Saturday, September 20, 2008

I am a lesbian trapped in a man's body

And if you don't hire me, I'll sue you:
A federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., ruled today that the Library of Congress discriminated against Diane Schroer when it offered her a job and then rescinded it after learning she was transgendered.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Schroer, said Judge James Robertson's ruling is the first to hold that the federal sex discrimination statute, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, applies to transgendered people.
Just because I'm at a very early stage of transition -- being a married father of six and all that -- doesn't mean that I don't have rights as a transgendered lesbian. So I'm applying to be an op-ed columnist for the New York Times and if they don't hire me? Hey, see you in court, you sexist homophobes! (I'll also sue the Pulitzer Prize committee for their years of discrimination against me.)

Once I hear back from my ACLU lawyer, we'll be on our way to the landmark case of McCain v. Sulzberger, forever enshrining in the Constitution the rights of all of us who are proud to be gay women with penises, just as the Founding Fathers intended.

I am woman, hear me roar!

Got Panic?

Obama hits 50% in today's Gallup daily tracking poll. His six-point lead over Crazy Cousin John is less important than that 50% number. But . . .

Gallup's daily tracking surveys only registered voters, and we know that likely voters tilt more Republican than those who are merely registered. Yet . . .

Beyond the numbers themselves is the trend and the timing. There has been a net 11-point swing toward Obama since Sept. 8 (when McCain led by 5) and a similar trend has been picked up by all the national polls. So we have a clear indication that the campaign is trending toward the Democrat. And, it's after both conventions, after both VP selections, after Labor Day -- a little more than seven weeks before Election Day (early voting is already underway in many states).

So Team Maverick is on the wrong end of a momentum shift, late in the game, when the number of undecided voters is small and shrinking steadily. This really raises the stakes for Friday's first debate. McCain really needs to score big.

As always when things are looking shaky for the GOP, it's time to check Allahpundit's pessimism meter, which he reports as stable at 4. I'll be back later to update with thoughts on the causes of the poll trend. Meanwhile, commenters are free to offer their own thoughts: Did Palin blow the Gibson interview? Have the media attacks taken their inevitable toll? Or was the Wall Street crisis the iceberg that punched a hole in SS Maverick?

'Crossing the line'? At AOSHQ?

It would seem impossible to say anything offensive enough to get banned at Ace of Spades HQ, but apparently some moron has f---ing done it. Or almost f---ing done it. I don't know what the f--- this f---ing moron did, but it must have been pretty f---ing bad.

UPDATE: Ah. Somebody "went there" trying to be funny in a "1953" kind of way. Ace must have had to delete comments, and I'm sure it puts him in a bad mood having to play kindergarten teacher. I didn't see the offensive remarks, but sort of gestalting from what Ace didn't delete, I think I know what old joke was being referenced.

Anyway, that's why I do the moderated-comments thing here. It's easier to weed stuff out in advance than to risk something atrocious getting published and then requiring deletion. Plus, the fact that people know their comments are moderate tends to discourage truly nasty stuff. Moderation sort of takes away the kind of spontaneity that AOSHQ has, but I just don't want to become a target for spammers, disrupters, etc.

BTW, I'd say less than 1% of comments here are rejected. Liberal commenters like Young 4-Eyes are no problem. That's not the problem.

AP: 40% of whites are racist

No Hope for us evil Americans:
Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks -- many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles. . . .
40 percent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.
More than a third of all white Democrats and independents -- voters Obama can't win the White House without -- agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Obama than those who don't have such views.
OK, so there's scientific proof that you are an oppressive troglodyte. It's science! And no one can argue. You know, like global warming. There's only one thing left for you racist crackers to do: Join Republicans Who Don't Love America.

Luckiest man on Earth?

I nominate Percy Williamson, Leisure Services Director of Daytona Beach, Fla., whose annual salary is $117,508.92, according to public records obtained by the Daytona Post.

How hard could it be to direct leisure services in Daytona Beach? What sort of duties does this job involve? Supervising the senior citizens shuffleboard league? Organizing beach volleyball tournaments?

Mr. Williamson is one of 22 Daytona Beach municipal employees with annual salaries in excess of $100,000 -- in a community (pop. 64,183) where the median household income is $25,439 and more than 23% of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the Census Bureau. The combined salaries of these 22 top bureaucrats amounts to a total $2.7 million.

In addition to those paid $100K+ in salaries alone, another 44 municipal employees in Daytona Beach collect total annual compensation (salary + 31% in benefits) in excess of $100K. To be a city employee in The World's Most Famous Beach is thus to belong to a semi-tropical bureaucratic elite.

By comparison, the annual salary of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives is $169,300 -- 44% more than Mr. Williamson is paid for directing leisure services in Daytona. But what member of Congress wouldn't rather be among the palms and ocean breezes of the Volusia County shore?

The highest-paid municipal employee in Daytona Beach, city manager James Chisholm, earns an annual salary of $170,693.12, which is slightly more than his congressman (Rep. John Mica) is paid. Plus, Chisholm doesn't have to deal with Nancy Pelosi or shiver through D.C. winters.

What a joyous thing, to be one of those 22 fortunate souls with six-figure salaries on the payroll of Daytona Beach -- each earning four times the median household income of the taxpayers who foot the bill! It is with profound admiration (and no small measure of raw envy) that we salute these noble public servants.

We hear a lot of talk about the "growing gap between rich and poor" nowadays. Yet there are 66 Daytona Beach city employees with salaries of at least $76,000 a year -- three times the median household income in the community. To a large measure the "income gap" in Daytona Beach is between city employees and everybody else. It makes the British raj in India look like an exercise in egalitarianism.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hey, an online lynching!

Of an affluent white boy, no less! LA Times:
The whole circus started with the resemblance between a pseudonym of someone who claimed to be the hacker, and the supposed e-mail address of the politician's son. Both contained the word "rubico." For many reporters, that might prompt a few phone calls. For bloggers, it was enough to light the torches.
Leading the misinfo-pack is conservative blogger Michelle Malkin . . .

"For many reporters" -- hey, bozo, do any of those reporters happen to work at the LA Times? I mean, you do have a DC bureau, right? Have any of your crackerjack DC reporters dialed up the PIO at the Justice Department to ask why the FBI's Anchorage office contacted the FBI's Memphis office in relation to this case? Do you want me to Google that phone number for you?

It wasn't a mere "resemblance" between the pseudonyms, it was the same handle in both the 2003 posting about David the 15-year-old chess wizard and the posting by the braggart who claimed to have hacked Palin's account. But as I said previously, "maybe 'rubico10' is a common Web nickname, like 'bi19cheerldr.' "

Furthermore, to what common word did "rubico10" change Palin's password? "Popcorn." Kernell = Popcorn. Get it, moron? Or do you need to look up the word "mnemonic"?

I'm freaking tired of liberal journalists -- the same ones who ignorantly declare that Karl Rove masterminded the Plamegate "leak" that actually came from Richard Armitage -- who show a stubborn lack of curiosity about any story that doesn't fit their preferred template, like that Associated Press idiot who was sure that this federal crime against Sarah Palin somehow "raised questions" about . . . Palin!

Maybe bloggers wouldn't be engaged in speculation (and some of them clearly getting their facts wrong) if the L.A. Times would hire some actual reporters instead of assigning idiot feature writers to sling attitude online?

