October 27, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 10/27/2008

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)
McCain seizes on gaffes of Democrats - MESILLA, N.M. When Republicans began booing the mention of Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. at a McCain rally on Saturday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told them to cut it out. (READ MORE)

Tough decisions loom on Latin America - The next U.S. president will have to come to terms with leftist changes that have swept through Latin America and will face tough choices on issues including trade and drugs. (READ MORE)

Report slams Iraq sewage project - A U.S.-funded system to restore sewage service to Fallujah, Iraq, is expected to come in three times over budget and two years behind schedule, according to a report scheduled to be released Monday. (READ MORE)

Md. slots unlikely to hit budget figures - ANNAPOLIS The odds are that slot machines in Maryland will have difficulty generating the millions of dollars projected by gambling supporters, based on national trends and experiences in other states that have long used gambling to supplement spending. (READ MORE)

Free fall at the pump eases worries on living costs - Concern about high gasoline prices and the rising cost of living have melted away in recent weeks as a free fall in oil prices brought relief at the pump, dropping from more than $4 a gallon to well under $3. (READ MORE)

U.S. strike kills 8 over Iraq border - DAMASCUS, Syria U.S. military helicopters launched a rare attack Sunday on Syrian territory close to the border with Iraq, killing eight people in a strike the government in Damascus condemned as "serious aggression." (READ MORE)

Obama offering closing case to voters in Ohio - "In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope," Obama said in prepared comments released in advance early Monday by his campaign. (READ MORE)

Poll Gives Obama 8-Point Va. Lead - Barack Obama has opened up an eight-point lead over Republican John McCain in Virginia, and the Democrat is entering the final week of the campaign with several core advantages when it comes to turning out his supporters, according to a new Washington Post poll. (READ MORE)

McConnell Needs Kentucky to Deliver - PADUCAH, Ky. -- If Barack Obama wins the presidency on Nov. 4, Mitch McConnell, the Senate's minority leader, could be one of the few obstacles confronting Democrats as they seek to enact a sweeping agenda and roll back eight years of Bush administration initiatives. (READ MORE)

Iraq Aside, Nominees Have Like Views on Use of Force - The well-advertised differences between John McCain and Barack Obama on the war in Iraq may obscure a consequential similarity between their hawkish views on the use of American military force in other places. (READ MORE)

Livni Abandons Effort to Form Israeli Coalition - JERUSALEM, Oct. 26 -- Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Sunday gave up trying to form a coalition government, paving the way for new elections in early 2009. Palestinian officials worried that her decision could also mean the end of the fragile Israeli-Palestinian peace process... (READ MORE)

Trail of Odd Anthrax Cells Led FBI to Army Scientist - In late October 2001, lab technician Terry Abshire placed a tray of anthrax cells under a microscope and spotted something so peculiar she had to look twice. It was two weeks after the country's worst bioterrorism attack, and Abshire, like others at the Army's Fort Detrick biodefense lab, was caught up in a frenzied search for clues that could help lead to the culprit. Down the hall, Bruce E. Ivins, the respected vaccine specialist, was looking, too. (READ MORE)

Senior Liberation Act - For all of America's cherished belief in choice and freedom, it remains an astonishing fact that the U.S. government forces citizens over the age of 65 into a subpar health plan of its choosing. And so it is with some hope that we greet a new federal lawsuit that aims to allow senior citizens to flee Medicare. (READ MORE)

A Prize for Hu Jia - The European Parliament's awarding last week of its annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Chinese dissident Hu Jia is a positive step in more ways than one. The award honors "particular achievement in . . . defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly the right to free expression." Mr. Hu is serving a 3½-year prison sentence for what Beijing calls "incitement to subvert state power." (READ MORE)

Justice and Vote Fraud - We've all read a lot about the "politicization" of the Justice Department in recent years, and that political pounding is having an ironic effect. The prosecutors who are supposed to guard against voter fraud don't seem very interested in running the political risk of doing their job. If voter fraud would ever be ripe for investigation, this would seem to be the year with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn) having been caught filing thousands of bogus voter registrations in at least 14 states. (READ MORE)

The Election Choice: Unions - Big Labor is hoping to have a big election next Tuesday, with a goal of building a majority to rewrite negotiating rules between unions and management. Though it has received little media attention, Barack Obama's pro-union agenda is the most ambitious in decades and has a real prospect of becoming law. His stated goal is to "strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions" by doing the following: (READ MORE)

