Friday, October 31, 2008

I Voted

And thanks to Obama's successful efforts to bring me to a complete distrust, disgust, distaste for him, I didn't even have to get drunk to proudly vote for McCain-Palin. And not only did I pull the lever touch the screen for McCain-Palin...

I Voted Today

...I found a down-ballot, uncontested race and wrote in Joe the Plumber.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Subprime Disaster's High-Value Targets: The Deck

Card ten.

Ace asked for it:

He's holding out on Frank because it's such a sweet card, but I think he should post it tonight.

OK, so here you go, our attempt to flatter Barney Frank because he's gay.

And sweet? Hey, Ace said it, not me.

Go see the Ace post for the rest of the details. Go to Hot Air for the Frank video.

Card one: Ace of Clubs, Christopher Dodd
Card two: King of Clubs, Charles Schumer
Card three: Queen of Clubs, Jamie Gorelick
Card four: Jack of Clubs, Kent Conrad
Card five: Queen of Hearts, Madeline Talbott
Card six: Jack of Hearts, Gregory Meeks
Card seven: King of Hearts, James Johnson
Card eight: Queen of Diamonds, Maxine Waters
Card nine: King of Spades, Harry Reid

Subprime Disaster's High-Value Targets: The Deck

Card Nine.

Harry Reid, as usual, was a little slow out of the blocks in the execution of the Democrats' role in the subprime mess. So he decided to chip in late in the game with his effort to tank beleagured insurance stocks by predicting a big name was going to fail. Unlike Charles Schumer, he didn't name the name -- but he made sure to state that he knew the name, and that we all did too.

Together, of course, they are the Reid-Schumer Cabal.

Card one: Ace of Clubs, Christopher Dodd
Card two: King of Clubs, Charles Schumer
Card three: Queen of Clubs, Jamie Gorelick
Card four: Jack of Clubs, Kent Conrad
Card five: Queen of Hearts, Madeline Talbott
Card six: Jack of Hearts, Gregory Meeks
Card seven: King of Hearts, James Johnson
Card eight: Queen of Diamonds, Maxine Waters

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Goldman Sachs Loves Obama

[UPDATE 10/6/2011: Well whaddya Instalanche! One interesting note - Sharyl Attkisson who filed the report for CBS quoted below from October of 2008 is the CBS reporter who recently came under fire from the Obama administration for her reporting on Fast and Furious in which officials at the White House and DOJ screamed and yelled at her (I unintentionally misspelled her name as Cheryl Atkisson at the time because I was transcribing the video, but have now fixed it). Let's just say that Attkisson has been doing good work for years against the tide of the media in general - I have seen some blogs and commenters suggest that a willingness to report something negative about Obama must be something new to her. It's not.]

And Obama loves them back.

Hot Air points us to a CBS report on Obama's fundraising. Ed Morrissey notes:

However, they did a good job in reporting the fact that Obama likes to rail about Wall Street greed but uses bundlers right out of Goldman Sachs. The disparity in fundraising between McCain and Obama with these well-connected Wall Street firms is eye-opening.


Let's go to the effort to do a little transcription work on that CBS video at Hot Air:

Sharyl Attkisson, CBS Correspondent: Like McCain, Obama's corporate donor list reads like a who's who of the Wall Street collapse, only some are giving more to Obama. Lots more.

Sheila Krumholz, Center for Responsive Politics: The Obama campaign has just vacuumed up the money in this cycle. Specifically from Goldman Sachs, Obama has received over $740,000 as compared to McCain's $220,000.

Attkisson: Not to mention that the former head of Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, is Obama's chief economic adviser, and two current executives are bundling for him. Bundlers are mega-fundraisers who critics say get special access.

Well. Here we are again. First we had Obama railing about McCain being in the pocket of Big Oil -- and then found out about Obama taking in more campaign donations from Exxon employees than McCain. So we made the logo.

You know where this is heading, right?

Of course you do. It's not a trick question.

Goldman Sachs Loves Obama

Obama has been a model of transparency.

He's transparently phony.

Subprime Disaster's High-Value Targets: The Deck

Card eight.


Card one: Ace of Clubs, Christopher Dodd
Card two: King of Clubs, Charles Schumer

Card three: Queen of Clubs, Jamie Gorelick

Card four: Jack of Clubs, Kent Conrad

Card five: Queen of Hearts, Madeline Talbott

Card six: Jack of Hearts, Gregory Meeks

Card seven: King of Hearts, James Johnson

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dean Barnett

Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard:

Dean Barnett, 1967-2008

It's my sad duty to report that our good friend and valued contributor Dean Barnett passed away today. He was a remarkable man--principled, witty, and to all of us, a model of grace and courage. We mourn his passing and cherish his memory.

--William Kristol

This world could use so many more Deans, yet now has lost its only one.

There really are no words here that will do. Only tears.

And then prayers for Dean's family.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Subprime Disaster's High-Value Targets: The Deck

Card six.