I am opposed to convicting people in print (or pixels), but I will also fiercely defend the right of ordinary people to make common-sense judgments for themselves. The FBI will eventually -- and probably fairly soon -- announce an arrest in the Palin hacking case. Is there any journalist in America who wants to bet me as to who that arrestee will be?

If not, then as the bloggers say, STFU -- and stop trying to tell me what to think.

UPDATE: As to the nature of the evidence in this "circus," allow me to introduce techblogger Humphrey Cheung, senior editor of TGDaily:

FBI agents are using proxy server logs to track down the hacker who broke into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account. . . .
In his gloating, Rubico posted up screenshots of the Yahoo account complete with the full URL which included the proxy server url (ctunnel.com) appended with a unique identifier. . . . So it doesn’t take a genius to go through the logs and match up the ID to the appropriate IP address and BAM, you got the hacker. . . .
White hat hackers didn’t even need proxy information to find the culprit because they discovered that the Rubico forum handle was linked to rubico10@yahoo.com. A few searches on Google and YouTube further links this email address to 20-year-old David Kernell, a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. His father is Democratic Tennessee state representative Mike Kernell.
Does this add up to more than "resemblance," David Sarno? I mean, since you're the resident LA Times expert on all things Web-wise, perhaps you should tell Humphrey Cheung he doesn't know what he's talking about. Don't you think this might "prompt a few phone calls"? Or is making phone calls above your paygrade at the LA Times?

PREVIOUSLY:

More liberals who want to see Sarah Palin raped

First, Margaret Cho's friends, now Sandra Bernhard:
When Sandra warns Sarah Palin not to come into Manhattan lest she get gang-raped by some of Sandra’s big black brothers, she’s being provocative, combative, humorous, and yes, let’s allow, disgusting.
Here's a video "promotion" of Berhard's show:

More at Michelle Malkin and Hot Air.

Republicans Who Don't Love America

Frank Schaeffer in HuffPo:
Dear Republicans: This election all Republicans who love America must vote for Obama. . . . As a former Republican activist, I appeal to your patriotism and honor. . . .
It is time for all Americans -- including all you who are patriotic Republicans -- to sweep away these putrid earth-consuming, family killing, government bashing "me" worshipping individualistic fools--that or to watch our country be swept away by them. We can't afford eight more years of this willful ignorance. Obama in 2008!
Dear Frank Schaeffer: "Former Republican" being the key phrase here, eh? Good luck with that, buddy. You're well on your way to becoming the next Lincoln Chaffee.

I hereby announce the formation of Republicans Who Don't Love America. Our motto: "Eight More Years of Willful Ignorance!" We are emphatically dishonorable and unpatriotic, at least according to Frank Schaeffer's definition of those terms. We support the election of government-bashing, earth-consuming, individualistic Republican fools.

UPDATE: I'm reading through Schaeffer's screed -- it cannot be called an argument -- and relishing such calm, rational statements as this:
You have become a hate-filled rabble proud of your ignorance and resentful of the rest of your own country, resentment that's exceeded only by your maudlin (and false) sense of victimhood. . . .
The smell emanating from your convention was that of a beer hall putsch circa 1930s, not anything remotely like participation in a democracy.
Evidence? None offered. These passages are part of a section devoted to the Religious Right, one of what Schaeffer calls the three "power centers" of the GOP. He concludes this section by saying that Sarah Palin (whom he has never met) "lacks any shred of decent humility, the most basic biblical virtue." Decently Humble Frank just knows this, you see.

Schaeffer then goes on a rant against the second "power center," namely neconservatives, whom he describes as "nothing more than an kill-all-the-Arabs, pro-Israel-at-any-cost, morally bankrupt lobby."

Now, I am certainly no neoconservative. Many of my friends were notoriously smeared five years ago as "Unpatriotic Conservatives," but rather than offer a critique of Harry Jaffa and pick at old scars (one of these days, I aim to write a book called First They Came for Mel Bradford), I will say that I know of no neoconservative who advocates a "kill-all-the-Arabs" policy. There seem to be, however, a frighteningly large number of Arabs who endorse a "kill-all-the-Jews" policy -- which they pursue with deadly persistence -- and what does Schaeffer propose to do about them? I'm not sure, nor am I sure that the solution is to elect a man who spent 20 years in the pews listening to the sermons of Rev. Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright.

Having spent his fury in railing against the Religious Right and neoconservatives, Schaeffer can muster only two paragraphs to denounce "Corporate Business Interests":
[The GOP] has propagated a laissez-faire attitude toward corporate interests and has -- literally -- stood back and encouraged the rape of the earth. You are the party of the earth-hogging SUV. You have literally sowed the wind and reaped the hurricanes.
Hey, Frank, I hate to tell you this, but we didn't "rape the earth." It was consensual. The earth was begging for it, Frank. And if you don't mind sloppy seconds, get in line.

Seriously, I don't have an earth-hogging SUV. What I've got is a low-slung Korean-made sedan, with a sweet V6, power windows, a sunroof and a nice stereo. But I bought it used and I'll guaran-damn-tee you, Frank, I paid less for my car (the only one our family owns) than you paid for yours, you pompous Pharisee. You rich hypocrites, tithing the mint and cumin of environmentalism!

Go on Frank, go vote for the party of Al Gore and Bill Clinton and Margaret Cho and Sandra Bernhard. Vote for the party of Sandy Berger and Ted Kennedy and Kwame Kilpatrick. Vote for the party of Barbra Streisand and Harry Reid and Lynn Woolsey. But don't try to tell me that makes you honorable and patriotic. Spare me your "decent humility," you pathetic fraud.

FBI surveilling David Kernell?

A bit of mystery:
  • FBI Memphis office says it has been contacted by the FBI Anchorage office in regard to the Palin e-mail hacking investigation.
  • As of 3:37 P.M., according to Tennessee blogger Sharon Cobb -- a friend of state Rep. Mike Kernell --neither he nor his son David had been contacted by law enforcement.
Hmmm. OK, so what is the FBI up to? What was the request from Anchorage? What is SOP for the FBI?

An educated guess: Establish the location of the person of interest, begin surveillance, make sure that he doesn't go to the airport and board a plane for Rio de Janeiro. Also, watch to see if he drives to a dumpster and ditches any computer-sized packages.

The computer forensics folks at FBI HQ are the lead investigators in this case. The conclusive evidence is stored in online databases, not in Knoxville or Memphis. Until HQ has found the basis of a search warrant or an arrest, there's not really any reason for FBI agents to question the Kernells.

If I were David Kernell, however, I don't think I'd be discussing this situation on the telephone, if you get my drift. And I'd keep my eyes peeled for late-model sedans driven by vaguely official-looking people.

UPDATE 9/21: FBI serves search warrant?

Ace nails it

Edgy, dangerous, but on the mark:
[W]e know that Barack Obama's surrogates are constantly calling the media to play the race card whenever an attack line rises that Barack Obama 1) views as a real threat and 2) does not wish to confront directly. He doesn't wish to confront it -- often because he has no good defense -- and so calls the media to peddle his tales of racism! to get his buddies in the media to bury the story. He has no answer to the charge, so he demands the media embargo the charge entirely.
The fact that the major media are engaged in a massive surrogacy for Obama is, I think, beyond dispute at this point. The best evidence is the three solid weeks of unrelenting and unprecedented attacks on Sarah Palin, including several lines of attack that were clearly nothing more than robotlike parroting of Team Obama's talking points.

