Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Smoke And Mirrors -- Pay Attention To The Man Operating The Controls

MICKEY KAUS: "Maybe we should pay more attention to the issues on which Obama hasn't noticeably shifted to the center. For example, 1) health care and 2) tax increases. In each case, the relevant question would seem to be: Is he sticking to his guns because a) that's what he really believes his presidency should be about, or b) the issue is so central to his coalition that changing his position would disrupt his election strategy?"

Markets Work -- GM To Build 'Good' Small Car For A Profit!

GM currently owns about 13% of the small car market. With demand for small vehicles increasing with the price of black gold, GM is out to increase that market share. Nevertheless, even if it doesn't increase its share, it plans to make more money off of each small car sold. How? By raising the price, naturally.

The plan is simple: make better small cars, charge more for them. The upcoming Cruze could run you a few thousand more than the outgoing Cobalt, for instance. The test is to see whether cars like the Cruze will be worth the premium. GM Global Design Chief Ed Welburn said, "In North America, we never did a good small car." The General plans to bury that piece of its history... but it's going to charge you, the consumer, for the funeral.

The idea that GM can lasso the small car market while charging a premium, at the same time as slashes its marketing budget by $1.5 billion, takes some effort to swallow. One analyst said that demand for small cars will outstrip supply, so GM could get away with it. However, until we see proof of small GM cars that take bats to the established competition, we'll have to give this plan a "Hmmm."
This is great!  When we looked for a car last year it was hard to find an American model that had quality and safety for the price some of the imports could be had.
Autoblog -- GM's Plan: Small cars making a big profit

Obama Turns Democratic Talking Points Into Strategy -- Deep Thinker That He Is

 Fred Barnes discusses Obama's failure on the surge and how Obama has taken the democratic talking point about Afghanistan and turned it into a grand strategy to explain away his failure on Iraq.

via Redlasso

I think I recall Obama turning an error in the debates into a grand strategy too.  Perhaps on meeting with dictators?

Daily Trek -- July 22, 2008

What'd I miss?

Everything you need to know to stay informed each day in 5 minutes or less!  Read your regular news and include this and you will be able to participate in most any current events discussion.
"Coalition forces captured a Hezbollah propaganda agent who would upload video and photos on the internet in Baghdad today.  He was being paid by Iran."

Is McCain doing what needs to be done to beat Obama?  Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru don't think so but have some advice!

Brokaw to Gore: Shouldn’t you be using less energy?  The answer just doesn't scream, "were all gonna die," the way Al does.  But if Al can't be bothered to cut back how are the rest of us who can't afford all the gadgets he now has supposed to get by in Al's world?

What's the truth about the U.N.'s campaign against gun ownership?

Nuclear energy is making a comeback, except for in Obama's energy policies!

A top Obama fundraiser has ties to a failed bank.  Add that to his piss poor judgment on personnel.

Louisianan has filed a request for a rehearing of the recently decided death penalty case because the court failed to discover a federal law imposing the same penalty for the same offense.  The decision was 5 to 4 and the lack of a federal law was one of the justifications for the decision.

McCain, who has managed to keep his name in the news despite Obama's Rainbow Tour is set to name his VP choice this week, according to Robert Novak.

75% support among the general public for allowing gays to serve in the military!

What if DNA matching statistics are wrong?  Could that be possible and what kind of mess could that be for criminal cases.

Much of Earth's oil reserves can be traced to a single volcanic eruption, scientists say.

Danika Patrick had an interesting altercation with another female driver who was anything but calm.  While Danika appeared composed her opponent, Milka, went so far as tossing two towels!

"North Dakota’s two newest ethanol factories have collected $1.78during the past six months, in part because high corn prices have made it difficult to profit from selling the alternative fuel."

"The world is failing to guard against the inevitable spread of a which could kill 50 million people and wreak massive disruption around the globe, the Government has warned."
Busy Day!

Ford Brings European Production Stateside!

(T)he Wall Street Journal says that Ford is going to make European cars on this side of the pond. However, it isn't merely North American plants that will be changed over, but American plants. The Journal doesn't give any further indication of where those plants might be or what those cars might be, only saying that the strategy could be revealed during Ford's Q2 earnings announcement this Thursday.

Possible Copy Cat -- Um -- CAT Killer

The driver of a construction vehicle rammed and overturned cars in downtown Jerusalem on Tuesday, wounding four people before he was shot dead, police said.

The attack was a chilling imitation of a similar incident early this month, when a Palestinian driver went on a rampage with his earth moving vehicle on a busy Jerusalem street, plowing into vehicles and pedestrians, killing three and wounding dozens before an off-duty soldier shot and killed him.

