Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mortgage crisis disinformation

McClatchy's Washington bureau murks the water with Obama campaign talking points about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

The writers engage in journalistic prestidigitation -- look over here! no, over here! -- to try to distract from the point that it was the mismanagement and subsequent collapse of Fannie/Freddie that drove the current financial crisis.

At one point, the writers claim that "rural whites" were the objects of favoritism from Fannie/Freddie! Look at this map of the areas with the highest rate of "upside down" homeowners (owing more than their homes are worth) and see if you think "rural whites" are playing any significant role in the current crisis. (Lots of "rural whites" in Miami, Phoenix and Southern California, it seems.) Allow me to reiterate:
  • On July 14, the Heritage Foundation's Conn Carroll detailed the "crony capitalism" at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including the roles of Democrats Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick in the corruption at these government-sponsored firms.
  • On July 23, Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot examined "The Fannie Mae Gang."
  • On Sept. 11, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that the top three recipients of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac campaign contributions were Democrat Sens. Chris Dodd, Barack Obama and John Kerry.
  • On Sept. 15, Investors Business Daily detailed the role of Raines and the Clinton administration in the mortgage meltdown.
  • On Sept. 23, an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal explained how Barney Frank's push for "affordable housing" and Senate Democrats blocking a 2005 reform measure contributed to the meltdown.
Also, read this 2004 article (with charts) by Ed Gramlich, and this 2000 City Journal article by Howard Husock.

BTW, this is not about scapegoating minorities. Most homeowners, whatever their race, pay their mortgages on time. Since home ownership rates are higher for whites, and whites are about 70 percent of the adult population, it is likely that whites account for the majority of current foreclosures. (Although it's oddly impossible to find such data.) This is about a policy that, in the name of promoting minority home ownership, had the net effect of increasing high-risk loans, thereby resulting in a higher overall default rate. The default rate had been rising for years, and didn't cause too much worry until the housing "bubble" burst.

¡La educación es revolución!

Andy McCarthy cites Bill Ayers' 2006 speech:
President Hugo Chavez, … invited guests, comrades. I’m honored and humbled to be here with you this morning. I bring greetings and support from your brothers and sisters throughout Northamerica [sic]! Welcome to the World Education Forum. Amamos la revolucion Bolivariana! ...
As students and teachers begin to see themselves as linked to one another, as tied to history and capable of collective action, the fundamental message of teaching shifts slightly, and becomes broader, more generous: we must change ourselves as we come together to change the world. Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La educacion es revolucion!
Radical? How dare you say such a thing!

Concern trolls, cont'd.

I wrote yesterday about the "concern trolls" at Maverick HQ, and now the Times of London reports that longtime McCain adviser Mark Salter is the Troll-in-Chief:
With his electoral prospects fading by the day, Senator John McCain has fallen out with his vice-presidential running mate about the direction of his White House campaign.
McCain has become alarmed about the fury unleashed by Sarah Palin, the moose-hunting "pitbull in lipstick", against Senator Barack Obama. . . .
Mark Salter, McCain's long-serving chief of staff, is understood to have told campaign insiders that he would prefer his boss, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, to suffer an "honourable defeat" rather than conduct a campaign that would be out of character -- and likely to lose him the election. . . .
Lots more there worth reading. Allahpundit asks:
Is McCain's attempt at calming the crowd yesterday the first inkling of the Salter "strategy" being put into effect?
I think not. Who, after all, would have suggested that McCain cancel his campaign and fly to Washington to push for the bailout? Surely no one who actually wanted to win the election.

I now have a theory as to why the Fannie/Freddie stuff was left on the table almost until it was too late -- and then only addressed half-heartedly -- but I'm sure there'll be plenty of time for recriminations ahead of us.
No, we need to get started on recriminations now, before "sources close to the campaign" start leaking half-truths to their MSM buddies.

Video: Britney Spears 'Womanizer'

Weaver, Kirk . . . Brooks?

I was struck by the first three sentences of David Brooks' most recent New York Times column:
Modern conservatism began as a movement of dissident intellectuals. Richard Weaver wrote a book called, “Ideas Have Consequences.” Russell Kirk placed Edmund Burke in an American context.
Brooks then descends into a didactic history presuming to show that the problem with the modern Republican Party is that it doesn't get enough votes in Georgetown, Hyde Park and Berkeley. The GOP, says Brooks, "has lost the educated class by sins of commission -- by telling members of that class to go away." That notion might deserve more examination, but let's look at the two conservative thinkers Brooks name-checked in the opening of that column:
  • Richard M. Weaver was a native of North Carolina who grew up in Kentucky, graduating from the University of Kentucky and getting his master's degree at Vanderbilt. He was a student, at one time or another, of John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks. He got his Ph.D. at Louisiana State University.
  • Russell Kirk was a native of Plymouth, Mich. -- then a small town, now a suburb of Detroit -- who graduated from Michigan State University, got his master's degree at Duke University, and his Ph.D. at St. Andrews in Scotland.
They were very different men, but they had something in common: Neither was a native of any metropolis and both got their undergraduate education at state universities. By contrast, David Brooks grew up in Greenwich Village and is a graduate of the University of Chicago (annual tuition: $35,000).

Beyond these biographical data, it is impossible to place Brooks within the intellectual stream that Weaver and Kirk represent. Weaver's 1943 Ph.D. thesis is available as The Southern Tradition at Bay. Kirk's most famous work, The Conservative Mind, included chapters on John C. Calhoun and John Randolph of Roanoke, the latter of whom Kirk made the subject of an excellent 1951 biography. Both men were profound admirers of Southern agrarianism, and neither was an admirer of Brooks' heroes, Alexander Hamilton and Teddy Roosevelt.

Brooks, then, has accomplished the neat trick of denouncing Republicans for abandoning a conservative intellectual tradition to which Brooks himself has never belonged, dragooning Kirk and Weaver from the grave as posthumous allies of the apostle of "national greatness."

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Video: ACORN vote fraud

(Via Hot Air.)

Disenfranchising Imaginary-Americans

These evil Republicans are trying suppress the activism of the Imaginary-American community:
The number of fake names attached to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign contributions continues to inch up as news outlets and political researchers page through thousands of pages of donor listings.
Turns out, they're not that hard to come by. New discoveries from a cursory review of the listings include Edrty Eddty, who donated $250 in July 2008 and Es Esh, who gave $325 in July. Esh hailed from this unusual address: "fhdfhdfh, Erial, NJ 08081" Eddty listed his, or perhaps her, employer as "Poiuyttrrewe / Qwertyuio" -- the letters, more or less in order, found on the top line of standard computer keyboards.
And don't forget Jgtj Jfggjjfgj!

The Obama Recession

The rise of Hope, the death of capitalism:
"Why has the market dropped so much?" everyone asks. What is it about the specter of our first socialist president and the end of capitalism as we know it that they don't understand? . . .
It isn't only that the most anti-capitalist politician ever nominated by a major party is favored to take the White House.
It's that he'll also have a filibuster-proof Congress led by politicians who are almost as liberal.
Throw in a media establishment dedicated to the implementation of a liberal agenda, and the smothering of dissent wherever it arises, and it's no wonder panic has set in.
No wonder. Especially when the Republican opponent is advocating nationalization of mortgages.

Rezko talks! October surprise?

