Friday, September 26, 2008

Our Financial Crisis - A Video Explanation
What Caused it? Who Profited?
(Update: 09/29 pm, below)
This video (ht John at Powerline) is a fast paced explanation of the root causes of our current financial crisis. Please take the time to view it between now and the election, and you may want to encourage others to do so as well.

The video was posted on YouTube by a contributor there known as "The Mouth Peace." He has a Channel, with several other videos posted as well.

This one will really shock you. (Update: We have also included the the new embedded version,and upgrade. It runs just a bit slower, and is easier to follow.


New version:

Below is the url for the video on YouTube, if you want to copy it and e-mail it to any of your friends or co-workers.

Update: As noted above, The Mouth Peace has now posted an "upgrade"(II) that runs just a bit slower and is easier to follow.

The newer url:

The original url:

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barry Obama's Secret Garden

Barry, Barry, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With South Side frills, and Bobcat tills,
And cut trees all in a row.
(Update: 9/27 am, below)
According to a story today in the Chicago Sun Times, the Attorney General of Illinois is now conducting a "show me the money" investigation of what happened to the proceeds of a $100,000 earmark grant that Barack Obama obtained back when he was a State Senator, the lion's share of which, ended up in the hands of the wife of a strong supporter of his, to grow a botanic garden on the South Side of Chicago.

The basic problem is, no garden and less money. According to the story:
The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- a Democrat who is supporting Obama's presidential bid -- is investigating "whether this charitable organization properly used its charitable assets, including the state funds it received," Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff, said Wednesday.

In addition to the 2001 grant that Obama directed to the housing association as a "member initiative," the not-for-profit group got a separate $20,000 state grant in 2006.
Almost all of the money from the grant, and the $20,000 bonus, is missing or unaccounted for, with the exception of a payment for some work done by a contractor to clear the ground.
Obama vowed to "work tirelessly" to raise $1.1 million to help Smith's organization turn the City of Chicago-owned lot into an oasis of trees and paths. But Obama lost the congressional race, no more money was raised, and today the garden site is a mess of weeds, chunks of concrete and garbage. The only noticeable improvement is a gazebo.
The contractor hired to clear the ground, who the paper identified as a man named Rodolfo Marin, now lives in Texas. He says that he was paid, at most, around $3,000 to rent a Bobcat and plow down the area.
"What I was hired for was: Clean up the area and cut the trees -- that's all," Marin said. He said he rented a Bobcat -- a sort of small bulldozer -- for the project.

And how much did Smith pay him? "If he spent about $3,000 with me, that was too much."

The garden to nowhere.

Update: Looks like Michelle Malkin had a post up on this earlier in the day than I did, including calling it the "garden to nowhere." Her trackbacks show others have as well. I had not seen her piece before posting mine.

*My literary apologies, of course, to Frances Hodgson Burnett.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Obama In the "Chicago School Wars"
-- A Failed Executive Experience
(Updated: 9/24 am)
In a devastating overview piece , "Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism On Schools," in the Wall Street Journal today, Stanley Kurtz records many of the observations he has gleaned from his recent careful examination of the internal records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) -- the umbrella "school wars" organization he led for 5 years from 1995 to 1999, and remained on the Board of Directors of until 2001.

Kurtz incurred considerable hostility in his initial efforts to examine the records. His entire WSJ piece is well worth reading, including the further detailing of the disturbing relationship between the Democrat nominee for President, and the still unrepentant domestic terrorist, William Ayers.

Tom McGuire at "Just One Minute," is still all over this Obama/Ayers relationship story as well. And Steve Diamond at Global Labor has been hotly pursuing the CAC story as well, also zeroing in on the question of what role Ayers had in the hiring of Obama.

In this piece in the Wall street Journal, Kurtz makes the following salient point, one that is too quickly glossed over by skeptics. It goes to the heart of the only professional executive position that Barack Obama has ever held, and to his judgment in fulfilling that role. Kurtz notes:
"CAC's in-house evaluators comprehensively studied the effects of its grants on the test scores of Chicago public-school students. They found no evidence of educational improvement."
One would think that one observation ought to be at the heart of how people weigh the qualifications of Barack Obama to become the President of the United States. After all, his work as the Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) for those five years, constituted his only professional executive experience.

What Obama, along with the assistance of Bill Ayers, chose as their agenda to pursue in fulfilling his executive role, was to carry on a radical left-wing political fight for control of the Chicago schools, one that by and large ignored the academic needs of the children.

Instead, they spent all the money and energy on their "democratization," or "small schools" agenda, concentrating their efforts on promoting the power of Local School Councils (LSCs), rather that pursuing any real or measurable educational benefits for the students, whose very lives and fortunes were at stake.

That speaks volumes about his bad judgment.

We noted some of this in general sense in our prior post, but it is well worth repeating, as now much more fully documented and elaborated on by Kurtz.

Bear in mind that the original grant proposal to obtain the $49.2 million dollars from the Annenberg Foundation, a proposal that was predominantly written by Bill Ayers, specifically promised "a Renaissance in the classroom."

They produced no such thing.

But based on the promises contained in that original grant, they were able to attract considerable additional grant moneys. Yet, what they delivered over the next several years while he was in charge -- between 1995 and 2000 -- was essentially an unbelievably expensive and ongoing internal City fight over who would "control" the Chicago School system, and a pile of money for radical groups such as Acorn.

Indeed, they were paying for such things as "training" candidates for these local political campaigns, and for teachers, in such "substantive" topics as "social justice." And, in pursuit of that agenda, they were forking over boodles of money for a variety of projects proposed by leftist radicals, such as former SDS radical and known Maoist, Mike Klonsky.