The identity of the driver in Tuesday's attack was not immediately clear. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But Israeli police called it a "terror attack."

The attack took place in a busy part of downtown Jerusalem, several hundred meters from the luxury hotel where U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama is supposed to stay Tuesday night as he kicks off a visit to Israel.

Minutes after the attack, the man's body was visible sprawled backward in the cabin of the yellow front loader. Sirens wailed in the background, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.

Three cars were heavily damaged, including one that was overturned.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police sealed off possible escape routes into predominantly Arab east Jerusalem and were searching for two suspects who fled the scene.

Israeli rescue services said they had evacuated one person whose leg was partially severed.
Fox News Breaking News

B-52 Crash Update -- No Survivors Yet, Two Bodies Four Missing

The U.S. Air Force continued to hold out hope of finding survivors Tuesday in the crash of a B-52 bomber off Guam, but a brigadier general said there was no evidence that any of the airmen were alive.

Two bodies from the six-member crew were found after the crash Monday morning. An earlier U.S. Coast Guard report said three bodies were recovered, but spokesman Lt. John Titchen later said that was in error. No names of the plane's crew had been released.

"We've seen fuel in the water, oil slicks, some pieces of what look like a plane. This is right within the area where we had planned our searches," Titchen said. "We are now planning our searches to include wind and water current, any kind of drift that may happen to someone in the water."

The unarmed Air Force bomber had been making a swing around the island from U.S. Andersen Air Force Base for a celebratory fly-over of another part of the island as part of Guam Liberation Day celebrations. The holiday marks the arrival of the U.S. military to retake the island from Japan in 1944.
Fox News

The Op-ed Too Dangerous For The NY Times!

Mon Jul 21 2008 12:00:25 ET

An editorial written by Republican presidential hopeful McCain has been rejected by the NEW YORK TIMES -- less than a week after the paper published an essay written by Obama, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The paper's decision to refuse McCain's direct rebuttal to Obama's 'My Plan for Iraq' has ignited explosive charges of media bias in top Republican circles.

'It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece,' NYT Op-Ed editor David Shipley explained in an email late Friday to McCain's staff. 'I'm not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written.'


In McCain's submission to the TIMES, he writes of Obama: 'I am dismayed that he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it... if we don't win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president.'

NYT's Shipley advised McCain to try again: 'I'd be pleased, though, to look at another draft.'

[Shipley served in the Clinton Administration from 1995 until 1997 as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Presidential Speechwriter.]


A top McCain source claims the paper simply does not agree with the senator's Iraq policy, and wants him to change it, not "re-work the draft."

McCain writes in the rejected essay: 'Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. 'I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,' he said on January 10, 2007. 'In fact, I think it will do the reverse.'


Shipley, who is on vacation this week, explained his decision not to run the editorial.

'The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (it appeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans.'

Shipley continues: 'It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq.'


The DRUDGE REPORT presents the McCain editorial in its submitted form:

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City—actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military's readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.
Drudge Report Flash!

Don't Hope For It, Vote For It

That is the tag line McCain is using on his ads and I like it.


Don't hope for energy independence, vote for it!

Don't hope for change, vote for it!


Could The Coverage Of The Rainbow Tour Backfire -- Americans Believe Media Is In The Tank!

The New York Times’ refusal today (Monday) to run an op-ed piece by John McCain challenging an article in the paper less than a week ago by Barack Obama is sure to further fuel the belief that much of the major media is biased in favor of the Democratic candidate.

At issue is McCain’s response to an article by Obama entitled, “My Plan for Iraq.” Obama was in Afghanistan over the weekend and in Iraq today attempting to build his foreign policy portfolio for the fall campaign.

The idea that reporters are trying to help Obama win in November has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, taken just before the new controversy involving the Times erupted, found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help the Democrat with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago.

Just 14% believe most reporters will try to help McCain win, little changed from 13% a month ago. Just one voter in four (24%) believes that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.

In the latest survey, a plurality of Democrats—37%-- say most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of the campaign. Twenty-seven percent (27%) believe most reporters are trying to help Obama and 21% in Obama’s party think reporters are trying to help the Republican candidate.

Among Republicans, 78% believe reporters are trying to help Obama and 10% see most offering unbiased coverage.

As for unaffiliated voters, 50% see a pro-Obama bias and 21% see unbiased coverage. Just 12% of those not affiliated with either major party believe the reporters are trying to help McCain.