Could this be a silver bullet?
Jailed political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko, the Chicago real estate developer who helped launch Barack Obama on his political career, is whispering secrets to federal prosecutors about corruption in Illinois and the political fallout could be explosive.
Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose administration faces multiple federal investigations over how it handed out jobs and money with advice from Rezko, is considered the most vulnerable.
Rezko also was friendly with Obama -- offering him a job when he finished law school, funding his earliest political campaigns and purchasing a lot next to his house. But based on the known facts, charges so far and testimony at Rezko's trial, there's no indication there'll be an October surprise that could hurt the Democratic presidential nominee -- even though Rezko says prosecutors are pressing him for dirt about Obama.
Between massive vote fraud by ACORN and a zillion-dollar ad budget (funded by small donors like Jgtj Jfggjjfgj), all Rezko has to do is sit tight until Jan. 20 and he'll get a pardon from President Obama.

ACORN voter fraud 'massive' in Pa.

If they can't buy the election, they'll steal it:
Former state Supreme Court Justice Sandra Newman said Friday she has no confidence in the integrity of the electoral process in Pennsylvania as a result of the extensive voter registration effort by a community group with ties to Barack Obama.
She and other Republicans allege the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, known as ACORN, might be involved in widespread fraud. Pennsylvania and eight other states are investigating suspicious or incomplete registration forms submitted by ACORN canvassers. . . .
Newman appeared at a news conference with Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Rob Gleason and Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico.
Gleason, citing "the potential of massive voter fraud" nationwide, said ACORN and other groups had submitted 252,595 voter registrations in Philadelphia. There were 57,435 registrations rejected -- most of them submitted by ACORN, Gleason said. They had faulty Social Security numbers, incorrect dates of birth, "clearly fraudulent" signatures, addresses that did not exist and duplicate registrations, Gleason said. A man was registered to vote 15 times since the primary, according to Gleason, and some people listed vacant lots as their addresses.
Remember that ACORN gets 40% of its budget from taxpayers, and including millions through "affordable housing" activism that helped cause the mortgage meltdown.

Obama's buying the election

When McCain pulled out of Michigan, I said the election was over. Why did McCain pull out of Michigan? Money talks:
A check of advertising data at television stations shows Obama spent $5.5 million airing ads during the five weeks after Labor Day in Michigan.
McCain spent $3.7 million for ads running during the same period.
In one month, Obama outspent McCain by $1.8 million in Michigan, running ads like this and this. And the same pattern is now being repeated all over the country:
Barack Obama spent $3.3 million on TV ads on Monday alone -- a remarkable one-day expenditure that more than doubled rival John McCain’s spending that day, according to the ad tracking firm, Campaign Media Analysis Group. . . .
On Monday, the McCain campaign, combined with the Republican National Committee, spent less than half of what Obama did: about $1.5 million, according to CMAG data.
Here are what the two campaigns spent on TV ads in some key battleground states during the week Sept. 28-Oct. 4:
  • Obama -- $2.2 million
  • McCain -- $1.6 million
  • Obama -- $2.2 million
  • McCain -- $1.7 million


  • Obama -- $2.2 million
  • McCain -- $659,000


  • Obama -- $2.1 million
  • McCain -- $547,000


  • Obama -- $980,000
  • McCain -- $801,000


  • Obama -- $616,000
  • McCain -- $329,000


  • Obama -- $492,000
  • McCain -- $193,000
In state after state, the Obama campaign is simply burying McCain in terms of TV advertising. Combining the three key swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, Obama outspent McCain by 65% ($6.6 million to $4 million).

Every conservative blogger is complaining about media bias, but nobody seems to acknowledge the reality that McCain, the guy who pushed campaign finance reform to "get the big money out of politics," is being buried by an avalanche of big money. (Thanks, of course, to zillions of small donors like Jgtj Jfggjjfgj.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ace gets it right

Conservative Blogger of the Year:
McCain has been dunderheaded, well-nigh suicidal, in his political instincts. If political malpractice were a crime, he and his senior advisers would be facing 20 years at Leavenworth, and whoever decided that we mustn't confront the Democrats on the subprime crisis would actually be facing the gallows.
Despite that recognition, Ace entertains the fantasy that somehow a Republican victory is still possible. To abandon the fantasy, he says, would be "panic."

It's like 1996 all over again. There was never any possibility that a majority of Americans were going to vote for Bob Dole. He was simply a bad candidate. He lacked charisma and his record was not conservative. (Newt Gingrich famously called Dole "the tax collector for the welfare state.") Yet conservatives had got the idea into their head that Bill Clinton was so vastly unpopular, such a transparently evil man, that any Republican could beat him.

Alas, "any Republican" wasn't on the ballot. Bob Dole was. Even though he wasn't conservative, however, Dole's defeat seemed to affect many conservatives very personally. There was a crisis of confidence over the Republican Party's failure to defeat Clinton. It was from that crisis of confidence that the twin idiocies of "national greatness" and "compassionate conservatism" were born.

At some point, it seems to me, rank-and-file conservatives need to ask themselves what's gone wrong with the Republican Party as an institution -- the systemic, fundamental error -- that has led to the current sad state of affairs.

Why is it, for instance, that although a solid majority of American voters favor a crackdown on illegal immigration, both President Bush and Senator McCain enthusiastically pushed for amnesty in 2006 and 2007? Why is it that, when nearly every conservative voice was decrying the bailout as a wasteful boondoggle, the GOP presidential candidate leaped up to make himself the most outspoken advocate of the bailout? And how was it that John McCain even got the nomination anyway?

If conservatives don't ask these questions, who will? Ace calls it "panic" to admit that Maverick's already lost the election. But the important thing in that admission is that he lost it -- he, the candidate -- and by suggesting that "we" (conservatives) can somehow retrieve what the candidate himself has thrown away, Ace effectively transfers responsibility for the defeat from the candidate to ourselves.

Won't that make an excellent excuse!

Affordable housing? Success!

For the past decade, we've heard nothing from liberals but whining about "affordable housing." The working poor were being priced out of the housing market, denied their chance at the American Dream. Yadda yadda yadda.

So now the housing market declines -- home prices are down 16% in the past year -- and what do we hear from liberals? More whining.

The Bush administration finally succeeds at achieving a liberal objective, reducing home prices, and do Republicans get any credit for it? No.

In fact, not only are liberals treating the success of the Bush "affordable housing program" as a disaster, they haven't even noticed the success of the "affordable securities program," which has reduced stock prices by 22 percent in just eight days. No longer are the working poor priced out of the stock market, but even this good news is ignored by the biased media.

There's no pleasing some people.

Jamie Lynn knocked up AGAIN!

The world's most famous trailer trash:
Despite anonymous public denials, a Spears family member has come forward and confirmed that 17-year-old Jamie Lynn IS pregnant again!
What’s more, The NATIONAL ENQUIRER has learned that Casey Aldridge, the baby’s father, erupted in anger when he found out. Jamie Lynn had been keeping the pregnancy secret and Casey learned about it through media reports after The ENQUIRER broke the story earlier this week.
Now, a close family member has revealed exclusively that the Spears family is in an uproar and Jamie Lynn is being pressured to abort the baby. The anonymous public denials of Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy, says the family member, are simply buying the Spears family time until they decide what to do.
Wonderful how her cretinous boyfriend -- who could barely wait for Jamie Lynn to get out of the delivery room before tapping that underage stuff again -- blames it all on her.

Where do girls acquire a taste for troglodyte losers like Casey Aldrich? Most people blame it on low self-esteem, but I think it's the opposite -- it's the arrogant belief that they're so special they'll be successful no matter what kind of vile riff-raff they hang with.

Almost heaven?