At the same time, they turned down academically-oriented proposals, such as ones for the improvement of the math skills of minority Hispanic students.

As Kurtz notes:
CAC translated Mr. Ayers's radicalism into practice. Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn).

Mr. Obama once conducted "leadership training" seminars with Acorn, and Acorn members also served as volunteers in Mr. Obama's early campaigns. External partners like the South Shore African Village Collaborative and the Dual Language Exchange focused more on political consciousness, Afrocentricity and bilingualism than traditional education.
In 2003, the conclusion by CAC evaluators, was that the CAC had produced absolutely nothing of value for students -- there were no measurable improvement in student skills or performance that were attributable to the project.

That was the conclusion (pdf) from the 2003 Report of the Consortium of Chicago School Research (CCSR), whose sole purpose was to evaluate the success of the CAC funding over the years.

Here are a few choice tidbits quoted directly from their evaluation report, which can be found right up front in the Executive Summary. The language and tone of the Report are both charitable, even "understanding" of the possible whys and wherefores of the CAC's lack of success. But the bottom line is disturbingly clear.

(Re: Student Academic Achievement) -- "There were no statistically significant differences between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain."
. . .

(Re: Student Academic Engagement) -- "Like student academic achievement, there were no statistically significant differences in these outcomes between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools."
In other words, the Annenberg evaluators themselves conceded in their study that any educational improvements occurred across the board and, therefore, had nothing to do with the CAC, or the Annenberg project.

As recently noted here, the evaluation simply stated that there was "no Annenberg effect on achievement" in the Chicago schools under the leadership of Barack Obama.

It is also becoming more and more obvious that there has been a significant, long-term Bill Ayers effect on the political career, and on the political thinking of Barack Obama.

Let's just hope that there will not be be a corresponding Ayers/Obama effect on our nation's educational system!

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Obama Tactic -- Fight Your Friends & Neighbors!
"I want you to argue with them and get in their face."
-- Barack Obama, September 16, 2008
Update: (Iowahawk take, below)
An AP story today featured the new and aggressive Barack Obama yakking away in a sarcastic snit, and reportedly "mocking" John McCain, at least according to the lede. It liberally quotes Barack Obama actually encouraging a large crowd of supporters to become his personal argumentative surrogates for the remainder of the campaign.

He is now spouting pure Saul Alinsky-style agitation, which, by the way, Obama actually taught back in his "community organizer" days.

Now, I am sure the AP reporter, Kathleen Hennessey, did not intend for her story, as was printed in the San Francisco Chronicle today (ht Drudge), to be received that way by so many of us. But it sounds a bit like the wheels are coming loose on the Obama Bus. Either that, or the new confrontational tactic will somehow succeed and we are all in for a very bumpy ride for years to come!

As was reported in the story, Obama actually told a group of his Democrat supporters in Elko, Nevada, to single out their Republican and Independent friends and neighbors, and to confront them point-by-point, to actually try to verbally intimidate them!

Folks, here come Obama's Brazen, Obnoxious, Mouthy, Belligerent Surrogates. We could call them "O-BOMBS" for short. Look out!

From the story:

In Elko, Obama tried to anticipate his critics and called on the crowd of about 1,500 to sharpen their elbows, too.

"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face," he said. (my emphasis)
Say what? Isn't that just a bit much? Now, we not only have to listen to the daily invasion of our personal spaces within our homes -- from the incessant ads, to the media TV talking heads who are predominantly in the tank for this guy? But now we also have to expect some of our neighbors "getting into our faces" on the street, or in the supermarket? Perhaps they'll even start knocking on our doors to try and bully us into voting for this boob?

Is there to be no sanctuary anywhere?

Personally, I am really so over this guy! Yet, here comes Barack Obama and his plan to turn some of my acquaintances and neighbors into a merry band of voluble intimidators! Let's break this down a bit.

THE ONE says: "I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors."

Sure he does. That's because what he says is not convincing anyone with any sense! The public is increasingly on to his scam. Only now are they learning, for example, the details of his 5 years of work at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) as a "community organizer," during which he and his band of Chicago-based ultra-leftie pals -- unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and Maoist Mike Klonsky -- frittered away $150 million bucks or more, running their foundation-supported school "improvement" project.

In the original grant proposal, which was written by Bill Ayers, they had promised to create "a Renaissance in the classroom." But instead they produced absolutely nothing of value for students -- no measurable improvement in student skills or performance attributable to the project. That was the conclusion (pdf) from the 2003 Report of the Consortium of Chicago School Research (CCSR), whose sole purpose was to evaluate the success of the CAC funding over the years. Here are a few choice tidbits.
Re: Student Academic Achievement -- "There were no statistically significant differences between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain."
. . .

Re: Student Academic Engagement -- "Like student academic achievement, there were no statistically significant differences in these outcomes between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools."
In other words, any improvements occurred across the board and, therefore, had nothing to do with the CAC, or Annenberg project.

As one writer recently put it, there was no "Annenberg effect" on student achievement in Chicago.

Basically, the CAC project consisted of little more than an expensive, and thinly disguised left-wing political organizing operation intended to shift power in the Chicago school system into the hands of "LSCs" or local school councils, including the active training and recruiting of candidates, and even running their campaigns.

THE ONE then said in this new story: "I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican."

I'll be frank about this. Too many "active" Democrats I personally know -- from having worked next to many of them in State government -- were often pathetic party hacks who couldn't convince a sandbag to lay still! They will not talk me or anyone else into anything. I really do wish they would try, though. For the most part, it is hard to have much intellectual respect, given what they are currently promoting this year! When it comes to politics, they usually tend to be either group-think junkies, or, they have some financial iron in the fire that depends on Democrat rule for their continued success, i.e., they are in it for the dough.