Why? Beyond the usual liberal bias, let me offer three basic psychological reasons for this:
  • The Inevitability Factor -- Political reporters live and die by access. If you don't have friendly sources feeding you the inside scoop, you're dead meat in the ultra-competitive elite press corps. Team Obama has capitalized on this as a weapon to intimidate reporters: "Our guy's The Next President of the United States. You don't want to get on our bad side, do you?" This is why reporters are falling over each other in a contest over who can most slavishly repeat Team Obama's talking points or throw the most fiendish "gotcha" at the McCain campaign. They are trying to ingratiate themselves with The Winning Team.
  • The "Fairness" Factor -- What is the most simple definition of "fairness"? Half-and-half, 50-50, even-Steven, right? OK, so we had eight years of Democratic Clinton, then we had eight years of Republican Bush, and in the infantile subconscious of many journalists, it's the Democrats' turn to win the next election. This is how they rationalize the absurd one-sidedness of their coverage, by thinking it would be unfair for the Republicans to control the White House for another four years.
  • The I'm-Not-a-Racist Factor -- This is what Ace is driving at. If 90% of the press corps are in the tank for Obama, the other 10% are scared to death of being identified as anti-Obama, because they know darn well that the dreaded "r-word" will be permanently branded into their foreheads if they dare question or contradict the Inevitable Triumph of Hope narrative.
Go back to the Clinton years -- look what happened to the reputations of Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and the WaPo's Sue Schmidt after they took the lead on the Lewinsky scandal. They were branded as right-wing stooges. (Schmidt recently took an early-retirement buyout; Isikoff continues toiling away.)

Getting tarred as a Republican sympathizer is incredibly damaging to a reporter's career prospects; to be branded a racist -- and that's what they'd risk by running negative stories about Obama -- is career death.

Don't be surprised that the dominant media narrative so strongly favors Obama. If you go out on the campaign trail, you'll see that a lot of the reporters are very young -- in their 20s or 30s -- and they are naturally ambitious. If they were to publish anything negative about Obama, if they were to contradict the Inevitable Triumph of Hope narrative, they might as well call it quits and go sell insurance or something, because they'll never become chief White House correspondent.

Many apparently puzzling aspects of human behavior become remarkably less puzzling, once you begin with the cynical assumption that most people are motivatived by very narrow and superficial considerations of self-interest. Begin by asking, "What's in it for him?" and you'll seldom be too far off the mark.

Video: TV news on David Kernell

Via Gateway Pundit, who's got a wrap-up of the latest. Will update with more soon . . .

Obama's buddy, Hugo Chavez

The Spanish-language version was included in an earlier round-up, now Team Maverick's made it available in English:

The Great GOP Panic of '08

Having written about the Democrats' recent poll-driven panic, I'm dismayed to observe that some faint-hearted Republicans are becoming hysterical now that Barack Obama is up by 5 points in the Gallup daily tracking poll.

According to the new panic narrative, the GOP's convention bounce has expired, the Palin pick has turned into a deficit, and the economic crisis is sending voters streaming into the Obama camp.

Please. Calm. Down. The relative merits of Obama and John McCain are unchanged. If Palin's poll popularity is down, well, three weeks of relentless media negativity can have that effect, but the damage is not necessarily permanent. And excuse my skepticism, but I'm having a hard time seeing how independent voters are going to be persuaded that Obama's vague talk of Hope and Change is the solution to the problems of the financial sector.

If the past is prologue, it is likely that the current trend toward Obama will peak in a couple of days, and a week from now the race will be back in a statistical tie going into the first presidential debate Sept. 26. Besides, we're now at the point in the campaign where the opinions of likely voters matter more than registered voters (and the Gallup tracking poll surveys registered voters). Both the Rasmussen and Battleground tracking polls of likely voters show a dead heat.

Panic is not a strategy. Please. Calm. Down.

UPDATE: Look, if this was an honest-to-goodness GOP meltdown, the eternal pessimist Allahpundit would be all doom-and-gloom, right? He's at least semi-hopeful, which means . . . ? Yeah. Maverick in a landslide.

UPDATE II: Linked at Conservative Grapevine. Thanks.

Campaign update: New McCain ads

The past couple of days, I've been busy with the Sarah Palin e-mail hacking and haven't blogged much about the back-and-forth in the presidential campaign. The big news is that Team Maverick has come out with a series of hard-hitting TV ads:

Obama-Chavez (en Espanol)

Nothing New

Jim Johnson

Patriotic Act

Pray for the Kernell family

According to Tennessee blogger Sharon Cobb, there have been death threats against state Rep. Mike Kernell. This is crazy behavior, and whoever is responsible for it should be prosecuted.

People: It's just politics, OK? The United States is the greatest country in the world, with the greatest people in the world, and whatever happens Nov. 4 will not change that. If the result is the election of a Democrat . . . so what?

A nation that can survive LBJ, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton is a nation that even Barack Obama can't destroy. The man has already turned thousands of Hillary Clinton supporters into ex-Democrats. Just think how many ex-Democrats he'd create if he managed to get elected.

Whoever hacked Sarah Palin's e-mail and then went online to brag about wanting to "derail her campaign" has clearly lost perspective about this election. So if the hacker turns out to be a 20-year-old chess nerd with emotional issues, and it turns out the guy's dad is a Democratic politician, well, OK.

But death threats? What's the point of that? Let's leave that idiocy to the Unhinged. Besides, the media is going to go berserk on this one -- check out this conviction-by-headline from the NY Post.

Look, if the FBI ends up bird-dogging on the Kernell kid, he and his family are going to go through a hell you couldn't imagine in your worst nightmares. Ask people who've been through it. Being investigated and prosecuted by the feds is a soul-wrenching experience. It's not like you're dealing with the local sheriff and the county judge. It's extremely impersonal. And there is no parole in the federal prison system.

Oh, and beware of the "obstruction" charge. Ever hear of a guy named Scooter Libby? He was sentenced to 30 months in prison. President Bush commuted that, but the dude still had to pay a $250,000 fine. He was disbarred.

Yesterday, somebody said David Kernell seemed to be deleting his online accounts. Bad decision. Attempting to destroy evidence in a case under investigation by the FBI? A crime in its own right. And the FBI has the best computer forensics people in the world, anyway, so you're not helping yourself.

Don't make death threats against the Kernells. Pray for them. I've got a hunch they're going to be needing a lot of prayer in the near future. And God forbid you or anyone you know should ever find themselves at the center of an FBI investigation. Even if the Kernell kid's perfectly innocent -- mistaken identity or something -- it's going to be rough. But if the kid's guilty . . .

PREVIOUSLY:

Obama supporter: 'I want to violently rape' Palin

Margaret Cho posted an anti-McCain/anti-Palin rant at her MySpace page:
But even though I would never, ever vote for Palin, I am kind of obsessed with f---ing her. She is sexy and hot in a MILF/Cougar way. . . . I want to steam up those glasses and show her what a pitbull with lipstick really needs -- doggy style!
Prompting one of Cho's fans and fellow Obama supporters to add this comment:
See, I more want to violently rape her with a turkey baster full of homosexual devil seed. I use the word rape because this woman doesn't seem to think that women should have the right to choose whats going on with their p---y anyway. So I would like to impose my will on her vagina like she is trying to do to mine.
Via Laura Elizabeth Morales.) There is probably a thesis in political science (or abnormal psychology) to be written about the way leftists have reacted to this pro-life Republican woman. One notices many of the same themes as in anti-Malkin/anti-Coulter rants.

