Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Movie Star With A Brain

Do read Angelina Jolie's piece, Staying to Help in Iraq, in WaPo today. You would think that a high-profile star who's tied at the hip to the UN would return from Iraq with a scathing report on the US effort, but think again.

Her subject, as you probably know, is displaced Iraqis in Syria and Jordan, so she has plenty of oportunity to blame the US for their condition, but she does not. She recounts pledges she got out of Gen. David Petraeus and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and makes a plea for increased funding for the UN's humanitarian efforts with the refugees.

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and thought it was about to at the end, when I read:
As for the question of whether the surge is working ...
But she went on:
... I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental
organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt
to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go
home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in
Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian
progress they now feel is possible.
Jolie's language is careful and deliberate. Surrounded as she is by those who blithely say "withdraw now" as if there would be nothing but positive consequences of such action, she looks at the refugee situation and says:

Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced
people, in the heart of Middle East, won't explode in violent desperation,
sending the whole region into further disorder?
This is a realistic acknowledgement of the fact that poverty, lack of opportunity and disenfranchisement are the engines that feed jihad -- a simple notion for most of us, but one lost on the Hollywood Leftist Elite.

Jolie has removed herself from that crowd and proved herself not just a figurehead (despite, as we see, having both quite a figure and quite a head) ambassador, but a smart and powerful spokesperson.

Do you think the GOP could talk her into running for Prez in 2012?

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Wednesday's Winners

It's been a bit of a while since a Cheat-Seeking Missiles post made the big times at the Watcher of Weasel's weely festival of good e-stuff, but the drought is over. My peers on the Watcher's Council voted my entry, In A PC Nation, How Will The GOP Run? as the best post of the week.

The challenge the GOP will face this year running against all the "ists" that will be thrown at it is an intreguing subject for a message guy like me, and I'm grateful others found my musings interesting enough for a vote. If anyone knows the email address of McCain's communications guy, please forward it to him.

Two outstanding posts (both of which got votes from me) were tied for second.

Soccer Dad's Find the Adjectives presents a clever to fisking a story, since in straight reporting there should be precious few of these colorful little words. By focusing on the adjectives, SD was able to show just how biased an article on Palestinians and Israelis was. Guess which way the story tilted.

Wolf Howling's Obama (with links) & McCain's Petard is a must-read tutorial if you're not up on the intracacies of election law. The picture it paints of Obama is anything but one of a conciliator.

Over on the non-Council side, the winner is from a blog called My Shrapnel, named after some Islamist terrorist residue that's now inside an Israeli survivor of a suicide bombing. In this post, To Die in Jerusalem, Part II, the author confronts a filmmaker apologist for suicide bombers, showing the awesome power words can have.

Runner up went to an American Thinker post by Lance Fairchok, The Fierce Urgency of LiesThe Fierce Urgency of Lies, on a topic I've written about: The religious devotion of Obama supporters.

See all the winners here.

Thanks, as always, Watcher, for oiling the gears of this commentary machine.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Silent Sound Of Reporters Guffawing

Every once in a while you read a line in a news story, presented straightforwardly, cool, and oh, so reportorially, and you just know the reporter was slapping his knees and laughing out loud as he typed it.

Here's one such line:
There was no immediate comment from rebels to the PETA's letter.
Here's what leads up to it:
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - An international animal rights group called on Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers to "leave animals out" of the armed conflict, two weeks after a grenade attack blamed on rebels at the island's main zoo.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, said in a letter dated Feb. 15 to Velupillai Prabhakaran, the reclusive rebel leader, that "the explosive device that was set off near the zoo's bird enclosures terrified many animals at the zoo."

PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk pleaded with the rebel leader "to leave animals out of this conflict," the letter said.

Newkirk added that the group has been inundated by messages from people saddened by the attack.
Drum roll, please ...
There was no immediate comment from rebels to the PETA's letter.
Note that no birds were even killed in the Tamil Tiger attack; they just had their feathers ruffled. Yet the animal rights wing of the Lefty insane asylum -- which from the billboard appears to view terrorism as a big hoot -- is a-tizzy with outrage. Of course, they weren't particularly worried about dead people, just bothered birds.

PETA fans will remember that this is hardly the group's most egregious animals-over-people debacle. That came when in their protest to al-Aqsa TV -- the station that brought us Farfur, a character who resembled Mickey Mouse and advocated Palestinian attacks against Israelis until his poor little electrons were beaten to death by an actor depicted as an Israeli.

PETA got mad at the station because an actor verbally harassed some animals at a zoo as part of a show that was teaching children not to be cruel to animals! As I wrote at the time:
Apparently, PETA isn't antisemitic; if it were, and it didn't consider Jews to be fully human, it would rally for their protection. But thinking Jews mere humans, PETA finds itself admonishing the Palestinians for taunting some animals, but not admonishing them for blowing up buses filled with school kids.
Hat-tip: Jim

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Message Gaffe

You're a smart cookie; you'll figure out what massive message gaffe Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) has made even before MSNBC reporter Dan Abrams points it out.

C'mon, Jack, this is Messaging for Dummies, here. If you're going to say someone's got bad breath, you'd better use Listerine before opening your yap.

But before we pile too much on Kingston, be sure not to miss Abrams' great profession of patriotism when Kingston presses him on his own lapel flag-wearing habits:
I've worn one I think once in my life ... for something.
Maybe for a few minutes after the 9/11 attacks, Dan, before America got safe again?

Hat-tip: TPM via the Token Dem

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From CNN To The Taliban

This just in from CNN breaking news email services:
-- Britain's Prince Harry has been serving on the front line in Afghanistan, CNN confirms.
Gee ... I've heard that the Taliban and al-Qaeda monitor CNN. Did anyone at CNN headquarters think of that before rushing out this bit of news that in itself is not too newsworthy -- but sure would be if our enemy successfully exploited it?

CNN's idiocy notwithstanding, kudos to Prince Harry for being a real man in addition to a prince.

hat-tip: Jim

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This Is Change?

The powerhouse research team at C-SM has been working 24/7 to figure out what Barack Obama means when he says "change." Our grant money is about to run out, so the research department has been a bit hang-dog lately.

But that's all changed with this:

Obama staffer gave warning of NAFTA rhetoric News Staff

Barack Obama has ratcheted up his attacks on NAFTA, but a senior member of his campaign team told a Canadian official not to take his criticisms seriously, CTV News has learned.

Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have been critical of the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement over the course of the Democratic primaries, saying that the deal has cost U.S. workers' jobs.

Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama's campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

But Tuesday night in Ohio, where NAFTA is blamed for massive job losses, Obama said he would tell Canada and Mexico "that we will opt out unless we renegotiate the core labour and environmental standards."

It's suddenly clear -- and it confirms what our research staff, heck, the entire staff here at C-SM has felt all along: That with Obama, "change" means "changing what you say you believe today in order to get elected tomorrow."

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Another Day, Another $6 Billion

Clinging by her manicured nails to her life's calling, Hillary Clinton has decided to woo those who who previously supported the other candidate with manicured nails -- John Edwards. And she's following the formula Dems always use:

Other people's money = Your compassion

This time it's $6 billion a year for child poverty, on top of the $137 billion a year and $110 billion one-time stimulus she's already proposing in other programs.

Last time I checked, children in poverty were already covered by somewhere between 17 and 396 federal programs. But this new brainstorm from Hillary -- she cares about children, you know -- will give poor kids "greater access to healthy, fresh food." Why haven't we thought to put government in that business before?

There's probably a huge demographic of poor parents who want the government to provide their children with fresh strawberries and parsnips. Hopefully they all live in Ohio and Texas, and will switch their primary votes from that stingy Barrack "Give 'em canned food" Obama, thereby keeping the Dem's anguish alive a bit longer.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

But I Ramble ...

The Token Dem stopped by to lobby for a post about Hillary's whining in last night's debate ...
SEN. CLINTON: Well, can I just point out that in the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time. And I don't mind. I -- you know, I'll be happy to field them [Any husband knows to duck and immediately start backpedaling upon hearing "I don't mind" or "I'd be happy to ...."], but I do find it curious, and if anybody saw "Saturday Night Live," you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow. (Laughter, boos.) I just find it kind of curious that I keep getting the first question on all of these issues. But I'm happy [ditto] to answer it. (RCP)
... and I could say that because this campaign is about words, she shouldn't be using the words of Lorne Michaels and his writers. But I won't, because I'm fanatically pro-Hillary, at least until after the GOP and independent voters finish voting for her in Texas and Ohio,hopefully prolonging the Dem's excruciating pain and anguish.

I was more inclined to write about how Obamarama wiggled out of hard questions on what he'd do if we have to stay in Iraq should a deteriorating situation following the start of withdrawal demand it, but the guy is so polished that his wife probably doesn't even know when he's withdrawing and when he's not.

Which brings up Steven Colbert's limerick. After a lengthy pseudo-rant against the NYT for practicing "bad, bad journalism" as opposed to "good bad journalism" in its smear of McCain, he said the entire nine-page article could have been summed up "in a sonnet ... or better yet a limerick."
There once was a man named McCain
Who had the whole White House to gain
But he was quite a hobbyist
Of boning his lobbyist
So much for his oh-eight campaign
I believe the Senator issued a pretty darn firm denial regarding boning ... and for that matter, poking, plowing, porking, riding, jazzing, rocking, rolling, zig-zagging, nugging, rogering, balling, banging, humping, pillowing or scoring his lobbyist acquaintance.

And people wonder why conservatives are mad at Mike Huckabee for offering Colbert a podium for GOP-bashing.

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Wednesday Reading

Just scan these headlines, baby, and you'll know you've come to the right place! Normally, I couldn't give any of these to you for less than a few thou each, but since you're looking fine today, you can have all of 'em for free!

Council links:

  1. Mrs. Obama's ‘Proud’ Remark: It's the GOP's Fault
    The Colossus of Rhodey
  2. Packer on Iraq
    Done With Mirrors
  3. Unforced Errors
    The Glittering Eye
  4. Find the Adjectives
    Soccer Dad
  5. Obama (with links) & McCain's Petard
    Wolf Howling
  6. Associated Press, Like Others, Retails Malicious Rumor as "Reporting"
    Big Lizards
  7. In A PC Nation, How Will The GOP Run?
    Cheat Seeking Missiles
  8. The Pursuit of Happiness
    Bookworm Room
  9. John Murtha: Porker of the Year!
    The Education Wonks
  10. "I'd rather be with God against man than with man against God..."
  11. An Ethics Flap That Isn't
    Rhymes With Right
  12. Still At Risk: The Shocking Ignorance of Our Young
    Right Wing Nut House
Non-council links:
  1. The Dumbing of America
    The Washington Post
  2. Bobby Kennedy and Why Obama Unnerves Me
    Roger L. Simon
  3. Greece and Rome in Iraq
    Kings of War
  4. To Die in Jerusalem, Part II
    My Shrapnel
  5. The Democrats' Collective Cognitive Catatonia
    Dr. Sanity
  6. Clark Hoyt, Conscientious Objector
    Captain's Quarters
  7. DoD News Briefing with Col. James from Iraq
  8. Obama Logic Versus Racial Preferences
    National Journal
  9. 15 Years: The World Trade Center Bombing
    Michelle Malkin
  10. Guns in the Desert
    Michael J. Totten
  11. Hillary Is Losing
    Hillbilly White Trash
  12. The Fierce Urgency of Lies
    American Thinker
  13. Validating AGW Skepticism
    The QandO Blog
  14. Fox News Headline -- Video Gamers Leave Baby To Die
Members of the Watcher's Council will vote Thursday afternoon, and you'll see the winners here Friday morning.

Thanks, Watcher, for hanging the little plastic flags over the lot this morning!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Global Warming Update

This just in:


To: Citizens of the World

From: World Council of Deniers of Climate Change Deniers
Regarding: Do NOT Read This Story

Citizens of the world are hereby notified by the World Council of Deniers of Climate Change Deniers (WCDGWD, formerly the World Council of Deniers of Global Warming Deniers) that reading of the story Forget Global Warming: Welcome to the New Ice Age in The National Post must be avoided at all cost!

Climate Change Deniers have been known to surprise Citizens with copies of articles like these with out warning, exposing good Citizens to Climate Change Denial untruths! So that you may recognize this story and avoid exposure to it, we are copying excerpts from it it below.


Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

The ice is back.

Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year. ...

Climate Change Denier liars are quoted in the story falsely attributing global warming to ocean currents instead of SUVs, and supposing that sunspot levels are linked to weather. Sun spots! As if a white-hot, nearby orb 110 times larger than Earth could have any influence on our planet!

Of course, these theories are wrong because they fail to blame human progress for global climate change, and Citizens are to pretend they never read anything about these dangerous theories in this memo.

Your cooperation isn't just appreciated ... it is mandatory.

Hat-tip: Jim

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Protestants Soon "A Statistical Minority?"

