My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


The Speeches I Hope To Hear, part 1 

From Gov. Palin:

I understand that a lot will be made of the question of experience in this race. I understand that our opponents believe that experience is a good thing to have . . . . in a number two guy. I understand that our opponents believe having no foreign policy or military experience is a risky choice . . . . in a number TWO guy.

Our opponents seem to find executive experience only counts if it is for a government body of sufficient size. For the record, though it is the largest state, Alaska does have a small population--barely the population of Vermont--, and the mighty town of Wasilla has a population of just 6,700.

Which, by the way, is 6,700 more people than our opponents have governed--COMBINED.

Yes, it's true that Senator Biden first went to Washington while I was in third grade; it's true that Senator Biden's first run for President started while I was barely out of college, and still thoroughly versed in the rules governing plagiarism; and, it's true that Senator Biden has been in high profile positions, like chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, since before I was even in college. In fact, Senator Biden is such a creature of Washington that he has even more time logged in the halls of Washington than my running mate, Sen. McCain.

Unfortunately for him, that's the problem--Senator Biden is so much a creature of Washington that to begin to expect him to clean up that mess is like asking a doctor to amputate their own arm.

The problem for our opponents is that none of those experiences translate into real-life, real-time decision-making skills. Running a contentious hearing or giving a campaign speech is not the same as taking money out of the treasury and giving it back to the people who put it there so they can afford to put gas in their cars, or fighting a corrupt system and changing way business is done.

And, as inadequate as that skill set is for Senator Biden, it absolutely glows in comparison to their number ONE guy. I understand that Senator Obama has only had 143 days in the actual well of the Senate to try to earn the same valuable experiences as his running mate, so I want to give him some leeway. Of course, over the last two years, I, like most Alaskans, and indeed most Americans, have been to the office about 500 days, give or take.

Of course, I did take those three days off . . . . to be absolutely BLESSED with a baby.



If I'm reading these tracking polls correctly--and I think I am--the gains Obama made from the convention have come to a screeching halt.

Both Gallup and Rasmussen do 3-day tracking polls; that means they poll every night, and then keep the results of the past three nights. Also, most of the polling is done before or during prime time, so Tuesday's polling probably picks up very little of Tuesday's events, so Wednesday's results are really one day behind events.

Clear as mud, right?

So polling results announced today include results from Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. So, today should be the first time that the results reflect some of the polling done AFTER Obama's pronouncement from the Barackopolis--in theory, that should be a favorable night of polling for him, while tossing out the polling from Tuesday should show a noticable change from yesterday's results.

Um . . . .not quite.

On Tuesday, totally pre-DNC, Gallup had McCain up by 2, Rasmussen had it all tied. On Thursday, reflecting Hillary's Tuesday night speech, Gallup had Obama up 6 (the "Hillary Unity Bump") and Rasmussen had it still even; Friday, after Bill, Gallup had him up 8, Rasmussen had him up 4. These were the groundwork for the Convention Bounce.

Today, what should be a good day with a growing lead, Gallup has Obama up by the same 8-point margin as yesterday, and Rasmussen has him up by the same 4-point edge as yesterday. If I'm doing my math correctly, that means that polling done last night--AFTER THE PALIN ANNOUNCEMENT--had Obama holding a smaller than expected 9-point advantage (after nights when it was around 15) in Gallup and holding NO advantage in the Rasmussen polling.

Bottom line: if just one day's results mean anything, the Palin announcement has temporarily halted any new movement in Obama's direction because of the Convention.


Here Comes Gustav 

I know the conventional wisdom holds that another major hurricane landing in Louisiana on the same week as the RNConvention would only be a painful reminder of the debacle that was Katrina.

But I disagree. I see this as a phenomenal opportunity.

If Bobby Jindal handles this well--and there's every reason to believe that he will--then it might actually cancel out the narrative from three years ago. Suddenly, the story might be not how did FEMA/Bush fail in Katrina, but how is it that a young, inexperienced Republican Governor could manage the crisis, where the Blanco/Nagins team failed so badly?

Oddly, a few months ago I wrote about the story line of The West Wing that seemed completely prescient--young, attractive unknown Democrat comes out of nowhere to win his Party's nomination to go against a maverick senior Republican Senator. In the end, WW got the Democratic victory it wanted by derailing the Republican in an act of God scenario.