I had just gotten word that Palin was going to be in Johnstown, Pa., Saturday, when CNN reported her Sunday trip through West Virginia, prompting liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias to scratch his head:
Sarah Palin going on a bus tour to West Virginia is a puzzling move. Obviously, if West Virginia is in play, then the McCain-Palin ticket is doomed. There’s no point in focusing on the states that are actually close at the moment, you need to focus on the states that would be close if the election were close and then hope that events and your national media strategy can make the election close.
Logically and strategically, the McCain campaign stopped making sense Sept. 24. They're no longer even pretending to try to win. They're just improvising, going through the motions and randomly filling the calendar for the next three weeks. These clowns make Dole-Kemp '96 look competent by comparison.

Christopher Buckley, snob

He's voting for Obama. Hates Sarah Palin. Yet thinks John McCain's "instincts remain fundamentally conservative."

Long story short: Buckley's a snob, and Obama has successfully courted the snob vote.

It's fundamentally irrational. Buckley says he'll be voting Democrat for the first time in his life. And why? Because of Obama's personality.

You'll often hear this from independent voters: "I vote for the man, not the party." But the presidency doesn't work that way. When you vote for the man, you get the party, whether you like it or not. That's what Bill Clinton taught me. In 1992, I thought I was voting for a conservative "Sam Nunn Democrat," and instead I got the Dukakis administration. Clinton permanently destroyed my allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Buckley cannot distinguish between what Obama seems and what Obama is, namely a front man for DFA, DailyKos, and George Soros. If Obama becomes president, he will owe his elevation to the most radical and most corrupt elements of the Democratic Party, who will control his administration. Even if Obama were not himself a radical -- and he's the most radical member of the Senate -- his allies would force his administration in a radical direction.

Buckley (a former GOP speechwriter) is another example of what's wrong with Professional Republicans. Once they're off the payroll, they often seek employment as Professional Ex-Republicans. John Dean, Kevin Phillips, David Gergen, Arianna Huffington, David Brock -- there's a long roster of these opportunistic types who flocked to the GOP out of careerist motives and then, once they saw better prospects on the other side of the aisle, had a lucrative "epiphany."

Secret of my success?

Little Miss Atilla:
For what it's worth, the man can also hold his liquor better than most; that's probably how he gets his scoops.
She's grading on a curve. "Better than most" is a term of art when you're talking about bloggers. Last year in Santa Barbara, Miss Atilla and I were present when Jeff Goldstein got into the whiskey and went berserk like Led Zeppelin on their '71 tour. And then in February at CPAC, Miss Atilla ended up at a private after-party with some of my friends and she went berserk like Zeppelin in '71.

So unless you get hammered like a sophomore at a Teke kegger, that counts as "holding your liquor" in blogworld.

Britney, you're half-right

"I sit there and I'll look back and I'm like: I'm a smart person. What the hell was I thinking?"
-- Britney Spears, in an MTV interview
Sweetheart, stupid is as stupid does. Marrying a no-talent loser like Kevin Federline? Stupid. Running around with no panties and flashing the paparazzi? Stupid. Shaving your head? Stupid. Losing custody of your kids? Stupid.

Your stupid actions clearly contradict your assertion that you're a smart person. In fact, your actions are so stupid that even stupid people can only shake their heads in agreement with the other half of your quote: What the hell was she thinking?

Jessica Alba is pro-Bush?

Well, maybe not, but she showed up for the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards wearing jeans so low . . .

Fisking Dana Milbank

John Leo notes that Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank portrayed a Sarah Palin rally in Florida as a dangerous mob scene, even though other reporters at the event saw nothing unusual or menacing.

Too much time on your hands

Programmer/political junkie Andy Baio has developed a program that renders links at Memeorandum in blue or red, depending on whether the blogs are conservative or liberal.

Andy: Put down the Red Bull and step away from the computer. Politics is important, but it's not that important.

'The invisible foot of government'

Can the federal government fix the economy? Reagan biographer Craig Shirley says "no":
There is such doubt in America about government's ability to do anything that the more they do, the worse they make the situation. As far as Americans are concerned government bureaucrats and Wall Street executives working together is simply a perfect storm of ignorance, incompetence and corruption. . . .
Adam Smith wrote of the "invisible hand of the marketplace" and how left alone it would create wealth and opportunity. What we now have is Milton Friedman's send up of Smith, when he spoke of the "invisible foot of government"; whatever government sets out to do---declare war on poverty, make the world safe for democracy---the exact opposite happens.
This mess was cause by bad government policy, starting with the politically correct, but nonsensical notion of putting people with bad credit risks into homes they never should have been in in the first place.The market has dropped almost thirty percent since government came up with their solution to bailout all of Wall Street.
Read the whole thing.

'Concern trolls' at Maverick HQ?

One of the useful phrases that the blogosphere has contributed to our lexicon is "concern troll" -- the fainthearted naysayer whose modus operandi is a fretful concern that the home team's basic strategy is wrong. A specialty of the concern troll is to worry that attacks on the opposition are too harsh. It seems that there some of these weak sisters are top advisers to John McCain's campaign:
Top McCain campaign officials are grappling with how far to go with negative attacks on Sen. Barack Obama in the final weeks of what is turning into a come-from-behind effort. . . .
Some McCain campaign officials are becoming concerned about the hostility that attacks against Sen. Obama are whipping up among Republican supporters. During an internal conference call Thursday, campaign officials discussed how the tenor of the crowds has turned on the media and on Sen. Obama.
Maverick wouldn't be in the dire situation he's in if his campaign had been in attack mode from the start. He effectively clinched the nomination in February, when Mitt Romney dropped out, then spent the next four months doing . . . what? Nobody knows. The Obama-Hillary contest dominated the media, and McCain couldn't focus his attack on either one without being accused of interfering in the other party's nomination process.

After Obama clinched the nomination in early June, however, the McCain campaign should have gone on the attack and didn't. It was not until Steve Schmidt took charge of the campaign that it began to be effective in July and started getting traction. The campaign got off-message in September, deploying a defensive media strategy around Sarah Palin and then scapegoating capitalist "greed" and SEC Chairman Chris Cox for the financial crisis.

Now, with scarcely three weeks left in the campaign and their candidate way behind in the polls, Team Maverick not only has to "take the gloves off," as the cliche phrase goes, but they have to take the gloves off, put on a hockey mask and pick up a chain saw.

Welcome to Nightmare on Election Street, folks. Like it or not, the only conceivable way John McCain can win this thing is to be as relentlessly vicious as a horror-film monster. If the concern trolls don't have the stomach for bloody slashing, they'd best find a new line of work.

On the future of journalism

Does journalism even have a future, and why should anyone care? Paul Farhi says journalists are victims, not perpetrators, of the collapse of the newspaper industry. Jeff Jarvis begs to disagree:
The fall of journalism is, indeed, journalists' fault.
It is our fault that we did not see the change coming soon enough and ready our craft for the transition. It is our fault that we did not see and exploit -- hell, we resisted -- all the opportunities new media and new relationships with the public presented. It is our fault that we did not give adequate stewardship to journalism and left the business to the business people. It is our fault that we lost readers and squandered trust. It is our fault that we sat back and expected to be supported in the manner to which we had become accustomed by some unknown princely patron. Responsibility and blame are indeed ours.
I think the key idea here is Jarvis' accusation that journalists "left the business to the business people." The overwhelming majority of journalists simply never think of what they're doing as a business.

That a newspaper is a business -- that it exists to generate profit by providing a product to consumers, in the same sense that a shoe store sells shoes -- is an alien concept to most journalists. Notions like value-added, market share and comparative advantage never enter the minds of most journalists, who conceive of themselves as pursuing a profession that has nothing whatsoever to do with commerce.

