Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yes, let's examine the competence of vice-presidential candidates

The NY Times today weighs in with a solemn, worried article about the problems with Sarah Palin's candidacy:

"A month after Gov. Sarah Palin joined Senator John McCain’s ticket to a burst of excitement and anticipation among Republicans, she heads into a critical debate facing challenges from conservatives about her credentials, signs that her popularity is slipping and evidence that Republicans are worried about how much help she will be for Mr. McCain in November."

Read the whole thing--there are some conservatives, such as David Frum and Kathleen Parker, joining in the bashing, too. And for doing so, I'm disappointed in conservatives such as Parker and Frum. Sarah Palin is a woman with a track record--of popularity, and of success across a whole range of issues, in Alaska. She has a track record of being a good debater there, and of defeating better known, establishment candidates both in debates and in elections (and the men she beat remind me a lot of Joe Biden). She ought to at least have been given the chance to compete in this vice-presidential debate before people began talking about throwing her under the bus, you'd think...

And when it comes to judgment, in any case, the one with the problem ought to be Joe Biden. Go here and read this article. It shows that not once, but twice (!), Biden has fibbed about coming under hostile fire--once near the Green Zone in Baghdad, and another time near Afghanistan. In neither case was he truthful--in Baghdad, there's no evidence there were shots fired, and in Afghanistan, his helicopter was forced down by bad weather, not terrorists.
How can someone be a responsible politician and tell lies like this???
Answer: you can't. You've got to know that to be dishonest like this about shots fired at politicians in a war zone is going to get found out. It's going to get you in trouble.
Thus, to make up stories like this, as Biden does, show incredibly poor judgment.
It shows incredibly poor character. Has Sarah Palin done anything like Biden?
No. Let's keep that in mind.

Environmentalists seek to bring us back to the era of limits

And they're very blunt about it, in a new report on climate change:

"People will have to be rationed to four modest portions of meat and one litre of milk a week if the world is to avoid run-away climate change, a major new report warns. The report, by the Food Climate Research Network, based at the University of Surrey, also says total food consumption should be reduced, especially "low nutritional value" treats such as alcohol, sweets and chocolates."

Bur remember that we've heard this before--in the 1960s and 1970s.
I can remember back then hearing dire warnings of inevitable overpopulation, mass starvation, the return of an ice age. Many thinkers in the late 1970s warned that, given the fuel shortages and such of the time, we were now living in an era of "limits", and we'd never leave it.
But that turned out not to be true. Ingenuity can bring us new sources of energy. We just have to find them. The principle conservatives should follow is simple--more oil drilling, more research, more seeking out alternative energy sources, more nuclear power, more everything...

Don't lose your heads...

So, today, a lot of people are angry about the failure of the bailout proposal to pass on Monday, and they complain about a lack of leadership...

But as we see here, negotiations on a new package will resume later this week; and I can't imagine legislators going home without some kind of deal being done.

As I said yesterday, this can lead to a better bill. And isn't that what we all want?
Steady as she goes...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sarah Palin--stay the course!

So a tiny few conservatives are ready to dump Sarah Palin.
Forget it. For one thing, her unpopularity is, shall we say, greatly exaggerated.
Go here:

In the poll that reflects the worst for her, a NY Times poll, she still has 37% favorable ratings vs only 29% unfavorable. In a recent Washington Post poll, fully 52% of Americans view her favorably. She's a good debater. If she does well this coming Thursday night, she will inject the McCain campaign with a great deal of energy--which is what it needs.
It's unbelievable that some are talking about her leaving the ticket.
She could yet be its savior.

The bailout package fails to pass the House

It will come up again very soon, of course; but it failed on it's first try--and I applaud those conservative members of the House who voted against it on principle:

"Early in the House debate, Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, said he intended to vote against the package, which he said would put the nation on “the slippery slope to socialism.” He said that he was afraid that it ultimately would not work, leaving the taxpayers responsible for “the mother of all debt.” Another Texas Republican, John Culberson, spoke scathingly about the unbridled power he said the bill would hand over to the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., whom he called “King Henry.”

I predict this defeat may be a good thing. The measure can be reconsidered, there can be further negotiations, and it can thus be improved. And conservatives in any case should never be happy with legislation that was, let's face it, rushed into, with some members of both parties hoping it would be passed with a whoop and a holler. That's not how good bills come about.

UPDATE: Ramesh Ponnuru over at NRO, for whom I have much respect, says this outcome hurts McCain.

I have to disagree. This is not a popular bill; I don't sense any kind of public support moving behind it. It seems rushed, hurried. What credit would there be for a bad bill? It's failure today doesn't mean we're at the end of anything. There's still time to improve the bill, and pass a better version; and Senator McCain should try to be at the forefront of such an effort. Besides, over 90 Democrats in the House voted against the bill; so it's failure simply can't be laid at the feet of the GOP, not with there being a Democrat majority there.

Brooke Hogan on the news

The daughter of Hulk Hogan and star of her own reality TV show talks about her social awareness, or rather her lack of same:

"“I never read tabloids, I never buy books or go on Perez Hilton and I never ever watch the news,” Brooke recently told Pop Tarts. “All news is bad. You never hear them say, 'This dog gave birth to six puppies today.' It’s always negative, like, 'All these people got killed.' I stay totally away from it.”

And hey, that's a good way to avoid having to take any, or feel any, responsibility for anything, too!
Live a fantasy life--just avoid knowing about anything that's going on in your world...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last night's debate

Honestly, I expected McCain to come in a bit tired, a bit off his game, given the events of last week, his push first to not debate and suspend his campaign, then resume and debate; the tiring work of negotiating with Republicans and Democrats in Washington over the bailout.

But he surprised me--I thought he was on his game, had good specificity in what he said, told some good stories that connected with the points he was making...and of course it helps that I agreed with him on many of the foreign policy issues up for discussion. He had a strategy, stressing that Senator Obama "doesn't understand", several times, and he executed it.

That said, I still think it was more or less a draw; Senator Obama is a good debater, too, and is learned on several issues. Which will make the debates coming up even more important.

Friday, September 26, 2008

NFL weekly picks

I was 10-6 last week; I'm 27-19-1 for the season.
Let's keep it going!

Buffalo 8 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: RAMS. Buffalo will win; but they play it conservatively, and so 8 points is too many points to give here. Besides, the Rams can't keep being so horrible, can they?

CINCINNATI 3.5 over Cleveland. PICK: BENGALS. They played effectively against the Giants last week; Cleveland has shown no offense--they were held again under 200 total yards last week.

CAROLINA 7 over Atlanta. PICK: FALCONS. I suspect Carolina will win this game; but it will be close. The Falcons can run it with Michael Turner; he had over 100 yrds rushing again last week. And Carolina's offense has been anemic--held to 200 total yards last week, again. The Birds will keep this one close.

DALLAS 11 over Washington. PICK: COWBOYS. Too many weapons; too many big-play-makers, especially now with Felix Jones added to the mix. The Redskins will try to run it and run clock, but I'm not convinced Jason Campbell can get it done on the road.

Denver 9 over KANSAS CITY. PICK: BRONCOS. Denver has an explosive offense, and frankly KC has shown nothing this year, be it at home or on the road.

JACKSONVILLE 7 over Houston. PICK: JAGUARS. The Jags have a great running tandem in Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew; the Texans gave up over 150 yards rushing last week to Tennessee. Look for that trend to continue. And the Jags are at home.

NEW ORLEANS 5 over San Francisco. PICK: SAINTS. The Saints rolled up over 500 yards of offense last week, in a game they should have won; I think they'll get it done at home. Remember that J.T. O'Sullivan has few NFL starts, and now he has to go on the road.

NY JETS 1.5 over Arizona. PICK: JETS. The Cardinals just don't perform that well on the road; and I thought I saw the Jets offense clicking a bit better at the end of last Monday night's game.

Philadelphia 3 over CHICAGO. PICK: EAGLES. Because Donovan McNabb is better than Kyle Orton; and because the Eagles defense, with 6 sacks last week, can compete very well with the Bears' D.

San Diego 7.5 over OAKLAND. PICK: CHARGERS. The Bolts are starting to get it in gear. JaMarcus Russell last week, meanwhile: only 9 for 19 for less than 150 yards. You can't just run it against the Chargers...

TAMPA BAY 1 over Green Bay. PICK: BUCS. Green Bay might be flat coming off their Sunday night loss. Meanwhile, the Bucs may have found a QB--Brian Griese threw for over 400 yards last week.

TENNESSEE 3 over Minnesota. PICK: TITANS. Kerry Collins is getting the job done. The Titans are at home. And I'm not a big Gus Frerotte believer--it was the Vikings defense which largely won their last game.

PITTSBURGH 5.5 over Baltimore. PICK: STEELERS. Yes, Big Ben is a bit beat up. But my guess is he'll play; and why Joe Flacco has been OK at home in a very conservative offense so far, again, just running it won't get it done in Pittsburgh.

College football weekly picks

I was 8-2 last week, remember.

Auburn vs TENNESSEE. Pick: TIGERS. This is a rebuilding year for the Vols; Auburn should have knocked off LSU last week.

GEORGIA vs Alabama. Pick: BULLDOGS. Alabama has shown great improvement over last year; but I like Georgia at home. They were very efficient last week at Arizona State.

Michigan State vs INDIANA. Pick: SPARTANS. They can run the ball with Javon Ringer. And IU has problems in stopping the run.