There's an act of God bearing down on the Gulf of Mexico, but the person in the lead right now is Obama, and a good showing by a competent Republican could change the whole story line.

On The Palin Pick 

First of all, hats off to the McCain team for the professionalism and secrecy with which they pulled this off. It' s not easy flying someone from Alaska to Ohio without anybody noticing, and I think the McCain team pulled it off very well. Also a very nice job "looking off the safety"--I went to bed last night feeling pretty certain that the pick would actually be Tim Pawlenty.

Secondly, McCain again shows how astute his political campaign instincts have become. I watched about a half hour of news this afternoon, and I didn't see even one second of Barack Obama's speech. Within 12 hours, John McCain made Obama's delivery of his speech, and all the stagecraft, completely irrelevant! Now they have almost a full week to start picking apart the specifics and making soundbites over all the promises Obama's made.

Third, this does send a signal to me that McCain is not overconfident of his chances in November. A safer pick, as I speculated last night, would have told me they liked their chances; this pick tells me they think they're in a knife fight.

So they bring in a person who looks comfortable with a gun. THAT'S the Chicago way.

I shared with my brother my first impression this morning: this is either an act of desparation, or this is a clear signal that the narrative John McCain wants to run is "Clean up Washington." At first, it might seem that this moon shot of a selection was just swinging for the fences on the first pitch. But Sarah Palin's reputation for reform and for fighting corruption and ending corrupt systems of government makes me think that he brought her in--as presumptive President of the Senate--to force some legislative reforms that have stalled out in the "good ol' boys club."

It also steals the narrative from Obama: how do plan to change Washington when the first major decision you make is to bring in somebody who's been in Washington longer than McCain? The only way to do that is bring in somebody from outside the beltway. In this case, one-third of the world away outside the beltway.

And the political Jiu-Jitsu was brilliant!! You had to know the first attack would be on her experience. But I'll take two years' experience as a Governor over your 143 days as a Senator, Mr. Obama. For that matter, I'll take her one trade agreement with Canada over your one Congressional Delegation on foreign policy experience, Senator. For that matter, I'll take her actual record of acheivements in regard to cleaning up government over your rhetoric with no legislation to show for it, Senator.

C'mon, even distracted today I knew that there was a pretty nice piece of Jiu-Jitsu going on here. And yet, THE OBAMA CAMP FELL FOR THE BAIT ALMOST IMMEDIATELY!! They were up a little too late last night picking their West Wing offices, I guess.

She is young, as is Obama; she is articulate, as is Obama; we don't know how she delivers a speech--today's seemed a little flat, while Obama is briliant; we don't know how she debates, but I like that her nickname is "Sarah Barracuda;" she has all the same attractive qualities of Obama, plus a little bit of experience. AND she has the Hillary-like advantage in a debate over Joe Biden--he just can't fall back on "attack dog" mode.

I think the pick is BRILLIANT--it's exciting, it's unexpected, and it's WAY out of the box. If Team McCain was swinging for the fences, this one left the bat with a crisp <crack> and a lot of speed.

Let's see how it survives the gale of the "professional journalists'" scrutiny.


McCain Veep Speculation 

McCain has announced that he's going to reveal is pick tomorrow morning, with nary a real leak to be found. But here's the speculation:

:Tim Pawlenty seems to be the number one name out there; it wouldn't surprise me at all if this is just misdirection

:FoxNews is reporting that Mitt Romney will be in Dayton, OH tomorrow with John McCain, as well as Mike Huckabee (update: Huck has emailed supporters telling them he will NOT be in Ohio)

:no word on any of the "out of the box" candidates like Meg Whitman.

I really like that this is part of the news cycle tonight. It will end the talk of Obama's speech early, but the fact that the campaign has vowed "no authorized leaks" makes them look above it all . . . sort of.

I also thnk that the Pawlenty pick, if it ends up being for real, makes one thing very clear about the McCain team's opinion of where it's at: VERY COMFORTABLE. Pawlenty is not a sexy pick, he's not a "out of the box" pick--he's safe, he's got solid conservative credentials, and he's been elected twice in a traditionally safe blue state. I doubt he puts Minnesota in play, but I don't think the McCain people care.

I think this reveals that they think they can win this thing without a home run.

That is, if it IS Pawlenty. If it's one of the others, well . . .