Global Markets Shudder Amid Concerns Over Currency - PARIS — Stock markets shuddered Monday in Europe and Asia, with Japanese stocks falling to their lowest level since 1982, as the sell-off that has erased more than 51 percent of the value of global stock markets this year showed no signs of abating. (READ MORE)

Syria and Iran Blame U.S. in Blast on Iraq Border - BAGHDAD — Iran joined Syria on Monday in condemning what they said was an attack by four United States helicopters on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq on Sunday that they said killed eight people. The United States confirmed on Monday that a special operations mission took place in the area but a senior military official gave no more details for now. (READ MORE)

U.S. Takes to Air to Hit Militants Inside Pakistan - WASHINGTON — The White House has backed away from using American commandos for further ground raids into Pakistan after furious complaints from its government, relying instead on an intensifying campaign of airstrikes by the Central Intelligence Agency against militants in the Pakistani mountains. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Mary Anstasia O'Grady: Democrats for Despotism - It took eight years, but on Oct. 8 I finally secured a copy of Fusion Telecommunications' 1999 contract with the Haitian telephone monopoly Teleco. By law the agreement is a public document but Fusion wouldn't give it to me until the FCC required them to do so. Now I think I know why. Fusion is run by former Democratic Party Finance Chairman Marvin Rosen. It no longer does business in Haiti. But when it did, former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, a staunch supporter of former Haitian strongman Jean Bertrand Aristide, was on the board. So too was President Bill Clinton's former aide, Thomas "Mack" McLarty, and former Mississippi Democratic Gov. Ray Mabus. In other words, the Fusion name was synonymous with the Who's Who of the Democratic Party. Democrats were important to Aristide. President Clinton used the U.S. military to restore him to power in 1994 after he had been deposed in a coup: (READ MORE)

Arthur B. Laffer: The Age of Prosperity Is Over - About a year ago Stephen Moore, Peter Tanous and I set about writing a book about our vision for the future entitled "The End of Prosperity." Little did we know then how appropriate its release would be earlier this month. Financial panics, if left alone, rarely cause much damage to the real economy, output, employment or production. Asset values fall sharply and wipe out those who borrowed and lent too much, thereby redistributing wealth from the foolish to the prudent. This process is the topic of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book "Fooled by Randomness." When markets are free, asset values are supposed to go up and down, and competition opens up opportunities for profits and losses. Profits and stock appreciation are not rights, but rewards for insight mixed with a willingness to take risk. (READ MORE)

Robert Carroll: Almost Everyone Would Do Better Under the McCain Health Plan - The McCain health-care insurance tax credit may well be one of the most misunderstood proposals of this presidential election. Barack Obama has been ruthless in his attacks. But the tax credit is highly progressive and will provide a powerful incentive for people to purchase health insurance. These features under normal circumstances should endear Democrats to the proposal. There has been a lot of rhetoric and misstatements, but what exactly does Sen. McCain have in mind? He would replace the current income tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance with a refundable tax credit -- $5,000 for those who purchase family coverage and $2,500 for individual coverage. Mr. McCain would also reform insurance markets to stem the growth in health insurance premiums. (READ MORE)

