September 30, 2008

Pelosi's Fall?

First, brother jg's mortgage broker "I've been a life-long Democrat and have volunteered for several campaigns but when I saw how she tried to fix all the blame for this situation on Republicans I decided I'm going to vote a straight Republican ticket in November."

Now, I'm intrigued by this from Katie Allison Granju:

However, the speech was incredibly inappropriate. At a moment when the Speaker should have been rallying the entire membership of the House to pull together as Americans and solve the crisis before them, Pelosi chose instead to use her pulpit to lay blame and point fingers. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around, and some finger pointing is going to have to occur as we decide what specific mistakes were made and how we can avoid repeating them. But yesterday was not the time.

Yesterday was a time for statesmanship and gravitas, qualities that are critical in the individual who is only a few degrees away from the presidency, and who is vested with representing the entire body of the House of Representatives. In our two party system, there is no way to leave partisan politics out of the Speaker's role, but Pelosi acts more like a House majority or minority leader, or a whip - or even like the DNC Chair - than she does like the great Speakers of yore, like Sam Rayburn and Tip O'Neill.

This Knoxville News Blogress is -- if you'll pardon a little judging by personal appearance -- a young female Democrat right out if central casting. She's bright and earns her frequent Instapundit links, but she is not a budding Republican or Libertarian. If Madame Speaker has lost Granju, I suggest she has lost America.

Hat-tip: Instapundit of course.

Die Obamajungend Singt!

I stole Reason's Headline (though I was tempted to excise the d in Obamajungend). Here's your creepy for the day:


2008 Posted by John Kranz at 2:13 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"Yes we can,
Lift each other up."

And who lifts the one who lifts me?
And who lifts him?

This is reminiscent of "Turtles, all the way down."

Except if you ask a seasoned Obaman who is at the bottom he'll just smile and tell you, "The five percenters."

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2008 7:26 PM

Defending James Glassman

It has to be done.

One of my favorite writers (and Buffy-sire) Jonathan V. Last has a little fun this week on the Galley Slaves blog. In About That Financial Crisis, he provides thumbnail photos of two books: "Why the Housing Boom Will Not Go Bust" and everybody's favorite whipping boy "Dow 36,000."

Fair enough and funny. If your innards don't squirm a little bit looking at the jacket thumbnails, you're not paying attention.

But it occurs to me that Gloom-and-Doom books outsell Bullish books by a healthy margin. Dow 36,000 is Glassman's personal albatross (Do you get wafers with that, Mister Coleridge?) It's been the butt of many a joke. And, when your bold prediction fails spectacularly, you deserve it. Back to the "But" part, I never see the Bears on CNBC when the DJIA crests new highs. "Mister Schilling, in your best-seller, 'We're All Totally F$%^ed Now.' you promised bank failures in 2006 -- what do you have to say for yourself, four eyes?"

We have a bias toward pessimism and cynicism -- which are a lot easier to predict. Long term, I have to throw my lot in with Kudlow. Free market capitalism will prevail even against the shackles we encumber it with. Human spirit and creativity will prevail. I'd be a buyer right now.

If I had any money.

Or if I could get a loan.

September 29, 2008

The Speech

Madame Speaker sure knows how to rally the troops to support an important. bipartisan piece of emergency legislation:

I think those blaming the speech for the failure of the bill are going a little too far, but if this passes for leadership in the House, I'd say their 9% approval rating is a little generous.

Optimist-in-chief Larry Kudlow writes The End Of The U.S. Financial System As We Know It? It starts with a claim that:

A number of Republican House members and staff, along with others who are plugged in, are telling me that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats will come back with a new bill that includes all the left-wing stuff that was scrubbed from the bill that was defeated today in the House.

Great, that'll help. It ends with:
I’m gonna wait and see. Obviously, the financial markets are in total collapse today. And the economic outlook is suffering.

Tough day. One of the worst I can remember

He's been around for a couple bad ones and is the trademark market optimist.

Speaker Pelosi is going to reconvene the House on Thursday -- take a few days off, gang, you've done a helluva job.

UPDATE: A longer clip, in case you didn't get your fill

Posted by John Kranz at 7:33 PM | What do you think? [13]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oops, the last part of one of my sentences didn't paste. I meant to say, when talking about CEO pay, that the severance packages aren't for the bad last year when an exec is booted.

The liberal media just can't let it go. Another article this morning had to mention Stan O'Neal and his $160 million "parachute." In that case, it was certainly to get rid of him. It seems like a big loss, but Merrill could have seen bigger losses had they kept him. For a lot of others, as they've been explaining before various Congressional panels, the "severance" is what they earned in good times. A lot of it is exercising stock options, or the potential value of exercising them, that are normal parts of executive compensation.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 30, 2008 1:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen, Brother Eidlebus. You don't hear them going on quite so long about Jamie Gorelick and Franklin Raines's compensation, do you?

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2008 2:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Or the millions Paul Pelosi has made because of his wife's earmarks...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 30, 2008 2:32 PM
But The Heratic thinks:

JK - I agree that it is the speakers job to have legislation passed. However, the reason you have majority and minority leaders is to rally the troops on both sides of the aisle to get the job done. The Republican leadership failed as much as the speaker and the Democratic leadership.

Funny in all this commentary, how none of you bring up the McCain stunt last week of "suspending" his campaign and "rushing" to Washington. Clearly the outcome shows leadership that is the envy of the world.

Refugee: What the media and I criticize is not the 13 votes, but the fact that the Republicans have been in power for the 6 of the last 8 years. You helpe create the problem and now will not be part of the solution. All you look for is photo ops like McCain this past week.

As for FDR type new deal - no one is talking about massive regulation. If there is one thing that every bubble proves it is that complete deregulation does not work. Oversight is required for us to funstion. If we were to let the societial forces govern behavior - why fo we need elected governance? The same applies to the market as well. Need to find the right balance between oversight an dergulation. I don't think either party gets it nor for that matter neither do both the presidential candiates.

Posted by: The Heratic at September 30, 2008 4:28 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Heretic: Not rallying Republicans to vote for the bill is not a lack of leadership; members of minority parties are not obligated to vote for legislation they think is bad. Although Pelosi's speech did not help, the fact is constituent mail is running 80-1 against the bill; pretty hard for a congressman to thumb his nose at the voters 5 weeks before an election.

The comment about McCain is also completely out of bounds. Last I checked, McCain was a Senator. Although you may not be unware of it, the House and Senate have a long history of looking down upon one another, and neither chamber feels the slightest loyalty to the other. Moreover, you can't criticize McCain for not rallying Republican House members any more than you can criticize Obama for not rallying Democrat House members.

It's worth pointing out that 12 members of Barney Franks own committee voted against it. If he can't rally is committee, why should anyone vote for it? Anyway you slice it, Pelosi and Frank failed miserably. And it ain't the Republican's fault - you Dems can pass anything you want in the House.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 30, 2008 4:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

First, who is "The Heratic" and what has he/she done with "Heretic?" You boys in some sorta Obamanation blog comment sweatshop somewhere sharin' yer screen names?

As for your suddenly poorly spelled commentary, specifically the ideas that "complete deregulation does not work" and "oversight is required for us to funstion [sic]" I offer the following from Robert A. Heinlein:

"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire."

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2008 7:43 PM

Quote of the Day

Not that these things are to be excused out of hand, but Palin bends zoning rules — which I'm sure are stringent and a high stakes matter in Wasilla, Alaska — and gets a free facial. Obama gets a freakin' house with help from a someone indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, extortion and corrupt solicitation; has someone raising money for his campaign with well-publicized ties to organized crime; and the Illinois attorney general is currently looking into how Obama earmarked $100,000 for a former campaign volunteer who never spent the money for its intended purpose — and yet, I don't see too many "investigations" decrying Obama's transparently false claims he practices a "new" kind of politics. -- Mark Hemmingway commenting on this AP hit piece
2008 Posted by John Kranz at 3:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

C'est Cheese!

Just in time for the failed bailout:

Campbell and cheese giant Kraft are also teaming up to promote meals of soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches. Kraft's Web site will add recipes for cheap sandwiches and suggest Campbell soups to pair them with.

On Nov. 2, newspapers nationwide will carry coupon inserts pitching Campbell soups and sandwiches made with Kraft Singles cheese as the "wallet-friendly meal your family will love."

It is a big shift for food makers. For several years they have tried to increase their profit margins by promoting higher-priced "premium" brands such as Campbell's Pepperidge Farm cookies and Kraft's Wheat Thins crackers.

I laugh to keep from cryin', boys. BR is right, now is a good time to stock up on ammunition. Remember back in oh-seven when we used to have Wheat Thins®?

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Just for the record, this is not the $8 cheese to which The Refugee previously referred.

We'll know it's really bad when Kraft starts adversting meals "easily made in a tent after a long day in the unemployment line" and recipes such as, "Spit-roasted squirrel ala Central Park," or the old classic, "Pigeon with popcorn stuffing."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 29, 2008 4:01 PM
But jk thinks:

I was debating whether to include the modifier "government" cheese or not.

Posted by: jk at September 29, 2008 4:40 PM

September 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

The Ethics Committee, after all, has in recent years handed out any number of wrist-slaps - if anything - to legislators accused of serious malfeasance.

Indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), for one, has yet to face the music despite federal investigators finding $90,000 in cash stuffed in his freezer.

By those standards, the committee's likely to give Rangel a medal. -- NY Post Editorial

You know, it's like a culture of corruption...

Yet Another Huck-a-Whack

The Parsin' Parson is much better suited to hosting a talk show than governing, I should be glad.

But my TiVo recordings of "The Beltway Boys" and "Journal Editorial Report" this weekend all came up Huck. There are only three* good shows on FOXNews, are you telling me that two of them have been cancelled?

* Beltway Boys, Journal Editorial Report and Special Report with Brit Hume. FOX News Sunday is broadcast on the FOX Network

Kudos To GOP Legislators

Can I have a mirabile dictu? The House GOP seems to have removed the worst parts of the "bailout bill." Minority Whip Roy Blunt ($$ - MO) offers a Side-by-Side Comparison of the Paulson Plan, the [Rep. Barney] Frank - [Sen. Christopher] Dodd bill, and the final compromise.

Damn, Sam. Admittedly this is Blunt's report, but it looks like the worst elements were stripped (payola to ACORN and union dictation of CEO compensation) and that most of the limitations to the Paulson plan are probably positive.

I am unhappy to see limits on compensation, but they may be caveatted out of existence: "For equity participation, over $300M total ban for top 5 executives on golden parachutes and tax deduction limit on compensation above $500,000." Sounds like a few escape hatches to me. Dodd wanted to hire some bureaucrat to manage a $700 Billion portfolio and pay him $75K, so the compromise looks good.

As Senator McCain said, Democrats and Republicans "worked together" to craft important legislation. But, praise NED, it looks like the Republicans won.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

PE: You're mistaken on one key point. That is, there is not sufficient liquidity in the system. Many banks do not have money to lend, even to worthy borrows.

As an example, my sister is the CFO of a small bank. This bank owned $1 million in Fannie/Freddie securities. The bank examiners have REQUIRED them to write down the value to $0. With that accounting move, the bank's capitalization ratios on their balance sheet no longer permit them to loan money (FDIC rules). As long as their current loans continue to perform the bank will survive. But the only way to get back into a position to lend money is by retiring existing loans and getting the capitalization ratios back in compliance.

This problem is systemic. Are there banks with enough cash to still loan money? Probably, but as you say, they are reluctant to do so because of the risk to their balance sheet and regulatory compliance.

If banks are able to unload those Fannie/Freddie securities, they will still take a bath. However, their capitalization ratios will allow them to get back into the business of loaning money.

BTW, I offered to take the Fannie/Freddie paper off her hands for book value... she said I'm long line behind a number of shareholders.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 29, 2008 12:10 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You're failing to see the difference between the supply of loanable funds and what funds are being loaned out. Just because I'm not lending out what I *could* doesn't mean there isn't money to lend. Right now, global credit markets still have plenty of money, just not a desire to make loans. You've mentioned Caterpillar a few times now, but it's no different a situation than anyone else's: nobody wants to take the risk of lending Cat any money. That is, nobody wants to take that risk *at the prices Cat is offering*. Markets will clear if prices are allowed to adjust on their own, and if Cat must offer higher interest rates to lure investors, so be it. That doesn't mean there isn't money to lend out.

Right now, investors would rather flee for the safety of commodities (gold, oil) and even U.S. Treasury securities, rather than what the federal government wants American taxpayers to buy up. Austrian Business Cycle Theory teaches us that this is not inherently a bad thing. After the last several years of lending excesses, created and spurred by government interference in markets, we're seeing a necessary contraction as errors are eliminated from the market.

What's falsely perceived as "a lack of money to lend" is actually "a lack of trust to lend money." A lot of banks currently don't trust each other's ability to repay loans. They're waiting to see who's next to fail, merge and/or be bought out. This is perfectly sound behavior: a free market would allow participants to wait things out until they can get quality information.

What we have instead is the Federal Reserve "injecting liquidity" as part of its self-anointed role as "lender of last resort," and now the federal government is the "buyer of last resort." This by definition skews what neoclassical economics would call the optimal alignment of supply and demand forces. Austrian economics clarifies further: government interference has no profit motive and thus perpetuates errors, hindering entrepreneurs (who by definition have a profit motive) who would eliminate errors from markets. Austrian market processes in a nutshell: because information is imperfect, supply and demand are not naturally aligned, but it's the entrepreneur who seizes upon profit opportunities and thus brings them toward (if not to) alignment.

Now, back to what the Fed and feds are doing. Why should I, via inflation, be punished because someone couldn't get a loan except by central bankers creating new easy money? Why should I, via taxes, be forced to "invest" in something that I would otherwise not touch at all? "Collectivist" is the only word that can describe this: the individual is subjected to the whims of the majority, sharing in others' successes (if they are successful) but made to share the costs of their failures.

"This bank owned $1 million in Fannie/Freddie securities. The bank examiners have REQUIRED them to write down the value to $0. With that accounting move, the bank's capitalization ratios on their balance sheet no longer permit them to loan money (FDIC rules).

In a free market, your sister's bank would still be able to lend money if it has it, and its account holders could pull their money out if they don't like the bank's risk-taking. And instead of various regulations to prohibit/restrict behavior, bank officers can be held in check by courts. If they intentionally misrepresent material facts, they'll go to jail for fraud.

Do you see the real problem here? Government made worse what it created in the first place. Instead of letting people buyers and sellers determine what they think is the true value, the federal government is going to use our money to buy things here and now.

BTW, our firm, uh, was one of the top shareholders of Freddie and Fannie. And Lehman. And AIG. We took a real bath, but we're far more diversified than four companies, so we'll survive. Knock on wood, we're one of the few bigger companies who are still profitable. Our share price has taken a beating, but we're still paying a dividend. It's helped that we never did investment banking and thus never leveraged ourselves or otherwise exposed ourselves to the huge risks that ML, Bear Stearns and Lehman did.

"As long as their current loans continue to perform the bank will survive. But the only way to get back into a position to lend money is by retiring existing loans and getting the capitalization ratios back in compliance."

Do you see the irony? This comes from the same federal government that imposes such a standard on a bank while itself accumulating more and more debt (that others must pay!) as a regular routine.

"This problem is systemic. Are there banks with enough cash to still loan money? Probably, but as you say, they are reluctant to do so because of the risk to their balance sheet and regulatory compliance."

And trust, as I explained above.

"BTW, I offered to take the Fannie/Freddie paper of her hands for book value... she said I'm long line behind a number of shareholders."

Of course, the government is forcing the book value of zero, as you stated. Forced. Why not a true market value? Simply letting people act freely would do wonders to fix what government hath wrought.

Government states a book value of zero, then declares what's probably a too-high value on other things. Once again, if the latter is such a good deal, let others take the risk, instead of making me ride along. Is it too much to ask that I be left alone, that I not be coerced into joining what I deem a ride into hellfire?

I miswrote something earlier: Obama didn't say he'd postpone his social spending because of the bailout. He actually said he'd postpone his...middle class tax cuts. As if the Clinton Era proved we'd have gotten them anyway.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 29, 2008 2:56 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

One thing I meant to add to the first paragraph. Or just because I'm not able to lend out money doesn't mean others aren't able (although waiting) to lend out money.

There's plenty of liquidity already! Kudlow is so full of it.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 29, 2008 2:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So government regulators have REQUIRED banks to write down the value of assets on their books to zero. Gee, that sounds familiar. [second link]

And "even the worst" of those assets "are worth no less than 40 cents on the dollar" yet the government has it's own price - 20 cents on the dollar. That sounds familiar too. [second comment]

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2008 3:41 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

PE: Not sure I'm getting the nuance between "would lend it but don't have it" and "have it but won't lend it" from a liquidity perspective. Businesses that file chapter 11 because they can't roll over a routine line of credit at an affordable rate won't care. Moreover, this puts the financial system into a death spiral.

I agree that current regulations are a serious problem, i.e. those cited, and contributed to the crisis. However, those are the rules the government set and that the companies played by. It's no more helpful to say, "Shouldn't have done it" than Obama's position on Iraq that "we shouldn't have gone in there." The fact is that we are in both situations and must deal with them.

I do support a switch, even retroactive, from mark-to-market to mark-to-model and would be interested in your thoughts in that regard.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 29, 2008 6:03 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"PE: Not sure I'm getting the nuance between "would lend it but don't have it" and "have it but won't lend it" from a liquidity perspective."

Well, let me try to put it this way. Paulson, Bernanke and Kudlow claim it's the first. That means there's no money available, regardless of how much people want it, no matter how "worthy" people are to borrow.

But the truth is that all the "injections" by the Fed are unnecessary. The truth is the latter example. There's money out there, but lenders are extremely cautious -- as they should be in these uncertain times. What they need most is *time*, because once things start settling down, they'll be able to gauge who can pay back money and who's not worth the risk.

"Businesses that file chapter 11 because they can't roll over a routine line of credit at an affordable rate won't care. Moreover, this puts the financial system into a death spiral."

Not necessarily. Only those who survive by repeated borrowing won't make it, which isn't a bad thing. Perhaps it's about time they relied on a more stable business model.

"I agree that current regulations are a serious problem, i.e. those cited, and contributed to the crisis. However, those are the rules the government set and that the companies played by. It's no more helpful to say, "Shouldn't have done it" than Obama's position on Iraq that "we shouldn't have gone in there." The fact is that we are in both situations and must deal with them."

Actually, blaming regulations is a warning that we need to let the market be free: more government won't get us out of it! As many have said, you don't rely on the arsonist to put out a fire that he set in the first place. So when Pelosi and Obama blame "deregulation," as they did today, it's a flat-out lie.

"I do support a switch, even retroactive, from mark-to-market to mark-to-model and would be interested in your thoughts in that regard."

I'm not an accountant, but I take a simple Austrian view: let buyers and sellers agree on whichever method works best for them. I personally view the clash over accounting methods as a red herring. It's coming down again to government setting rules that could very well be wrong. Both have strengths and weaknesses.

Mark-to-market realizes that we may not know something's true future value, so at the time we can only value it based on a current market price. Mutual funds' NAV, and margin account values, necessarily go by MTM. Part of my job is approving employees' personal investments based on being low enough that they won't negatively impact our clients' trades, and when they're trading options or futures, we go by what's effectively MTM. The problem is when you bought something for $1 million, and if it declines in value, mark-to-market means your books will show a loss. But in fact, you won't experience a loss unless you're actually trying to sell the whatever at that moment. If I buy a $500K house that in a year is worth less, even if it's down to zero, that doesn't necessarily mean I'll go bankrupt.

Now when you're dealing with something illiquid and/or uncertain in value, mark-to-model is useful. But even so, it inherently leaves people free to value changing/uncertain prices pretty much at whatever they want. Warren Buffett's been to correct to call it "mark-to-myth," although not to the extent he'd like us to think. But a lot of investing companies have used it to hide losses in their investments, and if they had had to report things based on mark-to-market.

In the end, we need not complicate things with accounting methods. We need only to let buyers and sellers be free to agree on a price, and for each side to accept the consequences of the decision without using government to coerce others into bailing out one or both sides. Putting this into an example, if you're going by mark-to-model in what you're offering to sell me, but I insist on mark-to-market, we of course won't agree. But it's not the accounting method that's important, it's the *price*. Value is subjective, however you calculated it.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 29, 2008 11:17 PM

September 27, 2008

RIP Paul Newman

Number nineteen on Nixon's enemies list died this morning.

RIP, Paul Newman.

Posted by AlexC at 2:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 26, 2008

Obama's Leadership


That did not take long at all.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 10:55 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Cutsie, but not particularly effective. You didn't have to watch the debate to know these bites were taken out of context. That hurts McCain's credibility in the long run.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 29, 2008 1:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I watched the debate. How were they out of context? Did he agree with McCain on the stated points or not? Jus' askin.

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2008 5:09 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Because there was always a "but" after his agreement. The "I agree with this portion..." is simply a way of finding some common ground, while disagreeing on other aspects. The ads portray Obama conceding a point, which he did not in nearly every case.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 29, 2008 10:33 PM

McCain Wins

Here's McCain putting on a class for Senator Obama's benefit.

Overall, Obama looked way too defensive... and he spent his time reliving Al Gore's 2000 debate performance wincing, sighing laughing and interrupting.

By contrast, Senator McCain was calm and collected.

Best line... "... and I didn't even have a seal."

... at one point Obama threw up a white flag... "let's move on."

2008 Posted by AlexC at 10:41 PM | What do you think? [4]
But T. Greer thinks:

Eh. I don't think McCain did nearly as well as he could have. He had an annoying habit of not actually answering the question asked of him- sure, the points he made were always spot on, but they didn't answer the questions he was asked.

~T. Greer, with the opinion that McCain's imaginary conversation vetween Obama and Ahmenidijehad was the best part of the night.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 26, 2008 10:51 PM
But jk thinks:

I fell into some tickets for the first night of a three day jazz festival and the debates are waiting for me on my beloved TiVo. I saw the last half hour between sets, then the first half hour when FOXNews reran it. I watched the commentary before the debate, which I usually avoid.

But I am preliminarily pitching in with blog brother ac on this. What I saw made me think of VP Gore -- a lot of eye rolling and sighing (I was waiting for him to ask "What about Diiiiingle-Noooooorwood???")

He was certainly not as bad as VP Gore, but because his candidacy is based so much on personality, I did not the new hopeful change guy. Maybe that's in the middle.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2008 11:54 AM
But Heretic thinks:

Sen. Obama has generally better substance than Sen. McCain, but he fell short yesterday. He seemed to be stuck in the past and/or defending himself against McCain disingenious attacks. He seemed to be talking more to his base than to the un-committed.

To TG's point about McCain's annoying habbit of not directly answering the question - that is irrelevant. What people remember of the debate are his crisp answers.

Sen. Obama is a known quick learner. Look forward to him running over McCain the next time.

At the end of the day what matters is any shift in opinions in the battle ground states. After this debate, if there is no downward trend, then it is a good thing.

Posted by: Heretic at September 27, 2008 1:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. "Senator Obama has generally better substance than Senator McCain...?"

You mean, organizing an inner city precinct to vote for a particular collectivist candidate for a few elections is more sustantial than introducing, co-sponsoring and critically negotiating legislation in the US Senate for over two decades?

Or, posturing that the war in Iraq must be "ended swiftly and responsibly" (whatever that means to whoever hears it) is substantively better than tirelessly opposing "stay the course" voices in his own party and "surrender" advocates in the other to give our proud and capable military the tactical orders to win the war instead of merely defending their bases while Iraqi parlimentarians dithered?

Perhaps there is more substance in the class-warfare rhetoric that "95% of Americans will receive a tax cut" while nearly half of that group, a record 41% of Americans, already paid zero federal income tax in 2006 amounting to even greater transfer payments from Americans who earn wealth to those who did nothing to earn it beyond casting votes for their friendly neighborhood Democrats.

Is there more substance of leadership for a politician who personally inserted congressional earmark spending of nearly one-billion-dollars (with a B) in his scant few years in office compared to one who promises, if elected president, to "name names" of earmark abusers and "make them famous?"

I certainly can't imagine any serious individual believing a young man who enlists for military service during wartime, displays super-human abilities to defy torture meted out to him by propagandist captors, and remains loyal to the flag and fellow soldiers of his country is somehow bested in a measure of "substance" by another young man who, during roughly the same phase of his own life, was an enthusiastic user of cocaine and marijuana (and who knows what else that he hasn't actually admitted to) in order to cope with the personal adversity of growing up in a Hawaiian paradise and grappling with the tremendous challenge of discovering "who I was."

Obama has generally better substance than McCain? Objectively speaking, I disagree.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2008 5:29 PM

GOP Victory Center

Looking to help John McCain & Sarah Palin this weekend:

Visit your local Victory Center.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 8:06 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Picked up my McPalin signs Friday afternoon. Put one up by the road yesterday. Had to mow down the boundary grass at the edge of the hay field so it could be seen. TAKE THAT, Obama neighbors - all three of you!

First two drivers to see it wore cowboy hats and drove pick up trucks. Got a wave from both of them.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2008 10:24 PM

Miss Wasilla

Sarah (Heath) Palin in the 1984 Miss Alaska swimsuit competition.

or... a brazen attempt at getting more hits.

Is this supposed to be a bad thing? Remind me again.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 8:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Mark-to-Market or Mark-to-Model?

This, to The Refugee's ignorant eye, seems to be a pretty good primer on the difference between mark-to-market and mark-to-model accounting rules that may have precipitated the current financial crisis.

Economics and Markets Posted by Boulder Refugee at 6:15 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Brian Wesbury has a superb paper (pdf) that claims mark-to-market is 70% of the problem and that rescinding the rule should be 100% of the solution.

It is true that the root of this crisis is bad mortgage loans, but probably 70% of the real crisis that we face today is caused by mark-to-market accounting in an illiquid market. What’s most fascinating is that the Treasury is selling its plan as a way to put a bottom in mortgage pool prices, tipping its hat to the problem of mark-to-market accounting without acknowledging it. It is a real shame that there is so little discussion of this reality.

I've been the ThreeSources cheerleader for the plan, but must admit that this piece is the most compelling argument against it that I have encountered.

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2008 4:10 PM

Abject Terror of the Day

I'm a Kudlow optimist who is bullish on the long term prospects of the American economy. And I'm not quaking in my boots, selling stock, or loading up on water and ammunition.

But I have real concerns about the near term economy and am willing to suspend ideology if it means averting a liquidity crisis. There's no shortage of information or clever arguments for both sides. Here are four for mine, which is: the potential cost of doing nothing is too great, even a bad plan might calm markets; even the government will not lose the whole $700B; Secretary Paulson is as trustworthy to me as any of our 535 economists in chief, far more so than 532 of them.

1) Caterpillar’s 325 bps premium for financing over a similar loan just a few months ago. This is not Joe's Widgets, this is for CAT corporate debt.

2) Friend of a friend and long-time trusted commercial real estate developer is trying to refinance a $4 Million property and cannot get a loan of $900K.

3) A letter to Mankiw:

A LOT of payrolls get paid at the end of the month. The next for many companies is September 30. Three different people with hugely relevant knowledge said to me today words to the effect of: "Why don't your economist buddies want
[insert fortune 100 company/companies here] to be able to pay their employees on Tuesday. If Washington doesn't do something now, they won't be able to". That just scared the hell out of me. I can go into more details if you like, but all of them involve the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

4) Megan McArdle captures my sentiment:

Again, no one knows. Not $700 billion--that's the amount we're paying for distressed assets, some of which will yield profits. The entire portfolio of fire sale securities may lose money, but it's unlikely to be anything close to the entire amount.

In some sense, the reason to do the bailout is that we don't know. I don't want to give money to GM because I have a pretty good notion of the scale of a GM collapse. Some people will lose their jobs and get new ones, the steel industry will take a hit, and a lot of managers will be looking for another line of work than pushing ugly, underperforming cars. On the other hand, I have no idea how far a bank collapse might spread. And I'm really not eager to find out.

Me either. Give the bald guy the damn money.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

First of all, let's be clear: one can never have too much ammunition!

The problem, as you point out, is that it's impossible to accurately assess the value of these loans in the short period of time available. The only way to be sure that this does not become a huge give-away is to make sure the financial institutions involved have plenty of skin in the game. The Refugee has a moderate amount of faith in House Republicans, who seem to have suddenly rediscovered a principled spine, to drive a hard bargain.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 26, 2008 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There used to be, in this country, a reliable and accurate way to assess the value of property. Old-timers called it "the free market."

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2008 2:30 AM

Media Bias

obama_ears.jpg Those Right wing nutjobs at the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page have gone too far. The Murdoch takeover has become all too apparent.

Today's lead editorial has a trademark woodcut illustration of Senator Obama. Yet the forces of Murdoch bleed the illo into the text to highlight the Senator's large ears. This is why the founders fought against factionalism.

But johngalt thinks:

"All the better to listen to Ahmandinejad with, my dear."

