Friday, August 29, 2008

Have a great weekend

We’re on our way out for a long holiday weekend, and news that McCain has selected Sarah Palin as his running mate puts a little extra bounce in our step.

For our money, we’d pay attention to Geraghtyfor coverage.

That is, if we were inclined to take our laptop with us for the weekend.

Which we’re not.

See you Monday.

Or Tuesday if we have too much fun over the weekend.

Hope we see you Tuesday.

Obama's acceptance speech

Looking at some of the liveblogging (say here) with time stamps, it appears that the speech was just under one hour.

It only seemed like seven. Our call for 20 minutes went unheeded.

We’re sure there were some really memorable moments in the speech, like…

Hey, the fireworks were awesome!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary's Convention Speech

Oh you can go all sorts of places to get analysis and opinions on Hillary's speech at the Democratic Convention last night.

But you come here to find out what everyone else missed!

Oh, you bet, we missed it too, but you know who didn't? Our sister-in-law -- the most wonderful sister-in-law in the world.

Let's go to the transcript, behold, Hillary:

Tonight, I ask you to remember what a presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you, the American people, and your lives, and your children's futures.

For me, it's been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces, and your communities. [...]

You taught me so much, and you made me laugh, and, yes, you even made me cry. [...]

I will always be grateful to everyone from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the territories...(APPLAUSE)

... who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush administration. To my supporters, to my champions, to my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits... (APPLAUSE)

... from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you, because you never gave in and you never gave up. And together we made history.

You tell me that "50 states" had noting to do with Obama. Riiiight...

You want unity? Oh, she's got your unity right here, Obama.

Team Obama: McCain should run that 3 AM ad

You’ve seen Hillary’s 3 AM ad from the primaries, right? One of the most memorable and effective ads of the entire election.

Now we see that McCain has recycled the ad, because, well, when Hillary’s right, she’s right. And she makes a great case against Obama and for McCain.

Now, we don’t want to say that the Obama campaign is flat-footed…but their response starts off with this:

If John McCain wants to quote Hillary Clinton's 3 AM ads, he should go right ahead

Well, ok!

Apparently the point of their response was to point out that Hillary’s follow-up 3 AM ad castigated McCain on the economy.

Seriously?

So not only does Team Obama explicitly bless McCain’s use of the ad; they make no effort whatsoever to refute the claims in the ad.

Thanks Team Obama!

Hope has left the building

Well, at first glance we were skeptical of this report on the direction the Democrats would take the convention.

DNC plans to sink teeth into McCain

DENVER -- From the convention hall: All evidence points to a Democratic convention that will have a take-no-prisoners aggressive approach all week, driving home the contrast between John McCain and Barack Obama at every opportunity possible. […]

Democratic analyst Mark Siegel said, "We begged the Kerry people to make the [2004] election a plebiscite on Bush […]

Siegel said "Shrum ... would not let us do it, telling us that we can't go negative, just go positive, build Kerry up, don't drive Bush down, etc."

"Well, we got no bump because we gave them a pass," Siegel said, adding that he tried to emphasize "what Karl Rove would do with this deck of cards, but to no avail."

Siegel says if it winning means playing aggressive with a tough game plan then so be it. "We've tried it the other way ... and that was catastrophe."

Oh sure, there have been signs that Obama's new politics is in its last throes, that cynicism is still calling the shots, and that divisive partisanship, despite whatever setbacks it had suffered in the primaries, is now resurgent in the general election.

But the convention?

Surely the convention is the time in which Obama rises above the old politics of fear and division to restore the hope for a new politics free of the cynicism that tears us down, and for change that elevates us to the heights of the mountain top to which He seeks to take us.

Right? Oh...

A senior Obama adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his boss has expressed impatience with what he calls a "reverence" inside his campaign for his message of change and new politics. In other words, Obama is willing — even eager — to risk what got him this far if it gets him to the White House.

Well there you go. So much for new politics and hope and change.

And here you go, looks like the Democrats are making it official:

Democratic National Convention Stage

(Thanks to JM Hanes)

(August 21, 2008) Final touches are being made at the
Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, site of the
2008 Democratic National Convention.
Here program technicians rehearse the well-scripted
ceremonial unveiling of the new convention theme:
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate,
a phrase based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, which
translated is, "Abandon hope, ye who enter here".


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thoughts on Michelle Obama's speech

Well, Michelle Obama gave her speech at the Democratic National Convention last night.

We said it would be all smiles and unabashed pride for her country, and Michelle delivered.

Honestly. It was a good speech. It was delivered gracefully. It hit all the right notes. It did much more good for her and Barack than bad. In fact, there really isn’t anything bad to say about it stylistically.

Sure, we could criticize the content of the speech on a number of points. But for those who tuned in last night not having paid much attention to this race, or not having as of yet any firm position on the candidates, Michelle gave a speech that really doesn’t merit much criticism.

And we won’t criticize it.

And we will praise profusely whoever it was that decided to have her give a speech that was under 11 minutes. Generations from now, we may be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when...the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal. In fact, if Barack keeps his speech under 20 minutes, we just might consider voting for him.

Kidding.

Because speaking of what we may look back on one day, we will highlight this observation from Jim Geraghty, quoting Michelle and giving his retort:

[Michelle:] "Someday you're going to be telling your children about what we did together in this election." Indeed. [Jim:] "Son, I gave the Obama campaign headaches 24-7."

We're with Jim.

This is our moment! This is our time!

For the children!

Oh, but hey, great speech.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Meet the Obamas

Michelle Obama headlines "Meet the Obamas" night at the Democratic convention in Denver this evening.

Whereas Joe Biden was selected to be the running mate to bring gravitas to the ticket, Michelle Obama is being tapped to help portray her husband as a regular, America-loving (and definitely not elitist!) guy. She will also certainly try and assuage any fears that voters may have with a candidate who has a funny name, trying to neutralize her husband's propensity to keep calling attention to it.

We are reliably assured that she will deliver a positive, upbeat message.

Which is a relief. After more than a few downbeat incidences on the campaign trail during the primaries, "positive" and "upbeat" weren't exactly the words most often used to describe her.

