Sunday, August 31, 2008

Losing sleep over Palin?

Roger Kimball has some more thoughts on Palin.

William Kristol, in a splendid piece in The Weekly Standard, gets it just right. Palin is a frightening “spectre” to the Left precisely because she is everything they despise: “a working woman who’s a proud wife and mother; a traditionalist in important matters who’s broken through all kinds of barriers; a reformer who’s a Republican; a challenger of a corrupt good-old-boy establishment who’s a conservative; a successful woman whose life is unapologetically grounded in religious belief; a lady who’s a leader.”

Which is why Palin should cast herself as a leader first and a woman second. That's part of Jonah Goldberg advice to Palin: Hit the left-wing feminists

It also seems that Palin's reformer streak is what attracted McCain to her, and according to the Washington Post she was someone McCain had wanted for a while. That she was a woman was just icing on the cake, and that she was an attractive woman was a cheery on top.

I spoke to a savvy, politically connected friend yesterday who told me that MSM journalists were already packing into planes, trains, and automobiles to hie themselves thither to Alaska in order to prospect for the gold of D.O.P.–dirt on Palin. Well, good luck to ‘em. What the Clinton’s called (and, even more, what they practiced) “the politics of personal destruction” is never pretty. But I suspect that, like most gold prospectors of yore, they will come up empty handed in this case. The only thing I’ve heard is the story about her getting her unstable brother-in-law fired: not much there for the fourth estate, especially since Palin has been so cooperative with the inquiry that they haven’t even had to issue a subpoena.

In the larger sense, of course, it is a good thing for the public to learn more about Sarah Palin, her origins, her passions, her associates, her behavior as a young politician. The same scrutiny should be directed towards Obama, McCain, and Biden. I suspect most people will like what they discover about Sarah Palin. Will they like what they discover about Obama? How do you spell “Tony Rezko”? What do you know about Jeremiah Wright? Would you want your daughter–or your President–consorting with Bill “the bomber” Ayers?

I agree, go and investigate Palin's past. That's the job of the media. They're supposed to investigate and dig around.

But... will the same people eager to delve into Palin's past, be willing to do the same for Obama?

The reaction to Stanley Kurtz's investigation, seems to indicate some of Obama's supporters don't want that kind of balance.


Harvey of explains why he loves the Palin Choice.

It makes Dems say some pretty funny things.
Original Moveon.Org email:

I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK

To which Harvey modified very slightly:

I think he's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for an African-American in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other African-Americans who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on the Democratic Party's part - and insulting to African-Americans everywhere that they would assume they'll get our vote by putting "An African-American" in that position.

This is exactly what Victor Davis Hanson meant when he talked about the trap the Palin pick can be to uncareful Dems.

Rasmussen: Obama’s convention bounce gone

From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air

After squandering a double-digit lead this summer, nothing Obama has done shows that he can make a comeback on his own. He barely survived the primaries after taking the momentum from Hillary in February, and now he’s lost it to McCain. The more America sees of Barack Obama, the more they appear to like John McCain, and now the Republicans have the opportunity to seize the momentumn for good this week.

This goes in line with the Zogby poll that came out earlier.

One wonders who else had such a "dead cat" bounce.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Prediction: Palin will make or break the race for McCain

It occurs to me that this election's outcome largely rests on one person. The performance of which will be critical .
If Sarah Palin doesn't handle the pressure and can be successfully called a "Quayle" then it's over for McCain. If she can handle it and does real well (which I'm betting on) It's a knife to Obama's heart. Her very existence proves him wrong.

The conventional media/left expectation for the VP debates... oh that can be so wonderful. Remember, Biden was against the Trans-Alaskan pipeline. So, she knows her state would be poorer by billions and the US's energy hole would be even deeper if Biden got his way.

Jonah Goldberg has thoughts along that line.

I've been thinking about it and I think the bottom line on Palin is pretty simple. If she does a good job at the convention and survives about three weeks of serious media scrutiny — no horrible gaffes, no unforgivable I-don't-knows to gotchya questions (fair and unfair), no botched hostile interviews — she will emerge as the single most inspired VP pick in modern memory and she will give the Democrats migraines for a long time to come, assuming there are no terrible skeletons we don't know about. But, if she screws up in the next three weeks, gives the press and the late night comedians sufficient fodder to Quayelize her, she'll be seen as anything from a liability to an outright horrible pick. That's it.

Roger Kimbal has some thoughts on the style differences between the two campaigns.

There is a big difference in style between the McCain and Obama campaigns. If you go to Obama’s web site, you'll find lots of complaints about the smears,“outrageous lies,” etc. supposedly perpetrated by the other side. An example? The most recent is the hysterical attack on the journalist Stanley Kurtz who has been looking into Obama’s early political career, not least his association with the terrorist Bill Ayers. In fact, Stanley Kurtz is simply doing what political journalists do: filling out the historical record and illuminating the origins, associates, and early career of a man who has put himself forward to be President of the United States.

On the McCain web site, by contrast, there is no whining about how unfair the other side treats him. Obama asks us to “believe in” him; McCain asks us to consider what is best for the country. For him, action, not belief is the issue. (A lot could be written, in fact, about Obama’s quasi-religious rhetoric: it’s one thing to ask people to believe that one candidate has the better vision for the country; it is quite another for a candidate to ask us to believe in him and his vision.)

Watching Sarah Palin’s speech yesterday I found myself almost feeling sorry for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Almost. Here they are campaigning on “change” and optimism and the common man and transcending politics as usual. And their campaign is the same old business and usual, Chicago-style swamp politics. If it were an athletic contest, McCain/Palin would probably have to play with some sort of handicap. But it wouldn’t matter. Even with a steep handcap they would eat Obama and Biden for lunch. The carnage will not be pretty. But perhaps it will finally get the message through to the DNC: you don’t win elections by vapid talk about change. You win them by sound policies that offer change where change is needed and continuity where change would be irresponsible.

Victor Davis Hanson spots a 3rd trap door for the Obama camp.

We are supposed to believe that a first- term Alaskan governor is less qualified for the second spot than a first-term Illinois Senator is for the Presidency—who once again just announced to the nation that he is ready to invade nuclear Islamic Pakistan to get bin Laden, who wanted all troops out of Iraq by March 2008, and who once dismissed Iran as a small threat. Next in their wisdom they will go after Gov. Palin's husband—and therein re-invite comparison with Michelle's wise declarations.

Again, I think the irony is lost—that as old-pro McCain matches the experience of old-pro Biden, so too fresh -face Palin emphasizes fresh-face Obama, but, then, one is supposed to be our President, the other the Vice President. And whereas McCain was suggesting that the Presidential nominee was too inexperienced and thus subject to charges of partianship, now the Obama team will be making just those charges against Palin, and thus by comparison making McCain's original case against themselves.

I don't know if they'll be stupid enough to go after Gov. Palin's husband, but it would not shock me.

Palin Reactions

Ed Morrissey rounds up some of the charges against her coming from the left.
They're not the most... wisely thought out talking points.
Some of them are downright insulting, and many open up unflattering comparisons to Obama himself.

RedState goes through and compares Obama and Palin on "experience".

Of course the short answer to "Does Palin have foreign-policy experience for the VP slot?" is given by Rober (the other) McCain. "John Edwards 2004"

It's nice to see the Dems hold their opponents to a much higher standard than they're willing to be.

Also, if Palin has made you want to donate to the McCain/Palin cause then you won't be alone. So far they've raised $7 million. In one day. But you better hurry as you have until Tuesday to make a donation.

Ed Morrissey responds to a Time piece by Michael Grunwald and Jay Newton-Small.
Time: Why is everyone surprised by Palin pick?

Ed agrees.

McCain had several options open to him in this choice, but none of them would have addressed all of the points that Palin does. Tim Pawlenty is a Washington outsider and an Everyman too, but fortunately Minnesota has not been plagued with official corruption, and Pawlenty has not had to crusade for massive reform. He has governed as an effective and strong center-right leader, but doesn’t have the dynamism of Palin. Mitt Romney, who would have been my first choice, has a proven track record in both private and public sectors of strong leadership, but his compromises as governor of Massachusetts already had people calling him a flip-flopper on key points like abortion. Also, Romney isn’t exactly an Everyman; although he is a Washington outsider, his wealth hardly gives the impression of one.

