Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Palin Slide Show

At the NY Daily News.

These are the supposedly "funny" and "rugged" photos that might embarrass her. I doubt it. The most photogenic candidate in U.S. presidential campaign history does not take a bad snapshot.

I attended a harvest party at the local vineyard this evening, where I purposely avoided the topic of politics (still too soon) but it came up anyway. The women seemed guardedly excited by the VP candidate and the men decidedly enthusiastic. Maybe the polls won't reflect this for a few weeks yet, but if my own small rural town is any indication there is the quiet rumbling of the earthquake preceding the landslide.

Barring the unforeseen, this election will change history.

There Is A Biography

Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment on Its Ear by Kaylene Johnson.

Amazon has only a couple of used copies going for something over $100, but you can buy it direct from the publisher, Epicenter Press, for $19.95 with free shipping.

I've ordered one, of course, but I don't expect to see it for weeks yet.

Meanwhile you can read the first chapter for free here (PDF).

The GA Connection

Considering that GA is the primary form of long-distance transportation in the forty-ninth state, it's not surprising that Gov. Palin has taken a stand on the user fee issue. In May 2007, she signed a resolution in opposition to the FAA's plan to increase avgas taxes, impose user fees, and slash airport funding. AOPA and the Alaska Airmen's Association had worked together to move the resolution through the Alaska legislature.

There is a family connection as well. Palin's husband, Todd, is an AOPA member and Super Cub owner.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin Mania Continues

Sarah Palin with son Track, husband Todd
and daughters Willow, Bristol and Piper

The British tabloids seem to have the best election coverage. Maybe it's their disinterestedness. Or their lack of inhibition.

From the Times
Sarah Palin: conservatives find the girl of their dreams
And from the Daily Mail
Why John McCain's beauty queen running mate has a grizzly bear on her office wall
Certainly we all want to get to the bottom of that.

Just Two More

And then we're going to knock off and go do some work.

Charlie Martin on McCain's OODA loop.

And late night comedian Craig Ferguson on becoming an honorary citizen of Alaska.

Steyn On Palin

In The Corner.
First, Governor Palin is not merely, as Jay describes her, "all-American", but hyper-American. What other country in the developed world produces beauty queens who hunt caribou and serve up a terrific moose stew? As an immigrant, I'm not saying I came to the United States purely to meet chicks like that, but it was certainly high on my list of priorities. And for the gun-totin' Miss Wasilla then to go on to become Governor while having five kids makes it an even more uniquely American story. Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of "community organizer" and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy.

He's got half a dozen points.

Where's What's-His-Name?

A quick glance at the front pages shows it's all Palin, all the time.

How Palin Got Picked

Stephen F. Hayes has the back story.
On Wednesday of last week, Palin flew with her top aide, Kris Perry, to Flagstaff, Arizona, where she met with Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter from McCain's campaign. The following day this group traveled to McCain's home in Sedona and met with the candidate and his wife, Cindy. McCain took Palin outside to his deck and offered her the job....

Palin flew with Salter and Schmidt to Middletown, Ohio, and checked into the Manchester Inn. (She registered under the name Upton.)

No one on Palin's staff back in Alaska had any idea that she was going to explode onto the national political scene the following morning. "The only reason I ever thought anything is because I was asked by reporters if she was vetted by the McCain campaign," said McAllister. "And I told them no. The only thing I knew about was some biographical materials that they requested for the convention itself, for her speech." Some of her staff believed she was still in Alaska and planning to be at the State Fair on Friday....

As late as Thursday night, only a handful of McCain advisers and staffers knew whom the candidate had selected. Many of them assumed, like most of the political world, that it would be Pawlenty. Among those still in the dark was Maria Comella, a former spokesman for Rudy Giuliani, who had been brought aboard the McCain campaign to serve as the top press aide to McCain's running mate. She would not learn who her new boss would be until Friday morning.

Many political observers are astonished the secret held. The McCain campaign is not. "The key to keeping secrets is not telling people," says Matt McDonald...

Friday, August 29, 2008

For First Kid

Piper Palin at her mother's inaguration as Governor of Alaska.

The Sarah Palin Announcement Video

This blog does not watch TV, and keeps the video to a minimum, although lately that's been difficult.

Here's a link to the CBS coverage of the Sarah Palin speech this morning. In spite of being preceded and followed by CBS blather, the middle eighteen minutes or so are pure uninterrupted Sarah Palin.

I was gonna do that!

TransCanada Corp., the nation's largest pipeline company, won approval from Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to build a $27 billion pipeline to carry natural gas from the Arctic to U.S. markets.

Palin on Aug. 27 signed a bill authorizing the state to award Calgary-based TransCanada a license to build the 1,715- mile (2,744-kilometer) link from Prudhoe Bay to the Alberta Hub in Canada...
If you remember back to last night (a long, long time ago), that was one of Obama's gonna-does.

Gonna-do never did nothing.