What word, then? Maybe this is unfair...

Michelle Obama

Maybe it's not.

But since Barack instructed us that "whatever Michelle says is the [Obama] message", no matter what, we do have to pay attention.

And tonight the message will be all smiles and unabashed pride for her country.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's Biden

Barack Obama has selected Senator Joe Biden of Delaware as his Vice Presidential running mate.

Sure, you're likely going to hear all sorts of analysis as to why he's great (foreign policy gravitas) and why he's awful (ultimate Washington insider).

And of course, you'll also likely hear how Biden is known for his many gaffes. Perhaps Obama is attempting to put someone on the ticket who will make him look good by comparison -- though we would contend that it will be a close call.

But one thing we are sure you are going to be reminded of -- Biden's first love, his own voice. Obama appears to have found his equal in this regard.

But just why are we so sure that you will be reminded of this last point?

Because we have become aware of a soon-to-be-released book by Joe Biden, and we have acquired this proof copy of the book cover:

Biden: In My Own Words

Our sources have also provided us with a photo of Biden delivering his first manuscript to the publisher:

Biden delivering manuscript

(AUGUST 23, 2008) -- Democratic vice presidential
candidate, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) delivers
the manuscript of the first chapter of his
forthcoming book, In My Own Words to his
publisher on Saturday, less than 24 hours after being
named by Democratic presidential candidate
Barack Obama for the number two spot.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama’s lost law review article

Politico has found an unsigned law review note that Obama authored for the Harvard Law Review.

As president of the Harvard Law Review and a law professor in Chicago, Senator Barack Obama refined his legal thinking, but left a scant paper trail. His name doesn't appear on any legal scholarship.

But an unsigned — and previously unattributed — 1990 article unearthed by Politico offers a glimpse at Obama's views on abortion policy and the law during his student days, and provides a rare addition to his body of work.

The six-page summary, tucked into the third volume of the year's Harvard Law Review, considers the charged, if peripheral, question of whether fetuses should be able to file lawsuits against their mothers. Obama's answer, like most courts': No. He wrote approvingly of an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that the unborn cannot sue their mothers for negligence, and he suggested that allowing fetuses to sue would violate the mother's rights and could, perversely, cause her to take more risks with her pregnancy.

Analyzing the article on the merits is, well, well above our pay grade outside our expertise.

We’ve made references to the lack of law review articles (or quoted others who did) previously, and this revelation obviously makes those references incorrect.

It still seems odd that neither Obama nor his campaign chose to make this article available from the beginning, and in fact chose to wait until the media found it and confronted him with it. Politico says it this way:

But Obama has never mentioned his law review piece, a demurral that's part of his campaign's broader pattern of rarely volunteering information or documents about the candidate, even when relatively innocuous. When Politico reporters working on a story about Obama's law review presidency earlier this year asked if he had written for the review, a spokesman responded accurately - but narrowly - that "as the president of the Law Review, Obama didn't write articles, he edited and reviewed them."

The case comment was published a month before he became president.

But the really good news here is we can add this law review article to his Presidential Library!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fun with numbers

Seriously, the presidential candidates are really, really bad with numbers...

Senator Obama, how many people died in the Greensburg tornado: 10,000!

Senator McCain, how many years should we stay in Iraq: Make it 100!

Senator Obama, how many states are there: I've been to 57, one left to go, not counting Hawaii and Alaska!

Senator McCain, what's you're definition of rich: How about $5M!

Senator Obama, how long do you expect to be president: 8-10 years!

And now, the latest number blunder in the campaign...

Senator McCain, how many houses do you own: I'll have my staff get to you!

Uh oh. Elite!!! Out of touch!!! That surely adds up to trouble for McCain.

Or does it?

The RNC points us to this recent headline: Researchers say numbers aren't needed to count

Well, no, that's not exactly what they point us to, though the idea is the same.

That is, the RNC contends that the most important difference between McCain and Obama when it comes to houses is not the number six (seven houses for McCain vs. one for Obama).

Rather, Obama living in a glass house is what counts.


IT'S ON:

"I'm John McCain, and I approved this message planned and executed this battle plan."

How long before the house issue is called a "distraction"?

Fish on

From just up the road. They’re gonna need a lot more cornmeal:

ELKIN (AP) — David Hayes' granddaughter just ask[ed] him to hold her Barbie rod and reel while she went to the bathroom.

He did. And seconds later he landed the state record channel catfish at 21 pounds, 1 ounce.

Alyssa's father had bought the pink Barbie fishing rod for Christmas and she had caught a few bluegill before her grandfather hauled in the catfish.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported the catch Aug. 5 in eastern Wilkes County has been certified as a record by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Hayes and his granddaughter have been fishing in the pond behind his house since she was big enough to hold a pole.

Hayes says his granddaughter worried he would break her rod. He landed the 21-pound fish on a 6-pound test line. It was 32 inches long, 2 inches longer than the rod.

Dang. We went with the Disney Princess rod for our daughter (we’re not making that up, either).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Revisiting (UPDATED)

We suggested Newt Gingrich. Or Sarah Palin. Or even Lisa Murkowski.

But Blake Dvorak has a post up at RCP – and today it’s Marsha Blackburn who is issuing the challenge invitation for McCain to visit ANWR:

As one of the Republican members pushing Speaker Nancy Pelosi to recall the House to vote on energy legislation, Rep. Marsha Blackburn today encouraged Sen. John McCain to revisit ANWR. McCain has called for drilling in the outer continental shelf but has drawn the line at the Alaskan region.

"I would encourage [McCain] to come back and revisit this area and revisit the issue and talk to the people," said Blackburn speaking over the phone from Barrow, Alaska. The Tennessee congresswoman traveled to Alaska today to learn how Alaskans living near the refuge feel about drilling.

We’re all for it. Not sure that Blackburn has quite the sway of Palin or Gingrich, though. But we’ll take what we can get.

Listen to her, Senator McCain.

INCIDENTALLY: Blackburn uses the word “revisit”. We were unable to find record of when McCain has ever been to ANWR. Was it one year ago? Five? Ten? Seventy-one?