Card one: Ace of Clubs, Christopher Dodd
Card two: King of Clubs, Charles Schumer
Card three: Queen of Clubs, Jamie Gorelick
Card four: Jack of Clubs, Kent Conrad
Card five: Queen of Hearts, Madeline Talbott

President Bush is a Community Organizer

And what’s the difference between Bush the Community Organizer and Obama the Community Organizer?


Bush inspires hope … AND … helps realize dreams:

I'm here today to recognize the sick that have been healed, the hungry that have been fed, the livelihoods that have improved, the hopes that have been inspired, and the dreams that have been realized because of President Bush's leadership.

-- Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia

Obama inspires hope … THEN … heads off for the next big job:

Obama’s professional colleagues, people like Jerry Kellman, believe his lasting accomplishment was to build an organization, the Developing Communities Project, that survived his departure. ...

Has any of that brought about the change Obama spoke of back in 1985? Not in any large sense. But if Obama doesn’t have much to show for his years as an organizer, it’s fair to say that many of the people he touched revere him deeply. Remember what Loretta Augustine-Herron said: Obama had such a powerful presence that he made her believe he could do the job, even though there was little in his résumé to suggest he could. Does that sound familiar to anyone who has watched the Obama campaign? When hope is the product, Obama can sell it with the best of them.

When he left for law school, Obama wondered what he had accomplished as an organizer. He certainly had some achievements, but he did not — perhaps could not — concede that there might be something wrong with his approach to Chicago’s problems. Instead of questioning his own premises, he concluded that he simply needed more power to get the job done. So he made plans to run for political office. And in each successive office, he has concluded that he did not have enough power to get the job done, so now he is running for the most powerful office in the land.

And what if he gets it? He’ll be the biggest, strongest organizer in the world. He’ll dazzle the country with his message of hope and possibility. But we shouldn’t expect much to actually get done.

It is certainly politically fashionable to run against President Bush in this election. And certainly politically wise.

That’s a shame.

For while the Democratic nominee to be the next President has talked a big game about helping “the least of these” and being his “brother’s keeper”, he has loved the sound of his own voice and the trajectory of his own career more than the people he has been talking about. Contrariwise, the current President quietly went about the business of actually doing it.

Standing up for President Bush may not be popular these days – may not be fashionable.

But it’s the right thing to do.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Subprime Disaster's High-Value Targets: The Deck

Card five.

Madeline Talbott may be the least known person in the deck. So let's get a fairly extensive quote from this Stanley Kurtz article in the NY Post, though you must read the whole thing:

WHAT exactly does a "community organizer" do? Barack Obama's rise has left many Americans asking themselves that question. Here's a big part of the answer: Community organizers intimidate banks into making high-risk loans to customers with poor credit.

In the name of fairness to minorities, community organizers occupy private offices, chant inside bank lobbies, and confront executives at their homes - and thereby force financial institutions to direct hundreds of millions of dollars in mortgages to low-credit customers.

In other words, community organizers help to undermine the US economy by pushing the banking system into a sinkhole of bad loans. And Obama has spent years training and funding the organizers who do it. ...

ONE key pioneer of ACORN's subprime-loan shakedown racket was Madeline Talbott - an activist with extensive ties to Barack Obama. She was also in on the ground floor of the disastrous turn in Fannie Mae's mortgage policies.

Long the director of Chicago ACORN, Talbott is a specialist in "direct action" - organizers' term for their militant tactics of intimidation and disruption. Perhaps her most famous stunt was leading a group of ACORN protesters breaking into a meeting of the Chicago City Council to push for a "living wage" law, shouting in defiance as she was arrested for mob action and disorderly conduct. But her real legacy may be her drive to push banks into making risky mortgage loans. ...

IT would be tough to find an "on the ground" community organizer more closely tied to the subprime-mortgage fiasco than Madeline Talbott. And no one has been more supportive of Madeline Talbott than Barack Obama. ...

IN short, to understand the roots of the subprime mortgage crisis, look to ACORN's Madeline Talbott. And to see how Talbott was able to work her mischief, look to Barack Obama.

Then you'll truly know what community organizers do.


Card one: Ace of Clubs, Christopher Dodd
Card two: King of Clubs, Charles Schumer
Card three: Queen of Clubs, Jamie Gorelick
Card four: Jack of Clubs, Kent Conrad

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Subprime Disaster's High-Value Targets: The Deck

Card four.

Countrywide was at the center of the subprime meltdown. And Senator Conrad was at the center of enabling them in that role.

Conde Nast ran an investigation of Countrywide "Friends of Angelo" loans, and of Senator Conrad (and Dodd) they concluded:

Perhaps countrywide’s most troubling V.I.P. loans went to Democratic Senators Dodd and Conrad. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Dodd is at the forefront of efforts to remedy the housing crisis. In May, he introduced a foreclosure-rescue bill that would extend up to $300 billion in government-backed loans to struggling borrowers if lenders forgave a portion of their debt. Conrad chairs the taxation subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, which often considers proposals affecting Countrywide, such as tax credits for first-time or low-income homebuyers.