NOTRE DAME vs Purdue. PICK: IRISH. Yes, I know they lost last week, and that they lost their tight end due to off-field problems. But Charlie Weis knows how to circle the wagons; ND is at home; and Purdue historically has had trouble winning there. Don't forget Purdue's intangibles problems--they blow a game at home to Oregon they should have had won, they barely beat Central Michigan last week.

OKLAHOMA vs Texas Christian. PICK: SOONERS. But it will be a closer game than people think. TCU has a good defense, and a good coach in Gary Patterson.

PENN STATE vs Illinois. PICK: NITTANY LIONS. Joe Pa seems to have a powerful club; Illinois hasn't impressed thus far.

Wisconsin vs MICHIGAN. PICK: WOLVERINES. My upset special. Michigan's offense looked to have grown; it rolled up 388 yards vs Notre Dame two weeks ago. They've had two weeks to prepare. Wisconsin might have trouble handling Michigan's spread, and they're on the road. Go with the Maize and Blue in an upset.

The news media and Barack Obama's background

They practically riffle through Sarah Palin's dresser drawers--but they won't examine Barack Obama's past associates, as Tony Blankley pointed out the other day:

"But worse than all the unfair and distorted reporting and image projecting are the shocking gaps in Obama's life that are not reported at all. The major media simply have not reported on Obama's two years at New York's Columbia University, where, among other things, he lived a mere quarter-mile from former terrorist Bill Ayers. Later, they both ended up as neighbors and associates in Chicago. Obama denies more than a passing relationship with Ayers. Should the media be curious? In only two weeks, the media have focused on all the colleges Gov. Palin has attended, her husband's driving habits 20 years ago, and the close criticism of the political opponents Gov. Palin had when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.
But in two years, they haven't bothered to see how close Obama was with the terrorist Ayers."

No, they won't. And this is because, quite simply, most news reporters in the United States are liberals. Never forget--back in 1972, a poll was taken of political reporters. They asked which presidential candidate they'd voted for, the Republican Richard Nixon, or the liberal Democrat George McGovern. 90 percent of them reported they'd pulled the lever for McGovern--90 percent!!! I doubt 90% of McGovern's own family voted for him.

Things haven't changed.

Why conservatives worry about the bailout dept

Thomas Sowell the other day put it well--after all, this could cost close to a TRILLION dollars:

"Estimates of how much money a government program will cost are notoriously unreliable. Estimates of the cost of the current bailout in the financial markets run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, and some say it may reach or exceed a trillion.Many people have trouble even forming some notion of what such numbers as billion and trillion mean. One way to get some idea of the magnitude of a trillion is to ask: How long ago was a trillion seconds?A trillion seconds ago, no one on this planet could read and write. Neither the Roman Empire nor the ancient Chinese dynasties had yet come into existence. None of the founders of the world’s great religions today had yet been born.That’s what a trillion means. Put a dollar sign in front of it and that’s what the current bailout may cost.Will that money be spent wisely? It is theoretically possible. But don’t bet the rent money on it, or you could end up among the homeless.Whenever there is a lot of the taxpayers’ money around, politicians are going to find ways to spend it that will increase their chances of getting re-elected by giving goodies to voters."

It's always good to remind ourselves of just how much money we're actually talking about here.

So why is John McCain now willing to debate tonight?

Good question. There's no doubt that the Obama camp, and its willing allies in the news media, are hammering McCain for supposedly flip-flopping. But note this:

"“First you’re on, first you’re off, very mercurial dealing with issues and circumstances. Frankly I believe this is a political ploy by the McCain campaign,” Hoyer told FOX News Radio. “When it came back here, it frankly was a dud and not only was not helpful, it was unhelpful.”
McCain’s camp suggested that a lot of progress had been made on the Wall Street bailout, aimed to stem the collapse of U.S. investment firms overburdened by bad mortgage securities.
“Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the administration, members of the Senate and members of the House,” his campaign said in a statement. “He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations.”

So McCain is going to say that he went back to Washington; that he worked all Thursday and into early Friday, talking mainly to Republicans in the House and Senate; and that he got them basically all on the same page when it came to what they wanted and what they would fight for regarding this bailout proposal, and that this has helped move the negotiations forward. He'll try to argue that he showed leadership and accomplished something, and Senator Obama didn't.
We'll see how it plays out.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Taking exception to American exceptionalism

NY Times columnist Roger Cohen is angry at Sarah Palin, and at conservatives in general. They believe in American exceptionalism, and Cohen is eager to mischaracterize what that means:

"Behind Palinism lies anger. It’s been growing as America’s relative decline has become more manifest in falling incomes, imploding markets, massive debt and rising new centers of wealth and power from Shanghai to Dubai. The damn-the-world, God-chose-us rage of that America has sharpened as U.S. exceptionalism has become harder to square with the 21st-century world’s interconnectedness. How exceptional can you be when every major problem you face, from terrorism to nuclear proliferation to gas prices, requires joint action?"

Now, now, Mr. Cohen. Surely you don't deny that these problems require American leadership, still? And what's this "damn-the-world" notion that you have? America leads the world--in foreign aid and charitable giving to those less fortunate the world over! And conservatives are all for that; indeed, they were all for the Bush administration's leadership in providing aid for Asia in the wake of the tsunami only a few short years ago. Damn the world? Hardly. Enough with the straw men, Mr. Cohen.

Why worry about Iran?

Because, as Cliff May reminds us today, its leaders have said things in the not-too-distant past that merit concern:

"Is it not possible that Iran, should it acquire nuclear weapons, would follow the precedent established by al-Qaeda and attack the “Great Satan” first — leaving the “Little Satan” for later?Ahmadinejad’s genocidal threats against Israel have been well-publicized. But from time to time he also likes to remind his followers that “a world without America . . . is attainable.”Hassan Abbassi, another senior Iranian official, has outlined how that goal might be reached. “We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization and for the uprooting of the Americans and the English,” he has said. “The global infidel front is a front against Allah and the Muslims, and we must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front, by means of our suicide operations and by means of our missiles.”In recent days, Iran’s military has been testing those missiles, launching them from ships in the Caspian Sea. Could they be developing the skills needed to target an American city?"

This is why Barack Obama's past statements, suggesting we should talk with Iran with no preconditions--a terrible sign of weakness--are so worrying.

Great TV alert

By the way, one of my favorite shows returns tonight for a new season--NBC's The Office.
It is incredibly funny--and it's funny because it creates these incredibly awkward situations for everyone on the show; and yet, they are situations we can all identify with, because we've seen situations like them...

Watch the show and you'll know what I mean.
Will Jim propose to Pam this year????

Campaign maneuvering 101: beware of the "we're close to a deal" talk

Democrats are trumpeting that a deal on the economic bailout plan is almost done:

"Lawmakers indicated Thursday that they were close to hashing out an agreement on a proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial system, hours before a meeting at the White House to complete the deal. After Congressional staff members worked through the night to hammer out the details of the remarkable rescue effort, Senate and House negotiators gathered for a meeting in the Capitol on Thursday morning, hoping to resolve any final disagreements ahead of the White House gathering. The Democrats had all but eliminated their differences, and both sides were hoping for a bipartisan consensus to emerge at midday, with the final imprimatur to come at the late afternoon meeting with President Bush, the Congressional leadership and the two presidential candidates."

But beware. Note the words above--"Democrats had all but eliminated their differences." Well, sure--but have they got Republicans on board with their bill? I doubt it. Indeed, if you go here,
you see that leading House Republicans, such as Deborah Pryce, still have serious doubts.

Look, Democrats want to put forward the notion that a deal is almost done.
That way, they can claim that it got done--without John McCain's help, and that there was no reason for him to come back to Washington, suspend his campaign, etc.
McCain, of course, has a different view of things. We'll see which side prevails here; but I don't think this deal is done yet, by a long shot.

UPDATE: here's more evidence for my point:

"From John Boehner on Chairmen Frank and Dodd announcing a “deal” on the rescue package, “As I told our Conference this morning, there is no bipartisan deal at this time. There may be a deal among some Democrats, but House Republicans are not a part of it.”

Mr. McCain goes to Washington

To help with this bailout package--but Democrats are not amused:

"“I thought we were trying to rescue the economy, not the McCain campaign,” said Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Service Committee and a key negotiator on the $700 billion bailout package. “This notion of rushing to Washington and grandstanding - it’s silly, it’s impulsive, it’s erratic,” said Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. “With all due respect to my friend John McCain, we’re doing just fine,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday."

Sigh. Well: 1] If McCain had not returned to Washington, Democrats would have attacked him for NOT returning to Washington, would have attacked him for putting politics above this important legislation. 2] How can Democrats argue McCain shouldn't return to Washington? He's one of the most senior, high-ranking Republican Senators in Washington; he's been on the Commerce committee and other committees related to our economy. Of course he should be involved in this. Suggestions he shouldn't be are mere partisan hackery.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

At the sports desk: the Detroit Lions finally fire Matt Millen

It's confirmed--he was let go today as Lions' GM/president.
Finally--after over 6 years and a 31-84 record with him.
But here's the thing--as people like me, who grew up in Michigan and will always be Lions fans know--as always with the Ford family's ownership of the team, it all comes too late.
The franchise is in a mess. Firing Millen won't help the team this year.
Next year is probably lost, too.
I suspect that when all is said and done, the only thing that will really help the Lions is for the Ford family to sell the team, to people who can put good, capable football personnel in charge of making player decisions.

