Sunday, September 28, 2008

SNL: Bill Clinton clarifies his position


(Hat tip: Hot Air)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain: All the right moves

Including the Palin pick, McCain's moves at first seem unnecessarily risky and the payoff seems to be mediocre at best. But as with Palin, his latest call to postpone the debate seemed to be, like, huh? After seeing today's events (Obama's insistence on the debate, and Bush's summons for discussions Thursday), it is looking like this risk could pay off for McCain.

If McCain could possibly go to Washington and in the next two days do something for the economy, instead of just talking about what he would do, that would put McCain over Obama in an area that he has been very lacking - the economy. That rationalle is originally from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

I think Reid fears more than just the idea that McCain will “risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation’s economy.” What Reid fears is that McCain will return to lead the Republican effort to reach a compromise, and the Senate and House GOP will let him do it. If McCain takes ownership of the bailout effort and manages to get his suggestions on limiting executive compensation and so on as part of the finished product, he will be able to trot McCain-Dodd on the campaign trail as yet another reform he’s accomplished by working across the aisle. And in a time of crisis, no less.

And what will Obama be able to say? He gave a couple of speeches and raised cash for himself while McCain went to work for the nation.

If that’s what McCain and the Republicans have in mind, this could be the coup of the entire campaign. While Obama went out and sucked up to fundraisers, McCain built the bipartisan compromise that saved the American financial system. If he succeeds, McCain will have trumped Obama on what should have been the Democrats’ best issue.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Palin on Ahmadinejad

Even though Palin's invitation to speak at the anti-Iran rally today was rescinded, her prepared speech has been published by the NY Sun, and it's a doosie. Here's the closing:
Tomorrow, Ahmadinejad will come to New York. On our soil, he will exercise the right of freedom of speech — a right he denies his own people. He will share his hateful agenda with the world. Our task is to focus the world on what can be done to stop him.

We must rally the world to press for truly tough sanctions at the U.N. or with our allies if Iran's allies continue to block action in the U.N. We must start with restrictions on Iran's refined petroleum imports.

We must reduce our dependency on foreign oil to weaken Iran's economic influence.

We must target the regime's assets abroad; bank accounts, investments, and trading partners.

President Ahmadinejad should be held accountable for inciting genocide, a crime under international law.

We must sanction Iran's Central Bank and the Revolutionary Guard Corps — which no one should doubt is a terrorist organization.

Together, we can stop Iran's nuclear program.

Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust. And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel's enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us. It is John McCain's promise and it is my promise.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The most expensive band-aid ever

It cost us taxpayers a whopping $85 Billion. And yet all it does is buy us some time and some breathing room. But it sure is better than the alternative. If AIG would have been left to go under (like Lehman Brothers), we would have seen massive loss of wealth, and possibly the next major worldwide depression.

U.S. to Take Over AIG in $85 Billion Bailout

The U.S. government seized control of American International Group Inc. -- one of the world's biggest insurers -- in an $85 billion deal that signaled the intensity of its concerns about the danger a collapse could pose to the financial system.

The step marks a dramatic turnabout for the federal government, which had been strongly resisting overtures from AIG for an emergency loan or some intervention that would prevent the insurer from falling into bankruptcy. Just last weekend, the government essentially pulled the plug on Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., allowing the big investment bank to go under instead of giving it financial support. This time, the government decided AIG truly was too big to fail.

[Businessmen leave an American International Group office building, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008 in New York. Worries about AIG] Associated Press

Businessmen leave an American International Group office building Tuesday in New York.

The U.S. negotiators drove a hard bargain. Under terms hammered out Tuesday night, the Fed will lend up to $85 billion to AIG, and the U.S. government will effectively get a 79.9% equity stake in the insurer in the form of warrants called equity participation notes. The two-year loan will carry an interest rate of Libor plus 8.5 percentage points. (Libor, the London interbank offered rate, is a common short-term lending benchmark.)

The loan is secured by AIG's assets, including its profitable insurance businesses, giving the Fed some protection even if markets continue to sink. And if AIG rebounds, taxpayers could reap a big profit through the government's equity stake.

"This loan will facilitate a process under which AIG will sell certain of its businesses in an orderly manner, with the least possible disruption to the overall economy," the Fed said in a statement.

It puts the government in control of a private insurer -- a historic development, particularly considering that AIG isn't directly regulated by the federal government. The Fed took the highly unusual step using legal authority granted in the Federal Reserve Act, which allows it to lend to nonbanks under "unusual and exigent" circumstances, something it invoked when Bear Stearns Cos. was rescued in March.