The Most Encouraging Suggestion

Greg Sheridan in The Australian.
Barack Obama is a fraud. But he is a very familiar kind of fraud: a politician pretending to be something he's not. He is not the post-partisan, post-ideological seeker of a new politics and leader of a broad social movement to redeem the soul of America.

Rather, he is a brilliantly gifted, traditional, self-seeking politician who has sought for a long time to get to the top. He is also a traditional left-liberal, obsessed, at least in his public life, with race. He has built the momentum of his campaign on the most dubious basis that can exist in a democracy for garnering political support, racial identity.

But if he wins the US election in November, as he well might, he will have a chance to be a good president. The ruthlessness of his politics is the most encouraging suggestion that a desire to be re-elected will keep him near the middle ground.
That was my impression as I read Jerome Corsi's The Obama Nation. On the one hand, he has all these far-left influences. On the other hand, he's a protégé of Mayor Daley. The first fact worries; the second reassures.

For Vice-President...

We told you so back in February. (Another mention here.)

Drop the MSM. The Pajamas Media have the best round-up.

A Few Random Observations

Charles Krauthammer:
The air of unease at the Democratic Convention this week was not just a result of the Clinton psychodrama. The deeper anxiety was that the party was nominating a man of many gifts but precious few accomplishments — bearing even fewer witnesses.
Fred Barnes:
So much for bringing us together, Democrats and Republicans, in a new politics of bipartisanship. What Barack Obama advocated earlier in his presidential campaign and throughout the primaries is now officially a thing of the past. With his acceptance speech last night, Obama has become a standard liberal politician who advocates the standard liberal agenda.
The Wall Street Journal:
...he is proposing a steeper tax increase than any recent candidate, yet he is selling it as a net tax cut. He justifies this by asserting that his eight "refundable" tax credit proposals for people who pay no income tax are "tax cuts." But such tax credits are really a government cash transfer from one taxpayer to a nontaxpayer.
Investor's Business Daily:
Think your life is going OK? If so, the Democratic convention was not for you. The party of "Happy Days Are Here Again" now sees hard luck and helplessness at every kitchen table.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Notes On The Oration

OK, but first the hagiographic filmstrip. "...his childhood was like any other..." <snort> Excuse me.

"In Chicago he would find a calling." Well, we are, after all, just a larger community that needs a little organizing.

Whew, glad that's over. We can fact-check it later. A story's just a story, after all, and remember, he's half Irish, so the story improves with the telling. Sometimes considerably.

Camera shots of the assembled dignitaries. Who does Biden remind me of? Oh, yeah....

Biden has that look on his face like he's enjoying the ride but he's not drinking the Kool-Aid, you know what I mean?

"Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you..." Is this teleprompter stuck or something?

Slurring his words: "historic slate of candidates" came out as "historic slave candidates." Took me a minute to sort that one out.

Am I the only one that understood "a government that... sits on its hands while a major American city drowns" as a rather unkind reference to Mayor Ray Nagin?

"On November 4th, we must stand up and say: 'Eight is enough.'" — Followed by big applause. I don't understand. Leslie, who follows pop culture so I don't have to, explains it was a reference to a TV sit-com. Alright. I still don't get it.

The camera keeps cutting away to close-ups of various people in the audience, each selected, apparently, for their, uh... uniqueness. I feel like I'm in the middle of a Delany novel, you know, where there's a character of each gender and at least one character who represents all four genders?

He's warming up. The first few minutes sounded memorized but now he's rolling.

"Change means a tax code that... [rewards] ...the American workers and small businesses who deserve it." Geez I hope he thinks I deserve it. Because last year, apparently, I did not.

Oh the places he'll go! The things he will do!
As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars...
Didn't know he had that kind of money.
...over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.
You're hired! No, wait a minute....
And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.
We could discriminate against healthy people instead!
...I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work...
A line-item veto! Yes! Finally!
...because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.
Or, for that matter, with nineteenth century ideas.

But we'll leave that argument for another day.

I need more ice, and Barack Obama looks like he could use a drink himself.

I hope he gets one.

The Obamatron

Suddenly a hush falls over the entire nation...

This blog is going to do something this blog never does. We have hauled the TV into the living room, set it up on the coffee table, and adjusted the rabbit ears. We are going to fix a stiff drink. And then we are going to watch...
The One
Report at eleven. Or whenever we regain consciousness.


Remember that video I posted a few days ago?
The Obama camp is in a lather over the ad. It's calling TV station managers to bully them into not running it. They're even mau-mauing advertisers.

Meantime, Obama campaign lawyer Bob Bauer has sent letters to the Justice Department demanding it "take prompt action to investigate and to prosecute the American Issues Project."

The American Issues Project called it a "Stalinist" tactic. "Having failed in its attempts to get our legal, factual and fully-supported ad off the air, Barack Obama's campaign now wants to put our donors in prison for exercising their right to free speech," said Ed Martin, the group's president.
It must be effective.