But lord knows if that will ever, ever happen.

Obama condemns the UN, but...

...the UN is doing simply what Barack Obama said HE would do.
To be more specific, Obama condemned the UN for giving Iran's Ahmadinejad a platform for his hateful and anti-semitic views. Yet, as Jim Geraghty today points out:

"Gee, if we're worried about Ahmadinejad getting a platform to air hateful and anti-Semitic views, I hope no future president promises to hold a face-to-face summit with him without preconditions within the first year of taking office... I realize that our friends on the left feel like McCain will say and do anything to get elected, but we can point to actual cases in which Obama is completely ignoring previous campaign promises, and completely reversing himself in order to get in line with public opinion...."

And he needs to be held to account for them.

A bold move

John McCain makes a major announcement today:

"John McCain announced that he will suspend his presidential campaign on Thursday to return to Washington to help with Wall Street bailout negotiations. He urged his opponent Barack Obama to do the same. The Arizona senator also asked the Presidential Debate Commission to postpone Friday’s scheduled debate with Obama so that he can work on the financial crisis bailout plan now on Capitol Hill."

No word yet on whether the debate will in fact be postponed.
It's a bold move. Of course, some have already attacked this move by McCain as merely a political stunt, designed to make him look better in the polls (where he's been sliding lately--for example, see here.). And perhaps it is. On the other hand, the McCain people can point to McCain's willingness to delay the Republican convention when a hurricane threatened New Orleans earlier this month.
We'll have to see how this plays with the American people. But this could be another point at which this campaign, again, shifts.

UPDATE: both camps, concerning the debate set for Friday, have now drawn lines in the sand.
You can see the moves and counter-moves being made. The McCain will suspend their campaign, and their participation in the debate, claiming that the bailout proposal is more important. The Obama camp wants the debate to go forward, and they've decided it will be politically beneficial to claim that presidents need to be able to do more than one thing at a time, and that it wouldn't be good to inject presidential politics into the negotiations on Capitol Hill.

Neither side will want now to back down.
The only way, in my view, that McCain participates in the debate Friday is if a proposal can be hammered out by early Friday. And if it is, of course, McCain will take credit for it. If it doesn't happen, and McCain skips the debate while staying in Washington to continue taking part in the negotiations, McCain is betting the American people will look favorably upon that. We'll see what happens. It's quite a game of political move and counter-move right now between the two campaigns.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last week's football picks

The final results:
In the NFL picks, I won 10, lost 6. Season record: 27 wins, 19 losses, 1 push.
College football: last week I won 8, lost 2. Season record: won 19, lost 5.
Not bad!

The November election: Georgia

It appears that the Obama campaign is about to pretty much abandon hope of winning Georgia:

" Georgia is another state in which the campaign once had very high hopes but is now unsure whether it should continue to invest in it. The campaign stopped advertising there before the conventions and last week redeployed some of its 75 staff to neighboring North Carolina..."

A close race

The Washington Post finds that, in a new poll, the races in several battleground states--Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Minnesota--are very close (Obama and McCain either essentially ties or Obama slightly ahead) and haven't changed much in the last 3 months or so.

The Post seems surprised that the race hasn't changed much in 3 months.
But there are easy explanations for that. First of all, remember that most Americans aren't that interested in politics, and don't follow it all that closely (unlike me, or folks like you who read blogs like this). Second: I think what many Americans do, though, when it comes to voting, is they wait for a few big events in the campaigns. And those would be, first, the two parties' conventions (out of which both candidates got a boost, but I think McCain got a slightly bigger buzz coming out of his, thanks to Sarah Palin); and second, the presidential debates.

The debates always get huge audiences, especially the first and last debates; and I think a lot of Americans tell themselves that they will make up their minds after the debates.
So no wonder things haven't changed much. Americans are waiting for the debates.

The Democrats' Joe Biden problem

And this is the issue I figured they'd have with him when they nominated him for vice president: he goes off the reservation and says things the campaign doesn't want him to say:

"Another case of Joe being Joe. The Delaware Senator took issue with an attack ad from his own side in an interview with CBS, telling Katie Couric that the Obama hit on McCain’s ignorance of computers and technology was “terrible.” The ad paints McCain as out of touch — and all but calls him ancient — but doesn’t mention that the Arizona Senator’s war injuries actually prevent him from using computers for an extended period. Asked whether he’s disappointed with the tone of the campaign, including the ad that Couric characterized as “making fun of John mcCain’s inability to use a computer,” Biden said “I thought that was terrible by the way. “I didn’t know we did it and if I had anything to do with it, we would have never done it.”

He tried to go back and spin the whole thing in a way to benefit Obama, but I don't think it will work. Naturally the McCain camp has jumped on these comments. It's a gift for any campaign--the Democrats' vice-presidential nominee criticizes his own running mate's ads! What a break for McCain.

And think of this, too: this is a mistake that Sarah Palin has not made, and would not make.
Discipline and focus are two important traits for any candidate for national office. Sarah Palin has them. Joe Biden doesn't.

UPDATE: Biden today is trying to backtrack from his comments.
I doubt it will help him much. Note that his defense is that he was "asked about an ad I'd never seen." Ah--so you'd never seen it. But you chose to shoot your mouth off about it anyway. Real good judgment there, Joe.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sometimes the enemy is us

Victor Davis Hanson on our current economic troubles:

"In the sudden rush to blame the crooks in DC and on Wall Street, we should first take a long look in the mirror. For two decades, we — as in we Americans — expected to buy homes, flip them, and walk away with thousands — without much thought about what might happen to the johnny-come-lately at the bottom of the pyramid when the game was finally up and housing prices cooled or crashed....Ours became a culture that wanted larger cars but less drilling to fuel them, more stuff and more credit from — and more anger at — the Chinese; less taxes but even more government hand-outs; ever more electricity, but fewer icky coal and nuclear plants — and always more health-care, education-care, prescription drug-care, housing-care, and always less care how to pay for it."

And don't forget too Americans at the local level--they want new streets, new city and town services, but no care of how to pay for that, either...

Finding a scapegoat

That's what China's government has done, in the wake of the tainted milk scandal there which has sickened thousands of Chinese children:

"The head of China’s quality watchdog was forced to resign Monday in the wake of a growing scandal over the country’s tainted milk supply, which has already sickened more than 50,000 infants and killed at least three children, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency."

So his head will roll. This is the kind of thing China always does; back in 1978, two years after Mao Zedong passed away, China arrested and prosecuted the so-called "Gang of Four", which included Mao's second wife. They were imprisoned and blamed for the country's recent Maoist troubles, signaling that the country was turning the page. Same kind of thing here...

Don't worry about it

Apparently there's a furor building concerning this past weekend's "Saturday Night Live" sketch, in which a suggestion was thrown out there that maybe Todd Palin was engaging in incest with one of his daughters. But, but, folks...don't sweat it. Actually the sketch was making big-time fun of the NY Times and accurately skewering the elitist, ignorant mindset of the east coast media.
Fox News has a good summary:

"In Saturday Night Live’s second attempt to mock this year’s vice presidential race, a sketch lampooning The New York Times as out of touch has instead touched off a firestorm by casually throwing out a much more insidious inference — incest — between Todd Palin and his pregnant, teenage daughter, Bristol....The sketch, say supporters, was supposed to accentuate how disconnected The New York Times is from anything west of the Hudson River, particularly Alaska. But critics say that the sketch backfired by suggesting that Todd Palin committed incest. In the sketch, New York Times reporters are sitting around an assignment meeting discussing what about Palin to investigate next. One reporter asks: “What about the husband? You know he’s doing those daughters. I mean, come on. It’s Alaska." Guest host James Franco, who played the assignment editor, sets up the joke of proving a negative, saying, “He very well could be. Admittedly, there is no evidence of that, but on the other hand, there is no convincing evidence to the contrary. And these are just some of the lingering questions about Governor Palin.”

See, it's suggesting that some members of the media will believe any slander against the Palins, no matter how lacking in evidence it is. We should encourage that kind of satire. Unfortunately, it's all too connected to the truth.

At the sports desk: tough words...

...but fair ones, concerning the Detroit Lions' defense, pushed around at will again yesterday, this time by the 49ers:

"[Michael] Strahan, who retired after 15 seasons as a defensive end for the Giants, came close to saying the Lions' defense quit. "You can't teach heart," Strahan said. "They don't want to play." Strahan said Lions defenders were not pursuing on some long runs. "They were watching," Strahan said, almost yelling. "They don't want to play."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In a dark place

Peggy Noonan thinks that, given the close presidential race, the passions being ar0used, and now the economic troubles found on Wall Street, that the Obama folks especially might get nasty:

"A fearless prediction: My beautiful election enters its dark phase.
Lots of signs of the new darkness. Mr. Obama's army is swarming, blocking lines when Obama critics show up for radio interviews. A study out Thursday said the Obama campaign has become more negative than the McCain campaign. There is the hacking—no one at this point knows by whom—of Sarah Palin's personal email account. From Mr. Obama himself, a new edge. He tells an audience in Elko, Nev., to "argue" with McCain supporters and "get in their face." Bambi is playing Chicago style. No doubt everyone around him has been saying, and for some weeks now, "Get tough." But this is not how to get tough, and it does not reflect a shrewd reading of what the moment demands. People want depth, not ferocity. We've got nerves that jingle-jangle-jingle. And it gives Mr. McCain a beautiful opening. He can now play Oldest and Wisest, damning the new meanness more in sorrow than in anger."