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2008 2:31 AM

September 25, 2008

Appalachia On The Platte

The DC Examiner had an article on Senator Joe Biden's Coal-fired Gaffe Machine. While other gaffes were considered stupid, Chris Stirewalt considers the "no-coal-plants-in-the-USA" to be especially impolitic.

But Biden getting caught on tape last week denouncing the use of coal to an eco-warrior on a rope line will be a blunder that will put a wrinkle in Biden’s blue collar. “No coal plants here in America,” Biden said of his ticket’s energy plan.

It’s probably just something Biden said to dodge a question, since he surely knows that we get half of our electricity from coal and couldn’t meet the needs of the next two decades without burning even more.

But swing states Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Colorado all have substantial coal mining industries and residents who identify themselves as part of a coal culture.

Colorado coal culture? I have lived the past 19 years in communities that were founded on coal mining, but thought it all ended with the WPA. Minus ten points: the Colorado Mining Association claims Colorado is seventh in the USA in Coal Production.

So I can be personally offended by one of Biden's gaffes -- excellent!

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 5:32 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 24, 2008

Que Sera Sera

A little-known Chilean wine known as Palin Syrah has apparently lost favor in the City by the Bay. Sales in San Francisco of this boutique product have fallen faster than a thermometer on the North Slope in January. Texas, however, seems to be picking up the slack.

The Refugee will confess to being a bit of a wine snob and may have to see about picking up a bottle at the local Daveco Liquors. He may need to find out how it pairs with a certain $8 cheese.

Food and Wine Posted by Boulder Refugee at 1:11 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Mon Dieu!

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2008 1:30 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Thermostats on the northslope in January are pretty much bottomed out!

But the larger point.... A pair of my very best North Slope co-workers were visting our nation's capitol, and when carded at a bar, they were "accosted" by crazy Lib-tards for daring to bare an Alaska driver license.


Posted by: AlexC at September 24, 2008 2:42 PM

A Solid Critique of the Paulson Plan

ThreeSources friend The Everyday Economist pens a thoughtful post that compares the current situation to the S&L Crisis and the Paulson Plan to the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). It's a good read, allowing you to relive the 80s without big hair and skinny ties.

He comes out foursquare against the plan at the end, by economic and not ideological reasons. I'm not prepared to join him there at this time, but many cite the success of the RTC as a model for the Paulson Plan and the EE develops enough differences to force consideration.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

jk, when the government breaks something, I don't want it to fix it. Don't you think the federal government's track record shows we shouldn't trust it, particularly when bailouts just get worse and worse?

To reword an old saying, "Where free-marketers fear to tread." There's a very, VERY good reason that the private sector doesn't want to take the risk on these bad securities, at least not at these prices. If it were so possible for government to make a great profit in this bailout, then Buffett would have jumped all over them first. The man by himself could have bought out the remains of Lehman Brothers, but he didn't.

Oh, and I point I made elsewhere: if you think Paulson with these proposed powers would be bad, how much worse would it be with the powers wielded by an Obama choice for Treasury Secretary?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 25, 2008 12:59 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually, Refugee, Hoover did NOT let the market sort itself out. Hoover's response was "make work" public works programs hikes. Sound familiar? "Tax hikes" included the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which destroyed global trade.

As it turned out, FDR merely continued and amplified what Hoover started. And after FDR's platform said that taxes are too high, power should be given back to the states from the federal government, and that money should be made sound by being backed by gold.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 25, 2008 1:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair points all around, Perry. But -- yet again this year -- laissez faire is not on the menu. I would prefer a $700B stimulative tax cut, maybe waiving cap gains for those that buy this paper today. Speaker Pelosi? Leader Reid? I thought so.

Why will I, then, agree to incur the liability against future taxation? Because I have bought into the seriousness of the situation. Caterpillar's paying a 325 basis point premium over an offering from a few months ago is unsettling. Secondly, I have bought in to the idea you dismiss of the government's ability to hold these until conditions improve. Andy Kessler suggests that government can actively reflate to improve conditions (warning: not safe for metalists!) Buffett could play here but he chooses to play conservatively. It's hard to name too many others who could buy enough - a'la Soros -- to drive the market, and none are quite as well capitalized as Sec Paulson.

I could be proven wrong on both counts, of course. We're predicting uncertain futures. I really don't want to live through a full blown liquidity/credit crunch, and I'll go all in with Paulson today to avoid it.

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2008 2:24 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"laissez faire is not on the menu."

And that's the problem. If we don't like the menu, we should be able to pick up and choose a different restaurant. It's far beyond "getting old" that we have to pick between Beelzebub and Mephistopheles.

You need to ask yourself: do you really trust the guys who created this mess in the first place to get us out of it? As the saying goes, "Ye shall know them by their fruits." Look at what they've given us so far, and rely on *that* to predict their future track record, not their promises today of peace, land and bread. I don't trust Paulson for a second, particularly when the initial plan is to give him incredible powers without any oversight.

A $700 billion tax cut would be AMAZING for the American economy. You'd see domestic and foreign investment return with such confidence, because maybe there won't be as much profit, but the feds won't be stealing a chunk. Problem is, $700 billion of tax *cuts*, not what could be taxed, would require eliminating cap gains on $4.6 trillion worth of profit.

Coyote Blog had a great observation: the same Democrats who are afraid to privatize Social Security have no problem blowing $700 billion on this. It's "too risky" to let people invest for their own retirement, but it's ok for them to spearhead the federal government buying up the worst securities on the market today. Great deal!

Oh, and speaking of Soros: his hedge fund lost at least $120 mil on Lehman, depending on when it bought the shares. I cackled for five minutes at that. Shows how great his investment instincts are when he doesn't have someone on the inside, huh? Or maybe he did and believed Lehman's executives.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 26, 2008 9:21 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

PE, as with most political gambits we are talking about degrees of intervention here. Arguably, Hoover pretty much did everything wrong, e.g., constrict capital, raise taxes, tariffs and public works.

The bigger issue is the environment that the Wall Street crash created: immense domestic pain (25% unemployment) etc. etc. that created the conditions under which the New Deal could be passed. My non-interventionist ideals are in conflict with my practical realities. I would prefer some bailout to conditions that would foster a second New Deal.

That said, I'm pleased that the House Republicans are pushing back. They may be onto something. That is, much of the problem may be caused by accounting rules such as mark-to-market that artificially devalue some finanicial assets and thereby hurt liquidity. Can we get out of this without a massive bailout and without a public uproar for big government? The Refugee has all of his digits crossed.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 26, 2008 12:59 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually, BR, the Great Depression would have been only a few mild recessions, had the federal government not intervened. History could very well repeat itself today, if the federal government succeeds in "preventing a collapse" when what we actually need is the complete collapse of a few companies, which will then be absorbed, rather than everyone fall "equally."

Remember, and this is some of the best wisdom you can pass on to your children, that collectivism is about bringing the successful down to the level of the unsuccessful, whether it's taxing income or ensuring "equality of outcome" -- including "bailouts."

For further reading on the Depression:

Oh by the way, some "conservative" in comments at is accusing me of "championing economic liberalism" because I oppose the bailout. WTF?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 27, 2008 11:42 AM

Quote of the Day

And let’s not forget Biden, whose gaffes are the unavoidable byproduct of his limitless gasbaggery. Biden could shout on Meet the Press, “Get these squirrels off of me!” and the collective response would be, “There goes Joe again.” But if Palin flubs the name of the deputy agriculture minister of Kyrgyzstan, the media will blow their whistles saying she’s unprepared for the job. -- Jonah Goldberg
2008 Posted by John Kranz at 10:50 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 23, 2008


Professor Mankiw isn't much more impressed than I am with Senator McCain's suggestion of Andrew Cuomo for SEC Chair:

Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that—in combination with many other factors—helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. -- Village Voice

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 5:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

What Drives You Crazy About Politics?

I went out to lunch with my in-laws and came home to a string of gaffes from Senator Biden.

You guys are all a few steps ahead of me (although I had some really good hot and sour soup), but I enjoyed this exchange (video at the link try 3:30) between Senator Obama and Matt Lauer. They're discussing Biden's making similar statements to Senator McCain on the AIG bailout:

But it's the kind of thing that drives people crazy about politics," Lauer said. "It sounds like you were trying to score some political points against John McCain using his words, when your own running mate had used very similar words."

"No, hold on a second Matt," Obama said. "I think what drives people crazy about politics is the fact that somebody like John McCain who for 26 years has been an advocate for deregulation, for 26 years has said the market is king and then starts going out there suggesting somehow that he's a populist who's been railing against Wall Street and regulation -- that's what drives people crazy about politics."

Now I don't expect Lauer to go any further down the path of actual reporting or investigation than he did. Certainly not when the beneficiary would be a GOP candidate. But on what planet is John McCain a stalwart opponent of regulation? Man, if we could only actually have the candidates that Democrats accuse us of, I would be the happiest party man in the whole USA.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 3:32 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That boy is such a fool and a liar. "an advocate for deregulation, for 26 years has said the market is king" are two completely different things. "Deregulation" is virtually Orwellian Newspeak: it's hardly the reduction (let alone elimination) of regulation. The California energy crisis revealed perfectly that "deregulation" is merely a shift in regulation, with occasional quasi-privatization.

And second, as you point out, McCain is hardly a believer in the free market. Sigh. To reword something I heard years ago in church, "If it were a crime to be a free-marketer, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 24, 2008 10:32 AM

FDR & the Great Depression

President Roosevelt went on TV to explain the causes of the Stock Market crash on 1929.

Nevermind that TV, while invented, was not in wide usage
Oh, and he wasn't President in 1929 either. That would have been Hoover.

New Obama slogan: "Dont just MAKE history, CHANGE it."

Biden wants to lose. He's Hillary's Manchurian Candidate so that she can run in 2012.

Unless they're making him say silly things to give a decent reason for ditching him.

If you buy into conspiracy theories, that is.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 3:22 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

It happened, ac, my grandfather TiVoed it!

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2008 3:32 PM
But HB thinks:

Jesse Walker on the Hit&Run blog:

And if you owned an experimental TV set in 1929, you would have seen him. And you would have said to yourself, "Who is that guy? What happened to President Hoover?"

Posted by: HB at September 23, 2008 3:33 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This is priceless. After saying that a "leader must show people that he knows what he's talking about," Biden goes on to demonstrate that he has no idea what he's talking about. A Freudian slip regarding his leadership qualities?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 23, 2008 3:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It's no conspiracy - Joe Biden really is a genuine dumb-ass. He doesn't even seem to feel the slightest twinge of "uh-oh, I wonder if I'm saying something destructive to our candidacy here" when he says things like "paying more taxes is the patriotic thing for wealthy Americans to do."

Posted by: johngalt at September 24, 2008 3:00 PM


I cannot possibly improve on the subject line of a ThreeSources friend who sent me this link. I have been on HuffPo a lot this week. My niece sent me a couple links, now this one. I'll probably have to write Arianna a check if this keeps up.

The writer is Naomi Wolf, famous for dressing VP Gore in earth tones in the 2000 election. I saw that Insty linked as well, with a derisive comment along the lines of "Palin drives her crazy, but she's close enough to walk." You can knock HuffPo, and you can dismiss Wolf as a fringe character, but it's a mistake. She is well known, a frequent TV pundit, and I've no doubt her ideas have currency in the Democratic Party. In short, she is not a crazed lefty blogger over at Kos railing about Rove's AmeriKKKa. Yet she is no less unhinged. (My emailer suggests reading the whole thing to get the full sweep of it, but if your heart is not up to it, here's a taste:)

Reports confirmed my suspicions: Palin, not McCain, is the FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal. The strategy became clear. Time magazine reported that Rove is "dialed in" to the McCain campaign. Rove's protégé Steve Schmidt is now campaign manager. And Politico reported that Rove was heavily involved in McCain's vice presidential selection. Finally a new report shows that there are dozens of Bush and Rove operatives surrounding Sarah Palin and orchestrating her every move.

I'd give her half points for ending with a Sharansky reference, If she had spelled his name right:
Scharansky [sic] divided nations into "fear societies" and "free societies." Make no mistake: Sarah "Evita" Palin is Rove and Cheney's cosmetic rebranding of their fascist push: she will help to establish a true and irreversible "fear society" in this once free once proud nation. For God's sake, do not let her; do not let them.

Thanks to my signing several "support the troops" petitions. my inbox is loaded with the worst of right wing kookery every day: Obama will force gay marriage and grapefruit juice will cure Cancer. I just got something from Pat Buchanan.

But I see very little that compares with the ravings of Andrew Sullivan or this piece by Naomi Wolf. Our esteemed electoral opponents have some serious unhinged people on their side.

UPDATE: Fair and balanced, I clicked a link on the Human Events email I received while typing this, and this is certainly unhinged, but the guy is hawking an anti-Obama book. I posit that Wolf is a more serious player.

Would the mad
billionaire George
Soros run wild in an
Obama White House?

UPDATE II: JammieWearingFool gives the piece a more detailed fisking.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 11:32 AM | What do you think? [5]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee must admit that he did not have the fortitude to read the whole post. "Unhinged" does not adequately express this level of vitriol. The level of Bush/Cheney hatred is unfathomable, but ultimately the undoing of the Democrats.

Although the average American is currently unhappy with the war, they do not have a visceral hatred of GWB and cannot relate to those who do. Consequently, the hatred makes alignment with the Dems problematic, even if they share many policy positions.

The Refugee wondered what the Dems would do without Bush/Cheney to kick around. Now he knows: blame everything on a Bush/Cheney conspiracy.

Ironically, the Left accuses Bush of abject stupidity, yet alleges conspiracies and schemes that the most diabolical genius could not conceive single-handedly. The paradox of this position never occurs to the Left, while the rest of the populace just rolls their eyes.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 23, 2008 4:03 PM
But Terri thinks:

I didn't have the fortitude to make it through the whole post either.
However, today's Best of the Web had a snippet that was even further over the top. (yes - it turned out to be possible!)

Posted by: Terri at September 23, 2008 5:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I knew it'd be a waste of my time, but I wanted to see. The first thing that greeted my eyes was some idiotic link to Lindsay Lohan "news," with another one about Buffett's investment in Goldman Sachs, as if Huff-n-Nonsense readers will ever understand what the latter is all about.

Once she mentioned the "Rove-Cheney cabal," I gave up. Moonbattery at its finest.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 24, 2008 10:41 AM
But jk thinks:

Huh? What was that about Lindsay Lohan?

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2008 12:25 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm not sure, but it was a "news" link at the top. Go figure!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 25, 2008 4:55 PM

September 22, 2008

If You Think the Price of Arugula is bad...

The Refugee was recently shopping and noticed that the price of his favorite cheese has increased from $7 to $8. What do they make this stuff out of - petroleum?

Rant Posted by Boulder Refugee at 6:46 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

An eight dollar cheese eater! Out to coffee last week, The Refugee kept dropping french phrases and Sartre quotes. I am starting to worry.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2008 7:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Am I the last one to notice that even a small coke purchased separately (not part of a combo-meal) is a buck fifty?

Pick your favorite reason:

1 - Fuel surcharge for delivery of beverage syrup and (horrors) CO-2.

2 - Devaluation of the dollar through inflation.

3 - Congress' shiny new minimum wage law telling burger joints how much they must pay local high-schoolers to lean out of a window and hand you a cup of mostly ice and a little carbonated sugar water filling in the spaces.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2008 11:22 AM
But jk thinks:

4) Increased demand for corn sweetener from fuel mandates;

5) Fifty-cent tariffs on Brazilian sugar that could substantively lower the cost of sweetener and fuel (President Clinton famously took calls from sugar lobbyists while he was in consultation with that woman, Miss Lewinsky). Keep in mind that recent studies show sugar to have just as much nutritional value as corn sweetener.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2008 12:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

6 - The emergency "Federal fast-food rescue from economic reality" plan hasn't yet been passed and signed into law "before the end of the week" in order to prevent "global economic disaster."

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2008 3:44 PM


The word "investment" has become so debased as a politician's euphemism for "spending" that most have stopped looking at the difference. Don Luskin spots one:

The fundamental mistake is that the $700 billion would be used to invest in income-producing assets, not to fund consumption. A dollar spent in Head Start, say, or in socialized health care, is gone forever, even though its expenditure may produce a benefit for whomever receives the service it funds. But a dollar spent on a mortgage earns interest, and can eventually be sold -- perhaps even at a profit. And in the meantime, if the government's temporarily holding these assets helps unlock the US real estate and securities markets, then so much the better. To be clear, I'm not endorsing the federal government investing $700 billion in private assets. But love it or hate it, it is investment -- not consumption.

Luskin never says that it is a good investment, and he provides for difference and discussion. But it is worth looking at the bailout in these terms and remembering that the gub'mint actually did turn a profit on the RTC.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

That's what The Refugee loves about this country - irrational optimism!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 22, 2008 3:36 PM

Mea Maxima Culpa!

I had a hunch I was wrong when I found myself siding with Bill O'Rielly against the WSJ Editorial Board. Reading this, I declare full capitulation:

McCain told 60 Minutes tonight that he would name New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Bill Clinton, as chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mike Allen reports.

“I've admired Andrew Cuomo,” McCain said. “I think he is somebody who could restore some credibility, lend some bipartisanship to this effort.”


I know stupidity reigns so thick at 60 Minutes that it's hard to stay focused, but this is the dumbest thing I have heard all campaign and falls well outside of the "let McCain be McCain" rubric. If he wants to play Teddy Roosevelt and rail about greed, I can shudder and look the other way. When he wants to promote Spitzerism to the SEC, it's game over. I'm going back to bed. Wake me up after Obama wins.

Hat-tip: Mickey Kaus "Note to my conservative friends: Hope Palin's worth it!" via Instapundit

Once Upon a Time

A little preaching to choir here, but don't miss the WSJ lead editorial today:

Once upon a time, in the land that FDR built, there was the rule of "regulation" and all was right on Wall and Main Streets. Wise 27-year-old bank examiners looked down upon the banks and saw that they were sound. America's Hobbits lived happily in homes financed by 30-year-mortgages that never left their local banker's balance sheet, and nary a crisis did we have.

Then, lo, came the evil Reagan marching from Mordor with his horde of Orcs, short for "market fundamentalists." Reagan's apprentice, Gramm of Texas and later of McCain, unleashed the scourge of "deregulation," and thus were "greed," short-selling, securitization, McMansions, liar loans and other horrors loosed upon the world of men.

Now, however, comes Obama of Illinois, Schumer of New York and others in the fellowship of the Beltway to slay the Orcs and restore the rule of the regulator. So once more will the Hobbits be able to sleep peacefully in the shire.

They are sadly right that this will become believed and accepted as fact. This could set the cause of liberty (and prosperitarianism) back a lot further than a bad election.

Grassroots Smearing

Simply wow.

Extensive research was conducted by the Jawa Report to determine the source of smears directed toward Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Those smears included false allegations that she belonged to a secessionist political party and that she has radical anti-American views.

Our research suggests that a subdivision of one of the largest public relations firms in the world most likely started and promulgated rumors about Sarah Palin that were known to be false. These rumors were spread in a surreptitious manner to avoid exposure.

It is also likely that the PR firm was paid by outside sources to run the smear campaign. While not conclusive, evidence suggests a link to the Barack Obama campaign.

Go get a cup of coffee, and read this whole post.

Could be one of the most important blog posts in this election cycle... as the truth finally starts lacing up it's boots.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 1:14 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I think it's an interesting story, ac, and I applaud your posting it.

As for suggestions that it as big story, color me pessimistic. Hugh Hewitt quotes a conference call where Steve Schmidt "promised to look into the new story closely though he challenged the MSM to investigate the ties between David Axelrod and the Winner firm and whether the internet smear campaign was being run de facto by the Obama campaign."

This brings up my first reaction: the MSM would have to run with this story to make it anything and I just do not see that happening. Even if Schmidt "challenges them."

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2008 7:35 PM

September 21, 2008

Mister Orwell, Call Your Office

Protecting "the children" from speech in the UK: "YouTube is to ban footage showing weapons being used to intimidate people on its website in the UK." (Izzit just me or is that questionable grammar from a BBC reporter? Are the people actually being threatened "on [YouTube's] website in the UK?")

The Home Secretary said she was "extremely pleased" YouTube had "taken action to ban videos glamourising weapons".

"This is a real step forward. I would like to see other internet service providers follow suit to reinforce our message that violence will not be tolerated either on the internet or in the real world," she added.

In July, the Culture, Media and Sport select committee called for a new industry body to be set up to protect children from harmful content on the web.

The committee also said it should be "standard practice" for sites hosting user-generated content to review material proactively.

Hat-tip Instapundit who says "Clearly, you can't count on Google to champion free speech." Frankly, I am a lot more worried about Britain. We've had Google worries around here, and I will admit that there is a creepy element to the information behemoth. I'm a Yahoo guy® myself and believe that Google will not be able to get the market saturation required to rule the Internet. They have share, but the cost to compete with them is low and the cost to switch is almost zero.

Worry about Google but fear the State's coercive power. The cradle of liberty has already given away its citizens' right to self defense with guns. Now that they are slashing each other with knives, the Home Secretary will ban pictures of knives.

UPDATE: Never mind, there's nothing wrong with the UK. I went to Samizdata to see if they were discussing this and found this:

Five sharia courts have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The government has quietly sanctioned that their rulings are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court. Previously, the rulings were not binding and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

Yes, the Enlightenment lives.

Google Posted by John Kranz at 11:30 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 20, 2008

Biden & Berettas

I guess this is what Obama meant about bitter people clinging to their religion and their guns.

"Catholic" Senator Joe Biden:

"I guarantee you Barack Obama ain't taking my shotguns, so don't buy that malarkey," Biden said Saturday at the United Mine Workers of America's annual fish fry in Castlewood, Virginia. "Don't buy that malarkey. They're going to start peddling that to you."

Biden told the crowd that he himself is a gun owner. "I got two," Biden said, "if he tries to fool with my Beretta, he's got a problem. I like that little over and under, you know? I'm not bad with it. So give me a break. Give me a break."

It's amazing how come election season Democrat politicians are suddenly church going gun owners. As Jake Tapper points out, Senator Biden regularly scores an F on gun issues from the NRA.

I don't understand why the Democrats are even trying to attempt to compete on the issue of guns. Obama and Biden are hoping the electorate simply believes their words (never mind deeds in Congress) vs a Republican ticket that features Sarah Palin who makes no apologies for killing big things with equally big guns.

Sportsmen aren't fools.

By the way, it's nice of Joe Biden to buy American.

Berettas are made in Italy.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 5:56 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

And I am not guessing that Senator Obama will reprise his attack on Senator Clinton's new found love of the Second Amendment:

Obama said he was disappointed with her for her response and then launched into a new criticism of Clinton over her recent admission of being a hunter, and compared her sarcastically to Annie Oakley.

"She's running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment, she's talking like she's Annie Oakley! Hillary Clinton's out there like she's on the duck blind every Sunday, she's packin' a six shooter! C'mon! She knows better. That's some politics being played by Hillary Clinton. I want to see that picture of her out there in the duck blinds."

Duck hunting with a six shooter? She should borrow Biden's over-and-under.

I'm a free-trader, ac, I have no quarrel with Senator Joe on choosing a Beretta (I have a nice abbastanza .380 of theirs). More worried about Mister-I-got-an-F-from-the-NRA's sudden enthusiasm and Virginny grammar. Merciful Zeus!

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2008 6:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And bragging to UMW members about your Beretta shotgun is sort of like pulling up to the local drive-in for a Friday nite hot rod rally behind the wheel of your Bentley.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2008 3:02 PM

For A Bailout, Press One

You've had a tough week of politics and Wall Street. Have a little fun:

"Hello! You've reached the United States Treasury's automated bailout hotline. Please listen carefully, because our options have recently changed. If you're too big to fail, press or say 'one.' If not, hang up and dial 1-800-FOR-FEMA.' "

Hat-tip: Professor Mankiw

September 19, 2008

Proud to be a Coloradan!

To paraphrase Michelle Obama, "For the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my state's position in the Electoral College." Stuart Rothenberg identifies Colorado as the state mostly likely to determine the election.

Nonetheless, The Refugee hopes that Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania make Colorado's nine electoral votes a non-factor.

Biden, Ohio & the Environment

This is not how you win a swing state.

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., spent the past two days trying to win over Ohio voters, but he may have undermined that work in one quick dis of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team Friday morning.

Before boarding his flight from Wilmington, Del., to Washington, DC, the loquacious Blue Hen displayed some Fightin' Blue Hen alumni bravado in an impromptu airport meeting with the University of Delaware football team.

He flew from Wilmington to Washington?

Environment be damned!

2008 Posted by AlexC at 2:48 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

All those folks who work at Amtrak that he knows by name probably needed a rest, ac. At least compliment his compassion.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2008 3:07 PM
But RBV thinks:

I'm from Ohio. I don't think his actions mattered a bit. All you need to do is look around and see that the state is going for McCain regardless. The KKK headquarters is in our state. Unfortunately, we're not ready for change.

Posted by: RBV at September 20, 2008 12:00 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Absurd comment, really.

KKK HQ allegedly in Ohio? How do you prove that?

... and then you try to tie that into your state voting Republican?

Take off.

Posted by: AlexC at September 20, 2008 11:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Stop racism - defeat Obama.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2008 3:08 PM

What McCain Shoulda Said

It must be Friday, I am linking to Kim Strassel:

"I come today to speak on behalf of the forgotten man, and that includes some 50% of Americans that either own their home, or are renting . . . the 95% of homeowners that are making their payments on time . . . the 99% of Americans that did not behave irresponsibly . . . that ultimately will pay the price for this bill."

John McCain? Dream on. Those were the words of Florida Rep. Tom Feeney in May, as the House considered a housing bailout. If the flustered McCain campaign is looking for pointers on how a principled conservative can politically weather a financial storm, it might make a study of this Sunshine State Republican.

A typically awesome column about principles over demagoguery, the real cause of the turmoil, and a good political and economic response.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 12:13 PM | What do you think? [0]

The Refugee's Allies

Blog brother br is way too classy to hide behind the WSJ Editorial board, so I will make his "I Told You So!" post on his behalf.

The refugee and I had a small difference of opinion yesterday on Senator McCain's bruising criticism of SEC Chairman Chris Cox. BR was disturbed that it was scapegoating in lieu of a serious understanding. I agreed on the lack of understanding but suggested that I would not defend Cox, and that it might be smart politics to take a few whacks at a Bush Administration official.

My freedom mentors and intellectual betters at the WSJ Ed Page come down squarely in br's camp today:

To give readers a flavor of Mr. McCain untethered, we'll quote at length: "Mismanagement and greed became the operating standard while regulators were asleep at the switch. The primary regulator of Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) kept in place trading rules that let speculators and hedge funds turn our markets into a casino. They allowed naked short selling -- which simply means that you can sell stock without ever owning it. They eliminated last year the uptick rule that has protected investors for 70 years. Speculators pounded the shares of even good companies into the ground.
Wow. "Betrayed the public's trust." Was Mr. Cox dishonest? No. He merely changed some minor rules, and didn't change others, on short-selling. String him up! Mr. McCain clearly wants to distance himself from the Bush Administration. But this assault on Mr. Cox is both false and deeply unfair. It's also un-Presidential.

Gigot & Co. even defend the decision to not reinstate the uptick rule. This is something that Larry Kudlow has been calling for. Unlike the DH (against it!), I don't have strong opinions on the uptick rule. Put me down for laissez faire, but if the uptick rule (more like infield fly than DH) could keep the US and UK from banning all short selling, I'd give it a listen. Larry suggests "why don't we just ban all selling -- that would protect prices."

Reasonable blog brothers can disagree. I'm not convinced it was bad, but I would love to hear Senator Mac say something useful or true about the ECWTASTGD.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Far from being that classy, The Refugee referenced that piece in his reply to jk this morning! The Journal is far more erudite than this pathetic Refugee.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 19, 2008 12:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, it was classy to leave it in a comment and not throw it in my face...

I agree on not supporting the narrative of a failed Bush Administration. On the same token, I don't think all of his appointments have been stellar. You and I will rush to circle the wagons when Administration officials are attacked, but we're in an electoral minority. Better to defend the Administration's successes, good policy, and good appointments.

Oh my NED! Am I really in the O'Reilly camp on this? While you get the WSJ Ed Page? I must be wrong, but I just can't see it.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2008 12:35 PM

September 18, 2008

Patriotic Taxpayer Biden!

But, Senator, I thought Dissent was patriotic?

AP: Biden calls paying higher taxes a patriotic act
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden says that paying higher taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans.

Biden says he and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama want to "take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people."

Under the Democrats' economic plan, people earning more than $250,000 a year would pay more in taxes while those earning less — the vast majority of American taxpayers — would receive a tax cut.

Biden told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday that, in his words, "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."

Hat-Tip: Insty. Who also links to Michael Silence:
You mean like this?

Biden gave average of $369 to charity a year

Boy, talk about reinforcing the "stereotype" of spending someone else's money.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 6:08 PM | What do you think? [16]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"I will pay my legal tax and not a penny more."

But there's another problem, my friend. All the government needs to do is declare something "legal," and you're on the hook for it. It will stay "legal" until a majority of your voting neighbors keep electing public representatives to keep it "legal."