There also seems to be some sort of anti-marriage/anti-motherhood sentiment involved here. I note, en passant, that both Cho and her commenter "Birdy" are lesbians, but hesitate to assert a causative correlation. Not all lesbians are so insanely heterophobic. The politicization of sex is an unfortunate consequence of the feminist dogma that "the personal is political."

UPDATE: Linked at NObamaBlog and HRCForum -- thanks.

A commenter notes that the French phrase en passant ("in passing") is used in chess to describe a certain opening move with pawns. I hadn't even thought of that, but it's a fact, and perhaps that's where I picked it up. I studied French in high school, but retained very little. On va a la plage!

I also studied Latin in high school and retained little, but this brings me to a related allusion: There is a passage in Cicero's first oration against Catiline in which he makes a very damaging accusation then says, "but I pass over this." As in, "You're an incestuous thief, but that's beside the point ..."

Cicero casually slips in the ad hominem, then returns to his main discourse. A very effective rhetorical tactic, prejudicing the audience while inciting one's opponent to attack a point irrelevant to your argument.

Cicero was not only a senator, but also the leading lawyer of his era, and knew every trick in the book. Which is, of course, why the Second Triumvirate marked him for assassination in their "bloody proscription." They simply could not hope to survive the condemnation of such an able orator, who had thwarted all the previous conspiracies of what historians have called the Popular party. Cicero was apparently not a participant in the plot against Caesar, but had opposed Caesar all along, and was likely aware of what Brutus and the others had in mind.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

David Kernell under investigation

UPDATE 10/8: Kernell indicted and arrested.

UPDATE 9/21: FBI serves search warrant?

UPDATED & BUMPED (AGAIN): Scripps News:
On Wednesday, the FBI and Secret Service launched an investigation that includes agents in Memphis. C.M. Sturgis, a spokesman for the Memphis FBI branch, confirmed late Thursday that his office is involved.
"All I can say is that a matter was referred to us from the Anchorage, Alaska, office. An investigation at this time is being coordinated out of FBI headquarters in the Department of Justice," Sturgis said.
UPDATE: The Washington Times:
Tennessee state Rep. Mike Kernell, Memphis Democrat, last night disputed published newspaper reports, including one in the Tennessean that said his son was the focus of the Palin hack investigation.
"I talked to David today and he has not been contacted, not a target by any federal group, any investigation," Mr. Kernell told The Washington Times on Thursday night. He was answering phones at his office late into the evening to clear up inaccurate media reports, he said.
When asked whether his son is involved in the case in any way, Mr. Kernell said: "I can't talk about my son. I can just tell you no one has contacted him or I about this."
UPDATE II: Linked at Hot Air -- also in headlines -- and in an update by Michelle Malkin. Thanks. Memphis Flyer, Knoxville's WLTI-TV and Nashville's NewsChannel5 are also following the story. Keep an eye on those reporters in Tennessee. Local reporters hunting a scoop of national importance? They won't miss a thing.

UPDATED & BUMPED: Memphis TV reporter Shane Myers has a photo of Kernell and reports that local talk radio host Mike Fleming of WREC is on the story.

UPDATED: Allah:
"Exercise caution, as it’s a serious charge and there’s no proof of guilt yet."
OK, maybe "rubico10" was just bragging about a hack he didn't actually do. And maybe "rubico10" is a common Web nickname, like "bi19cheerldr." And maybe a Democrat's chess-nerd son with emotional issues isn't the only one who "really wanted to get something incriminating" about the GOP vice-presidential candidate. It's all just a coincidence, no conclusions can be drawn from these random facts, and not even Andrew Sullivan would bother to do a "just asking questions" post about it.

UPDATE II: Duh. I thought the photo of David Kernell was new stuff, but apparently Ace already flaming-skulled it hours ago. It's hard to get up-to-speed when you fall behind on a breaking story like this, and I was taking a nap this afternoon when the latest stuff started happening. Anyway, Ace is asking people to e-mail him any dirt they've got on David Kernell.

PREVIOUSLY: I didn't name him earlier, but David Kernell is the guy suspected of hacking Sarah Palin's e-mail account. Michelle Malkin notes that the Nashville Tennessean is on the story:
The son of state Rep. Mike Kernell has been contacted by authorities in connection with a probe into the hacking of the personal e-mail of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Kernell confirmed on Thursday.
Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, said his 20-year-old son David had been contacted by authorities investigating the hacking of Palin’s personal email account.
Bloggers -- including Malkin, Free Republic, Gateway Pundit and Eric Dondero -- were ahead of the MSM on this. Kudos to the Tennessean for the follow-up, confirming that the FBI and Secret Service have also identified Kernell as a person of interest in the investigation. (Drudge links to the Knoxville News Sentinel, which is also following up.)

Earlier today, Eric Dondero e-mailed me to ask whether I thought the Internet sleuths were barking up the right tree. From my reply:

If it is him, you'll almost certainly be hearing more in the next few days. The Justice Department is run by political appointees and always leaks like a sieve. If the FBI birddogs on this kid, somebody will leak the word to the Washington Post or Politico. Plus, if they get a search warrant on the kid, somebody in Memphis will notice and alert the media.
My gut hunch: There will be an MSM story on the kid linked at Drudge by Tuesday.

Heh -- it was barely two hours later that the Tennessean confirmed the investigation. Michelle has an entire thread about the recto-cranial inversion at the Associated Press, which seems to think that any story involving Sarah Palin must follow a "Republican scandal" narrative, but I'd like to point to the good work of the Tennessean and the News-Sentinel in defense of the American press.

Earlier, in response to my statement that "since this is a high-profile federal felony investigation, I don't think it will be long before we have full details," commenter Mike G in Corvallis wrote:
I think it will be a while before the facts become known to the general public. The mainstream media will be very reluctant to publicize this, in the interest of protecting his privacy. And they wouldn't want to do anything that would adversely affect his family, you know.
The Tennessean has vindicated my confidence in the basic reportorial sense of the American press. The hacking of the personal e-mail account of a vice-presidential candidate is a crime of such proportion that the reporter who gets the story first is a stud. How often does a reporter in Nashville get a scoop on a story that big?

Trust me when I say that sources at the Justice Department are probably already fielding phone calls from reporters in Washington. You think the Washington Post wants to get scooped by the Washington Times or the Politico -- let alone some hillbilly reporter in Tennessee -- on this story?

UPDATE: Just wanted to add a shout-out to Glenn Greenwald, and ask him how he likes getting skunked by "the bottom layer of the right-wing noise machine."

PREVIOUSLY:

Video: McCain Ad on Franklin Raines

More on Raines' role in the mortgage crisis.

Lohan vote still in play?

As noted here Monday, washed-up former child star and current rehab refugee Lindsay Lohan announced her pro-Obama politics on her MySpace page by denouncing Sarah Palin as a "a narrow minded, media obsessed homophobe."