America is and always has been dominantly a nation of Protestants. It was our faith that filled the Mayflower, Protestants who wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Throughout our history, the "mainly" of America in peace and war, business and government, has been Protestant.

That's why so much is being made of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey of 33,000 Americans that found those claiming to be Protestant now make up just 51% of the population.

There are only two other affiliations that make up a significant amount of America's religion (or lack of it): Catholics with 24% and "unaffiliated" with 16%. Add up mainline, evangelical, Black churches, and you get 51%.

Jews are 1.7%, equal to Mormons, and Muslims at 0.6%, on a par with Hindus and Jehovah's Witnesses.

The sensationalism of the survey is due in part to its breaking out of Protestants as separate from Christians. If you tally all the Christian faiths (yes, we're counting the Mormons in there), you find that America is very much a nation of Christians -- over two in three Americans, 78.4%, profess faith in Christ. Throw in the Jews, and you have 80.1% hewing to Judeo-Christian values.

Not surprising, given the aggressive promotion of secularism in schools, is the growth of the Church of Unaffiliated:
Overall, 7.3% of the adult population says they were unaffiliated with any particular religion as a child. Today, however, 16.1% of adults say they are unaffiliated, a net increase of 8.8 percentage points.
Stated another way, in a single generation, the amount of people who have no tie to church -- or, presumably to the Judeo-Christian values upon which are society is founded -- has more than doubled. If it doubles again in another generation, there will be as many unaffiliateds as Catholics.

(Catholics, by the way, are suffering large losses among those born in America, but are holding stead by a pretty good conversion rate and a huge influx of Latin American Catholics.)

All in all, the report is less sensational than the media coverage it's generating, like this from US News:

The first American colonists were Protestant, and for roughly four centuries their descendents, along with successive waves of Protestant immigrants, have been the country's dominant religious group.

But now Protestants are on the verge of becoming a statistical minority in the U.S., according a study released today.
We remain dramatically Christian, with many Christian churches enjoying healthy growth. It's just those Unaffiliateds that are giving my heartburn. Even without churches and preachers, they seem to be converting millions, depriving them of the joy of faith, and potentially altering the moral fiber of the country.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Obama And The Crooked Iraqi

It appears there's smarm aplenty in Barack Obama's new Camelot, as evidenced by this Times of London story from tomorrow's edition about Obama's dealings with an Iraqi billionaire who once worked for that other guy with "Hussein" in his name:

A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses.

The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.

A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin "Tony" Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.

Three weeks later, Mr Obama bought a house on the city's South Side while Mr Rezko's wife bought the garden plot next door from the same seller on the same day, June 15.

What is Auchi, who lives in London, doing giving money to Obama? To determine who he is, don't spend much time on the Wikipedia entry on him, which was obviously placed by his PR minions, with passages like:

In recognition of Nadhmi Auchi's extensive business, charitable and humanitarian activities across the world, numerous awards and honorary positions have been bestowed on him, including a number of Royal and State decorations.
But even so, there are things to be gleaned from the entry. Most interestingly, he worked for Saddam Hussein's Ministry of Oil before setting up his own company, intriguingly based in the laissez faire business back room of Luxembourg. He is also the longstanding president of the Anglo-Arab Organisation (the link is to a Web site that's under construction). At one A-AO event, he said:
“What is happening in the Middle East is not acceptable or justified in any way, and I would like to appeal here from this stage to all international government which have influences in the Middle East to gather and stop this bloodshed and massacre."
Massacre? Is he talking about how Arabs are massacring innocent Israelis with their suicide vests? Well ...
“Dialogue is the only way that can get us together out of this problem. We reiterate our role as an organization in building the dialogue bridges between Arab and Moslems on one side, and Britain, Europe and the West in general on the other side”.
Notice who's missing from the dialog? There appears to be no room for Israel in the thinking of this man who extended such largess to a certain Chicago politician with a Muslim name (even though we know he's a Christian!).

Oh, and then there's little note at the bottom of the Wiki that has thus far escaped scrubbing by Auchi's minions:
Auchi has been convicted of fraud in France. Several US political fundraisers are currently on trial for corruption in connection with loans received from Auchi. Auchi is currently barred from entering the US by the state department as an undesirable alien.
The entry is sourced to this St. Louis Today news item about Auchi's gifts to Illinois' Dem Gov. Rod Blagojevich, via Blagojevich's federally indicted fundraiser Christopher Kelly.

Back across the pond, The Guardian has a piece that rails against Auchi so strenuously it's earned a notice at the top that says Auchi "disputes the contents of the article below and requests that it is not relied upon as an accurate source of information about him."

That blurb was obviously placed as a result of threats from Auchi's attorneys. No wonder. Here's the lead:
[Auchi] was charged in the 1950s with being an accomplice of Saddam Hussein, when the future tyrant was acquiring his taste for blood. He was investigated in the 1980s for his part in alleged bribes to the fabulously corrupt leaders of post-war Italy. In the 1990s, the Belgium Ambassador to Luxembourg claimed that Auchi's bank held money Saddam and Colonel Gadaffi had stolen from their luckless peoples. In 2002, officers from the Serious Fraud Squad raided the offices of one of Auchi's drug companies as part of an investigation of what is alleged to be the biggest swindle ever of the NHS. With allegations, albeit unproven, like these hanging over him, wouldn't you think that British MPs would have the sense to stay away?
Wouldn't state senators from Illinois who are now bucking for a seat in the Oval Office also have the sense to stay away? Apparently not.

We should be hearing a lot more about Obama's anti-Israel, Arab, former Saddam Hussein employee benefactor. We should. Let's see if the New York Times, so quick to smear McCain, will pick up this story.

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In A PC Nation, How Will The GOP Run?

As the Dems are all too eager to tell us, this election is about change: We'll either have a black or a woman running from president -- and that changes everything for the GOP, setting up what will be the most difficult campaign to message in the GOP's history.

If Bill Clinton gets charged with using dirty, racial politics for calling an Obama position a "fairy tale," how in the world will serious questions be raised by McCain, old white guy that he is?

And with Cindy, his cute, blond, prototypical political wife by his side, how will McCain take on She Who Does Not Bake Cookies without being vilified for representing glass ceilings and old boys clubs?

Even if there were a line fine enough to appease the keepers of political correctness in the black, feminist and media communities, and there's not, the GOP will be charged with crossing it. There is no way the GOP can get to November without being called every "ist" in the book.

Because I make my living off of messaging strategies, I've been turning this problem over in my mind for about a month now. This morning, I see from Politico that I've not been alone:
Top Republican strategists are working on plans to protect the GOP from charges of racism or sexism in the general election, as they prepare for a presidential campaign against the first ever African-American or female Democratic nominee.