Delusions of Grandeur

Rush is losing it.
By the way, Britney Spears' set designer designed the set for Obama. That is in the New York Post today -- and McCain's got that in an ad. I'm not joking. I am not joking. Hang on. I'll give you the guy's name. His name is Bobby Allen, a Spears set vet. It is in the New York Post. This is just too rich. McCain's already got this in an ad. Britney Spears' set designer put this thing together, came up with it. But you watch. Obama's gonna look just larger than this thing tonight, the way they're going to shoot this, on purpose. Now, I've asked all the staff, "Did I go overboard in that?" because I haven't ever lost it like that I don't think ever on this program. I'm telling you, I was blowing up at home last night. The cat wasn't safe. I had to close the door to the library. I can't handle anymore. I can't handle all the lies, lies, lies -- and then listen to some of our own bloggers talk about how effective it was.
But... but... but... a lie is effective if you repeat it often enough.

We're Not Comfortable Either

You know, I am a believer in knowing what you're doing when you apply for a job. And I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now there's some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I'm not one of those people.
— Barack Obama, 2004
Video at Hot Air, by way of Instapundit and Ann Althouse. Coming soon, I hope, to a TV set near you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Toga! Toga! Toga!

Pundits are having quite a lot of fun with the fake Greek temple, known variously as the Temple of Obama or the Barackopolis, being erected in the Mile High Stadium.

The McCain campaign even has some helpful fashion tips.
At the Temple of Obama, reporters are expected to observe a level of decency and decorum demanded by the import of the moment and the presence of The One. No "Animal House" behavior permitted. Specifically, no "Toga" chants.

Watch Here For Examples Of Inappropriate Conduct
Dr. Krauthammer, who ought to be able to spot the signs, asks
Has He Lost His Mind?
We wait with bated breath.

Update: Take a tour of the holy temple.

Video: The Obamanable Snowjob

"The life of Barack Obama is ominously hidden from the public.

"This is why we felt compelled to make this film.

"Charged with the task of filling the cavernous gaps between the known facts, we have created a document that is, frankly, as accurate a representation as anything presented by the Obama campaign."
Enjoy. But before you click, please note the warning.
These videos contain extremely forward-thinking language. Send your children (if any) to play in the street or something before watching.
At The People's Cube.

Novak's Back!

"Robert D. Novak, who recently announced his retirement due to serious health problems, has decided to write occasional columns."

It's here.

An election without Novak would be a seriously under-reported election.

Mile-High Anxiety

Maureen Dowd:
I've been to a lot of conventions, and there's always something gratifyingly weird that happens.

Dan Quayle acting like a Dancing Hamster. Teresa Heinz Kerry reprising Blanche DuBois. Dick Morris getting nabbed triangulating between a hooker and toes.

But this Democratic convention has a vibe so weird and jittery, so at odds with the early thrilling fairy-dust feel of the Obama revolution, that I had to consult with Mike Murphy, the peppery Republican strategist and former McCain guru.

"What is that feeling in the air?" I asked him.

"Submerged hate," he promptly replied.
If you'd rather not read the NY Times her column also runs in the International Herald Tribune.

A Brief History of Bush's Time

By Randall Hoven in American Thinker.
The current narrative of the Bush Presidency is that it is a failure (believed by 107 of 109 historians surveyed) and that George W. Bush is the worst President in history (believed by 61% of those surveyed historians). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, "The president already has the mark of the American people -- he's the worst president we ever had."

That's one narrative. I have another....
As Lucianne says, print this out and save it.

Grin and Bare It

Simon Heffer of the Telegraph (London):
Mrs Obama, eloquent, charismatic, articulate, glamorous, felt obliged to make a speech outlining, among other things, the all-American nature of her parents and brother.

No detail of her father's suffering from multiple sclerosis was too intimate, no reference to her humble upbringing too cloying, to be shared with the American people. Mrs Obama has long since chucked in her job as a stratospherically highly paid lawyer to serve the public in more humble capacities: as she did not hesitate to tell us.

It was a pungent reminder of the differences that remain between our two cultures: any politician, or politician's spouse, who tried to push such a line in Britain would be laughed out of public life. Here, things are different...
Here we just groan and turn off the TV.

Explaining Bill Ayers

Michael Barone explains Chicago politics, where "genealogy so important," and follows the various nespotic family trees.
Which leads us back to Barack Obama, who is now a U.S. senator and will shortly become the Democratic nominee for an office that even Chicago regards as more important than mayor. And the question presents itself: How did this outsider from Hawaii and Columbia and Harvard become somebody somebody sent? His wife, Michelle Robinson Obama, had some connections: Her father was a Democratic precinct committeeman; she baby-sat for Jesse Jackson's children; and she worked as a staffer for the current Mayor Daley. Obama made connections on the all-black South Side by joining the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church. But was Obama's critical connection to le tout Chicago William Ayers?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Close Encounter?