It turns out, however, that narrow-minded homophobia is bipartisan. Team Obama doesn't want support from a nude-photo-posing ex-Disney moppet with mental health issues and a butch DJ girlfriend:
Lindsay Lohan wanted to stump for Barack Obama, but was turned down with a polite ''thanks, but no thanks,'' the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The trouble-prone actress offered to host a series of events aimed at younger voters, but the Democratic presidential candidate's camp wasn't interested, the paper says.
Lohan ''is not exactly the kind of high-profile star who would be a positive for us," a top source on the Obama team told the paper.
Now Lindsay's creepy estranged father is angry:
"For Barack Obama to condemn my daughter for past indiscretions when he admitted to the exact same himself is indicative of what kind of president he would be," Michael Lohan told Pop Tarts via e-mail on Wednesday night.
"His visions of a positive future for this country should be representative of a positive future for people as well. It is looking beyond the difficult times and letting go of the past," Michael said. "Obviously, Obama can do this for himself and not others, when in fact a good president should have hope for all."
This creates a major opportunity for the McCain campaign to gain support in the crucial substance-abusing breast-baring has-been starlet demographic. (Just think of all the former Nickolodeon viewers in the 18-24 voter segment.) What the GOP needs is a Starlet Outreach Coordinator who can help them increase their profile in the over-the-hill tween idol community.

But who has the right combination of political savvy and unctuous shmoozyness to fill such an important role?

Who, indeed? Once I've persuaded Lindsay about the advantages of eliminating the capital gains tax and bombing Iran, then I'll get to work convincing Natalie Portman . . . then the Olsen Twins . . . . then Britney . . . I think $500 a day plus expenses should cover it. Just say the word.

Bait (sex) and switch (politics)

She's "breaking her silence" about her husband's adultery to get more publicity for her liberal agenda:
Elizabeth Edwards appeared Thursday morning on Capitol Hill where she discussed the need for heathcare reform in front of the Committee on Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on Health. Edwards veered from her prepared remarks to attack Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain on his healthcare policy.
"Neither one of us would be insured under his healthcare plan," she told the committee, an attack she has used frequently against the Arizona Senator, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2000.
"I do think that Sen. McCain's policy does focus excessively on providing a lower cost policy without at the same time guaranteeing a basic level of coverage in that policy or addressing the scope of inclusion for all Americans," Edwards elaborated.
She is, if nothing else, amazingly consistent. All she has ever cared about is politics.

Palin hacker ID'd?

UPDATED & BUMPED: Eric Dondero has much more background, and also notes that he and I have been honored by inclusion in "the bottom layer of the right-wing noise machine," by none other than Glenn Greenwald. Tears of joy are running down my face, like a starlet receiving her first Oscar.

UPDATE: Rusty Shackleford, who knows a thing or two about Internet sleuthing, says "the plot is getting thicker."

PREVIOUSLY: In a thread at Free Republic and at various conservative blogs, a 20-year-old chess enthusiast with the online identity "rubico10" is being identified as a suspect in the hacking of Sarah Palin's e-mail account.

I have no means of verifying those accusations, which might be entirely false, and thus am not naming the person. However, I will note that the person identified by these bloggers is the son of a Democratic state legislator. Should this turn out to be the case, it would rather seriously undermine the early assertion that Palin's hacker was a non-ideological prankster.

As pointed out by Dan Riehl, information at the Register and Michelle Malkin indicates that the FBI and Secret Service should have little trouble finding the perpetrator. And since this is a high-profile federal felony investigation, I don't think it will be long before we have full details.

How Clinton caused the current crisis

Investors Business Daily:
As soon as Clinton crony Franklin Delano Raines took the helm in 1999 at Fannie Mae, for example, he used it as his personal piggy bank, looting it for a total of almost $100 million in compensation by the time he left in early 2005 under an ethical cloud.
Other Clinton cronies, including Janet Reno aide Jamie Gorelick, padded their pockets to the tune of another $75 million.
Raines was accused of overstating earnings and shifting losses so he and other senior executives could earn big bonuses.
In the end, Fannie had to pay a record $400 million civil fine for SEC and other violations, while also agreeing as part of a settlement to make changes in its accounting procedures and ways of managing risk.
But it was too little, too late. Raines had reportedly steered Fannie Mae business to subprime giant Countrywide Financial, which was saved from bankruptcy by Bank of America.
Raines is an advisor to Barack Obama. The IBD article notes that the Clinton administration injected "steroids" into the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, a Jimmy Carter-era program to promote homeownership by the poor. Eight years ago, City Journal warned about the effects of the Clinton policy:
The Clinton administration has turned the Community Reinvestment Act . . . into one of the most powerful mandates shaping American cities -- and, as Senate Banking Committee chairman Phil Gramm memorably put it, a vast extortion scheme against the nation's banks. Under its provisions, U.S. banks have committed nearly $1 trillion for inner-city and low-income mortgages and real estate development projects, most of it funneled through a nationwide network of left-wing community groups, intent, in some cases, on teaching their low-income clients that the financial system is their enemy and, implicitly, that government. (Emphasis added.)
Hmmm. Why would the Clinton administration want to funnel a trillion bucks through "left-wing community groups"? Ah, but never mind the loaded questions. Let's talk about the risky mortgages that are bankrupting America's financial services sector.

The original rationale of the CRA was to counteract the old practice of "redlining," which made it difficult for black people in poor neighborhoods to get credit. But, as City Journal explains, redlining was no longer the problem in the 1990s; the problem was people with bad credit histories:
A September 1999 study by Freddie Mac, for instance, confirmed what previous Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation studies had found: that African-Americans have disproportionate levels of credit problems, which explains why they have a harder time qualifying for mortgage money. As Freddie Mac found, blacks with incomes of $65,000 to $75,000 a year have on average worse credit records than whites making under $25,000.
Yet, under the "steroid" boost of the Clinton administration's approach to CRA, banks were pressured to make more loans to black people, period -- and credit problems be damned. OK, now we can return our attention to those "left-wing community groups." City Journal:
By intervening -- even just threatening to intervene -- in the CRA review process, left-wing nonprofit groups have been able to gain control over eye-popping pools of bank capital, which they in turn parcel out to individual low-income mortgage seekers. A radical group called ACORN Housing has a $760 million commitment from the Bank of New York; the Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America has a $3-billion agreement with the Bank of America; a coalition of groups headed by New Jersey Citizen Action has a five-year, $13-billion agreement with First Union Corporation. Similar deals operate in almost every major U.S. city. Observes Tom Callahan, executive director of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, which has $220 million in bank mortgage money to parcel out, "CRA is the backbone of everything we do."
In other words, the Clinton administration turned these activist groups into de facto mortage brokers, armed with punitive power over lending institutions, and effectively controlling vast amounts of other people's money.

There were many factors in the mortgage-market meltdown, but the policy instituted by the Clinton administration -- which put financial decision-making under the control of political activists who were unaccountable for the consequences of their decisions -- is the underlying cause of it all.

Don't expect to see this on ABC, NBC or CBS, however. The sad truth is far too politically incorrect for the MSM, which instead is engaged in its usual liberal propaganda of blaming greedy Republican capitalists for the problem.

Obama: Sic 'em!

Sending out the attack dogs:
I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.
Is it really smart strategy to tell angry liberals to start pestering their friends and neighbors? Liberals annoy me enough already without having them get in my face about what a great guy Obama is.

