September 2008 Archives

There's more to come from Palin-Couric

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This line from Howard Kurtz has generated lots of pixels this morning.

And the worst may be yet to come for Palin; sources say CBS has two more responses on tape that will likely prove embarrassing.

Greg Sargent at TPMElectionCentral did the followup work:

The CBS source clarifies to me that these taped responses from Palin are not a part of the big trainwreck interview that aired last week.

Rather, the source says, in addition to the big interview, Couric also interviewed Palin as part of its Vice Presidential Questions series, in which the same questions were also posed to Joe Biden.

Couric's interviews with both Veep contenders will air on Wednesday and Thursday. I couldn't verify Kurtz's contention that Palin's answers will "likely prove embarrassing," but we now know that they will definitely air.

Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After "Obsession" DVD Hits Ohio

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This is so wrong. Babies and little children gassed at a mosque in Dayton, Ohio because some idiots have bought into the right-wing hatefest that's been exacerbated by the distribution of the "Obsession" DVD. Chris Rodda posted a diary that includes an email from a friend of his who stayed with a family whose children were gassed. They're terrified. And who can blame them.

The worst in America rears its ugly head.

UPDATE: Taz Man has posted about some ways in which we can respond to and support the people of the Dayton mosque.

Fresh Hot Lies: McCain & Palin's Pipeline to Doom

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Dengre has delivered another one of his incredible posts. Someone should hire this man as a journalist. He provides a level of research and analysis not often seen in much of today's media output.

Soldier's Mother "Ecstatic" about Obama's Bracelet

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Contrary to the chatter running around the right wing blogs and some news blogs, it seems that the mother of the soldier whose bracelet Obama wears was very pleased with his mention of her son during the debate on Friday night.

Good journalists take note. Do not quote ex-husbands. Check it with the actual source.

Kudos to the journalist who filed this AP story for doing the actual legwork on it.

Digg it up here ... try to counteract the four different posts that wingnut bloggers have pushed up on the Digg site.

James Fallows on strategy and tactics

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James Fallows has a very thoughtful post up about the debate and the campaign that captures some key points in a succinct way.

The disappearing Bradley effect

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Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium discusses a new study that indicates that the Bradley Effect may not actually be in effect anymore.


Now comes a large-scale empirical study (in preprint form) by Harvard political scientist Dan Hopkins. He finds that since the mid-1990s, the Bradley effect has disappeared. His paper is a must-read.

An unsung moment of the debate

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greenrose2 watched the debate a second time so that she could really focus on it. And she found this.

It came when Senator McCain was stumbling with Ahmadinejad's name. He was stumbling hard, almost unable to get the name or any semblance of it pronounced. Very quietly, but audibly Senator Obama can be heard saying something. In the first viewing, I knew he had said something there, but was unable to decipher exactly what he had said. In listening to the replay it's easy to hear his comment.

He quietly acknowledged to Senator McCain "That's a tough one." When I heard his remark, his gracious nod to the Senator's struggle to pronounce a very difficult name, his compassion for the man, I choked up. It humbled me. It made me briefly look inward, and feel lesser for originally maybe hoping that it was some cutting barb. And it showed him as a man greater than politics, greater for inspiring empathy and compassion for a fellow man.

Senator McCain's demeaning, belittling style in the debate has drawn criticism. Rightly so in my opinion. Some has been said of Senator Obama's gracious and respectful style, some even criticizing his style for not being more vicious, more attacking. But to me, the real measure of the man, not his "style", but who he is, came in that comment.

It was a very quiet statement. But what it said about Barack Obama is loud and clear.

This man is not only a great leader, he is a very good man.

Wall Street to GOP: Drop Dead

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Looks like the Wall Street crowd is going to be sending a message to McCain and the Republicans in November. Check out this email from a Wall Street money manager.

Kathleen Parker to Palin: Bow out for the good of your country

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You know Palin's lost it when Kathleen Parker of the National Review says:

Palin's recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League. [...]

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.

New & about-to-be ex-CEO of WaMu gets at least $19m for less than 3 weeks on the job

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From the NY Times via Matt Yglesias

My understanding is that even for the super-elite it normally takes a couple of months to wrack up tens of millions of dollars. But Alan Fishman gets the job done with super speed:

But the seizure and the deal with JPMorgan came as a shock to Washington Mutual's board, which was kept completely in the dark: the company's new chief executive, Alan H. Fishman, was in midair, flying from New York to Seattle at the time the deal was finally brokered, according to people briefed on the situation. Mr. Fishman, who has been on the job for less than three weeks, is eligible for $11.6 million in cash severance and will get to keep his $7.5 million signing bonus, according to an analysis by James F. Reda and Associates.

Gonzo's confusion clears - Bush implicated in Ashcroft hospital visit

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Murray Waas reports in The Atlantic that "sources say Alberto Gonzales now claims that President Bush personally directed him to John Ashcroft's hospital room in the infamous wiretap renewal incident--and that in another instance the President asked him to fabricate fictitious notes."

Remember how many times Gonzales couldn't recall anything when asked direct questions in his testimony before Congress? If you missed that or need a refresher, this diarist has more on the Waas article, some Washington Post input as well as background on Gonzales original testimony

Jeffrey Toobin IDs it correctly - "What suspension?"

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Jeffrey Toobin is exactly right. What campaign suspension? Combine this with the "He won the debate" ads gaffe and it is completely evident that the McCain campaign is playing this whole thing for what they desperately hope will be some advantage in the debate.



Running scared.

Aarrggghhh -- McCain's purely political stunt

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Someone slipped up or maybe, just maybe, they slipped up on purpose.

The McCain campaign had ads put out late yesterday that showed up on the internet early this morning declaring that McCain had won the debate. One of the ads includes a quote from his campaign manager, Rick Davis. And all this appeared before McCain announced that he would do the debate. There are screenshots of the ads including one that ran on the WSJ.com website.

Talk about cynical manipulation. He's messing with our country's economy all for the sake of giving himself some sort of edge in the debate.