FINALLY, THE ONE SAYS: "I want you to argue with them and get in their face."

Sure. That is just what your average sensible, law-abiding, taxpaying, patriotic American citizen wants . . . some wild-eyed or dim-witted do-nothing, a pugnacious, true-believer, nanny-state loving, demi-socialist getting "in their face" and trying to convince him or her to participate in just turning over the reins of the federal government -- and the entire future of the United States of America -- to an inexperienced, gutter-ball throwing, first term U.S. Senator, who spent several years agitating for "change" to no good effect in Chicago, and who is now running on an empty promise of change for the entire nation! THAT is chump change we do not need!

Now, that was grant money in Chicago. But if we foolishly put this lefty and his newly recruited "scream in your face pals" in charge of the federal government, consider the likelihood that there will be exponentially larger amounts of your tax dollars that will spill right down into that bottomless pit.

Given this new "get in their face" tactic you really have to wonder whatever happened to the guy who just last spring was "post-partisan" . . . somehow, above politics as usual. The answer seems to be that he is going back to his community organizer roots. Or, in the words of the "master,"
"In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt."
--- Saul Alinsky, Community Organizer and Agitator

Update: Iowahawk posts an hilarious response to the AP story -- the Clockwork O-Rage retort -- to the Barack Obama vae victis declaration in Nevada. A sample:
"Me fine droogies, what we are after now is the old surprise visit," explained Obama. "A real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultracampaigning. Stomp some hope and change into their filthy little rassoodocks for a nice, warm vibraty feeling all through your guttiwuts."
They're not going to like it!
"Lets make things nice and sparkling clear. This sarcasm - if I may call it such, is very unbecoming of you oh my brothers."
-- Alex, from A Clockwork Orange

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hillary Cancels Attendance At Event:
Complains Palin Appearance Makes It "Partisan"

Update: Sarah disinvited, huge controversy, below.

The Associated Press has reported that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, abruptly canceled her planned attendance at a New York City rally outside of the United Nations Headquarters set for this coming Monday, September 22nd, when she found out that Governor Sarah Palin, R-AK, might also appear.

Palin is the first Republican woman candidate on a presidential ticket. Clinton lost her bid to become the first woman presidential candidate this year, and she was passed over for any consideration as the Vice Presidential nominee by this year's Democrat nominee, Senator Barack Obama, D-IL.

The planned protest rally is aimed at Iran's highly controversial leader, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The event sponsors had apparently also extended an invitation to the Republicans, and the name of the Alaska governor was tentatively submitted. Palin is the Republican nominee for Vice President this year. According to the AP report, written by Devlin Barrett, several American Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the National Coalition to Stop Iran Now, United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, had planned this
"major rally outside the United Nations on Sept. 22 to protest against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."
Ahmadinejad, who attended a UN Session last year at about this time, is set to attend another UN session in New York next week at the opening of the new General Assembly session. Other protests are also planned for next, including another human rights protest set for Wednesday entitled the "Ahmadinejad Wall of Shame" protesting the executions of children in Iran.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, who was the first non-cleric elected President of Iran in 24 years in a run-off election held back on June 24, 2005, has made a series of virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments in speeches over the years, including ones denying the historical fact of the Nazi Holocaust, and an expressed threat to "wipe Israel off the map."Just this past summer, on June 3rd, USA Today reported that Ahmadinejad said:
that Israel will soon be "erased" and that the "satanic power of the United States" will be "annihilated."
He reportedly made those latest hate-filled comments, according to the story, "at a ceremony marking the 19th anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini's death."

Khomeini was the "spiritual" leader of Iran during the violent 1979 over-running of the United States Embassy in Teheran by radical Islamic terrorist students -- of which Ahmadinejad was one -- during the former Presidency of Jimmy Carter, and the subsequent holding of 52 American embassy personnel as hostages for a total of 444 days. The hostages were released on January 20th, 1981, the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President. Reagan had defeated Carter in the 1980 presidential election. The Reagan election was won in a landslide, and was, in part, seen as a referendum on Carter's mishandling of that hostage crisis. In addition, the nation's economy had experienced years of considerable disruption under Carter.

Under Ahmadinejad's rule, Iran has been actively pursuing the development of nuclear weapons, as well as delivery systems, in violation of U.N mandates.

The planned New York rally sponsors said yesterday that both Clinton and Palin would likely be attending the rally. It was so reported by several news services, including Fox. The news that Palin would likely be attending apparently then prompted the abrupt cancellation by Clinton.

Clinton's official excuse for canceling, flatly stated that the mere attendance by Sarah Palin would somehow make it a partisan political event, and that the New York politician would therefore not attend. As reported in the AP story:
"Her attendance was news to us, and this was never billed to us as a partisan political event," said Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines. "Sen. Clinton will therefore not be attending."
There was no indication in the AP story why the Clinton camp believes the mere attendance of the Republican nominee at an event in New York would somehow turn it into a "partisan political event." Just last week on September 11th, for example, Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama both appeared together, and even walked together, during a 9/11 anniversary ceremony in New York at ground zero. It was billed as nonpartisan.

Moreover, the rally on Monday will also feature other public luminaries, including religious figures who are clearly not associated with partisan politics. According to a post by Colum Lynch on the Washington Post political blog, The Trail, the list of expected attendees also
includes prominent political and religious leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel . . .
And the fact is that Senator Clinton herself is an active political partisan, having unsuccessfully battled for the Democrat nomination for president earlier this year. She conceded her loss to Obama at the beginning of the summer, and is currently a political surrogate for the Democrat nominee. She has made political several political campaign appearances, including joint appearances, on behalf of his campaign for president.