In a more general sense, 45% say that most reporters would hide information if it hurt the candidate they wanted to win. Just 30% disagree and 25% are not sure. Democrats are evenly divided as to whether a reporter would release such information while Republicans and unaffiliated voters have less confidence in the reporters. 
Rasmussen Reports -- Belief Growing That Reporters are Trying to Help Obama Win

What Government Has Wrought, With The Help Of The Eco-Waco's and The Courts

T Boone Pickens is absolutely right: we can't go on transferring a trillion a year to the middle east. On the other hand, we used to be the creditor nation of the world, as well as the manufacturing nation. We gave that up voluntarily for regulations and a regulatory state. Whether his conclusion, that we ought to convert to wind power, is correct is another matter. It doesn't look as useful as nuclear, but there are fewer environmental fanatics opposed to wind. I suspect that energy economics is more determined by law suits than by engineering.

McCain Pump Ad

I thought it was well thought out and powerful imagery.

Econopundit thought it was dumb to use a vintage gas pump, "suggesting McCain hasn't himself been physically present at a gas station in thirty years."

I disagree, from a marketing stand the gas pump used in the McCain ad conveys a message directly to the target audience, let's face it, McCain has little chance of getting the under 30 vote no matter what pump he uses.

However Americans in the heartland over 30 will recognize, and many will, as I did, flash back to when those pumps were used and recall the gas lines, shortages, and price increases that helped stagnate the country in the 70's.

Even if you weren't old enough to drive back then, I wasn't, those images were on the news and in documentaries and history books and they are a part of the imagery of the American collective conscience.

The chosen imagery works for it's intended purpose. I saw the ad this morning and can still visualize the pump in the water, alone, numbers rising and I still see the images of the 70's gas lines.

The Obama Rainbow Tour -- Day 3 -- It All Plays Well At Home

There you are, I told you so
Makes no difference where she goes
The whole world over just the same
Just listen to them call her name
And who would underestimate the actress now? 

Evita - Rainbow Tour

Don Surber:

Times of London headline: “Iraqis underwhelmed by media circus for Barack Obama visit.”
Apparently, Iraqis care little about American presidential politics.
There is this from Reuters: “Iraqis say they like Obama, divided on his policies.”
He’s popular in part because they don’t believe him.
It quoted Munadhil al-Mayyahi, an independent politician in Basra: “What Obama said about pulling out U.S. forces is just for political gains. It is unrealistic.”
This story was filed after the more pro-Obama story that Reuters killed.
“Who is Mr. Obama?” asked Muhammad Saed, 29, who owns a small supermarket in Baghdad. “I stopped reading the news after the invasion because it only talks about car bombs and people being killed.”
Sounds like we share something in common with Iraqis after all.
Hat tip: Lucianne.

 Times Of London, via Gateway Pundit:
Barack Obama will do the unthinkable in London this week.
Obama will hold a press conference outside Downing Street... alone.
He does not want Prime Minister Gordon Brown with him.
The unpopular Prime Minister might spoil it.
Lest there be any illusions about the desired target audience for Obama’s trip, the foreign media, including the BBC, have been left on the Tarmac. Only American reporters are on board “Obama One” as his plane heads from one country to the next.

He will have a 45-minute meeting on Saturday morning with Gordon Brown followed by a press conference, which Obama will conduct on his own outside Downing Street in a blatant departure from the usual protocol.

There will be no Brown at his side to spoil the No 10 backdrop for American voters, even though it would be unthinkable for a British prime minister to appear in the White House Rose Garden without the president.

Brown will say a few words later in the day, once Obama has gone.
Neal Boortz adds:
As you watch the mania being beamed back from Europe, I ask you to remember one important thing. Not too many months ago the Pew Research Center – and these are people with great expertise in European polling – said that 58% of all Europeans want to see the United States weakened. Now think about that for a minute. Do you want the United States to be weakened? It's not surprising that Europeans might want that. After all, a weaker United States might well mean a stronger Europe in international affairs and economic influence. That might be great for Europe, and we can understand Europeans wanting to bring this about. But when these Europeans start falling all over themselves during the Obama 2008 tour, try to remember what their goals really are. Are they slobbering all over Obama because they think he will be a wonderful and powerful world leader, or because they think that Barack Obama is the means to their desired end ... a weakened America.

Can it be that the future of this country is going to depend on millions of voters snapping out of it – escaping the cult – and actually sitting back for a little session of sober thought on the choices at hand?
From Hot Air:
The Barack Obama campaign wanted to make sure that the reporters traveling along with the presidential candidate on his foreign tour presented themselves properly. His staff distributed a memo that dictated a dress code, reminding the women in the media entourage of the need to keep from offending the natives.
Despite the debate:
Doesn't even bring up timetables with Iraqi Leader al-Maliki

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