The Wall Street Journal:
This will be the first open-air acceptance speech for a presidential candidate since John F. Kennedy spoke in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1960.

It's a gamble in part because of the weather. For now, the forecast looks good: Thursday should be sunny and in the 80s.

"Things can change," said meteorologist Eric Thaler of the National Weather Service. Denver skies, especially in late summer, are notoriously unpredictable. This weekend, five tornados hit surrounding suburbs. Four years ago, the temperature here dipped to 42 degrees on Aug. 28, the date of the speech. That date also has seen gusts of winds as strong as 53 miles per hour, thunderstorms, a lightning strike and hail three-quarters of an inch in diameter.

In 1875, a cloud of locusts descended, so thick that they darkened the sun and so hungry that they destroyed every garden in Denver.
Area Forecast Discussion here.
Less technical Zone Forecast here.

Pumas on the Prowl

Rebecca Traister interviews a few Hillary supporters.
Also leaving the rally were Cynthia Novacek, a 54-year-old from Minnesota, and Mit Mar, a 57-year-old from Sugarland, Texas. "We're all shouted out," said Novacek. Asked what their goal for the week was, Novacek replied, "I want to make it an open convention, where delegates make their voices heard." Barack Obama, she said, "was greased through by the media. They loved him. Everything bad about him, they didn't want to focus on: Bill Ayers, Reverend Wright..."

"You mean Reverend Wrong," Mar interrupted. "Look, I know about the race card. I know about race. I'm African-American. And it was Obama who played the race card, and it's going to come back and bite Obama in the butt."
We'll see on Wednesday. It's not over 'till the fat lady sings.

To-Do List Author Done

The guy who wrote 100 Things to Do Before You Dieis dead.
Freeman died Aug. 17 after falling and hitting his head at his home in Venice, said his father, Roy.
They didn't say the accident happened in the bathtub, but they might as well have.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Biden, Dowd, Kennedy—and Lord

Jeffrey Lord recalls listening to Biden in 1987.
I was stunned. Why? Because I realized as I watched Biden that I was getting to the end of his sentences before he was. Up from the mists of my teenage years, every sound, every memory of those Bobby Kennedy speeches came rushing out in a torrent. Most startling of all, it was very, very clear that Joe Biden was leaving the impression with these on-fire California Democrats that every last word he was uttering was -- Joe Biden's. Of Bobby Kennedy there was not a word. I was witnessing out and out plagiarism....

I picked up the phone and did what Robert Redford did in that old Three Days of the Condor movie. When all is lost, spill your guts to the New York Times. In my case, I went to then-reporter (and now NYT columnist) Maureen Dowd. We'd never met. She drove Reaganites crazy. But she had been covering Biden, and I liked her writing.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

In A Nutshell

We'll be hearing more about Obama's radical background over the next two months.

Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the show in Denver. And the unraveling, each evening, of the day's carefully scripted narrative.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Barack's Buddy Ayers

This is what I've been trying to tell you.

Credit the American Issues Project.

I hope this ad airs in all fifty states. TV time is expensive, however, so perhaps we'll have to rely on You Tube. And maybe, just maybe, Jim Lehrer, Tom Brokaw, or Bob Schieffer will ask him about it in the fall.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

George Recites The Party Line

The Times of London sent a reporter to Nairobi to teach George Obama the party line.
"Life in Huruma is good. In other places you must lock yourself in to keep yourself safe," he told The Times. "Here I am surrounded by friends and family and feel safe and secure."
That's odd. Yesterday he told the Telegraph
"Huruma is a tough place, last January during the elections there was rioting and six people were hacked to death. The police don't even arrest you they just shoot you.

"I have seen two of my friends killed. I have scars from defending myself with my fists. I am good with my fists."
All lies, he says.
"They say I live on a dollar a month, but this is all lies by people who don't want my brother to win." He said that he was supported by his mother, Jael, who now lives in the US, and by a cousin in Huruma.
But yesterday it was reported that
...he was no longer in contact with his mother and said: "I have had to learn to live and take what I need."
My theory, of course, is that some of da boys from Chicago got to him. He'll be quiet now.

What They Got

Victor Davis Hanson is warming up his pen.
The Democrats wanted a cigar-chomping populist who could portray the Republicans as elitists who stomped on the Joe little-guy. Once again they got a flashier version of a John Edwards-John Kerry-Al Gore preachy liberal, who whines about the price of arugula and thinks stepping off a jet in shades and polo shirts is an Esquire photo-op.
Usually the stuff on his blog is just a first draft of the finished article, which then appears a few days later. I look forward to this one.

Election Projection

The daily electoral vote count, here.

Thier Opinion About Everything

Daniel Henninger has some thoughts about Saddleback.
How has it come to pass that presidential candidates must talk about such things?

Can one imagine Dwight Eisenhower, FDR or JFK being asked to define marriage? Abe Lincoln or George Washington could have handled Jesus, but stem cells? Would we have had better presidents back then if we made them talk about their greatest moral failure?

