sunday of his $150 million fund-raising haul in September, has focused on the explosion of small donors. (READ MORE)

Obama Leaving Trail to Visit Ailing Grandmother - Senator Barack Obama will suspend his campaigning for more than 36 hours this week to visit his grandmother Madelyn Dunham, who is gravely ill in Hawaii. A campaign spokesman, Robert Gibbs, declined to specify the nature of her illness, other than to say it was quite serious. (READ MORE)

U.S. Is Said to Be Urging New Mergers in Banking - WASHINGTON — In a step that could accelerate a shakeout of the nation’s banks, the Treasury Department hopes to spur a new round of mergers by steering some of the money in its $250 billion rescue package to banks that are willing to buy weaker rivals, according to government officials. (READ MORE)

Ruling on Guns Elicits Rebuke From the Right - Two prominent federal appeals court judges say that Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in the case, District of Columbia v. Heller, is illegitimate, activist, poorly reasoned and fueled by politics rather than principle. The 5-to-4 decision in Heller struck down parts of a District of Columbia gun control law. (READ MORE)

3 Oil-Rich Countries Face a Reckoning - CARACAS, Venezuela — As the price of oil roared to ever higher levels in recent years, the leaders of Venezuela, Iran and Russia muscled their way onto the world stage, using checkbook diplomacy and, on occasion, intimidation. Now, plummeting oil prices are raising questions about whether the countries can sustain their spending: (READ MORE)

Bush Decides to Keep Guantánamo Open - WASHINGTON — Despite his stated desire to close the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, President Bush has decided not to do so, and never considered proposals drafted in the State Department and the Pentagon that outlined options for transferring the detainees elsewhere, according to senior administration officials. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Wesley Pruden: A long patrol with new pals - Barack Obama is talking landslide, but the polls are getting tighter. Not by much, but a little. Despite the big talk, the issue is still in doubt. The kindling is available to light a fire to burn down the messiah's barn, if John McCain can find the match. So why the jitters among certain followers of the tree-tall and thistle-thin messiah from Chicago's Hyde Park, where everyone has an IQ of 500 (just ask any of them), a Prius in the garage and a radical in the parlor? Are the Obama campaign's internal polls telling him something he doesn't want to hear? Some Democrats are complaining that the Republicans are trying to disqualify voters the Democrats, through their surrogates at ACORN, qualified illegally. A Florida lawyer says he has assembled 5,000 lawyers to monitor voting stations, "assist" voters who may be turned away for lack of proper qualifications, and, if all else fails, paper the dockets with hundreds of lawsuits. (READ MORE)

Aaron Freidberg & Gabriel Schoenfeld: The Dangers of a Diminished America - With the global financial system in serious trouble, is America's geostrategic dominance likely to diminish? If so, what would that mean? One immediate implication of the crisis that began on Wall Street and spread across the world is that the primary instruments of U.S. foreign policy will be crimped. The next president will face an entirely new and adverse fiscal position. Estimates of this year's federal budget deficit already show that it has jumped $237 billion from last year, to $407 billion. With families and businesses hurting, there will be calls for various and expensive domestic relief programs. In the face of this onrushing river of red ink, both Barack Obama and John McCain have been reluctant to lay out what portions of their programmatic wish list they might defer or delete. Only Joe Biden has suggested a possible reduction -- foreign aid. (READ MORE)

William McGurn: Obama Talks Nonsense on Tax Cuts - Now we know: 95% of Americans will get a "tax cut" under Barack Obama after all. Those on the receiving end of a check will include the estimated 44% of Americans who will owe no federal income taxes under his plan. In most parts of America, getting money back on taxes you haven't paid sounds a lot like welfare. Ah, say the Obama people, you forget: Even those who pay no income taxes pay payroll taxes for Social Security. Under the Obama plan, they say, these Americans would get an income tax credit up to $500 based on what they are paying into Social Security. Just two little questions: If people are going to get a tax refund based on what they pay into Social Security, then we're not really talking about income tax relief, are we? And if what we're really talking about is payroll tax relief, doesn't that mean billions of dollars in lost revenue for a Social Security trust fund that is already badly underfinanced? (READ MORE)