UPDATE: (8/21) Rep. Blackburn pens a post at Red State about her recent trip to ANWR.

Time to go to the fruit stand

Michelle Obama famously asked, “Who’s got time to go to the fruit stand?”

Well. Her husband was in town today (our town! Obama!), and he answered her question.

He does!

Obama surprises local farmers' market crowd

GREENSBORO — The few folks who came to the Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market today expected to find home-grown tomatoes and okra and fresh baked breads and muffins.

They weren't expecting Sen. Barack Obama, who made an unannounced visit to Greensboro this morning. [...]

Obama's morning started at the O. Henry Hotel, where he stayed Tuesday night after after a campaign stop in Raleigh. [...]

When he came out of the hotel's back door at about 9:20 a.m., several women squealed:

Obaaaaaaaaama! [...]

Greensboro police blocked traffic along Green Valley Road, Benjamin Parkway and Wendover Avenue as the Obama motorcade — two buses and about 10 marked and unmarked police cars — made the 7-minute trip from the hotel to the farmers' market. [...]

Obama strode through a set of double doors to applause and the flash of cameras. The candidate wore a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a blue striped tie and no jacket. [...]

At 9:55 a.m., after more meeting and greeting and signing and chatting, Obama made his way back to the door he had come in through. Before he left, he turned, waved and called out, "See you, everybody!"

"Bye, Barack!" the crowd yelled back. They clapped and whooped, and he was gone.

Obama bought a bag of biscuits, some homemade pound cake and was given a zucchini muffin while he was at the farmer’s market.

But as far as we can tell, he forgot to pick up any fresh fruit.

Oops.


BREAKING FRESH UPDATE: Peaches! He got some fresh peaches. Good for him. Of note, though, he and the woman who provided him the peaches without paying exchanged sweet nothings into each others' ear. Kidding. They just whispered to one another, but we are absolutely confident that it was completely innocent.

Patriotism-challenged

Let’s quote Obama once again from yesterday:

If we think that we can use the same partisan playbook where we just challenge our opponent's patriotism to win an election, then the American people will lose.

Let’s take a look at Obama greeting veterans after his speech:

Obama

Well. Obama’s righteous indignation at the thought that someone would challenge his patriotism should be aimed at this guy:

“Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq War, [wearing a flag pin] became a substitute for I think true patriotism"

Look at the picture again. Because according to Obama in his speech yesterday, this guy is putting us on a path where the American people will lose.


MORE: John at Powerline plays “find the hidden attack on Obama’s patriotism” in McCain’s speech to the VFW the day before to which Obama was obviously referring. And he comes up empty-handed. Read John’s post -- and remember, any time Obama goes after McCain, Consider the Source.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama's character references

We don't know -- maybe we spend too much time going back and quoting ourselves. But, what the heck...

Obama today:

But one of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can't disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

Now, this was a speech delivered to Veterans, in the context of the Iraq War.

So forgive us if we take some liberties with the context. But the overall formulation is not new.

We've written about how Obama wants to shut off debate about his character and patriotism.

Us in American Thinker back in June:

Later in the same speech [Obama's Feb 2007 DNC Winter Meeting Speech here], Obama expanded the ground rules:

... for every attack ad that questions the character or honesty or patriotism of somebody, there are real patriots fighting and dying in Iraq whose families deserve to know how we plan to bring them home.

Questioning Obama's character or honesty or patriotism is a distraction. Anyone questioning Obama on these grounds would be judged as lacking in their support for the troops.

Obama has not set about setting up these restraints on his opponents simply because he doesn't want to be inconvenienced with such questions and criticisms. Obama clearly understands that his history, his associations, his decisions and actions are such that such questions and criticisms would be devastating to his campaign were they undertaken in earnest and robustly discussed and vigorously debated.

Obama does not want anyone to be able to question his character as it relates to having a 20 plus year relationship with his race-baiting pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. He wants to prevent anyone from questioning his honesty when he repeatedly engages in dishonest double-talk like a dissembling pol as he changes his story about his relationship with indicted friend and political backer Antonin Rezko. Obama knows he must head off any questions of his patriotism because of his long relationship with an America-hating unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.

Well. Let's press on and inject some additional context under which Obama might have a renewed concern about people questioning his character and patriotism.

Steve Diamond at Global Labor, Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute and Stanley Kurtz at National Review are relentlessly pounding the drum on the Obama-Ayers relationship regarding their mutual involvement in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge that has been heretofore unexplored by the media and buried by the candidate and his campaign. See each of those links for details. Lots of details.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Obama and the library

The last time we took up the dearth of Obama's accomplishments and paper trail, we ended up with a recreation of the poem Footprints.

But a more alarming thought comes to mind along the same lines, by way of this Jim Geraghty post:

Just to review, the public cannot get access to paperwork related grants distributed by then-state-legislator Obama (records from 1997 to 2000 aren't available); his state legislative office records (which he says may have been thrown out); he refuses to release a specific list of law clients, instead giving a list of all of his firm's clients, numbering several hundred each year; he won't release his application to the state bar (where critics wonder if he lied in responding to questions about parking tickets and past drug use); he’s never released any legal or billing records to verify that he only did a few hours of work for a nonprofit tied to convicted donor Rezko; and he's never released any medical records, just a one-page letter from his doctor.

Now the University of Illinois at Chicago is denying Stanley Kurtz access to documents relating to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a small foundation, founded and inspired by Bill Ayers, for which Obama served as board chairman.

Honestly. Obama has accomplished so very little in any position he has taken -- and there is emphatically so very little that can be accurately documented.

So what is so alarming?

Well, the idea that documents that have been entrusted to a library are being made off limits to public scrutiny brought us to this speculation: what the heck is Obama going to use to fill his Presidential Library after his 8-10 years in the White House?

As of now, it will look something like this:



That may be a little difficult to make out -- so let's zoom in to the only shelf that actually contains anything:







Two memoirs. The sum total of Obama's written record currently available for inclusion in his Presidential library.