A response from the Palin camp to the Clinton claim of political partisanship, was reported today on the New York Times political blog, The Caucus earlier this morning:
A spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign swiftly replied that the rally should not be seen as a partisan event.

"Governor Palin believes that the danger of a nuclear Iran is greater than party or politics. She hopes that all parties can rally together in opposition to this grave threat," said the spokeswoman, Tracey Schmitt.
According to analysis in the earlier AP story, however, the appearance of both Clinton and Palin:
"would have set up a closely scrutinized and potentially explosive pairing in the midst of a presidential campaign, one in which the New York senator is campaigning for Democratic nominee Barack Obama while Palin actively courts disappointed Clinton supporters."
But as reported, there was no further indication at all of what was meant in the report meant by "potentially explosive pairing."

The AP-suggested headline for the story underscoring another possible explanation for the Clinton camp cancellation: "Clinton blindsided by scheduled event with Palin." Nothing in that story, however, indicated why Hillary Clinton would feel "blindsided" by merely appearing at the same event with the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.

The New York Times post at The Caucus today did raise that question -- why the event organizers themselves had not previously informed Clinton that Palin had been invited.
It was not immediately clear this morning why or when Ms. Palin was invited to the rally, and why the organizers did not inform Mrs. Clinton that the Alaska governor would be among the line-up of speakers. Phone messages for organizers of the event were not immediately returned.
But why would they? And, why is that an issue? Surely the Times is not suggesting that the organizers had a special obligation to help protect Hillary Clinton's political sensibilities, are they?

Even if they had given her a "heads-up," would she not have canceled regardless? Otherwise, the only other possible explanation for her canceling would be her fit of pique at the organizers over their failure to warn Clinton in advance of the invitation to Palin.

So, perhaps what it really comes down to is that Hillary Clinton has suddenly became concerned with appearances -- such as that the presence of Palin would lead to speculation about who ultimately attracted the larger number of spectators, or drew the most media attention at the event.

Maybe Hillary Clinton was simply unwilling to risk being perceived as coming in second again, this time in her own backyard!

Update: Unbelievable! Sarah Palin has been inexplicably "disinvited" from speaking at the rally by the sponsors. As reported by Marcia Kramer at CBS TV in New York, the uncorroborated rumor was that the tax status of the sponsoring groups would have been "threatened" if she attended! Local New York Democrats are even quoted in her story jumping ship on this one!

The question being asked by critics is, was that from a real opinion, or from a real threat?

Allahpundit at HotAir is all over this one!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jon Friedman's Fumble

Yet another among several "talk-down your nose to her" columns surfaces! This latest one is posted (ht, Drudge) on CBS today, by MarketWatch Columnist, Jon Friedman, who tries very hard to belittle the Sarah Palin phenomenon, but in the process, drops the ball himself.

Jon confidently opened by repeating the title of the piece, a one-liner sandwich board style prediction that, "The Sarah Palin Phenomenon is doomed." He then insisted it will not be because of her performance in the ABC interview with Charles Gibson. No, no, no! Friedman says it is because the media will tire of her and move on.

Of course, Jon then spent two thirds of his column trying to belittle her by pointing out that she looked like a deer in the headlights during that interview, and that Charles Gibson, gentle as he was (according to Friedman), had just taken her down with his questioning.

Friedman forgot to mention what many others saw -- Charlie Gibson with a game face, skeptically peering over his readers, and down his nose at Governor Palin for the entire interview. In fairness, Charlie does tend to take on "airs" a bit as an interview style. But whatever controversy arose in this one, emerged from his obtuseness over the meaning of the so-called "Bush doctrine."

As for Friedman's column today, his "proof" demonstrates an equally embarrassing level of confusion on his part about that subject.

Let's review. Friedman says:

"Specifically, Palin seemed to have little idea about the Bush Doctrine, in which the U.S must spread democracy around the world to halt terrorist acts." (my emphasis)
And, then Friedman added:
"Some analysts have suggested that Gibson knew more about the Bush Doctrine than the vice-presidential candidate."

Really? Some analysts? Friedman had named the New York Times and "the Washington Post-owned" Slate. And he added the AP.

But just as obviously, he did not include Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer, the person who actually coined the phrase, "the Bush Doctrine" way back in 2001.

Slight oversight, I guess.

Krauthammer has written a more recent column in the Washington Post, entitled Charlie Gibson's Gaffe, in which he notes that Charles Gibson obviously had no idea what he was talking about when he posed that question to Sarah Palin. Krauthammer then pointed out that there have been at least FOUR Bush doctrines over the past eight years.

Here is Krauthammer's explain from his new column:
The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.

There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.

He asked Palin, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?"

She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, "In what respect, Charlie?"

Sensing his "gotcha" moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense."

Meanwhile, in his column today at CBS, Mr. Friedman -- apparently thinking that he was agreeing with Charlie Gibson -- also cited one of the four . . . "the Bush Doctrine, in which the U.S must spread democracy around the world to halt terrorist acts." (again, my emphasis)

So, to repeat, in the interview with Palin, Charles Gibson specifically said the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense."

Ooops! That should be just about as plain as the egg on your collective faces, Charlie and Jon!

Those are two entirely distinct ideas -- and as it turns out, they constitute approximations of two of the FOUR that Charles Krauthammer wrote about in Charlie Gibson's Gaffe.