Paul Rubin: Get Ready for the New New Deal - In 1932, Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president as the nation was heading into a severe recession. The stock market had crashed in 1929, the world's economy was slowing down, and all economic indicators in the U.S. showed signs of trouble. The new president's response was to restructure the economy with the New Deal -- an expansion of the role of government once unimaginable in America. We now know that FDR's policies likely prolonged the Great Depression because the economy never fully recovered in the 1930s, and actually got worse in the latter half of the decade. And we know that FDR got away with it (winning election four times) by blaming his predecessor, Herbert Hoover, for crashing the economy in the first place. Today, the U.S. is in better shape than in 1932. But it faces similar circumstances. (READ MORE)

James Taranto: The Politics of Reassurance - If the prospect of an Obama presidency doesn't make you nervous, Joe Biden's latest comments, reported by ABC News, may change the way you feel: “‘Mark my words,’ the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. ‘It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. […] And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you--not financially to help him--we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right.’” "This is material for an ad that's a lot more credible than Hillary Clinton's '3 a.m.' ad," observes Rubin. "That one came from his arguably frantic opponent–this one is from his running mate." (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Army Closely Watching How Deployments Affect Children - Even without our country being involved in two wars on separate fronts, military life is not an easy life, for spouses and children of our Troops. Both spouses and children face repeated moves, which can have an impact on education and careers for spouses and education for children. Another impact is leaving friends behind. For children, that can be especially tough. Some find it difficult to make new friends, because of the frequent moves that come with being a part of a military family. These stressors are the normal everyday stressors that go along with have a family member in the military. Over the past 7 years, our country has been involved in wars on two fronts. The frequent deployments that go along with these wars, adds additional stressors upon the family. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: American Detained In Pakistan After Trying To Enter Tribal Regions - This is a curious situation. Pakistani officials are holding 20-year-old Jude Kenan of Raleigh, North Carolina after he tried to enter the Mohmand tribal region. They aren't saying whether he was trying to contact Taliban or al Qaeda: “Kenan, the American detainee, tried to enter the Mohmand tribal region a week ago. Authorities have not said whether they suspect him of contact with Taliban or al-Qaida militants. Kenan's family says he was in the country to visit his Pakistani father. It was unclear if Kenan is seeking bail. A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, which has assisted Kenan, had no comment.” What kind of intel did the Pakistanis have on Kenan that they stopped him? The Times Online wonders whether he's a US spy, al Qaeda agent, journalist, or just an adventurous backpacker. He had been picked up by Pakistani officials last week, released, and detained once again. His family says that he was there to visit his father and two sisters: (READ MORE)

Gabriel Malor: Court Halts Release of Guantanamo Bay Uighurs - If you recall, a U.S. district court judge had ordered the military to release seventeen Guantanamo Bay detainees into the United States because they are not considered enemy combatants and the government cannot remove them to another country. Now the District of Columbia Circuit has stayed the order pending appeal. “Judges A. Raymond Randolph and Karen L. Henderson sided with the government and issued the order without comment; Judge Judith W. Rogers dissented, writing that the Bush administration's legal theories were flawed. The government has argued it can detain the Uighurs without cause until it locates a new home for them. Justice Department lawyers have argued that only the president or Congress has the legal authority to order the Uighurs' release into the United States. They have also said that immigration laws would preclude them from entering the country because they received weapons training at a camp operated by a designated terror organization.” (READ MORE)

The Wolf @ Blackfive: Be Prepared, Be VERY Prepared - ...for a whole lot more of treatment like this. You can almost set your watch by it. Should things go a certain way, you can see that we will see a lot more treatment of troops like this poor LT who's in Kuwait: For the record, I tried to give KREM News in Washington the credit rather than going thru CNN, but their policy won't let us link without registering first. So screw them too. Anyway, the LT moved to WA and bought a new home; he was deployed before he could get his lawn set up, and the developer threatened to sue. In fact, the developer is quoted in the following: “I don't give a [explitive] where he is or what his problem is. Chick Edwards, developer and ‘biggest land owner so I'm the homeowner’s representative’.” Nice guy to have as a neighbor. (READ MORE)

Orson Scott Card: Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights? - An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America: I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know. This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration. This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them. Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEMS - Haven't we heard all this "spread the wealth" nonsense before? Isn't all this stuff being put forth by Obama just the same old tired policies the Democrats have been panhandling for literally decades? Isn't it just the same,albeit slightly more palatable, reworked marxist recipe for economic disaster, cooked up specially for American tastes by the dead-end political left? Why does it qualify for billing as some kind of "hope and change" when it is the same old hype, the same old 60's status quo? It's like opening a brightly wrapped Christmas present only to discover someone else's fruit cake present passed on to you. It's like all the dead communists and socialists of days gone by rising out of their graves as zombies or vampires, eager to eat the living or suck them dry. Is it any wonder that Obama stil hasn't answered Joe's simple question, or explained why "spreading the wealth" around is a new, or even hopeful, idea: (READ MORE)