Although it may be premature to assume he won't also use the library to sell yard signs and other campaign paraphernalia.

Obama and evil

Bill Kristol writing in the NY Times takes a look at a key component of the Saddleback forum:

Perhaps the most revealing moment was the two candidates’ response to a question about evil. [...]

Warren asked whether evil exists and if it does, “do we ignore it? Do we negotiate with it? Do we contain it? Do we defeat it?”

Obama and McCain agreed evil exists and couldn’t be ignored. But then their answers diverged.

Obama said that “we see evil all the time” — in Darfur, on the streets of our cities, in child abusers. Such evils, he continued, need to be “confronted squarely.” And while we can’t “erase evil from the world,” we can be “soldiers” in the task of confronting it when we see it.

But, Obama added, “Now, the one thing that I think is very important is for us to have some humility” as we confront evil. Why? Because “a lot of evil has been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil.” After all, “just because we think our intentions are good doesn’t always mean that we’re going to be doing good.”

It’s nice to see a liberal aware of the limits of good intentions — indeed, that the road to hell is paved with them. But here as elsewhere, Obama stayed at a high level of abstraction.

We want to make two points regarding Obama’s treatment of evil.

First, Kristol points out that Obama “stayed at a high level of abstraction”. This is not uncommon for Obama. When confronted with real, concrete issues, especially as it relates to evil, Obama remains much more comfortable in the abstract. We have been struck by a few instances of this.

When Obama appeared at an AIPAC policy conference, he delivered this line:

"The biggest enemy I think we have in this whole process (and why I'm so glad to see a lot of young people here, young in spirit if not young in age) -- the reason I think it's so important, is because one of the enemies we have to fight -- it's not just terrorists, it's not just Hezbollah, it's not just Hamas -- it's also cynicism,"

When Obama gave a speech immediately after the Virginia Tech shooting, he delievered this:

There's also another kind of violence though that we're gonna have to think about. It's not necessarily physical violence but that the violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways. Last week, the big news, obviously, had to do with Imus and the verbal violence that was directed at young women who were role models for all of us, role models for my daughter. [...]

There's the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under 'em because their job has moved to another country. [...]

There is the violence of children, whose voices are not heard, in communities that are ignored. Who don't have access to a decent education, who are surrounded by drugs and crime and a lack of hope. […]

When Obama gave a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, he delivered this line:

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the country that faced down the tyranny of fascism and communism is now called to challenge the tyranny of oil.

Obama deals comfortably in the abstract. He moves seamlessly in comparing any level of wrong to the greatest examples of evil. He speaks in words where losing your job is as bad as being shot and killed; where cynicism is as bad as terrorists aiming rocket attacks at innocent civilians; where confronting our energy needs is as bad as Soviet gulags.

We made one “from a reader” observation in NRO’s The Corner after Obama got the Greensburg, Kansas death toll stupendously wrong, mocking Obama’s propensity to deal in abstractions:

Oh, sure, Obama was wrong about the KS story — but piece together his thinking, and perhaps that many dead isn't entirely impossible...

What if the threat of the "Tyranny of Oil" which Obama has likened to the tyranny of fascism and communism were to unite in an alliance with "Cynicism" which Obama has identified as our biggest enemy? And heaven help us if that unholy union were to engage in the "Verbal Violence" which Obama pointed us to in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy.

A conflation of all his abstract analogies would create an unimaginable toll, one that would create casualities in numbers like the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on a beach or like the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin or the number of roads a man must walk down before they call him a man or something.

Second, Kristol calls attention to the fact that whereas McCain clearly chose “defeat it” as his answer to Pastor Warren’s question, Obama decided to use the phrase “confront it”.

Unlike Obama, [McCain] took the question about evil to be in the first instance about 9/11. McCain asserted that “of course evil must be defeated,” and he put “radical Islamic extremism,” Al Qaeda in particular, at the top of his to-defeat list. In this context, McCain discussed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and concluded by mentioning “the young men and women who are serving this nation in uniform.”

So while Obama talked of confronting evil, McCain spoke of defeating it.

Now, there is a lot of room for interpretation as to what “confront it” actually means to Obama. But if we look at one story in Obama’s history, we may have a pretty good idea of his line of thinking here.

Jim Geraghty pulled this quote from Dreams From My Father, in which Obama’s dad and grandfather went to a bar, and were faced with a man who told the bartender he didn’t think he should have to drink “next to a n*****”:

The room fell quiet, and people turned to my father, expecting a fight. Instead, my father stood up, walked over to the man, smiled, and proceeded to lecture him about the folly of bigotry, the promise of the American dream, and the universal rights of man. “This fella felt so bad when Barack was finished,” Gramps would say. “that he reached into his pocket and gave Barack a hundred dollars on the spot. Paid for all our drinks and puu-puus for the rest of the night – and your dad’s rent for the rest of the month.

Geraghty asks in response:

Is the story true? Clearly Obama believes it is. […]

[I]f you believed that your father had an almost-hypnotic capacity to calm the most troubled soul with the right words... might you also believe that you yourself could bring someone like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to see reason?

Is this Obama’s intent when he says that, faced with evil, we must “confront it”?

Friday, August 15, 2008

A good walk unspoiled

The PGA Tour has come to town for the Wyndham Championship.

And local boy makes good:

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Carl Pettersson has produced the latest record-breaking performance at the Wyndham Championship.

Pettersson shot a tournament-record 61 Friday and matched the PGA Tour record with a two-round score of 15-under 125.

Pettersson went to high school in Greensboro, played collegiately at North Carolina State and serves on the tournament's board of directors. He shot a 30 through his opening nine holes. Six of his 11 birdies came on the front nine.

His remarkable round eclipsed the previous low at the Wyndham of 63, a mark matched fewer than 24 hours earlier by first-round co-leaders Bob Heintz and Martin Laird.

Pettersson's 36-hole score equaled the tour record shared by Tiger Woods, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Lehman and Corey Pavin.

Go Carl Go!


UPDATE: Pettersson pulls it out!

Obama blinked

Michael Goodwin in the NY Daily News:

Barack Obama blinks in Hillary face-off

Russia rolls over Georgia, Hillary Clinton does the same to Barack Obama. Now we know who's boss.