Notes On The Obama Speech 

I had to watch the speech from The Obama in an odd way tonight: with no sound. The Mrs. and I had other plans for the night, in a big room, and so I had to watch the speech while in the midst of a big, loud crowd, only occasionally being close enough to see the closed-captioning.

I know, it was kind of wierd, but what are you gonna do when the wife wants to spend some time with you?

At any rate, my first impression in that venue was that The Obama was really looking the part of President. He was serious, he had the intellect on full display, he worked the crowd with the appropriate eye contact and gesture, and he seemed extremely comfortable. Exactly what one would expect from one of the best rhetoricians of our time.

But troubling for us Republicans.

At any rate, it was only later that I actually got to see significant portions of the speech--with sound. And, as expected, he was good. But "change?" I don't think so.

The programs he's actually proposing--not the fluff about "responsibility" and the role of dads--could have been lifted straight out of the McGovern or Johnson or Carter speeches. His understanding of the American role in the world today was painfully naive, and I think his tone was distinctly "old politics." And he welcomes a debate? Seriously? Maybe he ought to have taken advantage of the McCain offer over the last 12 weeks.

If the McCain camp is as nimble as they have proven to be over the last few weeks, they will highlight all of the old programs Obama proposed in the speech in ads over the weekend, and simply ask "This is change?"

Some notes on the stage craft:

: the cameras did a very nice job of keeping a close pan on Obama so the casual watcher would never see the Temple Obama

:the music at the end was just wierd--a great soundtrack for some movie somewhere, but very odd for this particular event

:I thought the McCain ad congratulating Obama was one of the most gracious--and politically astute--things I've seen in quite a while; made Obama's repeated attacks on him seem small

I predict Obama will get a nice bump from this speech, maybe one that will last through September. But, like most of his speeches, it'll end up being a lot like Chinese food--tastes great, but doesn't keep you going for very long. Whether that bump holds or not depends very much on the kind of campaign McCain runs over the next six weeks.


Wouldn't This Be Fun? 

Remember last weekend, late Friday night, the media started circling around Obama, waiting for news of his Veep pick? It seems to me that I was watching TV at about 1100 pm Friday night--100 am eastern time--when the "breaking news" flashed that ABC had confirmed that it was NOT going to be Tim Kaine or one other guy. It might have been earlier, but it seems to me that it dominated the 24-hour media for a few hours.

And the way these things work, it almost had to be the result of a deliberate leak from the Obama campaign.

SO . . . .

How much you want to bet that the "leaks" from the McCain camp start trickling out at about 900 pm tonight? He's already said that he might announce tomorrow--why not start the fun early?

Nothing in politics happens by accident. And McCain is about as "old school" as it gets.

I'm just saying . . .


I Hate It When I Speak Too Soon 

Last night I wrote this:

Two days in the bag, and so far they've managed to keep their insufferable arrogance to a level just below slightly annoying.

And then this morning, not six hours after I wrote that, it was revealed that The Obama will deliver his acceptance speech in a setting described thus:

Barack Obama's big speech tonight will be delivered from an elaborate columned platform resembling a miniature Greek temple, it has been revealed . . .

Man, I should have known it was just a matter of time. Pay close attention to the theatercraft of tomorrow night's speech: how is the lighting done? will there be a bright spotlight behind the podium to give him a halo? what music will he enter to? will the Obama seal be on display?

I know the details of things like this are handled by staff. But, c'mon . . . the tone is set from the top. And if The Obama has staff that is comfortable presenting him speaking ex cathedra, there must be quite a tone coming from the top.

Early Impressions of the DNC 

Well, I gotta hand it to the Dems. Two days in the bag, and so far they've managed to keep their insufferable arrogance to a level just below slightly annoying.

Seriously, I was completely expecting a four-day version of the Wellstone Memorial. Between Obama's Magalomania, the confidence of a party poised to be in charge of just about everything, and Democrats' natural tendency towards thinking they know better than anybody else, I thought this was going to be four days of unbelievable self-congratulation.

They've been milquetoast; they've been bland; James Carville said they were hiding their agenda very well; they've been shallow; they've been calculating; they've been, at times, cloying.

But, so far, not much arrogance.

Michelle was boring; Hillary was perfunctory; Mark Warner was kinda strange. Not what I was expecting.

The upside for our side is this: so far, neither Gallup nor Rasmussen are showing any significant bump--quite the opposite. Gallup's Daily Tracking Poll is showing a 3-point move to McCain over the last five days, and Rasmussen is showing a 3-point move to McCain in just the last two days.