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post has the details.

McCain Wins Debate

Although the fate of tonight's presidential debate in Mississippi remains very much up in the air, John McCain has apparently already won it -- if you believe an Internet ad an astute reader spotted next to this piece in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal this morning.

"McCain Wins Debate!" declares the ad which features a headshot of a smiling McCain with an American flag background. Another ad spotted by our eagle-eyed observer featured a quote from McCain campaign manager Rick Davis declaring: "McCain won the debate-- hands down."

Here's the screenshot.

Unbelievable. Talk about unstable.

"meandering off in fruitless pursuit of coherence"

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Every now and then, a journalist, in this case Ken Rainey, turns a phrase that is just exquisite. In his column titled "Palin talks to Couric -- and if she's lucky, few are listening", he starts by pointing out that "a global financial crisis and a not-quite-suspended presidential campaign" have been dominating the news. "Bad news for America. But good news for Sarah Palin."

Then he goes onto review her interview with Katie Couric.

Her third nationally televised interview, with CBS anchor Katie Couric, found Palin rambling, marginally responsive and even more adrift than during her network debut with ABC's Charles Gibson.

In a 40-minute session with Couric that aired Wednesday and Thursday nights, the Alaska governor defended her puzzling claim that geographic proximity makes her some sort of expert on Russia; went nearly blank when queried about McCain's achievements as a big-business regulator; agreed America "may find itself" on the road to another Great Depression; and, promoting a troop surge in Afghanistan, casually suggested that it "will lead us to victory there, as it has proven to have done in Iraq." [...]

Palin's unblinking certitude gave way at other times in the interview to a striking imprecision, as when she struggled to respond to Couric's suggestion that the $700-billion bailout might be better funneled through middle-class families instead of Wall Street firms.

"That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in . . ." Palin began, before meandering off in fruitless pursuit of coherence.

There it is. That lovely bit of word-smithing. Ken Rainey, you get The Wordsmith Award for today.

There's more commentary. [via]

E-Government reauthorization bill held up

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This doesn't appear to be a good development.

A Senate bill to reauthorize the eGovernment Act of 2002, which had been approved and was set for a floor vote, hit a sudden and unexpected snag that puts a number of government information technology initiatives on hold or in limbo.

The E-Government Reauthorization Act of 2007 (S-2321) was intended to extend appropriations and authorization for programs whose authorizations have expired and create new requirements for accessibility of government information. The programs would authorized through 2012. The bill also provided mandates to develop best practices to enhance privacy impact assessments.

It also provided mandates to develop best practices to enhance privacy impact assessments. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

However, a last minute bid by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to attach an amendment to the reauthorization act has stalled the bill, according to legislative and executive branch sources. And with the Senate due to adjourn, the bill will effectively die.

The amendment, sources said, placed controversial new requirements for protecting personal individual information and restrictions on data brokers. Efforts to move the amendment to another bill, proved unsuccessful, leading to a deadlock, sources said.

Privacy is good but so is online access to government transcripts and records. Sounds like it's time to urge Lieberman and Leahy to work out a compromise.

Way Cool - NYT's interactive panoramic photo of Obama at Invesco Field

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Just found this as a comment on another post. It's a panoramic interactive view of Obama's acceptance speech courtesy of the New York Times.

As kitty says,

Way Cool - check it out, you won't be sorry

The Power of Song

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I'd forgotten about this song but it's still true. We are the world.



Time to get out the vote. As Barack says, it's in our hands.

Josh parses McCain's motivation to postpone the debate correctly

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Josh Marshall nails McCain's motivation on his antics this afternoon concerning his campaign and the debate on Friday.

Let's state outright a few obvious points. Bringing the presidential candidates and their press entourages back to Capitol Hill won't speed or improve the process of coming up with a good bailout deal. It will politicize it. That's so transparently obvious that it barely requires stating. And of course that is the point.

By going public with his 'suspension' announcement as a breaking news statement McCain intended to make any agreement between the candidate impossible. Contrast that with Obama's campaign, which apparently tried to get both campaigns to agree on a common set of principles privately before going public. There's no logical reason there can't be a presidential debate while a bailout plan is being negotiated.

Finally, does anyone think that McCain would have come up with this gambit if his polls were where they were two weeks ago instead of where they are today? Of course, not. This isn't a reaction to the national financial crisis but to the McCain polling crisis. [...]

He's desperate and reckless. This is what it appears to be: political stunt dressed up as vainglorious self-sacrifice. In other words, typical John McCain.

Yep. Exactly right.

The 2008 Genius Award Winners

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The Macarthur Foundation has a Meet the Winners page up with profiles of the 2008 Genius grant award winners. Will Allen, the urban farmer from Milwaukee and the two grant award winners in their 70's, Nancy Siraisi and Jennifer Tipton, are standouts. Will for the inspirational aspect of his work and what he does on a daily basis. Nancy and Jennifer because they break the mold on must how young one must be to be considered. Here's the NPR story on the awards from Morning Edition. They interviewed Rachel Wilson, a neurobiologist, and Walter Kitundu, a composer and instrument inventor.

Congratulations to all.

Ex-Bush Adviser "John McCain Is Energy Illiterate."

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Bradford Plumer at TNR's The Vine blog excerpts Fortune Magazine's feature on Matt Simmons, a former advisor to Bush on oil and energy who helped write up Bush's 2000 energy plan. It seems that Mr. Simmons thinks very little of McCain's energy savvy.

From Fortune magazine via TNR:

"John McCain is energy illiterate," Simmons is saying. "He's just witless about this stuff. As a lifelong Republican, I'm supporting Obama." A dozen oil and gas men sitting around a conference table in Lafayette, La., chuckle nervously as he continues. "McCain says, 'Oh, we're going to wean ourselves off foreign oil in four years and build 45 nuclear plants by 2030.' He doesn't have a clue."...