As part of the deal, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson insisted that AIG's chief executive, Robert Willumstad, step aside. Mr. Paulson personally told Mr. Willumstad the news in a phone call on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the call.

Obama confirms he hampered US-Iraqi negotiations

This is a very big deal, which I hope gets all the play it deserves. From Hot Air:

Glenn Reynolds takes a close look at Barack Obama’s response to Amir Taheri and doesn’t see any daylight between them. Yesterday, Taheri accused Obama of attempting to derail a status-of-forces agreement between the US and Iraq by telling the Iraqis to wait until after the American elections and stop negotiating with the Bush administration. Obama responded by essentially confirming Taheri’s account:

In the New York Post, conservative Iranian-born columnist Amir Taheri quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying the Democrat made the demand when he visited Baghdad in July, while publicly demanding an early withdrawal.

“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington,” Zebari said in an interview, according to Taheri.

“However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open,” Zebari reportedly said. …

Obama’s national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said Taheri’s article bore “as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial.”

In fact, Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a “Strategic Framework Agreement” governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office, she said.

Which is exactly what Taheri wrote. Barack Obama went to Iraq and interfered with the diplomatic efforts of the elected United States government, in a war zone no less, by telling the Iraqis to stop negotiating with the President. How exactly does that make Taheri’s column untruthful?

It wasn’t enough for Obama to fail at forcing the nation into a defeat in Iraq when he opposed the surge. Now he has interfered with our efforts to stabilize Iraq and provide for its security after the surge succeeded in keeping Iraq from falling into a failed state.

Monday, September 15, 2008

If you want to boycott Israel...'d better do it right!
So you want to boycott Israel...

(h/t: Israel Matzav)

Tough Love

On one hand, way to go Paulson. The United States Treasury is not a backstop for stupid business decisions. While this of letting Lehman tank will be painful, it's the only way all the rest of the banks are going to get their affairs in order - which they are doing right now, very expediently, quietly, and after they change their pants. And yet, out of the other side of their mouth, the treasury is stepping up lending to financial institutions to calm the markets. There must be some bitter infighting about how to handle this thing. Who's driving this bus?!

This is what should have been done to Bear Stearns. What Bernanke and Paulson thought (evidently) was that B.S. was a lone problem, and if we bail out just this one, the rest will behave and get their act together. Uh, no.

Anyways, look for the market to tank, but hold this kernel of hope (and change?) in the back of your mind - that this will (probably) be the last one. If another major bank declares bankruptcy after Lehman, come back to Digital Irony for detailed instructions on how to panic. I read in the WJS article that it's only temporary. Heh. Sounds like Atlas Shrugged.

Crisis on Wall Street as Lehman Totters, Merrill Is Sold, AIG Seeks to Raise Cash

Fed Will Expand Its Lending Arsenal in a Bid to Calm Markets;
Moves Cap a Momentous Weekend for American Finance
September 15, 2008 7:57 a.m.

NEW YORK -- The American financial system was shaken to its core on Sunday. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said it would file for bankruptcy protection, and Merrill Lynch & Co. agreed to be sold to Bank of America Corp.
It was a gut-wrenching weekend for Wall Street, with Lehman Brothers headed toward possible liquidation, Merrill Lynch about to be taken over and AIG facing shareholder wrath. WSJ's Dennis Berman and Matthew Karnitschnig look at what's ahead.

The U.S. government, which bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a week ago and orchestrated the sale of Bear Stearns Cos. to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in March, played much tougher with Lehman. It refused to provide a financial backstop to potential buyers. Without such support, Barclays PLC and Bank of America, the two most interested buyers, walked away. Barclays said Monday it pulled out of the potential deal after deciding it wasn't in the best interest of shareholders.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Navy SEALS fighting and dying for freedom in Afghanistan

We don't know what exactly is happening in Afghanistan, but when three USN SEALs have died in two weeks, we know that something quite ferocious is up. I've toured their training base in San Diego, and let me tell you, these guys define badass. May God protect all of our armed forces defending our country while fighting for freedom on the other side of the world. And may He take care of the families of those who died in the fight (you can help too: Donate to the Naval Special Warfare Foundation). From CT blog:

Two more Navy SEALs from an extraordinarily elite and supersecret counterterrorism unit have been killed in Afghanistan, following the death two weeks ago of a SEAL from the same clandestine unit.

Details were - not surprisingly - vague. There is no direct evidence they died fighting in the new CIA-led offensive against Al Qaeda and the Taliban along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. But their loss in Afghanistan is certainly significant and a real blow to their fellow operators in the Joint Special Operations Command, which includes the Army’s Delta Force.

