Senator Kennedy has already been released to go home. I don’t agree with the man’s politics, and he’s done some pretty lousy things — but he is a United States Senator.
During tonight’s debate, Obama claimed that “no soldier ever dies in vain.”
Oh really, Senator?
Suicides are up where I live, but nobody knows why:
After a few years of declining suicides, 108 people committed suicide in El Paso County in 2007, compared with 64 the year before. And even more people will die of suicide in 2008, if this year’s pace continues.
The El Paso County Coroner’s Office ruled 68 deaths as suicide through Aug. 31, with at least 19 more cases preliminarily ruled suicide through Thursday, said Deputy Coroner Chris Herndon. That puts the county on pace for about 117 suicides this year – the highest number since 120 people killed themselves in 2004, when the Colorado Springs metro area had the highest suicide rate of any large city in the country outside of Las Vegas.
“How can we continue to say Colorado Springs ranks high as a great place to live and is a great place to raise a family when the suicide rate is off the charts?” said Janet Karnes, director of the Suicide Prevention Partnership of the Pikes Peak Region.
As usual, I have a theory.
Not too many people saw the 1988 movie “White Mischief,” about decadent British colonials in Kenya during the dark days of World War II. One character, played by Sarah Miles, was still awake for a breathtaking dawn. Her last words were, “Oh God, not another fucking beautiful day.” And then she pulled the trigger.
Stay away from Colorado. It’s too pretty here.
Here’s something I never thought I’d see in the New York Times:
For Mr. Obama, the financial crisis poses different risks. He wants to appear fired up over the economy, but he has written before about wanting to avoid appearing like a stereotypical angry black man. Unlike Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and other black leaders whose fulminations could scare white voters, Mr. Obama is not from and of New York, Detroit, or the segregated South; he grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. To some degree Mr. Obama faces the opposite challenge from fiery black leaders who came before him: Is he too cool for a crisis like this one?
John McCain has had a bad week. Sure, he pulled New Hampshire from “Leans Dem” to “Toss Up,” but today Rasmussen moved vote-rich Ohio from “Leans Rep” to “Toss Up.”
Rasmussen also notes that Obama has pulled ahead in Virginia and Colorado, too. McCain’s lead is down to a single point in Florida. If this keeps up, we’ll have to take the red off of the Sunshine State. Indiana isn’t looking much better.
As of right now, the map looks like this.
Of course, the new polls haven’t had enough time to reflect McCain’s on-again/off-again campaign and debate appearances — so who knows what things will look like next week.
In a postmodern campaign, you don’t wait for an event to end before starting the spin. Here’s how Team Obama is trying to lower the bar:
The Obama campaign distributed a memo this afternoon titled “Home-field advantage: John McCain.” Though the debate’s moderator Jim Lehrer is quite likely to dip into questions about the economy, the night’s focus is foreign policy, which the Obama campaign calls “McCain’s professed area of expertise.”
“If he slips up, makes a mistake, or fails to deliver a game-changing performance, it will be a serious blow to his campaign,” according to the memo. “Given his unsteady performance this week, he desperately needs to win this debate in a big way in order to change the topic and get back to his home turf.”
The memo goes on to footnote more than half a dozen media clips that the Obama campaign says tout Mr. McCain’s prowess as a debater as well as several more articles under the bold-faced heading “Debates are not a good format for Obama.”
Iran’s notorious gay-bashing, Jew-hating President got quite the warm welcome in… Kansas? Montana? Alaska? Nope! But they love him in New York:
Instead, Ahmadinejad felt welcome. He spent a couple of hours schmoozing at New York’s Grand Hyatt with representatives of the American “peace movement.”
Jodie Evans, a founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, actually had a sit-down with Ahmadinejad. “It’s rare,” she explained, “for a head of state to take time during an official U.N. visit to meet with the peace community, especially in a situation where the host government — represented by the Bush administration — is so hostile.”
Putting McCain’s debate postponement in perspective.
By the way, I’m still scheduled to drunkblog tonight’s debate for PJ Media. If there’s no debate, I plan on going ahead and drinking the old fashioned way, with the TV off.
UPDATE: Of course there’s a debate tonight, which I noted hours ago. Let this post serve as a warning of the danger in scheduled posting.
Was McCain right about the economy yesterday when the crisis got so bad he suspended his campaign? Or was he correct last week when he said the economy was “fundamentally strong?” Let’s ask Max Boot:
What the pessimists ignore is that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong. [Oh. -ed.] Indeed, the World Economic Forum has ranked the United States as the world’s most competitive economy for the past two years. (The new survey comes out in October.) Its statistics show that per-capita gross domestic product in the U.S. consistently has grown faster than in other developed economies since 1980.
Looking deeper at the causes of American competitiveness shows that we score especially strongly not only in domestic market size (No. 1 in the world) but also in such areas as time required to start a business (No. 3), venture capital availability (No. 1), the cost of firing an employee (No. 1), ownership of personal computers (No. 2), university/industry research collaboration (No. 1) and quality of scientific research institutions (No. 2).
But it’s not all good news. Boot also notes that the US economy suffers from “high tax rates and cumbersome tax regulations.”