Read the whole thing.
I agree with her when she adds, towards the end, that she thinks sometimes this won't be a life-changing election, even though, when elections come, we always say they will be exactly that. I feel that too. Indeed, I know it; neither McCain nor Obama will turn out to be huge radicals in the policies they follow. That doesn't mean one candidate isn't better than the other, however...

A little closed-door meeting is needed

The new president of Pakistan sends the U.S. a message:

"Pakistan's new president told lawmakers the nation will not tolerate violations of its sovereignty by "any power" in the name of fighting terrorism, a clear signal to the U.S. to avoid controversial cross-border strikes."

Perhaps he merely made that statement for domestic, Pakistani consumption.
But if not, U.S. representatives need to have a serious talk with Pakistan's leaders.
They need to be reminded, for example, of all the military aid the U.S. has given Pakistan over the years; and that the spigot for such aid can easily be turned off.
Actually, I suspect that what American leaders will tell him is this--that the U.S. will need to do what it has to do to battle terrorism. If Pakistan wants to denounce us publicly for us, that's fine. Go ahead. Just as long as our military action goes forward. And that may be what you'll see at some point in the future--Pakistan denouncing us fiercely for some raid, but doing nothing beyond that. Such is what occurs in the world of power politics sometimes...

Big government conservatism?

So President Bush is asking for a $700 billion federal government bailout of our financial institutions, and when it comes to what this means for conservatism, I think Newt Gingrich is right:

"I believe that the president is exhausted and the vice president has been marginalized, and what you now have is the Washington interests . . . dominating the administration," former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said in an interview yesterday. "We have now launched big-government Republicanism. If we saw France do this, Italy do this, we would have thought it was crazy. We would have had pious speeches about the folly of bureaucrats running businesses."

We as conservatives have to do a lot more thinking about how we begin to break this cycle of ever-expanding government.

Friday, September 19, 2008

At the sports desk: NFL weekly picks

I'm 17-13-1 so far this season. (home teams in CAPS)

ATLANTA 5.5 over Kansas City. PICK: FALCONS. Neither team was particularly impressive last week, but the Chiefs, at home vs the lowly Raiders, managed only 190 total yards, and only 55 yards rushing. Meanwhile, Atlanta has Michael Turner. Go with the Birds.

BALTIMORE 2.5 over Cleveland. PICK: BROWNS. I know, call me crazy. But I have a feeling. The Browns offense will not continue to struggle as badly as they have. Meanwhile, the Ravens might be rusty after a 2 week layoff, and don't forget--they start a rookie QB Joe Flacco, and in the NFL rookies QBs are always up and down. I have a feeling he'll be down this week.

BUFFALO 9.5 over Oakland. PICK: BILLS. Buffalo impresses me, winning on the road last week. Trent Edwards: 20 of 25, no INTs. Meanwhile, while the Raiders won last week, it was mainly due to their ground attack; JaMarcus Russell threw for only 55 passing yards. I don't see the Raiders being able to stay in this game solely by running it. Go with the suddenly high-flying Bills.

CHICAGO 3 over Tampa Bay. PICK: BEARS. Neither team is an offensive powerhouse. Both teams made mistakes last week--12 penalties for the Bears; 11 for the Bucs. Tampa Bay won last week largely by grinding out over 160 rush yards; I don't see that happening this week vs the Bears at home. Devin Hester's injury concerns me; but, you know what...this kind of smash-mouth, grind-it-out game at home is one the Bears usually win.

Dallas 3 over GREEN BAY. PICK: COWBOYS. Hey, props to Aaron Rodgers, who's been lighting it up so far this year, and threw for over 300 yards again last week. But Tony Romo threw for over 300 yards last week too; and if Calvin Johnson of the Lions can torch the Packer secondary, so can TO. Look for this to be another entertaining, high-scoring affair, but with the Cowboys' talent level, I see them outlasting the Pack and winning by about a touchdown.

DENVER 5.5 over New Orleans. PICK: SAINTS. I think the Broncos will win this game; but I see the Saints with Drew Brees and Reggie Bush exploiting the Denver defense just as the Chargers did, and keeping it real close, losing by about a field goal.

MINNESOTA 3.5 over Carolina. PICK: VIKINGS. Minnesota should have won last week; and they're at home again this week, with the added incentive of starting Gus Frerotte, who's likely to throw the ball more effectively than did Tarvaris Jackson. Carolina last week was fortunate to win, gaining only 216 yards on offense vs the Bears. I suspect their luck will run out this week.

NEW ENGLAND 12.5 over Miami. PICK: DOLPHINS. No, not to win the game; but to keep the spread below 13 points. Yes, the Dolphins gave up over 400 total yards to Arizona last week. But I suspect Sparano and Parcells are madly making adjustments as we speak. Meanwhile, note that Belichick played it very conservatively with Matt Cassel, and the Patriots only gained about 260 offensive yards themselves vs the Jets. I question Cassel's ability to throw the deep ball effectively; hence, throwing short and running the ball will keep this score down.

NY GIANTS 13.5 over Cincinnati. PICK: GIANTS. The Bengals appear to be in trouble. They gave up over 170 rush yards last week to Tennessee; the Giants can run it, too. Carson Palmer threw for only 127 yards last week and had two picks; the Giants defense is even tougher. Hard to see how Cincy can keep this one close. Go with the G-men and give the points.

PHILADELPHIA 3.5 over Pittsburgh. PICK: EAGLES. Donovan McNabb played brilliantly on Monday night in a losing cause; I suspect the Eagles' confidence was bolstered despite the loss. Meanwhile, reports out of Pittsburgh have Ben Roethlisberger nursing a banged-up shoulder. And they're on the road.

SAN FRANCISCO 4 over Detroit. PICK: 49ERS. The Lions are awash in a sea of media and fan negativity in Detroit, with their 0-2 start. They've surrendered 82 points in two games, and last week over 300 yards in the air. And now they face the Niners, and QB J.T. O'Sullivan and offensive guru Mike Martz--who were both with the Lions last year and know them very well (and how to attack them). Doesn't look good for the Lions.

SEATTLE 9.5 over St. Louis. PICK: SEAHAWKS. The Seahawks made a ton of mistakes last week, along with over 350 yards to the 49ers--but still almost won. Meanwhile, the Rams look hopeless--they gave up 6 sacks and over 400 total yards last week to the Giants; and even with Stephen Jackson, gained only 68 yards on the ground. This looks like Seattle's chance to get well.

TENNESSEE 5 over Houston. PICK: TITANS. The Texans haven't played in two weeks; they may be rusty. Meanwhile, Tennessee is running the ball, stopping the run, and Kerry Collins hasn't made mistakes. That's usually a good formula.

WASHINGTON 3 over Arizona. PICK: REDSKINS. Arizona has looked good under Kurt Warner. But so far they've played the Dolphins and Niners--not exactly the elite. Meanwhile, this game is on the road vs a decent club in the Redskins who showed signs of coming to life last week. This has always been the kind of game where the Cardinals have struggled in the past; and so they're going to have to prove to me they're different. I still have doubts; so, go with the Skins at home.

INDIANAPOLIS 5 over Jacksonville. PICK: COLTS. This is a tough one; the Jags have played the Colts very tough over the past few years, and of course the Colts' injuries are well-documented. But--the Jags have injuries too, concentrated on their O-line. Meanwhile the Colts offense showed signs late against Minnesota of coming to life; Manning threw for over 200 yards in the second half. I think the Colts win by a TD here given the Jags' injuries...

SAN DIEGO 9 over NY Jets. PICK: JETS. I think the Chargers will win; but I like Brett Favre and the Jets to keep this one close. The Chargers' defense is vulnerable with Shawn Merriman out. I look for this game to be a close one.

At the sports desk: college football picks

I was unbeaten last week. Let's see how I do this week, picking the week's biggest games.
(home team in ALL CAPS)

Notre Dame at MICHIGAN STATE--pick: SPARTANS. Yes, the Irish are 2-0, and no doubt improved. But remember that they barely beat a weak San Diego State team; and might have been in trouble last week too if Mchigan hadn't handed them 3 touchdowns via turnovers. MSU beat this team handily last year in South Bend; I think they'll win again.

Georgia at ARIZONA STATE--pick: BULLDOGS. UGA struggled last week vs South Carolina on the road. But they got it out of their system, and all indications are they have a lot of talent. I think it'll win out again this week vs a Sun Devil team that just got done losing to UNLV.

Florida at TENNESSEE--pick: GATORS. Just too much Tim Tebow; the Vols are in a bit of a rebuilding mode.

LSU at AUBURN--pick: TIGERS. Auburn scored a grand total of 3 points last week--but won. That kind of offense won't get it done against an elite team like LSU, though this will be a battle.

TEXAS vs Rice--pick: LONGHORNS. Look for Rice to put up some points; they have a nice QB and a passing offense that can move the ball. But they won't be able to stop Colt McCoy and Texas.

Alabama at ARKANSAS--pick: CRIMSON TIDE. Arkansas barely survived the past two weeks against a couple of patsies. Meanwhile, the Tide has a quality win already vs Clemson. It'll be a battle, but Alabama should prevail.

East Carolina at NORTH CAROLINA STATE--pick: PIRATES. East Carolina has made a believer out of me, with wins vs Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

PENN STATE vs Temple--pick: NITTANY LIONS. This is Penn State's final stop on their cupcake schedule victory tour. After this, it'll get tougher.