The Foxhole: Slain Soldier Explained Why he Served - The following is a blog entry written on Aug. 30, 2008, by Army Specialist Stephen Fortunato, who was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was riding in was blown up by an improvised explosive device. This entry was forwarded to the Globe by his mother, Elizabeth “Betty” Crawford. “If I may … I’d like to say something….Just to get it out there so it is clear. To all the pampered and protected Americans who feel it is their duty to inform me that I am not fighting for their freedom, and that I am a pawn in Bush’s agenda of greed and oil acquisition: Noted, and [expletive deleted] You. I am not a robot. I am not blind or ignorant to the state of the world or the implications of the “war on terrorism.” I know that our leaders have made mistakes in the handling of a very sensitive situation, but do not for one second think that you can make me lose faith in what we, meaning America’s sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers in uniform are doing.” (READ MORE)

Freedom Eden: Bill Maher Wants Sarah Palin Shot - From NewsBusters: “Imagine that a prominent media conservative jokingly hoped, in any way shape or form, that a member of the Dem presidential ticket would be shot. How long until the MSM and various others demanded he be fired, a Secret Service investigation launched, etc? But when Bill Maher jokes about Sarah Palin being shot? Silence, except for the raucous laughter of the studio crowd. Maher offered up his violent fantasy on this past Friday's ‘Real Time’ on HBO in the ‘Exit Strategy’ segment, devoted to exploring foreign countries to which people might consider moving in the event of a McCain victory. India was the subject of the week, which led to Maher's invocation of recincarnation, and his ‘hope’ for how Sarah Palin would come back.... ‘BILL MAHER: Above all, India is a land of spiritual renewal, where many believe in recincarnation. And if there is such a thing as karma, let's hope that Sarah Palin comes back as a wolf being shot from a plane.’” (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Sarah Palin’s Presidential Temperament - While I share the concern of one reader that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin may “not display the broad base policy knowledge one should have for the office of the Vice-Presidency,” she has displayed one thing on the campaign trail that even Barack Obama has not, a presidential temperament in the face of relentless criticism. Like Ronald Reagan, she doesn’t let such obloquy get under her skin. When Sean Hannity asked her in September about the harsh attacks directed against her in the course of this campaign, she replied that she doesn’t let it get to her: Contrast that with Barack Obama’s reaction to criticism and tough questions. He lost his cool after having to answer eight questions back in March. During the summer, he whined about Republican criticisms which had yet to happen and would never take place. Last month, his campaign threatened legal against the National Rifle Association (NRA) for running ads exposing his record on guns. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: NYT: Dodd should release mortgage papers now - The New York Times sets its sights on an unfamiliar target — a liberal Democrat. Chris Dodd has still not released his mortgage records to the public to show how much money his “Friends of Angelo” loans saved him on two different properties financed by Countrywide, despite his promises to do so. The Times’ editorial board wonders what excuses Dodd will offer next: “After reports emerged in June about him having received favorable treatment on two home mortgages from the Countrywide Financial Corporation, Senator Christopher Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, promised that he would release documents to support his contention that he never benefited financially from the terms of the loans. The senator has failed to keep his promise, and his excuses are wearing ridiculously thin. …” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Target: London - Comply with United Nations demands re nukes? Nah … target London. Iranian strategy for hanging in there and averting an attack in the waning days of the Bush administration. MEMRI: “In an October 18, 2008 article on the Iranian website Aftab, Wahid Karimi, director of the Europe and U.S. department in Iran’s Foreign Ministry, recommends that Iran mark London as a target, since it is the capital of the country that is the U.S.’s closest ally in Europe. This, says Karimi, would be with the aim of ensuring that the Bush administration does not attack Iran in its final weeks, after the U.S. presidential election next month and before Bush officially leaves office on January 20, 2009.” Sounds like a partner for peace. Very bi-partisan of him, by the way, but on what planet does he think Obama will reach an agreement with Bush to bomb Iran? I suppose an Obama faced with the horrible reality of actually having to govern, despite all the Kumbayah-singing, could recognize the dirty work must be done and would prefer the hated Bush … a sort of pre-condition to talks that he doesn’t have to set. (READ MORE)