But somehow, Jon Friedman has missed all of that, instead confidently asserting about Sarah Palin:
Since we're all clear on the nuances of the Bush Doctrine, we can move on to the Fickle Media Doctrine.

Now that we've built you up, it's about time for us to knock you down.

Sorry, Jon, low and outside. That was a wild pitch . . . not a strike.

Meanwhile, what should we call Friedman's pathetic column?

How does Friedman's Fumble sound? Or, given his combination of both ignorance and arrogance, am I being too kind?

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Joe Cook, American

Posted as "Dear Mr. Obama," and heading for number one on YouTube, and Number One in the hearts of millions of Americans.

As of this posting, over 6.6 million viewers have watched this video. Please, watch it until the end.

This was posted on YouTube by a poster calling himself, "weneedMcCain, which is not affiliated with John McCain's presidential campaign. This fine soldier is "Army Specialist Joe Cook, an Iraq war veteran, wounded by an IED in Iraq May 2007, lost his left foot and leg six inches below the knee."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pelosi: Testing Waters For Hillary Attack?

Is Nancy Pelosi testing the political waters for a Hillary Clinton line of attack on Sarah Palin?

An unattributed AP story in the Boston Globe , headlined "Pelosi: McCain's choice of Palin 'poor judgment'" reports that the Speaker attacked both Sarah Palin and McCain for poor judgment, while the Speaker was campaigning in Connecticut. As for John McCain, she was particularly critical of his judgment, because, as she said: "He knows better."

Nasty Nancy!

She then also conceded that her opinions about Palin's judgment were based on what "she heard about" regarding the Palin interview with Charlie Gibson on ABC. Pelosi had to admit that she did not watch the interview, as she was attending a bocce ball tournament in Hartford at the time!

In addition, the report added that the Speaker further opined:
What she wants in a female candidate, she said Friday, goes beyond gender: "It's not just a woman, but a woman who shares our views."
I wonder if Nancy includes, in that expression of "views," a willingness to personally and publicly attack someone, based only on what "she heard about" them?

The bottom line, then, is that Nancy Pelosi says that John McCain should not have selected Sarah Palin, because Sarah's views are not the same as the Democrats. And "he knew better," but he went and did it anyway!

Boy . . . that bucket sure won't carry a lot of water! Scratch that baby off Hillary's list!

Actually, Sarah Palin could decide to begin that discussion herself . . . by simply agreeing in principle with the Speaker!

Just imagine . . . Sarah could say:
"I agree with Speaker Pelosi when she claims I do not share some of her views.

For example, I know that "natural gas" is a fossil fuel. Speaker Pelosi foolishly believes otherwise -- even though she is reportedly very heavily invested in it! That is a topic I know quite a bit about, and that I also have considerable experience dealing with, both prior to, and after becoming Governor.

Energy independence is vital to our national security going forward. Maybe I'll send Nancy an e-mail about it!
You get the gist. The list of disagreements could be a long, long list! She could call it "Sarah's List."

And Hillary could call it, "Topics to Avoid!"

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Funny Comment of the Day

It is found at Ann Althouse, in the comment section of a post about yesterday's meeting of The One and The First One, regarding a meeting held by invitation only at the Harlem office of The First One, in New York, and that was entitled, "Barack Obama goes to Harlem... to spend some time with Bill Clinton."

Below is that short and sweet opinion, expressed therein by one "Swen Swenson." It clearly runs somewhat counter to our theory (expressed below) to the effect that a deal was likely cut by them in this latest version of The Two (we had previously identified The Two as Obama/Biden, but now Bill obviously has top billing) . . . a deal by which we suggested that Hillary will morph into a "Paladin" style gunslinger, and will likely now undertake the task of personally going after Sarah Palin, in exchange (win or lose) for certain, shall we say, "players to be named later" on behalf of the Clintons.

Here was Swen's funny take, suggesting that a.) Obama had gone begging to Bill, and b.) that Clinton was less than committal (with a modest "typo" correction - The for Teh):
Swen said...

I agree with some earlier posters: It is telling that Obama went to see Clinton and not the other way around. The One must be getting a bit nervous and it sounds like Clinton just voted "present".

6:49 PM
Could be. We agree wholeheartedly with his first point, but only time will tell whether a deal was cut!

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Switch in the Offing . . . Or Hillary As Paladin?
The Anti-Joementum Declaration Against Interest

Update: On 9/11, 4 pm, below.

Why did Joe Biden go out yesterday and make a big point of saying that Hillary Clinton would be a better candidate, Presidential or Vice Presidential, than he would? On the surface, it was as if Joe was saying, "Vote for me! I'm the Best Man for the job . . . just NOT the Best Person!"

A stranger year in American politics would be hard to imagine -- pun intended. That's because two relative strangers have been dominating the limelight of our national political landscape, each with rising star power -- first we had Barack Obama, and now we have Sarah Palin.

Less than one year ago, few pundits would have opined that Hillary Clinton would not end up as the Democrat nominee for President. It would have been like betting against the Yankees during Grapefruit. While Barack Obama had rising appeal within the Democrat party, who would have guessed he would snatch the nomination away from the Clinton machine? Who, other than his inside operators who recognized the inherent short-sightedness in the front-loaded Clinton plan that depended on her being "crowned" right after Super Tuesday. Hillary was simply the inevitable candidate. Oh, he might end up as a daring choice for her for the number two slot . . . but as the nominee?

Seemingly impossible. Yet he did it.