Palin is, in a way, Pawlenty with a ferocious record of reform. She went after her own party’s state chair and exposed his corruption at the Oil and Natural Gas Commission. Palin defied Ted Stevens and Don Young in refusing to accept the Bridge to Nowhere and told them that Alaska can build its own bridges. Otherwise, like Pawlenty, she enjoys and excels in sports, has a young family, and prior to entering the governor’s mansion lived in a solidly middle-class home. Palin is, as Pawlenty often points out, more Sam’s Club than country club.

As stated before, Palin has a big risk. If she can't handle the pressure or gives a big gaff, she can easily sink the McCain campaign. On the other hand, she's already had a great effect given the donations, enthusiasm from the base, the obvious and more than partially cynical female angle and her social and libertarian cred.

The timing also cut Obama's convention off at the knees. In one move, his speech and the whole convention are old news.

In that case, it may have been better if his speech reached out to more than just his base. Obama speech bounce: nil

Meanwhile Ed Morrissey (who I've gone back to three times today) has some comments on "The Man Trap"

This trap has two doors, as Powers notes, and the Obama campaign and its supporters fell through both of them. First, it didn’t take long to speak dismissively of Palin as a “beauty queen” and a “small-town” hick, even though she governs the state of Alaska and has a favorability rating in the 80s. No one actually came out and called her “Sweetie”, but to women who resented the Obama campaign’s real and imagined sexist slights against Hillary Clinton, it was deja vu all over again.

The bigger trap, though, was the knee-jerk attack on Palin’s experience. Calling her a “small-town mayor” only underscored Obama’s own woeful lack of experience. Two years as Governor trumps a year as Senator before running for the presidency, and having been an executive in Wasila trumps having been a “community organizer” in Chicago’s South Side. Further, Palin has a record of attacking her own party’s machine to effect real reform in Alaska, where Obama never lifted a finger to support reform of the Chicago political machine while in Illinois, and had one of its fixers, Tony Rezko, raising money for him most of his career.

The most you can say is that "McCain was wrong to highlight experience given his own pick for VP." But most of the Obamabots are saying "Palin doesn't have enough experience."

Knee-jerk is right. The Obama camp's initial response to Palin was not thought through. In their quest to not be "Swiftboated" they lash out quickly and without thinking. This makes them predictable, and as we saw, one can use that to set traps.

Ed asks:
Did McCain set Obama up to fall into this trap? If so, then perhaps that more than anything demonstrates how poor a candidate Obama is and how much more masterful McCain can be. Would you rather have the man who set the trap dealing with our enemies abroad, or the man who fell into it?

Friday, August 29, 2008

More on Palin

Ed Morrissey writes on "What Palin does for McCain, and to Obama."

Politically, this puts Obama in a very tough position. The Democrats had prepared to launch a full assault on McCain’s running mate, but having Palin as a target creates one large headache. If they go after her like they went after Hillary Clinton, Obama risks alienating women all over again. If they don’t go after her like they went after Hillary, he risks alienating Hillary supporters, who will see this as a sign of disrespect for Hillary.

Go to the link for the four upsides.

1 Boost like no other choice, and buried Obama's acceptance speech.

2 Re-energize the base.

3 A key choice in the energy issue.

4 An actual record of reform. Instead of just rhetoric. She challenged and defeated the incumbent Republican Governor and won.

She isn't without her problems, but so far, her positives seem be larger.

This is change you can believe in, and not change that amounts to all talk. McCain changed the trajectory of the race today by stealing Obama’s strength and turning it against him. Obama provided that opening by picking Biden as his running mate, and McCain was smart enough to take advantage of the opening.

Once again the McCain camp understands the OODA Loop.
Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

If you can run the loop faster than your opponent you control the tempo and they are forced to play catch-up and be reactive. This is called getting "inside" the loop.

And here's the video of their speech.
More from Morrissey: Now Obama wants Experience?

During the entire primary campaign, Obama kept telling voters that his judgment overruled his lack of experience. Now, suddenly, it doesn’t — but that puts Barack Obama at the same level as Sarah Palin, or even below, as Palin has the executive experience that Obama lacks. Moreover, Palin has spent her time in politics actually accomplishing reform and challenging the political machine in her own party. Did Obama do that?

As I said before, bad move on Obama's part.
He could have come against her in a better way than that.

It's Sarah Palin

Here's a good point.
We're two hours away from McCain's ceremony with his running mate, and nobody has any idea. We've got conflicting reports on who's in Ohio, and whether a woman who looked like Palin was on a flight from Alaska.
Maybe a guy that can keep his running mate choice this secret would, as president, keep national security secrets off the NYTimes' front page.

Also Mcain manages to have the announcement go off only a couple hours before his Friday speech.
Obama's pick leaked in the dead of the night, for a Saturday speech.

So it's Palin? Not bad at all.

More on her experience
Her executive experience, meanwhile, while brief is really pretty impressive—she seems to be a tough and serious manager. With her in the second spot, McCain can still push the "is he ready" question, though perhaps a little less effectively, and it would be hard for Obama's folks to argue in response that, well, McCain's vice presidential pick is not any more experienced than Obama is.

And unlike for the dems the more inexperienced one is at the bottom of the ticket. Though one has to note that she has more executive experience than the other three candidates combined.
This is also a good move by McCain's camp to knock much of the wind out of Obama's post-speech sails.

And how does Obama's camp respond?

Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies — that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same.

Mocking her for being a former mayor when she's currently a governor does not seem to be a wise move.
I mean it'd be like calling Obama a former Ill. Legislator.
It's like they're trying to make Obama look sexist and stupid. Are they trying to piss off everyone that lives in a small town?

They used judgment which was good, but they shouldn't have touched her experience that just makes one question how Obama can say that.

Instead they should have done something like this "We are pleased that Sen. McCain realizes that judgment is more important than experience, and thus picked a VP who's judgment he valued over any experience. Regrettably, his choice shows a lack of judgment on his part and her part."

There. Was that so hard?
If you do that then McCain looks bad and the campaign can go back to judgment.

This also makes Obama's camp look unsportsmanlike. Last night McCain gave a personal message to congratulate Obama on formally getting the nomination.

Ace of Spades has some thoughts too.

Victor Davis Hanson has some thoughts on the choice. Read them all. He's got some good thoughts on it.
This one struck me.
4. In a Zen way it raises the inexperience issue, inviting Obama to critique a fresh VP as "inexperienced" and thereby automatically turn the same scrutiny to his as-thin-or-even-thinner resume for the more important job."

This is exactly what is happening. Obama and his supporters are being very critical saying that you can't have an inexperienced, token, pick that's got a thin resume in... the Naval Observatory.
But why then, is it okay to have someone with at the very most only slightly more governmental (and infinitely less executive experience) experience in the White House?

The smart thing would be to way to undercut McCain's statement of experience, is to act as if McCain has conceded to their point. Digging in and fighting like this is just a poor move.

It raises questions of why Obama went with Biden? If not for his long time experience in Washington.

That being said. Palin has to keep from making any gaffes and perform well.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama, copying.... Bush?

Politico has images of Bush's 2004 nomination speech.
Which is very similar in style to Obama's. With the pillars raised dias and such.

It looks really goofy and "victory lapish" on Bush too.

Really doesn't help Obama. I mean the guy's copying Bush, and copying something real cheesy Bush did.


Jailing Dissident Musicians

They Told Glen Reynolds that if George Bush were reelected that dissident musicians would be jailed for making fun of the president. And they were right! They just didn't say which president.

In his own words....

Here's the latest McCain ad.
Rather interseting blend of footage and quotes from those in the Democratic primary

Glen Reynolds notes "Weirdly, McCain seems to have taken a lead in the rapid-delivery YouTube department. I wouldn't have predicted that."

It's not that weird if you remember McCain was a Navy pilot. For a combat pilot response time is everything. It looks like the McCain camp has realized that if they react to situational changes faster than the opponent they get more control and options.

This forces Obama's side to be reactive and play catch-up.

I've linked to Richard Fernandez's post "Boyd versus Alinsky" before.