McCain's midsummer move to begin campaigning on a platform of more offshore drilling has only hardened Simmons's position. "What a hypocrite," says Simmons, who supported McCain's rival Mitt Romney in the primary - no surprise given Simmons's history with the Romney family. "Here's a man who for at least the past 15 years has strenuously, I mean strenuously, opposed offshore drilling. And now it's 'drill, drill, drill.' And he doesn't have any idea that we don't have any drilling rigs. Or that we don't have any idea of exactly where to drill." (As for McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, Simmons says: "She's a very colorful person, but I don't think there's a scrap of evidence that she knows anything about energy.")

Brad Delong: Check the Charts - Dems better for economy

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Economist Brad Delong has some very interesting charts that point out how much better the Democrats have been at managing our nation's finances than Republicans despite their claims to the contrary.

Sidenote: Do scroll down past the obnoxious giant blue box header to see the actual post.

Fin Times: Bailout as designed won't work - there are alternatives

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Martin Wolf of the Financial Times makes the argument that the bailout as designed won't work and that there is alternative action that's more desirable. The last seven paragraphs contain the heart of his argument. He makes a lot of sense.

McCain campaign ghost-writes letters to the editor

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Every time I think that the news about the moral bankruptcy of the McCain campaign can't get much worse, I find myself shaking my head over yet another maneuver that reveals just how cynical it is. The short version is "They lie".

A Dutch journalist, Margriet Oostveen, volunteered at the McCain campaign in Arlington, VA and joined 5 other volunteers in ghost-writing letters to the editor praising McCain and Palin. She "twice explained to different workers in the Arlington campaign office that she might be using her experiences as a volunteer in her columns for the NRC Handelsblad." The Dutch version of her column is here. Salon.com brings us the English translation. Ms. Oostveen tells about her ghost-writing here and offers up the examples that she was given in her "training" here.

Lesson of the day: You can't believe ANYTHING the McCain campaign or other people say about McCain-Palin.

A Banker Calls Out the Culprits Who Caused the Crisis

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As someone who by his own account "owns both an investment bank and commercial banks, and also runs a hedge fund", Eric Hovde brings an insider's perspective to his WaPo op-ed. And he's quite specific in his finger-pointing.

And in my view, there's no need to look beyond Wall Street -- and the halls of power in Washington. The former has created the nightmare by chasing obscene profits, and the latter have allowed it to spread by not practicing the oversight that is the federal government's responsibility.

There's more.

What's al-Qaeda up to?

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Jeffrey Goldberg posts an interview he did with Steve Coll on what the inside buzz is about al-Qaeda and its activities in the run up to the election. It's not long but it is worth considering what else may be about to bubble up.

CNN's Campbell Brown rips McCain campaign for sexism

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Female CNN anchor Campbell Brown calls out McCain campaign for sexism in the way they're treating Sarah Palin. I've never seen anything quite like it. I agree with her. It's pretty amazing.

IHT: Toll at 53 in bombing of Pakistan Marriott

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Despite our focus on what's happening within our borders, there are things happening outside our borders worth paying attention to such as this bombing of the Marriott in Islamabad, an American-owned hotel that was "a favorite spot for foreigners and the Pakistani elite". It has become a target "at a time of growing anger in the Muslim nation over a wave of cross-border strikes on militant bases in Pakistan by U.S. forces in Afghanistan."

CNN Poll: Republicans responsible for bad economy

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It seems that Americans think that Republicans are responsible for the current economic mess by a 2 to 1 margin per this CNN poll.

In the new survey, released Monday afternoon, 47 percent of registered voters questioned say Republicans are more responsible for the problems currently facing financial institutions and the stock market, with 24 percent saying Democrats are more responsible. One in five of those polled blame both parties equally, and 8 percent say neither party is to blame.

Nice to know they've figured out who's been in control of the Congress since 1994 and the White House since 2000. When you hear someone like George Will refer to Reaganomics as trickle-down misery, you know the Republicans have lost their edge.

Billmon: Things Become More Serious

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It's scary as hell but Billmon has written it so that those of us who don't work in the financial industry can understand why those on the inside are holding their breath. Go read.

Balloon Juice: What's wrong with this picture?

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John Cole does his usual job in summing up just how screwed up it is that "conservatives" are asking for the biggest government handout in the history of the planet. Enjoy.

Mysterious Obama billboards in London

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What are they trying to sell in London? A London-based kossack blogs about some mysterious billboards showing up with just Obama's picture on them.

Sam Harris on Sarah Palin and Elitism

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Sam Harris says it just right in Newsweek for those of us who are unnerved by Sarah Palin:

What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents--and her supporters celebrate--the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. Watching her deny to Gibson that she had ever harbored the slightest doubt about her readiness to take command of the world's only superpower, one got the feeling that Palin would gladly assume any responsibility on earth:

"Governor Palin, are you ready at this moment to perform surgery on this child's brain?"

"Of course, Charlie. I have several boys of my own, and I'm an avid hunter."

"But governor, this is neurosurgery, and you have no training as a surgeon of any kind."

"That's just the point, Charlie. The American people want change in how we make medical decisions in this country. And when faced with a challenge, you cannot blink."

When did being smart and thoughtful become a liability in a politician? In a legislator? In a President or in this case, a Vice Presidential nominee?

I want someone wise enough to know that he (or she) doesn't know everything and isn't expected to make world-changing decisions in an instant with no input from others as to choices, possible outcomes and consequences.

Bloomberg: Obama, Not McCain, Shows Steady Hand in Crisis

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Bloomberg has weighed in on the candidates' response to the events of last week. And it seems that Obama has gained their praise.

McCain called Martin Feldstein, the well-known Republican economist and Reagan administration adviser, John Taylor of Stanford University, who served in President George W. Bush's Treasury and Carly Fiorina, once the chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co.

Obama called former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, and former Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.

It was a mismatch.

Feldstein, for all his intellect, was ineffective in the Reagan administration; then-White House deputy chief of staffDick Darman cut him out of important action. Volcker, first at the Treasury and then as chairman of the Federal Reserve, was a towering figure in every way.