The Republican National Committee has commissioned polling and focus groups to determine the boundaries of attacking a minority or female candidate, according to people involved. The secretive effort underscores the enormous risk senior GOP operatives see for a party often criticized for its insensitivity to minorities in campaigns dating back to the 1960s.
(If you want a glimpse on the Left's take on the GOP's dilemma, which is both obscene and predictable, read the comments to this Kos post. hat-tip Jim)

Politico quotes Jack Kemp, who's always been a pretty on-point message guy, saying:
“You can’t run against Barack Obama the way you could run against Bill Clinton, Al Gore or John Kerry. Being an African American at the top of the ticket, if he makes it, is such a great statement about the country. Obviously you have to be sensitive to issues that affect urban America. …You have to be careful.”
"Urban America?" Ooops! Kemp has been caught placing all blacks in urban settings, turning his back on decades of upward mobility which has seen blacks move to the suburbs in comfortable numbers. See how impossible this is?

The fact of the matter is, the GOP effort cannot be about, as Politico said, protecting the GOP from charges of racism or sexism. Those charges will come no matter what, so while it's important to prep messaging in order to avoid or reduce charges of racism in the campaign ahead, it's more important to develop a strategy for responding to those inevitable charges.

This will not be easy, which is why this passage troubled me considerably:
The McCain camp is only beginning to explore this dilemma, aides said.

McCain’s strategic team still lacks survey research on either of their likely opponents in the general election, inhibiting their capacity “to discuss it intelligently,” a top adviser said. The campaign is currently occupied with “getting our act together structurally.”

“But my basic thought on it is that McCain is not much of a negative campaigner anyhow,” the advisor said. “When he does get into debates with people it’s on issues, substance. So I don’t think we are going to have to train our candidate not to insult people.”
How could they not have started working on this? The nomination's been tied up since Romney stepped out, so they've lost several valuable weeks that should have been spent researching and planning.

The excuse that McCain is "not much of a negative campaigner" shows the advisor is minimizing what the GOP will be up against. This will not be about how McCain campaigns; it will be about how he, his running mate and every GOP candidate and spokesperson will be scrutinized by the race- and sex-card players for anything that can be called a gaffe, and how those gaffes, alleged gaffes, false gaffes and made-up gaffes will be used by the Dems.

Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway has a good take on it: You can't allow the GOP to be "Macaca-ed." That means two things: First, you can't use words like "Macaca." And more important, you can't let any charges that you're a racist or a sexist stand.

You also can't look uncomfortable searching for the correctly PC word, especially if you're John McCain. When he's uncomfortable, he really looks uncomfortable, and in this case, that telegraphs that he's searching for an acceptable way to cover up his true (read: racist/sexist) feelings.

The correct vocabulary has to be memorized and drilled until McCain and those campaigning for him can instantaneously come up with the right word for the moment with a natural ease that reflects molecular-level comfort with the subject.

Race-card playing race-baiters (or sex-card playing fem-baiters) cannot be allowed to enjoy the immunity that's been extended to Jesse Jackson, the Irreverent Sharpton, or the flock of feminists. Perpetrators of such baiting need to be shut down in language that appeals to GOP and independent voters; forget appeasing the Dems. Here's a first take on such a message:
"This is a defining moment for [race/women] in America, and we all must stand up to those who are playing the tired and empty [race/feminism] card, trying desperately to cling to an America that simply is no more. I am sick of people who want to shame America and embarrass it globally for the sake of their selfish power. I will not allow them to redirect this campaign to the past when I am looking to the future, and neither should you. Tell them you're done with the dirty politics of division."
And if a Macaca-like phrase ever slips a lip, the only credible response is to laugh, say "oops," and go to message: I am sick of people who want to shame America ....

It's not going to be easy; in fact, the road ahead would be a challenge even to an eloquent campaigner like Ronald Reagan. I'm not sure if McCain is up to the task. Ironically, Mike Huckabee, whose campaign has turned me off even though we're spiritual kin, is someone who could handle this message deck with ease.

There may be a place for him on this ticket after all -- a thought I had rejected for strictly political reasons until I began this analysis. Bringing evangelicals to the ticket didn't strike me as enough of a plus on its own, but bringing a good sense of humor and the ability to breeze through difficult messaging is a real plus.

Except that he's a white guy.

This is going to be tough.

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Expensive Promises

Have you ever thought about adding up all the Dem Prez candidate fiscal promises?

Yeah, I know. It's an intimidating thought and a daunting task. The fear of the hours it would take have kept me from doing it, but today USA Today bites off the big pieces and asks the question: Who's going to pay for all this.

First, Hillary's promises:
That's $137 billion in new government expense annually and a $110 billion one-time stimulus program -- and those are just the high-profile programs that, if elected, Clinton would ask a Democratic candidate to pass.

Over at Obamarama, he's got the following new big hand-outs lined up:
That's $197 billion in new spending programs for Mr. Happy's top programs, which proves it costs $60 billion more a year to be a completely out-of-touch Democratic televangelist than it cost to be a typical tax-and-spend Democrat.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dreamy Speak

Got to hand it to Bill's better lesser other half; she pretty much reflected my viewpoint on the show that's known as Obamarama. Speaking in Rhode Island, she said:
"I could just stand up here and say 'Let's just get everybody together, let's get unified.' The sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect."
The sad thing is, a lot of Dems will hear/read that and wonder why she's acknowledging what they've come to believe about the Tan Man with the Golden Voice.

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Sunday Scan


Joy around the GOP political campfires is muted on the news that Ralph "Upchuck" Nader is in the race, because as I said a couple days back:
It would be nice if a Nader run would steal votes from the Demobama candidate and seal the deal for the GOP, but just put the sour, dour, fatalistic Nader up against the Man With Hope and you can see that a Nader campaign will be utterly without consequence.
The Dem responses to Nader's announcements were interesting, per AP: Obama lied and talked nice; Hillary didn't lie and told it as it was:
Obama, promoting his specious persona of the man who brings people together: "In many ways he is a heroic figure and I don't mean to diminish him."

Hillary, being transparently Clintonesque: "A passing fancy."
I run into Nader-like people all the time in my work; they are, basically, my consistent opponents. They fight change and progress, because they are utterly distrustful of corporations, and just as distrustful of government, which they see as sold out to the corporations.

Sounds like perfect model for a president from Hell, eh?

Imagine That!