And how McCain is trying ot get into Obama's OODA Loop

Someone doesn't like people asking questions about Ayers

It's been stated before, but it's kind of odd that the Obama camp is putting a lot more effort to decry someone digging around the Ayers thing than they did in denouncing Ayers himself.

But some of their tactics are just scummy and creepy.

As I arrived at the downtown Chicago studios a few hours before show time, the phones began ringing off the hook with irate callers demanding Kurtz be axed from the program. It didn't take long to discover that the Obama campaign—which had declined invitations to join the show for its duration to offer rebuttals to Kurtz's points—had sent an "Obama Action Wire" e-mail to its supporters, encouraging them to deluge the station with complaints.


As Rosenberg repeatedly pointed out that Team Obama had been offered the opporunity to take part in the conversation, the agitated masses adopted their argument to suggest it was outrageous to request an interview from the Obama campaign in the thick of the DNC. Delivering the line of the night, Rosenberg countered, "The Obama national headquarters is just down the street from here. They obviously have the time to send out these angry emails, but they can't walk a few blocks to our studios?"

Throughout the open line segments, Rosenberg and Kurtz wore incredulous expressions. The hostile callers were so bereft of any legitimate argument, there was little to do but sit back and marvel at what was going on.

The experience was surreal, amusing, and chilling. In a matter of hours, a major national campaign had called on its legions to bully a radio show out of airing an interview with a legitimate scholar asking legitimate political questions. Coupled with the Obama campaign's recent attempts to sic the DOJ on the creators of a truthful political advertisement —which also happened to feature Obama's
relationship with an unrepentant terrorist— last night's call to action represents an emerging pattern. Any criticism of Obama's unknown past is to be immediately denounced as a "smear," and the messenger is to be shut down at all costs.

That's right, instead of addressing and refuting the points, the Obama camp felt it was better to get supporters to irrately call into the show denouncing and demanding Kurtz be pulled. When dealing with someone saying something they did not like, they choose to try to suppresse that person, instead of refuting them.

New politics indeed.

A recording of the interview can be found here . Give it a listen.

Here's an article Stanley Kurtz wrote on the subject.

More about it.

Obama supporters risibly complain that shining a light on the Obama/Ayers relationship is a "smear" and smacks of "guilt by association." A presidential candidate's choice to associate himself with an unrepentant terrorist would be highly relevant in any event — does anyone think the Obamedia would keep mum if John McCain had a long-standing relationship with David Duke or an abortion-clinic bomber?

The question answers itself.

But wait, it gets worse.

But we are talking about more than a mere "association."
Bluntly, Obama has lied about his relationship with Ayers, whom he now dismisses as "a guy who lives in my neighborhood." Ayers and Obama have made joint appearances together; they have argued together for "reforms" of the criminal justice system to make it more criminal-friendly; Obama gushed with praise for Ayers' 1997 polemical book on the Chicago courts; and they sat together for three years on the board of the Woods Fund, a left-wing enterprise that distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to their ideological allies. Most significant, they worked closely together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC)."

"The station, WGN, has made a stream of the broadcast available online, here, and it has to be heard to be believed. Obama's robotic legions dutifully jammed the station's phone lines and inundated the program with emails, attacking Kurtz personally. Pressed by Rosenberg to specify what inaccuracies Kurtz was guilty of, caller after caller demurred, mulishly railing that "we just want it to stop," and that criticism of Obama was "just not what we want to hear as Americans." Remarkably, as Obama sympathizers raced through their script, they echoed the campaign's insistence that it was Rosenberg who was "lowering the standards of political discourse" by having Kurtz on, rather than the campaign by shouting him down.
Kurtz has obviously hit a nerve. It is the same nerve hit by the American Issues Project, whose television ad calling for examination of the Obama/Ayers relationship has prompted the Obama campaign to demand that the Justice Department begin a criminal investigation. Obama fancies himself as "post-partisan." He is that only in the sense that he apparently brooks no criticism. This episode could be an alarming preview of what life will be like for the media should the party of the Fairness Doctrine gain unified control of the federal government next year.

Such out and out attempts at suppression for a man that wants to be president should be quite worrying.

If he's doing things like this now, what would he do with the Executive Branch?

And here's a sad irony.

Did you know that "forty years ago today, William Ayers was arrested at the Democratic convention. And now someone whose political career he helped launched is about to accept the Democratic nomination"?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If you think the taxes are too high, just wait until you try to leave.

From the TaxProf Blog

California Ballot Initiative to Impose 45% Income Tax, 55% Wealth Tax & 36%-54% Exit Tax

The link has more detail on just how much Cali will gouge you.

Bill Ayers not even an honest Terrorist.

Bill Ayers: Unrepentant LYING Terrorist

I'm confused. If Obama can, eventually, denounce Rev. Wright. Why can't he clear the air the same with Ayers too?

Obama was closer to Wright, who was merely a racist hatemonger, not an outright murderer and terrorist.

Link has some background on what Ayers and his group were all about.

John M. Murtagh has some thoughts on the Weather Underground.
During the April 16 debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, moderator George Stephanopoulos brought up "a gentleman named William Ayers," who "was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He's never apologized for that." Stephanopoulos then asked Obama to explain his relationship with Ayers. Obama's answer: "The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George." Obama was indeed only eight in early 1970. I was only nine then, the year Ayers's Weathermen tried to murder me.


Though never a supporter of Obama, I admired him for a time for his ability to engage our imaginations, and especially for his ability to inspire the young once again to embrace the political system. Yet his myopia in the last few months has cast a new light on his "politics of change." Nobody should hold the junior senator from Illinois responsible for his friends' and supporters' violent terrorist acts. But it is fair to hold him responsible for a startling lack of judgment in his choice of mentors, associates, and friends, and for showing a callous disregard for the lives they damaged and the hatred they have demonstrated for this country. It is fair, too, to ask what those choices say about Obama's own beliefs, his philosophy, and the direction he would take our nation.

At the conclusion of his 2001 Times interview, Ayers said of his upbringing and subsequent radicalization: "I was a child of privilege and I woke up to a world on fire."

Funny thing, Bill: one night, so did I.

Remember things like when Obama says that he has the "Judgment to lead."

"Is this from the Onion?"

Naturally, at the convention where he'll formally get the nomination Obama has a big speech. What does he do in the face of criticism that a large part of his campaign is his own celebrity?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple.

Jim Geraghty has more
What better way to defuse McCain's "Celebrity" ads... than for Obama to have his convention speech bracketed by performances by Jon Bon Jovi on one side and Bruce Springsteen on the other side?

Wow, Bon Jovie and Springsteen, that'll help the youthvote. Right up there with the RIAA and anti Rave Biden.

Victor Davis Hanson weighs in.

Let me get this straight: Obama goes to Europe, does a garish outdoor extravaganza before thousands, returns to find himself dubbed a publicity-seeking celebrity, analogous to Paris Hilton—and abruptly begins a tailspin in the polls. And now in reaction, at the greatest moment of his life, he transfers his acceptance speech to an open-air stadium to handle tens of thousands of frenzied fans, replete with Greek temple (Olympian Zeus or Parthenon?) as the backdrop stage, and outspoken rock stars?

This is what happens when you start believing your own hype.


Hotair has footage of the "Temple". At about 4:00 into the video.

Well, you'd think he'd go with something less... easy to mock.


Update: No Springsteen for the speech.

Al Qaeda Media Massacre

Something you don't think about until someone points it out to you.

August 27, 2008: Over the last few months, al Qaedas Internet propaganda department has been virtually destroyed. The most visible evidence of that is the sharp decline in al Qaeda press releases (often accompanied by vids of attacks on U.S. or Iraqi troops). Last year, there were as many as 200 of these items a month. Over the past few months, this fell over 90 percent.
The reason for this sharp drop was the physical capture of the al Qaeda news and production staff, along with their PCs and data files. Over the last few months, several dozen of these specialists were captured or killed, and nearly a terabyte (a thousand gigabytes) of raw video, sound files, documents and software was captured. This put many key terrorist PR operations out of business. This in turn led to fewer cash donations, or volunteers for combat, or suicide missions. Moreover, the sudden collapse of the al Qaeda PR operation caused the Arab media to move towards more coverage of the Iraqi government (which was now distributing more of its own very professional combat videos).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

No bounce

Via Glen Reynolds NO BOUNCE: Post-Biden Poll Shows Dead Heat.