Taylor is a well-regarded academic. In four years as undersecretary of the Treasury, he left few footprints. Summers, as both deputy secretary and secretary, left a lot.

Fiorina is smart and quick; to put it charitably, Rubin will forget more about financial markets than she'll ever know. [...]

Detached observers who watched [Obama] last week, especially in a Bloomberg Television interview, were taken by how conversant and comfortable he was on the subject, despite his thin record. Few detached observers came away with that impression watching the Arizona senator. [...]

Tellingly, three former SEC chairmen, a Democrat, Arthur Levitt, and two Republicans, David Ruder and Bill Donaldson, have endorsed Obama. Levitt is a board member of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Donaldson, who was tapped by Bush to head the SEC, says Obama called him last year about the financial-regulatory problems. He has never heard from McCain. [...]

On the financial crisis, last week belonged to Obama.

McCain Advisor got $30k a month for five years to lobby for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

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The New York Times talked to some former colleagues of Rick Davis, John McCain's right hand man and campaign manager. It seems that they were ticked off by the duplicity of a couple of McCain ads and wanted to set the record straight. And he got that job coming straight out of McCain's 2000 presidential bid. There's more. Go read.

Ethnic Cleansing's effect in Baghdad

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Matt Yglesias highlights a new UCLA study that quantifies the impact of ethnic cleansing in reducing the violence in Baghdad versus that of the alleged effectiveness of the surge. It supports what others have pointed out before.

Nate Silver on the Cellphone Effect: It's worth 2.2 points for Obama

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Nate Silver examines the major pollsters who've started including cell phones in their polling and compares the results with and without cellphones included in the mix. It seems that there's a significant difference in Obama's favor.

Six of the eight cellphone-friendly pollsters have had a Democratic (Obama) lean, and in several cases it has been substantial. On average, they had a house effect of Obama +2.3. By comparison, the control group had a house effect of Obama +0.1 (**), so this would imply that including a cellphone sample improves Obama's numbers by 2.2 points. (Or, framed more properly, failing to include cellphones hurts Obama's numbers by approximately 2 points).

All the details are here.

And congrats to fivethirtyeight.com for so quickly becoming a staple of internet browsing so quickly.

They want Mama to make it all better

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Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio goes on a righteous rant.




[via]

Hillary Clinton on Obama and Women's Issues

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Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton have a roundtable on women's issues that's critical for anyone interested in the challenges that face American women now and in the future to watch. What's also exceedingly clear is the depth of Hillary's commitment to and support of Obama. [via]



Joe and Hillary are both impressive in this one. It's long but it's worth it.

McCain disses Spain and Zapatero

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It's really quite extraordinary. John McCain evidently doesn't know that Spain is not in Latin America or that Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is Prime Minister of Spain. In either case, he pretty thoroughly insults a NATO ally which did support the US in Iraq, whether intentionally or unintentionally has yet to be figured out. TalkingPointsMemo started tracking it first here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

The interview was initially released translated into Spanish to be aired on the Spanish language radio station in Miami. Ultimately Radio Caracol Miami released the original recording of the interview which was done in English. You can hear for yourself just how badly McCain misses the point even though the reporter re-asks the same question 3 different ways giving McCain an opportunity to correct himself.



One more drip into the bucket of evidence that demonstrates McCain is so unprepared and unqualified to be president of the United States.

And now it's made the Washington Post as well in a post that points out that McCain's gaffe is causing some distress across the pond in Spain as well.

Why Elected Officials shouldn't use personal email for official business

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Well, it's a second reason. The first, of course, is that their communications about official business belongs on official channels of communication where it is secured and available to others for viewing when it is necessary to review what's happened on a given topic.

But onto the second reason. It seems Sarah Palin's Yahoo account got hacked. Serves her right for trying to evade record-keeping requirements a la Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and all the other apparatchiks in the Bush White House. And that's going to be a real can of worms to sort out.

McCain Lawyer Tries to Shut Down the Palin Ethics Probe

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Michael Isikoff appeared on Rachel Maddow's show last night to discuss the McCain campaign's efforts to shut down the investigation into her dismissal of Walter Monegan for failure to dismiss her ex-brother-in-law state trooper, all of which is otherwise known as Troopergate.



The Newsweek article that Michael refers to has more details on what's going on. As Rachel said, it sounds eerily reminiscent of the dirty tricks stuff that the Republicans pulled in Florida in 2000.

Economists for Obama

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Turns out that a bunch of economists who support Obama have put up a website/blog and it's got some very interesting goodies on it. It's in blog format so there's ongoing commentary but they also have some features in the sidebar like this one:

Obama Tax Policy and McCain Tax Policy Calculator

Check out the others from the list of Most Popular Posts

Attention wingers: This is what qualifying a source looks like

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It seems the bloggers in wingnut territory are getting wound up over a comment by Iraqi journalist Amir Taheri. Ahem .... TPMmuckraker demonstrates what qualifying a source looks like. It's something you should do before you go gonzo on a story.

But Taheri doesn't exactly have a reputation for care and precision in his work. In May 2006, he published an explosive story in the Post (since removed from the paper's site), as well as Canada's National Post, about an Iranian law that forced Jews to wear a yellow stripe, stoking fears of a second Nazi Germany. Only problem: it turned out to be a complete fabrication.

That turned out to be typical of Taheri's work. A 1989 review of Taheri's book, Nest of Spies: America's Journey to Disaster in Iran, written for The New Republic by noted Iranian scholar Shaul Bakhash and unearthed by TPMmuckraker in 2006, noted that Taheri "repeatedly refers us to books where the information cited does not exist," and is "capable of generalizations of breathtaking sweep and inaccuracy." According to Bakhash, "[Taheri's] interpretations of the documents are often egregiously inaccurate," and he "has trouble transcribing even the simplest information."

One Iraq scholar told TPMmuckraker after the false yellow-star report, referring to Taheri: "This is a person who doesn't have any credibility."

Doesn't exactly sound like a reliable source.