Paul H. Rubin: Vote for the Party, Not the Person - It is common to hear people say "I vote for the person, not the party." That kind of thinking is especially widespread in this election, where John McCain is old and stuffy and Barack Obama is young and hip. For a young person, it would be much more fun to have dinner and drinks with Mr. Obama than with Mr. McCain. But that's not going to happen. The chance of any one of us spending more than a few seconds with either candidate is virtually zero. In no sense is the personality of the president relevant for our lives. Politics is a team game. A president chooses an administration -- a lineup to run the government. The public focuses on the cabinet, but the choices go much deeper. Every level of government is influenced by choices from the top, and all levels of policy are controlled by these choices. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: Obama and "The Left" - Although Senator Barack Obama has been allied with a succession of far left individuals over the years, that is only half the story. There are, after all, some honest and decent people on the left. But these have not been the ones that Obama has been allied with-- allied, not merely "associated" with. ACORN is not just an organization on the left. In addition to the voter frauds that ACORN has been involved in over the years, it is an organization with a history of thuggery, including going to bankers' homes to harass them and their families, in order to force banks to lend to people with low credit ratings. Nor was Barack Obama's relationship with ACORN just a matter of once being their attorney long ago. More recently, he has directed hundreds of thousands of dollars their way. Money talks-- and what it says is more important than a politician's rhetoric in an election year. (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: Dem Playbook Shows Dirty Tactics - Dirty campaign tricks don’t die. They just become more refined with age. Documents obtained by Townhall show the Democratic Party encouraged party activists to accuse the GOP of intimidating minorities on Election Day even if no evidence of intimidation existed in the 2004 presidential election. The tactic is being used again in 2008, this time to downplay fraud charges against a predominantly minority non-profit supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Weeks before the Nov. 4 election Barack Obama’s campaign said the Republicans are attempting to suppress votes by drawing attention to the Association for Community Organizers for Reform Now’s involvement in rampant voter registration fraud across the nation. The nonprofit actively supports Democratic causes, such as minimum wage increases and housing assistance. (READ MORE)

George Will: Freedom of Choice in Health Care - WASHINGTON -- On Election Day, Arizonans can give the nation the gift of a good example. They can enact a measure that could shape the health care debate that will arrest or accelerate the nation's slide into statism. Proposition 101, "The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act," would put the following language into Arizona's Constitution: "Because all people should have the right to make decisions about their health care, no law shall be passed that restricts a person's freedom of choice of private health care systems or private plans of any type. No law shall interfere with a person's or entity's right to pay directly for lawful medical services, nor shall any law impose a penalty or fine, of any type, for choosing to obtain or decline health care coverage or for participation in any particular health care system or plan." (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: How I Bombed an Abortion Clinic and Still Got Tenure - Ann Potts, an Assistant Professor in the Watson School of Education, has disgraced The University of North Carolina at Wilmington by signing a petition in support of unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers – himself an education professor at The University of Illinois at Chicago. The real disgrace is actually twofold: First, there is her willingness to support Ayers. Second, there is her unwillingness to support me for engaging in similar actions years ago in pursuit of a very different political agenda. Some years ago I was involved with a radical anti-abortion group that was frustrated with efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade. We targeted two abortion clinics – one in Birmingham and the other in Atlanta - for bombings. We successfully carried out both of those bombings without killing anyone on the premises. We wanted to send our message – at least initially – without any unnecessary bloodshed. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: More Unsolved Mysteries - When it comes to books and movies, I am a big fan of mysteries. For one thing, I like the use of logic, perseverance and moral clarity, to come up with solutions. There is great comfort in knowing that even the cleverest, most evil, ne’er-do-well will eventually meet his match and get his comeuppance, thanks to the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Inspector Wallander, Sam Spade, Lew Archer and Lincoln Rhyme. In real life, however, I am not nearly so partial to mysteries. Too often, the crimes go unsolved and the perpetrators go unpunished. But not all mysteries involve jewel thefts and murders. For instance, I have long wondered why, if God only created woman after Adam complained he didn’t have a date for Saturday night, God included reproductive organs in His original design. These days, I am perplexed in a similarly frustrating fashion by the rapture induced by Barack Obama. (READ MORE)

Joel Mowbray: Iraq War vet’s service attacked in Ohio campaign - When Josh Mandel got a call from the Marines last year asking him to return voluntarily to Iraq, he had much more to contemplate than when he first enlisted in 2000. He had just been elected to the Ohio state legislature. Family considerations were also important to him. He ultimately decided to serve a second tour in Iraq “because I didn’t join the Marine Corps to say no when my country called,” Mr. Mandel explains. Of all the factors he weighed, Mr. Mandel says political concerns were not among them. Now he has been forced to deal with the politics of that decision. The opponent in his tough re-election fight, trial attorney Bob Belovich, is attacking Mr. Mandel’s service, arguing that he abandoned voters. Mr. Belovich’s wife, Barbara, acknowledged in an interview for this column that she has told voters that Mr. Mandel “went AWOL” (a military term for desertion) by fighting in Iraq. (READ MORE)