So much of what newspapers have done, they've done at the behest of consultants, or by following the conventional wisdom doled out in ASNE conferences and journalism trade publications. In the '80s, I remember, everybody was into page re-design, trying to emulate USA Today -- every section front had to have a color chart of something, and it didn't really matter what it was. In the early '90s, the reigning idea was that newspapers needed to get away from straightforward just-the-facts "breaking news," since TV would always beat us to the punch. Instead, newspapers should deliver "context," in-depth, background, etc. Thus was born the ponderous five-part series, the award-bait special feature.

Then along came the Internet and blew all that crap out of the water. Charts? Drudge don't give a damn about your charts. He wants the good old-fashioned scoop. And that five-part series is a waste of manpower, a frivolous luxury in an age where there's scarcely enough staff to do basic metro coverage. Besides which, most of those five-part series were targeted at the awards judges, not ordinary readers.

There is still a public appetite for basic meat-and-potatoes news, if only so many editors and reporters weren't obsessed with serving up eat-your-broccoli journalism.

Iceland for sale

Bankrupt island nation. Low mileage. Recent repo. Cash preferred, but terms negotiable.

Fifty-first state, maybe? C'mon, compared to Puerto Rico, Iceland is a bargain.

UPDATE: A commenter says Iceland has the "best looking women in the world." This called for some research on my part. Ladies and gentlemen -- especially, gentlemen -- I present Miss Iceland 2006, Sif Aradottrr:

Surely some Saudi sheikh will bid for that.

'Don't tell me that we're doing nothing!'

Michelle Malkin talks "crap sandwich" on Cavuto:

(Via Hot Air.) It seems that a lot of people think that markets should never go down, that home prices should be exempt from the laws of supply and demand, that nobody should ever lose money. However, if you really believe in capitalism, you understand that the long-term prospect is for economic growth and this temporary downward cycle is no cause for panic, whereas expanding the power of government to intervene in the private economy is truly frightening. I would rather lose money than to lose liberty.

So, no, we are not "all socialists now," and it infuriates me to hear people claim that we must "do something" -- anything! -- to save their 401Ks and prevent a few months of recession. Let the market correct, let people lose whatever they lose in the process, and then rebuild on a solid foundation. It's not 1929, and we'll muddle through, if only people would stop freaking out about it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

'Socialists taking over our country'

Which guy should be running for president?

(Via Hot Air.) Michelle Malkin doesn't like Maverick's reply:
McCain gets a softball -- and bungles again.
Banging. Head. Against. Wall.
She's also sick of Republican socialism:
A year ago, I might have gotten as worked up about this as everyone else seems to be.
But after watching a GOP White House and Republican collaborationists fork over billions upon billions in socialist aid to private businesses, presiding over the most massive nationalization efforts I've seen in my lifetime over the past year -- and then watching John McCain pitch his Treasury Department-as-national loan servicer plan during the debate -- it's hard for me to muster up much more angst than I already have.
This is how bad policy becomes bad politics. Give people a choice between a big-government Republican and a big-government Democrat, and you've taken the size-of-government argument off the table. If it's acceptable for the federal government to take over the mortgage industry, then what's not acceptable? Instead of arguing about policy, you're just arguing about personnel: Put Republicans in charge of the massive unconstitutional Leviathan!

"Jobs For The Boys" is not a winning slogan.

Hugh Hewitt, Republican albatross

An inerrant harbinger of doom:
One campaign book that has already bitten the dust is right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt's How Sarah Palin Won the Election ... and Saved America, which the literary agent Curtis Yates sent to publishers in New York last week.
Hewitt is not, and has never been, "right-wing." He's a Republican. There is a difference. Left-winger Steve Benen of Washington Monthly notes how persistently wrong Hewitt has been:
In 2006, a few months before the midterm elections, conservative blogger/talk-show host Hugh Hewitt published a book on the drive for a "permanent Republican majority." Soon after, Democrats won a sweeping, historic victory, and reclaimed the majority in both chambers.
In 2007, a few months before the primaries, Hewitt published a book on Mitt Romney and the prospects of a "Mormon in the White House." Soon after, Romney blew leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, and withdrew from the presidential race after a surprisingly poor showing.
Hewitt is an all-purpose GOP cheerleader who doesn't distinguish between a useless open-borders RINO like George Voinovich and real conservatives like Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint. So long as they have an "R" beside their name, he's shaking his pompoms and shouting "Yea, team!"

In 2004, with Republican fortunes on the upswing, he published If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat, and looked like a prophet. But his 2006 book, Painting the Map Red, was published when Bush fatigue, congressional scandals and the McCain-sponsored amnesty destroyed whatever brand advantage the GOP had previously gained.

Being a Professional Republican means you can't tell the truth about the GOP when it goes off course. Even now, Hewitt is spinning fantasies of how John McCain -- who is so deeply implicated in the party's brand-damage problem -- is going to come from behind to win.

The whole purpose of the conservative movement, going back to Up From Liberalism and the Sharon Conference, was to create an independent, external focus of criticism for the failures of the Republican Party. Making GOP electoral fortunes the barometer of the success of conservatism means that the party controls the movement, rather than the other way around.

If anyone who wins a Republican primary is automatically entitled to the uncritical support of conservatives -- and this is what the philosophy we might call "Hewittism" boils down to -- then the conservative movement is toothless and unprincipled and as such will be disregarded by Republican officials as politically irrelevant.

The salt has lost its savor.

UPDATE: I knew I had written this earlier:
McCain is not a conservative, he will lose in November . . .
But until I looked it up just now, I'd forgotten the context. It was Super Tuesday, and the day before Bill Kristol in his New York Times column more or less accused Maverick's conservative opponents of treason, as I wrote:
Notice this tactic: To fail to support John McCain -- the candidate whom Mr. Kristol and his associates have labored diligently to impose on an unwilling Republican Party -- is to unpatriotically endorse defeat in Iraq.
He decides who the candidate is, then slanders those who disapprove. Nice work if you can get it.
Kristol's Weekly Standard had been all aboard the Straight Talk Express in 2000 -- seeing it as a vehicle to "National Greatness" -- and on Super Tuesday this year, Kristol went on Fox to call Maverick "the almost prohibitive favorite" for the nomination, which prompted my response:
McCain got 48% in Illinois, 51% in New York , 52% in Connecticut, and 56% in New Jersey -- all states that Democrats will carry easily in November. But in Florida he got only 36%, and today, he didn't even break 50% in Arizona. These aren't the kind of numbers that indicate a strong Republican candidate. McCain is not a conservative, he will lose in November, and Kristol doesn't even seem to care.
Some of my prognostications have been way off, but I predicted the Nov. 4 outcome nine months in advance.

Free cellphones for the poor!

Did you know there is a government program that provides free cellphone service to poor people?
SafeLink Wireless is a government supported program that provides a free cell phone and airtime each month for income-eligible customers.
Eligibility requirements:
How to Qualify
The process to qualify for Lifeline Service depends on the State you live in. In general, you may qualify if...
  • You already participate in other State or Federal assistance program such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid.
  • Your total household income is at or below 135% of the poverty guidelines set by your State and/or the Federal Government.
  • No one in your household currently receives Lifeline Service through another phone carrier.
  • You have a valid United States Postal Address. In order for us to ship you your free phone you must live at a residence that can receive mail from the US Post Office. Sorry, but P.O. Boxes cannot be accepted.
In addition to meeting the guidelines above you will also be required to provide proof of your participation in an assistance program, or proof of your income level.
What next? Plasma TVs and hot tubs?

UPDATE: Cellphone service is a right:
"Having a telephone service, just in general, is not a privilege, it should be a right of each one," said TracFone spokesman Jose Fuentes. "Everyone should be in contact, everybody should have the opportunity to get a phone call, especially if it's an employer."
And don't you just know these people -- who rely on government for their food, housing and medical care -- are burning up the minutes on their government-provided cellphones trying to get a job. Maybe they can get jobs as community organizers?