Maybe not. One guesses Jimmy Carter would have aced the Saddleback quiz. Harry Truman probably would have said it's none of your ---- business.
I'm sure he would have.

I'm glad I didn't have to watch it. Reading about it was enough.

That's Bad Enough

The Wall Street Journal:
As the 110th Congress continues its August recess, the big legislative news is that it has passed fewer laws than any Congress in the last two decades. An outfit known as Taxpayers for Common Sense reports that the fighting 110th has passed a mere 294 laws, while nonetheless finding time to consider 1,932 resolutions favoring such causes as National Watermelon Month. This is apparently supposed to be a matter of public consternation because Congress should be accomplishing more.

Sorry, but that's the best thing we've heard about this Congress. What a relief to discover the destruction could have been so much worse. With rare exceptions -- free-trade deals, money for the troops -- we wish the Members would spend every minute of every day passing resolutions. They'd have less time to do tangible harm.

Even we -- fated by bad career advice to write about this stuff -- haven't the foggiest idea what is in most of those 294 laws. The mayhem we know about is bad enough....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Overrated Obama

McCain (the other McCain, that is)) on why Obama is overrated.
After a poor performance in an April 15 debate with Clinton in Philadelphia, Obama declined all further debates. His subsequent defeat in the April 22 Pennsylvania primary, along with lopsided losses in Kentucky and West Virginia, showed Obama's weak support among white working-class voters.

When the Clinton campaign tried to point this out, however, they were met with accusations of racism. Hillary supporter Paul Begala was skewered when, in May, he declared that Democrats "cannot win with eggheads and African-Americans."

Despite these omens and warnings, many in the media have seemed shocked to discover the weaknesses Obama displayed in the primaries being replicated in the general election campaign.

Gallup shows John McCain with a 22-point advantage among white male voters, and the only educational subgroup of whites in which Obama leads is those with postgraduate degrees. Gallup even shows the Republican candidate supported by 14 percent of white Democrats.

The Least Of My Brothers

Barack Obama to Rick Warren, August 16, 2008.
I think America's greatest moral failure in my lifetime has been that we still don't abide by that basic precept in Matthew that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me, and that notion of — that basic principle applies to poverty. It applies to racism and sexism. It applies to, you know, not having — not thinking about providing ladders of opportunity for people to get into the middle class. There's a pervasive sense, I think, that this country, as wealthy and powerful as we are, still don't spend enough time thinking about the least of us.
America's greatest moral failure? Psychologists might call that 'projecting'.

Life Imitates The Onion

Only it isn't funny; it's sad.

The Onion, August 13th: Obama's Hillbilly Half-Brother Threatening To Derail Campaign
Barack Obama's once-commanding lead in the polls slipped to two points Monday, continuing a month-long slide that many credit to the recent appearance of the Democratic candidate's heretofore unknown half-brother, Cooter Obama.

Long kept a family secret, the overalls-clad, straw-chewing Kentuckian first entered the public spotlight in July...
Followed by the usual stupidity. It was mildly amusing. And then

The Telegraph, August 20th: Barack Obama's 'lost' brother found in Kenya
Mr [George Hussein Onyango] Obama, 26, the youngest of the presidential candidate's half-brothers, spoke for the first time about his life, which could not be more different than that of the Democratic contender.

"No-one knows who I am," he told the magazine, before claiming: "I live here on less than a dollar a month."...

"I have seen two of my friends killed. I have scars from defending myself with my fists. I am good with my fists."
A human-interest story. If you're interested. If you're human.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Today's Editorial

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
The genius, once again, of Michael Ramirez.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Erasing History

Stanley Kurtz has a problem.
In the process of tracing down the Obama-Ayers connection, I located a large cache of documents housed in the Richard J. Daley Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago. These documents are the internal files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a small foundation, founded and inspired by Bill Ayers, for which Obama served as board chairman (almost surely at Ayers's behest). Although the library initially promised me access to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge records, top library officials mysteriously intervened at the last minute to bar access.
He's concerned that the documents may disappear before he—or any other historian—gains access to them.
Please consider contacting the president of the University of Illinois system, B. Joseph White, to ask him to take immediate public steps to insure the safety of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge records, to release the identity of the collection's donor, and above all to swiftly make the collection available to me, and to the public at large. You can find an e-mail link for White here. Telephone, fax, and mailing addresses for White's offices can be found here.
I hate it when history goes down the memory hole.

Via Instapundit. More on the Obama-Ayers connection here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Democrats Against Obama

John Brummett of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reminds us to keep an eye on Puma Pac, Just Say No Deal, and NOBAMA. I notice that the first two have joined forces as the Puma Alliance.

The fun begins a week from tomorrow.