Every tax I pay is "legal." Bloomberg wants to restore the "commuter tax," which would hit me quite "legally."

Remember that exchange from Episode I? "Is" "I will make"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 22, 2008 3:36 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

*sigh* Lets take this bit by bit, shall we?

Perry said:“Are you so completely blind to the consequences of what you propose? If government is to have the power to fund its projects, and if ONE person objects but must still pay into it, then government necessarily must have some sort of power to *force* taxes from that person.”

Well, I did consider this, and I did come up with the contingency plan for he who does not wish to be a citizen:

T. Greer said: “Of course, the easiest way around this is to simply not vote. But if one refuses to vote, one has no claim to either the protection or the services provided by the elected government to its citizens.”

As long as we are talking about principles, and staying away from the specifics of reality, this works perfectly well. You don’t vote, you don’t get the benefits provided by the government (save those that are non-excludable), and the government cannot force you to do anything. On the other hand, if you do vote, you get the benefits provided by collective action, and submit to the authority of the majority.

Perry said: Again, you're so blind to the consequences of what you say. The very power of voting is *implicitly* about the majority asserting its will over the minority…

What if I have no desire to participate? What if all I desire is for you to leave me alone, and I'll leave you alone, except for *purely* *voluntary* *contact* where all exchanges are done because both sides freely wanted them? To you, that doesn't matter: you and the rest of the voting majority make me lose by default, whether or not I "vote."

To paraphrase Walter Williams, how about you pay for only the goods and services that you want, and I'll pay for only the goods and services I want?
I *never* give up anything by voting against the majority or not voting at all, but the majority that opposes me has the luxury of claiming that I do. What about two of my friends who are so principled that they don't vote at all? All they want is for others to not deprive them of their rights, including not "taxing" them.

See my last statement for my response to all of the quoted statements.

Perry Said: While I hate to repeat myself, I will say it again. I don’t think the majority is inherently right. I do think that when a group of people choose their actions by way of vote, they are ceding their authority to that of the majority.
Perry SaidYou should read this: I suspect you think voting is "peaceful," so pay attention to my explanation of why it is *not*.

Sorry mate, your link is broken.

Perry Said: This is not an introductory economics or political science class, and I have no time to explain such a simple concept that you can look up yourself. If you want to argue with the big boys, then you really ought to inform yourself first.

If you can’t qualify your statement, then you have no right to decry any I have made- particularly if I can qualify mine.

I have yet to come across a single source which has disproven the fact that the military is a public good. Let me take one of the most obvious examples to prove my point: nuclear weapons. Because the United States has several thousand nuclear weapons and the ability to deploy those weapons anywhere in the world, no nation state will launch attack the United States with nuclear weapons, for fear of retaliation. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done- if you are occupying space in the North American you are benefitting from this deterrence. Furthermore, the fact that someone in Seattle is being protected by this deterrence does not lessen its utility to someone in New York, or Chicago, or anywhere else in the nation. This combination of non-rivalness and non-excludability is the definition of a public good.

~T. Greer, still open to holes being poked in his argument.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 22, 2008 4:06 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Well, I did consider this, and I did come up with the contingency plan for he who does not wish to be a citizen:

T. Greer said: "Of course, the easiest way around this is to simply not vote. But if one refuses to vote, one has no claim to either the protection or the services provided by the elected government to its citizens."

Still a load of manure. You know that it isn't going to happen, don't you? The whole idea of "American democracy" is for a majority to laugh in my face when I say "Leave me alone," because they need *my* taxes for their lives.

I *don't* want government to protect me from myself by taking money supposedly for my retirement, supposedly so it can bail me out later. I'd have no problem with paying minimal taxes so I'd have basic police and fire department services, perhaps public roads. But that isn't going to happen while there's a majority that votes, backed by the threat of violence, to seize my property to fund whatever they want.

"As long as we are talking about principles, and staying away from the specifics of reality, this works perfectly well. You don’t vote, you don’t get the benefits provided by the government (save those that are non-excludable), and the government cannot force you to do anything."

"Reality" is that democracy comes down to two wolves and a lamb deciding on lunch. *I* want my neighbors to leave me alone, but *they* won't leave me alone.

"On the other hand, if you do vote, you get the benefits provided by collective action, and submit to the authority of the majority."

Wrong. Voting against a collectivist official is an expression of my opposition, and in no way implies "submission." Or perhaps you'd like to suggest some way that I can refrain from voting and thus be left alone by my neighbors?

You're simply so blind to consequences. Do you have any idea what "collective action" truly represents?

"While I hate to repeat myself, I will say it again. I don’t think the majority is inherently right. I do think that when a group of people choose their actions by way of vote, they are ceding their authority to that of the majority."

What will it take for a state-worshipper like you to realize that going by majority decision is *implicitly* saying that the majority is correct? Such is the very fallacy of "democracy."

It's not my fault if you can't see that two plus two equal four, regardless of the language or units used.

Try copying and pasting the link, without the period at the end. I can't do it for you or hold your hand.

"If you can’t qualify your statement, then you have no right to decry any I have made- particularly if I can qualify mine."

Like I said, this is not an introductory class. What I expressed was such a simple concept, despite the fact that you have never encountered it, that anyone more than a simpleton can research it easily.

"I have yet to come across a single source which has disproven the fact that the military is a public good."

Then you need to read more sources.

"Let me take one of the most obvious examples to prove my point: nuclear weapons. Because the United States has several thousand nuclear weapons and the ability to deploy those weapons anywhere in the world, no nation state will launch attack the United States with nuclear weapons, for fear of retaliation. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done- if you are occupying space in the North American you are benefitting from this deterrence. Furthermore, the fact that someone in Seattle is being protected by this deterrence does not lessen its utility to someone in New York, or Chicago, or anywhere else in the nation. This combination of non-rivalness and non-excludability is the definition of a public good."

Since I must lead you in connecting the dots, I'll simply explain that there are two fallacies with your specific example: you're assuming an equal degree of benefit (if it exists at all) even if there is equal desire, and a military force is hardly non-rivalrous.

You said "North American" and so were talking about the continent, but I'll be gentle and not talk about the Northwest Territories or Yucatan Peninsula. Does someone living in Moab, Utah, have the same degree of protection as I, who lives in a metropolitan area that has now been targetted twice by terrorists? I'd like to see you argue that.

Darn, targetted twice. Out the window goes your nonsensical idea that nukes are "deterrent," huh.

A military force is a finite resource. Nuclear weapons may be numerous but are still only a small part of U.S. military spending, so your example hardly justifies the military as a public good. Here I'll necessarily put aside the issue of whether its proper, and speak of how things are happening in the present United States. When the National Guard is deployed to Iraq, that takes away from its domestic presence that could have been used to help in a hurricane aftermath.

But the best point comes from Frederic Bastiat, my patron saint, who debunked the concept of "public good" over a century before it originated. If you'd sit down for an evening and read "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen," you might actually understand the concept that government can spend money only by taking an equal amount of money away from the economy -- which means government spending is only a shift in the economy, and cannot generate an increase in the economy. Thus a public good that seems purely non-rivalrous is in fact depriving the rest of an economy from whatever private goods it would have otherwise produced.

So to insist that something is a "public good" by simplistic definitions does not take into account that while I am forced to pay for it, I am being deprived of "private goods" I'd have instead preferred. Clear enough?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 23, 2008 10:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

All of this is getting repetitive and more than a little confused as to who said what, but what really perplexes me is this idea:

Yet once you cast your vote you have signed the social contract; you have agreed to stick to the decision of the majority- even if it is wrong headed.

Of course, the easiest way around this is to simply not vote. But if one refuses to vote, one has no claim to either the protection or the services provided by the elected government to its citizens.

From where did this idea originate, tg?

Are you implying that it is in some de facto way a reality in this country, or anywhere in the world for that matter?

Do you not take pause at the notion that the "elected government" is the given and that individual Americans must "sign the social contract" in order to attain the Constitutional guarantees of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?" (Yes I know that's the Declaration and not the Constitution but the latter would not exist without the former.)

Even if the fantasy you describe were somehow the "law of the land" what recourse does a man have when his neighbor decides that he needs your good plow horse (or tractor) more than you do and comes to take it from you? What you're describing is quite simply - anarchy.

I'm not trying to perpetuate an extended and vociferous debate here, I just want to know where you came up with this idea and to the extent you think it is real, or even good, why on Earth you do?

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2008 3:40 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Well mates, I think that this discussion is growing a bit long. As such, I will offer my final statement here and then invite Perry to weigh in with the last word.

Perry said: “Still a load of manure. You know that it isn't going to happen, don't you? The whole idea of "American democracy" is for a majority to laugh in my face when I say "Leave me alone," because they need *my* taxes for their lives.”

But it is what should happen. In truth, I agree with you when you say that it is wrong for a group of “mobsters” to declare themselves a government and take away your property. Simply put, they have no authority to do so.

On the other hand, those mobsters do have the authority to declare themselves a government and take away their own property. This is political theory 101- the people cede their autonomy to the government (or to representatives in the government) every time they cast a ballot.
This is where you get it wrong Perry. Voting is not a statement of opposition. If you want to express your opposition to something, grab a picket. If you want to be part of the decision making process of the government of the United States, you vote.

Implicit in voting is recognition that your preferred policy might not be enacted. But, in the action of voting, you recognize that the outcome of the vote will become law.

John Galt brings up an interesting point when he ask: “Do you not take pause at the notion that the "elected government" is the given and that individual Americans must "sign the social contract" in order to attain the Constitutional guarantees of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"”

No, I don’t. The way I see it, the constitution does not guarantee us our life, liberty, our pursuit of happiness. No document cast by human hands can give us these rights. They are God-given, non- negotiation able elements of human existence. The constitution does not guarantee these rights- it simply recognizes them.

Perhaps I should clarify on exactly what I meant: If one refuses to pay taxes, or to do jury duty, or to work with the census bureau, then that man should not cede his autonomy to the government (i.e. vote), and the government should not expect him to do any of the said things. Likewise, he should not expect any of the benefits the state actually gives to its citizens- education, public transport, law enforcement, and the like.
I think that sums up my position on the relation between man and state pretty well. As always, feel free to pick this apart as you will.
But before I leave, I would like to make another point in regards to public goods:

1. For something to be a public good, it does not need to have an equal degree of benefit to everyone. Rather, it needs to be non-excludable, which in the case of nuclear deterrence, it is. You CAN’T exclude a person from the benefits of nuclear deterrence if they are living in the United States. (And I am pretty sure an ICBM strike in Canada and Mexico might just set off MAD as well, but that is an unrelated point.)

2. Nope, you debunked nuttin’. If we were talking about terrorist strikes, you would have. Yet seeing as I specified the attack as being a strike originating from a nation-state you can’t use terrorists to break this apart.

3. For the moment (and maybe for quite a bit longer- once I have finished reading What is Seen and What is Not Seen I will probably know for sure) Mr. Bastiat has beaten me. However, the thought has occurred to me that a public good is not made public because its production didn’t involve the consumption of private resources. After all, a fireworks display can be produced by private enterprise, but once the show begins, the actual lights and booms are both non-excludable and non-rival, even if the chemicals that are used to make the fireworks are neither.

@Perry, Joh Galt, & jk,
Thanks for an interesting discussion.
~T. Greer

Posted by: T. Greer at September 24, 2008 2:59 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Well mates, I think that this discussion is growing a bit long. As such, I will offer my final statement here and then invite Perry to weigh in with the last word."

No discussion is too long if you're interested in *truth*.

"But it is what should happen. In truth, I agree with you when you say that it is wrong for a group of “mobsters” to declare themselves a government and take away your property. Simply put, they have no authority to do so."

Read this: Copy and paste the URL, without the period at the end.

"On the other hand, those mobsters do have the authority to declare themselves a government and take away their own property. This is political theory 101- the people cede their autonomy to the government (or to representatives in the government) every time they cast a ballot."

As you say, that's theory. In practice, it doesn't happen. So again, I'd like to hear your explanation of how I can have my neighbors leave me alone, other than shooting every last one who tries to declare himself a partial sovereign over what is mine and mine alone.

"This is where you get it wrong Perry. Voting is not a statement of opposition. If you want to express your opposition to something, grab a picket. If you want to be part of the decision making process of the government of the United States, you vote."

Wrong again. The only time I've voted for a presidential candidate was in 1996, for Harry Browne. It was in part support for him, but also a statement of opposition for Clinton and Dole.

It's very simple logic: to vote for something is to vote against all other choices. In 1996, I voted for someone who wanted government to leave me alone, so there's no reason whatsoever that my vote was submitting myself to whatever majority turned out.

"Implicit in voting is recognition that your preferred policy might not be enacted. But, in the action of voting, you recognize that the outcome of the vote will become law."

Which is entirely the point of voting against something, as futile as it may be: you hope there will be just enough, a plurality if your jurisdiction allows, on *your* side so that you'll win. But once more, this is the fallacy of democracy: there's no protection for individual rights, because whatever the majority says, goes. Didn't you ever read the Federalist Papers?

"No, I don’t. The way I see it, the constitution does not guarantee us our life, liberty, our pursuit of happiness. No document cast by human hands can give us these rights. They are God-given, non- negotiation able elements of human existence. The constitution does not guarantee these rights- it simply recognizes them."

Actually, no. What do you suppose the Ninth Amendment is about, specifying rights not enumerated in the previous Amendments?

The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to, in fact, *guarantee* that the federal government (and later construed to extend to the several States' governments) would not infringe upon the rights of the states and the people.

"Perhaps I should clarify on exactly what I meant: If one refuses to pay taxes, or to do jury duty, or to work with the census bureau, then that man should not cede his autonomy to the government (i.e. vote), and the government should not expect him to do any of the said things. Likewise, he should not expect any of the benefits the state actually gives to its citizens- education, public transport, law enforcement, and the like."

Which sounds good to me, but we all know that's not going to happen in the real world, where my neighbors can't have public education, public transport, law enforcement, and the like, without picking my pocket more than they pay in.

"1. For something to be a public good, it does not need to have an equal degree of benefit to everyone. Rather, it needs to be non-excludable, which in the case of nuclear deterrence, it is. You CAN’T exclude a person from the benefits of nuclear deterrence if they are living in the United States. (And I am pretty sure an ICBM strike in Canada and Mexico might just set off MAD as well, but that is an unrelated point.)"

Which is entirely a problem with your (and most people's) simplistic notion of a public good: the assumption of equal benefit for everyone. There IS no equal benefit (value). Someone in a small Great Plains would need hardly any of this "deterrent," if any at all, compared to someone like me that lives near a major city. The point is that Joe Redneck might not be "excludable" from the benefit, but to him there's no benefit at all. Whether or not your "public good" exists makes no difference to him.

"2. Nope, you debunked nuttin’. If we were talking about terrorist strikes, you would have. Yet seeing as I specified the attack as being a strike originating from a nation-state you can’t use terrorists to break this apart."

Actually, seeing as I talked about the U.S. *military* as a whole, you yourself couldn't reduce things in the beginning to ICBMs and what-not.

"3. For the moment (and maybe for quite a bit longer- once I have finished reading What is Seen and What is Not Seen I will probably know for sure) Mr. Bastiat has beaten me. However, the thought has occurred to me that a public good is not made public because its production didn’t involve the consumption of private resources. After all, a fireworks display can be produced by private enterprise, but once the show begins, the actual lights and booms are both non-excludable and non-rival, even if the chemicals that are used to make the fireworks are neither."

Again, this is a problem with the usual (simplistic) concept of a public good: you fail to consider that the existence of a government-created public good comes only by depriving people of private goods. You can talk about "who benefits" all you want, but that's only part of the picture. Learn to examine the whole instead of just part. It's just like the fallacy of "crowding out": it assumes the U.S. economy is a closed box which cannot accept outside supplies of loanable funds, when we know in the real world that isn't true.

Well, you're at least reading Bastiat, which along with my replies here is a start on your real economics education.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 24, 2008 3:59 PM

Scapegoat in Chief

Certainly everyone has heard that McCain today said that SEC Chairman Cox should be fired for "betraying the public trust." The Refugee is pleased that McCain has a plan... for finding a scapegoat. McCain seems intent on proving that he really is the economic ignoramus that he has claimed to be in the past.

All of the excitement that The Refugee felt for McCain-Palin last week has evaporated.

Sorry, gotta run - the garbage truck hasn't arrived yet meaning that the old nose plugs can still be rescued.

But jk thinks:

I dunno, br, I am torn. I join you in an extreme loss of enthusiasm for the McWhathisname-Palin ticket. And I agree that McCain has done a miserable job on the Panic of '08 or ECWTASTGD.

But I will not waste six bytes of ASCII defending SEC Chairman Cox. He was one of my favorite Congressmen and I applauded his appointment to the SEC. That said, I am not the only one to consider his tenure a disappointment. (He got some whacks on Kudlow & Co. the other night as well).

If nothing else, Cox should realize that muffed regulation is the platform for increased regulation. For a promising appointment, I think he has been AWOL.

Blog pragmatist is also looking at damage control. Scapegoating a Bush appointee is pretty good politics.

Megan McArdle did a far better job than I did humiliating both candidates' stands on ECWTASTGD. The fact is that it is very very tricky politics. My hero, Phil Gramm never won the Presidency for a reason (the truth? You can't handle the truth!) Compared to trashing greed, I'll take scapegoating an ineffective Bush bureaucrat.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2008 5:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You're approach is very pragmatic, jk, but I think McCain's approach is both wrong and misguided. First, throwing Cox and the Bush Administration under the bus only feeds the anti-Bush narrative that the last eight years have been an unmitigated disaster. It also stokes anti-Republican sentiment that hurts in Congressional races. If McCain is elected, I sure he does not want to confront a veto-proof congress. More important, the narrative is not true. There have been many successes in this adminstration and Republicans should not be embarrased about defending them. I actually think that plays well with moderates (although not the press).

Second, the populist pap that all calamities are foreseeable chaps my hide. Most regulation is 20/20 hindsight as it should be. If congress set about regulating phantom menaces, the cure would be worse than the disease.

Populist pundits like O'Reilly argue that Cox and others "should have known this would happen sooner or later." Well, nearly every driver gets into an accident sooner or later (hopefully minor), and this sentiment is like saying after an accident, "You knew you'd get into an accident sooner or later, so why did you drive your car today?"

The decisions that people made about mortgages, both buyer and financier, looked rational at the time. Rates made payments afordable and 10%-20% annual increases in home values protected lenders. Should both have realized that rates couldn't stay low forever and that home values might decline? Maybe, but the standard should not be crystal ball clarity. Moreover, no one said, "Let's make this loan because we know the borrower will default and we'll all take a bath." Demonizing legitimate business transactions between competent adults is unbecoming a Republican. The exception is clear fraud. For example, Franklin Raines and his ilk should be prosecuted as fully as Ken Lay and the Enron bunch.

This is a must-read from today's Journal on the topic.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 19, 2008 11:01 AM

Congress Tries to Fix What They Broke

"I scream, you scream, we all scream for - REGULATION!"

In contrast to the major media narrative on the current financial turmoil there are two articles that everyone must read.

The first is Congress Tries to Fix What it Broke, an editorial by Investor's Business Daily.

Regulation: As the financial crisis spreads, denials on Capitol Hill grow more shrill. Blame an aloof President Bush, greedy Wall Street, risky capitalism — anybody but those in Congress who wrote the banking rules.


In other words, nobody up and down the line — from the branch office on main street to the high-rise on Wall Street — analyzed the risk of such ill-advised loans. But why should they? Everybody was just doing what the regulators in Washington wanted them to do.


The original culprits in all this were the social engineers who compelled banks to make the bad loans. The private sector has no business conducting social experiments on behalf of government. Its business is making profit. Period. So it did what it naturally does and turned the subprime social mandate into a lucrative industry.

Of course, it was a Ponzi scheme, because they weren't allowed to play by their rules. The government changed the rules for risk.

In order to put low-income minorities into home loans, they were ordered to suspend lending standards that had served the banking industry well for centuries. No one wants to talk about it, so they just scapegoat Wall Street.

The other is Zachary Karabell's Bad Accounting Rules Helped Sink AIG, a WSJ editorial.

The current meltdown isn't the result of too much regulation or too little. The root cause is bad regulation.

Call it the revenge of Enron. The collapse of Enron in 2002 triggered a wave of regulations, most notably Sarbanes-Oxley. Less noticed but ultimately more consequential for today were accounting rules that forced financial service companies to change the way they report the value of their assets (or liabilities). Enron valued future contracts in such a way as to vastly inflate its reported profits. In response, accounting standards were shifted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and validated by the SEC. The new standards force companies to value or "mark" their assets according to a different set of standards and levels.

The rules are complicated and arcane; the result isn't. Beginning last year, financial companies exposed to the mortgage market began to mark down their assets, quickly and steeply. That created a chain reaction, as losses that were reported on balance sheets led to declining stock prices and lower credit ratings, forcing these companies to put aside ever larger reserves (also dictated by banking regulations) to cover those losses.


Among its many products, AIG offered insurance on derivatives built on other derivatives built on mortgages. It priced those according to computer models that no one person could have generated, not even the quantitative magicians who programmed them. And when default rates and home prices moved in ways that no model had predicted, the whole pricing structure was thrown out of whack.

The value of the underlying assets -- homes and mortgages -- declined, sometimes 10%, sometimes 20%, rarely more. That is a hit to the system, but on its own should never have led to the implosion of Wall Street. What has leveled Wall Street is that the value of the derivatives has declined to zero in some cases, at least according to what these companies are reporting.

There's something wrong with that picture: Down 20% doesn't equal down 100%. In a paralyzed environment, where few are buying and everyone is selling, a market price could well be near zero. But that is hardly the "real" price. If someone had to sell a home in Galveston, Texas, last week before Hurricane Ike, it might have sold for pennies on the dollar. Who would buy a home in the path of a hurricane? But only for those few days was that value "real."

No matter what else you hear or read on this subject, keep these two articles in mind.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee was about to rant that everyone seems to have forgotten Eliot "Stockings" Spitzer's now-discredited prosecutorial targeting of AIG and CEO Hank Greenberg. However, a quick Internet search proved otherwise.

Upon indictment, AIG stock dropped something like 45% and never recovered. This substantially hampered the company's ability to raise capital. An alternate universe does not exist to determine if AIG would have failed anyway, but it's worth contemplating what role prosecutorial abuse may have played. Right next to the calls of "Wall Street greed" let's put "political hubris." Spitzer can be the poster boy - from the waist up, please.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 19, 2008 4:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, everybody who is not doing Google® searches for "Spitzer, AIG, Screwed it up" probably has forgotten it.

We'll hear a thousand times about Phil Gramm revoking Glass-Steagall, but nobody is going to remind us of Fannie, Freddie, or "Client Number Nine."

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2008 6:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't be so sure, jk. Yes it's only the Limbaugh faithful hearing it but today (Monday, 9/22) he's trumpeting "all roads [in the investment failures] lead to Fannie and Freddie and their Democrat buddies - Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Franklin Raines..." No mention of Spitzer yet though.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2008 3:22 PM
But The Heretic thinks:

Gents - in this highly divisive political environment it is very easy to point to the opposite side for the present troubles. But before pointing fingers to Freddie, Fannie and the friends of the democrats, consider two things:
1: FRE and FNM until recently were Govt. sponsored organizations. Which means they had a govt. regulator appointed by a republican administration with the blessing of a republican congress for the bulk of the period of such excess
2: The root cause, cheap liquidity, can be tied down to the Greenspan Fed, a self proclaimed republican.
3: If not for FRE and FNM, could President Bush have touted "home ownership is at its peak" or something to that effect.

Posted by: The Heretic at September 24, 2008 1:58 PM
But jk thinks:


I'll concede the point on "highest home ownership;" without the bubble that would probably be true just by growth but would not have been dramatic enough to brag over.

I'm less interested in exonerating Republicans that free markets. Republicans frequently act against freedom (else we wouldn't bother blogging around here). But some free market forces, notably the WSJ Ed Page and (surprise!) Senator John McCain saw this problem developing and pushed or called for correction. Rep. Frank and Senator Dodd said everything was fine and cashed some big checks.

The GSE is a bad model and I'll happily a Republican who suggests it.

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2008 2:58 PM

Other Than That, He's a Big Obama Fan

I have had some harsh words about FOXNews, but I cannot tell a lie -- I enjoyed this commentary

Hat-tip: Cap'n Ed Morrissey

The Spin-o-meter

Scientists have developed a system to analyze speeches to determine "spin."

"The important thing to recognise is that politicians aren't typically good at out-and-out lies, but they are very adept at dancing around the truth," says David Skillicorn, a mathematics and computer science researcher at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. "The 2008 election has so far given us plenty of chances to see them in action."

Skillicorn has been watching out for verbal "spin". He has developed an algorithm that evaluates word usage within the text of a conversation or speech to determine when a person "presents themselves or their content in a way that does not necessarily reflect what they know to be true".

So what are the results for 2008?
Each of the candidates had made speeches containing very high and very low levels of spin, according to Skillicorn's program, depending on the occasion. In general though, Obama's speeches contain considerably higher spin than either McCain or Clinton. For example, for their speeches accepting their party's nomination for president, Obama's speech scored a spin value of 6.7 - where 0 is the average level of spin within all the political speeches analysed, and positive values represent higher spin. In contrast, McCain's speech scored -7.58, while Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention scored 0.15. Skillicorn also found that Sarah Palin's speeches contain slightly more spin than average.

So the analysis appears to back up McCain's claim that he is a "straight talker". However, for the purposes of political speech-making this may not be an entirely good thing for him. "Obama uses spin in his speeches very well," says Skillicorn. For example, Obama's spin level skyrockets when facing problems in the press, such as when Jeremiah Wright, the reverend of his former church, made controversial comments to the press.

"When you see these crises come along, the spin goes up," Skillicorn says. "Obama is very good at using stirring rhetoric to deal with the issues. And it seems to work if you look at what happens in the polls afterwards."

Running this analysis side by side with the Luntz-o-meter would make for interesting political TV.

... if you're a politics nerd, that is.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 1:07 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Is a spin score of 7.58 for McCain a typo?

I think it was Gary Kasparov who claimed he could always beat any computer at chess because it ultimately comes down to the programming, which is done by other humans. One wonders how an algorithm can "compute" spin. As long as the results agree with one's visceral idea of what they should be I guess we call it accurate. Sorta like global warming or quantum physics.

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2008 4:15 PM
But jk thinks:

My blog brother jg des not believe in quantum mechanics? How does he explain the diffusion paradox? Oh well, we'll cover that another time.

My four years with a startup were spent commercializing research in computed analyses of language. I saw some pretty amazing things and while I won't stand up for this particular research, it is a serious pursuit, done by serious people, and I have seen some pretty amazing breakthroughs. The brief pieces of the algorithms included in the article seem to make sense.

But yeah, maybe it was 7.38; I think you're right.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2008 6:03 PM

September 17, 2008

Proof of Intelligent Design

A Boulder, Colorado astrophysicist has posted evidence on YouTube that he claims is "proof" of an Intelligent Designer of the universe. You may not be any more persuaded by his argument than I was but I'm sure you'll agree with me that the following leaves no doubt:

According to the United States Mint, the latest release in their well-known 50 State Quarters Program is the coin which commemorates the statehood of Arizona, home state of GOP presidential candidate John McCain.


The next state to be honored is ... Alaska, from whence we were graced with the GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.


Though the government website doesn't confirm it (imagine that - an unresponsive government entity) the Alaska quarters are already in circulation, as evidenced by the pair I received in change 2 days ago.

So not only do these coins come out in succession as Palin's place on the ticket succeeded McCain's, they are released immediately before the election that will surely place both of them in the White House just before the Mint releases the quarter commemorating ... Hawaii, home of the Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.


(Dude sorta even looks like "The One" too, 'cept for the funny hat.)


Even more spooky is that the first state quarter ever issued, the "oldest" one as it were, is for Delaware.


2008 Race Posted by JohnGalt at 3:28 PM | What do you think? [1]
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Oddly enough, "ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono" is Hawai'ian for "Vote Republican."

And in general Polynesian is means "Democrats want to raise taxes and kill babies. Republicans want to raise babies and kill taxes."

Either way, its three more I have to find for my kid so he can complete the collection.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 18, 2008 9:17 PM

Barr Carries Texas!

He may be the only guy on the ballot:

Texas election code §192.031 requires that the “written certification” of the “party’s nominees” be delivered “before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before election day.” Because neither candidate had been nominated by the official filing deadline, the Barr campaign argues it was impossible for the candidates to file under state law.

“Supreme Court justices should recognize that their responsibility is to apply the law as passed by the Legislature, and the law is clear that the candidates cannot be certified on the ballot if their filings are late,” says Drew Shirley, a local attorney for the Barr campaign, who is also a Libertarian candidate for the Texas Supreme Court.

This complete lack of seriousness is yet another reason that this little-l libertarian will never capitalize.

Hat-tip: Samizdat Dale Amon who links approvingly. Amon has a point about ballot access, but I cannot condone this stunt.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 3:21 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm the first to say that "the law" shouldn't necessarily be enforced, because whatever is enshrined in statute does not mean it's good, proper or just.