Couldn't be because the Obama Crusade is being derailed by the stupidity of Nancy Pelosi and the sudden awareness of Bill Ayers--thanks to Obama himself!

Ruh-roh, Raggy! The One is starting to crack!


First Impressions: Joe Biden 

You want to have some fun? Let's get to a town hall somewhere between Chicago and Denver, and turn off the teleprompters. Let's see Obama and Biden muddle through an event without the help of a script.

It could last about six weeks. . . . with about four and a half of those weeks being "um . . uh . . .I . . uh . . er, that is . . .we . . . um . . . "

I would love to be original and get out some clever questions already, but my brother beat me to them:

why is he putting somebody who's been in government LONGER than McCain on his ticket? If experience is a good thing to have in a running mate. . .why isn't it a great thing to have at the top of the ticket?

And what about Iraq? Here's a man (Obama) who has said that his judgement on going to war in Iraq was so good that we should just trust him on all affairs despite his razor-thin record. . .and he chooses as his #2 a man who voted for the AUMF?

In the end, Obama did what he had to do: find a way to try to reassure scared middle-class white voters while picking someone who wasn't going to overshadow him. There's absolutely no geographic advantage to this pick, as Delaware was going to vote for Obama anyway; I wonder if this means he's writing off the West? At any rate, it might get him some of those blue-collar types in the rust belt. We'll see if the gambit works.

This does, however, leave the playing field wide open for John McCain to pick. I would love it if he would go way outside the box--pick a qualified (!) woman who has a little economic background, someone like Carly Fiorino or Meg Whitman. You want to highlight the importance of the economy, make a money person your #2.

Just a thought. Not sure they have any other qualifications to be President. But it would be a "moon shot" kind of move. Bold, interesting, and unexpected.

And, in fact, he should announce his pick the morning after Hillary speaks at the DNC. Heh.


What Matters To My Representative 

Legislators use their websites to highlight what they think makes them look best to the people whose votes they need to get elected . . . generally. You don't often see a website, for instance, with a link to "Bills of Mine That Died In Committee." So when website has a link to "Issues," you expect this to be a laundry list of accomplishments and priorities.

So this link is somewhat confusing, in that it seems to point out that Sara Gagliardi hasn't done much in two years as a member of the majority in the Colorado State legislature . As near as I can tell, here is the sum of two years' worth of work . . . "that make her look best."

--Expanding access to health care . . . by making promises that actually haven't become anything yet

She did, actually, pass two bills that make advanced care nurses primary care providers. (Gotta admit, as the son of a nurse, this is a pretty good thing). Both of these passed by near-unanimous votes, which indicates to me that they were neither controversial nor particularly imaginative. The hard legislation has dissension; easy stuff is easy . . .as if somebody in the leadership saw this opportunity, wrote a no-brainer bill, and then looked around and asked "Who do we need to give this to to build a resume?"

--improved public schools by . . . working on it. No actual accomplishment, just worked on it. The Dems seem to have focused their actual legislative efforts on higher ed, by pumping $63 mil into it

The Dems have held the legislature now for four years, have HATED the CSAP that whole time, but have done nothing yet to improve that test or the schools in general. In fact, they seem to have focused their attention on getting rid of the test because it keeps showing the same thing.

Kinda like eliminating the thermometer in Minnesota because it keeps telling you that it's cold.

--protected the environment. blah blah blah.

--"energized" the economy in Colorado eliminating some limited regulation on businesses (very limited) and capping the interest rate on payday loans.

I'm feeling pretty energized. I'm sure glad she didn't try to tackle really important things . . .like immigration enforcement, like actual education reform, or like energy exploration and production.

Because actual, important issues should be left to serious people.

So, I have to ask: what have you done as my legislator, Ms. Gagliardi, to make my life any better at all?



Headlines That Are Bound To Tick Off Big Education 

From the front page of today's Rocky Mountain News:

Same Budget, Better Results

[note: that is the headline from the dead-tree version--the website is a little different.]

Oh, and, it's a charter school. A charter school in west Denver that's ranked no. 1 in the district in academic growth.

Huh. There's got to be some meaning in there somewhere, but I just . . . oh, it's on the tip of my tongue. Maybe I'd better refer you to Denise since I can't put it in words, and she does so so ably.