Obama blinked and stands guilty of appeasing Clinton by agreeing to a roll call vote for her nomination. That he might not have had much choice if he wanted peace only proves the point that he's playing defense at his own convention.

What does he get out of it? Not much and not for long. […]

It makes him look weak and ratifies Clinton's sense of entitlement to share party leadership and the convention spotlight. [...]

It reminds me of a Cold War joke about how the Russians view a compromise. They come to the table and announce the rules: What's mine is mine, what's yours is negotiable.

How would President Obama respond?

I think we just found out.

Hey, that’s what we’ve been saying.

Animal Kingdom

Sad news today from our local zoo:

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- A 14-year-old giraffe named Azog died Thursday afternoon while undergoing surgery, the N.C. Zoo announced Friday. [...]

Azog was born at the N.C. Zoo in July, 1994 and was one of two adult giraffes in the zoo's collection.

Azog

Better news for a cute and cuddly kitten:

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) -- Workers from Bill Davis Racing removed a kitten that refused to come out from an SUV's undercarriage Friday morning at the High Point Country Club. On Thursday, the car's owner found a note taped to his door advising him to not start the engine without first checking for the cat. Efforts failed to entice the kitten out with food, so Bill Davis Racing brought equipment to jack up the vehicle and access the kitty.

Azog

(Not the vehicle the kitten was under)

A re-enactment of the rescue is here.

So if a cat is stuck up in a tree, you call the fire department. If it is stuck under an SUV, you call a NASCAR Team.

You learn something new every day. If you’re paying attention.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Obama Celebrity Watch

Time Magazine asks: Why Can't Candidates Be Celebrities?

The article goes immediately astray, seemingly equating the questions about Obama’s celebrity with McCain using Winston Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt in a video warm-up act for a Pennsylvania town hall meeting.

Obama is being painted by Team McCain as a celebrity in the mold of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, who, we feel comfortable in suggesting, do not quite rise to the political importance of Churchill and Roosevelt (who, we are equally comfortable in suggesting, do not quite rise to the pop-culture celebrity of Hilton and Spears).

But where in the world would Team McCain get the idea that Obama is tied into the Hollywood celebrity culture?

Well, let’s take a look – and what the heck, let’s get an actual look (with pictures!) – at some of the beautiful people hosting fundraisers for Obama in the coming days, which we discover courtesy of The Caucus Blog:

Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City and Anna Wintour, Editor of Vogue

Ellen Pompeo and Justin Chambers, Grey’s Anatomy

George Clooney, Obama Speech Coach and Foreign Policy Advisor (and aspiring actor)

Scarlett Johansson, Obama pen pal (and aspiring actress)

But Obama doesn't just hang with celebrities, of course. He is treated like one. There's the fainting that being in his presence causes among women, there's the thrill going up the leg that his speeches cause in some men. And then there's this reaction of one Obama supporter during the candidate's recent visit to his old prep school in Hawaii (h/t Greg Pollowitz at NRO's Media Blog):

"My only regret is I didn't get a picture of him kissing my wife. If there's any man in the world who can kiss my wife, it's Barack Obama," said Candace's husband John Cheever, also a Punahou teacher.

Just a kiss? Lame. The real question is, is Obama on Candace’s “freebie list”?

No, wait. The really real question is, are the fundraisers above Obama's "freebie list"?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Driving in circles

The Federal Highway Administration says people drove a lot less in June this year than last year:

WASHINGTON - As summer vacation season kicked in, Americans got out of their cars, driving 12.2 billion fewer miles in June than the same month a year earlier.

The 4.7 percent decline, which came while gas prices were peaking, was the biggest monthly driving drop in a downward trend that began in November, the Federal Highway Administration said Wednesday.

Not us, of course. We took the big trip for the 4th of July that began in June. The drive from NC to ID was roughly 2,100 miles.

We head on over to the Federal Highway Administration website to find the actual figures for June – Americans drove approximately 250,232,000,000 miles in the month of June.

That means our trip accounted for around 0.0000008392212% of all the miles driven.

Interesting.

The total population of the United States, estimated by the US Census Bureau, is 301,621,157

That means, as a family of 4, we represent 0.0000013261669% of the overall US population.

250 billion miles divided by 301 million people means the average person drove 829.6 miles. So, take 4 average people and you have 3,318.5 miles.

Yet our family of four people just managed 2,100 miles?

Disturbing.

Here we’ve been made to feel guilty about our carbon footprint, and yet, even in a month where we take a cross-country trip, we drove almost 37% fewer miles than an average four people in the US? Seriously, that just makes us want to go deflate our tires by six or seven pounds per square inch!

Oh, but wait – maybe we should really only look at the US population that includes persons of driving age (our kids are five and six). So, here we find that the estimate for those 16 or older is 236,468,212

Well, then.

250 billion miles divided by 236 million people means the average driving age person drove 1,058.2 miles. So, take 2 average driving age persons and you have 2,116.4 miles.

That means our trip put us right at the average number of miles driven by those of driving age.

Fascinating.

But our 2,100 miles were accomplished by driving across the country. What did all these other people do to rack up their miles?

And where were they driving last year that this year’s number was 4.7% less?

Baffling.

And before you lob the accusation that we must have too much time on our hands to go to that much trouble to make almost no point – if you are still reading this post, do you really have standing to cast the first stone?

Kidding.

You heard it here first

If we were omniscient, we would be in a position perhaps to make the claim that 'you heard it here first'. However, the internet is a really big place and we can’t claim to have read it all, so maybe someone else said this before us.

So, as far as we know, you heard it here first; we just readily admit that we don’t know very much.

But you did hear it here!

Obama has won the nomination – yet Hillary has secured all the leverage in the relationship.

Why do we bring this up again?

Via Jennifer Rubin at Contentions, pull up a chair and listen to the ruminations of Maureen Dowd:

While Obama was spending three hours watching “The Dark Knight” five time zones away, and going to a fund-raiser featuring “Aloha attire” and Hawaiian pupus, Hillary was busy planning her convention.