Both candidates promise more regulation, if only by example. Only one, however, has threatened us with higher taxes, no matter what the ramifications might be.
Eve Eptstein reviews Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the UN:
For the sake of a reader who might be disbelieving, it is well to quote these paragraphs in full. This text was delivered before the diplomats from 190 countries. The United States and Israel had already left the room. No other country sought to make a point of order, to move to strike the remarks from the record as inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations or to leave the room in protest during the speech. On the contrary, his antisemitic hatemongering was applauded. The president of the General Assembly embraced Ahmadinejad after the speech was completed.
To their shame, U.N. member states’ pledges of “Never Again” were betrayed by a singular lack of moral outcry. Have they learned nothing from the multitude of Holocaust education and genocide prevention programs they sponsored?
Ahmadinejad said to the United Nations assembly: “The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a miniscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the U.S. in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner.”
And then the Iranian head-thug lamented that any political candidate might even talk to the Jewish community — mimicking the phrase recently heard in American politics, about “what politicians do.”
I never said it was a positive review.
Frozen pork king Ted Stevens is now on trial:
The lawyer for Sen. Ted Stevens told a federal jury in D.C. today that the Alaska Republican paid every bill he received for a home renovation project and had no idea he wasn’t being charged for some of the work.
In his opening statement at Stevens’ corruption trial, defense attorney Brendan Sullivan said the senator and his wife believed they had paid the fair market price for the renovations and didn’t know that his friend, oil executive Bill Allen, was keeping other bills or costs from them.
But prosecutors said that the free work was part of a long pattern of gifts Stevens is accused of concealing. Allen gave the senator a gas grill, a generator, a complicated exterior rope lighting system and a sweetheart deal on a car, they said.
It’s not just that Stevens is crooked, it’s that he could be had so damn cheap.
Washington still can’t put a Wall Street bailout package together, even with Bush, McCain, and Obama all working hand-in-hand. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Here’s the deal:
“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.
It was an implosion that spilled out from behind closed doors into public view in a way rarely seen in Washington. Left uncertain was the fate of the bailout, which the White House says is urgently needed to fix broken financial and credit markets, as well as whether the first presidential debate would go forward as planned Friday night in Mississippi.
When Congressional leaders and Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, the two major party presidential candidates, trooped to the White House Thursday afternoon, all signs pointed toward a bipartisan agreement on a grand compromise that could be accepted by all sides and signed into law by the weekend. It was to have pumped billions of dollars into the financial system and transformed the way Wall Street is regulated.
“We’re in a serious economic crisis,” Mr. Bush told reporters as the meeting began shortly before 4 p.m. in the Cabinet Room, adding, “My hope is we can reach an agreement very shortly.”
And here’s the problem. Wasn’t it loose money that got us into this mess in the first place? How is “loosened” money supposed to help now?
Indy music lovers rejoice:
The good news is that the iTunes Store is about to gain an additional 6,000 artists, and the great news is that they’re all unsigned.
I’ve really been enjoying the iTunes Store “Discovery Download.” Each week you can get a free song from a new or undiscovered artist. From the sounds of this, the selections are about to get a whole lot wider.
Understandably, there’s tons of reaction to John McCain’s decision to “suspend” his campaign to go back to Washington and work on the Wall Street crisis. My own feeling is that Wall Street crises should be solved on — wait for it — Wall Street, and that Washington is likely to accomplish little except to pass a massively expensive Law of Unintended Consequences.
How the pundits, professional and otherwise, reacted seems to depend entirely — surprise! — on whether they supported McCain before his big move.
Oliver Willis wonders if McCain realizes that “that there’s no ‘time out’ in the White House?” John McCormack thinks that Harry Reid is the one “playing politics with [the] economic crisis.” Andrew Sullivan accused McCain of having become “a national and international joke.” But “a shrewd move” is Richard Miniter’s take. HolyCoast is “appalled.” Dave Mataconis awards McCain “leadership points,” but worries “that McCain could be seen as over-reacting and acting impulsively.”
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza says it’s “an obvious attempt by McCain and his campaign to paint the Arizona senator as above politics.” US News & World Report calls it “a gamble.” And Newsweek says “There’s no doubt that much of Arizona senator’s motivation is political.”
My own take? Typical for McCain, it’s a gutsy move. Also typical for him, we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out before deciding if it was a smart move.
The accused built a 2-kilometre pipeline through a reservoir that marks the Russian-Estonian border, and managed to pump 6,200 litres of spirits across before getting caught.
“It might sound weird and unbelievable but it’s a very real criminal case,” Mari Luuk, a spokesman for Estonian prosecutors, told AFP.
The smugglers – 11 Russians and Estonians – face up to five years in prison if convicted.
Entrepreneurship isn’t dead in Eastern Europe. It’s just sleeping it off.
I was going to give you a lengthy excerpt from today’s David Harsanyi column and call it today’s Required Reading.
But then I noticed he was using phrases like “ethically disabled” and “platitudinous canards” and realized… you should just make it a habit to read Harsanyi every time he publishes, because he’s probably the best young, libertarian columnist working today.