Monday, September 29, 2008
On this day:

An overnight solution to the Southeast's gas shortages

There's a quick and easy solution to this problem: either repeal or suspend enforcement of the price-gouging laws that have kept prices artificially low in the wake of this season's Gulf hurricanes and the consequent supply disruptions.

For a full explanation, here's Neal Boortz. No, he's not an economist, but he's far more economically literate than most of his state's politicians.

Rethinking the Palin pick

The excitement begins to fade, even among conservatives. Here's Kathleen Parker:
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.
For that Veep debate this Thursday, it might be a good idea to keep a bottle of Jack nearby.

Saturday, September 27, 2008
On this day:


Can I get a big


Update: The Tide is now ranked #2 in the latest AP poll.

Another update: Didn't notice this before, but Bama got 21 first place votes. (Oklahoma had 43.)

Debating Obama on the financial crisis

"In the debate last night, Barack Obama asks a good question about the present financial crisis but then gives an answer that is, at best, incomplete." - economist Greg Mankiw, who goes on to cite the same 1999 NYT piece I linked in the last post.

Friday, September 26, 2008
On this day:

The financial crisis: How did it come to this?

If - like me - you've been asking, "How did it come to this?", then you should read this New York Times piece from September 30, 1999. It provides a great deal of insight into the the major cause of the current crisis. Here's a taste:

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans. ...

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

(H/T Yuval Levin)

Stengthening the state's price gouging laws: A solution in search of a problem

Two Alabama pols are promising to introduce legislation to strengthen the state's law against gasoline price-gouging:

(Huntsville Times) MONTGOMERY - Gasoline prices in the state haven't retreated much since Hurricane Ike hit Texas, but supply is more of a critical issue now, a spokesman for AAA of Alabama said Monday.

Meanwhile, Democratic and Republican state senators said they will sponsor legislation in 2009 to strengthen consumer protection against price gouging. ...

State Sens. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, and Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, each have proposals they will sponsor in the 2009 legislative session.

"What we saw happen was truly atrocious," Bedford said. "Price gougers were determined to reap a profit on the fears of our Alabama families and individuals."

Bedford's legislation would update the Unconscionable Pricing Act, which was passed after Hurricane Opal did substantial damage in Alabama in 1996.

That law made price gouging illegal in the state if the price was 25 percent above an "unconscionable level," but Bedford wants to lower that to 15 percent.

He also proposes increasing the fine for violations from $1,000 to $5,000 per offense and making repeat offenders subject to a Class C felony.

Ingram said AAA supports Bedford's legislation, adding the current law "needs to have a little more teeth to it."

Beason's bill would prevent fuel retailers and suppliers from price gouging prior to a declaration of a state of emergency.

His proposal would give the governor the authority to call a three-day "state of preparedness" to protect Alabamians from fuel price gouging when the state is indirectly impacted by natural disasters in other states. The attorney general would also be given the power to prosecute violators during this period.

"There needs to be a mechanism in place to prevent the artificial inflation of fuel prices that cause consumer panic," Beason said. "The urgency caused by the oil companies creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of fuel shortages and even higher prices."

A better solution would be for the government to step back and allow the market to work its magic. The Alabama legislature should simultaneously repeal both the Unconscionable Pricing Act, which places a ceiling on gasoline price increases, and the Motor Fuel Marketing Act, which forbids retailers from selling gas below cost.

USC defeated

Hooray and hoorah!

Question is: in spite of it's loss to unranked Oregon State, how many #1 votes will USC get in next week's AP poll?

What a catch!


And the sky is blue

So what?

Thursday, September 25, 2008
On this day:

An atheist finds God?

Mike Potemra seems to think that maybe - just maybe - Christopher Hitchens, a self-proclaimed atheist - may not be as far apart philosophically from believers as he thinks he is. It's interesting stuff. If you're in the mood to think, then read the thread:

Christopher Hitchens does believe in God! (Mike Potemra)

Hitchens and the moral law (Mike Potemra)

Re: Hitchens and the moral law (Jim Manzi)

Re: Hitchens and the moral law (Yuval Levin)

For a long time, I've thought that pure atheism demands much more faith than is demanded by belief. The idea that there is some fundamental force or principle that willed the universe into existence and that in some way sustains it seems to me to be a consequence of reason, not its conquerer.

Very few people - even those who call themselves atheists - are willing to go so far as to deny the existence of such a force or principle - if not because such a denial stands opposed to both reason and experience, then because its logical consequences are so abhorrent. If there is no ultimate "truth," then there is no morality. If God is dead or never lived, then we must be gods; the concept of "human nature" and all that follows from it - including reason - are merely illusions. Deprived of a God-given nature or essence, every man is free to create one for himself. Man's will reigns supreme.