However, like I've said before, bad law ties down *people*, but the purpose of good law is to tie down government. This is election law that sets rules for government, and it should be followed. The SCOTUS decision in 2000 wasn't about "stealing" the election for Bush, but merely to say that it had no right to tell Florida not to follow its law about choosing electors by a certain deadline.

It's a scary thought that the McCain and Obama campaigns' foolishness could mean McCain won't get Texas' precious votes, without which we'd certainly have President Obama. People could still vote for McCain as a write-in, and I'd trust them to be smarter about that than Obama's supporters.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 18, 2008 10:36 AM

I'm a Lover, I'm a Leader...

I'm a Lover, I'm a Leader, I'm a Wild Speechin' Reader!

His Oneness sets up the teleprompter in a rodeo ring in Pueblo, Colorado.

Ain't a metaphor can't be rode! Whoopie! Hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 1:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

Executive Experience

I stand by my assertion that we should take Senator Obama at his word and judge him by the executive experience he has shown managing his campaign. You judge a CEO by profits, return on capital, and asset value -- right?

Let's give the Junior, part-time Senator high marks for revenue; he breaks a record for fund raising every time he turns around. But both Senators Clinton and McCain have achieved much higher poll-percentage per dollar. You can actually count delegates in Clinton's case. Divide the delegate counts by the revenue required and you'll see a real ass-kicking emerge.

So I question productive use of resources, Politico reports (Hat-tip: Insty) that he is still too cash strapped to share with the Democratic Senatorial Committee:

In rejecting a direct request from his Senate leader, Obama has put a fine point on the financial pressures he’s feeling as the presidential race turns toward the fall.

Obama raised a record-setting $66 million in August, leaving his campaign with about $77 million in cash now. Because he has turned down public financing, he can keep raising money through Election Day. John McCain, having accepted public financing, can’t do that — but he already has the $84 million in public money in his campaign coffers.

As for the equivalent of a stock price, I submit that their value on Intrade is a good proxy. McCain President 2008 trades this morning at 49.1. Obama's contract is 50.0 (McCain actually led last week) but you cannot doubt that McCain is getting better return on capital.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | What do you think? [0]

Two Failing Grades

ThreeSources has taken a couple of whacks at Senator McCain for his poor response to the current ECWTASTGD (Economic Crisis Worse Than Anything Since The Great Depression). While it's deserved, I want to pass out two failing grades and suggest that Senator McCain might still be a better choice.

The requested Mac-a-Whack goes to the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. His reflexive populism is bad politics and bad economics. After "getting in Obama's head" with his choice of Governor Palin, he allows Senator O inside his cranium:

We'll leave it to the debates to elicit just what each Senator regards as the "economic fundamentals" in a $13 trillion economy, but for our money the notable thing about the exchange was how fast John McCain let his opponent's sarcasm push him off message, such as it is.

One whiff from Barack Obama about "the mountain in Sedona where he lives," and by day's end Senator McCain was ranting about "corruption" and how he was going to "reform the way that Wall Street does business." Yesterday Senator McCain's inner populist had cooled enough to admit the existence of "honest people on Wall Street," but it still sounded as if this week's version of the McCain Presidency would be more about restructuring private financial markets he doesn't understand than fixing the Washington he knows.

To discuss Senator Obama's reaction, I'll yield the floor to Obama supporter Megan McArdle. She calls his reaction "high test hooey" and questions his reflexive blaming of President Bush:
What, specifically, should the Bush administration have done, Senator? Don't tell me they should have beefed up SEC enforcement, since this is not a criminal problem (aside from minor lies by Bear execs after the damage was already done). Perhaps he should not have reappointed Greenspan, or appointed Ben Bernanke? Both moves were widely hailed at the time. Moreover, to believe that a Democrat could have done better is to assert that a Democratic president would have found a Fed chair who would pay less attention to unemployment, or a bank regulator who would have tried harder to prevent low-income people from buying homes. Where is this noble creature? And why didn't Barack Obama push for him at the time?

Indeed, I ask the Senator to name one significant thing that Bush has done to create this crisis that couldn't also be laid at the feet of St. William of Little Rock. If Democratic policy is so good at protecting the little guy from asset price bubbles, how come the stock market crashed in 2000?

This kind of foolish grandstanding is not the change we need. It's just more of the same.

UPDATE: Michael Shear has a bylined WaPo editorial that smartly asks why McCain is embracing regulation "after many years of opposition. And there's video of the "greed" comments. Ouch.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Inquiring Refugees want to know: at what point does the profit motive become greed? Where is the bright line between the two?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 18, 2008 12:19 AM

I Quit

A longer post is forming on Senator McCain's bad reflex to blame greed for, well, everything bad.

But this was too funny to wait. The Yahoo news headline is Top Clinton fundraiser backing McCain, not Obama

Lynn Forester de Rothschild has said she thinks Democratic nominee Barack Obama is arrogant and has a problem connecting with average Americans.

Rothschild is a member of the DNC's Democrats Abroad chapter and splits her time living in London and New York. She was one of Clinton's top fundraisers, bringing in more than $100,000 for her presidential campaign. She built a multimillion-dollar telecommunications company before marrying international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

I'll do the Kos Kids' work for them today. Obama is too arrogant, and cannot connect to "the people" says Mrs. Rothschild. ROTHSCHILD!!!?? Controller of the world economy through the Masonic Lodge Rothschild? Splits her time between London and New York? ROTHSCHILD???

I quit. I am out of question marks.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | What do you think? [0]

Ushering in the "Most-partisan" Era

Hillary Clinton was scheduled to attend a rally sponsored by a number of Jewish organizations to protest Ahmadinejad's UN appearance . However, she canceled after learning that Sarah Palin would also be attending. So, a Democrat leader won't even be seen with a Republican at an event to protest a rogue dictatorship that sponsors terror, seeks nuclear weapons and promises to wipe Israel off the map once it gets them. If the Democrat's won't join Republicans on this, what will they join them on? This strips the veneer from the Democrat's "post-partisan" and "bipartisan" rhetoric for anyone who had such delusions.

Presidential Race 2008 Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:42 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

That would have been a powerful (bordering on historic) message for the two of them to stand together for freedom. Sad.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2008 12:04 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Nah. After that last SNL skit, those two won't be on the same stage for a long time...

~T. Greer

Posted by: T. Greer at September 17, 2008 3:49 PM
But jk thinks:

It gets better, as Democrat forces seek a disinvite.

I suppose that this is more "post-partisanship" on the Democrats' part, which is apparently defined as "partisanship so entrenched that it's been literally pounded into the ground."

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2008 7:50 PM

September 16, 2008

Don Luskin on FOXNews

I didn't think that could happen -- the Murdoch enforcement field is weakening somehow.

Anyways, Luskin's WaPo Op-Ed got some favorable coverage last night on Brit Hume's "Grapevine." Roll tape:

Might Interest a Couple ThreeSourcers

Galt-Taggart '08

Hat-tip: Don Luskin who says "At last! A viable third-party alternative -- with a woman in the veep position."

Posted by John Kranz at 6:38 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

You wouldn't want to vote for these "extremists." They believe that no man should be compelled to provide for another. Radicals.

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2008 4:52 PM

Don't know much about e-con-o-my

Remember the old "Mac-a-whack" game we used to play around here? I'm bringing it back.

Barack Obama has campaign commercials slamming John McCain for his ill-advised admission that he "doesn't really understand economics." Today, John McCain proved that he wasn't kidding.

Too many firms on Wall Street have been able to count on casual oversight by regulatory agencies in Washington. And there are so many of those regulators that the responsibility for oversight is scattered, unfocussed and ineffective. Among others, we've got the SEC, the CFTC, the FDIC, the SPIC and the OCC. But for all their big and impressive sounding names, the fact is they haven't been doing their job right, or else we wouldn't have these massive problems on Wall Street. At their worse, they've been caught up in Washington turf wars instead of working together to protect investors and the public interests. And we don't need a dozen federal agencies doing the job badly -- we need the best federal agencies to do the job right.

According to John it's all "Wall Street's" fault because those poor government agencies are just too fragmented, too powerless and too overworked to "do their job right."

Sarah, please straighten the poor man out - and be quick about it!

2008 Race Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"The best federal agencies"? Let me know when there are ANY at all.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 16, 2008 4:22 PM
But jk thinks:

I mentioned my disappointment. As the blog pragmatist, though, I must repeat that Senator Obama is not championing a free market approach to equities either. This one is a draw and you move on.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2008 7:12 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

There are too many other factors to abandon McCain, but he seems bent on reminding conservatives why they don't like him.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 16, 2008 10:49 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

And another thing: are these pols under the impression that a 96% haircut is just another day at the office? People who made bad investments are paying the price (as well they should).

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 16, 2008 10:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Putting jk's best possible spin on this, McCain is going "populist" to gain votes. The problem is that this blows the tires right off of the "Straight Talk Express."

Hence my plea to Mrs. Palin to remind the Senator that "too often, government is the problem rather than the solution."

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2008 12:15 PM
But LatteSipper thinks:

Right ... Sarah Palin that mavericky vp choice who frowns on too much government involvement

Posted by: LatteSipper at September 18, 2008 1:07 PM

Greed and Gravity

ThreeSources friend the Everyday Economist links to a superb blog post by Lawrence H. White (EE calls him "Larry" but I don't know him well enough for such liberties).

On campus this afternoon I overheard the following remark by a non-economist, trying to explain to another non-economist the Lehman failure and today's stock market decline: “It’s a combination of deregulation and greed. Boy, if you deregulate enough, the greed will follow.”

If I had butted in, I would have made two points. (1) If an unusually large number of airplanes crash during a given week, do you blame gravity? No. Greed, like gravity, is a constant. It can’t explain why the number of crashes is higher than usual. (2) What deregulation have we had in the last decade? Please tell me. On the contrary, we’ve had a strengthening of the Community Reinvestment Act, which has encouraged banks to make mortgage loans to borrowers who previously would have been rejected as non-creditworthy. And we’ve had the imposition of Basel II capital requirements, which have encouraged banks to game the accounting system through quasi-off-balance-sheet vehicles, unhelpfully reducing balance sheet transparency.

When I saw the excerpt, I was afraid that the author was whacking Senator John McCain. Sadly, Senator Mac has internalized TR too much, He reflexively blamed yesterday's meltdown on greed (gravity). Of course, Senator Obama blamed it on President Bush, so I am not really declaring a winner here.

But I expect a little more from Republicans, naive waif that I am.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Chuck "The Schmuck" Schumer was on "Hardball" last night, spewing the same "greed" and "deregulation" nonsense. And Chris Matthews looked like he was eagerly hanging on every word that idiot said, at one point grasping his pen with both hands and leaning forward slightly.

"Deregulation," what nonsense. Repealing the Glass-Steagall Act is often blamed for the subprime mess but actually did NOTHING beyond what was already there. Allowing commercial and investment banks to merge, and the ability to collateralize mortgages into securities, wouldn't have done anything without the very fact that people were buying homes they couldn't afford, and that mortgage lenders were being given carrots and sticks to give out subprime loans. In fact, collateralization of anything, not just debt obligations, doesn't make it possible to sell that underlying something. It only makes it *easier* to buy it in a bundle and at the amount you want. Investors, through whichever broker they use, could still buy a bunch of securities from a bank, but the popularity of CDOs made it much easier. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, either: as an investor, your punishment for a bad investment is built in.

Meanwhile, you can't tell me (some of you may recall I work in compliance) that the SEC and other government entities aren't regulating things. There is immense regulation everywhere you turn. The problem is that the regulation breeds moral hazard: investors think that if something is regulated (let alone it'll be backed by the government), it must be safer. Do we really think that Lehman would have lasted so long if investors didn't have the comfort of knowing it was buying "regulated" CDOs? Hell no: investors would have run for the hills once Lehman "announced intentions" to buy "these ultra-risky mortgage-backed securities that could lose all value at any time."

On the subject of Fannie and Freddie, it is FACT that they are responsible for the majority of the problems. Lenders made bad loans, which were collateralized, and Fannie and Freddie were all too eager to buy them. It is also fact that they were able to do so courtesy of their charters that gave them explicit backing by the federal government. THEY are the companies who grew too big, because government birthed, bred and fed them. I'm hardly the only one who warned that people are fooling themselves if they thought the federal government wouldn't step in to "save" them.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 16, 2008 12:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen, brother.

The IBD has a nice editorial detailing the extent to which regulation caused it.

Obama and Democrats on the Hill think even more regulation and more interference in the market will solve the problem their policies helped cause. For now, unarmed by the historic record, conventional wisdom is buying into their blame-business-first rhetoric and bigger-government solutions.

While government arguably has a role in helping low-income folks buy a home, Clinton went overboard by strong-arming lenders with tougher and tougher regulations, which only led to lenders taking on hundreds of billions in subprime bilge.

Market failure? Hardly. Once again, this crisis has government's fingerprints all over it.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2008 12:28 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The financial market is probably second only to pharmaceuticals in terms of regulation.

Actually, the solution is quite simple. Let's pass a law that prohibits stock and home values from ever declining. That'll solve it.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 16, 2008 12:58 PM

September 15, 2008


And to think I was voted the least likely person to make a Star Trek joke in my Senior yearbook.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee remains unphased!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 15, 2008 10:41 PM

September Surprise?

The New York Post quotes Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying that Obama asked the Iraqi government to delay the drawdown of US troops during his visit last July. If there's a sniff of truth to this report (and there's no apparent motive for such a high government official to lie in such a matter), then Obama is playing politics with the lives of our soldiers. If true, this should be a major scandal.

Democrats on Energy

My illustrious Senator, Ken Salazar, was picked to provide the Democratic response to the President's radio address. I'm sure nobody missed hearing that, but let's go over some of our favorite parts, as the Senator sent me a copy:

Democrats are working for change, and it starts with being honest about our energy future.

We consume 25 percent of the world’s oil, but we have less than 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves. We simply can’t drill our way to energy independence.

In Colorado, we’re doing our part on drilling. We have more than 34,000 active gas wells. And we’re going to drill a whole lot more in the coming years.

But we also know that drilling alone is not sufficient. Yet that was the only idea that John McCain and his friends at the Republican National Convention offered. “Drill baby drill” – that’s not enough.

We need it all.

We need to replace the oil we import from countries that don’t like us with alternative energy sources that we produce right here at home. Biofuels. Wind. Solar. Hydrogen. Geothermal. Clean Coal. American energy, American jobs. That’s what we need.

There's more but you get the drift. Here's the audio if you want to relive the excitement!

This strikes me as one of the most amazing misrepresentations I have heard since "I did not have sex with that woman." Drilling was the only idea at the RNC? GOP legislators have been pretty clear about an "all-of-the-above" strategy with all of Senator Salazar's kumbaya fuels plus nuclear plus expanded offshore drilling. Salazar downplays the environmentalism that he knows won't sell too well with his rural constituents, completely ignores nuclear, and misrepresents the rest.

I'm a big boy. I can handle and dig a little spin, a little shading, and a little aggressive positioning. But this is an outright lie.

And it was heard by at least ten or twenty people!

Palin a Racist?!

Behold, an example of Palinsanity.

1) The Pacific Northwest is full of racists.

2) Alaska is not much different.

3) No evidence Palin is a racist.

4) We need to ask questions and double check that's she not.


... in the Philadelphia Inquirer, no less.

Oh, btw... the author:

Catherine McNicol Stock is chair of the history department at Connecticut College and author of "Rural Radicals: Righteous Rage in the American Grain."

2008 Posted by AlexC at 4:58 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Yikes! "Montana Militia, the Posse Comitatus and the Sagebrush Rebels, and individuals such as Terry Nichols and Ted Kaczynski have made us wonder why so many 'angry white men' populated our rural regions." Scary stuff!

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2008 5:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

...because Sarah Palin is so obviously close to being an "angry white man."

Anyone catch the Peggy Noonan piece Friday?

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2008 6:39 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Liberals have become what they decry. This is bigotry, plain and simple: judging an individual based on stereotypes and superficial factors - including skin color. "She's a white Republican and from the Pacific northwest, therefore we can assume she's a racist until proven innocent."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 15, 2008 6:53 PM

He Can Do Much More With Your Money!

Senator Joe Biden (who? Is he running for something?) releases his tax returns. And -- like all collectivist, redistributionists -- he is a charity cheapskate:


Professor Mankiw shows that the Biden's giving is less than a quarter of typical Americans' and that they fit into a broad generalization (though less broad than the one I am making):

conservatives who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families and reject the notion that the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans, by any measure. Conversely, secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone's tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes

It's okay -- as long as he is generous with your money!

UPDATE: Byron York points out the story as well, including a correction to my too generous math (I compared Bidens' most generous year to the average):

“The average American household gives about two percent of adjusted gross income,” says Arthur Brooks, the Syracuse University scholar, soon to take over as head of the American Enterprise Institute, who has done extensive research on American giving. “On average, [Biden] is not giving more than one tenth as much as the average American household, and that is evidence that he doesn’t share charitable values with the average American.”

UPDATE II: The Bidens cry poverty (from the York story):
[Spokesperson David] Wade also suggests that Biden, who is famous for being the least wealthy member of the U.S. Senate, simply doesn’t have piles of money to give. “Like a lot of families that put three kids through college and have an aging parent move in with them, the Bidens aren’t divorced from the realities of everyday life,” Wade says. Still, Wade continues, “finding ways to give back is important to them.”

Put me down as pretty *^&*^ing tired of hearing about the Scrappy-Kid-from-Scranton-PA's indigentism. The dude makes over 300K, has the finest health insurance in the world (second to Castro I guess, but still), a pension that will give him a similar income and health plan for the rest of his life.

It must be very degrading for the other 99 Senators to not be a Kennedy. But you make lots more than me, friend, my less-than-gold-plated health plan is deducted, I have to divert funds to a 401K, and I bet I buy a lot more of my own lunches and plane trips. And, dude, I give a LOT more to charity.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Terri thinks:

He was holding up well in that story talking about his charity giving that he doesn't claim.
He could have been a big giver of thousands in cash on the streets to street people as far as we would have ever known.

But then he had to go a cry "we're too poor to give much!"

Some people just aren't bright enough to be VP.

Posted by: Terri at September 15, 2008 3:00 PM

Tough Love

The WSJ Ed Page (and I) agree about some tough love for the financial system:

The result will be a very rough Monday, but the government had to draw a line somewhere or it would have become the financier of first resort for every company hoping to buy a troubled firm. Especially with the Fed discount window now wide open to many more financial institutions, and to many kinds of collateral, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's refusal to blink won't get any second guessing from us. If Lehman is able to liquidate without a panic, and especially if its derivative contracts can be safely undone, the benefits would include the reassertion of "moral hazard" on Wall Street. The Merrill acquisition before it faces a Lehman-like run should also reduce the risk of contagion.

Besides, a complete meltdown of the banking system should take some San Dieagans mind off of football

UPDATES: Let's tack on some quotes of the day:

-- "Lehman Brothers, aren't they the guys who make the cough drops?" -- Don Luskin on Kudlow & Co. last week

-- "Remember, if it’s black smoke, they haven’t chosen a Pope come up with a deal for Lehman; if it’s white smoke, they have".-- a rare QOTD appearance for Paul Krugman (ht:ee)

-- "You know the world is coming to an end when Lehman Brothers closes its doors, and the Cubs pitch a no-hitter." -- Club for Growth's Andrew Roth

September 14, 2008

Centennial State Spirit

"Near Lyons" would be the foothills in Boulder County, pretty reliable Democratic territory, though I am not sure the participants live around there. I like the poll at the end of the clip.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 8:55 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

You go grrlz!

One has to wonder though if they have trouble getting a good sight picture through their burkas.

Oh yes, that's right - they aren't required by religious law of the land to WEAR a burka. That's because they live in the United States of effin' America!

And that woman caller to Boulder's progressive radio station thought Sarah Palin was "frickin' scary." Wait'll she gets a load of THESE ladies!

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2008 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Progressive women are calling the Samtec Shrouded Header Hotline???

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2008 3:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oops. My work is showing! Too many tabs open at once or something...

Try this one.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2008 6:41 PM

Server Move This Evening

Point of Order: The hosting company that brings you ThreeSources ( -- they’re pretty good!) will be moving our server from LA to San Diego this evening at 10PM Pacific time (that's 1AM in Philly) Posts and comments entered after the synch and before the move might be lost.

There is also a DNS change that might take a while to propagate. Hang in there, it's better than a hurricane.

UPDATE: I hope no San Diego football fan admins hear that this site is registered in Colorado...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

The Anti-Obama

Surely no ThreeSourcer would ever miss The Journal Editorial Report but, in case you wanted to see this one one more time, I YouTubed it. Mary Anastasia O'Grady perfectly nails Governor Palin as "The Anti-Obama"

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 1:08 PM | What do you think? [0]

Obama: Is it Over?

Rumours of his desmise might be exaggerated, but man... has the public opinion shifted.

Obama will lose because with less than two months remaining voters won’t be able to get comfortable with him. He can’t stay on message and he can’t avoid sending signals that interfere with the message when he does.

McCain, on the other hand, has been superb going back at least to Obama’s European tour. Mainstream America is comfortable with him and, with Palin’s selection, conservatives who had their doubts are onboard. The GOP is energized and suddenly an unwinnable election is reversed.

Obama got this far by winning small states and Southern states he has no chance of carrying in November. In Georgia, for example, the latest Insider Advantage poll has McCain pulling 56 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Obama, numbers that are not likely to change more than 4 percentage points in November. The undecideds and those who intend to vote for third-party campaigns are at 6 percent.

In this election, voters will decide early. Obama’s been in a yearlong campaign; McCain’s familiar. The two are sufficiently exposed and known for voters to make a decision now.

It’s not over. But it’s getting there — and Obama knows it.

Victor Davis Hanson may have been right all those months ago when he said, "There is a certain irony here. In a year that for historical and contemporary reasons should be a Democratic shoo-in, the Democrats have nominated about the only candidate who can lose in November, the Republicans the only one of their own who can still win it."

2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:27 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Hillary tried to tell them this, albeit too late and too timidly. Now the buyers remorse within the donkey clan is growing by the week... no, by the day.

P.S. McPalin scheduled a "pancake breakfast" event at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds west of Denver tomorrow. Free tickets were available at a southeast Denver suburban McCain office. There was a sizable line of takers. (Can't say how long - I wasn't there.) The event has been converted to a rally. Apparently there weren't enough pancake griddles to accomodate the throngs of "Palinistas."

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2008 9:52 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's an interesting data point: According to the latest poll in Minnesota that state is now dead even.

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2008 10:26 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Should McCain go on to win in November, the parallels between Iraq and the election will be more delicious than any pancake breakfast.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 15, 2008 11:27 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Q- What's the difference between Sarah Palin and 'The Surge?'

A- Only the number of M-16 rifles that were used.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2008 2:54 PM

September 13, 2008

Free Trade

Jake Tapper points out that Senator Obama is questioning Senator McCain's patriotism:

"Just ask the machinists in Pennsylvania who build Harley-Davidsons," Obama said of McCain's record. "Because John McCain didn’t just oppose the requirement that the government buy American-made motorcycles, he called Buy American provisions 'disgraceful.' Just ask the workers across this country who have seen their jobs outsourced. The very companies that shipped their jobs overseas have been rewarded with billions of dollars in tax breaks that John McCain supports and plans to continue.

"So, when American workers hear John McCain talking about putting 'Country First,'" Obama said, "it’s fair to ask –- which country?"

Lovely. Protectionism = Patriotism.

Last week, Samizdat Dale Amon provided a (cherry-picked, I thought) list titled Comparing the Twins. Like every third party candidate and devotee from Ross Perot, Pat Buchannan, and George Wallce to Ralph Nader and -- I'm guessing Eugene Debs and Henry Wallace, Amon needs to prove that there is "not a dime's difference" between the major party candidates.

I enjoy reading and will always respect Amon, but he cherry-picks the list, then fails to score them accurately. Free trade and confiscatory taxation don't make the cut -- though his pet project "space policy" does. (I don't remember Lysander Spooner's position on government space exploration...)

I commented "Trade! Trade! Trade!" trusting the power of exclamation marks to carry my point. I cannot see any lover of liberty or prosperity ignoring this -- no matter how badly he or she would like to make a point.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 3:59 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

In the great political game of tit for tat, where can we find an example of McCain questioning The One's patriotism?

Why is it always the other side that's replete with examples?

Posted by: AlexC at September 13, 2008 4:36 PM
But HB thinks:

The problem that protectionists have is that if you carry their arguments to their logical conclusion, they believe that we should be living in autarky. Even beyond that, what Obama clearly fails to recognize is that foreign trade does not consist of countries selling to countries, but rather individuals freely engaging in transactions with one another to their own benefit.

Posted by: HB at September 13, 2008 11:13 PM

It was the worst of times, and it was the worst of times.

Don Luskin takes on the pessimists in a WaPo guest Editorial today:

Barack Obama has frequently used the Depression exaggeration, including during a campaign speech in June, when he said that the "percentage of homes in foreclosure and late mortgage payments is the highest since the Great Depression." At best, this statement is a good guess. To be really true, it would have to be heavily qualified with words such as "maybe" or "probably." According to economist David C. Wheelock of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, who has studied the history of mortgage markets for the Fed, "there are no consistent data on foreclosure or delinquency going all the way back to the Depression."

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) database, which allows rigorous apples-to-apples comparisons, only goes back to 1979. It shows that today's delinquency rate is only a little higher than the level seen in 1985. As to the foreclosure rate, it was setting records for the day -- the highest since the Great Depression, one supposes -- in 1999, at the peak of the Clinton-era prosperity that Obama celebrated in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention late last month. I don't recall hearing any Democratic politicians complaining back then.

Even if Obama is right that the foreclosure rate is the worst since the Great Depression, it's spurious to evoke memories of that great national calamity when talking about today -- it's akin to equating a sore throat with stomach cancer. According to the MBA, 6.4 percent of mortgages are delinquent to some extent, and 2.75 percent are in foreclosure. During the Great Depression, according to Wheelock's research, more than 50 percent of home loans were in default.
Here's another one not to be too alarmed about: Obama is flat-out wrong when he frets on his campaign Web site that "the personal savings rate is now the lowest it's been since the Great Depression." The latest rate, for the second quarter of 2008, is 2.6 percent -- higher than the 1.9 percent rate that prevailed in the last quarter of Bill Clinton's presidency.

Full disclosure: I'm an adviser to John McCain's campaign, though as far as I know, the senator has never taken one word of my advice. He's been sounding a little pessimistic on the economy of late, too.

Quote of the Day

I think they spent months trying to figure out how they can position Obama as better qualified than McCain, and basically came up with the fact that Obama can type. -- commenter "Village Idiot" at Ace of Spades HQ
Hat-tip: Insty
2008 Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | What do you think? [0]


Email from my brother:

And my fave:


2008 Posted by John Kranz at 11:38 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 12, 2008

A History Lesson For Whoopi

In response to John McCain's statement that he preferred constitutionalist judges, Whoopi Goldberg responded, "Should I be worried about being a slave, about being returned to slavery because certain things happened in the Constitution that you had to change?" The line actually received some applause and McCain sort of brushed it off, telling Whoopi that he understood her point (Barbara Walters followed by assuring the black women on the show that "us white folk will take care of you"). My response would have consisted of a history lesson.

To the extent that the Constitution is flawed -- and certainly we all agree that the acceptance of slavery is a flaw -- the document can be amended, per Article V, by the legislature with two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate and the subsequent approval of three-fourths of the states legislatures. Thus, as outlined in the document itself, it is not the role of the judiciary to make changes to the Constitution therefore rendering Whoopi's point moot.

2008 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Amazingly enough, Ms. Goldberg, the Constitition actually has been amended to prohibit slavery (13th), ensure citzenship (14th), and voting rights (15th).

Ten points to hb for watching -- that requires a McCain type toughness with which I was not gifted.

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2008 11:31 AM

Put The Gloves Back On

If this is how you get tough, go with pusillanimous -- it worked in the primary!

Take it away, Jonah:

Yep. The day after 9/11, as part of its "get tough" makeover, the Obama campaign is mocking John McCain for not using a computer, without caring why he doesn't use a computer. From the AP story about the computer illiterate ad:

"Our economy wouldn't survive without the Internet, and cyber-security continues to represent one our most serious national security threats," [Obama spokesman Dan] Pfeiffer said. "It's extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn't know how to send an e-mail."

Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by "extraordinary." The reason he doesn't send email is that he can't use a keyboard because of the relentless beatings he received from the Viet Cong in service to our country. From the Boston Globe (March 4, 2000):

McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain's encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He's an avid fan - Ted Williams is his hero - but he can't raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.

In a similar vein I guess it's an outrage that the blind governor of New York David Patterson doesn't know how to drive a car. After all, transportation issues are pretty important. How dare he serve as governor while being ignorant of what it's like to navigate New York's highways.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 7:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

Where was the President?