They also gave some of the details:

Senator Conrad borrowed $1.07 million in 2004 to refinance his vacation home with a balcony and large porch in Bethany Beach, Delaware, a block from the ocean. Mozilo instructed a subordinate to “take off 1 point,” or $10,700, according to a March 17, 2004, email.Later that year, Conrad refinanced an eight-unit apartment building that he and his brothers owned in Bismarck, North Dakota. According to the former employee, the loan violated Countrywide’s normal policy of providing loans for buildings of four units or fewer. In an April 23, 2004, email, Mozilo encouraged an employee to “make an exception due to the fact that the borrower is a senator.”

The Wall Street Journal article linked above makes it clear that Conrad personally asked Mozilo for the sweetheart deal over the phone:

Take Senator Kent Conrad, the North Dakota Democrat whose office issued a Friday statement saying that "I never met Angelo Mozilo." What he did not say then but admitted under later questioning by a Journal reporter is that, although he may not have had a face-to-face meeting with the Countrywide CEO, Mr. Conrad had called Mr. Mozilo and asked for a loan. The result was a discounted loan on his million-dollar beach house and a separate commercial loan of a type that residential lender Countrywide did not even offer to other customers, regardless of the rate.

Finally, as only he can, Ed Morrissey sums it up this way:

For those who wonder how Countrywide got away with its mismanagement and its bad lending practices to the point of collapse, all we can say is that they had Friends in high places — or in low places, depending on how you look at it. The most ethical Congress ever put the foxes in charge of the henhouse, and it’s the homeowners who will suffer the consequences.

Thanks, Senator.


Card one: Ace of Clubs, Christopher Dodd
Card two: King of Clubs, Charles Schumer
Card three: Queen of Clubs, Jamie Gorelick

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Subprime Disaster's High-Value Targets: The Deck

Card three.

(source for quotes one and two)

Jamie Gorelick is tied to the subprime meltdown because of her executive role at Fannie Mae, especially given her specific responsibilities. And beyond the personal enrichment that Gorelick enjoyed as a result, the presence of high powered Democratic appointees to Fannie Mae's board was used to help fend off efforts at oversight that could have earlier detected the problems at the company. Gorelick was one of many (and yes, we will get to them as well), but she was one of high visibility and stature.

ALSO: Gorelick's role at Fannie is certainly not the only source of her infamy. Jim Lindgren notes:

This is the same Jamie Gorelick who was Deputy Attorney General in the mid 1990s and was reported to have been the author of the Clinton Administration’s WALL against sharing intelligence data between foreign and domestic agencies. Without the policies instituted by Gorelick still in place in 2001, officials might have learned more about the 9/11 attacks before the planes hit the buildings.


Card one: Ace of Clubs, Christopher Dodd

Card two: King of Clubs, Charles Schumer

Monday, October 20, 2008

Subprime Disaster's High-Value Targets: The Deck

Card two.

Tomorrow's card, today. But remember, keep up with the deck at Ace's.

MORE: Let's go ahead and link a story about the Schumer IndyMac fiasco for background.

And this:

John D. Hawke, the U.S. comptroller of the currency (regulator of national banks) from 1998 to 2004, had more pointed words for Schumer in a story in the American Banker newspaper today.
"If Schumer continues to go public with letters raising questions about the condition of individual institutions, he will cause havoc in the banking system," Hawke said.

"Leaking his IndyMac letter to the press was reckless and grossly irresponsible. I don't see how he can be trusted with confidential information in the future. What this incredibly stupid conduct does is put at risk the willingness of regulators to share any information with the [congressional] oversight committees. After this, you'd be crazy to share information with Schumer."

Subprime Disaster's High-Value Targets: The Deck

Card one.

Thanks to Ace of Spades for the link.

Are you looking for tomorrow's card today?

It's coming.

MORE: Some more on Dodd? OK, how about this:

As recently as last summer, when housing prices had clearly peaked and the mortgage market had started to seize up, Dodd called on Bush to "immediately reconsider his ill-advised" reform proposals. Frank, now chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said that the president's suggestion for a strong, independent regulator of Fannie and Freddie was "inane."

No. No need for a strong, independent regulator. Not when Fannie and Freddie are "fundamentally strong", as Dodd was saying just this past July:

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Embattled mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are "fundamentally strong" and questions about their capital are unwarranted, a top U.S. Senate Democrat said Friday afternoon.

"This is not a time to be panicking about this. These are viable, strong institutions," Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said at a Capitol Hill press conference.

The comments came as the two government-sponsored enterprises continued to be the focus of growing fears they could be insolvent or could face a capital crunch. ...