Wake Forest at FLORIDA STATE--pick: SEMINOLES. Wake is ranked 18th; FSU, 24th. When was the last time these two teams met and BOTH were ranked? In this case, go with Florida State--they're at home, and historically they've had Wake's number.

Utah at AIR FORCE--pick: UTES. Air Force can move the ball, but can they stop people? Often, no. Meanwhile Utah looked impressive last week vs their in-state rival, and they have a quality road win already vs Michigan. Go with the Utes.

Mad Men and Emmy history

Television history could be made soon:

"The chain-smoking, booze-swilling, skirt-chasing advertising executives from "Mad Men" are expected to make Emmy history when U.S. television's highest honors are handed out Sunday. The AMC network's critically acclaimed period piece, set in the social cross-currents of New York's Madison Avenue in the early 1960s, is the overwhelming favorite to win this year's Emmy prize as best drama series. If it prevails, "Mad Men" would become the first show from a cable network other than HBO to claim the prestigious best-drama title, marking a new turning point in the 60-year-old Emmy competition and prime-time television itself."

I hope it wins. I watch it; it's a great show.
The thing about it is, it doesn't just feature chain-smoking, booze-swilling, etc for the heck of it. What it does is create the culture and atmosphere of the early 1960s, and it does it very accurately and well. Its plots are complicated, subtle, and nuanced; and they will surprise you. If you haven't checked it out yet, do.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Karl Rove advises Barack Obama

I don't think, though, that he expects he'll take his advice. But read Rove's column today.
In fact, I'd advise you, if you're a political junkie like me, to always read Rove's columns.
The guy knows a heck of a lot about American politics, and he makes insightful points.

Today, for example, he has two valuable points:
First, as to why Obama isn't doing better in the polls: don't forget the Democratic congress. It's approval rating is in the toilet. And that may be dragging down the entire Democratic "brand"--and thus Obama with it.

Second: a fundamental mistake being made by the Obama camp is this--it's trying to win undecided voters by roaring at them that "McCain is another George W. Bush." But any voter who could be won over that way would already BE in the Obama camp. Rather, now what we're dealing with are undecided voters who won't be persuaded that way. Polls show they still have doubts about Mr. Obama. Obama can only win them by talking positively about himself--not dragging down the other guy.

Luckily for Mr. McCain, I doubt the Obama-ites even bring themselves to read Rove.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Was it sexism, or ideological hostility?

Jim Geraghty over at NRO demonstrates how the Washington Post cleans up Barack Obama's quotes...but not Sarah Palin's.

I mean, yes, Sarah Palin saying "gonna" is an accurate quote...but Obama says that too.
But hey, perhaps to the liberals at the Post, Obama deserves certain considerations; conservative hicks from Alaska, don't...

Joe Biden goes off-message...

...Republicans and conservatives should be grateful:

"Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans...“We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people,” Biden said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Noting that wealthier Americans would indeed pay more, Biden said: “It’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

If Democrats want to make tax increases a major part of their message, Republicans should say thanks. Democrats always have a hard time making this sale. This was one reason many Republicans were glad to see Biden on Obama's ticket--he tends to shoot off his mouth.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg today also makes a very good point on the many philosophical problems with what Biden said:

"...it's nonetheless worth pointing out that when Joe Biden says it's patriotic for wealthier Americans to pay higher taxes, he's making a hash of several basic concepts. First, taxes ain't charity. Second, patriotism ain't got nothing to do with it, since you're required as a matter of criminal law to pay what you owe. So, in one sense Biden is asking — scolding, really — Americans to enjoy paying their taxes, which is like asking health nuts to enjoy getting a colonoscopy. Regardless, equating a legal requirement with patriotism is just plain gross."

Why Republicans should definitely not be celebrating yet

An Indiana poll finds Obama with a 3 point lead over McCain.
I'd be shocked if Obama actually won the state; but fact remains, if McCain is struggling in Indiana, a state which hasn't gone Democratic in a presidential election since at least 1964, that tells how tough this race remains for him.

UPDATE: and this NY Times poll has Obama up nationally by 5.

Poor Maureen Dowd

She had to go to Alaska to, in her mind, find out more about Sarah Palin's world.
And oh, how difficult it was for her.
She suggested she'd "sauteed" herself in "Sarahville."
Ms. Dowd, too, doesn't like small towns much, and especially Wasilla--"a town that is a soulless strip mall without sidewalks set beside a soulful mountain and lake."
Read the whole piece--I mean, poor Ms. Dowd found a Wal-Mart there that, gasp, sells guns!
A pro-Obama rally there (drawing all of 10 people!) drew "taunts" from some of the locals (never mind Sarah Palin having to endure the taunts of columnists like Dowd).
Ms. Dowd couldn't stand Wasilla or Alaska in general. There, pastors pray for reporters, and their churches stock books that are critical of homosexuality and premarital sex. And in Anchorage, there are religious rallies sponsored by Dr. James Dobson (what that had to do with Sarah Palin, Ms. Dowd never told us. I guess if something happens in Alaska, it's connected.)

Amazing, isn't it? Mo Dowd's column oozed so much condescension, it was wringing wet.
You can almost hear her--how could someone like Sarah Palin, who stands for everything Maureen Dowd literally hates, be in the position she is in???
Don't be surprised at this. Read some histories of the presidential campaign of 1964; read what reporters then thought and wrote of Barry Goldwater (and later they gave Ronald Reagan the same treatment). It's a gauntlet that all conservative national politicians must go through. Especially the successful ones.

A Democratic Party strategist assesses the state of the campaign...

...by pouring out his concerns to Barack Obama is a public "memo." But his assessment of Obama's recent slide is very interesting:

"I'll get right to the point: You are in danger of squandering an election most of us thought was unlosable. The reason is simple: on the electorate's most important concern - the economy -- you have no clear message, and John McCain has filled the void with his own...When I say you have no message, here's what I mean: ...you are not offering a coherent account of what has gone wrong with the economy - why it is no longer working for average families. People are anxious and bewildered; they want to know why jobs are disappearing, why incomes are stagnating, and why prices are soaring. If you don't offer an explanation, McCain's will carry the day by default: the problem is the corrupt, self-interested politicians in Washington; the solution is getting them - and government in general - out of the way."

And if this assessment of John McCain's message is accurate, and if McCain acted on it as president, wouldn't conservatives be pleased.
Read this whole memo--I think he's right about Obama's lack of message.

Why conservatives worry about John McCain dept

There's trouble on Wall Street, and so as you probably heard, John McCain the last couple of days has talked of the need for more "regulation" there. Unfortunately I think Ramesh Ponnuru of NRO had it right today when he said:

"Senator McCain's embrace of "regulation" as the answer to Wall Street's ills is vacuous: He isn't telling us what rules he would put in place, let alone how those rules would have helped in the past or would help in the future. He is, so far, getting away with it because journalists treat "regulation" in the same content-less way."

Senator McCain will never be able to win a regulatory war, or spending/bidding war, with the Democrats. They will always be able to promise (and will be glad to promise) more regulation, more spending, than he will. He shouldn't even try. Otherwise the energy his base has gained in the last few weeks will be right out the window...

Senator Obama, race, and the election

I think this guy over at NRO has it exactly right, when confronting the question: will Obama lose the election because of his race?

"...while there are those who will not vote for Obama in the general election because he is black, there are many who will be voting for him precisely for that reason. This includes, most obviously, many African Americans, who would otherwise vote for McCain or — probably more likely — simply stay home if the Democratic nominee had been a white guy with Senator Obama's credentials and positions. And it includes, again, many non-black voters who are smitten by Obama's race-driven charisma and especially the hope that he will, because of that, be a race-healer for the nation. It even includes, truth be told, those who fear that if he doesn't win the threatened racial recriminations will indeed come to pass; more positively, those who simply think it would be a good thing for race relations if a black man were elected president; and, more negatively again, those who hope that, with a black president, there will be less black complaining. For purposes of this posting, I'm not endorsing or condemning any of these motives (except voting against Obama out of racial prejudice, which of course I do condemn); I just think it's hard to deny that they are out there. Look at it this way: If Senator Obama magically became white, is it at all clear that at this point it would improve his electoral prospects?"

And also, think of this: how many persons will vote against John McCain solely because he's 72 years old? How many will vote for Obama solely because he's younger? Can anybody doubt that some ageism will creep into voter behavior? And how dumb is it to vote for someone or against someone simply because they assume younger is better?

Pretty dumb.
UPDATE: By the way, the above of course will never stop Democrats from blaming racism for, well, everything and anything:

"“Have any of you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American?” [Kansas Governor Kathleen] Sebelius asked with sarcasm. “(Republicans) are not going to go lightly into the darkness.” Sebelius was responding to a question from the audience at the Iowa City Public Library about the tenacity of Democrats and whether they would fight for victory as hard as Republicans in the closing weeks of the election."

Speaking of book-banners...

You probably noticed how upset some on the left got when it was charged that Sarah Palin wanted to "ban books." Of course, the charge turned out to be false; Palin never tried to ban any books, much less a "list" of them.

But what's even more interesting is that, when it comes to trying to ban books, many on the left have been the ones advocating just that. Michelle Malkin today asks the question--where were these anti-book-banners on the left when the real crunch came?