Karin Agness: Reagan Didn’t Graduate from Harvard - One of the first attacks launched at Governor Sarah Palin when she was announced as Senator John McCain’s running mate was that she was not smart enough to be one step away from the presidency. Why? Because she doesn’t have an Ivy League education. Rather than criticizing her position on taxes, energy independence or the War in Iraq, college students in particular focus on her University of Idaho degree. It has become a rallying cry for my fellow students at schools ranked better than the University of Idaho and flung as an insult into heated debates. These same students conveniently forget that after graduating from the University of Delaware, Senator Joe Biden went on to graduate 76th in a class of 85 from Syracuse University College of Law where he infamously plagiarized a law review article for one of his papers. They also forget that Senator Barack Obama attended Occidental College in Los Angeles before Columbia University. (READ MORE)

Terry Paulson: Why America’s Best Option for President is John McCain - If you or others you know still have doubts on Obama’s readiness to lead, here are reasons to make Senator John McCain your choice for president: In one word—Trust! His ‘Straight Talk Express” is more than a slogan. He promised to join Obama in taking public funds; only McCain kept his promise. When Senator Biden talks of our enemies testing a President Obama’s strength, we know past enemies have already tested McCain as a POW. He passed with flying colors. You can trust McCain to do what he believes is right for the country-- “I’d rather lose an election than lose a war!” He has the maturity, integrity and proven character that only experience can affirm. With the world facing the worst economic challenge in decades, McCain’s plan to reduce corporate taxes will keep more companies here, encourage economic growth and generate more American jobs. (READ MORE)

Frank Turek: A Vote Against Gay Marriage is a Vote FOR Tolerance - Twenty years ago, a group of prominent homosexuals got together in Warrentown, Virginia to map out their plan to get homosexuality accepted by the general public. In the book that resulted from their meeting, they revealed a strategy that achieves its effect "without reference to facts, logic or proof . . . the person's beliefs can be altered whether he is conscious of the attack or not." In other words, their strategy was pure propaganda. That propaganda campaign has many people today believing that denying same-sex marriage involves denying rights to a victimized minority. That belief could not be further from the truth. In fact, let me suggest what the same-sex marriage debate is not about. It is not about equality or equal rights. It is not about discrimination against a class of people. It is not about denying homosexuals the ability to commit to one another. (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Honoring Women Warriors - They play an active role in the Army and in the Global War on Terror and they’ve played an active role in the U.S. Army for as long as this country has existed. On October 20, 1978, President Jimmy Carter did away with the Women’s Army Corps and women were fully integrated into the Army. Starting this week and running through mid-November, the Army will be honoring the achievements of women warriors in their ranks. “‘It’s important that we remember the generations of women, whose dedication, commitment and quality of service helped open the doors of opportunity for us today,’ said Lt. Gen. Ann Dunwoody, deputy commander, Army Materiel Command, following her confirmation for four-star promotion. ‘There are so many talented women in our Army today … you would be impressed.’” Dunwoody will become the first woman to ever achieve the rank of 4-Star General on November 14th. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Preemptive Disarmament: The New Democratic Party Playbook - Get set for not only a 25% reduction in defense spending, but the Department of Peace. This is the agenda of the modern Democrat party. They have no interest in hiding their intentions. Democrats want to see the Defense Department gutted, so that they can instead have a Department of Peace, which promotes such novel ideas as the Office of Peace Education and Training; Office of Domestic Peace Activities; Office of International Peace Activities; Office of Technology for Peace; Office of Arms Control and Disarmament; Office of Peaceful Coexistence and Nonviolent Conflict Resolution; and Office of Human Rights and Economic Rights. This is the Denis Kucinich far left playbook, and he's hoping that more Democrats sign on. That is, beyond 70 Democrats already cosponsoring the legislation. That's nearly 1/3 of the Democratic party caucus. So, what was once the far left playbook is now the party playbook. (READ MORE)

The Anchoress: Our Unfree Press - -UPDATED - I have written often and often about the dangers a nation faces when its press is not free: But I’m a lowly, barely-read blogger, so who listens to me? I had hoped that someone like Tim Russert would see journalism going out of control and yell, “hey, let’s pull back the reins,” but that didn’t happen. I still want to believe he’d be appalled at the galloping disintegration of our free press - now fully beholden to every leftwing concern, and to their Lord Barack Obama. I have a pal who was a journalist for over 20 years who has said “goodbye to all that” because he was beginning to feel unclean, and ashamed of his profession. Now Michael Malone talks about his shame in admitting his profession: (READ MORE)