Be on the lookout for headlines about obnoxious Obama supporters getting punched out by their friends and neighbors.

New McCain ad

(Via Hot Air.) Accusing Obama of favoring "massive government" -- so massive it might put taxpayers on the hook for an $85 billion bailout of a bankrupt insurance company. Hey, wait a minute . . .

On Obama's tactics

Having often denounced Michael Gerson and all his earthly works, I take notice that he's actually written something worthwhile today:

Obama's first major decision was his running mate. He could have reinforced a message of change and moderation with a Democratic governor who wins in a Republican state, or reached for history by selecting Hillary Clinton. But his choice came soon after Russia invaded Georgia, and the conventional wisdom demanded an old hand who knew his way around Tbilisi. When the Georgia crisis faded, Obama was left with a partisan, undisciplined, congressional liberal at his side.
Gerson is talking about the irrational, improvised weathervane quality of Obama's message operation. It's amazing to think Obama has gotten as far as he has, and he could never have done it if the political press corps weren't functioning as his de facto propaganda ministry.

If Obama flops in the Sept. 26 debate, though, his liberal media friends will turn on him. They've built him up, and if he fails to meet their expectations, they'll tear him down. But watch how they do it -- they'll accuse him of failing to fight hard enough or trying to be too moderate. They will refuse to admit that Obama's liberal has anything to do with his downfall.

This is an easy prediction, since it's exactly what the liberal media did to explain away the defeats of Gore and Kerry. Liberals are always sure Democrats would triumph if only they'd nominate a really angry left-winger -- a cross between Howard Dean, Huey Long, Ralph Nader and Maxine Waters.

'Shouting down blasphemers'

Jim Treacher on Obama's "Action Wire":
This is a powerful politician arrogantly abusing that power to try to silence his critics . . . because he knows he can get away with it."
Moe Lane also has thoughts on Hope and Change and Blasphemy.

Thoughts of a lazy blogger

A blog called the Trunk Report has posted a list of "The Best Conservative Blogs," and though I'm stung by omission, I won't seek vengeance. Yet.

I guess I could compile a list of my own favorite blogs, but the result would be nothing more than a confession of my own fathomless sloth. Basically, here's my modus operandi:
  1. Check Memeorandum regularly -- Almost anything blogworthy will show up on Memeorandum sooner or later. Usually sooner. Memeorandum links both original news articles and the most popular political blog postings. There are other blog aggregators (e.g., John Hawkins' Conservative Grapevine), but so far, no one has built a better moustrap than the continually updated auto-aggregation of Memeorandum.
  2. Check Hot Air, Michelle Malkin and Ace of Spades -- Hot Air has been the blog I read the most ever since the day it was launched. It's very current, includes lots of links to news sources, and frequently features video clips. Malkin blogs about a lot of the issues that interest me most (immigration, media bias, culture wars) and when she gets on a big breaking story, she updates and links exhaustively, so she's a good source for the newest material. Both Hot Air and Malkin have a very cool trackback format, as well. Ace is, on the one hand, a guilty pleasure because of his ribald humor (yes, I am a Moron); on the other hand, he is also a good legitimate source on any story he takes a strong interest in. And he has guest bloggers, so the blog tends to be updated frequently and stay up-to-date.
  3. Check to see who's linking me -- I'm pretty obsessive about checking SiteMeter, and if I notice traffic from a new link, I almost always go check whoever's doing the linking, see what they're saying, and add a link-back update. Often, I'll browse around their site to see if they've got anything new and interesting and link that. I'm less diligent about this process than I used to be, however. Becoming lazier, mainly.
  4. Check Instapundit -- OK, this is a really horrible thing for any blogger to confess, but the main reason I check Instapundit is when I send him what I think is a very good post and he doesn't link it (i.e., about 99% of the posts I send), I go over to check what he has linked. It's like, "OK, what's better or more important than my stuff?" Also, something I've noticed recently: The way the Memeorandum algorithm works, almost any news story or political post Insty links will automatically become a Memeorandum thread. So sometimes my Memeorandum habit will lead me back to Insty.
  5. Check AmSpecBlog -- I'm a contributor there, and it's a group blog, so it's kind of a habit and there's often links to news items there that I can turn into posts on my own blog.
  6. Check my e-mail -- I'm subscribed to zillions of e-mail loops (including the Obama campaign) and prominently post my e-mail address on the blog because I'd rather wade through a lot of junk e-mails than to risk missing a potentially important tip.
And that's probably at least 90% of how I get my online information. I get stuff through Facebook, too, but most of that shows up as alerts in my e-mail inbox. I know a lot of bloggers read other blogs via feedreaders, but I'm just not that systematic. Also, most big bloggers are all about IMs, but AOL annoys me and IM is so memory-intensive. My e-mail and Web browsing methods may be slow and awkward compared to the IM/RSS way of doing things, but it's just comfortable. And maybe vaguely technophobic.

Now, maybe you're saying: "Hey, I don't see [favorite blogger X] on your list." But that doesn't mean I don't read those blogs, it just means that I usually read them via a link at one of the sources I've named. A hot thread at (inter alia) LGF, Red State or NRO Corner will eventually show up in one of the channels I've named. Lately, I've been reading a lot of stuff by Marc Ambinder and Jennifer Rubin, for example, but mainly through links at Memeorandum.

Anyway, that's why I can't give you a list of my "Top 20 favorite blogs," because that just doesn't fit my lazy, Primitive Caveman Blogger way of doing things. Please don't hate me for it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Left-wingers hack Sarah Palin's personal e-mail account

UPDATED & BUMPED (AGAIN): How much farther into the tank for Obama can the Associated Press possibly get?
The disclosure Wednesday raises new questions about the propriety of the Palin administration's use of nongovernment e-mail accounts . . .
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? These hackers commit a federal felony and the AP says it "raises questions" about Palin?

Flashback -- Associated Press, November 1963:
The events in Dallas raise new questions about the propriety of the Kennedy administration's planning of its motorcade route . . .
Flashback -- Associated Press, December 1941:
The incident in Hawaii raises new questions about the propriety of the Roosevelt administration's selection of naval bases . . .
Journalistic malpractice, plain and simple.

UPDATED: Linked in Hot Air headlines. Thanks. Meanwhile (small universe) Michelle Malkin has an account of how this hack happened.

UPDATE II: Jeff Goldstein questions whether "left-wing" is a fair description of the hacker(s) who did this. I'm going to go out on a limb here and bet that when the FBI makes an arrest in this case, a quick search of FEC records will reveal that the perp has zero donations to Republicans. Canadian Guy thinks he's identified the perp as a Memphis resident.

UPDATE III: "The bottom layer of the right-wing noise machine."

PREVIOUSLY: Alex Parene has some of the content at Gawker.

Needless to say, Michelle Malkin is (a) no fan of Gawker, and (b) a must-read on the tactics of the Palin Derangement Syndrome criminals. Yes, I said "criminals." Hacking private e-mail is a federal crime, and there is no amount of data-scrubbing that will prevent the FBI from hunting down these vermin and putting them in federal prison, where there is no parole.

ORIGINAL POST: Because they care so much about the "right to privacy," don't you know. What despicable, hypocritical vermin they are.