"The economics are fine in these institutions and people need to know that," Dodd said. There's no reason "to talk about failure," he added.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama-Biden: Flip Flops Sold Separately

Remember this billboard? We posted it a couple of weeks ago:

Obama-Biden Billboard

We did you a disservice, dear reader, by by not giving you the full context:

Obama-Biden: Flip Flops We Can't Afford

The man of hope and change rhetoric in the primaries was a doctrinaire liberal. Well, Obama did change. Obama became the man of politics as usual in the general election having flip flopped to the center on a number of issues. It's quite a feat, actually, when you think about it.

But who is the real Obama? When elected, how will he govern and what will he do? Do we look at his completely liberal record, or his completely malleable rhetoric?

Obama is most certainly selling his flip flops.

Dan McLaughlin had some ideas about Obama's flip flops back in August.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dean Barnett Update

UPDATE (10/28): Google seems to be sending a fair number of people looking for Dean Barnett news to this older post -- so let me point anyone interested to my post responding to the news that Dean has passed away. It's not much more than a copy of Bill Kristol's announcement and acknowledgement of what a loss it is. But there it is if you're interested.

I hate just relying upon and copying Ed Morrissey for this, but it's all I've got.

I’ve received an update on Dean Barnett and his struggle through a life-threatening attack of his cystic fibrosis. It’s a mix of good and bad:

Dean is still in the ICU, sedated and in critical condition and hooked into the ventilator for breathing. His kidneys have begun failing (due to the powerful antibiotics), so they’re starting dialysis to support the kidneys in order to continue the drugs that we hope will address the lung infection. So, while he declined over the course of this week, there are some hopeful signs — there are some very slight indications that the latest drug combinations (which they have been changing on a near daily basis) are beginning to work on the lungs. He has hung on – with the help of everyone’s prayers and through sheer will and toughness – and I really believe that if he can just hold on a little longer, we’ll see stronger signs of a turnaround.

Though he is heavily sedated, believe me, I made him aware of last night’s unexpected come-from-way-behind Red Sox win. I think he heard me and I have to think that will help as well.

Thanks again for your prayers and support. Dean is going to make it, I’m sure of it. Many would not under these circumstances, but Dean will.

Keep the Barnetts in your prayers. They could use all of the support we can give them.

Thanks, for updating all of us Ed.

And Dean, we will not stop praying for you.

Parking the Free Market

We have studiously avoided much comment on the economic crisis on the principle of Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”

Well. Perhaps closer to the truth is the popular saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt”.

So. A quote and a picture is about all we are going to offer, in an attempt to preserve whatever doubt you may still harbor regarding our foolishness.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The government's rescue plan moved into a new phase Monday night with the announcement that Treasury is injecting $125 billion into the country's nine largest banks. This amount -- as much as $25 billion each for the biggest -- seems to have stopped the financial panic for now by easing fears of insolvency. Another $125 billion is on the table for other banks that need capital on the same terms offered to the big boys.

The good news here is that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has at last moved from promises to action, and credit markets have responded positively. But this is also a very dangerous moment. The government has taken ownership stakes in the largest banks in the land. This extraordinary intervention is perilous -- not least to the banks themselves -- unless it is limited in scope and time. Mr. Paulson called the capital injection "distasteful" but unavoidable, and we can't disagree. The trick is to ensure that neither he nor his successors develop a taste for politically directed credit. ...

For those of us who believe in free markets, these interventions are unpleasant. These drastic steps might have been avoided had Treasury and the FDIC acted sooner, yet now they are necessary given the panic that threatens the larger economy. The goal should be to rebuild the financial system so Americans can once again trust their banks enough that government can then recede to its normal supervisory role. We are under no illusions that government will cede its new powers easily, but if it doesn't the economic damage will be far greater than anything we've seen so far.

The intervention is distasteful but unavoidable (Paulson); unpleasant but necessary (the Wall Street Journal).

Perhaps this photo, of a sign on our commute, is illustrative of where we are:

Free Market Parking Ahead
Free Market Parking Ahead

We certainly are in no position to argue against the necessity of the actions being taken. But we will register our worry now – that we are setting into motion the Principle of Government Intervention Inertia: government intervention once set into motion tends to stay in motion and limited government involvement once parked tends to stay parked.

Because asking the federal government to give away power it has gained – no matter how temporary it was supposed to have gained it – is like trying to stop the earth from rotating.

OK, now back to the wisdom of Proverbs...or rather, to observe the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 6:11, "The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain-Obama Presidential Debate: Word Up

OK, stats and graphics from last night's final Presidential debate between Obama and McCain at Hofstra University, using this transcript.

We'll roughly follow the same format as we did for the VP debate.

So, how many words did each candidate speak in the debate?

Barack Obama: 7,356
John McCain: 6,642

So it wasn't just our imagination. Obama kept going on and on and on and on. If only we loved the sound of Obama's voice as much as he did.

And how was their speaking level?

Flesch Reading Ease: 71.73
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 6.00

Flesch Reading Ease: 75.10
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 5.00

Well. If we look back at these scores in the VP debate things are very clear (that post also has a discussion of the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores).