Michael S. Malone: Editing Their Way to Oblivion: Journalism Sacrificed For Power and Pensions - The traditional media is playing a very, very dangerous game. With its readers, with the Constitution, and with its own fate. The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer. But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I’ve begun — for the first time in my adult life — to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was “a writer”, because I couldn’t bring myself to admit to a stranger that I’m a journalist. You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I’m cut. (READ MORE)

Atlas: CAMPAIGN FINANCE FRAUD: OBAMA'S LATEST RUSE, DEFLECT/RUN - I am not sure if you've seen this incredible giant lie that Obama belched today but I will tell you one thing, It is indicative of the utter contempt Obama has for the truth, the American people and the election laws. The campaign fraud perpetrated by Obama is on a scale difficult to fathom (well documented here). He believes he is above the law perhaps as a result of his narcissism. His claim that McCain received excessive donations is laughable. This is how Obama deflects allegations, he just throws them back at McCain knowing full well the media will happily do his dirty work. I wrote of this very thing at American Thinker a couple of months ago. Obama's bots said, “Analysis of the information ... shows that the McCain Campaign has received 6,653 contributions each of which was at least $1,000 in excess of the applicable $2,300 limit to the primary campaign,” - this is a ruse. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Marriage - a Fundamental Liberty? - In short, no, it isn't... and I don't care what the Supreme Court (U.S. or California) says: Any claim that marriage is a fundamental right or liberty contradicts itself. For the most obvious examples, if it were a fundamental right, then how could it be illegal for a brother to wed his sister? Shouldn't "strict scrutiny" apply to laws against consanguineous marriage, polygamy, polyandry, and even marriage with minors? After all, even kids have freedom of speech under some circumstances. Yet no court has ever even hinted at any such ruling. Any court that has ruled marriage a fundamental liberty is confused, contradictory, biased, bewitched, bothered, and bewildered. But what about judicial rulings striking down laws against miscegenation? Isn't that just the same as striking down laws banning same-sex marriage? After all, isn't sexual preference beyond individual control, just as race is? First, we don't know that that is true; but leave that aside. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: My Name Is Barack Obama, and I Approve This Mistress - Bill Clinton. John Edwards. And now, apparently, Barack Obama. There seems to be something about the kind of narcissist that runs for higher office that impedes them from keeping their pants on, and the Greek tragedy may be happening again. We've been hearing the name of one of Barack Obama's alleged mistresses for weeks (and I'm sure many of you have as well), but I didn't want to publish it without a credible source backing it. The guys at Blackfive have that credible source, and they're putting the name of Barack Obama's alleged mistress out there: If Wolf is correct, there are at least three news organizations sitting on this information originally developed by Hillary Clinton's opposition researchers during the Democratic primaries. According to Wolf, they plan to wait until after the election to break the scandal, for understandable media business reasons. What are those reasons? $, $, and $. (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: OH HOW THE MIGHTY MARXIST RADICAL IS FALLEN - This is a great clip from O'Reilly related to Bill Ayers, where Ayers calls the police on a Fox Reporter: First, note that Ayers is depending on the police (I believe they were known as "pigs" by the Weather Underground) to rescue him from the evil Fox News; and second, there is one point where Ayers tells the reporter, "you're on my property now, get out." But, hey! Spread the wealth man! It's everyone's property, don't you know? Ironic isn't it, that this idiot who has worked his entire life to bring down American capitalism, when stressed must rely on something as historically antiquated as "property rights"? I suggest that all nearby homeless people immediately make a beeline for the property that Ayers seems to think he owns and wants the police to protect for him. But doesn't it seem clear that Ayers must be social parasite who stole his wealth from the hard work and sweat of the poor oppressed masses? (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Who the hell are they? - Brit newspaper: You colonists should elect that Barack Obama fellow. For people who complain about American hegemony, Europeans sure are a nosy bunch. With no shame or apology, the Financial Times endorsed a candidate in the U.S. presidential race. That’s a little cheeky. “US presidential elections involve a fabulous expense of time, effort and money,” the editorial began. Actually, they are not very expensive, coming in below $1 billion in price, most of it raised privately. Compare that to the cost to taxpayers in Britain for their Shadow Government. While Brits and Canadians like to pretend their campaigns are short, their campaigns are continuous as an election can be called on a moment’s notice. Thus, politicians are always ready and are always campaigning. Procter and Gamble spends $3 billion a year on advertising alone, not to mention other marketing. (READ MORE)