UPDATE II: Gee, handing out taxpayer-funded "free" cellphones to 1 million people in the key swing state of Florida. Want to guess how many of these "low-income" people are actually college students working as Obama campaign volunteers? I'm going to guess it's not zero.

Gallup: Obama still +11

Latest tracking poll: Obama 52%, McCain 41%. Tsunami warning remains in effect. And it gets worse with every debate:

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama convinced many more viewers to think more favorably of him during Tuesday night's presidential debate than did his Republican opponent, John McCain, a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll signals.
While 53% of the 735 people surveyed said their opinions of Obama had not changed, 34% said they thought more favorably of him and 12% viewed him less favorably. . . .
The reactions to McCain were almost mirror opposites: 54% said their opinions about him had not changed, 33% felt less favorable and 12% felt more favorable.

Hmmm. Maybe trying to cancel the first debate wasn't such a bad idea, after all.

UPDATE: Dan Balz interviews Team Maverick honchos Mark Salter and Mike DuHaime, who are in charge of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. And I'm thinking back to Feb. 7 at CPAC. Mitt quit that morning, and Romney supporters were shocked and angry:
The announcement stunned many of Romney's supporters, especially hundreds of college-age supporters who had been handing out Romney lapel stickers in the hotel lobby just minutes earliers.
"I am incredibly shocked . . . profoundly saddened," said Ruth Malhotra, an activist with Evangelicals for Mitt. "I can't support John McCain. He is not a conservative. . . . He's stabbed his party in the back and he's betrayed the conservative movement."
Her sentiments were echoed by Orit Sklar of Jews for Mitt. "There's no way I'm voting for John McCain," she said.
The McCain campaign squad arrived triumphantly that afternoon in the lobby of the Omni Shoreham. McCain hadn't even attended CPAC the previous year, and had somehow won the GOP nomination by running against the conservative movement.

Now that he's clearly on his way to an embarrassing defeat Nov. 4, many of those same conservatives are subjecting themselves to emotional trauma by heeding Karl Rove's cynical talk of a miraculous comeback. Ah, what short memories they have!

NRA endorses McCain; not vice-versa

So, it's official:
The National Rifle Association is endorsing Republican presidential nominee John McCain despite differences with the Arizona senator on gun-show rules and campaign finance restrictions.
John McCain on CNN eight years ago:

"The NRA is entitled to their advocacy. I don’t think they help the Republican Party at all, but I don’t think they should in any way play a major role in the Republican Party’s policy making."
-- John McCain, May 12, 2000
Feeding the hand that bites you.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Tsunami warning

A tidal wave of Hope:
Four large states McCain once seemed well-positioned to win -- Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida -- have in recent weeks shifted toward Obama. If Obama were to win those four states -- a scenario that would represent a remarkable turn of events -- he would likely surpass 350 electoral votes. Under almost any feasible scenario, McCain cannot win the presidency if he loses any of those four states. And if Obama actually captured all four states, it would almost certainly signal a strong electoral tide that would likely sweep the Southwestern swing states -- Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada -- not to mention battlegrounds from New Hampshire to Iowa to Missouri.
North Carolina still strikes me as an unlikely pickup for Obama, but the fact that he's even within single digits there (Bush won North Carolina by 12 points in 2004) indicates how bad the Maverick meltdown has become since Sept. 24.
(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Team Maverick ad: 'Ayers'

Documentation from McCain campaign:

  • Barack Obama's Relationship With Ayers "Went Much Deeper, Ran Much Longer And Was Much More Political Than Obama Said." CNN'S DREW GRIFFIN: "Barack Obama confirmed during a primary debate that he knew Ayers and when pressed, said they served on a charitable foundation board together. And Obama condemned Ayers support of violence. But the relationship between Obama and Ayers went much deeper, ran much longer, and was much more political than Obama said." (CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," 10/6/08)
  • Barack Obama First Met William Ayers In 1995 During His First State Senate Campaign, When Obama Held Event At Home Of Ayers And Wife Bernardine Dohrn, Which One Attendee Said Was Aimed At "Launching Him" In First Campaign For State Senate. "In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district's influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. While Ayers and Dohrn may be thought of in Hyde Park as local activists, they're better known nationally as two of the most notorious -- and unrepentant -- figures from the violent fringe of the 1960s anti-war movement. ... 'I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers' house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress,' said Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and advocate for single-payer health care, of the informal gathering at the home of Ayers and his wife, Dohrn. '[Palmer] identified [Obama] as her successor.' ... Dr. Young and another guest, Maria Warren, described it similarly: as an introduction to Hyde Park liberals of the handpicked successor to Palmer, a well-regarded figure on the left. 'When I first met Barack Obama, he was giving a standard, innocuous little talk in the living room of those two legends-in-their-own-minds, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn,' Warren wrote on her blog in 2005. 'They were launching him -- introducing him to the Hyde Park community as the best thing since sliced bread.'" (Ben Smith, "Obama Once Visited '60s Radicals," The Politico, 1/22/08)
  • CNN: The Meeting Was Widely Considered As "Barack Obama's Political Coming Out Party And It Was Hosted By Bill Ayers." CNN'S DREW GRIFFIN: "Anderson, this meeting at Bill Ayers home has been classified in many different ways. What I can tell you from the two people who were actually there, is number one, former Senator Alice Palmer says she, in no way organized this meeting and she was invited and attended it briefly. And Doctor Quentin Young, a retired doctor, told us this indeed was Barack Obama's political coming out party and it was hosted by Bill Ayers." (CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," 10/6/08)
  • Barack Obama Led Education Foundation That "Poured More Than $100 Million Into The Hands Of Community Organizers And Radical Education Activists" And "Translated Mr. Ayers's Radicalism Into Practice." "Despite having authored two autobiographies, Barack Obama has never written about his most important executive experience. From 1995 to 1999, he led an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), and remained on the board until 2001. The group poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists. ... The CAC's agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers's educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland's ghetto. ... CAC translated Mr . Ayers's radicalism into practice. Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with 'external partners,' which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn)." (Stanley Kurtz, Op-Ed, "Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism On Schools," The Wall Street Journal, 9/23/08)
  • From March Of 1995 Until September Of 1997, Barack Obama And Ayers Attended At Least Seven Meetings Together Relating To The Chicago Annenberg Challenge. (Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Board Of Directors Meeting, Minutes Of The Board, 3/15/95, 3/31/95, 4/13/95, 6/5/95, 9/30/97; National Annenberg Challenge Evaluation Meeting, List Of Participants, 5/24/95; Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Chicago School Reform Collaborative Meeting, Minutes, 10/23/96)
  • CNN: The Paths Of Barack Obama And Ayers "Repeatedly Crossed" At The Annenberg Challenge. CNN'S DREW GRIFFIN: "One place their paths repeatedly crossed, according to a CNN review of board minutes and other records, was Chicago's Annenberg Challenge project where a $50 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation matched locally raised funds to improve schools. According to participants and project records, Bill Ayers fought to bring the Annenberg grant to Chicago, Barack Obama was recruited as its chair. For seven years, Bill Ayers and Obama among many others, worked on funding for education projects, including some experiments supported by Ayers." (CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," 10/6/08)
  • Barack Obama "Served On The Board's Governance Committee With Mr. Obama, And Worked With Him To Craft CAC Bylaws." "The Daley documents show that Mr. Ayers sat as an ex-officio member of the board Mr. Obama chaired through CAC's first year. He also served on the board's governance committee with Mr. Obama, and worked with him to craft CAC bylaws. Mr. Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Mr. Obama. Mr. Ayers spoke for the Collaborative before the board. Likewise, Mr. Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the Collaborative." (Stanley Kurtz, Op-Ed, "Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism On Schools," The Wall Street Journal, 9/23/08)
  • Bill Ayers Was Asked To Help Barack Obama Formulate The Chicago Annenberg Challenge By-Laws. (Chicago Annenberg Challenge Board Of Directors Minutes, 3/15/95)
    Barack Obama "Was The First Chairman Of The Chicago Annenberg Challenge." "In the 1990s, Ayers was instrumental in starting the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which was awarded nearly $50 million by a foundation to help reform Chicago schools. Obama was the first chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and Republicans have been highlighting his ties to Ayers through the group." (Pete Yost, "University Won't Open Obama-Related Records Now," The Associated Press, 8/19/08)
  • Chicago Annenberg Challenge: "Distributed More Than $100 Million To Ideological Allies With No Discernible Improvement In Public Education." "With Ayers directing the project's operational arm and Obama overseeing its financial affairs until 1999, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge distributed more than $100 million to ideological allies with no discernible improvement in public education." (Editorial, "Obama's Friend, America's Enemy," National Review, 8/27/08)
  • Barack Obama On Ayers At Democratic Debate: "This Is A Guy Who Lives In My Neighborhood." "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis." (Sen. Barack Obama, ABC Democratic Presidential Debate, Philadelphia, PA, 4/16/08)
  • Bill Ayers Was A Leader Of "The Violent Left-Wing Activist Group The Weather Underground." "Senator Obama's ties to a former leader of the violent left-wing activist group the Weather Underground are drawing new scrutiny as he battles Senator Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination." (Russell Berman, "Obama's Ties to Left Come Under Scrutiny," The New York Sun, 2/19/08)
  • Bill Ayers' Wife, Weather Underground Leader Bernardine Dohrn, Appeared On FBI's "Most Wanted" List. "Bernardine Dohrn, the former leader of the militant Weather Underground who turned herself in after 11 years on the run, says she looks forward to spending time with family and friends and intends to continue a rebellion against 'the system.' ... 'I remain committed to the struggle ahead,' Ms. Dohrn told reporters Wednesday after a court appearance. 'Given the system which perpetuates ... harsh oppression and suffering, rebellion is inevitable and continuous.' Ms. Dohrn, 38, pleaded innocent to nine charges -- seven stemming from the 1969 'Days of Rage' anti-war demonstration in Chicago and two more for jumping bail. She was released on $25,000 bond and a hearing was set for Jan. 13. Ms. Dohrn, who once appeared on the FBI's most-wanted list, arrived in court with a lawyer and William Ayers, another ex-radical who said h e lived with Ms. Dohrn in New York and is the father of her two children." (James Litke, "Fugitive Leader Surrenders With No Regrets," The Associated Press, 12/4/80)
  • In The 1970s, Weather Underground Bombed The Capitol And The Pentagon. "As an Illinois state senator in 2001, Mr. Obama accepted a $200 contribution from William Ayers, a founding member of the group that bombed the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon during the 1970s." (Russell Berman, "Obama's Ties to Left Come Under Scrutiny," The New York Sun, 2/19/08)
  • New York State Supreme Court Justice's House Was Bombed By Weather Underground. "In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called "Panther 21," members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of February 21, as my family slept, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at our home on the northern tip of Manhattan, two at the front door and the third tucked neatly under the gas tank of the family car. (Today, of course, we'd call that a car bomb.) A neighbor heard the first two blasts and, with the remains of a snowman I had built a few days earlier, managed to douse the flames beneath the car. That was an act whose courage I fully appreciated only as an adult, an act that doubtless saved multiple lives that night. ... Though no one was ever caught or tried for the attempt on my family's life , there was never any doubt who was behind it. Only a few weeks after the attack, the New York contingent of the Weathermen blew themselves up making more bombs in a Greenwich Village townhouse. The same cell had bombed my house, writes Ron Jacobs in The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. And in late November that year, a letter to the Associated Press signed by Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers's wife, promised more bombings." (John M. Murtagh, "Fire In The Night," City Journal, 4/30/08)
  • In His Book, Bill Ayers Writes About Participating In The Bombings Of The Capitol And Pentagon. "Now he has written a book, 'Fugitive Days' (Beacon Press, September). Mr. Ayers, who is 56, calls it a memoir, somewhat coyly perhaps, since he also says some of it is fiction. He writes that he participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972." (Dinitia Smith, "No Regrets For A Love Of Explosives," The New York Times, 9/11/01)
  • In The September 11, 2001 New York Times, Ayers Was Quoted Saying "I Don't Regret Setting Bombs ... I Feel We Didn't Do Enough." "'I don't regret setting bombs,' Bill Ayers said. 'I feel we didn't do enough.' Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970's as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago." (Dinitia Smith, "No Regrets For A Love Of Explosives," The New York Times, 9/11/01)

Love Palin, hate media

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post mocks Republicans in Pennsylvania:


Milbanks demonstrates the arrogance and condescension that are the chief cause of the MSM's evil reputation. His entire points is that ordinary Americans aren't to be taken seriously. The only way that Milbanks ever looks at these people is by looking down his nose.

That kind of attitude doesn't produce useful reporting. The entire point of a newspaper sending a reporter to a campaign rally (rather than just running the wire-service report) is to try to capture some local color and gauge the mood of the community. People aren't going to talk to a reporter if he disses them the way Milbanks did. Look at what I did, for instance, when I covered a Hillary Clinton rally near Pittsburgh in March:
Campaign volunteer Vickie Sackett could scarcely contain her excitement Tuesday as she worked the door at Hillary Clinton's appearance here.
Ms. Sackett's elderly parents had been selected to share the stage with Hillary at a
"Solutions for America" rally at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, where the former First Lady's speech focused on her "plan to help families in Pennsylvania have a secure retirement."
Collecting tickets at the entrance to the gymnasium where the Clinton rally was held, Ms. Sackett beamed with pride that her parents -- like her, they're loyal Democrats -- had been chosen for such an honor. "They're backstage meeting with her right now," she said. "I'd give anything to be back there myself."
More than 1,200 Pennsylvanians evidently agreed with Ms. Sackett, waiting in line for hours to gain the privilege of being in the same building with Mrs. Clinton. The Democratic presidential candidate was greeted with a standing ovation that lasted more than a minute, and repeatedly drew cheers by dishing up a red-meat message of economic populism. Clearly, she knows what Democrats in suburban Pittsburgh want to hear.
See? I might not share their enthusiasm, but those Democrats were treated with respect. Do you think I would have found out the part about Ms. Sackett's parents being backstage if I hadn't shown some humanity?

Highlight of the Milbank video: Audience member at the rally shouts out to Palin: "You're a hottie!" To which she laughingly replies: "What does that have to do with anything?"

Ah, but she didn't deny it, did she?

Looking for Macaca

Leftoid blogger takes a video camera to a GOP rally in Ohio:

Leftoid blogger says:
It’s no wonder that the slightest incitement from Sarah Palin or John McCain will turn one of their rallies into a lynch mob. Just talk to the folks who attend. . . .
I’ve been doing blog video for a while, and presidential rallies a lot longer. And this is the most strange, ignorant, uninformed, angry, up-to-no-good, and gullible group of people I’ve ever seen at a political rally.
Don't worry, lefties -- as soon as Obama wins, opposition will be illegal.

Sarah Palin: Racist?