The two SEALs were killed September 11 somewhere “in Afghanistan,” according to military press releases, and were part of the shadowy Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the elite counterterrorism force once known as SEAL Team 6. Typically, the military identifies which Afghan town, district, city or province where American troops perish. But for the third time since August 30, when Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Thomas Harris, a Bronze Star recipient, was reported killed after being swept away during a combat river crossing, the precise location of the latest “DEVGRU” combat casualties is unknown.

Killed last week were Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator John Wayne Marcum, 34, and Chief (select) Special Warfare Operator Jason Richard Freiwald, 30, the Navy said. Each man had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was a highly decorated SEAL. Before Harris, no DEVGRU SEAL had fallen in Afghanistan since March 2002, according to a review of Operation Enduring Freedom deaths at

Marcum earned four Bronze Star medals with the combat “V” distinguishing device, as well as the Joint Service Commendation medal, four Combat Action ribbons and a chestful of other decorations in his career. The younger Freiwald had also earned a Bronze Star and Combat Action ribbon, the Navy said.

Sadly, both SEALs leave behind a wife and daughter. The Naval Special Warfare Foundation, which accepts donations, will likely provide support for each family.

Friday, September 12, 2008

May God protect Texas

Hurricane Ike from the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA.

It's looking like Ike will be an extremely devastating storm causing immense damage and loss of life. May God protect all those in its path and those in its storm surge.

Dr. Jeff Masters: "Ike is...poised to become one of the most damaging hurricanes of all time."

The Weather Nerd has more and constant updates.

Live webcams in Galveston here (site is pretty overloaded).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2001: What We Saw

Embedded video does not work in some browsers. Link here.

102 Minutes That Changed America

Sometimes the most powerful footage of 9-11 comes from home video. Watching people going through the sheer terror and horror of 9-11 is extremely powerful. Here is an interactive map showing some of the footage of The History Channel's 102 Minutes That Changed America - home video shot from 10 different locations in New York. The full show (102 minutes of unedited, uncut and realtime terror) will be playing tonight on The History Channel at 9pm/8c (preview here). I don't think I'll be able to watch.

Never Forget

Never forget that there are animals out there who would rather see you dead than they themselves live. There is no recourse against such intense hatred other than force. Any yahoo who says otherwise is either naive, delusional, or woefully underinformed.

May God avenge the blood of those people destroyed seven years ago today, and may He comfort their families in their sorrow.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Picture of the Day

(Click to biggerify. Photo: AP)

The McCains and Sarah Palin at Saturday's rally in Colorodo Springs.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Pull our troops out now!!

Via Of Arms and the Law:
Chicago's handgun ban seems functioning as expected: 125 homicides over the summer, more than the KIAs in Iraq. Glenn Reynolds suggests that with escalating violence and a corrupt regime, maybe we should just pull out of Chicago.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Palin - the scandal that never was...

Money quote from the great summary and analysis from Allahpundit at Hot Air:
Given all of her enemies among the state party establishment, how is it these various and sundry nefarious scandals haven’t already emerged?
Here's more:
What does the media have to show for all these breathless scandals they’ve dug up? We found out her daughter’s pregnant, but McCain probably knew about that in advance; in any case, the base has rallied around her in the aftermath and independents are unlikely to care two months down the road. We found out she was once a member of the Alaska Independence Party — except that, er, she wasn’t, and as Smith notes, it’s not nearly as fringe a party as one might think. We found out Todd Palin had a DUI back when Wham! was still together. We found out she flip-flopped on the bridge to nowhere, which would sting if not for the fact that she flip-flopped in the right direction and ended up torpedoing it. We found out she requested earmarks as mayor of Wasilla in the fine tradition of The One, who also claims to stand for “Change.” We found out she hopes God approves of what our soldiers are doing overseas. And as to the one big story that’s cooking, Troopergate, we found out nothing: She has a private lawyer now and the Democrat in charge of the investigation is trying hard to make Republicans panic, but like the Bristol Palin news, this is one thing McCain probably did vet thoroughly given the stakes.
Oh, and have you heard she shoots?

Click here for the video.

Understatement of the year

"We, uh, just had an anomoly..."
Watch the video below for context.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gustav - a miss

It could easily have been disaster for New Orleans, but they dodged a bullet. The Weathernerd from PJM fed my news addiction with great insights and updates. For those hopelessly lost, here is a great addicts page with four live streams of local New Orleans TV coverage.