Bill Whittle: SHAME, CUBED - The Drudge Report this morning led off with a link to audio of Barack Obama on WBEZ, A Chicago Public Radio station. And this time, candidate Obama was not eight years old when the bomb went off. Speaking at a call-in radio show in 2001, you can hear Senator Obama say things that should profoundly shock any American – or at least those who have not taken the time to dig deeply enough into this man’s beliefs and affiliations. Abandon all Hope, Ye Who Enter Here: Barack Obama, in 2001: “You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the Civil Rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of re-distribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society…” (READ MORE)

The Foxhole: Obamabots Don’t Like Poll, Make Death Threats - The Obama freaks are absolutely batshit crazy. “After releasing this morning’s numbers showing McCain ahead in Ohio and Florida, the Strategic Vision polling company received several death threats through the contact e-mail on the company’s web site. David Johnson, the CEO of Strategic Vision, shared the messages with National Review Online. One of the messages stated: My goodness, your polls stinks. There are 3 polls that have Obama by double digits and only yours has Obama down. WOW!. How come your poll is the only one giving Palin high favor ratings? I think you need to be careful tonight when you get in your car and might want to check underneath your car. SCRAP YOUR IDIOTIC POLLS OR ELSE!” Just think what will happen when McCain wins. (READ MORE)

El Inglés: Racists ’R’ Us - Introduction: Given that the cry of “racist” is the most frequently-encountered obstacle to those who would oppose the Islamization of their countries, the spurious nature of this allegation must be laid bare. There is no one way of doing this but, prompted by the Baron’s recent forays in this area, I would like to offer my own two cents on the subject. Heuristic Reasoning: In considering racism, let us first consider something else. A heuristic, insofar as I understand the general meaning of the term, is a cognitive device by means of which rules of thumb are applied to complex problems in which restrictions on information, time, or analytical capacity preclude the use of pure deductive reasoning or drastically reduce its utility. This definition might suggest that a heuristic is an esoteric and complex beast in its own right, but nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, human reasoning is fundamentally heuristic in nature, and non-heuristic reasoning is relatively uncommon, difficult, and unintuitive. (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Why this campaign has more me more Republican - While the American people may have soured on the Republican Party because of the “last eight years,” the last eight weeks have helped reaffirm my commitment to the GOP. Perhaps, had the president adhered to his party’s principles and held the line on federal spending, people would better appreciate the philosophical differences between the parties. I wonder how much attention the American people are paying to the Democrats’ talk of increasing federal spending should Barack Obama win next week. Or are they just focused on voting against the party in power? Do people know that Obama’a party favors a spending package (they call it stimulus) of $150 or $300 billion depending on which report you read? And this with a budget way out of balance. Do they know that the Chair of the House Financial Services Committee favors “a 25 percent cut in military spending.” And this at a time when we face threats abroad and are fighting two wars. (READ MORE)

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: Senator Obama Dislikes Tough Questions - He was not the focus of the interview. Senator Joe Biden was, and Senator Obama was apparently not happy with the line of questioning in the interview given by WFTV-Channel 9's Barbara West. Allah @ Hot Air has the video. Hal Boedeker @ the Orlando Sentinel's blog has the synopsis, and the resulting fallout: “WFTV-Channel 9's Barbara West conducted a satellite interview with Sen. Joe Biden on Thursday. A friend says it's some of the best entertainment he's seen recently. What do you think? West wondered about Sen. Barack Obama's comment, to Joe the Plumber, about spreading the wealth. She quoted Karl Marx and asked how Obama isn't being a Marxist with the ‘spreading the wealth’ comment. ‘Are you joking?’ said Biden, who is Obama's running mate. ‘No,’ West said. West later asked Biden about his comments that Obama could be tested early on as president. She wondered if the Delaware senator was saying America's days as the world's leading power were over. ‘I don't know who's writing your questions,’ Biden shot back.” (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Pete Hegseth: Someone tell VFW-PAC what VFW stands for - In this guest post, Vets for Freedom Chairman Pete Hegseth comments on the VFW-PAC endorsement of Rep. John Murtha in his campaign for reelection against Bill Russell and Rep. Patrick Murphy in his campaign for reelection against Tom Manion. Pete served in Iraq with the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division for their deployment to Iraq from 2005-2006. Pete served as an infantry platoon leader in Baghdad during the nationwide elections in October and December 2005, as a Civil-Military Operations officer in Samarra, and currently serves in the Minnesota National Guard as a Captain. Pete holds the Bronze Star for his time in Iraq. Pete writes: “Why is the political action committee for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) supporting candidates who undermine VFW's pro-troop, pro-mission agenda? VFW's own Resolution 406 for 2008-09 recognizes the centrality of Iraq in the War on Terror and expresses the VFW's unequivocal support for the execution of the mission in Iraq, a mission they believe will bring stability and security to the region. They resolved that Congress should provide all the funding necessary to support our troops and ensure victory.” (READ MORE)