Shocking. I mean they did such a great job rolling out Obama's VP pick and Biden is such a dramatic and dynamic choice.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Russia Withdrawals?

If true this is good news. It looks like Russia is finnaly withdrawing from Georgia.

Obama picks Biden

Rand Simberg chimes in with "What was he thinking?"

Glen Reynolds has a mini-roundup.

Ed Morrissey has some thougths too.

Let’s emphasize the timing of this announcement. Supposedly, Team Obama planned to release this when all the hip kids would have their cell phones at the ready and Blackberries in operation. At least, that was the excuse we heard when Wednesday, Thursday, and then Friday slipped away and Obama hadn’t made his announcement.

So when did the Magic Text Message come? After last call in every time zone in the lower 48. The people in Hawaii were awake, though.

Of course, picking Joe Biden would be a fairly good reason to bury the news. Biden has a long history of really foolish statements, and managed to set a record for kneecapping a campaign through a verbal fumble.

It seems like the Obama camp had planned to release this info on Saturday before the speech Obama and Biden gave, and then the info leaked early. Since the convention is Monday, I guess they had to get it in on Saturday.

Still the timing is pretty bad; I guess they weren't able to get the announcement earlier in the week.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama's VP

So it started out with the TXT message game show, then degenerated into a few bungles and delays.

Ed Morrissey asks... why?

In fact, one has to wonder whether Obama really had made up his mind, or whether his first or even second choice didn’t turn him down. That would explain the delays in the announcement, and the apparent disorganization of Team Obama in handling an event that should have underscored the seriousness of their candidate. After all, they set the expectation that the running mate announcement would come this week, and they missed their own target.

Not only has Obama turned this into a game show, he has also now built up expectations to the point where almost any selection would be a letdown. The two rumored picks, Joe Biden and Evan Bayh, do not scream excitement. They don’t have the kind of star status that would justify this kind of NFL Draft Day engineering. Only Hillary Clinton or Al Gore might approach that kind of celebrity. Hillary would be better announced at the convention than on a Saturday afternoon, and Gore has already done the VP gig for eight years.

Obama has made a mess out of this announcement, and blown a natural opportunity to demonstrate his leadership. He also has given John McCain a wide opening to handle his own running-mate announcement in a manner which will demonstrate the Gravitas Gap which has widened considerably this month between the two candidates.

So... the choice is Obama's first pick didn't want it or the Obama camp screwed up getting things organized.

That's... great. So a flake or a spaz.

Iranian Bluffs

Iran keeps announcing all these, to a casual listening, impressive weapons systems.
But then you don't hear anything more about them?

Why is that? Strategypage Answers

If you go back and look at the many Iranian announcements of newly developed, high tech, weapons, all you find is a photo op for a prototype. Production versions of these weapons rarely show up. Iranians know that, while the clerics and politicians talk a tough game, they rarely do anything. Even Iranian support of Islamic terrorism has been far less effective than the rhetoric. The Iranians have always been cautious, which is one reason Arabs fear them. When the Iranians do make their move, it tends to be decisive. But at the moment, the Iranians have no means to make a decisive move. Their military is mostly myth, having been run down by decades of sanctions, and the disruptions of the 1980s war with Iraq. Their most effective weapon is bluster, and, so far, it appears to be working.

But the Iranians know that nuclear weapons would make their bluff and bluster even more muscular. Even the suspicion that they had nukes would be beneficial. And that appears to be the current plan. One new weapon the Iranians do put a lot of money and effort into are ballistic missiles. They are building an extended range (from 1,300 to 1,800 kilometer) version of their Shahab 3 ballistic missile. The new version puts all of Israel within range, even if fired from deep inside Iran. Chemical warheads (with nerve gas) are thought to be available for these missiles. But Israel has threatened to reply with nuclear weapons if the Iranians attack this way. Iran would probably get the worst of such an exchange, and the Iranians are aware of it.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Related to the flake thing.
Why would Obama take a position that can easily be seen as Infanticide and other Pro-Choice Dems would not have a problem agreeing too?

From the Corner.
Obama is the agent of change and compassion. He can heal the planet and lower the oceans. By stating that he would've voted for the bill had it contained the neutrality clause, he conveys that he supports the principles of the Born-Alive Act. Yet he takes no action whatsoever to make it happen.

Therefore, even if we accept any one of Obama's explanations regarding his vote against Born-Alive, we're holding him to an incredibly low standard for someone who intends to lead the nation. If he supports the principle of Born-Alive, the question isn't why he voted against it — the question should be, "Sen. Obama, given your education, skills and background why didn't you take the relatively simple step of amending the draft so that the bill would work?" Isn't that what we expect from a leader?
Obama voted "present" more than 100 times in the Illinois state legislature. Why did he rouse himself to vote "No" on this one?

Emphasis added, and that's the real question.

And here's more
In fact, it's not. Regardless of what Obama's personal beliefs on the matter are, he voted against legislation that would have protected the rights of children who survived an attempted abortion. That fact is so stunning, and the implications so brutal, that Beckel and Colmes simply could not process it. They assumed it had to be impossible. But it's not only possible, it's true. Obama cast the vote he did. And it's clear from last night's exchange that Democrats understand how explosive this issue can be.
It doesn't help matters, of course, that Obama's story is falling apart. Obama has been insisting that if the wording of the Illinois Born-Alive Infant Protection legislation had been similar to the wording of federal legislation, he would have voted for the legislation. But as the Washington Post reports today, "Obama aides acknowledged yesterday that the wording of the state and federal bills was virtually identical."

So not just a flake but a lazy one too.
Again this was low hanging fruit. Obama could have bulked up credit with both the Pro-choice and Pro-life groups and shown his legal skills and had a bill under his belt.
Why didn't he do that?

Questions about Obama.

Not those silly, paranoid ones. Like what if Obama really was a member of Cobra back in the 80's or if he was actually born on the Moon.

But there are a few things Obama did that one has to wonder... why?

American Thinker looks into those questions.

Via Rand Simberg

The flake has a genius for discovering solutions at perfect right angles to the ordinary world. It's as if he's the product of a totally different evolutionary chain, in a universe where the laws are slightly but distinctly at variance to ours. When given a choice between left and right, the flake goes up -- if not through the 8th dimension. And although there's plenty of rationalization, there's never a logical reason for any of it. After awhile, people stop asking.

Obama's rise has been widely portrayed as a kind of millennial Horatio Alger story -- young lad from a new state on the outskirts of the American polity, a member of once-despised minority, works his way by slow degrees to within arm's length of the presidency itself. That's all well and good -- we need national myths of exactly that type.

But what has been overlooked is the string of faux pas marking each step of Obama's journey, a series of strange, inexplicable actions, actions bizarre enough to require some effort at explanation, through such efforts have rarely been offered. It's as if the new Horatio made it to the top by stepping into every last manhole and open trapdoor in his path. And we, the onlookers, the voters who are being asked to put this man in the White House, are supposed to take this as the normal career path for a successful chief executive.

What are these incidents? I'm sure many of you are way ahead of me, but let's go to the videotape.

I have a few of my own questions, many of which appear in the article:

Why did Obama go to Chicago instead of Hawaii, one of his childhood homes?
Why did he join the Trinity Church and not a Church that was less racist and radical?
Why did he spend over 20 years there?
Why didn't he submit any articles to a prestegious law publication he was the editor of?
Why did he write two autobiographies before he turned 50?
Why did he use a line from Wright to title one of his books?
Why did he associate with known domestic terrorists?
These questions aren't just moral issues; they're also political questions. If Obama is such a great politician why did he make decisions that just don't make sense?

And there lies one of the keys to Obama's rise. David Brooks pointed out in a recent New York Times column that Obama spent too little time in any of his positions to make an impact one way or another. This is what saved him from the normal fate of the flake: he was never around long enough for his errors and strange behavior to catch up with him.

That's a real upside to how long the election process has become.

Victor Davis Hanson writes on a similar subject.

So the Democrats went with the Pied Piper who is leading them over the precipice. They wanted a post-racial, landmark candidate, a sort of Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice topflight national figure, but with a hard liberal edge.