60 Minutes is doing a Karl Rove expose tonight. Libs are giddy in anticipation: "This piece will undoubtedly be worth watching," says Glenn Greenwald. Here's the jist of the story:
A former Republican campaign worker claims that President Bush's former top political adviser, Karl Rove, asked her to find evidence that the Democratic governor of Alabama at the time was cheating on his wife, according to an upcoming broadcast of "60 Minutes." (AP)
Hold the presses! A political campaign operative looking for goods on a member of the other party! The only reason this story is being covered at all is because the subject is Karl Rove, and the BDS-sufferers in the media frequently show symptoms of Rove Derangement Syndrome as a side effect of BDS.

That said, stories like this are why I'm a public affairs guy who doesn't do political campaigns.

Most Ridiculous?

I've found a post I'm considering including in this year's competition for Most Ridiculous Post of the Year. It's from Chris Floyd Online, and it's called Empire and Burlesque: Permanent Bases Rise While Public Gawks at Geeks.

I complement the writer on a well-written piece, bringing us up to the cliff of his torrid anti-Americanism through a discussion of the remaining 2008 candidates as chicken-chomping carnival geeks ... but I fear him as a man so obsessed with America as evil that he can't recognize true evil when he sees it. In that, he reflects the thinking of the Left quite accurately, so it's a piece worth reading ... even if it sets your teeth on edge with passages like this:
It is also obvious – albeit far less openly acknowledged – that these policies are themselves a form of terrorism: state terrorism, on a massive scale, which has already killed at least a million people in Iraq alone.
Besides overstating Iraqi war fatalities by four-fold, Floyd manages to call us the terrorists of the world. Perhaps Floyd will join the geeks voting for Nader.

Military and Corporations? Puh-leeze!

With Nader and the rabid Left blog post noted above, there's been a bit of an anti-corporate theme today, tied at the ankle in a global three-legged race with the companion anti-military theme.

So a quote like this, from Thomas P.M. Barnett's weekly column, must drive Nader and Floyd nuts:
Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command, says the role of the military is largely to buy breathing space for better, nonmilitary solutions to emerge. That's something America needs to remember as we work the Middle East in this long war: The lasting solutions will arrive wearing business suits, not desert cammies.
Specifically, Barnett is talking about FDI in MENA, or Foreign Direct Investment in the Middle East/North Africa region. FDI is "sticky money," in that investments in business and infrastructure create long-term benefits of jobs and income -- which is particularly important in the MENA region, where idle hands can lead to terrorism. Look at Jordan as an example:

... I can't help but be struck by what a huge difference America's 2001 free-trade agreement with Jordan has made in that country's future.

Jordan is the size of Indiana, where I currently reside, and it possesses approximately the same population. The big difference is that Indiana is full of arable land, so agriculture is big here. In Jordan, only 3 percent of the land can be farmed, so 85 percent of Jordan's GDP originates in the service sector. If you're a small, resource-poor and service-heavy economy, the only way you can really grow is to super-connect with the global economy - the Israeli model.

This is where America's free-trade agreement, along with King Abdullah II's ongoing trade liberalization and economic reforms, has dramatically brightened Jordan's prospects. That agreement, along with a similar one concluded with the European Union in 2002, allows Jordan to serve as regional gateway to more than three-quarters of a billion consumers with disposable income.

Jordanian exports to America have skyrocketed since the treaty went into effect, increasingly 14-fold since 2000. The kingdom, which attracted $50 million of FDI annually in the late 1990s, pulled in roughly 36 times that amount last year.
Jordan still has 30 percent unemployment, but by Middle East standards, that's not all that bad, and it's moving in the right direction.

Wow. The U.S. military for temporary stability and corporate investments for long-term stability -- what a nightmare for the Lefties!

Speaking Of The Military/Industrial Complex ...

Right on cue, I came across a briefing out of Iraq that underscores the way the U.S. military buys time for home team to build up its security and economy. Speaking is Colonel Tom James, the commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division:
The brigade combat team also conducts numerous operations focused on extremists and criminals over the past two and a half months. In December we conducted Operation Marne Roundup, a successful combined operation to clear AQI in the Euphrates River Valley west of Iskandariyah, in the vicinity of the town of Khidr. During the operation and with assistance of SOIs, or Sons of Iraq, and local citizens, we killed approximately 18 extremists, captured 25, found and cleared 51 IEDs, and found and cleared 43 caches. We established Patrol Base Kelsey, named after a soldier that gave his life during this offensive operation.

Since we established the patrol base, 100 families have returned to their homes. We initiated numerous projects, to include rubble removal, school refurbishment and electricity repair, just to name a few. We also organized a local sheikh council to capture the needs of the people, as required.

Just south of Khidr is the town of Jurf al-Sakhr. Four months ago, it was a war zone dominated by extremists. It is now a secure community with positive governance and economic growth. An active police station and Sons of Iraq program secure the area, and over 40 businesses are growing, based on small-business education and microgrant stimulation.

This is a model community concept that will be adopted throughout our AO. Just the other day, I was at Jurf and witnessed a government-funded road crew paving a once war-ravaged street.

We continue relentless pursuit of the enemy and denying extremist sanctuaries throughout our AO. Over the past 83 days we conducted over 70 combined operations, both coalition and Iraqi security forces. We captured over 50 high-value enemy targets, cleared over 100 caches and cleared over 70 IEDs.

With the security window opened, we continue the exploitation phase, focused on governance and economics. We have an embedded reconstruction team resourced with governance and economics experts. Mr. Van Franken (sp), our EPRT leader, has a team, and as his team is an essential part of our brigade combat team, we include them in all operational planning and execution.

Under economics, they focus on developing small businesses, agricultural associations, poultry and fish farms and reconstruction projects. Under governance, they focus on local governance training, governance linkages and beladiya assistance, which are the public works and the essential services for the people.
Just another profile of the ruthless bloodsuckers who make up our military, eh?

Up against stories like this one, the rabid tirades against our military by the Left -- calling them fixated only on violence, and not smart enough for "real" work (like, oh, being a social worker on the government dole) -- just make me sick.

Pity The GM PR Guys

The GM PR department is going full-tilt on establishing GM's reputation as a green company -- not an easy task under the best of conditions -- so they must be reeling in light of this:
General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has defended remarks he made dismissing global warming as a "total crock of s---," saying his views had no bearing on GM's commitment to build environmentally friendly vehicles.

Lutz, GM's outspoken product development chief, has been under fire from Internet bloggers since last month when he was quoted as making the remark to reporters in Texas.

In a posting on his GM blog on Thursday, Lutz said those "spewing virtual vitriol" at him for minimizing the threat of climate change were "missing the big picture."