Iowahawk: I AM BILL - Why should us flag-humping reactionaries get all the good flesh-and-blood lumpenproles to rally behind? So, in preemptive compliance with the coming Fairness Doctrine, please allow me to ladle up another helping of righteous populist indignation on behalf of another lovable everyman who's gotten the shaft from the media for daring to speak up. Bumper stickers coming soon. Every time I turn on the internet these days, it seems like another right wing blogger is digging up more baloney on Professor Bill Ayers. Apparently these people would rather talk about Bill Ayers' passionate youthful rambunctiousness than the issues that really matter to us, like Sarah Palin's shoe bill. Well, I've got a message for you, Mister Google cache McCarthy fascist: I'm mad as H-E-double sippy straws, and I'm not going to take it any more. No longer will I remain silent while you smear and slur this great America-hating American with his own quotes. Hear me now: when you mess with Bill Ayers, you're messing with me. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Goldberg: “Something is going on here…” - Bernard Goldberg weighs in on the Tanning Bed Media and its protection of Barack Obama on Fox & Friends today. The author of Bias accuses CNN of journalistic malpractice in its handling of the Sarah Palin interview, but he saves his real blasts for the Barack Obama/Joe Biden campaign. Goldberg says that Biden showed “arrogance” in his treatment of Barbara West of WFTV, and the punishment from Team O for her supposed impertinence portends a big problem for American journalism in an Obama administration: What I find most remarkable is how complacent the national media has become in the face of this outright antagonism from Team O. The reporters embedded in the campaign have become a little restive, but hardly anyone else wants to talk about Obama’s lack of responsiveness. (READ MORE)

Quid Nimis: The Case Against Obama - Philo over at The View (from Alexandria) makes note of a stab at the case, the whole case, against Obama by Guy Benson, Mary Katherine Ham and Ed Morrisey over at Hot Air. It's an interesting list, and reasonable. To me, though, voters in the great middle, the folks who don't have opinions about policy and culture that are strong or well-informed, tend to "go with their gut" and don't do the comprehensive analysis. To help them with that, the MSM has done yeoman's work in streamlining this decision-making process, already rudimentary by my standards. As I commented on Philo's post, I opined that part of the case against Obama is what we don't know about him, and I wrote a brief and incomplete list of major gaps. Jennifer Rubin, who is my much more intelligent alter-ego over at Commentary catches Michael Malone lambasting the MSM on ABC.com. She then adds her list of "unknowns," truly comprehensive, but for one omission: what about Barack Obama's connection to Raila Odinga, the hardcore Marxist Prime Minister whose supporters went on a homicidal rampage following the post-Christmas elections in 2007? (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Appearances Matter - Financial Times hearts Obama. His unchallenged campaign impressed FT, along with the socialized medicine. Trade not so much. No ideas of his own re the economy. But there and in foreign policy, an equanimous delivery trumps. An odd thing to say about either subject, especially in time of economic turmoil and war, when we have very real economic problems and very real enemies and even people who theoretically are our allies who would like nothing more than a calm, reasonable American surrender. I guess FT likes it superficial. What is interesting is what a strong argument this endorsement is for not electing Obama: “At the outset, we were not so confident. Mr Obama is inexperienced. His policies are a blend of good, not so good and downright bad. Since the election will strengthen Democratic control of Congress, a case can be made for returning a Republican to the White House: divided government has a better record in the United States than government united under either party.” (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Bringing a (Poisoned) Pen to a Gunfight - UK Telegraph “journalist” Nick Meo “hits back” at his critics. He really oughtn’t have. “Nick, there has not been enough justice done in this case. You could have taken the high road and taken your well-deserved spanking with reddened cheeks. You could have printed a clarification, admitting to your faults and some well-made points. You could have copped to the melodramatic flair with which you portrayed this traumatic event. You could have reclaimed some semblance of dignity earned through humility. No, you chose not to do that. You have chosen to wriggle again; to justify an article so self-centered that even though a good man actually did die, the title of your article is all about you.” In general terms, it’s often best that people should “stick to what they know” when writing. That’s a terribly high standard for journalists, most of whom have had no military training to speak of. But even if there are too few Ernie Pyles walking the earth - or Michael Yons, for that matter - we certainly don’t want our only reporting from the war zone to come from military public affairs officers, who after all, have a job of their own to do. (READ MORE)