Senator Dodd (D - Countrywide) looks to the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and "has the gall to ask in a Bloomberg Television interview: 'I have a lot of questions about where was the administration over the last eight years.'" Sorry for Senator Dodd, Al Hubbard and Noam Neusner answer him in the Washington Post today. The whole article is great fun, but the short answer is pretty much "dealing with intransigent House and Senate Banking Committees that refused to acknowledge a problem as they lapped up lobbying funds."

The two former Administration representatives document the number of times that concerns were raised by President Bush (including last year's SOTU) as well as President Clinton, former FOMC Chairman Alan Greenspan, Republican Senator Richard Shelby, &c.

How did Fannie and Freddie counter such efforts? They flooded Washington with lobbying dollars, doled out tens of thousands in political contributions and put offices in key congressional districts. Not surprisingly, these efforts worked. Leaders in Congress did not just balk at proposals to rein in Fannie and Freddie. They mocked the proposals as unserious and unnecessary.
As recently as last summer, when housing prices had clearly peaked and the mortgage market had started to seize up, Dodd called on Bush to "immediately reconsider his ill-advised" reform proposals. [Rep. Barney] Frank, now chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said that the president's suggestion for a strong, independent regulator of Fannie and Freddie was "inane."

Hubbard and Neusner ask "Where was Senator Dodd?" -- Ooh, I know this one! He was at Countrywide getting a loan!

Hat-tip: Greg Mankiw

Lipstick on a Pig

This just goes to prove the old aphorism - "There's more than one way to put lipstick on a pig!"


(Just doing my part to help Senator Obama keep the phony outrage alive.)

2008 Race Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | What do you think? [0]

Mainstreaming It

Mike Rappaport on the Gibson Palin interview:

So, according to Wikipedia at least, I had been right. It was associated with several different notions. And more importantly, Sarah Palin was correct to ask Gibson, which aspect of the doctrine? If Wikipedia is correct, Gibson owes Palin another apology.

What is going on with Gibson? My guess is that there are at least two reasons for his hostility. First, he cares about his peers in the MSM and they want him to be harsh to Palin. He is trying his best, and that involves some inaccurate and unfair questioning. Second, he was chosen to interview Palin, and that makes him suspect with the others. To show that he really is no pushover, he needs to be harsher than he should be.

Of course, there are boobs out there who don't realize the tricks that are being played. For example, Andrew Sullivan thinks Palin should have known what the Bush Doctrine was, but doesn't that suggest he is misinformed about it? The rest of Sullivan's post has similarly weak points, including his claim that she doesn't know what the presidential oath says.

I suppose one would be wrong to expect an ABC anchor to be as authoritative and factual as Wikipedia.

Everybody is talking about the Gibson interview, which I did not see, and I have not heard a word about the 9/11 Presidential Forum, which I might have been the only American to watch. Juan Williams called it a snore-fest. Brit Hume, when told the campaigns were striving for comity and avoiding controversy, asked his correspondent "well, can't you drum some up?"

Too nicey-nice I suppose. I'll suggest both candidates di pretty well. Perhaps Senator Obama was able to recapture some of his "cool" in the non-combative venue. He was pretty charming in front of a self-described "home crowd" at Columbia.

Yet, I was astonished at the cluelessness of the media moderators. PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff and Richard Stengel, editor of TIME magazine were clearly both auditioning for the role of Ellsworth Toohey when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie get around to filming "The Fountainhead." It was a great example of bias in that it was not intentional, but they clearly don't think anything ever gets done unless there is a government program. Woodruff could not accept Senator McCain's assertion that America was "exceptional" as not "you're saying we're better than other countries."

People really do get their news from Time and NPR and feel that they're informed. But their leading lights were pretty dim last night.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Count The Refugee as the other person to watch the snore-fest. Obama did well, as jk noted, but the moderators seemed more pointed toward McCain and more conversational with Obama. They read McCain's responses on a couple of questions to Obama before he answered, which seemed to be a very unfair advantage.

McCain articulated some populist positions that made The Refugee cringe (i.e., elevating the "Office of Volunteerism" [or whatever the names is] to a position 'just down the hall.')

The Refugee had to chuckle when Obama seemed to suggest that the way to improve volunteerism is to pay 'em more...hopefully, it was just a misunderstanding...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 12, 2008 2:23 PM

Obama: Gloves Off Again

Jake Tapper @ ABC

this is by my count the 4th time Obama's campaign has officially or unofficially made such a declaration that Obama will "take off the gloves" and fight back.

That's a lot of pairs of gloves.

The Isotoner campaign, one might say.

Hee hee.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:31 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

I thought this was very harsh for Tapper. He's not in the tank for The One like many of his colleagues, but this was tough -- bloom off the rose?

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2008 1:20 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee reads it a tad differently. Tapper and the other Obama campaigners, er, media are frustrated that Obama has not been attacking hard enough. He expresses his frustration in sarcasm.

The phrase "Campaign sponsored by Isotoner" does have a ring to it. It also proves that Obama is hand-in-glove with the Big Mittens lobby.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 12, 2008 3:53 PM

Generic Ballot

I know, I know.... Generic politicians don't run for Congress.

But the Democrats have to be asking themselves, "what the hell just happened?"

Now that the symbolic leadership of the party is shifting away from Bush and toward the suddenly popular Republican presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin, things may be changing. This shrinks Bush's shadow over the Republicans, revealing more of the Democrats' own shadow stemming from high disapproval of Congress. The key question is how much of this is temporary because of the tremendous bounce in support for the Republicans on many dimensions coming right off of their convention. The degree to which the Republican bounce is sustained, rather than dissipates, in the weeks ahead will determine whether the 2008 race for Congress could in fact be highly competitive, rather than a Democratic sweep.

Read it all.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:06 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Hurricane Sarah has breached the Democratic levees. They can pump fast enough.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 12, 2008 1:05 PM

Millions of Green Collar Jobs!

It's -- like -- Senator Obama is already President!

Thin Film Solar Companies Raise Hundreds of Millions in Funding

Companies that make thin film solar cells continue to raise huge amounts of money from venture capitalists.

The latest thin film company to announce a large venture round is SoloPower, which raised close to $200 million, according to VentureWire.

In August, Nanosolar announced a $300 million fundraising round and AVA Solar raised an undisclosed, nine-figure sum, according to VentureBeat. In July, Miasole raised around $200 million, according to VentureWire.

Thin film solar cells, which are made from a material called copper indium gallium selenide, are cheaper and thinner than the crystalline silicon cells used in the vast majority of solar panels on roofs.

This could reduce our dependency on foreign oil, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and provide jobs in the clean energy sector! This is awesome stuff! I read the post twice, however, and could not figure out which government office or division was making this happen.

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:49 AM | What do you think? [0]

Udall Ad

As a Pennsylvanian, I would have never seen this anti Mark Udall running in Colorado, if he hadn't freaked out over it.

"The offensive representations and slanderous image directly tie Mark Udall to the use and promotion of marijuana. This is an outrageous portrayal that finds no credence whatsoever in fact" [Udall attorney] Friednash wrote to [TV station manager] Cornetta. "Further, there is nothing in the Department of Peace legislation that authorizes the purchase of a van or that says one of the activities of the Department will be smoking marijuana in a smoke filled van."

Ok, so that last line was pretty good.

But johngalt thinks:

My press release in response to Udall's:

"As the owner and driver of a compact van manufactured more than fifteen years ago I am deeply offended by your outrageous and slanderous suggestion that the only cause of such a van being filled with smoke is smoking marijuana inside of it. Further, there is no component of marijuana or marijuana cigarettes that may be found within the oil pan of my van's engine."

"Perhaps you and your staff should re-view the commercial message which featured a smoke-filled van and consider just what part of your personal backgrounds caused you to presume that all smoke-filled vans are symbols of marijuana users."

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2008 2:51 PM

Biden Teaching Obama His Old Tricks

Lost in Obama's recent lipstick flap is the fact that his statement immediately prior to the ill-fated remark was plagiarized. Leading up to the punchline, Obama mocked McCain:

"Watch out, George Bush. Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics … we’re really gonna shake things up in Washington."

However, this is almost verbatim from a cartoon by Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles.

Who writes this guy's speeches - Joe Biden?

Presidential Race 2008 Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:45 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

It is a pretty good line, br...

I've got double-standard fever: Biden's a one man wrecking crew yet the AP leads this morning with a STOP THE PRESSES revelation that Gov. Palin might have changed her position on global warming over the years.

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2008 11:32 AM

September 11, 2008

Saint Joe

I read this Jeffrey Rosen piece on Senator Joe Biden, or as Rosen calls him "Civil liberties' greatest salesman." Pretty hard hitting stuff for the (once proud, I have to remind people) New Republic:

Moments after the September 11 attacks, as Biden watched his colleagues evacuate the Capitol, a reporter asked him whether America would have to revisit the way it protects our public institutions. "I hope that's not true," Biden replied, according to his autobiography. "[If] we have to alter our civil liberties, change the way we function, then we have truly lost the war."

Well said, I suppose (two nice things about Biden in two days, baby!) but to Rosen it is "a telling response, given the situation unfolding around him--and a perfect reflection of his career." I guess we contrast that to the other 99 Senators who were calling to reinstate internment caps and Adams's Alien and Sedition Act.

Rosen then goes on to praise Biden's civil-libertarian performance in the Bork and Thomas hearings. I don't like this locution, but the only thoughtful and intelligent response is "puh-leeze!" Biden was an embarrassment to the nation in both of those (his perfidy is well documented in Justice Thomas's book, My Grandfather's Son). Biden was a cupcake to Judge Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, and a complete bastard to Bork, Thomas, Roberts and Alito.

Well, "puh-leeze" may be the top of my intellectual riposte, but Tom Smith shows a little more heft. "Just Embarrassing," he calls it. Then he destroys it:

I was working in the White House on economic policy during the Bork hearings, and followed them closely. I would have thought a more grotesque perversion of justice would not have been possible, but the Thomas hearings had not occurred yet. The Bork hearings were one of those moments that permanently diminished our political culture, probably irrevocably. And of course, there would have been no need to stop Bork at any cost, had the Supreme Court not created such a vulnerable, because not founded in law, right in the first place. So to protect a made up law we had to throw what were the norms in the legal profession of fairness and civility (such as they were) out the window. Nor is it over yet -- ask Bristol Palin. It's a gift that keeps on giving. And 20 some years after the first Borking (at least the English language, that astute judge, is not deceived), we get to read a journalist piously calling the whole sorry, discouraging, embarrassing, and utterly unedifying mess a cherished moment of public education in the holy right of privacy. I'm sorry, but that's just revolting. Senator Joe was educating Americans on the constitution, all right, but not in the way Rosen thinks.

It is particularly ironic that this inspiring civics lesson that Rosen depicts on the right of privacy was accompanied and followed by so many grotesque invasions of privacy, starting with Judge Bork, moving on to Justice Thomas, and bringing us right up to the present day of what sex education was gotten by Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter. Funny how that works. You start destroying the village in order to save it, and pretty soon everybody is dead or covered in blood.

Thanks for the memories, Joe. But I guess none of the bad stuff was Biden's fault. He gave into calling Anita Hill (for her utterly perjurious testimony, but that's another story) as a witness, Rosen breathlessly informs us, only after the pressure became "irresistible." Brave, brave, brave Sir Joe.

I consider the Bork hearings to be one of the lowest points in American government. To deify Senator Biden over their handling is too much.


2008 Posted by John Kranz at 5:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Always Remember

Has it been seven years?


As soon as Sarah Palin delivered the punch line on her 'hockey moms are pitbulls' joke at the convention you just knew it was going to become a catch phrase in this election, didn't you?

Yes, "putting lipstick on a pig" is a well known aphorism.
Yes, Barack Obama used it in the context of criticizing his opponent's economic policy positions.
But Barack also knew it would be instantly associated with Palin's invocation of the power word in the 2008 election - Lipstick.

It's called a double-entendre and Barack used the Palin angle of it to energize his OWN base under the cover of "a well known aphorism" applied to John McCain and his "Bush policies." The talking heads have it all wrong though. Barack wasn't implying that Palin is a pig. Instead he's calling McCain (and his policy positions) a pig that's been "dressed up" by sexy Sarah, the Caribou Barbie. Palin herself is the metaphorical lipstick.

The problem for Barack is, even by this interpretation of his intent, the remark was sexist. (Palin was chosen only for her pretty face and to pander to women.) With people to whom sexism is offensive this episode hasn't made any points. He might as well refer to Joe Biden's opponent as "McCain's sweetie."

UPDATE - 9/11 15:53: Obama admits that my description is accurate as long as, you know, IF that is what he had INTENDED to mean. Letterman: "I don't know, you're way ahead of me." (audience laughs) [Wink, wink.]

Later he says he'd have gone after Al Qaeda and bin Laden in Afghanistan alright but instead of "spending a trillion dollars in Iraq" he'd have "focused on our energy problems here at home" because we really needed to "create the kinds of energy-efficient economy that will allow us to weaken the forces of terror." Also, "what are we doing in terms of giving farmers there [Afghanistan] an alternative to growing poppy, right, so narco-trafficking has funded terrorism in that region."

Maybe we could teach them how to build windmills.

2008 Race Posted by JohnGalt at 1:10 AM | What do you think? [3]
But AlexC thinks:

John, but it's the next line that seals the deal. "You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink. it's still gonna stink after eight years"

It's definatly about McPalin.

That being said, Palin should throw it back in his face at some point further down the road... the longer we dwell... the worse it looks.

Although it doesn't look like Obama is helping himself, trying to explain his way out.

Posted by: AlexC at September 11, 2008 11:50 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

To tell you the truth, I don't think Palin should be offended by this.

On the other hand, John McCain should.

Afterall, if Sarah is the lipstick, then John is a pig.

~T. Greer, in agreeance with AlexC on that last point.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 11, 2008 12:20 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Philip Terzian says get witty.

Posted by: AlexC at September 11, 2008 3:12 PM

September 10, 2008

What Next?

Byron York.

When McCain and running mate Sarah Palin appeared this morning at Van Dyck Park, in the city of Fairfax, Virginia, the people spilled out of the natural amphitheater, over the sides, out the back, and nearly all the way to the Old Lee Highway. The rally had originally been scheduled for Fairfax High School, but some school board members objected. With controversy brewing, the McCain campaign moved the event to the park. It was a good idea; the high school facility could handle 6,500 people, which would have been a huge crowd in pre-Palin days. But today, the school wouldn’t have been nearly big enough. After the rally, McCain officials told me 23,000 people had been there. Even if that estimate was a little high, it was still McCain’s biggest rally ever — and that, at mid-morning, on a weekday.

What happens if/when in a few days McCain goes to one part of the country and Sarah goes to another... and she draws crowds two or three times bigger than McCain?

2008 Posted by AlexC at 4:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

Change You Can Believe In

Professor Mankiw finds a ranked list of recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac political contributions. Expectedly, Senator Dodd (D - Countrywide) tops the list; unsurprisingly, Democrats get the top five and seven of the top ten. I'm a little concerned how the Junior Senator from Illinois scored the number three spot





1. Dodd, Christopher J




2. Kerry, John




3. Obama, Barack




4. Clinton, Hillary




5. Kanjorski, Paul E




6. Bennett, Robert F




2008 Posted by John Kranz at 3:49 PM | What do you think? [0]


20080910intern.gif Don Luskin has the picture but no ordering information:
Posted by John Kranz at 3:35 PM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

Fortunately for you, Vice President Palin does not smoke cigars.

Posted by: AlexC at September 10, 2008 4:29 PM

jk Says Something Nice about Sen Biden

Mark your calendars - 9/10/08. This is a pretty classy escape:

When he got to Chuck Graham, a state senator from Green Meadows, Biden urged the lawmaker to "stand up Chuck, let 'em see ya."But Graham, who is in a wheelchair, can't stand up - a fact Biden quickly picked up on.

"God love ya, what am I talking about," Biden said. "You can tell I'm new," he quipped, asking the audience to stand up for Graham instead.

Hat-tip: The Corner

Bristol's Mom

Some people are very talented.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

After Palin's speech at the convention, Jon Caldera remarked, "I want to have her baby!"

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 10, 2008 12:01 PM

September 9, 2008

In Case You Missed It

FOX News Sunday is required viewing for the VRWC, but on the off chance you missed, Power Line has a noteworthy transcript. Wallace is talking to Obama Campaign manager David Axelrod, asking when did Senator Obama ever really stand up against his party. Axelrod answers and Wallace follows up:

Wallace: But David, because you guys always talk about ethics legislation and the nuclear non-proliferation deal with Dick Lugar, I went back and looked -- both of those measures passed by unanimous consent. They were so accepted by the Senate that there was not even a vote. In fact, ethics legislation was one of the campaign promises. These were not -- if I may, if I may. These were not areas where Barack Obama went up against the leadership of his own party nearly in the way that John McCain did on campaign finance reform, on limiting interrogation of terror detainees, on immigration reform. He did not go up against his own party on either of those issues.

Did he answer? Of course not. But this is a handy little fact for your next bar fight. Obama's courageous stances passed on a voice vote! Ohh, the courage literally oozes off of him...

Hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt, yet again

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 5:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

Keep the Day Gig, Bill

Everybody's favorite American terrorist, William Ayers, gets his inner Gary Larson on:


Hahahahahaha: "I don't think violent resistance is necessarily the answer?"

Hat-tip: Jake Tapper via Hugh

Posted by John Kranz at 4:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Fannie and Freddie

Two must reads on your new secondary mortgage business:

The Everyday Economist has a smart piece about Where Do We Go From Here (I have no idea whether he is a Buffy fan, but the line will get a couple of ThreeSourcers singing). His piece includes a link that exonerates Fan and Fred from the subprime imbroglio. I would personally blame these hybrid mutations for global warming and the lack of Oakland pass protection if I could, but Thomas Palley makes some good points as part of a larger picture.

The EE and I share concern over the Fed's larger role.

Perhaps more troubling is the development of new programs within the Federal Reserve to deal with this crisis. I have previously mentioned that the Fed has performed admirably in the face of the crisis, but this point needs to be better clarified. The Fed, contrary to its performance during the Great Depression, has been vigilant in its effort to serve as lender of last resort. However, as Allan Meltzer has pointed out, they have surpassed this goal and have actually become the “creditor of last resort.” This distinction is important because as lender of last resort, a central bank is an entity that serves to provide liquidity to the market whereas the creditor of last resort refers to a central bank that holds all of the bad debt that others are unwilling to hold.

He calls the Term Auction Facility a failure because it has not reduced risk spreads between LIBOR and OIS. I'm very concerned about the new Fed responsibility but would have to concede that I think it has contained their growth if it has not shrunk them. It's a smart read and I only had to look up two terms. Your mileage may vary.

It's ultimately a political problem long term as much as an economic problem short term. I suggested the other day that Senator Obama was committed to expanding public-private partnerships. Today, Senator McCain and Gov. Palin have a guest editorial in the WSJ.

The bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is another outrageous, but sadly necessary, step for these two institutions. Given the long-term mismanagement and flawed structure of these two companies, this was the only short-term alternative for ensuring that hard-working Americans have access to affordable mortgages during this difficult economic period.

We are strong advocates for the permanent reform of Fannie and Freddie. For years, Congress failed to act and it is deeply troubling that what we are now seeing is an exercise in crisis management rather than sound planning, and at great cost to taxpayers.

I like the high dudgeon, and I like the facets of the plan that Senator McCain claims credit for. I offer no comment on how legitimate his claims are, but he does pick out the good parts of Paulson's plan:
Treasury has broadly followed the McCain plan, outlined months ago, and gets at the short-term heart of the problem. That plan reinforces the federal commitment to meet our obligations and get this mess behind us. It replaces management and board members. It requires that shareholders take losses first. It puts taxpayers first in line for any repayments. And it terminates future lobbying, which was one of the primary contributors to this great debacle. (Emphasis mine)

That said, the editorial does not offer a compelling, first-principles objection to Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). I know looking for libertarian first-principles from Senator McCain is a losing proposition. But most of what he says is good; he just fails to wrap it up in a big philosophical ribbon. That makes it read like a stump speech.

UPDATE: Don't miss David Harsanyi's Risk for Thee but Not for Me

Rather, economy columnist James Pethokoukis of U.S. News & World Report, asks, "doesn't this make the case for privatization, and powerfully at that? Don't forget that we are also sitting here with Social Security and Medicare leaving taxpayers on the hook for more than $50 trillion in liabilities."

Isn't it ironic that government bars a citizen from risking his own Social Security funds because it's too chancy, yet it uses your money to bail out companies that have engaged in the very behavior government is supposedly safeguarding us from?

And really, what's more risky than letting Washington handle your money?

Taxes: Comparing the Four Sides

Americans for Tax Reform has a handy comparison chart of the current tax plan, Senator McCain's, Senator Obama's and Senator Obama's during the primaries.

Obama vs McCain

This should be taped inside every voting booth, in a just nation.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 11:47 AM | What do you think? [0]

High Fructose Corn Syrup Meets Rodney Dangerfield

Having apparently concluded that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has gotten a bad rap, the Corn Refiners Association has initiated a multi-media campaign to soothe a nervous nation. According to the association, HFCS is "nutritionally the same as table sugar with the same number of calories."

Wow. The same nutritional value as processed granulated sugar. That's a relief.

Health Care Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:58 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

It's unpatriotic to eat any corn products. Corn is for fuel!

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2008 11:28 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Personally, jk, I prefer my corn to be fed to cows, which I then eat.

This union, like any other, is just a bunch of goddamn morons. Nutritional value. In other words, both will make you equally fat, so it again is a matter of *flavor* and nothing else.

Now, any freshman chemistry student could easily demonstrate why their claims are typical bull**** from state-worshipping rent-seekers.

"HFCS, table sugar, honey, and several fruit juices all contain the same simple sugars."

Chemically, sucrose is more complex, needing sucrase to be digested. A sucrose molecule is the joining of one glucose molecule with one fructose molecule. Cut off a hydrogen atom from the glucose molecule, cut off an oxygen-hydrogen arm from the sucrose molecule, and the former will have an oxygen atom ready to bond with a carbon atom of the latter.

"HFCS is safe and no different from other common sweeteners like table sugar and honey."

Um, who ever asserted it's NOT safe?

"HFCS has the same number of calories as table sugar."

Wrong. There's *roughly* the same energy contained in each, but not "the same":

Let's compare C12H22O11 with two molecules of C6H12O6. Glucose and fructose are isomers, meaning they have the same molecular formula. Compared to two molecules of fructose, a molecule of sucrose has one fewer C-O bond (85.5 kilocalories per mole) and two fewer O-H bonds (111 kilocalories per mole per bond). That comes out to 307.5 fewer kilocalories (what we call a "calorie") per 6.022x10^23 molecules of sucrose, which is approximately 0.755 pounds.

Well, 300 calories per 3/4ths pound of sugar is hardly significant, especially considering a banana or piece of chocolate alone can be ~100 calories. But it's scientifically dishonest to claim "the same" when the numbers prove otherwise.

Oh, and I didn't even have to come up with an entire press kit to bore anybody.

"HFCS is equal in sweetness to table sugar."

And strychnine is as deadly as arsenic. So what?

Actually, most Americans might believe that fructose and sucrose are equally sweet, but it's more accurate to say they're only *similarly* sweet. I invite anyone to a blind taste test of Pepsi, Coca Cola, what have you, sweetened with cane sugar versus U.S. corn sugar. It's like eating rump roast all your life and then trying filet mignon for the first time.

There's just no comparison. When I'm in the Philippines, I can't get enough Royal. Then I come home and lament the pathetic flavor of any American orange soda.

"HFCS keeps foods fresh. It enhances fruit and spice flavors. "It retains moisture in bran cereals and helps keep breakfast bars moist."

So what? The state-worshipping rent-seekers say this like it's a unique property.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 10, 2008 3:12 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

As the governor in "Blazing Saddles," played by Mel Brooks, said, "Men, we've got to do something to protect our phony-balony jobs!" In this case, it might be phony-balony subsidies, but no subsidies - no jobs in the refiners association.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 10, 2008 9:36 PM

She's No VP Gore, But...

I got an email about this from a good friend. He's a great guy, but you always want to Snopes-ify his emails. This one checks out on Snopes and is backed up by several sites.


There recently was the death of a 98-year-old lady named Irena Sendler.

During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a
Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive... She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews, (being German).

Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of her tool box she carried, and
she also carried in the back of her truck a Burlap sack, (for larger
kids). She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi
soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids/infants noises. During her time and course of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.

She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs and arms and beat her
severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and
kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it, and reunited the family. Most, of course, had been gassed.

Those kids she helped were placed into foster family homes or adopted. Last year Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize....


Al Gore won for Global Warming.

The website at points out that "A criteria for the Peace Prize is being involved in significant activities during the past two years" and discusses a documentary.

I hereby suggest she receive the 2008 ThreeSources Peace Prize. Without objection...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:41 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:


Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 9, 2008 10:56 AM
But Terri thinks:

I'm in. Wow.

Posted by: Terri at September 9, 2008 11:21 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

I read about this a ways back ... and as a consequence, had a really bizzare dream regarding it. The family and I were trying to escape SOMEHING and my son was pulled from danger by a white figure through a pipe in a tunnel. REALLY odd. I second the Nomination.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at September 9, 2008 12:45 PM

September 8, 2008

One of the Fifty Seven

AlexC crosses one of the mystery states off the list: "New Pennsylvania."

Don't you people have anything better to worry about than this? Well, yeah. But it is great fun and If a Republican said stupid things like this...

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 6:20 PM | What do you think? [0]


USA Today:

WASHINGTON — The Republican National Convention has given John McCain and his party a significant boost, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken over the weekend shows, as running mate Sarah Palin helps close an "enthusiasm gap" that has dogged the GOP all year.

McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by 50%-46% among registered voters, the Republican's biggest advantage since January and a turnaround from the USA TODAY poll taken just before the convention opened in St. Paul. Then, he lagged by 7 percentage points.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 5:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

Experience, Exshmerience... blah, blah, blah

Much has been made of the pick of Sarah Palin vis-a-vis the experience issue. Democrats, and some Republicans, have said that her selection "takes the experience issue off the table." Even Charles Krauthammer, for whom The Refugee has the highest regard, laments in a recent Washington Post column that this issue has been negated:

Palin fatally undermines this entire line of attack. This is through no fault of her own. It is simply a function of her rookie status. The vice president's only constitutional duty of any significance is to become president at a moment's notice. Palin is not ready. Nor is Obama. But with Palin, the case against Obama evaporates.

For the Republicans, it's beneficial to engage the Democrats in a comparison of their #1 vs. the Republican #2. Even so, Krauthammer and others are missing the real issue. A recent piece is the Wall Street Journal by Peter Wehner makes this abundantly clear and has completely changed The Refugee's thinking in this matter. Wehner argues that Biden has been "manifestly wrong" on issues since Vietnam, and that no experience is better than bad experience:

There are few members of Congress whose record on national security matters can be judged, with the benefit of hindsight, to be as consistently bad as Joseph Biden's. It's true that Sarah Palin has precious little experience in national security affairs. But in this instance, no record beats a manifestly bad one.

Let's do a mind experient. Everyone, both left and right, can agree that GWB has more presidential experience that Barack Obama. So, how many Obama supporters would vote for GWB on the basis of experience? The answer: none. In other words, experience does not trump policy. If Obama had 20 years in the Senate, would The Refugee be comfortable voting for him? No, because Obama is profoundly wrong as a matter of policy.

Experience is a "threshold" issue. Once a candidate has met that threshold, more or less experiences is not relevant to the voter; they will vote issues and likes/dislikes. McCain is right to drop experience as a central theme of his campaign at this juncture irrespective of Sarah Palin as a running mate.

Presidential Race 2008 Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:45 AM | What do you think? [0]

Democrats & Guns

A must read from Eric Raymond.

The larger context is that the Democrats are losing, or have already lost, their claim to represent a populist national coalition that includes blue-collar and rural whites as a matter of course. Gun rights are the canary in this coal mine. Bill Clinton understands this, and has repeatedly told the Democrats straight up that their kulturkampf against guns has been losing them national elections since 1994. The folks in Duryea — and Thomas Frank’s what’s-the-matter-with-Kansas — understand the larger disconnect at gut level. And the Democrats just confirmed it by rejecting Hillary Clinton, who at least faked her heartlander populism well enough to fool anyone who really wanted to be fooled by it, in favor of a candidate who is above even being bothered to pretend.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 10:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 7, 2008

NYTimes Gets It Right

We beat up on the Gray Lady around here, but Don Luskin points out that they got it right with this editorial:

Where is it written that only senators are qualified to become President? Surely Ronald Reagan does not subscribe to that maxim. Or where is it written that mere representatives aren't qualified, like Geraldine Ferraro of Queens?
...Where is it written that governors and mayors, like Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco, are too local, too provincial? That didn't stop Richard Nixon from picking Spiro Agnew, a suburban politician who became Governor of Maryland. Remember the main foreign affairs credential of Georgia's Governor Carter: He was a member of the Trilateral Commission.