Fat, Sweaty White Guys

Harry Bruce in The NovaScotian:
Millions of working-class Americans are fat, sweaty and white. They are addicted to beer and junk food, and have never wanted to read a book, go to university or visit Europe. Can they bring themselves to vote for a presidential candidate who is thin, trim and black, and who is addicted to exercise, turns down desserts, drinks Black Forest Berry Honest Tea and eats organically grown health food?
Two out of three of us fat, sweaty white guys say no.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Or Else What?

Christopher Cook wants to know What is white America afraid of?

Good question. This sat around on my desk for a week and a half before I got around to reading it. It's worth your time, but no rush. There's still 79 days left until the election.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Come 3 a.m.

Lileks remembers previous conventions.
In Houston in '96 the entire press corps showed up at a biker bar in a bad, bad neighborhood; it was the sort of place where you were frisked for knives before you entered, and given one if you weren't carrying. What, are you stupid? Here. The rafters were hung with hundreds of bras, like scalps from a war. You expected to see a bald kid up in the rafters picking on a banjo. No one got beat up -- so many nerds, where to begin? We were all friends by the night's end, except for the guy George Will stabbed.
He's kidding, I think.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is Obama The Messiah?

"A light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany ... and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Georgia Beats Russia

In a bikini version of real-life conflict, the Georgian and Russian women's beach volleyball teams met in the sand Wednesday, and underdog Georgia squeaked out a victory in three sets — to the delight of the Chinese crowd.
The Australian has a nice gallery for you volleyball fans.

The Bear is Back

George Friedman explains the Russo-Georgian War.
Why did the Georgians choose to invade South Ossetia on Thursday night?
He makes three key points.
  • The United States is Georgia's closest ally.
  • It is very difficult to imagine that the Georgians launched their attack against U.S. wishes.
  • The United States had assumed that the Russians would not risk the consequences of an invasion.
That appears to have been a bad assumption. Therefore, things have changed.

Certification Instead

Charles Murray argues that for most people college is a waste of time.
Outside a handful of majors -- engineering and some of the sciences -- a bachelor's degree tells an employer nothing except that the applicant has a certain amount of intellectual ability and perseverance....

The solution is not better degrees, but no degrees. Young people entering the job market should have a known, trusted measure of their qualifications they can carry into job interviews. That measure should express what they know, not where they learned it or how long it took them. They need a certification, not a degree.

The model is the CPA exam...
Faster, less expensive, no residency required. No toga parties, though.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Russian Party Crashers Retreat

Tbilisi, Georgia
Bowing to a withering barrage of pointed criticisms and strongly-worded letters of reprimand from the international diplomatic community, an embarrassed Russian military today abandoned its attack on the former Soviet republic of Georgia late this afternoon and retreated sheepishly over the Caucasus.

"Look, I don't really know what to say — other than, 'hey, our bad,'" said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an awkward, shoe-gazing statement to the United Nations. "Seriously, dude, it just totally wasn't like us to lash out like that. We've been having a couple of bad decades, and I guess we just sort of snapped."
Iowahawk. You have to admit it's funny.

Another Contrarian View

Hillel Halkin in The New York Sun.
It's natural for Americans, or Israelis, to side with the Georgians. They're a small country fighting a very big one, and one with a nasty record of pushing small countries around. Moreover, they have a government that's pro-American and pro-Israeli, and that's proud of belonging to Europe and the West at a time when Europe and the West are no longer so proud of themselves. One's first instinct is to identify with them against the Russians.

But the Abkhazians and the Ossetians are even smaller people who feel they've been pushed around by the Georgians. In fact, it's a sheer accident of history that they find themselves in Georgia in the first place....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Morbid Monday

A little gruesomeness from the Edmonton Sun.
On July 20 — just 10 days before the killing — Li delivered copies of the Sun that contained an extensive interview with Carlson about his research into the Windigo, a terrifying creature in native mythology that has a ravenous appetite for human flesh. It could take possession of people and turn them into cannibalistic monsters.

The two-page feature talked about how, in the late 1800s and into the 20th century, Windigo "encounters" haunted communities across northern Alberta and resulted in dozens of gruesome deaths.
A strange thought occurs to me whenever I read of mythological creatures such as Yetis, Windigos, and such. Nicholas Wade points out that the reason the chimpanzee is our nearest anthropological cousin is that we systematically hunted down all our other near relatives — the Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and Homo floresiensis — and exterminated them. But what if we missed a few?

Could a few small bands of ape-men, surviving with a primordial terror of their murderous human enemies and a cunning beyond that of any wild animal, still lurk in the cold dark forests of the North?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Little Background

On South Ossetia by independent journalist Joshua Kucera. Recommended by Michael Totten.

Monday updates: Michael Totten also links to a graphic depictions of Ethnolinguistic Groups in the Caucasus Region. Ponder that for while.