neo-neocon: Obama’s campaign and the press: a long history of working hand in hand - Some Obama defenders have pointed out that Joe the Plumber made himself fair game for the exposure of his personal information by insinuating himself into an election when he asked a question of candidate Obama. Others have said that Obama himself can’t be faulted for what happened to Joe; after all, it was the press digging into Joe’s past, not Obama. Some have even blamed McCain for using Joe’s exchange with Obama to make some points in his final debate against Obama. The press is most definitely at fault here, first and foremost. In this election the MSM has almost entirely abdicated its responsibility to objectively inform the American people. It has done this through its naked and unashamed partisanship, its willingness to learn more and expose more about average guy and non-candidate Joe the Plumber or John McCain’s wife and her previously-well-aired difficulties than it has ever wanted to know... (READ MORE)

Patterico's Pontification: Blog Post Addresses Deletion of Evidence of Obama-Ayers Tie - Over at the Musings & Migraines blog, Maria Warren has offered up an explanation for sending evidence of an Obama-Ayers tie down the memory hole: “Jeez! The howls of indignation. Grow up, people. Yes, it’s gone; that oh-so-exciting post that people can’t seem to get enough of. We know deleting doesn’t erase it from memory. Like so much urine in a swimming pool, trace elements will remain.” It’s an odd analogy for one’s own writing, but never mind that. I guess my question is: if you knew that deleting the post wouldn’t erase it from the Internet, then why did you do it? No convincing answer is forthcoming: “For those of you trolling this site for dirt on Obama and Ayers, please look elsewhere. Red Rabbit and the rest of us have said our piece which doesn’t amount to much beyond that yes there was an event which we attended and which has been part of public record for years. If you want to have a serious debate on how progressive Obama truly is then we can talk. But judging from the traffic stats and the comments I doubt that’s what you’re looking for.” (READ MORE)

Paul Mirengoff: Obama's foreign policy -- Carter's ends through Clinton's means? - Reading that Ken Adelman, commonly considered a neo-conservative, intends to vote for Barack Obama caused me to speculate about what an Obama foreign policy would look like. My thinking unfolds as follows: First, Obama subscribes to something like Jimmy Carter's view of the U.S. and the world. For example, he believes that our policies should meet a "global test," and that having failed to meet this test we need to be especially subservient to world opinion. Indeed, Obama affirmatively distrusts America as a force in the world and would like to see our power curbed by global institutions. And like Carter, and his own former foreign policy confidant Samantha Power, Obama is not a friend of Israel. Second, Obama favors a hard-left agenda when it comes to domestic policy. He wants to "spread the wealth around" and to increase the power of government over our lives. (READ MORE)

McQ: The Left Welcomes Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama - It sure has been fun today to watch the left embrace their favorite "Uncle Tom" now that he’s seen the "error of his ways" and endorsed Barack Obama. It is interesting to see how various parts of the left have handled it. For instance one nimrod on Craigslist says: “No one will be surprised that the immediate neocon response to Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama was to claim that Powell is a racist who endorses Obama simply because they are both black.” Of course, that would be the only reason, wouldn’t it? Look, I know Powell’s reputation and I’m not inclined to believe he’d endorse someone based solely on race. That doesn’t mean I think his endorsement is particularly well thought out though. This is just my opinion, but I think the reason goes deeper and is much more personal than that. I think it may be a public way to repudiate what he believes was the single most embarrassing moment in his life - his appearance before the UN discussing Iraq’s WMD. (READ MORE)

Dan Riehl: So, Where Do Things Stand? - Update: As I was saying: “John McCain's campaign manager says he is reconsidering using Barack Obama's relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright as a campaign issue during the election's closing weeks.” First off, do not fall into the trap of thinking this race is over - it's not. Let me point out some things. If you never saw or heard about any polling, based upon media coverage and fundraising, you would expect Obama to be up very big - in the neighborhood of 52/54 to McCain's 44/46. That isn't the case. Obama continues to struggle to break fifty-percent consistently. Assuming Obama is up by around 5 nationally, it is not unusual to have the Democrat leading the Republican by that margin two weeks out from the election. I'm not saying things are great. But I am saying it isn't over. Obama wants and needs you to think that, the media wants to make it true - and obviously so do the Democrats as a group. Don't fall for it and certainly don't despair. (READ MORE)