...What a splendid system, we say to ourselves, that takes little-known men, tests them in high office and permits them to grow into statesmen. This rationale may even be right, but then let it also be fair. Why shouldn't a little-known woman have the same opportunity to grow?

Sadly, they published this in July 1984...

Congratulations, Taxpayers!

You're the proud new owners of a corrupt, bureaucratic, secondary mortgage institution.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the actions were being taken because "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are so large and so interwoven in our financial system that a failure of either of them would cause great turmoil in our financial markets here at home and around the globe."

The huge potential liabilities facing each company, as a result of soaring mortgage defaults, could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, but Paulson stressed that the financial impacts if the two companies had been allowed to fail would be far more serious.


Because Secretary Paulson called within the first twenty minutes -- they threw in another failed public political institution! That's right you get TWICE the liabilities!!

I jest. I cry. But mostly, I try to point out that Fan & Fred are textbook examples of the private-public partnership that Senator Obama and the Democrats always claim are the answer. They'll give us a health care Fannie and an energy Freddie. All the profits will go to well connected political types (Franklin Raines, paging Mister Franklin Rains...) and the liabilities will all go to the American taxpayer.

Senator Obama loves to talk about "millions of green collar jobs" that he will create (Government create jobs?) and that he will "put a million hybrids" on the road (government production planning?) Keep in mind that what he will create is a stream of hybrid public-private-not-fish-nor-fowl bureaucracies.

The Fannie and Freddie takeover could be instructive if anyone were listening.

September 6, 2008

RNC2008: The Final Post

I should finally get around to the final RNC2008 post.

St Paul is one of the neatest cities I've been too. Outside of the oddly gridded, yet not gridded, street layout there's not much to not like. Especially the architecture. A number of the bigger buildings appear to be from the 1920s or 1930s...

The curving gridded layout leads to some epic sights on the horizon, especially the view up towards the State Capital and the St Paul Cathedral.


"Minnesota Nice" is absolutely 100% true. The people of Minnesota were hyper nice and always willing to help out with questions.

Without a doubt, the Texas and Alaska delegations were the friendliest... and always willing to BS. Hard to explain... but it seems like everyone I had long conversations with were from those two states. Odd.

The protesters really disappointed me. Not because I didn't get to see their antics... I saw some... but I resented riding a bus from the hotel with a police officer on board and then driving into a double-gated convention compound. Quite seriously, the 10 block area around the Xcel Energy Center was a fortress, with limited access in or out. Because of the hippie gates.

Conservatives protests and protestors are always a lot classier and, with all seriousness, are non threatening. Leftists always want to cause trouble.


Big red marks to the RNC for the way the bloggers were treated. The bloggers I talked to were, for the most part, self funded travelling on their own and reporting on their own.

Blogging from the center was not easy.

Unless you were one of the elite top shelf bloggers, you got to sit in "behind" the stage. Not great. Seating was totally within their control... there were allegedly 200 of us there. That's a couple rows ... in the center... hell, up high is fine. No matter where we sat, there was still the question of power. You can't run a laptop for the four to six hours from your seat, so you need to plug in somewhere.

There was no wi-fi at the center, so you were on your own for internet access... (crucial to a blogger)

See also here.

I ended up camping out at a concession stand's cafe area, hogging a table (though sharing with other bloggers / journalists) and it's two plug outlet. It was about 10 yards from my blogging area over to the top of the section, so I could snap pictures and watch speeches and run back to my computer. There were some TVs in the cafe showing the networks, as well as the live feed and the audio was pretty decent.

Oh... and the biggest complaint? Where's the master list of bloggers blogging the convention? I still don't know who was there? I met some bloggers at some of the events around town... but was that all of them? Were all 200 there?

But meeting a bunch of bloggers I've been reading for a long time was definitely a big highlight for me.


Despite those complaints, I still had a good time. But it was awful lot of work... my heels are still recovering from the blisters that I broke on the first day walking around and looking for protesters in the city.

St. Paul is a great place and I look forward to visiting again.

Will I go back in four years? That's an eternity in the blogosphere (though I have been blogging since 2002, I think).... maybe as a delegate. ;)

Thank you all for reading and kind words of encouragement.

RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 10:30 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

I LOVED it Alex. As others have already graciously noted, you added a flavor and insight to this convention that many of us would not have had otherwise. We can't thank you enough for "swimming upstream" as it were to get blog content out from a less than ideal setup. (Think of this: How much better might blogging provisions be 4 years from now!)

Well done, and thank you.

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2008 11:01 AM
But jk thinks:

And, and, and: ac made Instapundit for his reviews of blogging inadequacies.

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2008 2:34 PM
But AlexC thinks:

holy crap! i didn't even notice that!

Posted by: AlexC at September 7, 2008 8:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup, you're an internationally famous whiner! Your wife must be proud.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2008 11:06 AM

Quote of the Day II

Bill Whittle (when did he start writing for NRO? That was a stroke of genius.) Has a Whittlesque essay defending Senator McCain and his acceptance speech. He claims that Palin stole the Glamour and McCain stole the message. He details how McCain the patriot and McCain the reformer sealed the deal from a skeptical Republican. And along the way, he has some nice words about the Governor of Alaska:

She is so absolutely, remarkably, spectacularly ordinary. I think the magic of Sarah Palin speaks to a belief that so many of us share: the sense that we personally know five people in our immediate circle who would make a better president than the menagerie of candidates the major parties routinely offer. Sarah Palin has erupted from this collective American Dream — the idea that, given nothing but classic American values like hard work, integrity, and tough-minded optimism you can actually do what happens in the movies: become Leader of the Free World, the President of the United States of America. (Or, well, you know, vice president.)

We watched Palin's speech again this morning (yup, regular folk, my wife and I) and I was struck by two things: her gifts of timing and expressional punctuation, and also contra Sen. Kerry or Sen. Gore, she didn't live her life to be President. She went from the PTA to City Council to Mayor to Governor -- as they say -- to do something, not to be something.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 3:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Patrick Poole thinks "The wheels are starting to come off the Messiah Express." He may be a little electorally optimistic, but I enjoyed this:

What is also causing existential angst for the Obama campaign today is that the experience of both John McCain and Sarah Palin are the antithesis of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. McCain the Maverick is back, rested and ready, having been in political exile since 2000. And he is joined by Sarah Palin, who has energized the GOP base unlike any other political figure since Ronald Reagan. She personifies an amazing mixture of diverse and seemingly contradictory interests: leave-us-along libertarianism and Bible-clinging evangelicalism. She is the big-tent GOP as Lee Atwater envisioned it. And her real-world existence of bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan immediately strikes a chord with families all across the country having to do the same — except Sarah Palin hunts down the boar before bringing home the bacon.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:51 PM | What do you think? [0]

Good Ad

Ann Althouse found this ad distracting because of its quality of music and visual effects (oooookay).

Then she is able to collect her irony: "Oh, suddenly the irony of it all hits me. What I think about the ad is what the ad is trying to say about Obama! The style is fabulous, but what, really, is the content?"

I like Althouse a lot, but it is an election year and I am a partisan hack. Professor, the irony is that Senator Obama represents MoreOfTheSame®, that he will ally with a very liberal 111th Congress, and that we'll have less of the fresh ideas that the youthful Junior Senator promised in the primaries and more of the tired ideas of Senators Dorgan, Schumer, Reid, Dodd, Leahy and Biden.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 12:29 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I hadn't looked at it quite that way JK but you're right: The youthful, fresh, "clean and articulate" Obama is a Trojan Horse for the kind of entrenched and corrupt "good ol' boys" that Governor Palin became popular for displacing.

Let's hope she can be as effective at removing the ticks burrowed into our national government as she was doing so in Alaska. If McPalin continues to press that theme, which Palin started and McCain furthered in their convention speeches, then I think American voters will give them a chance to do it.

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2008 11:11 AM

September 5, 2008

Random Post-convention Thoughts

The Refugee has had a few random thoughts, hopefully to be found worth by his Three Sources bretheren:

1. First and foremost, WAY TO GO AC!! The daily updates were must-reads and something The Refugee awaited eagerly.
2. Do you suppose Barack Obama is wishing for a Mulligan on his VP choice?
3. Only the Democrats could simultaneously argue that no woman will vote for Sarah Palin just because she's a woman and opine that Obama should have picked Hillary to get the women's vote.
4. Even if Hillary were the Dem VP choice, here's what The Refugee would have to say: "I've seen Sarah Palin and you, Mrs. Clinton, are no Sarah Palin!"
5. Since intensely personal issues are in-play, could anyone find out Joe Biden's history of cosmetic surgeries?
6. On O'Reilly's show, Obama admitted that The Surge has worked "beyond anyone's wildest dream." (More precisely, he means that it worked beyond the Democrat's wildest fear.) He went on to say that he would still oppose The Surge, even knowing what he knows now. So, even in 20/20 hindsight he would consciously make the wrong decision. And we're suppose to believe he has the judgement to be Commander in Chief?!?
7. The #1 question that should be posed to Obama in a debate: "Mr. Obama, you've stated that going into Iraq was a colossal mistake. If you could wind the clock back to pre-invasion time, knowing that it would put Saddam Hussein back in power, would you wind it back?"
8. This is going to be a very interesting 60 days!

But jk thinks:

1. Indeed-squared. Awesome job, ac!
2. Give the Junior Senator three picks, he won't find a Sarah Palin (see #4). I guess I thought that Gov. Richardson was always his best chance, and he might hold up a little better than the scrappy kid from Scranton.
3,4. Yes,yes.
5. Don't wanna know, myself.
6. The One needs to find a little nuance on this. Not sure how he can stay stubborn without ignoring reality, but he has the best handlers.
7. Sad to say, br, more than half the country would say yes to that (I was just yelling at one of them over Celtic music night last Wednesday). I'm not one of them, but you can make a legitimate argument -- unlike defending a vote against the Surge or funding the troops in 2007/8.
8. IYNHFYNPA (If You're Not Having Fun, You're Not Paying Attention!)

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2008 5:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Can I add a #9? (No, git yer own danged post!)

9. Was not Cindy McCain impressive? This woman could have had the "Full Paris Hilton" lifestyle but chose to get a Master's Degree, travel the world, and pursue humanitarian endeavors. Wow.

(I don't want to rile the Randians -- Ms. Hilton has created successful businesses and is certainly entitled to live life as she chooses, I just see the more serious pursuits as having more meaning.)

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2008 12:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not at all. Ayn Rand would admire Cindy McCain for spending her life as a creator of things she (and most people) consider valuable. Paris Hilton, on the other hand, is a second-hander in every sense. There is nothing for a "Randian" to admire in Paris Hilton. You must be projecting the Libertarian mindset again.

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2008 11:18 AM

Quote of the Day

A corporate look at the VP pick, from Don Luskin:

Seems like, for Mick, Palin far outshines McCain. But doesn't it take a real man to pick a subordinate who outshines you? Who was it who said, "A-players pick A-players. B-players pick C-players"?

RNC2008 Posted by John Kranz at 3:05 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Jack Welch.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2008 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

What letter would pick Senator Joe Biden? (use Greek or multiples if needed).

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2008 3:19 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Can I use hexidecimal?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 5, 2008 3:37 PM

Colorado's Electors

I was thinking of my home state this morning. Though nominally red, the Centennial State has been trending blue and seemed well poised for Obama. I think it was Karl Rove who joked that "when Senator Obama counts electoral votes, he counts Colorado three times." This morning, I suggested (talking at the kitchen table as all politicians posit) that Obama might count it zero times. I think Governor Palin might take it to trending red if not out of play.

I have talked up Ryan Sagar’s book. He talks about the libertarian leanings of the Mountain West GOP to contrast them with the more evangelical populist South. There's a lot of truth to his characterization of the Mountain West. Palin will have wide appeal to many Coloradans on Second Amendment and other freedom issues. And I think she makes Senator McCain more attractive as well.

Todd Zywicki covers the libertarian and western angle:

What is the "western" vibe? This is purely subjective, but to me it is the feeling of no-nonsense, self-reliant, egalitarian, outsiderism, sort of Barry Goldwater-ish. Is it libertarian? Not exactly, but it does have that sort of feeling to it, to me at least. It feels like Goldwaterism. And I think this trickles through to the worldview of the candidates and then to policy. It seems pretty clear to me (especially after last night) that John McCain sees himself as Gary Cooper riding into to town to single-handedly clean-up corruption and gun down the rascals.

I hate to be simplistic, but if she truly took Colorado (and maybe Nevada) out of play, that would be an electoral game changer.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 2:04 PM | What do you think? [8]
But jk thinks:

I was not in full victiory lap mode, jg, but I think it throws a nice wrench into their plans.

I was hoping for Wisconsin in play, to make them earn Minnesota and Michigan, and I feel better about Ohio. Virgnia is still a problem (as is Colorado if I'm honest).

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2008 5:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Hugh Hewitt says she can connect with voters in The Anti-Freeze Belt. (Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Colorado.)

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2008 6:22 PM
But dagny thinks:

I don't mean to stomp on all the happy back-slapping around here but Colorado is still a very tight race. There are still many Obama stickers in the parking lot at my office including a respected co-worker who, "ought," to know better. Accountants, of all people, ought to understand the value of free markets.

I was at Vitamin Cottage (Yes, I realize its Vitamin Cottage) and the woman at the checkout said to the woman in front of me in line, "nice button." It was, of course, an Obama button. Then we got to hear about all the other cool buttons she has. I wanted to ask these women if they knew what socialism meant but I held my tongue for fear someone would key my car.

Large portions of Colorado are very messed up.

Posted by: dagny at September 5, 2008 9:53 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

If I may be allowed to weigh in-

As someone who lives in Minnesota, I am going to have to say that I think McCain's prospects are bleak. Obama won the state by huge margins in the primaries; likewise, McCain lost to Romney in a landslide. I don't think Palin will bring too many Minnesota hockey moms over- Simply put, I think the general Minnesotan distaste for McCain outweighs anything Palin can bring to the ticket.

(Furthermore, most of the MN republicans I know really wanted Pawlenty to be VP. The fact that the day Palin was chosen, the front-page of my newspaper featured various Republican state senators lamenting that they had to go to the Alaska Governor homepage to find a picture of Palin doesn't help.)

~T. Greer, not particularly fond of the cold.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 5, 2008 11:45 PM
But jk thinks:

tg (four comments, you're initials now): Yup, I was going to make a disparaging comment about women in your state, that they drop the kids off to 5AM hockey practice on the way to a meeting at the local co-op to discuss unionizing locally grown organic foods producers...I don't get that Midwest allegiance to collectivism but it cannot be ignored.

Dagny (dt?): I said victory laps are premature. The Denver-Boulder-Vitamin Cottage Axis will go heavily Democratic, but I think Gov. Palin will excite the El Paso County evangelicals, exurban moderates, and rural gun owners enough to compensate. I counted our state blue until the pick; I think it will be a red-leaner now.

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2008 12:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

tg: Don't be so quick to dismiss McCain in MN or anywhere else because he "lost to Romney in a landslide" in the primaries. The same thing happened here in CO and I was one of the delegates on the Romney side at the time. Had I known then what I know now - that the "maverick" would choose this exciting western reform-agenda governor to be his VEEP I'd have dropped Romney like a bad habit.

We're all just gazing in crystal balls here but I still think the "Hey Washington, change is coming" message will draw heretofore unseen electoral support. Particularly, as I said, in Hugh Hewitt's Anti-Freeze Belt.

I'm going to have to have a talk with dagny about speaking up to challenge Kool-Aid drinkers. All she had to say was, "I disagree." If they pressed her she could say, "Have you ever read about the failed history of National Socialism? That's the name for the policies that Obama promises."

I don't think concern for her paint job was the blocking point. Nor was shyness - dagny is NOT shy. Instead I think she's not yet adjusted to this new feeling of pride she feels in a political candidacy. Those Obama stickers in her office parking lot? She didn't want a McCain sticker to counter them but she's asked me three times if I'd ordered the McCain-Palin sticker so she can park it next to those guys.

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2008 11:35 AM

But Will Everybody Watch it Twice?

Last night, I was very disappointed with Senator McCain's speech. I thought that it was too long and the delivery deficit between he and Senator Obama frightens me. The spotlight entrance seemed like Saturday Night Live. The speech started and ended strong but it was a little flat in the middle, was it not?

I watched again this morning and must admit I liked it better. My original opinions hold, but not to the extremes I imagined when I clicked it off last night (I trust all of America TiVoed it and watched it again this morning -- I'm not unusual or anything, just a regular guy).

Maybe the moderates will enjoy the chewy-Kumbaya center. I did not expect a red meat speech and admit that the salute to Obama and his supporters was classy and well done. His harsh medicine for Republicans "We went to change Washington and it changed us" supports his maverick image, though I fear an out of context attack ad. All fair enough.

But I agree with the WSJ Ed Page (can I have a mirabile dictu?) that he should run Truman-style against the 110th Congress. The 111th will be more lopsided Democratic, and I don't want to hear how he is going to meet them halfway and not worry about who gets credit -- that's a nice homage to Reagan, but the President didn't use it buck up Speaker Jim Wright.

The fact is, the 111th Congress will be staffed by collectivists, funded by and pushing a radical Union agenda, back-to-the-caves environmentalism, and a huge expansion of government scope and regulation. Perhaps "Gridlock and Lipstick!" is only a winning message around ThreeSources, but he could have positioned himself as someone who would oppose the excesses. I'm the guy who agrees with him on immigration and even I winced when he celebrated the "American-ness" of the child born to migrant workers. Sure enough, the applause seemed a little thin.

I am glad to see the other reviews are better than mine. I hope to be wrong -- even this morning's view cheered me up. Maybe I should watch it again. Third time a charm?

RNC2008 Posted by John Kranz at 11:02 AM | What do you think? [0]

40 Million!


Barack Obama apparently isn't the only "rock star" in presidential politics this year.

After days of intense media coverage about Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's qualifications, more than 40 million Americans tuned in Wednesday to see for themselves what they thought of her.

The huge audience for Palin's acceptance speech rivaled that for Obama's address at the Democratic National Convention six days earlier, and set a tough standard for the top of her own ticket. John McCain was to accept the GOP presidential nomination on Thursday.

Thank you, MSM, for screwing up the coverage of Sarah Palin for an entire week, driving the interest level to bigger than Obama.

Oooooooooohhhh..... Sarah-cuda!!!!

My video from the upper deck:

... and you'll never hear it again.

RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:56 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I think if Ann and Nancy Wilson are going to inject themselves into current political events they should at least use current photos of themselves in news releases. "Bitterly clinging" to those old 1977 promo pics is a bit shallow, don't you think?

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2008 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm sure the campaign can find some other tune by the Dixie Chicks, Jackson Browne or Sheryl Crow that will be just as good. Crisis averted.

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2008 2:58 PM

September 4, 2008

RNC2008: Day 4- The Final Live Blog

Opening Benediction by his Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church....


Robert Duvall narrated video. I sure hope these things get on the internet.... they are fantastic.

Governor Huntsman of Utah, recovering from a cold, discusses Sarah Palin, and the crowd start chanting "Sarah! Sarah!".... and officially nominates her.

After a brief seconding by the Alaska delegations, a huge seconding, "the ayes have it," and more chanting.

Minnesota Gov Tim Pawlenty warms up the crowd with...

He will force government to live within its means, just like families do.

He knows that small businesses are the job growth engine for our country.

He knows the last thing they need is MORE taxes.

John also understands that health care costs are budget busters for too many American families.

He'll provide help but will put consumers and their doctors in charge, not the federal government.

John also knows it's getting tougher for us to afford to fill-up at the pump.

His energy plan is classic McCain - bold and aggressive.

In this time, we don't need a president who can just read a poll or momentarily thrill a crowd.

We don't need rhetoric or empty promises.

We need a president who has the integrity and courage to make the tough choices so America will be stronger and safer.

I believe the times call out great leaders.

This time, our time, calls out for John McCain.

Overall, the crowd here seems to be a lot more sedate... there's no mountain of anticipation for Palin.... though there is a Palin video on the agenda tonight that was skipped due to time last night. It's good... look for it.

Here's to hoping Cindy McCain is a great speaker.

Brownback gets the biggest applause of the evening. Did he run for President in 2008?

Poingant video called "World Stood Still" which Democrats will trash because of 9/11 references, etc..... ended with chants of "USA USA USA"

Big applause for Gold Medal Decathlete Brian Clay.

Huge applause for NFL Coach and NASCAR owner Joe Gibbs

A happy mother and son from New Jersey.


The Palin video was, as you can imagine, well received.

... and Tom Ridge gets a nice round of applause as recalls pal-ing around with John McCain.


Who for his country, has worked to preserve, honor and protect the great land of the free.

That's John McCain.

John dares to think differently, to act boldly and to put country before self.

He dares to believe that we are all called to serve as long as we call ourselves free.

He dares to embrace the founding principle that our responsibility to one another extends from a national crisis to an individual need - from nation to nation - community to community - in this, the greatest community ever formed.

So may we rise to the occasion, to the moment, to the vision of our Founding Fathers.

May we summon ourselves to our best efforts and call this maverick forward.

Let us elect a man who has firmly and unequivocally laid out his vision of where this country can go.

Who offers a better way...a better day...and a greater say - for all who call this great country home.

That's John McCain.

The crowd starts chanting "That's John McCain!"

Anheiseur-Busch gets applause and cheers during the Cindy McCain biopic.



A very measured dignified speech from Mrs McCain.

But I have also seen the resilience of the American people. I've heard stirring stories of neighbor helping neighbor, of cities on one end of the country offering help to fellow citizens on the other.

Despite our challenges our hearts are still alive with hope and belief in our individual ability to make things right if only the Federal government would get itself under control and out of our way.

Gets big applause.

The crowd is still enraptured by Sarah Palin. Every mention of her gets a massive reaction. It's amazing.

McCain biopic is great...I'll say it again, the RNC needs to put these on the web somewhere.

McCain enters to huge applause.

I don't know about the green grass background.




It must gall the left to no end, when the chants are "USA USA USA" not "O-Ba-Ma"... and the protestors, are really classy.

But McCain handles them well...

WOW! Great speech... I have never heard McCain's POW treatment from him personally... it's always been from someone else. Incredibly powerful.... love of country.




oooooooh....... sarah-cuda

Perfect song.


They'll be dropping balloons here for a half an hour.

McCain's full text is given after the jump, I'll have more later..

U.S. Sen. John McCain

Thank you all very much. Tonight, I have a privilege given few Americans -- the privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for President of the United States. And I accept it with gratitude, humility and confidence.

In my life, no success has come without a good fight, and this nomination wasn’t any different. That’s a tribute to the candidates who opposed me and their supporters. They’re leaders of great ability, who love our country, and wished to lead it to better days. Their support is an honor I won’t forget.

I’m grateful to the President for leading us in those dark days following the worst attack on American soil in our history, and keeping us safe from another attack many thought was inevitable; and to the First Lady, Laura Bush, a model of grace and kindness in public and in private. And I’m grateful to the 41st President and his bride of 63 years, and for their outstanding example of honorable service to our country.

As always, I’m indebted to my wife, Cindy, and my seven children. The pleasures of family life can seem like a brief holiday from the crowded calendar of our nation’s business. But I have treasured them all the more, and can’t imagine a life without the happiness you give me. Cindy said a lot of nice things about me tonight. But, in truth, she’s more my inspiration than I am hers. Her concern for those less blessed than we are - victims of land mines, children born in poverty and with birth defects - shows the measure of her humanity. I know she will make a great First Lady.

When I was growing up, my father was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone. Roberta McCain gave us her love of life, her deep interest in the world, her strength, and her belief we are all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country. I wouldn’t be here tonight but for the strength of her character.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you, who helped me win this nomination, and stood by me when the odds were long. I won’t let you down. To Americans who have yet to decide who to vote for, thank you for your consideration and the opportunity to win your trust. I intend to earn it.

Finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We’ll go at it over the next two months. That’s the nature of these contests, and there are big differences between us. But you have my respect and admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, an association that means more to me than any other. We’re dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. No country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

But let there be no doubt, my friends, we’re going to win this election. And after we’ve won, we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again, and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.

These are tough times for many of you. You’re worried about keeping your job or finding a new one, and are struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home. All you ever asked of government is to stand on your side, not in your way. And that’s just what I intend to do: stand on your side and fight for your future.

And I’ve found just the right partner to help me shake up Washington, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. She has executive experience and a real record of accomplishment. She’s tackled tough problems like energy independence and corruption. She’s balanced a budget, cut taxes, and taken on the special interests. She’s reached across the aisle and asked Republicans, Democrats and Independents to serve in her administration. She’s the mother of five children. She’s helped run a small business, worked with her hands and knows what it’s like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries.

She knows where she comes from and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what’s right, and she doesn’t let anyone tell her to sit down. I’m very proud to have introduced our next Vice President to the country. But I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. And let me offer an advance warning to the old, big spending, do nothing, me first, country second Washington crowd: change is coming.

I’m not in the habit of breaking promises to my country and neither is Governor Palin. And when we tell you we’re going to change Washington, and stop leaving our country’s problems for some unluckier generation to fix, you can count on it. We’ve got a record of doing just that, and the strength, experience, judgment and backbone to keep our word to you.

You know, I’ve been called a maverick; someone who marches to the beat of his own drum. Sometimes it’s meant as a compliment and sometimes it’s not. What it really means is I understand who I work for. I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you.

I’ve fought corruption, and it didn’t matter if the culprits were Democrats or Republicans. They violated their public trust, and had to be held accountable. I’ve fought big spenders in both parties, who waste your money on things you neither need nor want, while you struggle to buy groceries, fill your gas tank and make your mortgage payment. I’ve fought to get million dollar checks out of our elections. I’ve fought lobbyists who stole from Indian tribes. I fought crooked deals in the Pentagon. I fought tobacco companies and trial lawyers, drug companies and union bosses.

I fought for the right strategy and more troops in Iraq, when it wasn’t a popular thing to do. And when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.

Thanks to the leadership of a brilliant general, David Petraeus, and the brave men and women he has the honor to command, that strategy succeeded and rescued us from a defeat that would have demoralized our military, risked a wider war and threatened the security of all Americans.

I don’t mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test.

I fight for Americans. I fight for you. I fight for Bill and Sue Nebe from Farmington Hills, Michigan, who lost their real estate investments in the bad housing market. Bill got a temporary job after he was out of work for seven months. Sue works three jobs to help pay the bills.

I fight for Jake and Toni Wimmer of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Jake works on a loading dock; coaches Little League, and raises money for the mentally and physically disabled. Toni is a schoolteacher, working toward her Master’s Degree. They have two sons, the youngest, Luke, has been diagnosed with autism. Their lives should matter to the people they elect to office. They matter to me.

I fight for the family of Matthew Stanley of Wolfboro, New Hampshire, who died serving our country in Iraq. I wear his bracelet and think of him every day. I intend to honor their sacrifice by making sure the country their son loved so well and never returned to, remains safe from its enemies.

I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties and Senator Obama passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust, when we valued our power over our principles.

We’re going to change that. We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again for the values Americans admire. The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics.

We believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential from the boy whose descendents arrived on the Mayflower to the Latina daughter of migrant workers. We’re all God’s children and we’re all Americans.

We believe in low taxes; spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.

We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities.

We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans. Government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them. I will cut government spending. He will increase it.

My tax cuts will create jobs. His tax increases will eliminate them. My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance. His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.

Keeping taxes low helps small businesses grow and create new jobs. Cutting the second highest business tax rate in the world will help American companies compete and keep jobs from moving overseas. Doubling the child tax exemption from $3500 to $7000 will improve the lives of millions of American families. Reducing government spending and getting rid of failed programs will let you keep more of your own money to save, spend and invest as you see fit. Opening new markets and preparing workers to compete in the world economy is essential to our future prosperity.

I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy and it often seems your government hasn’t even noticed. Government assistance for unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s. That’s going to change on my watch. My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back, find a new one that won’t go away.

We will prepare them for the jobs of today. We will use our community colleges to help train people for new opportunities in their communities. For workers in industries that have been hard hit, we'll help make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one while they receive retraining that will help them find secure new employment at a decent wage.

Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained. But what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice, remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.

When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them. Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have that choice and their children will have that opportunity.

Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucracies. I want schools to answer to parents and students. And when I’m President, they will.

My fellow Americans, when I’m President, we’re going to embark on the most ambitious national project in decades. We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. We will attack the problem on every front. We will produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore, and we’ll drill them now. We will build more nuclear power plants. We will develop clean coal technology. We will increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We will encourage the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.

Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that. We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and to restore the health of our planet. It’s an ambitious plan, but Americans are ambitious by nature, and we have faced greater challenges. It’s time for us to show the world again how Americans lead.

This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity; jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce.

Today, the prospect of a better world remains within our reach. But we must see the threats to peace and liberty in our time clearly and face them, as Americans before us did, with confidence, wisdom and resolve.

We have dealt a serious blow to al Qaeda in recent years. But they are not defeated, and they’ll strike us again if they can. Iran remains the chief state sponsor of terrorism and on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Russia’s leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world’s oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of reassembling the Russian empire. And the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and prayers. As President, I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War. But we can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people.