Instead they got “typical white person” and “clingers” rants, the nut Rev. Wright (whose long-awaited literary masterpiece should soon be out) and the nuttier Father Pfleger, one too many preemptive-victimization “they will play the race card on me” whines from Obama, Michelle’s “raise-the-bar”, “downright mean” and “no pride” resentments, the Clinton-Obama 19th-century Race Wars, the lop-sided ‘it’s OK for some to vote 95% along racial lines, but not for others along 60%’ sophistry, the peripheral lunatic “black house” rants by Ludacris (of Obama’s I-pod fame) or Bob Herbert (of Leaning Tower of Pisa architectural expertise), and more still. And remember, as Obama slips in the polls, given his lack of content, expect that the current tough-guy, bash’em strategy to easily descend into race once more. Apparently Obama each morning gets up and thinks, “How can I give Sean Hannety more talking points for his evening barrage?” and “Have I done enough for Rush today?”

Again, why does Obama say things that are just low hanging fruit for people like Hanity?

Why if he was so politically minded did he make such boneheaded choices in past associate?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Five Ways to Wreck a Recovery

In a Washington Post Editorial Amity Shales lists 5 things that would make the economy worse.

Read here.

Via Glen Reynolds

Monday, August 18, 2008

Don't play as well as you thought you would? Cry Foul.

It looks like the Obama camp is saying that McCain's preformance in a recent debate was good... too good. That he seemed more prepared than Obama was for the questions.

The simple explination is that McCain... was more prepared and had his staff think about what questions would be asked at an event hosted by evangelicals. Hint: abortion and moment of conception and other evangelical issues would likely come up.

The Obama camp has a... different explination.
Ace takes it to task.

Conventional Wisdom versus Reality

From Glen Reynolds: "Just remember this when you hear about how little Americans understand about the world."

A poll of nearly 2,000 Britons by YouGov/PHI found that 70 per cent of respondents incorrectly said it was true that the US had done a worse job than the European Union in reducing carbon emissions since 2000. More than 50 per cent presumed that polygamy was legal in the US, when it is illegal in all 50 states. . . .

The survey showed that a majority agreed with the false statement that since the Second World War the US had more often sided with non-Muslims when they had come into conflict with Muslims. In fact in 11 out of 12 major conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims, Muslims and secular forces, or Arabs and non-Arabs, the US has sided with the former group. Those conflicts included Turkey and Greece, Bosnia and Yugoslavia, and and Kosovo and Yugoslavia.

Asked if it was true that "from 1973 to 1990 the United States sold Saddam Hussein more than a quarter of his weapons," 80 per cent of British respondents said yes. However the US sold just 0.46 per cent of Saddam's arsenal to him, compared to Russia's 57 per cent, France's 13 per cent and China's 12 per cent.

Though Instapundit reader Andy Stevenson emails:
I have a feeling that if the same questions were asked of Americans, we would answer much the same as the Europeans did (except for the question on polygamy). The anti-American crowd tends to have a louder voice, even here in the States. Uninformed people tend to follow the idea that Europe is more advanced than we are.

It's a common thing. Many people believe the "Conventional Wisdom" over what's actually happening. The way much of the media is organized doesn't help in this.

And good for Glen's ending line: "Screw that. I like the idea of going on the offensive. Why let lies and idiocy prosper?"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Uh oh Putin...

Reynolds has a roundup. Germany Offers Support for Georgia's NATO Bid. Ukraine to join in US-led missile shield in Europe, and more. "It seems that Putin's bullying is having precisely the opposite effect he intended."

And Richard Fernandez reports on the immediate problems for Georgia. The problem is how to push the Russians out of the main part of Georgia or even get them to ceasefire. As it is now Georgia is split into two at Gori.

What can Georgia do militarially, and what the US can do to help.

Hot Peppers

Now this is real neat, chilies can cause actual thermal warmth when consumed. This is done via thermogenesis. Popsci has more.

To be a bit clearer, they don't just make you feel warm, they actually make you warmer.


Glen Reynolds.
"They told me that if George W. Bush were re-elected, films that made the President look bad would be quashed. And they were right! They just didn't say which president . . . ."

Not Ready for Prime time

Via Hotair.

Look at how he reacts to a question. The pausing, the ums, the missaid words.

Him almost saying Clarance Thomas doesn't have enough experience. Glass houses Barry... glass houses.

Victor Davis Hanson has more.

In tonight’s Rick Warren interview, I don’t know why Obama chooses to insult a Supreme Court Justice at a religious forum, but his comments that Justice Thomas was not qualified to be on the Court were revealing. Why would Obama think, given his own credentials, that he was better qualified for President than Clarence Thomas was for the Supreme Court?

As far as working at University of Chicago Law School, the real question is how is it that Obama, without any major publications, would be qualified to teach law at Chicago? There were literally thousands of law professors who would not be hired at Chicago, even as adjuncts, who had far more impressive records of scholarship than did Barack Obama. His other comments on the Court were incoherent: Roberts gave away too much power to the executive branch—but no examples follow as evidence (especially not the FISA laws!). Scalia is bright (after all, he taught at Obama’s Chicago, we are told), but he too shouldn’t have been appointed.

Read it all.

When Obama is asked a question he has not prepped for, he sort of goes into the spinning-eyes mode that one used to associate with the young Dan Quayle in his first weeks on the campaign trail. He knows he should not mouth his postmodern banalities, pauses, and then says something he knows simply won’t work. The wisest three people he knows? The first, of course, is his “raise the bar”, “downright mean” America, and “no pride in America” spouse Michelle. The second? His grandmother, whom he once told American was a “typical white person,” as he exposed her supposed racism. I’ll stop there.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Russia Update.

Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club has a few thoughts on what's been going on.

I should add that if China is "paying Russia to do this" then the Chinese have paid the Russians to cut their own throats. The Russians above all fear the absorption of their former Eastern provinces into the Chinese sphere of influence, a project which is going full speed ahead through commercial deals and Han migration. There are places with only a few million ethnic Russians into which Han Chinese are pouring in like water rushing into the hold of the Titanic. And the day after a Chinese arrives he's got a store, a business or some trading going. And on it goes.

From the strategic point of view the Russian action is pure lunacy. They are uncompetitive with the Chinese, who will steamroller them. They face restive Muslim populations. And now they want to play macho man with Uncle Sam. Oh, they have the EuroLeft and their leftist acolytes. But on the Chinese will come. On and on. Putin should think about that when he finds the money to pay for his Black Sea freight insurance policies.

Putin has committed the classic two-front blunder. In dealing with two fronts you need a quick knockout on one side so you can turn your attention to the next. If Putin had planned on forcing a Georgian surrender in a week, and installing a tame government in Tbilisi, thereby handing the West a fait accompli it has all gone terribly wrong. Georgia, simply by surviving, is drawing him in. More men, more equipment. More risks.

Every mile the Russians go forward increases the chances of incalculable consequences, now that Americans are coming in to Georgia. And now that he has made a monkey of Sarkozy, the French, though they might not be able to do much, can help by not hindering. That too we may now owe to Putin.

This can still be unwound if Putin pulls back to Ossetia and moves his major units back to Russia. It's still not hopeless. But right now Georgia is an abyss into which Moscow can fall. There's no bottom to it. Putin has just dropped a stone into the darkness of what he assumed was a shallow cavern and is waiting to hear it's fall. He's still waiting.

There is another aspect to this. The Pew Polls show McCain level with Obama and significantly, "the base is coming home for McCain. He's getting the Republicans, white evangelical Protestants, and the white working class voters are coming onboard." Putin may have cut the ground from under Barack "I will abolish all future Combat Systems" Obama. Just imagine how absolutely stupid Obama's sophomoric speeches in front of rockstar crowds will start to sound with every passing day.

And to return to China: China will soon be virtually dependent on overseas energy to keep going, so it can keep its economy ramped up to sell to its biggest clients: the USA, Europe, Japan and South Korea. What does Russia buy from China? And China is going to give Russia the handle on the spigot its energy? Give Putin the ability to turn the lights out in Beijing? China is Russia's rival from Central Asia; it is other big player in the Great Game.

Lastly, Russia slapped China across the face by timing this with the Beijing Olympics. That may not seem like much, but I think it is one more suggestion that Putin has a cheap KGB mind. Clever in his own way but strategically stupid.