And on the side of the political coin, one year ago John McCain's political star appeared to be fading. Politics abhors a has-been, and that's what he seemed to be at the time. While others had supported the counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq, John McCain had very demonstrably and personally gone out on a limb in support of the strategy, in what had become a very unpopular war with an impatient public. Hell, he even doggedly propped the "surge" up as a centerpiece of his campaign. As for his staff, he cleaned house. His campaign began to look uncomfortably like a white elephant sale.

But John came back in spades, securing the nomination surprisingly fast. Then, having become the unlikely candidate early in the primary season, who would have seriously guessed a few weeks ago that John McCain would select a woman as his running mate, let alone the hitherto largely unknown Sarah Palin, the first-term Governor of Alaska?

Finally, to me the strangest story of all was the selection of Joe Biden as Barack Obama's running mate. What -- the pundits legitimately wondered -- did Joe bring to the ticket? And in the process, Obama had also badly dissed Hillary by not even vetting her. The stars were beginning to realign.

Which brings me back to the question. Why did Joe Biden make such a big point of saying yesterday that Hillary Clinton would be a better candidate, Presidential or Vice Presidential, than he would?

The obvious political problem with the statement is that it casts serious doubt on Barack Obama's judgment, which is pretty much all he is running on. If, in making his first major decision, Barack Obama screwed up and picked a self-admitted also-ran, why should anyone want to vote for him? Or, for the also-ran? Was it an uncomfortable reminder of Admiral Stockdale's famous opening line in the 1992 Vice Presidential debates in Atlanta, "Who am I?" . . . "Why am I here?"

If the Presidential Election were a jury trial -- which it actually resembles in a very, very general sense -- and if Joe's strange comment yesterday was a proffer of evidence in that trial, it would likely be fully admissible in evidence, even if it was hearsay.

Why? Because it has ultimate credibility . . . as, lawyers say, it is an "admission against interest." Joe Biden is not the sort of fellow to volunteer that he is not quite up to par with any other living human being. Now, remember that the inherent truthfulness of the statement does not take into account why it was said. That remains the real mystery.

Are the Democrats about to try and pull a Bob Torricelli "bait and switch" with their Vice Presidential selection? Was Joe just laying the groundwork for the final big surprise of this year's strange Presidential campaign? Or was Joe busy kissing the Clinton ring because the Obama/Biden ticket needs something.

What would cause him to blurt out that comment? Two general possibilities come to mind.

Falling on his sword: Perhaps there is a bad story about Joe Biden that is about to go to print. It would have to be a real doozy, but that is certainly not out of the realm of possibility in American politics. That would in some ways explain his willingness to go out and publicly lay the groundwork for Hillary redux. He drops out, and Hillary joins the ticket.

Having been found guilty of ethics violations by his own colleagues back in September of 2002, then Senator Robert Torricelli, who was running for re-election that year, concluded that he simply could not win against Republican Doug Forrester. It was a national issue at the time because the Democrats thought they were poised to take over control of the United States Senate.

Bob had to go, so he withdrew. The problem was that the state statutory deadline for replacing a candidate on the ballot had passed. So the Democrats went to court and obtained one of the most controversial decisions in the history of the New Jersey Supreme Court, allowing the Democrats to enter a new name, a ruling interpreting the New Jersey state law. The Republicans appealed in early October, but the United States Supreme Court declined to interfere with the state court ruling. The switch having been permitted, Torricelli's name was stricken from the ballot, as the Democrats had trotted Frank Lautenberg back out of retirement to fill the slot.

A switch now, at the Vice Presidential level, would likely require similar rulings, perhaps in a number of states. That would be an enormous hurdle to overcome. Sounds too risky.

Hillary As Paladin?: "Have Gun -- Will Travel" was the card printed motto of television's most famous western gentleman regulator for hire, starring Richard Boone. Paladin was a refined and educated San Francisco gentleman, yet quick-on-the-draw traveling gunslinger when necessary. A knight dressed in black, he was hired to resolve conflicts, and had a gift of gab that included a sharp intelligence. But he could also mete out rough justice where necessary -- including relying on a concealed derringer for close in-fighting.

So, a second, and most likely explanation for this strange praise from Biden, is that right now the Democrat ticket need help from Hillary in the form of attacks on Sarah Palin. They need a prominent female to take Sarah Palin to the woodshed, so to speak. Hillary has declined the invitation thus far, perhaps waiting for the invitation. She has preferred instead to limit her election participation to positive praise for Barack Obama. These latest words of praise from Biden could be an unmistakable signal from the Presidential team that they really need Hillary to step back onto the stage, and to help pull their irons out of the fire.

Yesterday, David Paul Kuhn and Bill Nichols at Politico laid out some opinion evidence for what they term "Autumn angst" among prominent Democrats . . . that there is real concern over the current prospects for the Obama/Biden ticket. While some Democrats described the state of the race to them in candid but tactical terms, one unnamed but apparently high level Democrat fundraiser pushed the panic button:

A major Democratic fundraiser described it a good bit more starkly after digesting the polls of recent days: "I'm so depressed. It's happening again. It's a nightmare."
Today, September 11th, is bipartisan day, as the major candidates have agreed "suspend" public campaigning, and they will appear together at a 9/11 forum sponsored by Time Magazine and CNN, to be held at Columbia University this evening. Earlier in the afternoon they will jointly appear at a memorial service at "ground zero" in New York, though neither of them will speak. John McCain also visited the Shanksville, PA, memorial site earlier in the day, and he spoke briefly. Barack Obama's campaign released a general statement earlier.

Prior to the ceremonies, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were reportedly getting together for lunch . . . at Bill Clinton's invitation, at his office, with the official line that they will be discussing the "issues." Is one topic, what "price" for Hillary's active participation in drawing a bead on Sarah Palin?