We face many threats in this dangerous world, but I'm not afraid of them. I'm prepared for them. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it should not do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don't. I know how to secure the peace.

When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house. A Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. I rarely saw my father again for four years. My grandfather came home from that same war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home with me. I hate war. It is terrible beyond imagination.

I’m running for President to keep the country I love safe, and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal - diplomatic, economic, military and the power of our ideals - to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

In America, we change things that need to be changed. Each generation makes its contribution to our greatness. The work that is ours to do is plainly before us. We don’t need to search for it.

We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children. All these functions of government were designed before the rise of the global economy, the information technology revolution and the end of the Cold War. We have to catch up to history, and we have to change the way we do business in Washington.

The constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom. It’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not you.

Again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as President. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not.

Instead of rejecting good ideas because we didn’t think of them first, let’s use the best ideas from both sides. Instead of fighting over who gets the credit, let’s try sharing it. This amazing country can do anything we put our minds to. I will ask Democrats and Independents to serve with me. And my administration will set a new standard for transparency and accountability.

We’re going to finally start getting things done for the people who are counting on us, and I won’t care who gets the credit.

I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I have been her servant first, last and always. And I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege.

Long ago, something unusual happened to me that taught me the most valuable lesson of my life. I was blessed by misfortune. I mean that sincerely. I was blessed because I served in the company of heroes, and I witnessed a thousand acts of courage, compassion and love.

On an October morning, in the Gulf of Tonkin, I prepared for my 23rd mission over North Vietnam. I hadn’t any worry I wouldn’t come back safe and sound. I thought I was tougher than anyone. I was pretty independent then, too. I liked to bend a few rules, and pick a few fights for the fun of it. But I did it for my own pleasure; my own pride. I didn’t think there was a cause more important than me.

Then I found myself falling toward the middle of a small lake in the city of Hanoi, with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me. I was dumped in a dark cell, and left to die. I didn’t feel so tough anymore. When they discovered my father was an admiral, they took me to a hospital. They couldn’t set my bones properly, so they just slapped a cast on me. When I didn’t get better, and was down to about a hundred pounds, they put me in a cell with two other Americans. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even feed myself. They did it for me. I was beginning to learn the limits of my selfish independence. Those men saved my life.

I was in solitary confinement when my captors offered to release me. I knew why. If I went home, they would use it as propaganda to demoralize my fellow prisoners. Our Code said we could only go home in the order of our capture, and there were men who had been shot down before me. I thought about it, though. I wasn’t in great shape, and I missed everything about America. But I turned it down.

A lot of prisoners had it worse than I did. I’d been mistreated before, but not as badly as others. I always liked to strut a little after I’d been roughed up to show the other guys I was tough enough to take it. But after I turned down their offer, they worked me over harder than they ever had before. For a long time. And they broke me.

When they brought me back to my cell, I was hurt and ashamed, and I didn’t know how I could face my fellow prisoners. The good man in the cell next door, my friend, Bob Craner, saved me. Through taps on a wall he told me I had fought as hard as I could. No man can always stand alone. And then he told me to get back up and fight again for our country and for the men I had the honor to serve with. Because every day they fought for me.

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your President. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank Him: that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on earth, and with hard work, strong faith and a little courage, great things are always within our reach. Fight with me. Fight with me.

Fight for what’s right for our country.

Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children’s future.

Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.

Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

Thank you, and God Bless you.

But T. Greer thinks:

I think that has to be the least partision speech I have ever heard given at a convention.

Color me impressed.

~T. Greer

Posted by: T. Greer at September 5, 2008 12:16 AM

Executive Experience

One of my favorite whoppers chestnuts from the Obama campaign is that the Senator's experience running his Presidential campaign count toward his experience deficit. (Taranto jokes that Lyndon LaRouche is thus the most qualified...)

It occurred to me that the Obama campaign can easily be described as a humungous failure. Seriously, he has record revenue coming in (not based on executive experience) and he is riding an anti-Republican wave against an extremely unpopular President.

So how's the CEO of Obama Enterprises doing? I call the board meeting to order.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I move that the board replaces Mr. Obama. He has been given record revenue and resources and he still runs double-digits behind the generic Democrat. He has considerable benefit of his own star power, and is the beneficiary of many complementary (in both senses of the word) videos from major music and film stars.

I like Mr. Obama personally, we all do, but Milton Friedman has said that we exist to create value for the shareholders, and our current CEO has clearly failed.

Based on his charisma and his personal ties to Obama, Inc. it would be wrong to remove him from office. I therefore propose that we give him an honorary title of "Chairman of the Board." This will allow him to make appearances on the Corporation's behalf.

And we will find somebody more competent to execute day to day operations. Perhaps a bright woman...

2008 Posted by John Kranz at 7:53 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

Well... he did do something that no one else has managed to figure out.

Beat Hillary.

Of course the massive effort on his part by the media needs to be acknowledged.

Posted by: AlexC at September 4, 2008 8:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair point. I will remind the board that he had and used several times the money and the media advantages you describe -- and he almost lost at the end.

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2008 11:02 AM

RNC2008: Around Town

With no need to get up early, and a late night re-watching the Rudy and Sarah speeches, I took my time getting downtown.

I came across this band playing music in Landmark Park in St. Paul.

STOWAWAY, a country-blues-rock cover band.

They covered Harper Valley PTA and a Heart song whose name fails me right now... but the lead singer had a fabulous voice.

I didn't see too many protestor types, but the police were ready. Everyone of them had a dozen or more plastic cuffs waiting for hippies.

With some time to kill, I went to Heimie's Haberdashery for a shave.

While waiting for my shave, I struck up a conversation with a man who was, like I, marveling at this place. It's like something out of the turn of the 20th Century. A classical gentlemen's shop, custom tailoring, hats, kerchiefs, shirts, cigars and a barber.

Anyway, he and wife were still fired up over Governor Sarah Palin's speech and were wondering how McCain could top it... the electricity still had not faded, and the party faithful are still excited. Rudy's speech came up as well..... and I heard again, where was that Rudy last spring?

That was my barber, "Mustache Jim." (really)


Day 4: The Finale

Big day for Senator McCain... how is he going to top Governor Palin?

We'll find out soon enough.

I'm camped out again in Section 201.

Here's the newly reconfigured stage, which will allow McCain to be "closer" to the audience town hall style... No need for Greek columns. Though I understand he will be led out by shoulder-carried sedan and then leave on a chariot.


Here's the schedule tonight....

5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Entertainment (Music): Al Williams
Entertainment (Monologue): James McEachin
Call to Order, Introduction of Colors: Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan
Presentation of Colors: Fort Snelling Joint Services Color Guards
Pledge of Allegiance: Olympians Ryan Berube, Mitch Gaylord, Brittany Hayes, Barbra Higgins, Larsen Jensen, Elle Logan, Marcus McElhenney and John Naber
Singing of the National Anthem: Trace Adkins
Invocation: His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Speaker: U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.)
Speaker: Erik Paulsen
Speaker: Jay Love
Speaker: Charlie Summers
Speaker: Aaron Schock
Speaker: David Cappiello
Speaker: U.S. Sen. John Ensign (Nev.)
Video: "Country First: Peace," with narration by Robert Duvall
Speaker: Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah)
Statement of Rule Regarding Vice Presidential Nomination; Recognition of Delegates Making Motions; and Adoption and Announcement of Nominee: U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.)
Speaker: Maria Cino, President and CEO of the 2008 Republican National Convention
Speaker: U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.)
Speaker: The Honorable Rosario Marin

7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Speaker: Joe Watkins
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.)
Speaker: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.)
Speaker with Video: Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.)
Speaker: Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter, USMC (Ret.)
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.)
Speaker: U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin (Okla.)
Video: "World Stood Still"
Speaker: Joe Gibbs
Speaker: Brian Clay

8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.)
Video: "Vice Presidential Nominee Governor Sarah Palin"
Speaker: Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Penn.)
Video: "America’s Place in the World"
Speaker: Mrs. Cindy McCain

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Video: "Senator John McCain"
Speaker: Presidential Nominee John McCain

10 p.m. to Conclusion
Floor Demonstration, Balloon Drop, McCain and Palin Families on Stage
Introduction of Presiding Officer: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)
Benediction: Pastor Dan Yeary
Introduction of Delegate for Motion, Adoption and Adjournment: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)

But jk thinks:

I was thinking it would be in line with McCain's humor to start his speech and have the greek columns come up on the widescreen behind him. People would laugh and then he could stop his speech and order them to change it to an Arizona mountainscape. Good gag/jab, then he could move on to a more serious speech.

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2008 7:36 PM

Smart Post on Palin

Commenter T. Greer (in whose debt I will forever remain for his calling out one of our youngest authors as old!) has been a fan of the Alaska Governor since before her VP pick and provides a cogent explanation of her appeal.

Those who claim McCain is engaging in an exercise of hypocrisy do not fully understand what McCain and his compatriots mean when they ask if Obama is "ready to lead." These critics are not critical of the amount of time Obama has been in politics; nor are they suggesting that Obama has not gained the knowledge needed to be President of the United States. Rather, it is Obama's sheer lack of achievement that makes the McCain supporter nervous.

I'm collecting anecdotes across the net of those in all corners of the big tent -- plus the hallway -- who have been inspired by Governor Palin and Greer includes two.

P.S. Looks like Terri's in: WOW!!!

UPDATE: Welcome to the blogroll: The Scholar' s Stage

RNC2008 Posted by John Kranz at 5:07 PM | What do you think? [1]
But T. Greer thinks:

Thanks for the link- and a place on the blog roll! I guess that means I have to keep coming back to this joint, doesn't?

~T. Greer, Glad he could help with your quest to get reactions from across the net

Posted by: T. Greer at September 4, 2008 8:10 PM

Sarah's Hometwon

Reason interviews an Alaska Democrat:

Q: I was just talking to someone who claimed to have knowledge of Alaska to some degree, and they say where Sarah Palin comes from it's the equivalent of Humboldt or Chico in California, like, of course, you know, she'd have a Girls Gone Wild phase, and smoking pot. Is this just wishcasting, or what can you tell us about her geographical background?

A: So the Mat-Su Valley, you know, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, otherwise known as Upper Wingnuttia, is full of right-wing libertarian militia fundamendalist Christian gun-toting, pot-growing dope-heads.

Q: Awesome.

A: Yeah. If Jerry Falwell rolled his own, you would have the Mat-Su Valley. I live in South Anchorage, and my raspberry plants, courtesy of 22 hours of daylight in the summer, grow eight and a half foot high. That's a raspberry bush. Can you imagine what a single pot plant would turn into? [...]

Read the whole short thing. I pulled a filppant quote but the real story is Republican antipathy toward her.
She is what McCain would like to be: She really is a maverick. In two years she stuck it to the two largest oil corporations in the United States of America. That's pretty fucking impressive, you know, that she has antagonized her party to the point that they despise her. And her ratings are still in the 80s.

Hat-tip: Don Luskin

Radical Right - a definition

According to Hillary (no, not that Hillary - CNN's Hillary Rosen) Sarah Palin became a "superstar of the radical right" last night. This morning I heard Jay "Jabba-the-hut" Marvin say that McCain and Palin are "fascists." Why? Did I miss the racism or nationalistic overtones in the Sarah-cuda's speech last night? Do liberals think that McPalin wants to incenerate all of them? Relax, people - they only want to incenerate your ideas.

What's different about Palin that brings out such a frantic 'cockroaches scattering when the lights come on' reaction from Democrats and those even further left? Confidence. Sarah Palin is no more conservative than anyone else on the national scene, but what she does differently is what her running-mate used to be known for - straight talk. A "radical right-winger" is therefore... a conservative who ignores political correctness.

But Ms. Hillary believes the Palinator should be opposed, not on experience or family vs. career, but on her message:

I don't care about how Sarah Palin or John McCain take care of their families. I care about how their policy choices affect my family and millions of other Americans.

Translation: "I care about how they will take care of my family and millions of other families."

And she calls Palin "radical?"

2008 Race Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Bumper Sticker

From my brother:


GOP2008 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I prefer - "McPalin"

AC's Sarah-cuda is a gem too.

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2008 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I think "Sarah Barracuda" was her nickname on the high school basketball team. Don't suppose she played to win or anything, do you?

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2008 3:25 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I think Sarah-cuda flows better.... but either way.


Posted by: AlexC at September 4, 2008 6:39 PM

Personality Not Issues

Just heard a blurb on Fox from David Axelrod, Obama's advisor, about the Palin speech.

Paraphrasing: The Republicans are running on personality rather than issues.

No really.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 11:40 AM | What do you think? [0]


WTF? Some people think her glasses are fake?

Supposedly Sarah Palin has 20/20 vision and only started wearing glasses when she ran for election. Her thought was that it made her look smarter. I've seen pictures of her without her glasses but most pictures from the past cpl years she always has glasses on.

Does anyone have confirmation if Sarah Palin really needs glasses?

Here's a picture of her as a kid, douchebag.

But you're right, "Kerry C" as long as we don't have confirmation from an opthamlogist, let's lean toward "forty year conspiracy to wear glasses to looks like a hot smart librarian in the hopes that she gets to run for high political office."


2008 Posted by AlexC at 11:11 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I don't know if it's that "smarter" and/or "librarian" look, but I love, LOVE glasses on women. My fiancee sometimes wears glasses for reading. Nonetheless, it's ultimately the woman who makes the look, not the glasses. Palin is an attractive woman with or without them, and after last night, let no one doubt that she's smart and witty with or without glasses.

Oh, and regarding the faked bikini photo...thank God it was done this year, not 1984!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 4, 2008 11:57 AM



I've been watching replays on Fox and CNN and MSNBCCCP of her speech.

She's excited a lot of people, the Republicans who were halfway jazzed for McCain are now at 11 on the jazzed scale.

I thought she delivered her lines well, but occassionally stepped on the applause or didn't wait for it at all. For Democrats waiting to pounce on every mis-step and flub, there were few if any at all.

She carried herself extremely well on stage, and indeed in the national spotlight, gaining comfort in her role as the "the next hope of the GOP."

As with Rudy's speech before her, Palin's speech was peppered with jabs (serious though delivered with levity) directed toward the Obama / Biden pair.

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities

when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is our opponent's plan?

... and then there were the more serious jabs.
I might add that in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening. We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people.

The booing and finger pointing at assembled media was a sight to behold.

The strategy here (and not one I can recall) is to belittle Obama and Biden with humor. Funny to everyone but liberals... funny because, like all comedy, you know it's right.

While we are in serious times, and electing leaders is a serious business, the Democrat team is not serious, but instead drunk on polling and well crafted words from a gifted orator.

The GOP and McCain (to his credit) have found ourselves our next superstar.

... but on Thursday, how in the hell is McCain going to top this?

But johngalt thinks:

Maybe the Obama-Biden ticket isn't the only one who wishes it could reverse positions of its nominees.

After tonight McCain could probably just say, "Vote for us so that Sarah can watch me for four years and then take over!"

Seriously though, I expect John to do just fine for himself. He needs to show his gravitas. He needs to be the anchor to Palin's flash and sizzle.

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2008 2:20 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I just finished watching the replay of Palin's speech on tv.

If they win Sarah-cuda is going to drive the left bat-shit nuts.... why?

I watched her face and expressions, something I couldn't see from the nosebleed section.

She relished handing it out to Obama & Biden. When laying down a clever line, she a had great confident smile as she dropped the hammer, and slight smirk as the crowd reacted. She genuinely enjoyed her role... and will enjoy it in the weeks to come.

As Jonah Goldberg writes:

She was put on this earth to do two things: kill caribou and kick butt. She's all out of caribou.

Posted by: AlexC at September 4, 2008 3:17 AM
But jk thinks:

I was out last evening, explaining to one of my relatives (very loudly over Celtic music night at CCC) why Governor Palin was a good pick. I did not convince my sister-in-law and likely annoyed other tables.

I came home and TiVo had captured Hizzoner and Governor Palin. Needless to say, I was as enthralled as anybody. She did the traditional, convention-VP-attack speech with exceptional grace and humor. The crowd swooned, I swooned, my lovely bride swooned.

I had similar concerns -- Senator McCain's speech seems almost anti-climactic. Yet he has exceeded expectations several times of late and I trust he will do well. As I waxed rhapsodic about Ms. Palin, said relative asked "Do you want [McCain] to die?" (She did not mean it as mean as it sounds). I replied that McCain has moved up several notches in my book for picking her. Our ticket is right-side up with a rising star in the second slot.

A great Day to be a Republican. (A pretty damn fine day to be a ThreeSourcer as well).

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2008 11:14 AM
But sugarchuck thinks:

Last week, when I assumed McMaverick was going to pick Joe Lieberman to be his VP, I took a call from some RNC hack and let him have it. Since my daughter is a regular reader of this blog I won't repeat the language but the gist of my tirade was this; I'll consider supporting conservatives if they would consider running a few. What a difference a few days can make. Instead of going to the polls with a barf bag and a chip on my shoulder, I'll go as a proud supporter of Palin/McCain and in the meantime I'll dig out the check book and support red team. Last night was terrific and the hypocracy the left has demonstrated in their attacks on Palin rivals Gloria Steinem's "first grope is free" piece in the NYT for sheer absurdity. JK is right... it's a good day to ber a Republican.

Posted by: sugarchuck at September 4, 2008 12:16 PM

A Star is Born

On Monday, things looked bleak for the Republican Party. A storm was raging in the Gulf and revelations of a teenage pregnancy served to threaten a nominee that was less than a week old and a campaign that was dead-even in the polls.

Then came Fred Thompson. He delivered a speech like no other, simultaneously highlighting the character and courage of the man on the top of the ticket, the qualifications of the vice presidential nominee, and severe limitations of their opponents. He was thoughtful, articulate, blunt, funny, and most importantly, persuasive.

The subsequent speeches from Rudy Giuliani and Joe Lieberman were similarly effective.

However, each of the speeches given at the convention will forever pale in comparison to that given by Gov. Sarah Palin. Her speech delivered on all levels. She was the attack dog (the "pitbull in lipstick") that went after Obama, highlighting her experience and poking fun at his tenure as a "community organizer." She explicitly highlighted her family, the subject of great controversy in the media and demonstrated pride at their ability to respect life and overcome adversity. Palin stood tall and strong and showed that regardless of the result of this election, she has cemented herself as a star in the Republican Party for years to come.

The Democrats are scared. The media is disillusioned. The Republicans can win by targeting the base. They have done it for the last 28 years. John McCain knew what his ticket was lacking and he found it in Sarah Palin.

Around these parts, I am known as a reluctant Republican. However, this convention actually has me energized (I will pause so that jk can wipe off his computer screen that is undoubtedly covered in some sort of beverage). After all the talk of finding the next Ronald Reagan or the right conservative or the person who can secure all legs of the Republican base, the point is now moot. A strong woman from small town in Alaska who believes in life and in freedom and who fights government corruption has emerged through a crowd of men, of which none truly fit the bill, to become not only the driving force behind the McCain campaign, but potentially the face of the Republican Party for years to come.

Sarah Palin delivered tonight.

RNC2008 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:30 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent points HB, and I second them all.

I also want to highlight what I consider the "money line" from Palin's speech: "Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election. In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."

(Need to figure out how to put that on a bumper sticker.)

I also noticed in many of the delegate close-up shots that women were swooning over her all over the hall. I read one woman's lips talking to her friend: "I love her!"

It's looking more and more like Mrs. Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, will show in the coming months how Hillary Clinton gave female politicians on the national stage a bad name. No pant suits here. No grating monotonic voice with the cadence of a too-slow metronome. No stale nanny-state message. The fresh face for the GOP, oft called the "daddy party" is a mommy - one hell of one at that.

My favorite button at the convention so far (from the vantage point of my couch): "Sarah Palin - The hottest VP from the coolest state"

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2008 2:10 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

There's an unconfirmed rumor that Major League Baseball is considering a new rule called the "Palin Rule." If you hit the ball far enough, you get to circle the bases twice.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 4, 2008 10:47 AM
But jk thinks:

Superb post, hb. I was thinking similar thoughts this morning (you're quicker than I). Republicans need to stop waiting for Reagan to drop out of the sky and work the farm system a little.

I remain amazed at Palin's ability to unite. She shows that Frank Meyers's fusionism is not dead. Social conservatives will accept a principled libertarian and the freedom lovers will accept an ardent believer as long as (s)he works both sides in the framework of constricted, Constitutional authority.

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2008 11:24 AM

September 3, 2008

RNC2008: Day 3 - Live Blog

Brief comments until the big Palin show.

Ruby Brown has a set of pipes on her.... "America the Beautiful" was phenominal.

Robert Duvall is a great American, reminding us again about country first.

Auntie Anne from Lancaster County is speaking.

Life is never about what you can accumulate. It's not about the pocketbook. True prosperity is a richness of heart and spirit.

In Psalm 49, it says, "Do not be overawed when people become rich, when the wealth of their house increases. For when they die, they will carry nothing away; their wealth will not go down after them."

I began to live when I learned to give.

Giving is my purpose.

Senator Norm Coleman's energy part got big applause:
We increase energy supply. The Democrats' energy plan tilts at windmills and ignores the technology and resources at our disposal that would enable us to increase domestic supply.

We need drilling and oil shale and nuclear and clean coal and more conservation and renewables now.

Our economy and our sovereignty depend on them all.

America needs to go all in and gain our independence from foreign oil.

Montgomery County's & Pa GOP deputy chair Renee Amoore lists the reasons why you are a McCain voter.
If you are sick and tired of all the DC yak-yak-yak... and realize that every day action is delayed, problems just get worse ... If you want action, McCain's your man.

If you want a President who will veto out-of-control Congressional spending bills quicker than a DC lobbyist jumps on free drinks, then I know you will go in that booth and knock the chad, all-the-way-out, for McCain.

If you want a President who knows that American prosperity is more than the pursuit of pleasure... that it can only be found by serving causes greater than self-interest...

If you want a President who has the ideas and the courage to tackle these challenges before us instead of just talking about them, then I know you are a John McCain voter.

I'm proud to be an African American woman. I'm proud to be a Republican, and I'm proud to be voting for John McCain.

Wow! Her closing got massive applause here....

The crowd is definitely excited in here... a little restless, waiting for the Palin speech.

Cristy Swanson, a Democrat for McCain got the crowd fired up.... and now the Texas Railroad Commissioner gets an ovation from his delegation... and is tossing out red meat.

For energy security, we need to explore more, conserve wisely and aggressively pursue alternatives.

We can responsibly drill for oil and natural gas here in America and protect God's creation.

These things are not mutually exclusive. America cannot say no to clean to nuclear power...and no to offshore exploration.

That may be good for Saudi Sheikhs, but it's bad for American families.

With rising electricity rates and soaring gasoline prices, Democrats say "turn down the air in your home," and, "increase the air in your tires."

That's not an energy policy ... that is an Obamanation!

I have to say that Meg Whitman is a little disappointing here... she should be pumping the crowd up... instead it's seems like a slow down.

She was on "a" list for potential vice president.... maybe even my list.... but jeez. Not great.

Let's hope for Fiorina.

Killing time here as we're a bit ahead of schedule.

Fiorina: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Fiorina has achieved..... mild applause... speech far too wonky.

I know John McCain. And if we make the right choice, in 2013, American families will keep more of their hard-earned money. Small and large businesses alike will be creating jobs here and spurring robust economic growth, because America will once again be a great place to build a business.

That didn't kill. Sadly she was another one on my VP short list.

Michael Steele! Finally... the crowd wakes up... chants of "MICHAEL STEELE, MICHAEL STEELE".

Let's empower those whose minds are shackled by a poor education with real choices in where they go to school.

So, do you want to put your country first? Then let's change our tax code to confiscate less of our hard earned paychecks so more and more families may actually know what it's like to save for the future.

So, do you want to put your country first? Then let's reduce our dependency on foreign sources of oil and promote oil and gas production at home.

In other words, drill baby drill! And drill now!

So, do you want to put your country first? Then let's make decisions about our security based on what keeps us safe and not on what's politically correct.
So, do you want to put your country first? Then let's win the war on terrorism.
So, do you want to put your country first?
Then let's elect John McCain and Sarah Palin the next president and vice-president of the United States!

Biggest applause of the night.

Thank you Michael Steele for waking the crowd up!!!

Mitt Romney is bashing liberals.... "change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington."

The energy is back in the crowd.

It is to pursue every source of energy security, from new efficiencies to renewables, from clean coal to non-CO2 producing nuclear, and the immediate drilling for more oil off of our shores! And I have one more recommendation for energy conservation -- let's keep Al Gore's private jet on the ground!

Did you hear any Democrats talk last week about the threat from radical, violent Jihad? Republicans believe that there is good and evil in the world. Ronald Reagan called-out the Evil Empire. George Bush labeled the terror-sponsor states the Axis of Evil.

And at Saddleback, after Barak Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head: radical violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it!
Republicans prefer straight talk to politically correct talk!

Chants of USA USA USA!
Just like you, there has never been a day when I was not proud to be an American


Huge applause at the end... maybe one day for Governor Romney. It's a shame this wasn't your year.


A happy family from Colorado.

Two Huckabee speeches in one day? I can't take the folksyness. Though he did manage to get applause out of the crowd for the mainstream media.... for collossally cocking-up the Sarah Palin family coverage.

Barack Obama's excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don't even vote or pay taxes here.

It's not what he took there that concerns me. It's what he brought back. Lots of ideas from Europe he'd like to see imported here.

Centralized governments may care for you from cradle to grave, but they also control you. Most Americans don't want MORE government -- they want a lot less.

Abraham Lincoln reminded us that a government that can do everything FOR us can also take everything FROM us.

Longest applause of the night:
I'm not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

The governor of Hawaii is nominating Palin and covering her biography... what happened to Rudy's speech? Sarah's grandchild gets applause.

How much does it suck to be former Governor Frank Murkowski? He's only know for being steamrolled by Sarah Palin?

I think being a mayor, whether in Hawaii or Alaska or anywhere else, is outstanding preparation for higher office.
I find it especially amusing that the other party says Governor Palin lacks experience when their own candidates for president and vice president...have NO executive experience... ZERO!

Chants of ZE-RO, ZE-RO, ZE-RO break out.

9PM. The most important hour of Governor Palin's political career is upon us. But first comes Rudy... and a Palin video.


Huge standing ovation for Rudy... the whole place was standing.

Bashing the liberal media is getting a lot of mileage tonight... I can't imagine why.

Community organizing draws howls of laughter and chants of ZE-RO, ZE-RO.

It was too tough!

Obama's balls must hurt from the punching.

Rudy is pumping this crowd up bigger than before.... it's going to go nuts for Sarah.

Holy crap.. it's endless beclowning.

"We are all Georgians...." ... and the Georgia delegation stood up!

update:sorry about that... the Rudy speech got me up and away from the desk.

and Governor Palin was unbelieveable.... three and half minutes of opening applause.... (a 343 mb AVI) .... and a phenominal speech... words can't say enough... this place is electrified.... everyone is buzzing.... and the Dems are weeping. She brought the place down.

I didn't think she could be Giuliani.

And that ending, with the family, and Senator McCain? Unbelieveable. I have to say when she picked up Trig, my eyes got damp. ( Don't worry, I'm not getting all Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Andrea Mitchell on you....)... holy crap.

Simply fantastic.


I'll have more when I get back to the hotel room... thanks for persevering.





RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 6:11 PM

RNC2008: Day 3 Blogging

I'm going to de-camp from the media center and try to find a spot in the area to blog from tonight.

Tonight's program listed below:

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Call to Order, Introduction of Colors: U.S. Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.)
Presentation of Colors: Law Enforcement Memorial Association (Minn.)
Pledge of Allegiance: Sharon Clahchischilliage and Mary Leavitt
Singing of "America the Beautiful": John Shillington and Ruby Brown
Invocation: Father Edward Reese
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.)
Video: "Country First: Prosperity," with narration by Robert Duvall
Speaker: Anne Beiler
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.)
Speaker: Renee Amoore
Speaker: State Sen. Abel Maldonado (Calif.)
Speaker: Carolyn Dunn

7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Speaker: Dr. Elena Rios
Speaker: Ruth Novodor
Speaker: Christy Swanson
Speaker: Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Michael Williams
Speaker: Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuno
Speaker: Meg Whitman, former President and CEO of EBay
Video: Sen. McCain's Economic Reform Package
Speaker: Carly Fiorina, former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Prayer: Bishop Thomas Wenski

8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Speaker: GOPAC Chairman Michael Steele
Speaker: Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.)
Speaker: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.)
Musical Performance: John Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and Cowboy Troy

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Speaker: Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (N.Y.)
Speaker: Gov. Linda Lingle (Hawaii)
Video: Sarah Palin
Speaker: Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin

10 p.m. to Conclusion
Procedural Activities Required for Nomination of the Presidential Candidate: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)
Roll Call: Sec. Jean Inman, Assist. Sec. Connie Nicholas, and Assist. Sec. Rosie Tripp
Benediction: Rev. Eva Rodriguez
Adjournment: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)

Posted by AlexC at 5:43 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: The View From the Floor

The Xcel Energy Center is pretty free for all when nothing is going on.