"What they should be doing in earnest is forming opinions, not about me but about GM and what this company is doing that is ... hugely beneficial to the causes they so enthusiastically claim to support," he said in a posting titled, "Talk About a Crock."
How about truth as a defense? Works for me.

Cat Haiku

I'm a dog guy, and this cat haiku just may explain why:
Humans are so strange.
Mine lies still in bed, then screams;
My claws are not that sharp.
Or this one:
The rule for today:
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.
For 13 more cat haiku, click here.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Campaign's Course Becoming Clear

The threads of the campaign are starting to weave ...

John McCain is now being portrayed as the Old Washington White Guy, as the NYT slime-piece on an alleged affair morphs into a story of his dealings with lobbyists.

The story, with McCain's staff first denying meetings with a TV station owner on an FCC matter, then having to admit that the meeting did exist, not only plays him up as just another typical "for sale" senator, but also attacks his carefully constructed political straight-shooter brand .

This is clearly the best course of attack on McCain, because with his decades of history in Washington, he is probably vulnerable to string of similar charges, and he will have difficulty brushing them off. That will take the focus off his military record, his stubborn stands against earmarks, and his greater qualifications for leadership during war.

The woof to this thread's warp is the rising anti-patriotism meme encircling the Obama camp, as evidenced by this AP story:
WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama's refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism.

Now Obama's wife, Michelle, has drawn their ire, too, for saying recently that she's really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.
That story, coming on the heels of yesterday's Politico story on Obama's relationship with Weather Underground terrorist bombers William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, is the perfect set-up for Obama. While McCain's record is long and out there for all to see, Obama is a mostly blank canvas that is going to be painted not just as weak, but also as Socialistic, radical and un-patriotic.

(Here's another such story, on Obama's woeful lack of understanding of the military, and his quick, unpatriotic assumption that the military is screwed up. Hat-tip to Jim.)

The right will rally around McCain, making them look forgiving of Washington shenanigans, and the left will rally around Obama, making them look just as unpatriotic as he.

Throw into this the difficulty McCain, an aging white man, will have confronting Obama, a young black man, and we have a general election campaign that will make the tempests of the primary season seem like spring breezes.

Hold on to your hats.

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Al-Sadr Decides Not To Take On Petraeus

Muqtada al-Sadr has decided he's not quite ready to re-engage in murder and chaos again in Iraq, saying his earlier threat to rescind his militia's cease-fire will be extended for another six months.

That brings the next deadline up in the heat of an Iraqi August, three months after Surge forces are to begin drawing down.

Even as al-Sadr announced the extension, mortars slammed into the Green Zone, apparently fired by Shi'a militia unhappy with the extension. Al-Sadr threatened to drop the cease-fire after U.S. and Iraqi forces began taking out rebellious Shi'a militias that were doing anything but ceasing firing. U.S. forces, while welcoming the extension, have made it clear that they have every intention of extinguishing violence from the renegades, so al-Sadr is in a position where he will be sitting back as U.S. and Iraqi forces take out terrorists once loyal to him.

It's clear he wants to appear to be a power broker and that the extension plays into that desire, but he also wants to be a strong man, and he appears to be losing that persona -- and the control it gave him over his militia -- as evidenced by this passage from WaPo's coverage:
[After al-Sadr's announcement], signs of discontent were visible. Some followers shook their heads and appeared frustrated as they left the mosque. Tears welled in the eyes of some militiamen from Diwaniyah, where Iraqi security forces have detained or displaced hundreds of Sadr followers amid allegations of abuse and torture.

"This is a huge shock," said Bassim Zain, 27, one of the militiamen from Diwaniyah. "We were expecting that Sayyid Moqtada will end the freeze in order to defend ourselves."

Another militiaman, Jassim Ali, 36, predicted that his comrades under pressure in Baghdad, Diwaniyah, Karbala and Basra "will be obliged to defend themselves. They will not be committed to this decision. This new decision will be an opportunity for the government and the occupiers who are against the Mahdi Army."
Even those still loyal to the John Belushi look-alike, are only loyal to a point:
Other senior militia leaders vowed to obey. "We wanted the freeze to be lifted, but we are obedient and loyal to Moqtada Sadr," said Laith al-Sadr, a Mahdi Army commander in the Shiite district of Sadr City in Baghdad. "We will be patient. We know this path is filled with oppression, but eventually there will be an end for everything."
Iraq is a land of high-stakes power plays, and the chubby cleric's toe-hold is getting more tenuous by the moment.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Guess The Insurgent

It's that age-old question: What are these folks are insurging about, what they're militanting over?

BANGKOK, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Two students and an official were wounded when suspected insurgents detonated a bomb at Yala Rajabhat University in Thailand's southern province of Yala on Friday morning.

A five-kilogram bomb was placed inside its Science and Technology Faculty and was detonated by remote control at around 10 a.m. (0300 GMT), according local newspaper the Nation's website.

The victims, all female, were rushed to Yala Center Hospital.

Kraisorn Sritrairat, dean of the university, was quoted as saying that police are still not sure who planted the bomb. However, he said he believes the attack must be staged by suspected militants.

Thailand's three southernmost provinces -- Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala have been troubled with insurgency-related violence which has claimed more than 2,800 people's lives since 2004.

Note that this report is from Xinhua, China's news agency. If we're to believe what officially atheistic China reports regarding its Muslim population, there are 26.4 million Muslims in the People's Republic, so we can see why Beijing doesn't want to rile the jihad set.

But anyone who's been tracing jihad over the last few years has had to track Indonesia, especially its southern provinces. As Global Security reports:
The 4-province area in the southern-most part of Thailand, which is populated mainly by Muslim Thais, has not been completely pacified. There are still some small groups of Islamic radical[s], which sometime resort to violent tactics in order to make their presence felt, are still posing problems to public safety in the south. The crack down on terrorist organizations, with connections to international terrorist groups like Al-Queda, may spill over into this sensitive area. The possibility of local Islamic radical groups in the south giving sanctuary or staging location for future attack to fellow neighboring or international factions cannot be totally discounted. It has been a concern among Thai and friendly countries. Authorities have known for quite some time that many Muslim Thai activists went overseas to Islamic schools, where they came under influence of hard-line teachers. Some were reported to have joined the jihad war against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan and returned to Thailand as extremists.
So I guess what they're insurging and militanting about, eh?

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B-2 Down

One of our 21 B-2 Stealth bombers has crashed near Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, and from the initial reports appears to have been destroyed. The Air Force reports both pilots successfully ejected and are in good condition, thank God.