Video: Plouffe's strategy update

The Hyping of Hope continues:


Politics as multi-tiered marketing. Success as a non-falsifiable theory. No matter what happens, every event is more evidence to justify the belief of the True Believer, because belief is necessary to ... excuse me, what is the real objective here?

"We're winning -- send more money! McCain is attacking -- send more money! We've registered X-number of new Democrats -- send more money!"

Need I point out that David Plouffe is a professional political operative, and that fund-raising ability is a primary qualification in his chosen career field? See, whether Obama wins or loses, Plouffe will still walk away with the career credential of being a world-class fund-raiser.

You know, I was taught that a journalist was first and foremost a skeptic. Why is the political press corps nowadays packed full of credulous suckers?

The NY Times smears me

While it's always an honor to get linked in the Opinionator blog, they'll have to correct the record after this item about Mme. Rothschild's endorsement of the Republican ticket:
Conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain isn’t sure whether his candidate should welcome his new supporter . . .
My candidate? Crazy Cousin John? Oh, no.

My candidate is Bob Barr, and not entirely because he promised to appoint me ambassador to Costa Rica.

See, I was there at the conception of the Barr juggernaut. It was about 11:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8. The day before, Mitt Romney quit. Then Jesse the hotel security guard raided our CPAC party, and after that, Ron Paul punked out. The conservative movement was kaput, the Republican Party was screwed, and America was doomed.

That's when, through the thick clouds of cigar smoke at Shelley's Backroom Tavern, Stephen Gordon saw a glimmer of hope: DRAFT BARR. I'm saving that twisted story for the book, so I'll leave it to your sick mind to imagine the arcane Machiavellian maneuvers involved in that operation.

Three days later, I flew to Africa, fully expecting that by the time I got back stateside, the mighty Clinton slime machine would have pulverized Obama into a greasy residue of Hope. So the matchup for November would be John McCain, the least popular Republican since Tom Dewey, versus Hillary Clinton, whose favorable ratings are slightly lower than Squeaky Fromme's. A perfect opportunity for the Barr insurgency!

Well, Patti Solis Doyle screwed up that scenario so badly not even Rush Limbaugh could fix it. Good-bye, President Barr. Good-bye, Costa Rica.

The only hope now was that one or the other major-party campaigns would collapse in a Mondalean-Dukakoid meltdown. As weak as the GOP brand has become, they're still good for at least 37 percent in a bad year, which isn't enough breathing room for the Libertarians to come out on top. But the Democrats ...

Let's get real. When you nominate a guy named Hussein, who hangs out with terrorists and spent 20 years in a church where "God D--- America" is a popular sermon topic, this isn't exactly a strong bid for those middle-of-the-road voters in Ohio, is it? After Crazy Cousin John locked up the GOP nomination, I had no doubt the Republicans were actually trying to lose the election, but then the Democrats beat them at their own game.

If you've paid close attention to this blog, for a couple of months, I sort of alternated between "Democratic Debacle" and "Republican Disaster" themes, but lately it's been almost nonstop bungles by Team Obama. And then Maverick picked that hot chick from Alaska as his running mate versus Joe Hairplugs, which pretty much sealed the deal.

On Nov. 4, I'm going to vote for Bob Barr, the only sane choice in this insane election. Unfortunately, a majority of my fellow Maryland residents -- motivated by a cruel and perverse desire to prevent me from achieving my destiny as U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica -- will throw their votes away on that minor third-party candidate, Barack Hussein Obama.

By voting for a hopeless third-party spoiler like Obama, these idiots are taking votes away from the Barr-Root ticket, and thus ensuring the election of Crazy Cousin John. Don't say I didn't try to warn America about this. And remember, I'm a greedy right-wing capitalist blogger, so don't be surprised when I become fabulously wealthy selling these:
This product is going to be more popular than Sarah Palin bikini pictures.

Beverly Hills Obama

Here's what you get for $11 million:

'Vetting'?

Oh, for crying out loud, Andrew:
[M]y relentless vetting of Palin, specifically the bizarre facts in the public record about her fifth pregnancy. For my part, I stand by my skepticism of everything Sarah Palin says. To my mind, her constant public lies about almost anything, large and small, and the proximity of this strange, unvetted blank slate of a candidate to the Oval Office render all usual assumptions of good faith on the part of a candidate moot. The refusal of the McCain campaign to allow her to hold a press conference - unprecedented in modern American history - reinforces this skepticism.
Look, I completely agree that the McCain campaign's refusal to let her do a press conference is blunderheaded in the extreme, and have said so repeatedly. If Hillary could do a press conference the day after her godawful embarrassment in North Carolina, why couldn't Palin have done a press conference in the immediate aftermath of her selection?

But Team Maverick's self-defeating media strategery is no excuse to (a) accuse her of "constant lies" or (b) engage in utterly unsubstantiated speculation. That's not "vetting," that's a smear. Politics ain't beanbag, but why don't you leave the political smears to the people who are paid to do that sort of work? Why are you volunteering to do their dirty work for them? Or ... are you?

After all, if it's possible to believe that Palin faked a pregnancy to hide the birth of her grandchild, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that the Obama campaign is paying Andrew Sullivan to smear Palin. I mean, since we're just asking questions, isn't it only fair to ask why Sully is so incredibly diligent in spreading these bogus smears about Palin? And isn't it possible that the Obama campaign, which is collecting $66 million a month in contributions, has spent some of that cash to sweeten the pot for Sully?

Is Andrew Sullivan a hired stooge for the Obama campaign? Or is he a Satanic cannibal? (Maybe he's both, and the Obama campaign is supplying Sully with fresh corpses for his devil-worship rituals.) I'm just asking questions ...

The $11 Million Victim

Obama goes to Hollywood, raises a record $11 million and plays the victim:
"A lot of people have gotten nervous and concerned. Why is this as close as it is? And what's going on?" Mr. Obama said, speaking to about 300 people over dinner at the Greystone Mansion. "We always knew this was going to be hard -- this is a leap for the American people."
Oh, it's so hard to get elected when you're raising $66 million a month and the major media are completely in the tank for you. It's so hard when you're on the cover of Time magazine seven times in one year. It's so hard when Us Weekly is doing such vicious investigative journalism about you.

It's so hard when you get a sweetheart book deal at age 27. It's so hard when you're appointed to the board of a $49 million education reform project at age 34. It's so hard when the Chicago Tribune goes to court to have your Republican opponent's divorce records made public, so he's forced to drop out and you get a free ride into the U.S. Senate.

Maybe those rich Hollywood friends of yours are buying into this victimhood tale, buddy, but I think the ordinary American voter is gagging from the odor of rancid self-pity.

UPDATE: And, as notorious hatemonger Michelle Malkin points out, Obama's not only a victim, he's a half-black victim. Why does this make Michelle a notorious hatemonger? Because only liberals like Jack Cafferty are allowed to obsess over Obama's race:

Shorter Jack Cafferty: "We know you racist crackers won't vote for a black man, which means it's time to do our umpteenth special segment pointing out that Obama is, in fact, a black man."

Why communism sucks

No more nude Nepalese dancers:
Hundreds of disco workers protested in Kathmandu on Monday against a government crackdown on "nude dancing" in its bid to improve the deteriorating law and order.
Police have raided scores of discos, nightclubs and dance bars in the past two weeks and detained 1,500 people. . . .
A Maoist-led government which took power in August has already ordered the bars should be closed an hour before midnight, to halt worsening public security in the capital, home to more than two million people.
Bar and disco operators are protesting the move would jeopardize their business and render 80,000 people jobless.
As a freelance journalist, I'm available for assignment if anyone wants to send me to do some in-depth investigative reporting about the Nepalese strip club crisis. Just send me a plane ticket and alert the Pulitzer committee.