If it isn't, then "pigs have wings" . . . with or without lipstick!

One might be tempted to wish to be a fly on the wall for that meeting between the Walrus & the Carpenter, but surely one would not wish to be an oyster at that picnic!

The question naturally arises, what do they want -- these Clintons? A promise from Obama not to run again in four years if he loses? A Supreme Court appointment for Bill, or perhaps more to the point, an appointment for Hillary, should Obama win?

As for Joe Biden, he may have already thrown in the towel on running himself in four years, with that opening gambit of praise for Hillary. As for the oysters, it's a little too late to call a cab!

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

Update: Glenn Thrush and Martin Kady II posted a piece at Politico yeaterday, entitled, "Could Clinton have Palin-proofed Dems?" which we just noticed.

It concludes:
Clinton has said she'll hit the road for Obama, but her team says she refuses to be an anti-Palin "attack dog." Further complicating matters for Obama, Hillaryland fundraiser Susie Tompkins Buell is leading a group that will fight media sexism against the Alaska governor.

We'll see where Hillary continues to draw the line following that "issues" lunch meeting between Bill and Barack today.

Also, yesterday Ace of Spades posted the snarky view of the Torricelli switch-out scenario. (h.t., Allahpundit at HotAir, here.)

Also, Ed Morrissey at HotAir noticed something that puzzled me as well. On Greta's show at Fox, Geraldine Ferraro suddenly developed a mouth full of mush when it came to criticizing Obama's campaign for sexism. Ed has the video. That also supports the theory that Obama & Bill Clinton were getting ready to cut a deal today . . . Hillary alone can and will go after Palin.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin's Acceptance Speech
for her Nomination to be Vice President

Here is a clip of her entire acceptance speech, September 3, 2008:

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

How About A Real Senate Debate?

Update: See below.
Three out of four of the contenders for higher national office this year, including both candidates for the Presidency, are current members of the world's most famous debating club, the United States Senate. It was created by the founders of our Constitution for the expressed purpose of engaging in sober public debate on the great issues facing our nation. What more fitting exercise of self-government could their be, what greater tribute to the wisdom of the founders of our Republic, than to have a great televised debate this fall, within those hallowed halls, on the most important single national security issue facing our nation today -- how to reduce our dependence on foreign energy resources, including oil?

Across the board, and having lost that public debate so far, Democrats are insisting that the way to the future is to block any additional drilling, and to threaten to tax domestic oil companies, with the promise that from the revenues thereby garnered, a whole new "alternative fuels" future can be created. They don't like to talk so much about what will likely happen in the meantime, however long that may prove to be. Consider, for example, this winter. Or, think about the potential for Americans minds being further alerted to the problem over the next few weeks, especially when the first home heating bills arrive from the first "fill-up" of the season? That is a particularly uncomfortable topic for the Democrats because, unlike the semi-coercive "voluntarism" that people can engage in by driving less, it is not so easy to "voluntarily" turn off the furnace in your home, especially if we have a cold winter.

But let's be fair. Why not give the Democrats a second bite at the apple? A rematch, if you will. Some are even suggesting the alternative to a vote on drilling, might be a federal shutdown. Well, who wants the Congress playing "chicken" with our future?

Our first Congress, way back in 1789, created the basis for a free press within the framework of the First Amendment, but they did not create it with the idea that certain unbeknownst media outlets would thereafter be given an institutional monopoly -- a controlling filter of the first-hand information coming from those soon-to-be elected public officials. After all, why should Brian Williams, Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, or Jim Leaher be automatically accorded the whip hand and a stop watch on what topics we are to hear about this fall? At the very least, why should they be accorded such control on the most important single national security issue facing us today? Now, Senator Barack Obama at first seemed to agree to, but then backed out of townhall style debates, as were proposed by John McCain. It is not hard to understand why. With the early fundfaising advantage, Obama hopes to essentially buy the election with more advertising, without taking the risk of losing a debate. He already lost the first one at Saddleback Church, with Rick Warren moderating. Hence, if anything he is more disinclined to cooperate now.

So, what about the Republicans putting up their bill on energy independence, with John McCain as the prime sponsor, and floor manager, and the Democrats putting up theirs, with Barack Obama as the prime sponsor, and floor manager, and the United States Senate holding a lengthy debate, with a prior commitment from leadership on both sides to allowing votes on each bill, including a commitment to votes on amendments being proposed by both sides? Why not require them to actually do their job -- the one for which we hired them?

So far -- perhaps because of their losses in the sharp public debate over additional drilling -- Democrats have been reduced to having their acolytes in the press write the most ridiculous and irresponsible polemics you can imagine, as exemplified by this one by Fatimah Ali, just published two days ago in the Philadelphia Daily News, (ht, Drudge).

It began thusly:

"AMERICA is on the brink of a long, harsh and bitterly cold winter, with a looming recession that the GOP won't even admit to."
Really? Setting aside the obvious question of what happened to global warming in the mind of Ms. Ali, an obvious question arises, assuming (without conceding) that she is correct:

How then does she explain the failure of Barack Obama and his party to prepare for that bitter winter by opening up new drilling resources for both oil and natural gas during the entire time they have been in complete control of the Congress for the past two years?

After then parroting virtually every false canard she would think of, Ms. Ali capped her shrill and irresponsible claims with the threat that the election of John McCain would plunge the country into a race war and economic chaos!

"If McCain wins, look for a full-fledged race and class war, fueled by a deflated and depressed country, soaring crime, homelessness - and hopelessness!"