So I decided to poke around.

RNC2008: Balls

Levi Johnston, future husband of Bristol Palin on arrival in Minneapolis/St Paul.

Give him a lot of credit.

(tip to Powerline)

But johngalt thinks:

This story had me questioning the judgement, not of Sarah, but of TODD Palin. "You let your seventeen year-old daughter date a boy named LEVI? What were you thinking!!!"

He looks like a good kid though so I'll cut Alaska's "First Dude" some slack. Besides, the future Palin grandchild already has more commitment from his father than Barack Obama did. (I hope that Barack and his adoring puppets appreciate his mother for suffering the "punishment" of his birth.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2008 1:40 AM

Specter & Palin


when asked if she was ready to be vice president Specter hedged: “I think she has the potential … so let’s see what she says” during her speech to the Republican National Convention, scheduled for tonight at the Xcel Energy Center.

Although Specter said that he was surprised by the Palin pick, he defended the McCain campaign’s vetting process.

“I wouldn’t sell John McCain short,” he said.

I rode on an elevator with Senator Specter this morning at the Crowne Plaza where this interview was done. He seemed a little distracted.

He could have given a better endorsement though.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 5:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

Sarah: Once Post Partisan

Look what Bucks Right uncovered.... a Newsweek story from a year ago... when the media still liked her.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 5:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: Anarchists Busted

More information on the weekend bust of the "RNC Welcoming Committee"

The self-described anarchist group — whose main goal was to "crash" the Republican National Convention," according to its Web site — traveled to or communicated with affinity groups in 67 cities to recruit members and raise money.

Group members discussed the possibility of kidnapping delegates, blockading bridges, using liquid sprayers filled with urine or chemicals on police and throwing marbles to trip police and their horses.

At an "action camp" held from July 31 to Aug. 3 in Lake Geneva, Minn., one member talked of concealing inside giant puppets "materials" that could be used on the street. Others discussed the need for Molotov cocktails, paint, caltrops (devices used to puncture tires), bricks and lockboxes for protesters to lock themselves together.

Erik Oseland, one of the six group members arrested here, produced a video called "Video Map of the St. Paul Points of Interest." It included such major companies as Travelers Insurance and Qwest, hotels such as the Embassy Suites and the Crowne Plaza. Also included: the Pioneer Press building.

The main sources for the information were "regular surveillance" of the group and three people who posed as members — two informants and an undercover investigator. The informants monitored e-mails and conversations.

Geneva Finn of the National Lawyers Guild, which represents many of those arrested, said it was hard for her to weigh the evidence in the affidavit because "it's all based on the testimony of people who are not identified, and that's a real problem."

Police and the Sheriff's Department characterized the anarchists as troublemakers who had come from other cities and states to disrupt the convention.

National Lawyers Guild??

Click here to read more about them.

RNC2008: Blogger Brunch

Well, Joe Scarborough had to cancel due to some kind of NBC News emergency. Reports that Keith Olbermann choked on his own hate cannot be confirmed.

In his stead, we got three speakers.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, California Congressman Kevin McCarthy and pollster Frank Luntz.

Schmidt made very brief introductory remarks then opened it up for Q&A.

Google's position on net neutrality was the first question asked. Google is for net neutrality, arguing that there needs to be some separation of the transport layer of the internet from the content.... as pointed out by Josh Trevino he only made that argument using China as an example. As pointed out by a half dozen bloggers that's not a fair example, as the country is not free. As another example he tried to use the name of a major cable internet provider (name not important, but the Slowsky's are not customers)... The angle taken was that this company to choose to alter the data or add and extened the internet in proprietary ways. His arguments were rejected once again as not realistic as there are a large variety of internet providers to choose from.

Not surprisingly, the group was overwhelming opposed to governmental interference in the internet, and were not too enthusiastic about Google's position.

Speaking of government interference, Google's deal with China was also discussed. To do or not to do was hotly debated within Google. As you know they decided to go ahead and filter their content based on certain keywords... with the provision that their webpages that might return "forbidden" results be marked that it is filtering results. Schmidt added that the Chinese search engine competitors now do their same to their results.

Matt Sheffield of Newsbusters asked about funding of left wing or liberal causes from Google. Schmidt explained that the Google PAC has a roughly 50 / 50 split and he's not legally allowed to talk to employees about political donations. Though he does acknowledge that most of Google's employees are in California and New York, "progressive" states and they find themselves generally socially liberal.

Suitably Flip has video.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy was chairman of the GOP Platform committee and spoke about the GOP platform program, comparing it with the Democrats' program. Basically GOP = lots of public input via websites & text messages, Dems = handed down from up on high while giving lip service to public input.

He also discussed the GOP's House caucus' Young Guns program. a plan to send a particular group of twenty to Congress. It involves mentoring programs, financial donations and help from members of Congress. All of these seats are potential pick up opportunities, with four of them being in Pennsylvania.
Lou Barletta, Chris Hackett, Melissa Hart and Tom Manion are the four on the list.

At that point the program was over, so I split. I got down to the lobby before I realized I left my camera on the desk. I ended up walking in on pollster Fred Luntz holding court.

Some video is here at Newsbustersif you're interested.


2008 Posted by AlexC at 5:02 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Crude, but cute. Had me laughing repeatedly. Thanks!

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2008 1:31 AM

RNC2008: Pa Delegation Breakfast

Winged my way over to Minnetonka and the Pa delegation's hotel.

Attorney General Tom Corbett gave a speech on the value of retail politics, saying he had been to nearly all county fairs and has seen the business end of a cow more times than he'd like. Corbett challenged everyone in the room to talk to four Democrats or Independants everyday between now and the election.

Congressional Candidate Marina Kats gave brief remarks.... touched on her biography and made mention of winning the 13th district for John McCain and Sarah Palin under the now-united Montgomery County GOP.

Next up was Lord Michael Ashcroft of the United Kingdom.... he's a member of the Conservative Party as well as Treasurer of International Democratic Union, a group of a center-right parties around the world. He touched on his biography, and joked about being a member of the House of Lords. You're in for life, even through prison terms... as a few of it's members have discovered.

National Committeeman Bob Asher also spoke briefly, discussing the McCain campaign in Pennsylvania. Sarah Palin provided a tremendous boost of energy in the state, and phone are ringing off the hook. He promoted the combined McCain/Palin ticket as for one social conservatives.... "a ticket these people can believe in."

The headliner this morning was former Governor of Arkansas and candidate for President Mike Huckabee.

He discussed the Palin nomination, again reitoriating the excitement she brought. (I guess that means McCain on his own was not exciting)...

A fun fact.... Sarah Palin got more votes for Mayor of Wasilla than Joe Biden got running for President. It must be true. Mike Huckabee told me.

He discussed growing up in Hope a town with no Republicans and the southern style of campaigning.. "if you can't win the cemetary vote, you can't win.... like some counties in Pennsylvania."

Hitting Republican themes, he says we got involved in politics not because we want more government in our lives, but because we want less government, and only companies pay taxes, not individuals.

Discussing Sarah Palin again and her daughter's pregnancy he said "People of faith are not people of perfection. That's what makes them people of faith."... to huge applause.

He ended his speech by comparing McCain and Obama.... on one hand you have a man who sees a dangerous world and is prepared to be vigilant. On the other hand a man who's only confrontation with a terrorist was fighting with Bill Ayres on who will pick up the lunch tab.

I can definately understand why people like him.. a great speaker and has that common-folk thing going on.

"Brunch" with Joe Scarborough in 30 minutes.

RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee doesn't think the quip about Biden is quite accurate, but close. If The Refugee's aging memory serves, Biden got 9000 votes in his quest for the White House; the population of Wasilla is about 9000. Palin certainly got more votes for governor than he did for president.

The level of vitriol toward Palin by the "angry left" is beyond the pale. Anecdotally, The Refugee's wife has been talking with her friends, many of whom are moderate or Democrat, and they are appalled by the press's treatment of Palin. This has backlash written all over it. However, the Republican's cannot roll over and allow her to be Borked. Defending her honor is essential. McCain's response has been muted at best. Showing a little of his famous temper here would be a good thing rather than a bad thing.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 3, 2008 12:15 PM

RNC2008: Breakfasts

I'm headed to Minnetonka to have breakfast with the Pa delegation at 8am... and then downtown for 11am breakfast with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.

RNC2008: Summing Up Day Two

Hard to beat Ace.

RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:48 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Fred! was awesome last night. Ace has got it right: you know the POW story, but to hear it in its entirety, laid out with Thompson's seriousness and showmanship is very moving.

Posted by: jk at September 3, 2008 11:04 AM

Palin Bikini Photo Fake

This Sarah Palin photo in a bikini is a fake.

I'm with Dan Rather on this one. It's fake, but accurate... or at least I want to believe.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 2, 2008

Newt Fights Back


RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 11:50 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: Day 2 - Live Blog

Opening: Star Spangled Banner and Presentation of Colors.

Short video tribute to deceased GOP leaders ending with a tribute to President Ford.

Congressman John Boehner rah-rah speech... he gets rave applause for mentioning his House colleagues who are challenging Nancy Pelosi over oil drilling in the House.

Official Delegate Picture:

Another video presentation,"Country First" this time narrated by Robert Duvall. Pictures of McCain get big applause.

I'm going to resume live blogging when the Bush's speak... and then Lieberman and Thompson.... too boring. ;)

Norm Coleman gets huge applause, and give a history lesson. St Paul is formerly known as Pig's Eye.... till renamed by a Catholic Priest.

(time goes by)

President Bush 41 and former First Lady Barbara Bush arrived to huge applause and chanting.

I'm sitting next to "Drew" from Hillsdale College during Espinoza's speech... "a lot of God talk here today... different than at the Dem convention. Where 'god' was actually there."

Rousing applause for the Bush 41 retrospective.

First Lady Laura Bush addresses the crowd. It's always amazing to me how much applause she gets from the GOP faithful.

Huge applause for President Bush's "angry left" line.

Red meat served up rare by Fred Thompson.

Speaking of the vice presidential nominee, what a breath of fresh air Governor Sarah Palin is. (cheers & applause)

She is from a small town, with small town values, but that's not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family. (cheers & applause)

Some Washington pundits and media big shots are in a frenzy over the selection of a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit. Well, give me a tough Alaskan Governor who has taken on the political establishment in the largest state in the Union -- and won -- over the beltway business-as-usual crowd any day of the week.
(cheers & applause)

Let's be clear ... the selection of Governor Palin has the other side and their friends in the media in a state of panic. She is a courageous, successful, reformer, who is not afraid to take on the establishment. (cheers & applause)

Sound like anyone else we know?

She has run a municipality and she has run a state.

And I can say without fear of contradiction that she is the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose ...(cheers & applause) with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt. (laughter)

She and John McCain are not going to care how much the alligators get irritated when they get to Washington, they're going to drain that swamp.(cheers & applause)

What a great biopic speech on Senator McCain by Thompson.. it's a shame he couldn't seal the deal last spring.
... and now we are winning!

Chants of USA USA USA!

Sadly the applause for "no McCain earmarks" was scattered and subdued.... but Thompson did pause for it.

The respect he is given around the world is not because of a teleprompter speech designed to appeal to American critics abroad, (interrupted by rousing applause) but because of decades of clearly demonstrated character and statesmanship.

Thompson doesn't stop...
They tell you they are not going to tax your family.

No, they're just going to tax "businesses"! So unless you buy something from a "business", like groceries or clothes or gasoline ... or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small "business", don't worry ... it's not going to affect you.

They say they are not going to take any water out of your side of the bucket, just the "other" side of the bucket! That's their idea of tax reform.

My friends, we need a leader who stands on principle.

We need a President, and Vice President, who will take the federal bureaucracy by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shaking.

And we need a President who doesn't think that the protection of the unborn or a newly born baby is above his pay grade.

Awesome... awesome... biggest applause of the night.

Speech ended with chants of USA! USA! USA!

How is the next speaker, Joe Lieberman going to top that?


Was it only eight years ago that Senator Joe Lieberman was the Democrat's VP nominee? Here he is talking about Senator McCain?

"Because country matters more than party!"

"Michael Moore is a fat bastard"

I'll have to check the transcripts for that one.

Even Bill Clinton is getting applause here.... I didn't think Lieberman would be this good.

The real ticket for change this year is the McCain/Palin ticket

It's awesome that Joe Lieberman is taking his time with this speech giving a big Independent Democrat middle finger to those that made him an Independent Democrat. Better still, is that he's immune to their actions.

It's not every Republican convention that a Democrat takes the time to speak to Democrats... I bet the angry left is going bezerk.

Huge speech by Lieberman... I'm going to digest for a while on the drive back to the hotel.... should have something up by the AM.

RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 10:00 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I had the same thought -- how will Lieberman follow his Fred!ness? But he reached out to moderates as effectively as Senator Thomson fired up the base.

A good night. Hizzoner tomorrow. Life is good.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2008 11:54 PM

Palin's SS Number

F*cking Democrat scumbags.

How dare they do this?

The Politico has received an opposition research file from the Alaska Democrats. You can read it in PDF here.

In the file, the Democrats have released Sarah Palin's social security number minus the last four digits. Also tied to the information are her various home addresses.

Back in 2005, Democrats used Michael Steele's social security number to get his credit record.

It is atrocious that the Democrats would not only seek out Sarah Palin's social security number, but release it in opposition research to the press.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 9:36 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: The Environment

I'm camping out in the concourse, but one with a direct view of the proceedings... so long as I'm not standing at my laptop. I'm also tethered to my iPhone, using the now verbotin NetShare to use it's 3G for internet. It's not perfect, as I can't get Firefox to load the blog editing pages... so I'm stuck with Safari.

It'll do.


Tonight's program has been announced and is listed after the jump.

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Music and Entertainment: Al Williams
Call to Order: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)
Presentation of Colors: Red Lake VFW and American Legion Post 513
National Anthem: Philip Alongi
Invocation: Rev. Dr. Robert G. Certain, Chaplain Col., U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Video Tribute: Deceased Republican Leaders and President Gerald Ford
Speaker: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)

7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Video: "Country First" - Narrator: Robert Duvall
Speaker: Jo Ann Davidson, Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Chairman of the Republican National Convention's Committee on Arrangements
Speaker: U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (Minn.)
Pledge of Allegiance: Victoria Blackstone, winner of the Stars and Stripes Essay Contest
Speaker: Miles McPherson, President of Miles Ahead and Senior Pastor of the Rock Church
Speaker: Ashley Gunn
Speaker: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.)
Speaker: Wes Gullett and daughter Nikki
Video Tribute: President Teddy Roosevelt
Music and Entertainment: Rachael Lampa

8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Speaker: Captain Shanna Hanson, Minneapolis Fire Department
Video Tribute: President Abraham Lincoln
Speaker: Tommy Espinoza, President and CEO of Raza Development Fund, Inc.
Video Tribute: President George H. W. Bush
Speaker: Bill Gross
Speaker: Captain Leslie Smith, U.S. Army (ret.)
Video: Medal of Honor Story: Michael Monsoor, U.S. Navy SEAL
Speaker: The Honorable Orson Swindle, former POW, Lt. Col. U.S. Marine Corps (ret.) and former Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission
Speaker: First Lady Laura Bush
Remote Video: President George W. Bush

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Video Tribute: President Ronald Reagan
Speaker: Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.)
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.)
Introduction of Benediction: Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan

10 p.m. to Conclusion
Benediction: Rabbi Ira M. Flax, Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Introduction of Delegate for Motion and Adoption of Motion to Adjourn: Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan

But T. Greer thinks:

Did you see anybody filming those video tributes, do you? I doubt any of the MSM will carry them.

~T. Greer, with hope that they might just pop up on youtube.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 2, 2008 9:36 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll be looking for the one of the Navy Seal; that was moving. I'm guessing they'll be around.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2008 11:51 PM
But AlexC thinks:

might end up here....

Posted by: AlexC at September 2, 2008 11:51 PM

With Obama Loss, A Race War

Stay classy Fatimah Ali.

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

Plenty of Americans would rather stay in their dream state than to recognize the poverty sweeping across the country, right here, right now.

Obama understands that people are suffering. Every week, prices go up at the supermarket, and people are unable to feed their families. It already is dark and stormy for millions, who can't even afford pencils, book bags and lunch money for their children.

But when Obama wins the White House, we may just see a revolution that can turn the tide and improve this nation for everyone, not just a select few.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 5:04 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: Media Filing Center

Not much to see here.... tons of tables with power and ethernet, bunch of TVs playing C-SPAN, Fox, CNN and MSNBC.

I wish the convention schedule was a little more "certain".... the webpage for today says nothing on it.... well, to be fair "come back soon"

Of note, MSNBC and Al-Jazeera have awful boxes inside the arena. Right next to each other and a fine view of the back of the stage. Fox & CNN are right in front.

Actually, MSNBC's is worse... they're even farther back in the corner.

RNC2008: Capitol Complex Protesters

Following the reggae sounds to the State Capitol Complex, I found a larger collection of protester types.

Click "more" to see the pictures & video.

Not actual leftist protesters. They are part of MSP's Somalian community. They are calling for an end to genocide in Somalia. You would have thought there would be more leftists there. I guess hating BushCo and listening to music is more important than Somalian genocide.

The perp walk. The gentlemen they wave to at the end are Ramsey County Sheriffs.

"Capitalism rocks!"

Yoga for Peace.

Begging for money and donations.




Ready to keep the peace.

Talent wasted. She could be a florist, or work at the grocery store's produce department... I guess that would be selling out though.

I have to say, I'm a little disappointed.

Not a single person gave me a hard time despite my GOP-issued Brooks Brothers outfit, convention credentials and cologne. They seemed a little dispirited.

I attribute that to a) the rain b) unflinching justice delivered yesterday.

RNC2008: Xcel Center Protesters

After the Fred breakfast I headed down to the Xcel Energy Center to look for protesters... as they were marching around there on Monday.

Not much action.

... blogging from the media center, btw.

Click "more" to see the pictures.

I think she's gesturing "hands of my lady parts"...

It was a windy morning, as a storm was looming. Yet I could smell this guy's BO 100 yards upwind. Pity the poor hippie who has to wear that papier mâché head next.

Brave souls.

In his hand must be the latest Chomsky missive.... so I suppose he can read. Fight the power! Damn the Man!

Sigh... Ron Paul bitter enders.

Straight up call for revolution. Little do they know that the Secret Service has checked the secret watermarks on the paper and already knows who printed it.

Irony is so awesome.

... we would rather abort them.

Not much going on there... just people wandering like mice through the barricades.... but I did hear something being announced... so I had to check it out.

Post from St Paul Capital Complex shortly.

RNC2008: Capitol Complex

Found some at the Minnesota capital... Had to follow the bumpin' Reggae beats.

Got some video of the perp walk... To post when wi-fi located.

Blogged from Phone

RNC2008: Rains

And it started raining. Water, to the eternally aggreived leftists, is like acid.

But here is a picture of the barricades.

Blogged from my phone.

The Libertarian Case for Palin

I keep hearing about how Governor Palin has galvanized "The Conservatives" and "The Evangelicals."

David Harsanyi explains her appeal to little-l libertarians:

By now, you've probably seen picture or two of Palin sporting a rifle. Apparently, she's left carcasses strewn across the Alaskan wilderness. In some places -- areas where the nation is growing -- owning a gun is not yet a sin. And unlike Obama, Palin seems to believe that the Second Amendment means the exact same thing in rural Alaska as it does in the streets of Chicago.

There's much more in this great article (Have you bought his book yet?). Hat-tip: Instapundit

VP Picks

I'm intrigued by the Conventional Wisdom view of Senator Joe Biden. It is interesting on a few levels, most notably the incestuousness of Washington DC culture.

1) Senator Biden is appreciated by the Washington media a few steps ahead of his skills. These people have been out to lunch with him a hundred times, on a few junkets, &c. The DC media have a personal relationship with him, as he has been there as long as most of the reporters who cover him. I've no doubt he is a genial and intelligent luncheon guest, but the reporters "misoverestimate" him based on this.

2) FOXNews frequently can be counted in "alternate media" with blogs and talk radio because they do not feature the default, leftward slant of MSM. Yet, the view of Biden shows them to be in the MSM camp. Even the conservatives on FOX suggest that Governor Palin will be hard pressed to keep up with the skilled Senator.

3) I suggest that people who don't see him at Sally Quinn's cocktail parties view him as a comical figure. His presidential runs have been quixotic at best; I'm guessing Rep Dennis Kucinich has scored more delegates. If he is such a fierce debater, why did he have little success in the primaries?

4) Governor Palin gets the opposite. An unnamed insider is said to have been dismayed that "she's never been on Meet the Press."

This year, with Hope and Change in the air, I'm not sure that Governor Palin's story will not be more compelling. And I suggest that she might wipe the floor with the loquacious deliberator in the VP debates.

In the same vein, don't miss Bill McGurn's takedown of the "lunch bucket," "scrappy kid from Scranton" meme:

It's true that when members of Congress release their assets and incomes, Mr. Biden famously ranks near the bottom of the pile. But let's remember that we're talking about a pretty privileged pile. Only in a place as removed from reality as the Beltway could a man who has spent more than three decades in the United States Senate be hailed as a working-class stiff.

According to his most recent disclosure forms, Mr. Biden's income includes his Senate salary of $165,200 and a teaching stipend of $20,500 from Widener University. On top of this, he received $112,500 as the second half of a book advance. Even allowing for generous deductions, Mr. Biden's income comfortably locates him in the top 5% of American taxpayers.

The Senate disclosure forms do not require Mr. Biden to report his primary residence (or his federal pension). So I asked Jim Bowers -- an old college roommate of mine who also lives in Delaware, who also went to the same high school, and who is also running for election. "Not many lunch buckets up Joe's way," says Mr. Bowers, a Republican seeking a seat in Delaware's House of Representatives. "You have to remember that the senator lives in an area known as 'chateau country.'"

DNC2008 Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: Hippie Patrol

The festivities don't kick off for a while, so I'm going to go look for trouble. I'll try to blog from my phone when possible.

Hopefully tear gas is not too nauseating.

RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:57 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: Breakfast with Fred and Google hosted breakfast with Senator and former Presidential Candidate Fred Thompson this morning.

Senator Thompson gave brief remarks deploring the state of the mainstream media (Palin babies on the front page of the New York Times for example) and their coverage of the Palin family as well as the experience question. The Governor Palin experience factor is a perfect lede for Republicans to make comparisons to Senator Obama's Senate experience. As a veteran of the Senate, Mr Thompson did not give rave reviews to foreign policy or domestic security exposure... saying that it was mostly about deal making and bringing back pork to the home state.

Later the floor was opened for questions.

There was some brief discussion regarding the lack of media coverage of the Ayers, as well as Fred Thompson's new PAC, FredPAC. FredPAC is going to be a PAC to further conservative principles, not necessarily Republican ones though we all hope there will be a lot of overlap.

I would post more meat here, but my audio recording was dreadfully inadequate, and I did not take notes. Dammit. While I'm wallowing in self-pity, allow me to kick myself in the ass for not making business cards.

About 30 bloggers and new media types were in attendance, and I know there will be video on Youtube shortly.

I sat at the table with Flip of Suitably Flip, a blog I've been reading for a while, as well as John Ruberry of Marathon Pundit and Anne Leary of BackyardConservative. They were both from the Chicago area and are up on all the Obama info. We discussed Pa's role in the election, both in the Democratic primary as well as the general. There was also some mention at the table that Obama had a job in a Wall Street firm for a year before leaving it, as well as a stunning lack of character witnesses from Obama's past at the Harvard Law Review, Columbia University and Occidental College. Very strange.

Surprisingly, Anne brought up the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin which led into a brief discussion on the sad state of the Philly print media.

I'll take notes for tomorrow's breakfast, which was supposed to be with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He is quite obviously busy, and won't be available... so there is still some mystery as to tomorrow's guest speaker.

updated: A couple of other breakfast bloggers:

Doc's Political Parlor
Booker Rising: Live Blog
Ken Shepard (with Video)
Northstar Liberty
Erick Erickson from Redstate

RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:23 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: Webcasting

Watch it all live here... it's nerdier than C-SPAN.

RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 12:16 PM | What do you think? [0]

Kicking Ass And Taking Names

I'm going to shut up a little this week and enjoy the pictures and insights of "our brother in St. Paul," AlexC. Well done, sir.

UPDATE: Brother ac politely declines my offer to let him do all the work...

September 1, 2008

Stay Classy, Hippies

Nothing says free speech like assaulting old ladies.

The delegation - including official delegates, alternates, and guests - numbering approximately 120 people - got off the buses and began to walk through the security perimeter into the Convention Hall when they encountered a large group of RNC protesters who formed a human chain to block the delegation from continuing and shouting epithets at the Nutmeggers.

Police officers in riot gear quickly converged on the protestors as the delegation attempted to walk through the blockade. Delegates were shoved and spat upon by the protestors.

When Chairman Healy’s mother Lila was spat upon by a protester, former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons stepped between the elder Healy and the crowd. He was doused with a liquid substance that was later determined to be a mix of clorox and water. At least 10 other delegates also were hit with liquid.

As I was winding my way out of the exits, I was struck at the number of barricades around the complex. It's really tragic that law enforcement is forced to put those things up because of the radical protesters.

Gateway Pundit writes about this afternoon's bus attack.

... which he was on!

RNC2008 Posted by AlexC at 10:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: Dirty Hippies

Remember the band geeks in high school?

Remember the ones that were all into reading books by Kafka and Marx and talked in circles?

Take one of those, add four years of liberal arts education, and you get this:

But T. Greer thinks:

Bandies? I think you might be behind the times. I don't know a single Bandie who reads Kafka... and no more than four students who have ever read Marx. Zinn is much more popular now.

~T. Greer, high-school student.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 1, 2008 10:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Looks like you're showing your age AC.

But what's with those protesters? Their catchy little riff contains both a pleasing melody AND a uniform rhythm. And they call themselves anarchists!? Pikers.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2008 1:47 AM

RNC2008: The Blogger Setup

Ed Morrissey of HotAir writes about today's first day, and adds:

It turns out that they don’t really have facilities for all of the bloggers invited, at least not in the hall. Most bloggers got assigned to the seats in the spectator area, which do not have power for the laptops. They can have unlimited access to the Media Filing Center, which most of us didn’t quite realize, but only a few bloggers have actual blogging facilities in the hall. Expect lots of blowback as bloggers realize this; some of this will definitely find its way into the blogosphere. Keep an eye out for it.

Absolutely true.. I'm "seated" in Section 222, which has a pretty good view of the corner of the back of the stage.... if I were even seated there.

There's no where to plug in.

I ended up scouting around and finding a table & chairs, and more importantly some power... but even that isn't great. There's no view!

I'm not sure where the Media Filing Center is, and I only learned about "bloggers row" this afternoon.


Posted by AlexC at 8:41 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: Cindy & Laura

After the official business of the convention, First Lady Laura Bush and would-be First Lady Cindy McCain came out to briefly speak and give an introduction to videos from the Republican governors of the Gulf States.

Only Bobby Jindal did not cut a video.

Also listed were the websites of relief agencies in each state.

Louisiana: AidMatrix
Mississippi: Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund
Alabama: Governor's Emergency Relief Fund
Texas: Texas Responds
Florida: Florida Disaster Fund

Overall: Cause Greater

Comparing and Contrasting Unexpected Birth Annoucements

The Obamas vs the Palins.

2008 Posted by AlexC at 5:05 PM | What do you think? [0]

RNC2008: Day One

The day so far....

Drove down into St Paul to go to the Xcel Center, while navigating the St Paul streets, I managed to find myself, literally, overrun by dirty hippies. Thugs dressed in black were knocking over temporary traffic signs and making a mess of the area. Helpfully, they were being tailed by St Paul PD.


I did manage to snag a video of left-wing Mummers as they played, "We're Not Gonna Take It."



I finally managed to find a spot to park, wade through the smelly masses and get inside the center.



aka. Justice Delivery Platform

As luck would have it, right inside the door, I ran into Dave McGraw a co-worker and an alternate delegate from Alaska. I taped a brief interview with him, wherein he claims that he is the first man to lose an election to Sarah Palin. No, really.

I made it up to the special press area in time to watch Mike Duncan officially open the precedings, then came the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Star Spangled Banner and the Invocation.

Some brief business was conducted with State Senator Jane Orie of Pa taking the lead in the process.

Off to recess.





RNC2008: Rocking the Vote

Jon Henke invited me to go with him to the Digg/MySpace/RockTheVote/assorted liberal thing party sunday night in Minneapolis.

So here's a picture of a great cover band whose name I forgot.

Combined with the high quality of the image, that makes this post neigh worthless.

But jk thinks:

We don't care if you forget the band's name. But for SugarChuck and me, please report on what type of guitars and amps were used, any particular pickup or electronics modification employed, general guitar tone, and -- if there is extra time -- whether the owner could play.


Posted by: jk at September 1, 2008 12:07 PM
But AlexC thinks:

It was astonishing to see the numbers of blackberries and iPhones in attendance.

Like some kind of global nerd-convergence.

Posted by: AlexC at September 1, 2008 5:11 PM

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