You can almost hear her mind whirring: She’s amazed at how easy it was to snatch Denver away from the Obama saps. Like taking candy from a baby, except Beanpole Guy doesn’t eat candy. In just a couple of weeks, Bill and Hill were able to drag No Drama Obama into a swamp of Clinton drama.

Now they’ve made Barry’s convention all about them — their dissatisfaction and revisionism and barely disguised desire to see him fail. Whatever insincere words of support the Clintons muster, their primal scream gets louder: He can’t win! He can’t close the deal! We told you so!

The point in our post referenced above had nothing to do with bringing about Democratic Party unity with butterflies and unicorns. Rather, the point is that there is a world full of people who don’t just want to defeat Obama politically, they want to defeat the US globally:

If Hillary can make a hash of Obama in negotiating her end to the race – just imagine what those in Iran and North Korea will do.

Go back and read John Bolton’s take on Obama, both in this interview by Hugh Hewitt and in this Los Angeles Times Op/Ed. But instead of focusing on Iran and North Korea as the ones sitting across the table from Obama, let’s imagine Obama staring face to face with Putin and Medvedev.

Are we really being asked to trust someone who can’t even stand up to a defeated political rival in his party’s presidential primary to stand face to face with those seeking the defeat or destruction of us or our allies?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Which one of these stories…

…is not like the other…which one of these stories just doesn’t belong…

Group Plans Campaign Against G.O.P. Donors, New York Times, August 7, 2008

The letter is an opening shot across the bow from an unusual new outside political group on the left that is poised to engage in hardball tactics to prevent similar groups on the right from getting off the ground this fall.

Led by Tom Matzzie, a liberal political operative who has been involved with some prominent left-wing efforts in recent years, the newly formed nonprofit group, Accountable America, is planning to confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.

Colorado Democrats Threaten Delegate's Status, TheDenverChannel.com (7News, Denver ABC affiliate), August 11, 2008

DENVER, Colo. -- An e-mail sent from the Political Director of the Colorado Democratic Party threatened the status of a national delegate, alleging she made "disparaging public remarks" about Sen. Barack Obama. […]

Millstone acknowledged she was frustrated over how the Obama campaign was treating delegates who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and told a fellow delegate, in what she believed was a private e-mail exchange, that she was not sure she could vote for Obama at the Democratic National Convention later this month.

The other delegate apparently filed a complaint with the state Democratic Party suggesting Millstone lose her status as a delegate.

Apparently the Political Director of Colorado's Democratic Party, William Compton, took the suggestion very seriously and told Millstone via e-mail, "You are directed to come in to the Party Headquarters and explain your comments and why you should remain a national delegate..."

Millstone, who worked on the campaign for Hillary Clinton, considered the e-mail a threat.

"I think that one of the reasons I got this letter was to intimidate me," said Millstone. "It sounded very totalitarian. I thought it sounded undemocratic and I was completely shocked." [...]

"I think that it was calculated to have an impact on other delegates and I think this kind of communication does have a very chilling impact on other delegates because people become afraid to speak up. They become afraid to say what they think."

(h/t Slapstick Politics, via Hot Air)

Campaign to silence dissent in West Bank, Gaza, AP, August 12, 2008

NABLUS, West Bank - A West Bank professor is thrown into a police jeep and beaten with pipes. Detainees in Gaza are prevented from seeing lawyers. Club-wielding troops in the West Bank break up a peaceful march, and their counterparts in Gaza keep journalists from covering a police raid.

It's all part of a widening crackdown on political opponents, both by the Western-backed Fatah movement in the West Bank and by the Islamic militant Hamas in Gaza.

Trick question! They all belong. Each of these stories is based on the idea that dissent is an unwanted form of political expression. Other than that, it’s just a quibble about the means to rid oneself of it: do you stifle it, silence it, intimidate it, legally threaten it or violently crush it.

One more point on Exxon-Obama

In the excitement of last Thursday in putting together the Exxon-Obama logo (and thanks to the many fine folks who linked us!), we ended up failing to make one point.

Many others have made it in this case – that when Obama comes out guns blazing on trying to tie McCain to “big oil”, it is he, Obama, who has received more money from the likes of Exxon. And that when Obama comes out hammering McCain as wanting to continue the Bush energy policy as crafted by Cheney, it is he, Obama, who voted for the 2005 energy bill.

But don’t think that this is an isolated case of Obama being caught attacking McCain on an issue for which he has issues.

Though Obama has spent the last several weeks in reactionary mode against McCain (witness Obama’s latest response to McCain’s charge of Obama being an airhead celebrity, which we might term the “I’m rubber and you’re glue” approach), when Obama does go on the attack against McCain, pay attention.

We wrote a piece last month on just this very thing. You can go read it here, but here is the opening and closing:

As general election ramps up in earnest, there is a pattern emerging. The battles Obama is choosing to wage in the campaign show that when he attacks McCain, he often does so on issues on which he himself is vulnerable. It is an odd pattern to be sure. It is hard to tell if it is a deliberate strategy intended to head off criticism, or if it is the unintentional reaction of someone who is projecting his own potential weaknesses onto his opponent.

[…]

Not all battles a candidate must engage in are ones of choice. Some are thrust upon him by circumstances beyond his control. Others, however, are ones which a smart candidate, as Obama surely is, selects because he thinks they will provide him an advantage, help advance a key theme, or help frame his opponent in a particular manner. As this campaign progresses and the number and intensity of the battles between Obama and McCain increases, it will be fascinating to watch the ones Obama chooses. And to consider each time Obama goes after McCain: is this just another example of the pot calling the kettle... Oh wait. Can't go there. The use of a colorful phrase might create a hue and cry as being divisively distracting. Rather, each time Obama goes after McCain, we should consider the source.

We knew Obama would help make our point, and probably repeatedly. But we want to extend a very special thank you to him for making it in such a high profile and easily discernible way, and on the issue most important to voters right now.

Thank you Obama!

Monday, August 11, 2008

This time, tears of joy

We covered the heartbreaking news from Afghanistan last month in which 9 US troops were killed in an attack on a US held base, including local soldier Pruitt Rainey.