My Legislator Hard At Work, Some More 

Sara Gagliardi worked almost as hard in 2008 as she did in 2007. This session, she was the primary sponsor of 14 bills. Primary sponsor, as in, that's what's really important to her--her top priorities. Here's what happened . . . .

:the first two passed with a total of three dissenting votes on the 17th day of the session--in other words, TOTALLY INCONSEQUENTIAL

:House Bill 1100 passes by a slimmer margin--47-17; it was to "adjust fees": is that code for raising taxes? anybody? anybody?

:two bills and one resolution died before getting to the point of final vote, either in the Senate or in committee--HER OWN PARTY COULDN'T MUSTER FOR THESE! Also, two resolutions passed the Senate with no dissenters, but never came over to the House side. Must have been pretty important, huh?

:5 others passed with a grand total of 8 dissenters--also, TOTALLY INCONSEQUENTIAL!

:Senate Bill 152 was close--39-25; it increased regulation on occupational therapy providers. Did that particular industry need more regulation? Just askin . . .

And, um . . That's All, folks. So, to total it up, in 2008 Sara Gagliardi:

--sponsored five things that never saw the light of day
--sponsored seven things of no importance whatsoever
--increased taxes
--and increased regulation

Yep. Still feeling good about MY representative.

Sara Gagliardi is a meaningless tool of the Democratic leadership in Colorado. She doesn't have a legislative record that would indicate a single, unique, individual thought in her head. But, tomorrow, we'll dive into her statements on her website to see if there's any indication of individuality.


What HAS Your Legislator Done For You Lately? 

It's a very good question, don't you think.

I'm searching the record, and I'm trying to think of one significant way that Sara Gagliardi has improved my life. So far I've found this:

:in her first year in the State Legislature, she sponsored 29 bills; of those, the vast majority passed with only 1 or 0 "No" votes.

In other words, they were completely inconsequential.
:one bill she authored did not even make it to the floor for a vote--her own party didn't want anything to do with an "opt-out" from junk mail.

:Of the others, there's this:

:HB 1269, which passed along straight party lines, which extended Colorado's smoking ban to the casinos.

And, that's all. Yep--that's it. Finis. Finito. Your legislator working hard for you.

Among things she did NOT sponsor, she did manage to join her party voting to extend unionization into the state government (which had to be vetoed, only to reappear via Executive fiat . . .er, order); she did manage to vote against increasing academic requirements for graduation, but vote to create standards for Sex Education in the schools.

So the entire track record of Sara Gagliardi's first year in office as a part of the majority was:
--no academic standards
--Sex Ed standards
--banned smoking in casinos, which encroaches on personal rights and hurt casinos financially

Pretty impressive. Feeling good about MY representation.

Oooooh, wait . . . I bet she supported the great governmental move towards endless studies which amount to NOTHING!

Yep, still feeling good

How To Reveal Pandering 

No, the answer isn't as simple as "show a Democrat talking."

But it's not that much more complicated.

Given that Mark Udall has now had a change of heart with regard to domestic energy production, maybe he can show some real leadership. And maybe a "professional" journalist can press him to do just that by asking one question:

Mr. Udall, will you now return to Washington to join Republicans in calling for a return of the Congress to the Capitol to pass an Energy Bill?

Get him on record saying "no" to that; get him on camera arguing that five weeks raising money in Colorado for his next job is more important than doing his current job. I want to see that b-roll.

I swear, if I were a Republican candidate right now, I would do nothing but go to the steps of the Capitol and talk about the arrogance and the radicalism of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats. AND THEN USE TECHNOLOGY to get the message to your constituents. Barack Obama has raised cargo boats full of cash on the internet this year--surely one or two Republicans can manage to duplicate that feat.

I especially like how even the Denver Post notices motives:

The Democratic candidate for the Senate joins his party in trying to neutralize the GOP's strength on the issue.

You want to neutralize our strength? Develop some genuine strength of your own.


RMA-er Headed For General Election 

Not to be premature, but it looks like our blogging friend Joshua Sharf is headed for the November ballot. 88% of the ballots, 70%-30%--pretty safe lead.

Congratulations, Joshua!!! And good luck against Lois.

Quick Hits 

--Good luck to Joshua Sharf, Republican candidate for State House and member of the RMA. Tomorrow's primary should be rather interesting, with a couple tight races all around the state.