Palin clearly speaks at the highest level, Obama-Biden are mired in mediocrity, and McCain speaks at the level best understood by the electorate. At least that's our spin and we're sticking to it.

Finally, here are word clouds created from the transcript for Obama and McCain.


Obama Debate Word Cloud


McCain Debate Word Cloud

You can click on either image to enlarge. Word clouds created with Wordle

First early voting returns are in

Obama is winning the early vote here in Greensboro, North Carolina, according to our local newspaper.

In fact, according to the evidence presented in the article, Obama is up by 5%!

That is, Obama is at 5% to McCain’s 0% -- in buttons, t-shirts and signs at the polls.

GREENSBORO — If they counted votes as they went, it's probably safe to say that Barack Obama is leading the presidential balloting in Guilford County.

Obama supporters — as measured by signs, buttons and T-shirts, anyway — showed up in force at the old Guilford County Courthouse this morning, the first day of early voting in North Carolina.

When the polls opened at 8 a.m., about 200 people waited to vote in a line that doubled back on itself inside a first-floor hallway and stretched out a side door. ...

Roughly one out of 20 had a button or T-shirt that showed their support for the Democratic candidate for president. Several more wore buttons supporting Teresa Sue Bratton, who is challenging Republican Howard Coble for the 6th District seat in the U.S. House.

Outside the courthouse, about 20 people waved "Teamsters for Obama/Biden" and "Carolina is Obama Country" signs at the traffic heading downtown on West Market. A few drivers honked back.

There was no evidence of any organized presence from John McCain's campaign either inside or outside the courthouse.

So, roughly 1 out of 20 – or 10 people out of 200 – had some type of Obama paraphernalia in line to vote, therefore it is safe to say that Obama is leading if they counted the votes?

Actually, it would not be surprising that of those who voted at the old Guilford County Courthouse downtown this morning, Obama is leading. But on this evidence? Please.

And besides, John McCain supporters are headed 20 miles east for the Sarah Palin rally in Elon, NC today -- and waiting for the additional 11 polling sites that will open on Sunday to vote a little closer to home.

But today, Obama is on track to win the election for Merchandiser-in-Chief down at the old courthouse.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Whatever it takes?

Would Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer be willing to do whatever it takes to win an election?

Whatever it takes?

Whatever, they certanly make a mendacious, ruthless, vile and heartless team.

Plan A: Lose Iraq, Blame Republicans:

Friday, April 13, 2007:

"We're going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war," Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) told reporters yesterday. "Senator Schumer has shown me numbers that are compelling and astounding."

The worse Iraq became, the better the Democrats' electoral prospects became.

Which is the reason for the Reid sabotage offensive shortly thereafter:

Thursday, April 19, 2007:

"I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007:

CNN Interviewer: "General Petraeus is going to come to the Hill...and make it clear to you that there is progress going on in Iraq...will you believe him?"

Reid: "No. I won't believe him because it isn't happening."

Reid was doing his best to undermine the surge. Unfortunately for Democratic electoral hopes, and most fortunately for our national security interests, defeat in Iraq was thwarted and the US is on the course of victory in Iraq -- thanks to the steadfastness of President Bush and thanks to the brilliance of General Petraeus and the troops.

The Democrats' Plan A was rendered inoperative, so whatever could the Reid-Schumer cabal do?

Plan B, of course. There is always a Plan B.

Plan B: Tank the Economy, Blame Republicans:

Thursday, June 26, 2008:

Schumer, a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, who used his position of authority to communicate to the OTS and the FDIC that he was "concerned that IndyMac's financial deterioration poses significant risks to both taxpayers and borrowers," and that IndyMac "could face a failure if prescriptive measures are not taken quickly."

Everything might have been fine had Schumer stopped there, but Schumer (being Schumer) took the additional step of releasing the letter to the press.

Friday, July 11, 2008:

IndyMac Regulator, the Office of Thrift Supervision: "The OTS has determined that the current institution, IndyMac Bank, is unlikely to be able to meet continued depositors’ demands in the normal course of business and is therefore in an unsafe and unsound condition. The immediate cause of the closing was a deposit run that began and continued after the public release of a June 26 letter to the OTS and the FDIC from Senator Charles Schumer of New York. The letter expressed concerns about IndyMac’s viability. In the following 11 business days, depositors withdrew more than $1.3 billion from their accounts.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2008:

Senator Reid: "a major insurance company -- one with a name that everyone knows -- that's on the verge of going bankrupt,"

Thursday, October 2, 2008:

But with investors already on high alert after the Federal Reserve's rescue of insurance titan American International Group Inc. on Sept. 16, and with the credit crunch still making funding difficult for even the largest U.S. financial companies, Reid's comments were the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a grease fire. MetLife plunged $7.19, or 15%, to $40.96; Hartford dived $12.20, or 32%, to $25.91; and Prudential slid $7.15, or 11%, to $57.65.

So, would Reid and Schumer rather lose a war and tank the economy than lose an election?