CSM's Patchwork Nation: The Best Election Map Ever

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Jeffrey Feldman found the Christian Science Monitor's Patchwork Nation interactive map and what a find it is. Read Jeff's description of how he used it to analyze what's happening in the election from an angle other than red state-blue state. And then check out the interactive map for yourself.

WSJ Op-Ed: Why Obama's Health Plan Is Better

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David M. Cutler, J. Bradford DeLong, and Ann Marie Marciarille explain in a WSJ op-ed why Barack Obama's health care plan is superior to that of John McCain, noting that under McCain's plan:

Those already sick are completely out of luck, as individual insurers are free to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Mr. McCain has proposed a high-risk pool for the very sick, but has not put forward the money to make it work.  [...]

The immediate consequences of the McCain plan are even worse. The McCain plan is a big tax increase on employers and workers. With the economy in recession, that's the last thing America's businesses need.

[via]

Military Spouses & Michelle Obama

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Michelle Obama spent some time talking with military spouses and it looks like it was a very interesting session.

Move aside Gore. Move aside Pickens. Google is at the Podium!

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Per A Siegel's thoroughly documented post, Google is weighing in on the "business means green" topic. If Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens didn't capture your attention, perhaps Google CEO Eric Schmidt might capture it with Google's energy plan.

Obama on Bloomberg TV

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Obama appeared on Bloomberg video to discuss the meltdown in the financial market. Seemed pretty comfortable fielding the questions. Bloomberg has put up three articles on Obama's response as well.

Obama Calls for Closer Scrutiny of Credit-Ratings Agencies

Obama Says Regulation Must `Catch Up' With Markets

Obama Turns to Rubin, McCain Taps Feldstein for Crisis Response


Cousin John, where did you go?

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John McCain's cousin notes the same thing that Sen. Kerry did at the DNC. Senator McCain has disappeared -- replaced by Candidate McCain. Looks like John isn't going to get the vote of his cousin's family.


"Alaska Women Reject Palin" Rally -- UPDATED

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It seems Sarah Palin failed to make the sale for a lot of her home state people. Check out some of the slogans on the signs at the largest protest rally ever held in Alaska in this blog post which also had a video report of the rally.

UPDATED: AKMuckraker at Mudflats went to the rally and posted about it and s/he has lots more pictures plus some video. Sounds like this was a really, really big deal in Alaska. Go read.

"Pit Bulls Make Poor Diplomats"
"Real Leaders don't have to cram for the interviews"
"Read my lipstick -- Vote for Obama"
McCain / Palin
Unstable / Unable

And do look for the "Hype" signs. We should see more of those around.

The next Great Depression?

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It's not fun but David Broder makes a good point in this one. With scuttlebutt going around that Lehman Brothers will fold tomorrow and Washington Mutual by next Friday and the Fannie & Freddie debacle and so much more waiting in the wings according to those who are knowledgeable, just when does this reality start to get discussed on mainstream TV and in the presidential campaign?

Leonard Pitts sums up the RNC Convention

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I ran across this a couple days ago, so, in the 'better late than never' category, check this out. Leonard Pitts nails the Republican use of lies and newspeak to turn our English language and democratic discourse into nonsense.

"We need change, all right. Change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington. We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington -- throw out the big-government liberals.'' -- Mitt Romney, Sept. 3, 2008

And then the gorilla run knee socks paint porno on the Cadillac. But school laughed and didn't we sing hats?

Ahem.

Maybe you wonder what the preceding gobbledygook means. I would ask which gobbledygook you mean: mine or Mitt Romney's? If he's allowed to spew nonsense and people act as if he's spoken intelligently, why can't I? If he gets to behave as if words no longer have objective meaning, why can't I?

I mean, baffle grab on the freak flake. Really.

There's more and if you appreciate the English language or our democratic discourse, you'll really appreciate his defense. Go read. [via]

Any theories?

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A friend shot this picture at an Obama rally in Pittsburgh, PA the day after the DNC convention.



Any theories on why "Church & Guns = Happiness"? I can't even imagine how one could think those 2 items go together or why they would be appropriate on top of a McCain sign other than to confirm right-wing lunacy.

Required Reading: Balloon Juice

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John Cole does such a good job on this.

The total national debt, as I write this, is $9,679,000,000,000.00 (nine and a half trillion).

The Budget for 2008 is close to $3,000,000,000,000.00 (three trillion).

Our budget deficit for this year is going to range in between $400-500,000,000,000.00 (four hundred to five hundred billion, give or take a few billion).

The total value of wasteful earmarks in 2008 (according to CAGW) will be approximately $18,000,000,000.00 (eighteen billion).

In other words, when McCain talks about earmarks, he is talking about 3% of our annual budget deficit, .6% of our annual budget, and a number too small to even report when discussing our national debt. Or, put another way, he is talking about two months in Iraq, something he wants to keep going indefinitely.

Not only are they lying about Palin's involvements with earmarks, they are just not being serious about the horrible economic problems we face. These are not serious people.

Go read the rest and watch the video.

Republican Retired USAF Major General backs Obama 100%

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Republican Retired USAF Major General Donald Loranger says it straight out here. Kudos to moblogic.tv for catching a great interview. [via]

I always find it interesting to stop and listen to "serious" Republicans talk about why they support Obama. Jim Leach and Susan Eisenhower are other Republicans / former Republicans worth listening to.

Citizen's update on Gustav relief effort -- it's not going so well

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Chigh stopped in at dkos to update us on what's happening with the delivery of relief to people impacted by hurricane Gustav and the story isn't a positive one. Unfortunately for Chigh and the others, the trad media seems to have moved on. Gustav and its impact isn't news anymore.

Go read.

TIME: Sarah Palin's Alaskonomics

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It's a must-read on just how Alaska under Governor Palin (and prior governors) has taken advantage of the Federal dole, much to the disadvantage of the citizens and taxpayers of the other 49 states. It appears that Alaskans think the rest of us are there to fund all their wishes and that they don't have to pay for them themselves. Alaskans pay taxes? Not if they can help it.