Today we come across the heartwarming news that another local soldier, who survived that attack, is coming home:

THOMASVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) -- Less than a month after being attacked by insurgents in Afghanistan, Sergeant Matthew Gobble is returning home to the U.S.

Sgt. Gobble is scheduled to arrive back in the Piedmont around 9 p.m. at Piedmont-Triad International Airport.

Matthew Gobble had been deployed since May 2007, and was stationed in Valencia, Italy.

Since the attack last month, Gobble has been in rehab in Europe. He suffered shrapnel wounds when a grenade exploded nearby.

Gobble, a 2001 graduate of East Davidson High School, joined the army immediately following high school.

Haw River native, Specialist Pruitt Rainey, was killed in the attack along with eight other soldiers.

More coverage here:

Sgt. Matthew Gobble, a 24-year-old U.S. Army paratrooper and East Davidson High School graduate, was serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Wanat, Afghanistan, when he and a group of other American and Afghan troops were attacked by enemy forces July 13. Nine soldiers were killed in the attack, and several more were injured, including Gobble. One of the soldiers killed in the attack, Cpl. Pruitt A. Rainey, was from Haw River.

Since suffering the injuries, Gobble has been recovering at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, but he is coming home to Thomasville on Monday to see his mother, Sandra Gobble; father and stepmother, Mike and Marcia Gobble; grandmother Rene Gobble; and other family members. Family friends Alisha and James Dale want to make his homecoming a remarkable event that will let Gobble know how much his service and valor means to others.

“We want to line the streets with people waving flags and clapping for him to see as he travels to his mom’s home,” said Alisha Dale, who served in the U.S. Army for four years. [...]

The Dales ask that anyone who wants to participate in the coming-home celebration meet at the Big Chair in Thomasville at 9:30 p.m. Monday. Then they will spread out as long as the line will allow down Main Street toward National Highway. Gobble’s escorted motorcade is expected to travel from National Highway down Main Street.

In fact, his car at the airport will be met by the Patriot Guard Riders, a veterans’ group of motorcycle enthusiasts, and escorted to Thomasville, Alisha Dale said. Then a motorcade of Thomasville police officers will pick up the escort at the city limits and accompany Gobble to the Big Chair and bandstand.

Welcome home, Sergeant Gobble.


HOME: Some coverage of the homecoming here:

Thomasville - Sgt. Matthew Gobble survived hell in Afghanistan.

He came back home last night to streets lined with people waving American flags and holding signs bearing his name.

Just an hour before, Gobble had stepped off a plane at Piedmont Triad International Airport. Supporting himself with a crutch, he walked to the airport's public waiting area where his family and friends hugged him. His father, Mike Gobble was there with his stepmother, Marsha Gobble, and his mother, Sandra Gobble.

Later in Thomasville, Gobble walked to the gazebo in the middle of downtown without the crutch, smiling all the way.

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this type of support," he told the crowd.

Being in the military, he said, is often a thankless job, and it meant a lot to see how much people cared about him and the other soldiers who are still over in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I really appreciate it," he said. "I really do." [...]

Gobble is home for about a month and then heads out to join his unit in Vicenza, Italy. He hopes to sleep late, ride motorcycles and visit family and friends. As happy as he is to be home, he also mourns the deaths of the nine American soldiers, friends, he said, who had helped keep him alive.

As he stood in the gazebo and choked back tears, he asked the crowd to pause to remember them.

The cheers died down, for just a moment, before the hugs started back up, reminding Matthew Gobble that he was home.

Click the link for the whole thing, including a picture of Sgt Gobble hugging his grandfather. Yes, tears indeed.


MORE: Heh

"I am not going to lie," Gobble said, surrounded by friends and family. "I had butterflies in my stomach since I left Atlanta. I knew my family would all come, and I should have known they'd bring the whole town."

Follow this link for video.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Obama Foreign Policy

Jennifer Rubin at Contentions, commenting on Obama's initial "limp" reaction to the situation in Georgia:

The situation in Georgia is serious. The U.S. and the West are being tested: will we defend an ally and check Russian ambitions in the Caucasus?

[...] Contrary to the linked article, Obama’s initial limp comment is not in keeping with the White House’s position –President Bush has definitively told Russia to cease the attack. It is instructive that Obama takes such a ho-hum attitude to the invasion of a U.S. ally. You don’t have to be a partisan to see how serious the situation is and how inadequate Obama’s response is.

So what is ahead? Just as Iran went from being a “tiny” country and no real threat in The One’s mind to a serious and grave one, I see a flip-flop coming on this issue. I’m sure the Winnie-the-Pooh fellow and the rest of the 299 are thinking hard. Unfortunately, a candidate’s — or a president’s — first reaction to an international crisis is often critical and always telling.

Well, okay then, back to the Pooh thing it is...

Obama Foreign Policy


Barackrolled

From absentee at Red State, Barack Obama in all his glory:

But whatever you do, don't laugh.

Because that would be racist.

Windfall Profits Tax

We are coming around on the idea of a "windfall profits tax".

The extreme high price of gas is hurting consumers in ways that no one would have forseen even just one year ago. Families are being forced to cut back on driving, make hard choices at the grocery stores, and in some cases even go without some of the basic necessities just to make ends meet.

As a nation, we need to find ways to ease the burden on our families. We need to put aside the bickering and the divisiveness and find solutions that will bring real relief to the American people.

Senator Obama, despite promises to the contrary, has decided to forego public financing of his presidential campaign. His decision to do so is premised on the fact that he can raise more money outside the system than within it -- which will give him an advantage over his opponent.

Obama has repeatedly claimed that he is receiving a very large percentage of his donations from small contributors, surely those same people who are most hurting from the high cost of gas and food and other items.

Instead of relying upon the public financing system that has been set up to back presidential campaigns, Obama is running on the backs of ordinary Americans who are being forced to choose between food on their plates and an offering in Obama's collection plate.