Or is it incompetence that pushes them to push for policies that would lose a war and push out statements that tank the economy?

Or both.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

She's Back!

We missed Sarah Palin’s visit to Greenville last week. Apparently she missed us too, so she’s coming back to North Carolina.

Palin will make a campaign stop for a rally in Elon.

Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, will hold a rally Thursday at Elon University.

The rally will include music by country star hank Williams Jr. The event will be held at Latham Park, the university's baseball stadium.

Doors open at noon. The event is free but tickets are required.

Tickets are available at GOP Victory offices beginning today at noon. Looks like we have lunch plans today!

Elon is just up the road from here, much closer than Greenville. Thank you, Sarah. See you in a couple of days. You too, Hank.

Hopefully we'll be able to snap a few pics and maybe get some video to post here late Thursday or Friday. Stay tuned!

HEARTBREAK: We won’t be able to attend after all. We think we might cry. Sorry, Sarah.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Biden is angry

Joe Biden is mad as hell and he's not going to take it any more.

Biden is Angry

We have no idea what it is exactly that has angered him so.

But we must say how much we are impressed: the form in his one-fingered salute is perfectly executed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On my knees

UPDATE: [Oct 10, 8:09PM] Relying on Ed for the update, which he gets from Duane Patterson:

Dean still in fragile state on a breathing machine in ICU. He is very willful and is fighting hard – the doctors are so impressed with him. His downward spiral stopped on Thursday, and we hope that with the continued prayers he will turn a corner this week end. He is in and out of consciousness.

Original post below...

In prayer.

Ed Morrissey puts out the action alert:

My friend Duane “Generalissimo” Patterson tells me that Dean has had to be admitted to the hospital and is currently in the ICU with a terrible attack of his cystic fibrosis. I’d like to ask Hot Air readers for their prayers for my friend and his family. I know they will appreciate the support.

I’ll update you as I hear more.

And I heed it without hesitation.

I only know Dean Barnett through email, but even only through email Dean has had an impact on my life with his wit and humor, his encouragement and his courage.


Welcome to the party, North Carolina

So, as we’ve already had to admit, North Carolina is a battleground state. The polls are volatile and much closer than most people would have expected at this point.

Of course, this means we will be subjected to relentless campaign ads.

John Hinderaker at Powerline says that Obama may be outspending McCain 7 to 1 in North Carolina. We believe it. Just last night we had the tv on in the background when an Obama ad came on. No big deal, really, campaign ads are so ubiquitous that they rarely pierce our consciousness. Except this time, the ad kept going, and going, and going. So we went back and checked by rewinding the DVR.

Obama made a 2 minute ad purchase at 8pm. Egads. We know he knows that he can’t reach us whether it is 30 seconds or two minutes or four score and twenty years. But there are voters he can reach with that kind of air time, we suppose.

But there is something else that comes with the status of battleground state. As Hinderaker points out his post, battleground states attract the efforts of ACORN, the notorious organization who puts great efforts into voter registration, not infrequently running afoul of the law in those efforts.

Hinderaker points out current investigations of fraud by ACORN in states such as Missouri, Nevada, Connecticut (not a battleground state, but the ramped up efforts there probably reflect fears that Joe Lieberman might have been named McCain's VP, putting the state in play), Ohio, and Wisconsin. Michelle Malkin also points out Indiana. And don’t forget about New Mexico.

And with North Carolina's induction into the club of battleground states, you know what that means.

Welcome to the party, North Carolina. (h/t Freerepublic)

Republican National Committee officials on Friday blasted a group that's registering voters in Durham, calling it "a quasi-criminal, Democratic-affiliated organization" that represents a danger to the electoral process.

The move by RNC Chief Counsel Sean Cairncross and Communications Director Danny Diaz followed a Herald-Sun report that Durham County Board of Elections Director Mike Ashe wants state officials to check about 80 voter registration forms for possible fraud.

The forms came from a group called the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The group is more commonly known by its acronym, ACORN.

Cairncross said RNC officials "commend the vigilance" Ashe showed, and will continue to monitor the situation. He added that ACORN is "a malignant organization" with a long track record of vote-fraud transgressions. …

Ashe's move this week came after elections officials discovered that ACORN workers had registered a 14-year-old, claiming the youth was born in 1989. The minimum voting age is 18.

They also knew of "less than half a dozen" people who, after receiving a formal notice from the board telling them they'd registered, got in touch with officials to say they'd never filled out a registration form, Ashe said.

In addition, election workers also noticed that ACORN-submitted registration forms so far have included up to 125 duplicate names. It appeared that ACORN registrars -- who are paid and subject to a per-shift quota -- were using the same names repeatedly, Ashe said.

"I got like 15 Brenda Greens," Ashe said. "We're starting to get enough now that the names are looking familiar." ...

Cairncross said ACORN has figured in vote-fraud allegations in past elections in Washington, Missouri and Pennsylvania. Registrars from the group have faced criminal charges in all of those states.