"Where were they two years ago when two Democrat lawmakers — New Jersey Assemblywomen Joan Quigley and Linda Stender — called on merchants to ban the sale of Ann Coulter’s book, Godless, because of her remarks about anti-Bush 9/11 widows. “No one in New Jersey should buy this book and allow Ann Coulter to profit from her hate-mongering,” the politicians lashed out. “We are asking New Jersey retailers statewide to stand with us and express their outrage by refusing to carry or sell copies of Coulter’s book. Her hate-filled attacks on our 9/11 widows has no place on New Jersey bookshelves.” Where were they in 2005, when a University of North Carolina law professor, Eric Muller, called on his blog readers to get one of my books banned from a national parks bookstore?"

Read the whole thing.
By the way, here's proof that Prof. Muller was indeed suggesting that Malkin's book should be removed...

At the sports desk: Joe Torre

So it appears the Los Angeles Dodgers, under the helm of Joe Torre and after a season of ups and downs galore, are about the wrap up the National League West division championship. Don't forget Torre was let go by the Yankees at the end of last season. Perhaps the Yankees regret that now, as once again Torre's patience and perseverance are being rewarded. What does this latest trip to the playoffs mean for Torre?

"While all is gloom and doom in New York ball parks, there is one constant in baseball: Joe Torre is going to the post-season. A faithful reader, Noah Buschel, reminded me in an e-mail that Torre is about to qualify for the post-season for the 13th consecutive season, to move to within one of the record, held by Bobby Cox of Atlanta."

Pretty impressive.

Speaking of being "out of touch"...

...Barack Obama did some expensive partying and fund-raising with the Hollywood glitterati the other night:

"Barack Obama partied with Hollywood celebrities Tuesday night and with the help of Oscar-winning singer and actress Barbra Streisand raised an eye-popping $9 million for his presidential campaign and the Democratic Party. The night was split into two glitzy events, a reception and dinner costing $28,500 each at the Greystone Mansion, followed by entertainment by Streisand at the nearby Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. About 250-300 people were expected at the dinner and about 800 at the entertainment, which cost $2,500 a ticket."

Yeah, boy, I'm sure blue-collar Americans really identify with that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reality show

Heidi and Spencer of the "reality" show obviously staging a birthday celebration got to be a bit too much even for the E! network's blogger:

"Birthdays are a funny thing. Every year we each get one, but why? Is it a chance for others to rejoice in our existence? That somehow Earth became a better place when we were born? The theory certainly seems logical. That is, until we spotted Heidi Montag celebrating her 22nd birthday Monday with lesser half Spencer Pratt in such an obnoxiously staged fashion (eating cake without utensils? Come on!) that we were reminded how these two will do anything for a photo op, even tarnish a cherished tradition."

Come, come, now, E, don't be so easily shocked! What--have you stopped watching Sunset Tan or something???

Talk, talk, talk

Several former secretaries of state argue that we must talk to Iran. Michael Ledeen of NRO sets them straight:

"5 former secretaries of state agree we should talk to Iran. The five are Kissinger, Baker, Albright, Christopher, and Powell. Apparently not a single one of them is willing to say that we've been talking to Iran for thirty years, with no apparent positive result. They should all be ashamed of themselves for misleading the American people into believing that "talking to Iran" would be a new policy, or that it has any realistic hope of advancing our cause."

What remains amazing is that there are those who think that talking, in and of itself, with sworn enemies like Ahmadinejad's Iran is somehow good in and of itself; that somehow talking produces good mojo, or something. And yet there's little evidence that this is the case. (Ask the ghost of Neville Chamberlain how productive it was to have talked with Adolf Hitler in 1938.) It's like this kind of thing is an article of faith or diplomatic theology, or something.

Is Mugabe ceding some power?

It appears there may be a deal in place in the African nation of Zimbabwe, in which Robert Mugabe will cede some power to his long-time electoral rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.

We talked about what was happening in Zimbabwe at some length last spring. This is encouraging. Many details remain to be worked out. Will Mugabe live up to the deal, or will he crank up the oppresssion again once the international heat is off? Right now, Tsvangirai is slated to run a good part of the government as a kind of prime minister. Only will time will tell if this comes off.

How did this agreement come about? Note this:

"There was still an undercurrent of fear that that the repression could yet return with a vengeance, and some people were afraid to be quoted by name. The crowd also repeatedly cheered the presence of Botswana’s president, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, clapping and chanting, “Khama, Khama, Khama.” He has been Mr. Mugabe’s harshest critic in the region, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of his election."

Perhaps it partly came about because in fact there WERE those in Africa who stood up to Mugabe. Three cheers for Mr. Khama of Botswana.

More Hollywood anger

Heads keep exploding in Hollywood over Sarah Palin...:

"Chevy Chase said Monday he wants Tina Fey to go "even harder" on Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin than she did in her "Saturday Night Live" skit this past weekend ... and that he wants Fey to "decimate" her. "I thought it was extraordinary how well she played her and much she looked like her. I'd just like her — personally I felt we didn't need the Hillary stuff — I'd like her to go even harder," the former "SNL" star told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show. "I want her to decimate this woman. This woman is, I can't believe there hasn't been more about it. ... It's just unbelievable to me this woman is actually running for vice president," he continued."

...and Republican poll numbers keep on looking up, in response to such mouth-frothing anger.

Re: NFL picks

Not so good in my NFL picks this past week--won 6, lost 8, one push.
I'm 17-13-1 for the year. Who would have thought that Seattle and Kansas City would be quite as horrible as they appear right now; that's what really got me this past Sunday...

HOWEVER: please note that on my college football picks of last week, I got all 8 games picked correct. Woo-hoo! There, I'm 11-3 on the year.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A close race (contd)

Here's another example of the closeness of the race, and as well of how remarkably the McCain ticket has gained in recent weeks:

Obama once had an 18 point lead in New York state (a state most everybody conceded to the Democrats this year from the get-go). It's now down to 5.

The moral high ground

Who has it? As Jonah Goldberg points out today, liberals and Democrats don't:

"For years now liberal activists have been decrying "the Republican noise machine," Atwater-Rove tactics, the role of conservative think tanks, the evil of rightwing talk radio, etc. And at the same time they been arguing that they need to use those very same tactics. They need their own leftwing talk radio, think tanks, negative attacks, 527s etc. I understand the argument that they need to fight fire with fire (though I hardly concede the assumption that they're merely responding in kind to those evil Republicans). But if you objectively describe a tactic or M.O. as evil and sleazy, it really doesn't reflect well on you and your cause to say — often in the same breath — that "we have to do the same thing."

In fact, not only do they claim they have to do the same (supposedly evil) thing--they claim they have to do it better!

Joe Biden and a traditional Democratic message

Joe Biden today went on the attack against John McCain:

"Joe Biden threw his hardest punches yet at John McCain on Monday, linking the Republican presidential candidate to the economic policies of the Bush administration, describing him as out of touch with middle-class Americans and claiming he is in the pocket of big oil and other corporations. “John McCain doesn’t seem to understand what middle-class people are going through today,” Biden said at a campaign stop. “I don’t doubt that he cares. He just doesn’t think that we have any responsibility to help people who are hurting. “My dad used to have an expression: Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and Ill tell you what you value. By that measure, John McCain doesn’t stand with the middle class. He stands with George Bush firmly in the corner of the wealthy and well-connected,” Biden said."

Now here's what's interesting about this. Remember the Obama campaign's mantra? "Change We Can Believe In." Yes--well, where's the change in Joe Biden's message? Joe Biden isn't talking change. Rather, he's handing out a very old, Franklin D. Roosevelt-style, New-Deal-style message, trying to identify with the middle class, attacking Republicans as tools of the rich. There's no "change" here. This is a message Democrats have been peddling for over 6 decades. It's the kind of message that John Kerry and Al Gore, in the end, tried to sell.

Now who knows, with the economy in some difficult straits and with today's bad stock market news, maybe this message will sell more. But it's also true that a message of "change" it ain't--and Republicans and conservatives should be sure and make that point, again and again.

More Hollywood hate for Sarah Palin

This time coming from Lindsay Lohan:

"Lohan took to her MySpace page the morning of Sept. 14 and called Palin out for being a "narrow minded, media obsessed homophobe"....She went on to say, "Oh and ... Hint Hint Pali Pal — Don't pose for any more tabloid covers, you're not a celebrity, you're running for office to represent our, your, my COUNTRY. And in the words of Pamela Anderson, 'She can suck it'..."

Well, I guess media obsession, "celebrity", and posing for tabloid covers are things Lindsay Lohan knows everything about...

By the way, don't be outraged about this. Hollywood liberals think they're helping their cause by doing this kind of thing; but of course they're not. They're hurting it. Americans hear the kinds of things being said by the Pam Andersons and Lindsay Lohans of the world, and, knowing what kind of morality such celebs show in public, they figure they should think the opposite of what Lohan/Anderson say.

At the sports desk: congrats on having the team in the playoff hunt, you're fired

The Milwaukee Brewers today fired manager Ned Yost, despite currently being tied for the wild-card lead in the NL.

Yes, the team has lost 11 of its last 14. But they're still close to being 20 games over .500, and Yost got them this far...

My guess: there must be significant player disenchantment with Yost.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A close race

The Newsweek poll, which has tended to favor Democrats in the past and has shown Barack Obama ahead nationally for months now, today shows the race is a deadlock, 46% for Obama, 46% for McCain.