What a shame to lose such a powerful and beautiful rarity.

Winners! Six-Word Slogans For America

I'll keep taking votes, but it's evident that we've identified our winning entries into the Cheat-Seeking Missiles Six-Word Slogans for America. Here! They! Are!

Runner-up for best serious slogan, entered by Dave Hardy:

People climb walls to come here.

And the best serious slogan, entered by Patrick:

Free markets, free speech, free society.

Now the runner-up for best humorous slogan -- A three way tie!
  • Someone has to be the grownup, entered by BA.
  • Because everywhere else pretty much sucks, entered by Jimmy Walnuts.
  • Knowing we don't live elsewhere? Priceless. Entered by Alan.
And the runaway winner for best humorous slogan, entered by Joe Y.:

Twenty million Mexicans can’t be wrong.

Thanks, everyone, for your entries and votes.

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Watcher's Winners

I almost nailed it this week, with three of my four picks in the Watcher's Council blog-fest winning just as I picked 'em. I'd have been more elated if my entry had won (I had high hopes!), but this is some good stuff:

Coming in first was Right Wing Nuthouse's Make Washington's Birthday a National Holiday Again. This was wonderful tale of history, with a point made evident by the title.

In second was my third-place pick, Wolf Howling's Iraqi Political Progress Leaves Few Places For The Left To Move The Target, which I blogged about earlier. I had picked Rhymes with Right's WWRD? , which was as good a succinct and convicting argument for all Republicans to support McCain as I’ve heard.

Over on the non-Council side, the winners were as I picked 'em, leading off with Michael Totten's The Dungeon of Fallujah, in which Totten paints word pictures of an Iraqi jail that make your head spin, then flips your perceptions by showing that the jail, bad as it is, is paradise compared to jail conditions and practices in Saddam Hussein's era.

Coming in second was my submittal, Israel Matzov's How Rachel Corrie Really Died (Hint: Not Protecting a House), which you may think is an old story, but his post is based on newly released film evidence.

I also highly, highly recommend Paperlicious' post, Dear Paperlicious -- Stamping and Politics, which is one of the funniest political satires I've read this entire campaign season.

See all the deserving winners here.

Thanks, as always, Watcher, for assembling this great ballot for our votes!


When Ego And Irrelevance Collide

How do you define someone whose moment has passed? Try this definition on for size:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Ralph Nader could be poised for another third party presidential campaign.

The consumer advocate will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday to announce whether he will launch another White House bid. Nader kicked off his 2004 presidential run on the show.

A spokesman for Nader did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Kevin Zeese, who was Nader's spokesman during the 2004 presidential race, but is no longer working for him, said Friday that Nader has been actively talking to "lots of people on all sorts of levels" about the possibility of making another run.

Zeese said he could only guess what Nader might do, but added: "Obviously, I don't think ("Meet the Press" host) Tim Russert would have him on for no reason."
Tell me the truth: When was the last time you even thought about Ralph Nader?

Heck, I walked by a Corvair a couple months ago and that didn't even trigger a memory. I did think of him momentarily when considering the impact of a Ron Paul third-party candidacy a few months back, but the thought was so irrelevant to 2008, it had less traction than a Corvair with bald tires in an oil spill.

So in this era of global Islamist threat, economic uncertainty ... sheesh, even global warming! ... what's ol' Ralphie been thinking about?
Last month, Nader began an exploratory presidential campaign and launched a Web site that promises to fight "corporate greed, corporate power, corporate control."
Oooh. That'll pack 'em into the polls!

It would be nice if a Nader run would steal votes from the Demobama candidate and seal the deal for the GOP, but just put the sour, dour, fatalistic Nader up against the Man With Hope and you can see that a Nader campaign will be utterly without consequence.

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Xeroxing Foolishness

Campaigns of late have seized at silliness and whipped it in their jaws like pitt bulls.

First (well, not first by any means, but first for this post), there was McCain's vacuous but oft-repeated claim that Romney support hard and fast milestones for departing Iraq. Anyone who read the Romney quote knew McCain was wrong, McCain knew he was wrong, but he refused to let it out of his grip.

Then, and on-going, there's Obama's mischaracterization of McCain's "100 years in Iraq" statement, which McCain should shut down by saying, "If a person can't tell the difference between having troops in combat and having an ongoing troop presence, they don't have the credentials to be commander in chief."

Now Hillary's at it again; her latest pitt bull moment a growl about plagiarism. Again, anyone who has heard Obama's explanation knows he wins the argument and has been winning it for a couple days now, but that didn't stop Hillary from raising it again last night.

As you look at the debate transcript below, you'll probably immediately be amazed at how much time was devoted to this non-issue. I certainly was.
MS. BROWN: I think -- I think one of the points that John King was alluding to in talking about some of Senator Clinton's comments is there has been a lot of attention lately on some of your speeches, that they're very similar to some of the speeches by your friend and supporter, Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts. And Senator Clinton's campaign has made a big issue of this. To be blunt, they've accused you of plagiarism.

SEN. OBAMA: Right.

MS. BROWN: How do you respond?

SEN. OBAMA: Well, look, the -- first of all, it's not a lot of speeches. There are two lines in speeches that I've been giving over the last couple of weeks. I've been campaigning now for the last two years. Deval is a national co-chairman of my campaign and suggested an argument that I share, that words are important, words matter, and the implication that they don't, I think, diminishes how important it is to speak to the American people directly about making America as good as its promise. And Barbara Jordan understood this as well as anybody.

Now, the notion that I had plagiarized from somebody who's one of my national co-chairs -- (laughter) -- who gave me the line and suggested that I use it, I think is silly. (Cheers, applause.)

And -- you know, but -- but -- but this is where we start getting into silly season in politics, and I think people start getting discouraged about it. (Cheers, applause.) They don't want -- what they want is, how are we going to create good jobs at good wages? How are we going to provide health care to the American people? How are we going to make sure that college is affordable?

So what I have been talking about in these speeches -- and I got to admit, some of them are pretty good -- (laughter, cheers, applause) ...

Terrific line there, BTW. Without sounding the least bit nasty, Obama drives home a spike to the heart: "Hillary, this is really about the fact that I can speak circles around you, isn't it?"
-- what I've been talking about is not just hope and not just inspiration; it's a $4,000 tuition credit for every student every year -- (cheers, applause) -- in exchange for national service so that college becomes more affordable. I've been talking about making sure that we change our tax code so that working families actually get relief. I have been talking about making sure that we bring an end to this war in Iraq so that we can start bringing our troops home and invest money here in the United States. (Applause.)