Donald Sensing: Powell's endorsement of The One - What do Colin Powell and I have in common? We worked at the Pentagon at the same time. He was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I was a major on the Army staff. I had the occasion to work a handful of times with a couple of officers on Powell's staff, but I never met Gen. Powell himself. As everyone knows, Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president on Sunday morning. This despite Powell's membership in the Republican party and his service as secretary of state under G.W. Bush. Why the Obama endorsement? I'll simply point the way to two pieces that explain it very well, IMO. First up, Gerard Van Der Leun's, "Powell Endorsement of Obama Means... Exactly Nothing." Summation: "The meaning of the Powell lie is that endorsing Obama is good, not only for Obama, but first and boremost it is very, very good for Powell. There's no real risk or downside. He's golden." (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: After Attacks on Palin, Biden Given a Pass by Media for Not Holding Press Conferences - The CBS News blog “From the Road” suddenly realized that Joe Biden was not giving the media any access and that he hasn’t held a press conference for well over a month. Even with this report, though, the media at large has been strangely quite on this disappearing act of Biden’s, especially in light of the drubbing they handed out to Sarah Palin when she was not so forthcoming with the press as they’d have liked after her debut on the national stage. Remember all the pained cries from the media that Palin was “hiding” from them? Remember how they agonized over her distance from them in the month following her addition to the McCain ticket? Yet, Biden is not only refusing any interaction with the press, he is, for the most part, not even taking any questions from voters during his campaign stops. Still, the media seems unconcerned with scolding Biden as much as they did Palin. (READ MORE)

The Sundries Shack: An Answer to Ross Douthat - I know that Ross Douthat is supposed to be a tremendously smart man, but when I read something like this, I really wonder. “For a week or so now, I’ve been listening to smart conservatives suggest that Obama’s ‘spreading the wealth’ remark might really, really hurt him – ‘talk about playing into the most extreme stereotype of your party, that it is infested with socialists,’ writes James Pethokoukis - and I have a question: Hasn’t Obama been promising to spread the wealth throughout the entire race - a race he seems to be winning at the moment? His signal domestic-policy proposals are 1) a series of tax cuts and tax credits aimed at Americans making less than $250,000 a year and 2) a big-ticket health care reform aimed at expanding coverage; both of these plans, he promises, can be paid for with tax hikes on the richest 5 percent of Americans. This agenda isn’t a big socialist secret; it’s more or less the basis of his campaign.” The reason his statement is resonating now is because, despite heroic efforts by the MSM to make it disappear, it is the first time that most voters have plainly heard that Obama’s plans are socialist. Can Douthat truly show me where any MSM outlet has dealt honestly with either his so-called tax cut plan or his health care plan? I can’t think of one and it would shock me if he could find as many as three stories in the past six months. (READ MORE)

Orin Kerr: More on Palin and Measuring the Intelligence of Political Candidates - Todd's post below on Sarah Palin brings up some good questions about how we measure the intelligence of politicians. I wanted to offer a few thoughts. It seems to me that when we talk about a candidate's "intelligence," we usually mean a mix of several different things. We might mean raw intellectual candle power, the sort of mind that we might expect to excel in an academic setting. We might mean charisma, the ability to impress and inspire observers. We might mean judgment, a person's ability to chose wisely among different options. We might mean articulateness, a person's ability to communicate effectively. There are some other options, of course, but those are a few of the different kind of judgments that usually factor in how we assess intelligence. My sense is that all of these factors are usually considered when assessing a candidate's intelligence, with the caveat that we often end up filtering these questions through the lens of how much they agree with us. (READ MORE)

Jonathan Adler: A Real Case of Voter Fraud - Why am I so interested in voter fraud allegations? Perhaps because the first time I looked into voter fraud allegations, they turned out to be real — ballots had been forged and an election was stolen. Back in 1993, in Philadelphia (my home town), Democrat Bill Stinson appeared to eke out a victory over Republican Bruce Marks, largely due to a surge in absentee ballots. Although Marks won the votes cast on election day, Stinson won the district's 1,700 absentee votes by 1,000 votes. This gave Stinson a 459-vote margin of victory over Republican Bruce Marks. Stinson's "victory" kept the state legislature from falling into GOP hands — until it was discovered that Stinson had literally stolen the election. As it turned out, Stinson campaign workers conducted an organized campaign to submit fraudulent or coerced absentee ballots. (READ MORE)

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