Black Democrats are calling her the "r-word," and I don't mean "Republican":
As the McCain campaign ratchets up the intensity of its attacks on Barack Obama, some black elected officials are calling the tactics desperate, unseemly and racist.
“They are trying to throw out these codes,” said Representative Gregory Meeks, a Democrat from New York.
“He’s ‘not one of us?’” Mr. Meeks said, referring to a comment Sarah Palin made at a campaign rally on Oct. 6 in Florida. “That’s racial. That’s fear. They know they can’t win on the issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear.”
“Racism is alive and well in this country, and McCain and Palin are trying to appeal to that and it’s unfortunate,” said Representative Ed Towns, also from New York.
Hey, Democrats, ease up with that crap, OK? I keep telling you: The election's over. Conjuring up this "code" nonsense only makes you look paranoid and inflames tensions that otherwise wouldn't exist. Obama's got this one in the bag, and you need to start concentrating on trying to look gracious in victory.

Two-parent families 'privileged'?

George Packer interviews Barbie Snodgrass of Columbus, Ohio, who is " forty-two, single, overweight, and suffering from stomach pains":
"These days, you have to struggle," she said. "As a kid, I used to be able to go to the movies or to the zoo. Now you can't take your children to the zoo or go to the movies, because you've got to think how you're going to put food on the table." Snodgrass's parents had raised four children on two modest incomes, without the ceaseless stress that she was enduring. But the two-parent family was now available only to the "very privileged." She said that she had ten good friends; eight of them were childless or, like her, unmarried with kids. "That’s who's middle-class now," she said. "Two parents, two kids? That's over. People looked out for me. These kids nowadays don't have nobody to look out for them. You're one week away from (a) losing your job, or (b) not having a paycheck."
What's "privileged" about getting married and having kids? People do it all the time. A marriage license is cheap enough, and kids -- yeah, there are costs involved, but it's not like they're a luxury item.

Furthermore, I object to the suggestion that there was ever a time when working-class and middle-class families didn't have to struggle to make ends meet. My folks grew up in the Depression. Don't tell me they didn't know anything about struggling.

Packer goes all into political demography and economic trends, but I think if he had dug a little deeper into the situation affecting Ms. Snodgrass, he might have discovered something about the sociological catastrophe that the breakdown of the traditional family has inflicted on the working class.

Did it not occur to Packer to ask why neither Ms. Snodgrass nor any of her friends had husbands? Does no one else see how weird it is that 80% in her social circle are childless, and 100% are unmarried? As a journalist, such an oddity would arouse my curiosity.

Whether or not two can literally live as cheaply as one, a successful marriage is probably as important to economic security as anything else, including education. The evident inability of so many people nowadays to form enduring marriages is a contributing factor to our nation's economic problems that gets too little scrutiny.

Karl Rove and a certain river in Egypt

Pumping sunshine up Republican skirts:
What about swing voters? There are probably more undecided and persuadable voters open to switching their choice than in any election since 1968. . . .
To win, Mr. McCain must demonstrate he stands for responsible conservative change, while portraying Mr. Obama as an out-of-the-mainstream liberal not ready to be president.
Let's inject some cold reality into this scenario: You can cherry-pick more favorable national poll results for Maverick, but none of them show him winning, and let's try some recent battleground state polls, shall we? Again, you can cherry-pick and find other polls where Maverick is doing better in some of these states, but it takes a pathological level of optimism to draw a map that gives him the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to win. It's a sort of delusion that psychologists call "magical thinking" -- if you want it bad enough, you can will it into existence -- and it's symptomatic of severe psychoses like paranoid schizophrenia.

Karl Rove doesn't believe this crap he's shoveling. He knows as well as anyone that this election is over. When Maverick called off his campaign to push the bailout Sept. 24, he blew it. When his campaign pulled out of Michigan, it was an admission that the harebrained stunt had failed. We've already had three out of four debates. In the last Gallup daily tracking poll before the first debate Sept. 26, Obama led by 3 points. Now he leads by 11: The more voters see of John McCain, the more they favor Barack Obama.

Rove is just a cynic, exploiting the magical-thinking delusions of Republicans who desperately want to believe that victory is still possible. False hope is bad for your mental health.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jules Crittenden, optimist

If you want something beside Stygian gloom, but can't handle the undiluted Hugh Hewitt trip, try Jules, who entertains the possibility that undecided voters will break 2-to-1 against Obama.

Mortgages: Who's screwed?

The Wall Street Journal has a map showing where the worst "upside down" mortgage problems are: California and Florida, which were the biggest boom markets during the housing bubble.

Ordinary Americans in other areas, as well as renters and those who didn't leverage their equity during the bubble, are being asked to bail out the 1-in-6 who are "upside down."

What part of "HELL, NO!" don't they understand?

UPDATE: Perhaps I should clarify the grounds of my opposition to any scheme to bail out homeowners who leveraged up during the housing bubble.

Either you believe in the market economy or you don't. You can't be pro-market when times are good and then advocate statism when times are bad. Nor can you be pro-market when it benefits you personally, then turn against the market as soon as you face a personal loss.

During the bubble, we heard a lot of whining from "affordable housing" advocates: Oh, the working class is being priced out of the market! And I said, "Tough noogies."

Now that the bubble has popped, we're hearing a different kind of whining: Oh, the middle class has lost their equity and might lose their homes! Once more I say: "Tough noogies."

The market is right. Supply is supply and demand is demand, and if you're on the wrong side of that equation, it's not my fault. Hey, you want to try being a journalist when the newspaper business is in a death spiral? My lousy career choices are not your fault, and your lousy real estate investments are not my fault.

"Creative destruction" means that the collapse of the newspaper industry frees up my talents for some endeavor for which there is an actual market demand. And the wipeout of 1/6th of U.S. homeowners frees up those resources for people who didn't wager their fortunes on the housing bubble. "Affordable housing" is what I call it when a foreclosed McMansion is sold for back taxes at the sheriff's auction.

The market is right. Tough noogies. God bless America!


From U.S. Department of Justice:

WASHINGTON – David C. Kernell, 20, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tenn., for intentionally accessing without authorization the e-mail account of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney James R. Dedrick for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced today. Kernell turned himself into federal authorities for arrest and will be arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley.
The single count indictment, returned on Oct. 7, 2008, and unsealed today, alleges that on approximately Sept. 16, 2008, Kernell, a resident of Knoxville, obtained unauthorized access to Gov. Palin’s personal e-mail account by allegedly resetting the account password. According to the indictment, after answering a series of security questions that allowed him to reset the password and gain access to the e-mail account, Kernell allegedly read the contents of the account and made screenshots of the e-mail directory, e-mail content and other personal information. According to the indictment, Kernell posted screenshots of the e-mails and other personal information to a public Web site. Kernell also allegedly posted the new e-mail account password that he had created, thus providing access to the account by others.
If convicted of the charge, the defendant faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three year term of supervised release. A trial date has not been set.
The case is being prosecuted by Section Chief Michael DuBose and Trial Attorney Mark Krotoski of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Weddle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Anchorage and Knoxville field offices.
An indictment is merely an allegation. Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The indicment in PDF format.

UPDATE: Knoxville News Sentinel and WBIR-TV are also reporting. (Via Instapundit.)

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin and Allah are blogging it.

UPDATE III: More blogging at Spin Cycle, JammieWearingFool and Gateway Pundit.


Only one man can save America

And I think we all know who that man is!


The Great GOP Freakout of '08

For some Republicans, last night was the shocking revelation that it's over. But some are still in denial, as Andy McCarthy accuses his NRO colleagues:
With due respect, I think tonight was a disaster for our side. I'm dumbfounded that no one else seems to think so. Obama did everything he needed to do, McCain did nothing he needed to do. What am I missing

This morning at the Corner, Ed Whelan writes: "McCain’s performance was a dismal failure."