Neocon Express: A Guillotine at Obama Rally in Denver - Now imagine a McCain supporter bringing a giant prop suggesting that Obama's head should be chopped off. Let me assure you the media wouldn't find it funny in the slightest. Yet this kind of stuff gets a complete pass if it comes from the Obama camp, considered just harmless fun: El Marco has a bunch of photo's from this whacked out rally where even children were used for "inspiring" pro-Obama messages like this one: In West Hollywood, some guy is hanging an effigy of Sarah Palin from a noose in his front yard. Now imagine somebody handing an effigy of Obama from their front yard. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Obama shrugged - Last week we explored the fundraising practices of Barack Obama's online credit card donations in "Who is John Galt?" and "What did Della Ware?" New York Times reporter Michael Luo took a look at the story for the Times's campaign blog in "Obama's online site accepts more fakes," but missed the heart of the story. Over the weekend, National Journal posted Neil Munro's "FEC rules leave loopholes for online donation data." Munro compared the two campagns' acceptance of online donations and reports that Obama legal chief Bob Bauer essentially admitted that the Obama campaign does not compare credit card numbers to detect multiple sub-$200 donations under different names. Thus the fact that the Obama campaign is running a credit card operation that facilitates donations under fictitious names assumes special importance. Munro does not take the story as far as our readers took it, nor raise the question why the Obama campaign has not implemented the basic Address Verification System protection against credit card fraud. (READ MORE)

Dan Riehl: Obama: Cities and Towns - Simply put, Obama had to run for President as soon as he got to the Senate, to not do so would have forced him to take at least some stand. He never did and never has. America would be electing a president in Barack Obama while having absolutely no idea what he might try to do. Executive leadership requires decisiveness - some decisions are good, some might be bad - but Barack Obama has never shown himself capable of making a decision other than running for the next step up in his entire career. If we're willing to put aside the notion of media bias for a moment, there are two items in the New York Times and one short video via The Boston Globe that form a strong case against Barack Obama as a potential President. Every American really should see thevideo at first link to understand what results from Obama's spread the wealth policies. Plenty of it makes it back into his campaign coffers btw. Must we really repeat the expensive and tragic mistakes of Johnson's failed Great Society? (READ MORE)

Cassandra: Why John McCain Is Losing: It's That Vision Thing, Again - It's been interesting watching the implosion of the Republican party from a distance. As election day draws closer the hysteria mounts as conservative pundit after conservative pundit goes wobbly at the knees or jumps ship entirely. It is unseemly, this mad scramble to be the first to say, "I told you so" before the votes are even decently counted. It is almost as though you and I - We the Ordinary People - ceased to matter somewhere along the way. Like shushed children expected to be seen but not heard, we sit on the sidelines while the grown-ups chide us for being energized by moose-loving populists or argue heatedly over what went wrong and who is to blame. Charles Krauthammer's endorsement of John McCain, while unsurprising, was at least clear-sighted when so many appear bemused by the transformational and trance-like nature of The One's candidacy: “Today's economic crisis, like every other in our history, will in time pass. But the barbarians will still be at the gates. Whom do you want on the parapet? I'm for the guy who can tell the lion from the lamb.” (READ MORE)

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