Republicans shouldn't be overconfident. For one thing, it's likely that McCain, to win, will have to flip a state that John Kerry won in 2004. Colorado and New Hampshire have been seen by GOP strategists as their most likely targets; or, perhaps Michigan. But at best, McCain and Obama are in dead heats in those states; or Obama has continued to lead in them. So it's a tough race for everyone...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Unclear on the concept

The NY Times' liberal columnist Bob Herbert, in trying to attack Sarah Palin, unwittingly does in his own side:

"How is it that this woman could have been selected to be the vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket? How is it that so much of the mainstream media has dropped all pretense of seriousness to hop aboard the bandwagon and go along for the giddy ride? For those who haven’t noticed, we’re electing a president and vice president, not selecting a winner on “American Idol.”

That's true--and so how did Barack Obama, despite his lack of experience, get to be the Democratic Party nominee? Why did people like yourself try to tell us that his big crowds, here and in Europe, meant anything when it came to his qualifications to be president? Hmmm?

Friday, September 12, 2008

NFL weekly picks

Here we go--I was 11-5 last week; good stuff!
Again, home teams IN ALL CAPS.

ARIZONA 6.5 over Miami. PICK: CARDINALS. They're at home, and I like Kurt Warner.

CAROLINA 3 over Chicago. PICK: PANTHERS. Yes, maybe that Bear defense is back. But so is Jake Delhomme, and I think the Bears last week benefited from a rusty Peyton Manning.

CINCINNATI 1 over Tennessee. PICK: BENGALS. This one's a tough one; Carson Palmer and the Cincy offense was horrid last week; but the Titans have to go with Kerry Collins, and the Bengals usually play better at home.

Green Bay 3 over DETROIT. PICK: LIONS. I know, doesn't seem to make sense. But I've followed the Lions for a long time. They tend to play better at home, especially after a bad game on the road. And remember, Aaron Rodgers is still very inexperienced, and going on the road this season for the first time. And the Pack is coming off a Monday night game; often it leads to a letdown.

Indianapolis 2 over MINNESOTA. PICK: COLTS. Peyton Manning will play better this week; it's looking increasingly likely he'll have his regular center, Jeff Saturday, back in the lineup. Meanwhile, the Vikings have Adrian Peterson, but they STILL don't have a consistent passing attack with Tavaris Jackson.

JACKSONVILLE 5.5 over Buffalo. PICK: BILLS. I suspect the Jaguars will win this one at home,but in a real close one. Buffalo is better; Trent Edwards has improved; and I hear the Jags O-line has problems. Buffalo could win this outright.

KANSAS CITY 3.5 over Oakland. PICK: CHIEFS. Mainly because the Raiders look to be horrible, confused, in disarray.

NY Giants 8.5 over ST. LOUIS. PICK: GIANTS. That's a lot of points to give up, but this line has moved over 2 pts in the Giants favor this week; and the G-men looked to be their old selves vs the Redskins last week, running the ball, stout defense; while the Rams looked totally lost against Philly. Hard to go against the Giants, given all that.

NY JETS 1.5 over New England. PICK: JETS. Yes, it's dangerous to count the Pats out--they still have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. But still, they're saddled with Matt Cassel; and the Jets have new life and Brett Favre. They know what's at stake here. I think the Jets will get it done.

Pittsburgh 6 over CLEVELAND. PICK: BROWNS. Last year, it took me a while to realize how much better the Browns were. This year, I'm reluctant to believe they're as bad as they looked against the Cowboys. It's a divisional game, they're at home; Derek Anderson will keep the Browns in this one.

San Diego 1.5 over DENVER. PICK: BRONCOS. No Shawn Merriman for the Chargers; they're on the road, in a difficult place to play, and they were far from hitting on all cylinders last week. Meanwhile Denver played, yes, a bad team, but took care of business impressively on the road and come in with momentum. How are the Chargers the favorites here??? Go with the guys with the equine mascot.

SEATTLE 7 over San Francisco. PICK: SEAHAWKS. Mike Holmgren won't allow Seattle to lay another egg like last week; meanwhile there are few signs that San Francisco will do anything more than struggle this year, again.

TAMPA BAY 7 over Atlanta. PICK: BUCS. Brian Griese is a capable replacement for Garcia; meanwhile, while the Falcons were able to get away with just running the ball down the throat of a poor-tackling Lions defense, they won't be able to do that (and protect rookie Matt Ryan) this week against the experienced Bucs.

New Orleans at Washington--pick 'em. PICK: SAINTS. Just a gut feeling here; but I'm not a big Jason Campbell believer, while I do have faith in Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, and co.

DALLAS 7 over Philadelphia. PICK: EAGLES. Not to win; but to keep it close. The Cowboys will pull it out late, but the Eagles historically play the Cowboys tough, and McNabb and Westbrook look very good.

HOUSTON 4.5 over Baltimore. PICK: TEXANS. Again, I tip my hat to the Ravens' Joe Flacco; he did well last week. But he's a rookie QB going on the road to start a regular season game for the first time. Meanwhile, Matt Schaub was horrid last week, but he'll be better at home.

College football picks

I'm only around .500 for the season so far. Time to do better:

Southern Cal vs Ohio State: the Trojans looked like a machine vs Virginia the other week; the Buckeyes without Beanie Wells, or with a questionable Beanie Wells...well, they looked not-so-awesome. And USC is at home. I look for a competitive game, but Pete Carroll will win another one. PICK: SOUTHERN CAL.

Georgia at South Carolina: I've seen no reason to downgrade the Bulldogs high ranking; meanwhile the Gamecocks under the ol' ball coach still have a ways to go, as their loss to Vandy demonstrated. PICK: GEORGIA.

Oklahoma at Washington: the Huskies are improving, and that official's call at the end of the BYU game was a joke. But again, last week suggested to me that the Sooners are the real deal. PICK: OKLAHOMA.

Wisconsin at Fresno State: Fresno is the trendy, sexy pick here. But Wisconsin has good coaching, they put up 51 points last week vs Marshall, and I think their size will wear down the Bulldogs, even on the road. PICK: WISCONSIN.

Kansas at South Florida: the Bulls barely survived last week vs Central Florida, but I bet it's because they were looking ahead to this game. Kansas lost a lot of guys off of last year's team. PICK: SOUTH FLORIDA.

Oregon at Purdue: so far, the Big 10 hasn't done as well in these inter-conference battles as they'd like; I fear Purdue will continue that trend--with Curtis Painter at QB, the Boilers have struggled in big games. PICK: OREGON.

Penn State at Syracuse: the Nittany Lions look like the real deal; Syracuse got blown out the other week at Northwestern, for goodness sake. PICK: PENN STATE.

BYU at UCLA: the Cougars won a tough road game last week; and while one had to be impressed with UCLA's gutty, improbable win 10 days ago against Tennessee, I'm betting their young QB and luck won't hold up this time. PICK: BYU.

Winning an argument

And make no mistake, it sure appears that, concerning offshore drilling for oil, Republicans and conservatives have won it. See what the NY Times today says Democrats are about to do:

"For decades, opposition to new offshore oil drilling has been a core principle of Congressional Democrats, ranking in the party pantheon somewhere just below protecting Social Security and increasing the minimum wage. But a concerted Republican assault over domestic oil production and the threat of political backlash from financially pressed motorists have Democrats poised to embrace a fundamental shift in energy policy. Even more surprising, the turnabout is led by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who has a history of fighting oil drilling going back to the early days of her career in California. Under a measure being assembled for a vote in the House next week, oil rigs could go up 50 miles from the shores of states that welcome drilling and 100 miles off any section of the United States coast — a stark reversal on an issue that has been a Democratic environmental touchstone since the 1980s."

The Democrats' bill may not go far enough; there's more to do.
But the debate moves in the right direction; the Democrats have been forced to make a fundamental shift. Celebrate!

Barack Obama--now, an ordinary politician

I think Victor Davis Hanson nails it here on Obama's troubles:

"Obama's latest ad suggests that McCain is old and out of step with his fashion and inability to do email. This follows last night's televised protestations that Obama wanted a different campaign but would not agree to meet McCain 'anytime, anywhere' as he once promised in town halls (he will, if he falls further behind). This is not the hope and change we were promised. And it follows the earlier lines about McCain's confusion and inability "any more" to know how many houses he has. The problem with all this, as we saw with the lipstick quote and small-town mayor sneers, is twofold. Obama's original charm for many was his Olympian other-worldliness and easy cool post-politics. Now he seems no different from, or nastier than most, any other candidate. (You saw another sort of that disconnect between divinity and reality when he chose a plastic Greek temple and outdoor stadium throng to deliver pedestrian wonkish points about spending priorities)."

Read the whole thing. I would add a couple of points: first, I think the main problem with Obama's convention speech was that, yes, there it was in this outdoor stadium with the faux Greek columns...but it wasn't a great speech. There was no call to something new; there wasn't much hint of the grand change Obama promises. Instead, it sounded like a standard Democratic speech. So what was the big deal? Second: I really think all the nasty stuff being said about McCain/Palin (and especially about Palin) by Hollywood stars (Pam Anderson using a vulgarity about her; Matt Damon comparing her to a bad Disney movie) is turning people off...against the Democrats. They're arousing a backlash. But they don't seem to get that. John McCain hopes they never do.