I could, and perhaps should, write an entire blog post on the fundamental folly of John McCain's proposal to buy up bad mortgages. (If you leveraged your home equity in 2005, why is that my fault in 2008?) Instead, I'll just collect a few reactions from a couple of other conservatives. Here's Dr. Melissa Clouthier's liveblogging reaction:

McCain says that Americans are angry, upset and a little frightened. McCain has the answers. Energy independence and home values -- buy up bad home loans in America. Isn't that socialism? SHIZEN! The problem in America today is that "we don't have trust in our institutions". Ugh: First impression -- McCain is sounding like a bumbling Senator. Why didn't he go over the regulation deal that Obama said? Does he want to lose?
And at the end, Dr. Melissa adds:
My feeling is that Obama will pull away after this, but time will tell. If I had to say, though, I say Obama wins.
Michelle Malkin is furious:
I can't underscore enough what a rotten idea John McCain’s ACORN-like government mortgage buy-up is. . . .
This was his supposed "game-changer." This was the very first thing out of his mouth during the debate tonight -- his big pitch right off the bat.
If Obama had proposed this, the Right would be screaming bloody murder about this socialist grab to have the Treasury Department renegotiate individual home loans and become chief principal write-down agents for the nation.
Tough to resist the urge to go on a full-blown rant about why Maverick's idea is so lousy, but let me give you the short version:
You bought a $100,000 house in 1990. By 2005, homes in your neighborhood were selling for $250,000 and up. So you got an appraisal and took out a home equity loan, spruced the place up a bit for resale -- and also paid off your kid's college tuition, took a vacation to Key West, got your teeth capped and a few other little things.
But you didn't get any good offers on your house -- you rejected a guy's low-ball bid of $215,000 in 2006 -- then six months later, the housing market cratered and you couldn't even get $175,000, which is what you now owe.
This is not my fault. It's not the fault of U.S. taxpayers. And since you're the one with capped teeth and souvenirs from Key West, you're the one who ought to deal with the consequences. What part of caveat emptor don't you understand?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Debate night live!

UPDATE 10:45 p.m. -- I don't think there's anybody out there who saw this as such a hands-down win for Maverick as to put Obama on the defensive. The MSM are putting their final touches on the "triumph of Hope" ledes they've been working on since February. The features department at the Washington Post probably just green-lighted the special 16-page "Obama's journey" section they'll publish Nov. 5. For the first time in eight years, Democrats won't be biting their nails and sweating exit-poll results on Election Day.

UPDATE 10:33 p.m. -- Maverick's wrapping it up. "I've spent my whole life serving this country." Trying to win on biography.

UPDATE 10:31 p.m. -- "The last 8 years," again!

UPDATE 10:23 p.m. -- Obama again references "the last 8 years." Cheers!

UPDATE 10:22 p.m. -- Russia. Zzzzz.

UPDATE 10:20 p.m. -- My American Spectator colleagues are live blogging and not impressed with Maverick's performance. John Tabin: "Obama gives the wrong answer to the question, McCain gives an answer to the wrong question. We are so screwed."

UPDATE 10:16 p.m. -- Maverick: "I'll get bin Ladin. I know how to get him." Hey, John, how about you go ahead and share that with the Pentagon now?

UPDATE 10:14 p.m. -- Obama's making a big thing of saying, "Pockystahn" instead of Pakistan.

UPDATE 10:04 p.m. -- Obama has avoided saying "Senator McCain is right" over and over, as he did in the first debate.

UPDATE 9:59 p.m. -- Obama really has that Clintonian touch. He lies boldly, confidently, emphatically. He promises you the sun, the moon and the stars, and then insinuates that Republicans, in proposing to trim out a constellation or two, are cheating you out of what is rightly yours, and will leave you destitute and helpless.

UPDATE 9:54 p.m. -- Maverick's in the tall grass again. Details, details, details. Damn it, just call Obama a Marxist and be done with it!

UPDATE 9:51 p.m. -- Question from an "undecided" voter for socialized medicine. Plant! Plant!

UPDATE 9:46 p.m.: Maverick's going for the Al Gore global-warming vote. Jules Crittenden is liveblogging without apparent aid of alcohol. Obama's making ample use of the patented Clinton "investment" as a euphemism for "spend taxpayer money."

UPDATE 9:38 p.m.: In responding to Brokaw's "America got drunk" question, Obama wants to go into a class-warfare spiel, talking about tax cuts for Fortune 500 CEOs, but has to choose his words very carefully

UPDATE: Obama says deregulation caused the crisis. Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post says:
The claim that the financial crisis reflects Bush-McCain deregulation is not only nonsense. It is the sort of nonsense that could matter.
But John McCain's idea that the federal government's going to buy up all the bad mortgages in America is a non-starter. Better idea: Buy up all the good mortgages. (A better idea, but still a very bad idea.)

PREVIOUSLY: Even though I've already called the election, tonight John McCain and Barack Obama have a chance to make a liar out of me. The town-hall debate at Belmont University in Nashville affords Obama a chance to blunder away a sure thing. Maybe Maverick will actually be awake for the start of this debate, as opposed to Sept. 26, where he sleep-walked through the first 45 minutes, then woke up all grumpy.

Jimmie at Sundries Shack will liveblog it, as will Ace, Michelle Malkin and the Hot Air gang. (Michelle predicts lots of insipid questions. Ace expects liberal house plants.) Cassy Fiano also has a liveblog.

Of course, VodkaPundit has already knocked down three martinis as a warm-up for drunkblogging the debate. Having watched Stephen Green during the drunkblogging experience for the Democratic convention, I can testify that he's not exaggerating about his martini intake. He handles his liquor very well. Constant practice is the secret, he says.

I'll be back with periodic updates.

Ayers: A Republican scandal?

Silly season is underway:
Barack Obama's campaign is citing the University of South Carolina's speaking invitations to William Ayers and Republican Gov. Mark Sanford's role as school trustee to counter GOP efforts to link the presidential candidate to the 1960s radical. . . .
In an e-mail to reporters, the Obama campaign said Ayers is a "distinguished scholar" at the University of South Carolina, where Sanford serves as the ex-officio trustee while governor.
"By Governor Palin's standards, that means Governor Sanford shares Ayers' views," the e-mail read.
Sanford rejected the argument.
"This is a totally bogus story. I've never even heard of the guy" until this weekend, Sanford said Tuesday. "This is a guy I don't know, I've never met."
Team Obama's insistence on responding quickly to every accusation, lest their guy be "swift-boated," is beginning to look like thin-skinned defensiveness. Which means the GOP should be making more accusations.

Could I be . . . wrong?

Having declared the election over, I'm now beginning to have doubts. Why? Because the Left seems to be starting its victory lap early, convinced that calling Americans racists is the winning ticket.

Exhibit A - Glenn Greenwald:

[O]ne of the ugliest, nastiest, most invective-filled personality attacks a major candidate has ever delivered, blatantly designed to stoke raw racial resentments and depict Obama as a Manchurian candidate funded by secret Arab Terrorist sources -- a truly unstable and hate-mongering rant . . .

Exhibit B - Mike Dukakis:

"That ad with Frank Raines was despicable. . . . I mean, what was that anyway? First, it was bald-faced lies. Right? These guys had met once, and Raines is not his housing adviser. Secondly, he put two black guys up there with this older white woman who's losing her house or whatever. What do you think that's all about? It isn’t even subtle."

Exhibit C - Firedoglake:

I can't wait to see these people completely broken and humiliated. I really can't.
Self-righteousness and hubris are a bad combination in politics, and it's possible that Democrats are mounting a desperate last-ditch effort to lose this election.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)