BBC report of the War

You know... it's not much of a ceasefire when Russian planes are still bombing Gori, a town not in South Ossetia. Oh Vlad, you scamp.

Russia trying to hand Gori back over to Georgia?

A bit more history as to why the Ossetians and Abkhazians are prefeclty happy to side with Moscow.
Well... this is getting frustrating for Putin. Georgia sitll existing is quite troublesome for him. As long as Georgia isn't a puppet state, Putin has to sink more men et al into the area
And it's driving Urkaine firmly into NATO's arms. Poland has a missile and defense deal that just got in today.

Does Russia like having a deep water BlackSea base? Ukraine may hand the base over to the USN.

Mr. HopeChange is enough of a fool to want to cancel all US anti-missile tech, all future combat stuff (which while wasteful there is some good stuff), and get rid of the US nukes
Man... did he just Hope Putin would play along?

Odd how Bush is , rightly so, mocked for "seeing Putin's soul", but Obama is expected to heal our enemies by just talking with them.. What would we get under President Obama: "The Prime Minister Putin that invaded Poland is not the man I knew." ?

It doesn't help that Obama's trapped policy-wise. He can either sound like a far-left Liberal or McCain lite. To be blunt. We HAVE a McCain already running.

Via Glen Reynolds.
UPDATE: A reader emails: "For the record, Russia won the recent battle against Georgia but lost the war. The war is Russia against all of her neighbors. By continuously ticking off all of her neighbors, Russia is causing them to fight back any way they can. Eventually Russia will die the death of a thousand cuts. Russia's thug economy won't be strong enough to handle this war long-term, especially when energy prices drop."

All the more reason to open up drilling.

NY Times: Net Income, Gross Receipts there's a difference?

Remember this next time you read a news report on economic things... or anything else involving basic math.

The New York times writes about how much Income Taxes companies pay, and in doing so they forget that gross revenue is not the same thing as net income.

Maybe instead of an income tax we should have a revenue tax.

How Dangerous was USA 193?

Article on just how dangerous USA 193 (the sat the Navy shot down) was.

What made US 193 so singularly dangerous was its toxic fuel payload. "If it had just been hardware, we would never have considered these extraordinary measures," says Chilton. The presence of the toxic chemical, in a tank that was completely full because the payload had failed immediately after launch, was the unusual driving factor, Johnson concurs.

A graphic illustration of the nightmare scenario preoccupying Johnson and Chilton occurred in October 2004, when an off-course Chinese spy satellite's film canister smashed through the roof of a four-story apartment building in the village of Penglai in southwest Sichuan. But with USA 193, could the hydrazine have actually reached the surface in a sufficient concentration to hurt anyone? Wouldn't the tank be consumed by the heat of atmospheric entry and disintegrate high above Earth? Here, much press commentary was led astray by a popular misconception.

There is a widespread notion that meteorites falling to Earth arrive red hot, sometimes releasing superheated fumes or setting brush fires, as a result of the tremendous heating during their passage through the atmosphere. But this is untrue. Small meteorites actually fall to the ground cold, and under humid conditions they can even briefly form frost on their surfaces. Though a thin outer layer is briefly exposed to very hot air, for most of the descent that air is thinner than the purest vacuum inside thermal-shielding thermos bottles.

Drilling in ANWR what would it look like?

How big is ANWR?

What does it look like?

Where are the oil feilds in it?

What do those spots look like it?

What impact would drilling actually have?

Do you want to know? Click Here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Russo-Georgia War.

Ossetia War Update: Surprise! Russia Not Quite Done Yet

But is it not going as well as Russia has hoped?

Clarity, and why we need an "all of the above" approach to energy solutions. Especially in light of the Ossetia War

Some very strong words from Condi

McCain: Bring Georgia and Ukraine into Nato.

Airlift 2008?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gori and Western Georgia have fallen.

It looks like things are getting dire. From the Belmont Club.

Another commenter (RAH) describes the new defensive position the Georgians have established to defend Tbilisi. “There is a ridge and river crossing from Gori to Tbilisi at Mtskheta that would make a good defensive position . The mountains to the south would prevent Russian tanks and a bridge over a river makes a narrow defile to defend. ” But in the end Tbilisi will be taken, and if the past is any guide, the retreat will continue. Those who want to look at the map can examine this link for themselves. A clickable thumbnail is also provided on the left margin of this post.

The Georgian strategy is born of military necessity. They appear to have chosen to abandon a major part of their country in order to stay together as a nation. As the Georgians move around the Lesser Caucasus, falling back on the Armenian and Turkish borders — the only borders not controlled by the Russians, they have among them about 130 US advisers.


The Georgian refusal to surrender and fallback to their south potentially means they are raising the stakes. If the Russians continue to pursue, they will inevitably risk crossing the Turkish and Armenian borders. But those possibilities are in the future. For the present, an intact Georgian army will delay the Russians at the Mtskheta chokepoint to buy time; time perhaps to get what they can behind the Lesser Caucasus and to whatever fate awaits. Georgian President Saakashvili laid out his war aims in a speech to his nation a few hours ago. He remains open to a negotiated settlement, but not at the cost of surrendering Georgian sovereignty. His goal is simple: Georgia must survive.

Just Plain Nuts.

It's amazing how some people can be so Amero-centric. They see events happening across the world and immediately put an American spin on them and let their US biases color the events.

Follow, to see someone that thinks that the Russo-Georgian war is a ploy of the McCain campaign.

Confederate Yankee takes apart a very uniformed and paranoid "idea".

Do you appreciate the power and planning that went into this? I don't think you do.
Not only did McCain engineer the build-up of Russian forces along the border of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, he also orchestrated the Georgian offer of a ceasefire last week, the South Ossetia separatist's response of shelling Georgia, and the Georgian counterstrike that triggered the pre-planned Russian invasion— all carefully timed to coincide with Barack Obama's vacation.
As it is obvious to see, thousands of people have been killed and a country invaded and ripped apart, just to give John McCain a chance to sound tough. But the plot is even more insidious than HuffPo author Blake Fleetwood suggests.

Covering for Edwards

"What else are they not telling us for fear it will hurt the Democrats' prospects?"

Glen Reynolds,
about the Legacy Media's attempts to ignore and withhold the Edwards story.

Aside from the schadenfreude of seeing such an arrogant, transparent fraud like Edwards exposed, that is what is interesting about this story. Not the affair, but the cover-up and those that were complicit in it.

Good Question.
NYT "Public editor" Clark Hoyt freely admits that his paper "never made a serious effort to investigate the story ." Hoyt goes on to say that he doesn't think that "liberal bias had anything to do with it." However, in the very same column he admits that the Times freely reported totally unsubstantiated rumors about an affair involving John McCain. If you treat a Republican one way and a Democrat another and it isn't liberal bias — then what is it?

Status of the Russo-Georgia War

More on what's happening, and what else Russia wants from this war.
Status of the war.The provided map is qutie informative. Russia going after Gori is quite important.

As outlined in this post with some background.
Gori is under attack and have have been captured. Anyone still think this is just about South Ossetia independence?

Russia opens a second front in the war. It looks like it's away from the two breakaway provinces.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's 3AM and Russia is Invading...

Remember that silly 3AM ad that Hillary used?
The thrust was bad stuff can come up suddenly and the president has to deal with it?

Well, we've got a real crisis on our hands.
Let's see how the candidates respond to it.

McCain obviously took time to determine first that Russia had indeed attacked Georgia before demanding restraint from the victim. It’s apparent that McCain has a better grasp of the situation and understood its ramifications as events unfolded. Obama issued a boilerplate statement that generically demanded that everyone start getting along, and had to modify his stance as his 300 foreign-policy advisers had a chance to tutor him on the conflict.

I’d rather vote for the man who gets it right and has spent years studying foreign affairs, warfare, and American strategic needs than the man who makes it up as he goes along. McCain is right; this was a 3 AM moment, and Obama proved himself unprepared and unsuited to answer the call.

The irony of the "War on Terror" (man what a silly name) is that it made people forget that wars can be fast and involve "big countries" and that it doesn't have to be the US at fault.