Brendan O'Neill of Spiked presents a contrarian view.
The problem with this fairytale script that is being cut-and-pasted on to the horrendous massacres of people in South Ossetia and Georgia is that it is almost entirely wrong. Georgia is no free-spirited, democratic republic, but an increasingly authoritarian regime that bans overly critical media outlets and criminalises opposition parties.
It's not an Islam vs. The West thing either. The Ossetians are Orthodox Christian, as are the majority of the Abkhazians. It might come down to whose SOB is whose.

Careful Where You Point That Thing

How Sarah Miller's amazing energy caused Rielle Hunter to manifest all over John Edwards.

Death By Blown Tire

Instapundit linked this morning to a report in Popular Mechanics about a tragic school bus accident.
Emergency responders found 12 passengers dead at the scene in Sherman, Texas, located just north of Dallas; a 13th died after being transported to a local hospital. More than 40 additional passengers suffered injuries and were transported to hospitals by air and ambulance. Police told CNN that a blown right front tire may be the cause of the crash, which occurred just before 1 a.m. on U.S. 75.
Nevada Automotive Test Center in Carson City, Nevada, has been training school bus drivers to handle blowouts for almost forty years. Their advice is not what you'd expect. Here's how I heard it when I worked there, twenty years ago:
The tire's wired with explosives. The trainer sits across from the driver with a pushbutton switch in his hand. The driver knows the tire's going to blow but she doesn't know when. Somewhere along that five mile stretch of road, at sixty-five miles an hour, the trainer's going to press that switch and a tire's going to explode. It might be a front tire or it might the rear.

Here's what you do. The second you hear that bang, you put the gas pedal all the way down. Mash it to the floor and hold it there.

Won't that make the bus go faster?

Not with a blown tire it won't. You're going to slow down anyway. But here's the important thing. With the pedal down, you're going to be able to keep control of the bus. Once you have the bus well under control you can — gradually! — ease off the gas. Don't touch the brakes until you're nearly stopped.
Now, don't take it straight from me. That was twenty years ago and I might not remember all I heard. But that part about mashing the gas pedal down and keeping it down was so counter-intuitive that I had to argue with it, and they insisted that it was not only the correct thing to do, it was the most important thing.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Nagasaki Day

This blog did not note Hiroshima Day this year as it did last year—we were just too busy—but it was mentioned at dinner.

"What's that?" the youngest one asked.

"It's the day we finally paid the Japs back for Pearl Harbor," I said.

I said it exactly like that, politically incorrect racial pejorative and all. You take history on its own terms. In 1945 Japs were Japs, and they had it coming.

Last year we hosted a Japanese foreign exchange student for the school year. She was of above average intelligence and conscientious about her school work. She had heard of Hiroshima, of course, and had a fair idea what had happened there. But she hadn't heard of Pearl Harbor. That's the state of knowledge of most present day Japanese. They know very little about the late unpleasantness that was The Second World War and they would just as soon forget what they do know.

But Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never be forgotten, not for a thousand years. The details may fade but the underlying lesson will remain, clear and unambiguous: Don't make us angry.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Headline of the Week

In the New York Post.
Another Terrorist In Hell

It took a while - more than eight years, in fact. But America finally exacted revenge on the mastermind who plotted the terrorist attack on USS Cole, which killed 17 American sailors.

Al Qaeda confirmed this week that one of its commanders, Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, aka Abu Khabab al-Masri, was one of four terrorists killed in a recent missile strike in northern Pakistan.
A sure sign the war is nearing an end will be when we see that headline in a major Muslim newspaper. Right now, I'd settle for seeing it the The New York Times.


South Ossetia, Georgia.
In the most serious regional crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, at least 50 tanks — and possibly many more — rumbled through the Roki tunnel, which cuts through the Caucasus mountains separating South Ossetia from the Russian province of North Ossetia....

Georgia mobilised its reservists yesterday and launched a military offensive to regain control over South Ossetia, which broke away from Georgia after it gained independence.

Fighting raged today around the city of Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, as Georgian troops backed by tanks and warplanes pounded separatist forces, who are mostly Russian citizens backed by Moscow. This afternoon as the Russian tanks rolled in, Georgian officials declared that they had secured the city.
Where? That was my first question, too.

View Larger Map

Derbyshire: I Have A Dream

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fashion Trend

Audacity of Socialism

It's not "all Obama, all the time" here yet, but that time is coming. Just wait, I keep telling myself, until after Labor Day.

Until then, I'm bookmarking pages so I don't lose the refs. This one is to the series by Investor's Business Daily.
In this series, we examine Senator Obama's past, his voting record and the people who've served as his advisers and mentors over the years. We'll show how the facts of Obama's actions and associations reveal a far more left-leaning tilt to his background — and to his politics.
We'll come back to this—in September. Feel free to read ahead.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Barack O'Bama

The Belfast Telegraph:
Genealogists have uncovered fresh evidence of Barack Obama's Irish ancestry revealing the US Presidential hopeful descended from an 18th century Dublin property mogul.