And so just to finish up, these are very specific, concrete, detailed proposals, many of them which I've been working on for years now. Senator Clinton has a fine record.

So do I. And I'm happy to have a debate on the issues, but what we shouldn't be spending time doing is tearing each other down. We should be spending time lifting the country up. (Cheers, applause.)

MS. BROWN: Senator Clinton, is it the silly season?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I think that if your candidacy is going to be about words, then they should be your own words. That's, I think, a very simple proposition. (Applause.) And you know -- you know, lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in; it's change you can Xerox. And I just don't think --

SEN. OBAMA: Oh, but that -- that's not what happened there --

SEN. CLINTON: No, but -- you know, but Barack, it is, because if -- you know, if you look -- (jeers from the audience) -- if you look -- if you look -- if you look at the YouTube of these videos, it does raise questions.

Clinton clearly lost the point, despite her well rehearsed and carefully crafted "Xerox" money line. You don't want your killer statement greeted by groans and boos, but that's what happened to her last night.

Perhaps Hillary has conceded that her campaign is not about words, because she's just been caught doing the same thing she's accusing Obama of, but in her non-verbal case, it's apparently OK. Talking Points Memo posted this gem last night:

[Bill] Clinton, 92: "The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits the people of this state and this country have been taking for a long time."

Hillary Clinton, tonight: "You know, the hits I’ve taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country."

I don't think she'll be raising the issue again.

Despite the stink of Clinton politics that Hillary just can't shake from her campaign, she won the debate in the last minutes, proving without mentioning Xerox that she is undoubtedly the better of the two candidates to turn to in troubled times. (Not as good as McCain, but better by far than Obama.)

MS. BROWN: We have time for just one final question and we thought we'd sort of end on a more philosophical question.

You've both spent a lot of time talking about leadership, about who's ready and who has the right judgment to lead if elected president.

And a leader's judgment is -- is most tested at times of crisis. And I'm wondering if both of you will describe what was a moment -- what was THE moment that tested you the most, that moment of crisis?

Senator Obama.

SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I -- I wouldn't point to a single moment, and what I look at is the trajectory of my life, because I was raised by a single mom. My father left when I was two, and I was raised by my mother and my grandparents. And there were rocky periods during my youth when I made mistakes and was off course. And what was most important in my life was learning to take responsibility for my own -- my own actions -- learning to take responsibility for not only my own actions, but how I can bring people together to actually have an impact on the world. And so working as a community organizer on the streets of Chicago with ordinary people, bringing them together and organizing them to provide jobs and health care and economic security to people who didn't have it, then working as a civil rights attorney and rejecting the jobs on Wall Street to fight for those who were being discriminated against on the job, that cumulative experience I think is the judgment that I now bring. It's the reason that I have the capacity to bring people together, and it's the reason why I am determined to make sure that the American people get a government that is worthy of their decency and their generosity. (Applause.)

What a lackluster answer! We are really supposed to think that a couple years as a community organizer is all the holder of the world's most important, demanding and stressful job needs to pull it off? That "bringing people together" is all we need? That it can be accomplished with the people who need to be brought together or forever separated -- the Islamist terrorists -- because you helped some Chicago guy who claimed job discrimination?

MS. BROWN: Senator Clinton.

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I think everybody here knows I have lived through some crises and some challenging -- (laughter) -- moments in my life, and -- (interrupted by cheers, applause).

And I am grateful for the support and the prayers of countless Americans. But people often ask me, how do you do it, you know, how do you keep going, and I just have to shake my head in wonderment because with all of the challenges that I've had, they are nothing compared to what I see happening in the lives of Americans every single day.

You know, a few months ago I was honored to be asked, along with Senator McCain, as the only two elected officials to speak at the opening of the Intrepid Center at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio, a center designed to take care of and provide rehabilitation for our brave young men and women who have been injured in war. And I remember sitting up there and watching them come in: those who could walk were walking; those who had lost limbs were trying with great courage to get themselves in without the help of others; some were in wheelchairs and some were on gurneys. And the speaker representing these wounded warriors had had most of his face disfigured by the results of fire from a roadside bomb.

You know, the hits I've taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country. And I resolved at a very young age that I'd been blessed, and that I was called by my faith and by my upbringing to do what I could to give others the same opportunities and blessings that I took for granted. That's what gets me up in the morning. That's what motivates me in this campaign. (Cheers, applause.) And -- and you know, no matter what happens in this contest -- and I am honored. I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored. (Cheers, applause.)

SEN. OBAMA: (Off mike.)

SEN. CLINTON: And you know, whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that's what this election should be about. Thanks. (Cheers, applause.)

That got a standing ovation. It may not have been as beautifully delivered as lines turned by Obama, but those were the words of a leader, never mind that her Iraq policy would dishonor the veterans she is honoring.

She didn't speak about herself, as Obama did ("I can do it! I'm the anointed one!") but about the President's larger role, how decisions impact others, and how faith, prayer and a sharp perception of the lives of others and the bigger picture are what needs to be in a president's mind and heart.

I don't believe that's Hillary, but it was Hillary for a moment last night. I'd be surprised if it will carry her to victory in the Texas primary because the Dems are stinking hot with Obama fever, but it reconfirmed what I feel: GOP voters should vote for Clinton in the upcoming open primaries.

She'll be easier to beat in November, and will be less awful for America if she wins.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thank You, Ronnie!

Here's a nice short clip of our wayward satellite being blasted to smithereens by an Aegis-fired missile.

This technology is, of course, an offshoot of Reagan's much-maligned "star wars" anti-missile defense system initiative. Some of that criticism sounded pretty good for a while as dismal hit records were amassed during system tests -- but that's the nature of discovery: We need the failures to figure out the right way to do things.

But the critics never shut up, as detailed by Gizmodo (which also has a longer and very interesting video clip):
Some experts criticized the plan as probable failure during the past days, with the argument that the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System being developed by the US Missile Defense Agency, wasn't designed to do this and, therefore, it wasn't going to be able to hit the target and destroy it effectively.

Their reasons were three: first, the kinetic warhead, launched in a long range standard missile, [...] isn't designed to destroy targets by explosion but by the sheer force of multiple impacts. While this is enough to destroy other incoming missiles, the critics said that this wasn't going to be enough to destroy the much larger satellite. Second was the speed of the target, which was traveling at double the speed of the missiles which are the usual target of the Aegis. And third, the tracking system, which wasn't originally designed to operate in high orbits.

Blah, blah, blah ... kaboom! So much for the nay-sayers.

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