--The genius of some school districts: Jefferson County Public Schools opens up for business tomorrow; in its wisdom, the first day that students will be trying to find their way around schools is also a day where hundreds of people will be wandering in to vote; and, by the way, the school district will be asking for more money from the voters in a few months--wonder how much extra they're spending trying to air condition the buildings starting on Aug 12?

--Russia is escalating and expanding . . . just like it did at the beginning of another rookie Democrat's Presidential term 48 years ago. Kennedy drew a line and made it hold; does anybody think Obama is capable of that?

--just got a glance at my public service bill for the month; not to reveal personal stuff, but OUCH!! The combination of record-setting heat and no precipitation just killed. So, it occurred to me that, had XCel Energy asked for and gotten a rate hike to reflect the cost of generating electricity from $4/gal petrol, this bill might be unpayable. I hate to think what the winter months will bring. And, given the market's reaction to the President removing his moritorium on offshore drilling, it only further begs the question, "WHEN ARE THE DEMOCRATS GOING TO ACT?" Big hats-off to the GOP in the House for pressing the point; McCain could do a lot of good if he would just go to the Hill with his camera entourage. (good point, bro)

--Is it just me, or is it possible the entire shape of this election could be different by November 1? Just four months ago, it was all about Iraq; then it was about oil and $4/gal; now Russia looks to be a major issue. Do we even know what will really be the issue in three months?

And, given that, do we really want to turn it over to somebody with NO meaningful experience at all?


Irony Is Just Wasted On These People 

So, let's review the actual news of the week:

Aleksandr Solzenitsyn dies on Sunday, and is given a state funeral. Solzenitsyn, of course, was a Nobel Laureate author who leapt to prominence by exposing the horrible human rights record of the old Soviet Union.

On Thursday, Russia invades the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.

On Friday the Olympic Games begin in China, and President Bush sits two seats away from former KGB head and Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Apparently, there were "extended conversations" about the situation. By the way, there was an old convention of observing a ceasefire during the Olympic Games, in deference to the "spirit of the games."

Is it just me?

By the way, here's how our two Presidential candidates called the play, in part:

Obama: “I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict. Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. "

McCain: “Today, news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into thesovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. "

Huh. I wonder why their takes are so different? Why, for instance, would Obama call on both sides to show restraint, while McCain makes it clear that Russia should stop what it's doing.

Oh, yeah, that's right--BECAUSE RUSSIA INVADED GEORGIA!!

If it weren't so sad, it would be really funny.


Well, At Least Somebody Bothered To Notice 

Sports writers are, occassionally, among the most observant of political people. For whatever reason--be it that they spend their lives on the unimportant and the trivial, or because competition and warfare and supremacy are a standard part of their everyday lives--they seem to "get" some things better than others.

Dave Krieger manages to prove that point pretty well in today's column.

China spared no expense in its first Olympic Opening Ceremonies and got what it paid for, boasting that 4 billion people - more than half the world's population - would watch the spectacle on TV.

Still, you couldn't help wondering if the whole gargantuan production at Beijing's striking new national stadium wasn't what New Zealand political scientist Anne-Marie Brady calls a campaign of mass distraction. She was referring not merely to the Opening Ceremonies, but to the Beijing Olympics as a whole. . . .

In fact, even as it decries the attempts of protesters to train the Olympic spotlight on Darfur or Tibet or child labor, China is itself using these Games to win acceptance on the world stage. . . .

"Beijing is about showing the world, and the Chinese people, a strong regime. The aftermath will be that the investment in stepped-up security and surveillance will be long-term and the regime will be more self-confidently repressive than it even was before."

It is a chilling prospect, one that American Olympic officials prefer to discount.

"Olympic Games open countries up. They don't close countries," U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth said this week. "So if there's any issue out there, and China is an enormous player on the world stage now, this country will be better for it."

That is the optimistic - some would say idealistic - view. Even as China offered up the most ambitious Opening Ceremonies in Olympic history, three American pro-Tibet protesters were being detained near the stadium. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, had shrugged off Chinese suppression of dissent the day before, explaining that every Olympic host country has rules about protesters.

Good observations, all. And fairly mundane to those of us who have been paying attention; a trait that has been remarkably missing from the "professional" journalism class. But Krieger draws it all together very well, in the end.

Lomong declined several opportunities to express an opinion about China, enabler of the Sudanese regime that tried to kill him.

He didn't have to. Carrying the stars and stripes, he made it just a little harder for China's spectacular show to distract the world from the things it does when the television trucks are gone.