Previous records found Mr Obama's fourth great grandfather was a shoemaker in the midlands village of Moneygall, whose son Fulmuth Kearney left for the US in 1850.

But researchers at Trinity College Dublin delved further into the would-be-president's colourful past to find his sixth great granduncle was a prominent Dublin businessman in the 1700s.
Nice try.

What, Me Worry?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Little Background

The AP noted today that three "anti-Obama" books were in the top 20 of's best-seller list. Two of them are going in my shopping cart.

First up is The Obama Nation by Jerome R. Corsi. His previous bestseller Unfit For Command deep-sixed the candidacy of John Kerry in 2004, and that's reason enough to buy this one—sheer gratitude. It's also, once again, a carefully researched and thoroughly documented volume of ammunition. We're going to need that.

Second on the list is The Case Against Barack Obama by David Freddoso, who among other things writes for The National Review, where he's been on the case for months now. Got one there today, as a matter of fact.

As far as this blog goes, and I've said it before, the campaign doesn't begin until after Labor Day. But that's less than a month away. Time to get ready.

Monday, August 04, 2008

IT Non-Support

Just a typical Monday morning:
I hit the power button and as it boots I smell burning electronics. As it continues to boot I determine that yes it is coming from the fan vent of the laptop. The smell diminishes and the boot continues so I let it go. The second monitor doesn't want to work though....

Now to the "live chat" with an IT specialist. Why this is better for them then talking to me on the phone I don't know, but hey, I'm game. Type in the explanation, and wait. Finally get a reply and then they download my computer info. What brilliant advice do I get. . . you got it. . . "Have you tried downloading the latest video drivers?"

Duuuuuuuude. . . It worked Friday, Monday it SMOKED, and now it doesn't work! Do you really think new video drivers are going to help?

Laissez Drill

Led by Reps. Mike Pence, R-Ind., Tom Price, R-Ga., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., and fully backed by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, this GOP attack could smack unwary Democrats as hard as the blast of a Texas oil gusher, because what Republicans are demanding is nothing more than a simple up-or-down vote on drilling for domestic oil in a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
Well, that's a good place to start drilling, but why stop there? The pitiful swamps of ANWR are full of the stuff too. In fact, as I've suggested before, you can find oil just about anywhere on the globe if you drill deep enough. There's only one good reason why the liberals in Congress don't want us to drill: They hate us. It's the only explanation that makes sense, and it's just as simple as that: Our government hates us.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Selling Audacity

Charles Krauthammer:
I think the sheen from earlier this year, where he was seen as a streaking meteor and he was the candidate of hope--I think it was Brit Hume who said he started the year by selling hope, but now he's selling audacity.
Via pro blogger Jennifer Rubin in Contentions.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Fifty-Foot Proboscis

The Wall Street Journal had an article this morning on drilling for natural gas in suburbia—Fort Worth, Texas.

This prompts me to recommend, once again, an article by Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic, January 2001: The New Old Economy: Oil, Computers, and the Reinvention of the Earth, and this point in particular.
A directional well can run in any direction, though horizontal is most common. It can approach a reservoir from whichever angle geologists deem most promising. It can twist and turn to cut through any number of reservoirs. Engineers in Brunei recently drilled a U, first downward and then horizontally for a production well, and then back up 800 feet at a 167-degree angle, almost vertically, to do some additional exploration, so as to avoid drilling a separate exploration well. As recently as a decade ago a half-mile horizontal reach was considered an accomplishment. By 1997 engineers in the South China Sea could drill a well for Phillips Petroleum that bored 10,000 feet below the surface and stretched five miles horizontally, thus tapping a previously inaccessible offshore field. If oil were discovered beneath, say, Washington, D.C., a rig could be planted on the White House lawn to suck out all the oil in the metropolitan area, much as a mosquito with a flexible fifty-foot proboscis might sit in the middle of a subway car and bite all the passengers. The upshot has been to bring forth new fields amid old fields, and new wells within old wells.

Friday, August 01, 2008

In The Mail Today

Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited by Marcel Kuijsten, editor.

A few years ago, when Google was young and the Internet was still in its formative stages, I searched for 'julian jaynes' to see what had become of his ideas. Very little turned up. Too bad, I thought: Another Velikovsky thrown on the trash heap of discarded ideas.

A few weeks ago I tried the search again. How wrong I was.

Two On Aging

From The Economist:
Into the sunset.
The idea that the terminally ill need pain relief and humane care instead of "curing" is catching on. But what about the people who just grow old?
Things to look forward to.
Live longer, die slower.

A Pause In The Decline

Demographic news from Japan.
The nation's overall population increased for the first time in three years, the government has announced, mostly due to an influx of repatriating Japanese.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on Thursday announced that Japan's population stood at 127,066,178 as of March 31 this year, an increase by 12,707 from the previous year. By gender, there were 62,117,295 men and 64,948,883 women across the nation.
Wow. An increase of 12 thousand in a population of 127 million. That's one-hundredth of one percent.