We are not post history. Other nations are still jerks and bastards and nasty shit happens. It's not always our fault and sometimes we have to deal with it.

Ukraine Responds

Ukraine has bared russia from using it's Ports. And that counts the major one that Russia "leases" from the Ukraine.

This seems to have caught the Russians by surprise.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Finnaly a War to Protest

Charlie Foxtrot has a little checklist.

Naked Imperialist aggression? Check!

Indiscriminate bombing and killing of civilians? Check!

Designs on another nation's energy resources? Check!

Remember all those breathless, and wholly incorrect, charges leveled at he U.S. at numerous "peace" protests concerning the war in Iraq? Well now all those charges are *actually* happening in South where are the calls for vast marches on the National Mall, or in Paris or Berlin, to protest this *actual* imperialist aggression?? Nowhere to be seen....

Well... let's give them some time to organize their protests. I mean it's not like the "protester set" has a history of letting Russian agression slide.

Via Glen Reynolds

Uh oh

Russians bomb Georgian city

Wouldn’t this constitute a war crime, if deliberate? The Russians dropped bombs on the city of Gori today, killing civilians, while announcing that they had taken the capital of South Ossetia back from Georgia. Meanwhile, the US struggles to find a response that will contain the aggression and hostilities, but Georgia has war on its mind

The US, meanwhile, has tried talking with both sides, but unsurprisingly have not gotten far with either. Georgia claims that Russia started the war by supporting the separatist attacks and then escalated with their own attacks on Georgia proper; Russia claims that they are only fulfilling their role as peacekeepers and would stop if Georgia withdraws from South Ossetia. The Russians claim that the US got taken aback by Georgia’s actions, praising our efforts to defuse the crisis but noting that those efforts proved fruitless.

Russia, Georgia at war.

Background on the situation from Strategypage.

Here's a Reuters video with some more current information.

Roger Kimbal has a few thoughts.
When Russian tanks and troops poured into the separatist Georgian province of South Ossetia yesterday, it was not, as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said, part of a “peacekeeping mission.” It was part of an imperialist mission whose undeclared goal is to reabsorb the whole of Georgia–West-leaning Georgia with its critical oil pipeline supplying energy to an increasingly thirsty Europe–into mother Russia.

Indeed, that pipeline is the unacknowledged key to the drama–unacknowledged, anyway, by the belligerents. As an AP story notes, the “U.S.-backed oil pipeline runs through Georgia, allowing the West to reduce its reliance on Middle Eastern oil while bypassing Russia and Iran.” A good thing for the West; but is such autonomy something Russia (or, for that matter, Iran) wants to encourage? Indeed, as I write, Reuters has issued an unconfirmed report that earlier today Russia attacked not only targets in South Ossetia but also targeted “the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline.”

Friday, August 8, 2008

In case you didn't know anything about Edwards.

Glen Reyonlds has links to a roundup and the interview where her admits to the affair, but not paternity.

EDWARDS ADMITS THAT HE LIED ABOUT AFFAIR: But the real story is how the mainstream press, despite knowing or strongly suspecting that he was lying, covered for him.

There are two Americas -- the real one, and the one the press tries to fob off on us.

The point about being cautious about the media is key here.

More On the O Salute

I'm sure if McCain uses footage of a stadium chanting, saluting, Obama supporters, he'll be the one blamed for fascist tactics. Just like how McCain was blamed for using phallic imagery in an ad, when it was Obama that chose to speak before a pillar to Prussian (and modified by the Nazis) military power.

Rand has more thoughts on who's really holding back Obama.

Chilling Effect

So a group are sending threatening letters to people that donate to political causes they disagree with.

As the group says "The warning letter is intended as a first step," and they list other threats.

Their intent is clearly a chilling effect to cutoff funding to political rivals.

What would you make of the group trying to do this?

I purposefully left off the political affiliations here, because... does it matter?

Are you the kind of person that thinks that certain tactics are okay for your side to do but beyond the pale for the other guys?

The fine folks at Ace have a few thoughts on this.
Far from scaring conservatives, this one is likely to energize them. If you have enough money to be one of the largest donors to the GOP or conservative causes, you've probably had to deal with a lot tougher people than these wannabe Brown Shirts over the course of your life. I'm sure this 'warning letter' will be showing up in the solicitation letter of every conservative group by the end of next month. It might even get some lukewarm conservatives on the McCain bandwagon. Thanks guys!

It's like these guys are trying to rally the Right around McCain.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Obama Salute?

Now it's not the Obama camp itself that came up with this... idea.

"Our goal is to see a crowd of 75,000 people at Obama's nomination speech holding their hands above their heads, fingers laced together in support of a new direction for this country, a renewed hope, and acceptance of responsibility for our future," says Rick Husong, owner of The Loyalty Inc. Husong tells me that he got the idea after seeing the famous Obama-Progress poster by artist Shepherd Fairey. "We wanted to get involved some way," he says.

I'm hoping this is parody or a prank.
I mean do they think that this would look good? That it woudl help Obama?

The Zen of Obama

From Glen Reynolds
HMM: "America is no longer what it once was." And that's bad, apparently.
Does that mean he's coming out as the anti-change< candidate now? Can you flipflop on change itself? . . . .

I think Obama is the "say anything to try and get elected" which nicely couples "Change" to "New Politics".

The guy is getting beyond satire, and unlike McCain, he can't role with the jokes.

Is it even Fighter Pilot versus Community Organizer?

Here's commentary on the idea of the Community Organizer versus the Fighter Pilot.
Not only does Richard Fernandez touch on the comparison between Alinsky's principals of organization and Boyd's OODA loop, but he also shows that Obama does not even do the Community Organizer idea.

Barack Obama's first and most grievous mistake was to make the campaign about himself. The "people" became the mere backdrop for his mass rallies. No real organizer mints a Presidential seal, describes himself as the symbol of a generation, believes he is the One and makes himself the object of ridicule.


A real organizer works in small settings, amplifying, exhorting, putting others on the stage. He doesn't work in front of large crowds and from the front pages of newspapers. And if it is objected that nobody can become President of the United States that way, the answer is that community organizers don't want to become Presidents. They want to be organizers.

A comment by Fernandez in the... comments with some delicious metaphors.

Obama by making himself the center of the campaign has effectively decided to lock himself in. This election was supposed to be about Bush. Obama made it about Obama. He can't change his campaign without altering the image of himself, around which his political message is largely built. That's why in a clash between policy and person, Obama will change the policy. He will flip-flop. This is the only degree of freedom he has.

McCain for deliberate or accidental reasons, waited until Obama was locked into a course. He let Obama build the edifice of himself, brick by brick, until it was as immovable as the statue of Ozymandias. BHO set the capstone in Germany. He was the One. Then McCain really pounced. He had to get inside Obama's OODA loop once, strategically. And he did this by cannilly waiting until BHO was in a powerdive, his controls frozen by compressibility. Obama can maneuver tactically and talk about Republicans being "proud of their ignorance" which is another tin-eared example, if any were needed, of how unlike an organizer BHO is. He doesn't seem to get tired of insulting the great unwashed. But that's it. He is the One that he has made himself.
And McCain, despite the deficiencies of his own vehicle, might actually be able to shoot BHO down.

This also fits given the performance deficiencies American pilots often had to deal with when compared to enemy aircraft.

Interview with Gen. Petraeus

Give it a listen.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tire Pressure, test it yourself.

Aikido is a martial art where you use your opponent's strength and power against him.
It involves outwitting and outmaneuvering a clumsier opponent.

Here's more of McCain'a Aikido

Basically, Obama said that McCain's idea of increasing drilling would do no more good than inflating your tires.
Not only does Obama's idea fall apart when you work the math...
(Oh that pesky enemy to idealistic noble ideas.)

But McCain decided to call Obama's bluff.

He's encouraging voters to do just what Obama said, keep your tires inflated, see how much help it really is.

Empirical data is another one of those pesky enemies to soaring ideas.

For many of the most inept political ideas (both the left and right) such satire and testing are great ways to deflate poorly thought out ideas.