We can only hope that NBC bothers to tell the story of Joey Cheek, the Church in China, and Tibet in the process of blanketing the airwaves for the next two weeks.

Metacognition At Its Self-Absorbed Most Ridiculous 

At the very least, the "professional" journalist class bothered to notice its bias.

Reticence of the Mainstream Media Becomes Story Itself

For almost 10 months, the story of John Edwards’s affair remained the nearly exclusive province of the National Enquirer — through reports, denials, news of a pregnancy, questions about paternity and, finally, a slapstick chase through a hotel in Beverly Hills.

Political blogs, some cable networks and a few newspapers reported on it — or, more accurately, reported on The Enquirer reporting on it. Jay Leno and David Letterman made Mr. Edwards the butt of jokes on their late-night shows, but their own networks declined to report on the rumors surrounding him on the evening news. Why? . . .

Fox News Channel, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Miami Herald and the Web site of New York Magazine were among those that first mentioned The Enquirer reports in late July. MSNBC did so only back-handedly, by showing a clip of Mr. Letterman joking about it. . . .

Bill Keller, the executive editor, said in an e-mail message that Mr. Edwards’s dark-horse status and the “added hold-your-nose quality about The Enquirer” contributed to the lack of interest by The Times and the mainstream media generally.

Let's all just wait and see how that "hold-your-nose quality" applies when McCain's Veep starts to get vetted by the press. Or, for that matter, where was that "hold-your-nose quality" when the Mark Foley story broke?

Occam's Razor holds that, all things being equal, the most likely explanation for a phenomenon is, most often, the correct explanation. Tell me, what's more likely: the "professionals" didn't appreciate getting beaten to a story by the Enquirer, the "professionals" didn't believe a story in the Enquirer, or the "professionals" preferred not to have a person they thought could still be a viable Democratc candidate someday torn down by a tawdry affair?

Yeah. I think so, too.


Excellent Question 

My brother has asked the same, excellent question two nights in a row, and it seems very obvious, and very spot-on:

Have we seen enough of this guy yet?

Apparently, the public is beginning to answer "yes": the Rasmussen daily track has had McCain ahead by 1 point (statistically insignificant, by the way) the last two days.


Does This Strike Anybody Else As Funny? 

Here's the online headline from the Rocky:

Massive Phone Bank To Set Stage For Obama Speech

I read that, and the first image that leaped to mind was of a telethon. Is Obama actually going to say something like "I accept the Democratic Party's nomination, . . .and if you pledge at the Gold level, I'll send you--FREE--my new CD, "Barack and Forth: Rappin' the Classics""

Is it just me? Is it too late at night, maybe ?


Obama: Warning Track Power, With A Lot Of "K"s 

Now that the "bump" Obama got from the media . . . er, the overseas trip . . . has totally disappeared, let's evaluate the reality of the trip.

The "professional" media, of course, hyped this as a huge home run for Obama--reminiscent of Josh Hamilton, only without the fly ball outs. But, there seem to be only three major takeaways from the trip:

1. First, there was the absurd statement that he would still oppose the surge if given the opportunity to do so again, even though it has worked splendidly by any measure. Strike One.

2. Then, there's the brilliant formulation at the Berlin Wall that he is a "Citizen of the World." This was supposed to be his crowning achievement, but it has all but disappeared from the news reels. We'll call it a long, loud foul ball. Strike Two.

3. And then there's the genius move to skip visiting the wounded at Landstuhl, a story which the campaign has managed to keep alive by having a series of shifting and not-very-plausible excuses for the decision. We'll call this one watching a belt-high fastball in the heart of the plate go by for strike three.

And I don't even know what to do with the news that Obama planted his "letter" in the western wall of the Temple in Jerusalem into two press outlets. Not only is that inauthentic--"Guard against pride" . . . . PUH-LEEEEZE. A little late for that, dontcha think?--but its so clumsy and so amateurish that you have to wonder what they were thinking. Obviously, Strike Four. But . . .

Is that like the guy who gets to be the first and last outs of an inning in which his team scores seven runs and he's the only guy who doesn't contribute?

At any rate, Obama's moment in the sun is starting to fade. McCain has been running some very effective ads, and the discussion of "Is Obama qualified" is central to the campaign. I think McCain needs to try to goad Obama into as many unscripted moments as he can in the next three months, and things should take care of themselves.

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