The news media: falsely attacking Sarah Palin again

This time they're accusing her of, in last night's ABC interview, contradicting past statements on global warming:

"Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's assertion that she believes humans play a role in climate change — made in her first major interview since joining the Republican ticket — is at odds with her previous statements. Palin said she didn't disagree with scientists that the problem can be attributed to "man's activities." "Show me where I have ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change. I have not said that," Palin told ABC News in an interview broadcast Thursday and Friday. However, in the past Palin has said she does not believe global warming is caused by human activity. She has told the Internet news site Newsmax, "A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. ... I'm not one, though, who would attribute it to being man-made."

Yes, exactly--and that's not a contradiction. She's saying that global warming is not "man-made"--that it's not solely and completely the result of human action. But, as she said, that doesn't mean that she argues that NOTHING that man did contributed to it. No one argues that man's actions, such as pollution, is completely blameless when it comes to global warming. The question, rather, is: how much of global warming is caused by man; and what can we do about it?

Once again, the Democrats' too-willing accomplices in the media makes up a story in order to go on the attack against a Republican candidate.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Democrats are worried

This piece in The Politico today is a good summary of their worry concerning Obama and the state of the race.

See especially this quote:

“The [Obama] campaign is beginning to look like other campaigns,” said a former top strategist for past Democratic presidential campaigns, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Obama is struggling with working-class whites just like John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis did, and Walter Mondale. He’s struggling with voters in the border-state South. And he’s struggling with an enormous wind at his back, a hatred for George Bush and a mainstream media that is little short of a chorus for his campaign.”

It's looking that way to me, too. Who'd have thunk it!
And remember that, yes, Bill Clinton was one Democrat who achieved victory--but he was a Southerner from Arkansas, good at putting on the good-ole-boy act, and thus far more adept at clicking with working-class whites than Obama will ever be.

Note how this un-named Democratic strategist admits how liberal the news media is, too.

The U.S. is winning the war in Iraq...

...and the voters see it:

"In the new poll, 56 percent of registered voters say the United States is making significant strides toward bringing order in Iraq -- the highest proportion to say so in nearly three years and nearly double the level in late 2006, before President Bush ordered additional American troops to the country."

Remember this, the next time Democrats and liberals try to assail you on the point that the public hates the war completely and wants all our troops out immediately. They don't.

At the sports desk: NFL picks update

Remember the NFL picks I made last Friday?
Turned out, in picking them against the spread, I picked 11 winners, only 5 losers.
Woo-hoo! More picks coming tomorrow...

Today's an important anniversary...

...of the September 11th attacks. They occurred 7 years ago today. Today, the nation remembers.
Do you remember where you were when you first heard? I sure do. Never forget.

It's good to see that most Americans haven't:

" Seven years after the events of September 11, eight out of 10 Americans — 81 percent —believe the war on terrorism is at least as important today as it was just after the attacks."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sarah Palin's appeal to women

I suspect this woman, quoted by Byron York at a McCain/Palin rally today in Virginia, speaks for many women:

“I’ve been a member of Feminists for Life for 25 years,” she told me. “I am the mother of seven, including twins — six girls — and I am just so proud today for all women. Sarah Palin is showing that a certain segment does not speak for women, that we have something else to say.”

Many political observers, reporters, and academics tend to assume that women are liberal. They assume that the vast majority of women are "pro-choice", that they all feel discriminated against daily, that they favor Democrats and larger government. These people are those who claim that supporting the right to an abortion is a "women's issue", as if all women are pro-choice.

But this isn't so; it's never been so; and now Sarah Palin speaks for those women who knew it wasn't so, but never had an advocate before. They do now.

UPDATE: and by the way, isn't it interesting the anger from Democrats and the left that Palin arouses?:

"South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler sharply attacked Sarah Palin today, saying John McCain had chosen a running mate "whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”

A star was born

So shows a new Fox News poll of the presidential race:

"A solid majority of voters (54 percent) say they have a favorable opinion of Palin, while 27 percent assign unfavorable ratings. This gives the 44-year-old GOP vice presidential nominee the best ratio of favorable to unfavorable responses (2.0:1) of any of the four candidates tested in the survey."

By the way, i think Republicans do themselves a disservice by making a big deal about Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comments of yesterday. The context of the statements make it clear that Obama was referring to John McCain and his record, not to Gov. Palin. Obama and his camp are making plenty of actual mistakes right now; focus on those. Don't go off half-cocked and discredit your legitimate points.

Who wants Obama?

A majority of folks in the wider world want to see him elected, says the BBC, which claims to have polled people in a bunch of countries concerning their preference to win the American presidential contest.

Hmmm. So how many of those folks in Germany or Mauritania would take Americans' advice as to whom THEY ought to elect?

And how many of you suspect that this news will make Obama's poll numbers here in the U.S. go down, not up? Americans don't like to be lectured by a lot of folks in other countries who, frankly, have a whole bunch of faults of their own to worry about.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Debunking the anti-Sarah Palin myths

There's been a lot of it going on today. Don't miss out on the chance to educate your liberal friends!

Are they claiming that Sarah Palin "supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it"?
Not true--go here.

Are they claiming that Palin is and was a book-banner?
Not true--go here.

Are they claiming Sarah Palin overcharged the state of Alaska for per diem and trips as governor?
Not true--go here, and here.

I'm glad to see conservatives on the web doing some great reporting today, and debunking all this leftist nonsense.

Is Sarah Palin genuine?

Does she, for example, really care about children with Down Syndrome--about children with special needs?

Here's some evidence that suggests she is.

Democratic Party "unity" watch

One sign of unity between the Obama and Clinton camps was supposed to be Hillary Clinton's donors' willingness to raise nice bunches of cash for the Obama campaign. So. Is that happening?

Doesn't sound like it, as the NY Times reports that the Obama camp is slow to raise $$. Why?

"...the campaign is struggling to meet ambitious fund-raising goals it set for the campaign and the party. It collected in June and July far less from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s donors than originally projected."

Unity--it's easy to talk about; not so easy to come by.

Barack Obama's issues-focused campaign

Didn't Senator Obama claim he was ordering his campaign to leave the Palins alone and focus only on the issues? Hmmm:

"Democrats understand Sarah Palin is a formidable political force who has upset the Obama victory plan. The latest Washington Post/ABC Poll shows John McCain taking a 12-point lead over Barack Obama among white women, a reversal of Mr. Obama's eight-point lead last month. It's no surprise, then, that Democrats have airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers into Anchorage, the state capital Juneau and Mrs. Palin's hometown of Wasilla to dig into her record and background. My sources report the first wave arrived in Anchorage less than 24 hours after John McCain selected her on August 29."

Yeah, right, the story of the trooper brother-in-law is one of real, huge national import. Sure.
Don't let Democrats get away with this kind of stuff.

UPDATE: and the above isn't even the half of it.
Check out this summary of the latest Democratic Party anti-Palin tactics:

" Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan on Tuesday – introducing Joe Biden at a campaign event – ripped into Palin’s record and punctuated it with this snarky jab. “There’s no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick,” he said. Later in the day, Obama used a variation of the lipstick line, though he was clearly taking about the McCain-Palin reform rhetoric. "You can put lipstick on a pig," he said. "It's still a pig." Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, as part of his endorsement of Obama, said Palin “scares the hell out of me.” And Obama hit Palin in nearly a dozen different press releases – one day after drawing laughs at a campaign stop by calling her a “moose shooter.”

Elizabeth Edwards, what say you?

Apparently Elizabeth Edwards has added a chapter to the paperback edition of her autobiography titled "Saving Graces." It seems to reflect the fact that, yes, Mrs. Edwards has known for a bit now about her husband's affair. Look at the shot she appears to take at Rielle Hunter:

“It is hard to describe the test of public life, the way people believe — to some degree correctly — that you belong to them. There are awful examples, of course, of those whose motives are selfish or not admirable, who pry their way into the lives of public people in order to exploit a kindness or a generous gesture. They are to be endured and, to some extent I largely chose to ignore, feared. They remind me of a more malicious version of the people who wandered into our house in Annapolis, walking around our living room, putting their hands on our things. It is a sad fact that these people are a threat to anyone with even the smallest amount of celebrity.”

"Endured and feared"...yes, indeedy.
It's a shot. But you know what? I don't blame Elizabeth Edwards at all for taking it.
I think she hit the target dead on.

Code Pink members are on a panel of supposed "independent " voters; editor doesn't care

This is a tiny story, but the poor thinking here is kind of amazing, so bear with me.
So the Detroit Free Press wants to get the opinions, for a story in its paper, of a panel of supposedly "independent" voters. But it turns out two members of the radical antiwar group Code Pink--you know, the friendly gang who tried to heckle and interrupt John McCain's acceptance speech last week?--were on the panel. Oh, well, says the paper's editor, it's no big deal:

“I wish that it weren’t the case that there were two people from an activist group and we didn’t know about it,” assistant managing editor Randy Essex said of the CodePink members. Nonetheless, Essex defended the panel’s results. “If there is a radical leftist or two in the group, I don’t care,” Essex told FOXNews.com. “I want a robust conversation, a complete range of political viewpoints.” The four activists were part of a group of seven self-described “independents.” Nine Republicans and 11 Democrats were also on the panel."

News flash to Mr. Essex: see, when most of us think of "independent" voters, we just don't think of radicals like Code Pink. Independents are supposed to be voters who haven't made up their minds, who are in general nonpartisan. Do you really think members of Code Pink--who, by the way, are all radically against the war in Iraq-- haven't made up their mind about war supporter John McCain???

Of course they have. They're not "independents." Like I said, poor...no, let's change that. BAD thinking.