The group's misconduct is "widescale [and] nationwide," he added.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hey! I know you!

Some of you may remember these two posts about Audrey Caroline Smith, here and here.

If not, here is the story.


Well. Tonight, I'm watching the debate and there he is -- Todd Smith -- the father of Audrey Caroline. He was selected to be in the audience at the Presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville between McCain and Obama.


Here's the debate story from the Smiths...

And what's more, today is the six month anniversary of Audrey Caroline's birth and death. In rememberence, here is the song Todd and Angie wrote to honor and remember Audrey Caroline:

What a family.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Team McCain's Magic Quadrant

Earlier we had a post showing Team Obama's Magic Quadrant Breakdown of Election 2008.

Now for the Magic Quadrant of the election as seen by the Republicans. The GOP uses the traditional Magic Quadrant definitions for each axis, Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision, with the overall measure being who can bring reform to Washington (original Magic Quadrants were developed by research and consulting firm Gartner).

In choosing Sarah Palin, John McCain has made clear that his overarching theme is one of government reform, trying to steal the rug out from under Obama on "change".

Who has brought about reform in government? Who has worked in bi-partisan ways to bring change? Who has bucked their own party to get things done?

For our purposes here, we will focus on the least known of the candidates, letting Beldar present the case for Palin as an accomplished reformer.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Palin-Biden debate, more than words

Well, here we go.

According to CNN, Sarah Palin spoke at a higher grade level than Joe Biden.

(CNN) -- An analysis carried out by a language monitoring service said Friday that Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at a more than ninth-grade level and Sen. Joseph Biden spoke at a nearly eighth-grade level in Thursday night's debate between the vice presidential candidates. ...

Grade level: Biden, 7.8; Palin, 9.5 (Newspapers are typically written to a sixth-grade reading level.)

Sentences per paragraph: statistically tied at 2.7 for Biden and 2.6 for Palin.

Letters per word: tied at 4.4.

Ease of reading: Biden, 66.7 (with 100 being the easiest to read or hear), versus 62.4 for Palin.

Perhaps most intriguing, our word count differs markedly from that in the article -- and contra our count has Biden out-wording Palin.


And while we are most certainly not a global language monitoring service expert, Google Docs does provide some Grammar Tools. Based upon the transcript we have used, here's what it has to say:

Flesch Reading Ease: 74.43
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 6.00

Flesch Reading Ease: 69.65
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 7.00

Matches up at least fairly well with the global language monitoring service expert.

And from wikipedia, a little background on the Flesch Reading Ease score and the Flesch-Kincaid Gradel Level score:

The Flesch/Flesch–Kincaid Readability Tests are readability tests designed to indicate comprehension difficulty when reading a passage of contemporary academic English. There are two tests, the Flesch Reading Ease, and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level. Although they use the same core measures (word length and sentence length), they have different weighting factors, so the results of the two tests correlate imperfectly: a text with a higher score on the Reading Ease test over another text may have a lower score on the Grade Level test. Both systems were devised by Rudolf Flesch.

In the Flesch Reading Ease test, higher scores indicate material that is easier to read; lower numbers mark more-difficult-to-read passages.

The "Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level Formula" translates the 0–100 score to a U.S. grade level, making it easier for teachers, parents, librarians, and others to judge the readability level of various books and texts.

We have no idea how much a global language monitoring service charges someone like CNN to perform their service -- but we would have done it for much cheaper.

But then again, if we got the word count wrong (and we have no reason to think the global language monitoring service expert is wrong, and the error could have been ours or the transcript from which we were working), then perhaps CNN spent the money wisely.

[VIMH: Are you going to go back and check your word count?]
It is under consideration.

UPDATE: We went back and did a recount. There were some dimpled chads, including one section that was clearly Biden speaking, though labeled as Palin. New totals...

Palin: 7520 (vs 7734 in first count)
Biden: 7183 (vs 7419 in the first count)

What accounts for the difference other than the misattribution? Well, the transcript has been updated, with a few notes in the current version. We have no idea what changed and how that may or may not have affected the counts.

As to the word counts in the CNN article, which not only indicate that Biden spoke more words than Palin, but also indicates a couple thousand fewer words by each candidate, we have no idea what the difference is. Perhaps they didn't count opening and closing statements?

It will continue as a mystery...

Your best bet, though, will probably be to trust the global language monitoring expert. He doesn't get paid the big bucks for nothing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Palin-Biden debate, just words

Here are some stats and graphics from tonight's VP debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, using this transcript.

First, how many words did each candidate speak in the debate?

  • Sara Palin: 7,734
  • Joe Biden: 7,419

  • (UPDATE: see updated numbers in this post)

    We won't pretend we aren't surprised that Sarah Palin got more words in than Joe Biden. We wish we had placed a very large bet in Vegas on this, surely those would have been very, very good odds.

    Second, here are word clouds created from the transcript for each candidate.