The Response from the Obama camp is particularly amusing.
And while the McCain team is busy amusing themselves, the fact is that the idea they're attacking is supported by, among others, top McCain surrogate Joe Lieberman, conference call host Mike Rogers, Governors Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Department of Energy, and NASCAR—all of whom have urged Americans to help save energy by minding tire pressure," says spokesman Hari Sevugan in an email. "But hey, who ever let the facts—or supporters' positions—get in the way of a political attack? Aboard the Low Road Express, that's no problem at all.

But this is odd. Why are they worried about this? Presuming the tire gauges are functional why wouldn't people who got them... use them, like both McCain and Obama are telling them too?

If they work and work great... well doesn't that prove Obama right? Wouldn't McCain have egg on his face then? Isn't that about "the facts" too?

You'd think a less... reactionary response would go something like this:
"While we are saddened that the McCain campaign has dediced to mock our ideas at least this gives the American people the opportunity to mind their tire pressure and see that we were right all along."

And here's some perspective that can get lost in the "tire gauge".

It's not merely that Obama's energy policy consists of recommending the minute and mundane, but that he does so while rejecting solutions that could have a dramatic impact on energy production, oil production, and gas prices. He's either not familiar enough with the issue, or way too careless in asserting the benefits of his policies. That's the message voters need to come away with, not just, "Ha, ha! Look, a tire gauge!"

Obama did not just advocate inflation for conservation. No he had grander goals for it.
There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated — simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling — if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You’d actually save just as much!

That's right... he said that our oil needs can be met by proper maintenance.

This is the part that has to be emphasized. Obama's statement shows a total lack of understanding the magnitude of the problems we face when compared to the solutions he proposes.

Just Eat less Food.

Gabriel Malor from Ace of Spades links to a report that notes the obvious, people are eating more and people are fatter now.This is very true. I've been dieting to manage my blood pressure and found that there are three main things: what you eat, how much you eat, and exercise.

I was never one for eating fast food and always had a low salt diet. I also cook all my own meals, mostly because I could cook a better meal than I could get at a restaurant for less time (if you think cooking a meal is less time than driving, waiting, and paying and driving back...) and money. So it was easy to do just as Gabriel said. You slowly reduce the amount you eat and change the contents. More vegetables, less fats, no snacks, better quality food. It's all pretty simple. And as for the exercise if you just want to do some light cardio, get a dog and jog with him, or get a bike.

Dogs are nice because they need daily exercise and once they get used to it will be quite insisting that you take them out running. Again as Gabriel points to that this is all gradual. A diet is not some kind of fad. A diet is your diet, it's what you eat. So gradual and consistent are the key things here.

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's like they don't care about us.

How expensive does gas have to get?
He asked if Democrats would allow increased deep-sea exploration if the price of gas reached a national average of $10.00. Democrats objected.
The designated objector was Sen. Salazar of Colorado, for those who are interested.

Here's the video, which I'm sure will be used quite a bit in the fall.

Some things to think about economically.

Growing inequality and middle-class wage stagnation are big problems for America. But trying to re-regulate the economy and redistribute income is a cure worse than the disease. Of course, all of my criticisms of Obama's economic plans would also be a lot more useful if his opponent seemed to care at all about any of these issues, and was presenting creative alternatives. Further, for all of my litany of dumb things Obama wants to do (and things that the current government is doing right now) to inhibit growth, the United States is a very rich country with a strong economy. Subject to normal ups-and-downs, it is likely to keep growing for a long time even if Obama does all he wants to do. If you keep eating enough french fries, however, eventually you're going to have a heart attack.


You've seen the sarcastic ad. and there was the Celeb ad.

They are jokey and silly but they have a relevant point.

But the McCain ad had a serious point, one the Obama campaign obviously felt it couldn't ignore. Obama can be as arrogant, gassy and remote as other members of the country's aristocracy of fame. If this celebrity framework is successfully imposed on Obama, the entire repertoire of Obamania — the mass rallies, the soaring eloquence, the picturesque cool of the candidate himself — risks becoming a liability.

In a statement Obama repeated three times, he said what George Bush and John McCain are "going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills."

The latter part of that statemetn was taken apart yesterday.
But there's another problem, the ad was making Obama look like, what he actually is, a global celebrity.

That's not painting him as someone to be feared, that's painting him as someone to be seen as vapid, mockable, and not serious. People are not afraid of Spears of Hilton, though I will admit they are afraid of the idea of giving them massive responsibility over their lives.

This is they point of the ad.

That is why Obama reacted so much to that ad. Not because it made him an object to be feared, but because it threatens to make him a joke.

Meanwhile some people are really reaching for some subtext in these ads.

Here's a tip for liberals: If your candidate is going to stage enormous rallies in front of tens of thousands of chanting Germans (with monuments to Prussian military might in the background) in the middle of his Presidential campaign, it isn't the GOP's fault if the footage comes out looking a little like Hitler at Nuremberg.

Speaking of jokes.
Pelosi tried to end the debate but the Republicans thumbed their noses at her. In one move they made her and the Dems look uncaring about the economic needs of the public, unwilling to engage in a debate, willing to stifle dissident, and open to mockery. Not a good move for a group that is more unpopular than Bush that's trying to fight a very popular energy idea.

Testing Global Warming Models

An update to yesterday's question about how good climate models are.Well the only way to test their predictive accuracy is to compare them to real world data.

And how well did they do?
The abstract from the relevant Hydrological Sciences Journal paper is pretty grim.
The paper is not too long and recommended reading. Especially Fig8 which shows how clumsy the models mismatch with reality.
From the Results
This clearly shows that GCMs totally fail to represent the HK-type climate of the past 100–140 years, which is characterized by large-scale over-year fluctuations (i.e. successions of negative and positive "trends") that are very different from the monotonic trend of climatic models. In addition, they fail to reproduce the long-term changes in temperature and precipitation (Fig. 8). Remarkably, during the observation period, the 30-year temperature at Vancouver and Albany decreased by about 1.5°C, while all models produce an increase of about 0.5°C (Fig. 8, lower left). With regard to precipitation, the natural fluctuations are far beyond ranges of the modelled time series in the majority of cases (Fig. 8, lower right).
The systematically unsatisfactory agreement of modelled and observed time series can have four interpretations: (1) the models are poor; (2) the data are poor; (3) the modelled and observed time series are not comparable to each other (e.g. there should not be a direct link between observations at a point and model outputs at neighbouring grid cells); (4) our calculations and comparisons are wrong.

This bit from the conclusion is very damning:

At the annual and the climatic (30-year) scales, GCM interpolated series are irrelevant to reality. GCMs do not reproduce natural over-year fluctuations and, generally, underestimate the variance and the Hurst coefficient of the observed series. Even worse, when the GCM time series imply a Hurst coefficient greater than 0.5, this results from a monotonic trend, whereas in historical data the high values of the Hurst coefficient are a result of large-scale over-year fluctuations (i.e. successions of upward and downward "trends"). The huge negative values of coefficients of efficiency show that model predictions are much poorer than an elementary prediction based on the time average. This makes future climate projections at the examined locations not credible. Whether or not this conclusion extends to other locations requires expansion of the study, which we have planned. However, the poor GCM performance in all eight locations examined in this study allows little hope, if any. An argument that the poor performance applies merely to the point basis of our comparison, whereas aggregation at large spatial scales would show that GCM outputs are credible, is an unproved conjecture and, in our opinion, a false one. Our future plan also includes a study of this question after refinement and extension of our methodology.

Emphasis added.

In a Journal Paper saying that a method is "irrelevant to reality" is a formal way of saying it's junk, that it has no predictive value. They go on to say that a basic interpolation of existing data would give better results than a Global Climate Model would. The gauntlet has been thrown down.

This is how science is supposed to work. Models are tested to see if they have predictive value. Results and methods are reviewed by peers, colleges, and rivals.

If Koutsoyiannis, et al. are wrong then someone should come along with evidence showing how they were wrong. Just like how Koutsoyiannis, et al. presented a compelling case as to the lack of utility of Global Climate Models.

It will be interesting to the see papers generated in response.

This is not to say Global Warming is not happening or that Humans are not causing it, but this is strong evidence that models used to predict future climate are not reliable at all.


Nothing like using Obama's words against him.
I've been following these statements, but it is nice to seem them all together like this.

Personally, I think the ending is a bit weak. Instead of the ham-handed questions it should have capped it off using Obama himself.

Ah well.

Hat Tip LGF