Daytime TV

My wife put a TV in my office, but it's only hooked up for basic cable, which means I've got no news channels. So right now, Maury Povich is doing his "who's-your-baby-daddy" shtick, featuring people so jaw-droppingly stupid as to recall the famous words of Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Seriously, these people are so repulsively scummy, they give trailer trash a bad name. They don't need counseling, they need to be spayed. And the fact that there is a nationally syndicated show devoted to chronicling their sordid affairs (one would say "scandals," except they lack the minimal semblance of human dignity necessary to be scandalized) makes me feel like I'm watching the prequel to Idiocracy.

In Ars Poetica, Aristotle stipulated that tragedy always involves the downfall of the noble. Which is to say, only the lives of the great are worth the effort of chronicling for public consumption; there is nothing timeless, nothing civilizing, in tawdry squalor. To sit in front of a TV filling your brain with utter junk -- Maury Povitch's ritualized confrontation between two women engaged in what can only be called competitive whoredom -- is to debase yourself.

I'm not a snob, and I'm not worried about offending anyone by writing this, for the simple reason that no literate person could be fan of the Povitch show. If you're smart enough to read, you're smart enough to be disgusted by this televised scumfest. It makes Days of Our Lives seem sophisticated by comparison.

Martha, why didn't you call me?

I just turned the TV on and Martha Stewart is doing a show about blogging. We've totally jumped the shark, haven't we?

Mme. Rothschild?

Look, I don't want to rain on anyone's parade here or anything, but when I got the e-mail yesterday from Team Maverick announcing that a prominent Hillary supporter was going to endorse John McCain, I wasn't really prepared for Madame Rothschild.

This ain't exactly going to swing the populist vote. And speaking of populists, the Rothschilds figure rather prominently in kook-fringe conspiracy theories. It's like getting endorsed by the Bavarian Illuminati or the Tri-Lateral Commission. Not going to win you any friends in the tinfoil-hat/shortwave-radio crowd.

On the other hand, maybe the GOP needed to improve its standing with the Glamorous Jet-Setting Wealthy Socialite demographic.

Maverick's new job-creation plan? Mme. Rothschild hires every unemployed swing voter in Pennsylvania!

UPDATE: Linked by NYT Opinionator, requiring a bit of clarification.

Sarah with big '80s hair

This video of Sarah Palin as an Anchorage TV sportscaster has been out there a while, but I just now watched it at Red State, and just wanted to point out how much I love that early-Meg Ryan big-hair look from the mid-1980s:

Also notice how unselfconscious she is about dropping her "g's." Obviously it's no affectation.

Most of all, this helps explain Sarah's appeal to the guy vote. It's not entirely about the hotness. What guy wouldn't love to be married to a former point guard? You could sit around watching basketball on TV and call it "quality time."

'Hillary is not on the ticket'

Patrick Healy: "You know what I keep hearing privately from advisers to Hillary? They say, 'Why is it our job to blunt Palin's impact? Hillary is not on the ticket. Obama didn't choose her.' I don't think it's so much about resentment, it's an honest assessment that Hillary can only do so much in this regard."

"Hillary is not on the ticket." They're going to keep saying that and saying that, and after John McCain gets elected on Nov. 4, you're never going to hear the end of them saying it: "Hillary was not on the ticket." Then we'll spend the next four years waiting for Hillary to run again, and any Democrat who even thinks about challenging her will be demonized.
And forget about Obama after Nov. 4. The Democrats shoot their wounded. For better or worse, Republicans operate by the "it's his turn" principle, whereas Democrats are always about the "fresh new face." As Howard Dean showed, you've got exactly one chance to be the "fresh new face" with the Democrats, and once you blow that, you're through.
So McCain wins this year, the economic collapse grows increasingly worse, the entitlement crisis gets punted a few yards downfield, and the stage is all set for Hillary's big comeback in 2012. She'll be really inevitable next time around.

Obligatory Kat DeLuna murders 'The Star-Spangled Banner' video

(Via Hot Air.) I blame Whitney Houston for this trend of singers trying to turn the national anthem into an "American Idol" audition. This whole Patti LaBelle diva thing with all the note-bending and vibrato is just so overdone. Notice it's when DeLuna tries to do the octave jump at the end -- and comes up about three half-steps short -- that she really botches it.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is a difficult song to sing as it is. Just remember the words, hit the notes, and everybody will be happy. It's not about you.

Earth to Obama: Ruh-roh

Obama tried to delay U.S. withdrawal from Iraq:
The Obama campaign spent more than five hours on Monday attempting to figure out the best refutation of the explosive New York Post report that quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying that Barack Obama during his July visit to Baghdad demanded that Iraq not negotiate with the Bush Administration on the withdrawal of American troops. Instead, he asked that they delay such negotiations until after the presidential handover at the end of January.
The three problems, according to campaign sources: The report was true, there were at least three other people in the room with Obama and Zebari to confirm the conversation, and there was concern that there were enough aggressive reporters based in Baghdad with the sources to confirm the conversation that to deny the comments would create a bigger problem.
Instead, Obama's national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi told reporters that Obama told the Iraqis that they should not rush through what she termed a "Strategic Framework Agreement" governing the future of U.S. forces until after President Bush left office. In other words, the Iraqis should not negotiate an American troop withdrawal.
Look, if that's not a Logan Act violation, I don't know what is. And it's so cynical, it's breathtaking.

Ohio LOVES Sarah Palin

Associated Press photo: Sarah Palin greets supporters in Vienna, Ohio.

Just a programming note: Yesterday, the site got its 400,000th visitor. Already had 195,000 visitors in September, and there are still 13 days left in the month.

Video: 'An American Carol'

The film company sent this to me:


The film company said "because of your influence in the blogosphere, we would like to invite you to be a part of the American Carol grassroots team." Translation: "We're not actually going to pay you anything, but . . . "

Hollywood turns out to be surprisingly like Washington, DC, that way. C'mon, guys: At least throw me some free tickets. A T-shirt, maybe?

I'm a greedy right-wing capitalist blogger, OK? I don't consider it bribery or payola. Just hit the tip jar or something.

Thanks! Here's the Web site for An American Carol.

Feeling the pain he helped cause

Barack Obama -- who after just three years in the Senate ranks near the top in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- blithely ignores his own party's role in the mortgage crisis:
[Obama] assured a rally in the Denver suburb of Golden that he understood the impact the crisis was having from Wall Street to Main Street. "Jobs have disappeared, and peoples' life savings have been put at risk. Millions of families face foreclosure, and millions more have seen their home values plummet," he said. "These are the struggles that Americans are facing. This is the pain that has now trickled up."
And then he jets off to Beverly Hills for a fundraiser with Barbra Streisand, Leo DiCaprio, Jodi Foster, Steven Spielberg, et al. Ain't it amazing how Democrats are always claiming to feel your pain, even while they and their rich buddies just keep growing richer and richer?

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Crazy Cousin John must be reading my blog:

(Via Hot Air.)