So now one of Obama's cheerleaders in the press is promising a race war if we don't elect him? Remind us again who brought up the subject of race.

But back to reality, if I may.

The fact is that the most important national security issue facing Americans today is how to reduce our dependence on foreign energy resources. Many of us just plain folks think that one obvious way, is by allowing additional drilling of our own ample resources here at home.

The Democrats in Congress have boxed us all into a corner on the issue by refusing to allow any such additional drilling, for either resource. Those Democrats, incuding Barack Obama -- who has himself actually indicated that he is not displeased with the high gasoline prices -- have absolutely no workable or sensible plan, the public knows it, and the Democrats have taken a drubbing in the polls as a result. They should be winning this election, but it has recently been neck-and-neck, and that was before John McCain's acceptance speech.

For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is so woefully (and repeatedly) ignorant on the subject, that she does not even seem to realize that natural gas is a fossil fuel! All she and the Democrats want to talk about is development of "alternative resources," which are not available today, paid for with additional taxes on domestic oil companies, and by currently irresponsibly tapping the strategic oil reserve. That could mean more than a few very cold winters for some, spiraling gasoline prices for everyone who intends to drive a car in the meantime, and a devastatingly whip-sawed economy to boot. We saw that in the late '70s with Jimmy Carter, as many of us recall with horror. No thanks!

Anyone with any sense who accepts that such "alternative sources" need to be developed, also recognizes the need for a bridge to the development of those resources. Otherwise, the economy and the public will suffer mightily from high prices, leveraged even higher by the Democrats' promised higher taxes on domestic energy companies.

Those liberal taxes would not even touch the thirteen largest oil companies in the world! Those oil companies, the non-domestic ones no one ever talks about, would continue to laugh at us all the way to the bank. So the Democrats in Congress refused to act in the spring and, and instead they went on vacation for the entire summer, while we all paid the higher gasoline prices. Think of that as a sort of "intentional inaction tax" the Democrats willingly imposed on us all in the meantime.

Consider this as well. By way of her hands-on executive experience as Governor of Alaska, there is simply no public figure in the country who is more knowledgable on the subject, or who has greater ability to point to the resources that we can exploit in order to start building that resource bridge now, than Sarah Palin. In Alaska, she rejected the bridge to nowhere, opting instead to press for a bridge to energy independence by pressing for additional drilling. So, if there is a better reason for making someone the Vice Presidental candidate, I'd like to hear it! Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Policy (CSP) makes a very persuasive case for the importance of her national security credentials in that regard. Too bad she's not in the Senate right now, but she could be the interview guest for any number of cable or network shows, while the Senate debate is ongoing.

Who better to make the case to the American people that we need to drill now in order to ensure sufficient affordable resources for home heating resources for winter and for controlling the price gasoline? When the sticker shock of the first bill for home heating fuel hits any day now, in millions of homes, look for people to become even more annoyed at Democrats who have controlled Congress, and who have refused to allow any additional domestic drilling for the two years they have been in control of Congress, despite repeated calls for new drilling from the Administration.

It seems that all they want to do is talk about nonsense, like the fact that Sarah's 17 year old daughter is pregnant and is not going to have an abortion. Well, Barack Obama's mother was pregnant at 17 as well. What ridiculous crud these lefites have tried to dredge up! For once, at least on that topic Senator Obama is telling his crazed followers to shut up on the subject of Palin's daughter. Perhaps he should have a word with a few of his acolytes in the press as well.

Who knows, maybe he would also do what is really in the long term interest of the country, and respond affirmatively to a Republican call to have a Senate debate this fall on energy independence bills. In any event, he would be hard pressed to claim that such a call is "contrived" as his campaign did earlier in the summer McCain challenged him to a full series of townhall debates. After all, how could he possibly say that a public request to actually do his job is "contrived?"

And, in the House, perhaps Nancy Pelosi would finally learn that natural gas is a fossil fuel that we need to drill for the natural gas she and her husband are so heavily invested in. Who knows, perhaps we could get the House to debate and vote as well, and they wouldn't inevitably become known to history as the biggest do-nothing Congress of all time.

But don't necessarily count on it. The one thing the Democrats have in the form of a trump card, is that if they don't have a floor debate on energy policy this fall, they won't have to vote on it, either. That would allow Democrats favoring additional drilling to say so, but at the same time allow Democrat leadership to "run out the clock."

The downside for them is that they must have some debate on the subject, or the drilling moratorium will run out at the end of September. That's why they want to include a pass on the moratorium in the motion to recess on September 30th. Republicans should, therefore, be calling for a full-fledged floor debate on energy policy this fall -- bill for bill.

Update: The sentence and link in the text above to Frank Gaffney's analysis of the significance of Sarah Palin's national security credentials. He correctly notes that her credentials even go well beyond her experience as Governor:
Gov. Palin has spent much of her adult life dealing with matters long central to the Alaskan experience and now of surpassing importance to the nation as a whole – namely, energy security and how we can provide for it. Having managed her state's department responsible for oil and gas exploration and exploitation, having negotiated a long-delayed natural gas pipeline through Canada to the Lower 48 and having been married for nearly two decades to a blue-collar worker in Alaska's North Slope oil fields, she knows more about the subject than all three of the others on the two parties' tickets put together.

If Gov. Palin can bring to bear her insights into the need for expanded, yet environmentally sensitive drilling, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) – together with an appreciation of the need to introduce fuel-choice in our transportation sector, the object of the bipartisan Open Fuel Standard Act introduced in both the House and Senate shortly before the August recess – she will demonstrate unsurpassed leadership in what is, arguably, the single most important national security challenge of our time.

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