    Biden VP Debate Word Cloud


    Palin VP Debate Word Cloud

    (click images to enlarge)

    UPDATE: OK, yeah, she asked for many words did Gwen Ifill speak in the debate?

  • Gwen Ifil: 1,734

    And the word cloud?


    Gwen Ifill VP Debate Word Cloud

    All word clouds created with Wordle

  • Thursday, October 2, 2008

    We’ve got good news and bad news

    The bad news? The once safe status of North Carolina for McCain-Palin is now out the window. It’s a battleground state, with state polls heading in Obama’s favor in the last few weeks.

    The good news? That means Sarah Palin gets dispatched to our state. And here to Greensboro!

    GREENSBORO -- Vice presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will attend a fundraiser event on Oct. 16 in Greensboro, according to Joe Hauck at the New Breed Company in Greensboro.

    The bad news? The fundraiser is probably not open to the public.

    The event, which most likely won't be open to the public, will be held at the home of Louis DeJoy, president of Greensboro logistics company New Breed, the News and Record reported. DeJoy is the state finance chair for the McCain/Palin ticket.

    The good news? She’s coming back to the state for a rally!

    Palin is also scheduled to make another swing through the Tarheel state leading up to Election Day in November.

    The bad news? The rally is at Eastern Carolina University, in Greenville, three hours away in the middle of the week.

    She will be attending a rally on the campus of East Carolina on Tuesday, McCain campaign officials confirmed.

    The good news?


    Well, we'll try and come up with something.

    To be able to skip work and make the rally!

    The rigors of spacing

    Here's a billboard on our commute to work, near our office.

    Obama-Biden Billboard

    In fact, you can see it from some of the windows in our building. This picture, however, was taken on our way home from work yesterday. Impressive, don't you think?

    [VIMH: Impressive? You think that billboard is impressive?]
    No, not the billboard - rather, our ability to multitask at 50 mph, operating both a vehicle and a camera with the absence of crashing and minimal blurring.

    The billboard on the other hand? Well, watch that spacing*, folks!

    The Emperor Has No Clothes takes on a whole new, and altogether disturbing meaning.

    *Yes, we've made that joke before, see the "sly commenter" suggestion at this JustOneMinute post. In fact, that was our first ever comment at JOM. We were quite shy then. We've managed to come out of our shell a little bit since.

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    Eerie coincidence?

    Via Greg Pollowitz, it seems Gwen Ifill (who is under considerable scrutiny about her to-be-released-on-inauguration-day pro-Obama book, given that she is to moderate Thursday’s debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin) has taken a fall and broken her ankle.

    First On TVNewser: PBS' Gwen Ifill has broken her ankle after tripping and falling down stairs at her home last night, a NewsHour insider tells TVNewser. We're told Ifill had been walking up a staircase, carrying research related to her moderating duties at Thursday's Vice Presidential debate in St. Louis, when she took a wrong step.

    in own home
    falling while carrying research papers
    breaking her ankle.

    Wait a second.

    That sounds familiar.

    Wasn’t there another big name media personality who suffered a similar accident, not long before he was to make a controversial appearance?

    Why yes. Yes there was.

    "[Tim] Russert broke his right ankle Tuesday night while playing with his mutt, Buster the Wonder Dog. Buster and his owner were chasing each other on a stairwell inside the house when the 'Meet the Press' host -- carrying research papers and dry cleaning -- tripped and fell..."

    in own home
    falling while carrying research papers
    breaking his ankle.

    And that was not too long before the Scooter Libby trial, for which Russert showed up on crutches for his testimony that played a central role in the trial.

    Conspiracists may want to do more with this. We’ll file it under 'Eerie Coincidence'.

    Not such a good reason afterall

    Say, Obama, what was that you said again about why you would be a good president?

    Obama, September 22nd on 60 Minutes:

    KROFT (voice-over): This week, during the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression, the candidates were forced to stop playing politics and to start talking about some of the major issues in this campaign. And 60 MINUTES was with both of them.

    (on camera): Why do you think you’d be a good president?

    OBAMA: Well, I think that when you think about the challenges we face, these are challenges that require us to look forward and not backwards.


    KROFT: Why you? I mean, why do you think you would be a good president?

    OBAMA: Well, I was going to get to that.

    KROFT: Go ahead.

    OBAMA: You know, I’m a, I’m a practical person. One of the things I’m good at is getting people in a room with a bunch of different ideas who sometimes violently disagree with each other and finding common ground and a sense of common direction.

    Yes He Can!

    Or, uh...

    Obama, September 30th on ABC:

    "I don't think me calling House Republican members would have been that helpful, I tend not to be that persuasive on that side of the aisle," he said.


    So, THE reason he gives Steve Kroft as to why he would be a good president … goes under the bus.

    No He Can’t!

    So, Obama, were you lying to Steve Kroft and to us on 60 minutes? Or is it just that the events of last week have brought about this new revelation?

    Of course, it is possible you are lying to ABC and to us now. But somehow we find you utterly believable when you tell us you are no bipartisan savior.