Scoring Secretary of State Seats for Dems

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The Center for Public Integrity highlights a group that I didn't know existed but I'm really glad that it does. It's called The Secretary of State Project and it's a 527 focused on the Secretary of State positions in key states. As CPI notes, "In many states, secretaries of state oversee voter registration, election rules, voting machines, and recounts." The SoS Project's goal is to protect against the dirty tricks that we saw in Ohio and Florida in past elections by supporting Democratic candidates in those offices. Something else to keep in mind when doling out your political dollars. [via]

UPDATE: And here's what having a Democratic Secretary of State does to protect the right to vote of the people of Ohio.


Matt Damon says what a lot of people are thinking

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Matt Damon is pretty freaked out about the Palin nomination and the concept that "just a hockey mom" could be negotiating with Vladimir Putin and have her finger on the nuclear button inside of a year. [via]

Don't be swept away by hype in the Palin campaign

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An op-ed by a journalism professor in the Christian Science Monitor admonishes the public and the press in Don't be swept away by hype in the Palin campaign.

Republicans have succeeded in turning the manipulation of myth into an art form. That's been evident this week as Rove protégé and Sen. John McCain's adviser Steve Schmidt has steadied the ship of Sarah Palin's rollout. First, he bullied the news media into submission. Then the campaign pushed an unrelenting portrayal of her as a maverick. [...]

The turnaround has been breathtaking.

Just over a week ago reporters disclosed that Palin is being investigated for allegedly trying to intimidate state officials into firing her estranged state trooper brother-in-law. Commentators raised sharp questions about her inexperience and poor vetting. Airwaves filled with idle - and sexist - speculation over whether a mother of five could handle the vice presidency.

But by Friday, an MSNBC commentator offered the breathy pronouncement that the McCain-Palin ticket "will be ahead in the polls by the end of the week." And on Sunday a long profile in The Washington Post pivoted on this sentence: "Of the many striking images of Palin - sportswoman, beauty queen, populist - in Alaska the most iconic is working mother, a perfectly coifed professional woman balancing public duties and child-rearing in a charismatic blur of multitasking."

He goes onto list three critical points in the relationship between the media, the public, the truth and the spinmeisters. Good reading.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown favors Obama

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Paul Waugh of the UK's Evening Standard writes that "Gordon Brown has broken with British convention and made clear that he favours Barack Obama as the next US President." [via]

In a departure from the usual self-denying ordinance of Prime Ministers past, Brown has written an article for The Monitor magazine in which he praises Obama's plans to get the US out of the housing slump.

Referring to the anxieties facing voters across the globe during the economic slowdown, he says:

"Around the world, it is progressive politicians who are grappling with these challenges....In the electrifying US Presidential campaign, it is the Democrats who are generating the ideas to help people through more difficult times. To help prevent people from losing their home, Barack Obama has proposed a Foreclosure Prevention Fund to increase emergency pre-foreclosure counselling, and help families facing repossession."

Americablog reader nabs first interview question with Sarah Palin

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Really. He did along with photos of his encounter with McCain and Palin during their photo op stop at a Mexican restaurant in Albuquerque, NM. He asked Sarah a question which she answered with a rather surprising answer. Check it out at Americablog.

John McCain reveals his reckless side

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Andrew Sullivan has a column in the UK's Sunday Times Online that strikes at the heart of what's not right about McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for VP and what it reveals about McCain.

Obama to Palin: 'Don't Mock the Constitution'

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Peter Slevin on The Trail blog at WaPo wrote about Obama's "impassioned defense of the Constitution and the rights of terrorism suspects tonight, striking back at one of the biggest applause lines in Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech to the GOP convention." It's well-written and very tough to excerpt so go read.

And here's the video if you to watch it as well.

EJ Dionne nails the McCain / Palin campaign

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EJ Dionne summed Sarah Palin up so accurately in his column today.

John McCain's campaign acknowledged this weekend that Sarah Palin is unprepared to be vice president or president of the United States.

Of course, McCain's people said no such thing. But their actions told you all you needed to know.

The Liberals' Track Record

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Bob Herbert does a masterful job of outlining what liberals have done for our country. Indeed, today's America would not exist if liberals had not stood up and taken the abuse heaped upon them by those who were afraid of change. Sarah Palin would not be on the ticket because she wouldn't have the right to vote.

It's a good one. Go read.

WSJ: McCain Lies again to American People

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I wrote earlier about John McCain and Sarah Palin lying to the American people about the Bridge to Nowhere. The Wall Street Journal identified another "contradiction" in their article about the Bridge to Nowhere lie. Most people would call it a lie. Evidently just not John McCain or any of his campaign people.

At a rally today, Sen. McCain again asserted that Sen. Obama has requested nearly a billion in earmarks. In fact, the Illinois senator requested $311 million last year, according to the Associated Press, and none this year. In comparison, Gov. Palin has requested $750 million in her two years as governor -- which the AP says is the largest per-capita request in the nation.

Again he's lying straight out to the American people when he must know that it's easily verified as a lie.

Is that honorable? Is that the kind of behavior you want in a President? Someone who's willing to lie to your face to get what he wants?

Palin: Laughably Ignorant

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You may have missed it this weekend while you were busy with all your other activities but Palin put her lack of experience and knowledge on display. Unfortunately for all of us citizens, her ignorance is in an area that's extremely important to most of us ... the economy and specifically, the housing and financial credit arena.

As TPM put it,

Over the weekend Gov. Palin said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had "gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers."

Only they're not even taxpayer funded. It's only the government takeover, which Sen. McCain supports, that could change that.

Laughably ignorant ... or is it weepingly ignorant?

Excellent Ad: Norm Coleman - Running Man

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The DSCC can take a bow for this ad. It's really sharp. [via]

James Carville brilliantly cuts to the chase!

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James Carville sums it up brilliantly on CNN:


"If you think what America needs is a tax cut for people making over half-a-million dollars a year then vote for McCain. If you think middle-class people are struggling - that their incomes are going down and they need help - vote for Obama."