That's why we are introducing the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Windfall Profits Tax Reform Act of 2008. The purpose of the bill is as follows:

Amends Federal Election Commission regulations to: (1) impose an excise tax on major party presidential campaigns for a percentage of the windfall profit from all excess funds raised; (2) allow an income tax rebate for all families in which at least one family member has voted in the last presidential election or current presidential primary, based upon windfall tax revenues, as determined by the FEC Commissioners; and, (3) define "windfall profit" as the excess campaign funds raised above the federal funding available.

"The relief would be delivered as quickly as possible to help families cope with the rising price of gasoline, food and other necessities." -- the Obama campaign.

Some will surely claim that this bill is nothing more than an attempt to take money from people who support Obama and allow it to end up in the hands of those who do not, even in some cases the hands of those who support John McCain.

The objection to redistributionist schemes is duly noted.

Therefore, we withdraw our bill from consideration.




FOR THE RECORD: We really don't object to Obama funding his campaign through private donations, and in fact would prefer all elections to be funded in such a manner. His lying about accepting public funding does bug us, but we've been lied to so many times by Obama, that this one is just another straw, long after the camel's back has been broken.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Obama came and went, but not until today did Hope arrive in Iraq

And Riley, too.

Sometimes the news of progress in Iraq begins here at home:

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Baghdad Zoo on Friday welcomed a pair of rare Bengal tiger cubs that were donated by a North Carolina animal sanctuary despite protests by animal rights activists.

The tigers — a male and a female named Riley and Hope — frolicked with red and blue balls in a wading pool and playfully wrestled with each other in their cage, while U.S. soldiers and journalists snapped pictures and delighted Iraqis strolled by.

The animals, which were donated by the North Carolina-based Conservators' Center, arrived Monday after being flown to Baghdad from the United States in a $66,000 trip funded by the U.S. Embassy and transported to the zoo by the U.S. military.

Like many other Iraqi institutions, the Baghdad Zoo is struggling to emerge from years of devastation amid the violence that followed the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and officials showed off the tigers as proof of progress.

"This is a good day for the tigers, the zoo and the people of Iraq," zoo director Adel Salman Mousa said at a news conference at the park in central Baghdad. [...]

The Conservators' Center, a nonprofit sanctuary and conservation breeding facility in Mebane, North Carolina, said it decided to send the tigers to Baghdad to help boost restoration efforts and education work at the zoo. [...]

Mousa also said he hoped to add more in the future to provide important educational opportunities for Iraqi youths. An elephant and a giraffe were at the top of his wish list. [...]

The zoo, which was established in 1973 and owned by Saddam's feared son, Odai, has enjoyed a revival with the recent decline in violence, boasting an average of 2,000-3,000 visitors on weekdays and 10,000 on the weekend, according to Mousa. That was up from about 120 per day in 2006, when sectarian attacks were pushing the country to the brink of civil war.

Ahmed al-Dairy, 38, brought his wife and three young sons to the zoo for the third time this year, saying it was the only decent public place to enjoy a day out in the heavily barricaded capital.

"Last year it was a very bad situation in Baghdad, but now it is good," he said, standing in front of a cage holding two lions that was adjacent to the tigers. "Still there are bombings, but we must adapt to this."

It really is all about the O

Via Extreme Mortman, this is titillatingly awesome, from the Huffington Post:

Barack Obama is inspiring us like a desert lover, a Washington Valentino. We who have felt apathetic, angry at two (likely) stolen elections, K-Street hegemony, the "pornography of the trivial"* in journalism and culture; we who are heartbroken over a war we knew was wrong, we who thought (especially after Baby Bush got in a 2nd time) that America got what it asked for; we who stopped wanting to participate 'cause it doesn't matter whether we do or don't; we have a crush. We're talking about it; we're getting involved, we're tuning in and turning out in numbers we haven't seen in ages. My musician friends and I are writing songs to inspire people and couples all over America are making love again and shouting "yes we can" as they climax!

Was it good for you?

Now, we simply can’t help but highlight this passage:

...it is quite possible that all the passion and revolutionary spirit being stoked by Senator Obama could turn into an equally powerful force of apathy and even rage. We who never felt like participating in the democratic process before (or when we did our votes were not counted), could end up feeling more disappointed and disenfranchised than ever. It's almost worse than never having cared at all. Beware the wrath of the forsaken lover.

Because we thought we had used this phrase for the last time:

“Hell hath no apathy like youthful romance scorned.”

But hey, we still like it and if the HuffPo author wants to reinforce our point,then oh yeah baby, it’s good for us.

See, that’s the beauty of the O – it really brings people together.

Obama: Free Kwame?

Obama hearts legally beleaguered Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick? Obama wearing a Free Kwame t-shirt:

Obama: Free Kwame

Then again, this has to be fake, right? Of course it's fake. Right?

Well, we'll leave it to the digital forensicists to make the authoritative determination, and will have to be content to state our strong position for now.

But. Reaching into the not-so-wayback machine, we do know that Obama was a big fan of Kwame's. This via Hot Air is a video of Obama from last May that we get from Right Michigan:




Thursday, August 7, 2008

Exxon-Obama

Via Jim Geraghty at Campaign Spot, we have this from Jake Tapper at ABC:

As we close up a week wherein Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, on the stump and in a TV ad accused rival Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., of being "in the pocket of big oil," and doing the industry's bidding -- not to mention a week during which the Democratic National Committee launched an Exxon-McCain '08 website to drive home this Democratic talking point -- the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics points out that the issue is a bit more complicated than it first would appear.

McCain has received three times more money from the oil industry in general -- $1.3 million for McCain compared to approximately $394,000 for Obama. But that said, Obama has received more campaign cash than McCain has from the employees of some of the biggest oil companies -- Exxon, Chevron and BP.

This might seem to complicate Obama's continual use of Exxon-Mobil on the stump.

Geraghty's post is titled:

Time to Create an Exxon-Obama SIte

Sorry we don't have time to create an entire site, but perhaps this will help...

Exxon-Obama

What's next, we find out that Obama is a puppet of Dick Cheney?


MORE: We had an actual point to make but forgot to do so at the time, rushing to get the logo posted. So we did so in a new post.