[via]

Another Palin for President

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Just a little humor break.

Cholera prompts state of emergency in Iraq province

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There is news, serious news, outside the borders of the US and the never-ending political campaign. In this case per Reuters, there's cholera in Iraq. [via]

Biking with JK

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Seems a Gen-X pro biker with the Garmin Chipotle team had an unusual biking experience with John Kerry during the Democrat's get-together in Denver, Colorado. It's a fun read.

Judging John McCain's Temperament

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Here's a fairly complete round-up of incidents involving John McCain's inability to control his temper. All the instances have credible, multiple sources of news media reports and in some cases, video. Certainly adds a little perspective to the McCain temperament issue.

An Introduction to Jill Biden

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Muzikal203 has done a terrific profile of Jill Biden. Her personal story is just engaging and she's a tremendously accomplished woman. Check it out.

Joe Biden: The Silence is Deafening

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I wish I'd been there. Joe Biden is terrific in this video clip.



Transcript and more photoshere thanks to Al Rodgers

Registration Numbers Bad News for McCain Campaign

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LiberalYouth at dkos explains some good number crunching on registration numbers and the differences between 2004 and 2008 in some key states. And it's written so that a non-statistician can appreciate what's happening which is always a plus in my book.

Rupert Murdoch and Obama

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Michael Wolff has been following Rupert Murdoch around for months in preparation for writing a biography but we're fortunate enough to get an interesting article about the man who controls Fox, bought the Wall Street Journal and owns more media outlets than you ever dreamed of. Among the interesting tidbits, his newest wife is turning him into a liberal ... sort of.

Mr. Wolff recounts a very interesting secret meeting between Murdoch, Obama and Roger Ailes that happened in June. Maybe that's part of why Obama showed up on O'Reilly's show last night.

Lies at the RNC Convention

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There were so many of them, it's hard to know where to begin but this was an obvious one. Romney, he of the multi-multi-millionaire fortune, chastised Al Gore about his private jet.

Of course, Al doesn't own one. But Republicans never let mere facts get in the way of lieing on national television so they can get one more applause line for their base.

Republican congressman defends use of 'uppity'

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Put Representative Lynn Westmoreland in the 'how stupid does he think we are?' category.

The Georgia congressman called Barack and Michelle Obama "uppity" on Thursday. He was offered an opportunity to correct his word choice but chose to repeat it instead. USA Today has the audio clip if you want to hear it.

Today the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the phones rang off the hook in his office. He and his staff then offered the excuse that the congressman really meant they were elitists. They went on to assert that the southern congressman knew nothing of the history of the word as a part of a racial epithet directed at former slaves.

Right, and I have a Bridge to Nowhere Alaska to sell you Congressman.


Today's GOP and #41's Inaugural Address

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Someone on dkos dug up George H. W. Bush's 1989 Inaugural address. It sounds so different from the sarcasm, hate-mongering and lies that were dispensed from the podium at the 2008 RNC convention. This excerpt in particular struck me as out of tune with today's GOP.

A President is neither prince nor pope, and I don't seek a window on men's souls. In fact, I yearn for a greater tolerance, an easy-goingness about each other's attitudes and way of life.

[via]

Pondering Obama, McCain, Integrity

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One of Sully's readers has pondered the difference between the two candidates and notes a major character difference.

Senator McCain got replaced by Candidate McCain. .... One benefit of this long campaign is that it really does show a person's character. And I realized. We have two men running for president right now. One has stayed true to himself throughout despite all the pressure. The other really hasn't or maybe we've just seen what he really was all along.

Alert, Alert: 4,500-year-old ice shelf breaks away

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The news is grim and getting grimmer as far as climate change is concerned.

A chunk of ice shelf nearly the size of Manhattan has broken away from Ellesmere Island in Canada's northern Arctic ... Derek Mueller, an Arctic ice shelf specialist at Trent University in Ontario, told The Associated Press that the 4,500-year-old Markham Ice Shelf separated in early August and the 19-square-mile shelf is now adrift in the Arctic Ocean. Muller also said that two large sections of ice detached from the Serson Ice Shelf, shrinking that ice feature by 47 square miles -- or 60 percent -- and that the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf has also continued to break up, losing an additional eight square miles.

Muller reported last month that seven square miles of the 170-square-mile and 130-feet-thick Ward Hunt shelf had broken off.

This comes on the heels of unusual cracks in a northern Greenland glacier, rapid melting of a southern Greenland glacier, and a near record loss for Arctic sea ice this summer. And earlier this year a 160-square mile chunk of an Antarctic ice shelf disintegrated.

This is far faster than the IPCC report predicted. I have a sick powerless feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Nance Greggs: Okay, honestly, GOP, you've got to stop - you're killin' me!

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Nance Greggs just posted another one of her "special" posts at DU. Go have a good laugh.

Cindy's $300,000 outfit

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Cindy McCain and Laura Bush dressed up for company the other night at the RNC. Vanity Fair did some checking on their couturiers' prices and wow, Cindy's sure added up.

Talk about elitist.

FBI Wanted Obama Plotters Charged, But A Rove Appointee Said No

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Remember hearing about those 3 guys with high-powered rifles, one with a scope, and ammunition, etc. in Denver? It turns out they were serious about assassinating Obama last week. And the FBI wanted them charged for that. But ... wait for it ... political appointee US Attorney Troy Eid said no.

Payback to his buds for such a cushy job? Keeping Obama out of the headlines on that count and cutting off any sympathy vote that he might garner?

FireDogLake has the details from KUSA Channel 9 and The Washington Independent.

Sanity from one corner of the evangelical world

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Via Sully:

Some sanity here from Mark DeMoss, former chief of staff to Jerry Falwell and now a leading Christian public relations executive:

"Too many evangelicals and religious conservative are too preoccupied with values and faith and pay no attention to competence. We don't apply this approach to anything else in life, including choosing a pastor." Imagine, he said, if a church was searching for a pastor and the leadership was brought a candidate with great values but little experience. "They've been a pastor for two years at a church with 150 people but he shares our values, so we hired him to be pastor of our 5,000 person church? It wouldn't happen! We don't say, 'He shares our values, so let's hire him.' That's absurd. Yet we apply that to choosing presidents. It blows my mind."...

To be clear, DeMoss isn't saying Palin is unqualified. "The reality is, we don't know - and neither does McCain if he only met her once." The other Christian leaders who rallied around her didn't know much either. "I'm not hinting something's amiss but we don't know her and the people who gave her glowing response Friday didn't know. The euphoric rush to anoint without knowing -- it's a dangerous thing."

You can say that again.

They forgot to ask about plastic explosives on the vetting questionnaire

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This is weird and getting weirder by the minute. As Kagro X points out, the Brooks Brothers Republicans probably never thought of asking a potential VP candidate about about poaching, pregnant teenagers, militias, wacky third party activities, plastic explosives, or lay-away disputes with Wal-Mart on that 70-page questionnaire they had Sarah Palin fill out.

Now they have to deal with this. Yeah, that AIP party has real fun at their conventions.

Open Mike - Noonan and Murphy on Palin

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Gotta watch out when they forget to cut the mikes off and keep rolling the camera. The off-camera voices are Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan. [via]

Serious people agree on McCain's decision - UPDATED

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The NY Times editorial board agrees with me.

Mr. McCain's supporters are valiantly trying to argue that the selection was a bold stroke that shows their candidate is a risk-taking maverick who -- we can believe -- will change Washington. (Mr. Obama's call for change -- now "the change we need" -- has become all the rage in St. Paul.)

To us, it says the opposite. Mr. McCain's snap choice of Ms. Palin reflects his impulsive streak: a wild play that he made after conservative activists warned him that he would face an all-out revolt in the party if he chose who he really wanted -- Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

Why Mr. McCain would want to pander to right-wing activists -- who helped George W. Bush kill off his candidacy in the 2000 primaries in a particularly ugly way -- is baffling. Frankly, they have no place to go. Mr. McCain would have a lot more success demonstrating his independence, and his courage, if he stood up to them the way he did in 2000. [...]

To address those many problems, this country needs a leader with sound judgment and strong leadership skills. Choosing Ms. Palin raises serious questions about Mr. McCain's qualifications.

The Washington Post and LA Times think so too.

Ouch. I'll bet there are those in the Republican party who wish they could just have a do-over on the last week.

Obama's high-tech edge in presidential politics

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Republican Leslie Sanchez who worked in the Bush administration from 2001-2003 and author of "Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans Need Each Other" has written a column filled with hints of envy on how the Obama campaign's use of technology has put it on a whole new plane of existence.

If you haven't kept up or you don't get just why getting everyone in Invesco Field to text message last Thursday night was so important, I recommend you read this.


Jack Cafferty: Republicans in the land of make believe

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We all know how Jack Cafferty chimes in with his gruff voice on CNN. Well, he's chimed in with a column on the Republicans and their convention that puts some perspective on all the noisy goings-on this week.

Enjoy!

[via]

What vetting process?

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The NY Times confirms what we in the blogosphere knew last Saturday. McCain did not vet his VP pick. Judging by what's in this article, I did more research this weekend on Sarah Palin's background than the McCain campaign did prior to the announcement of her selection as McCain's running mate.


David Frum acknowledges Obama's qualifications

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David Frum does some truth-telling to the crowd at NRO. [via]

"Can we conservatives please stop kidding ourselves about Barack Obama's "qualifications"? Yes, if I had been a Democratic donor back in 2006, I'd sure worry about whether Barack Obama had what it took to be president. That was before he took on the toughest political operation in America, before he beat Bill and Hillary Clinton, before he won 18 million primary votes.

Obama's nomination was not handed to him. He fought hard for it and won against the odds. "Qualifications" predict achievement. Once you have achieved, it doesn't matter what your qualifications are. Who cares whether the guy who built a big company from nothing didn't have much of a resume when he started? But if you are applying to run a big company built by somebody else, the resume matters ...

The worst mistake in any fight is to under-estimate your opponent's abilities. Look what happened to the people who under-estimated Reagan. If conservatives are to have any hope in the coming weeks, we should wake up to the fact that we face in Barack Obama a formidable man, who appeals to something important and deep in the American electorate.


This is unusual - Dutch withdraw spy from Iran because of US bombing plans

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The UK paper The Telegraph reports that Dutch intelligence has withdrawn a 'highly successful' spy from Iran because they fear imminent bombing attacks by the US.

Oh dear. What don't we know that they know?

Regaining perspective

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The traditional media and the blogosphere have both been taken by the Sarah Palin story since Friday with little timeouts for news about the hurricanes and whether or not the RNC convention will be delayed or cancelled. Lovo sets us straight in a diary titled "I am angry":

There is a story about two rival stage actresses. They bickered that they could outdo each other until one said, "I can upstage you without even being on the stage." The second actress took the bet and that evening, she poured her soul into a long, dramatic monolgue. The audience was spellbound and she believed she'd won the bet. When she finished, the audience did not clap. As it turned out, the first actress, after speaking her short line, left a full glass of champagne hanging halfway off the edge of the table. The audience spent the entire monologue waiting to see if the glass would fall or not.

And this is where we are. Obama pouring his soul into his campaign and mccain making a joke as we watch to see if that glass will fall off the table.

I think he's got it right.

Howard Wolfson's conversion

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Howard Wolfson writes a moving piece on being a Clintonite in Denver and what Thursday night's gathering in Invesco stadium meant to him. [via]

Scarborough and Buchanan pan Palin - UPDATE - so did Rove

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It seems that just hours before John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his VP pick, Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan had an analysis session where they pointed out just how unqualified and wrong she would be as a VP. Of course, they're singing a different tune now. I assume they know just how ridiculous they sound.



It seems Karl Rove got in on the panning action as well when he stopped in at the Maine Republican delegation's breakfast and shared his thoughts about Sarah Palin, calling her "a risky choice for vice president for the Republicans".