But there's a problem with all of that: it's self-evident that our will does not reign supreme. And how do we know that? Because nature and reason (thank God) have intervened. In contemplating the abyss, we've seen it for what it is, and we know that it harbors only madness and superstition. That's why we shouldn't ignore the reports of men like Nietzche and Sartre who dared to gaze over the edge. They followed atheism to its logical conclusion, and thereby did more to prove its inherent illogic than all but the most thoughtful and devout believers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
On this day:

Obama and Ayers: More than "just friends"

The disturbing thing about Barack Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers is not the fact that Ayers was a guy who lived in Obama's neighborhood or that they became fast friends - or at least friendly acquaintances. It's not even that Ayers was one of the first people Obama turned to in order to launch his Chicago political career. The thing that really bugs me is that Obama and Ayers are ideological soulmates. NRO's Stanley Kurtz explains here and here.

Like most of you, I've never had the opportunity to become friendly with an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers. Perhaps that's because I've never been a community organizer or a college professor - possibly the only two professions in which men like Ayers are hailed as heroes.

I'm sure that Ayers has his good qualities and that his views are held to be respectable and mainstream among the community organizers and college professors who have served as Barack Obama's peers throughout his adult life. Still, I see Bill Ayers as a modern-day Guy Fawkes. He's the man who bombed the U.S. Capitol, but - unlike his terrorist forerunner - not only did he live to brag about it, he has seen his reputation enhanced through his association with "respectable, mainstream" politicians like Barack Obama.

It's been over four hundred years since Guy Fawkes plotted to blow up Parliament. To this day, the British recall that day each year by burning him in effigy. But, then again, no one ever had the audacity to call him respectable.

Obama's anti-gun record: the bitter truth

Dave Kopel fact-checks

Monday, September 22, 2008
On this day:

McCain will win Alabama

No surprises here:

MONTGOMERY -- A statewide poll shows Republican John McCain with a big lead over Democrat Barack Obama in Alabama.

A random telephone survey by the Mobile Press-Register and University of South Alabama Polling Group found 52 percent backing McCain and 25 percent Obama. Another 23 percent were supporting someone else, undecided, didn't know or declined to answer.

The survey of 406 registered voters was conducted Sept. 8-16 and has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
The Mobile Register has the details.

Explaining the financial crisis

Here are a few must-reads:

Jim Manzi: "The problem we face is often described as mind-bendingly complex, but in its essentials, it is simple."

Kevin Hassett: "The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally."

Sen. John McCain's speech delivered on the Senate floor on May 25, 2006:
For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs--and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO's report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO's report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.
National Review Online:
One of the reasons so many bad mortgage loans were made in the first place is that Barack Obama’s celebrated community organizers make their careers out of forcing banks to do so. ACORN, for which Obama worked, is one of many left-wing organizations that spent decades pressuring banks and bank regulators to do more to make mortgages available to people without much in the way of income, assets, or credit. These campaigns often were couched in racially inflammatory terms. The result was the Community Reinvestment Act. The CRA empowers the FDIC and other banking regulators to punish those banks which do not lend to the poor and minorities at the level that Obama’s fellow community organizers would like. Among other things, mergers and acquisitions can be blocked if CRA inquisitors are not satisfied that their demands — which are political demands — have been met. There is a name for loans made to people who do not have the credit, assets, income, or down payment to qualify for a normal mortgage: subprime. ...

Along with these bad loans, the underlying problem is that there was a bubble in the price of housing — a bubble caused in no small part by politics, in the form of an easy-money/easy-credit policy from the Fed.

It was politics, too, that created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, enabled them to dominate the mortgage market, and implicitly took upon American taxpayers the risks of those business while the rewards were enjoyed, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, by largely Democratic political opportunists, who then gave generously to Democrats, the top recipients of their largesse being: Chris Dodd, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry, and Barack Obama. And it was politics that unwisely nationalized Fannie and Freddie without resolving the underlying moral hazard — private profit, public risk — that makes those institutions problematic. From this Senator Obama takes away the lesson that there has been a failure of the market, and that what is needed is more politics. In this analysis Obama is as wrong as it is possible to be.

Thursday, September 18, 2008
On this day:

Congress could have fixed the Fannie before it erupted

If had listened to John McCain.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
On this day:

Obama, sex education, and a McCain ad

McCain "Education" ad has prompted a furious reaction from the Obama campaign and its supporters in the media. They argue that it is misleading in its assertion that "Obama's one accomplishment" on education was "legislation to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners."

First, let's take up the question of whether Illinois's comprehensive sex-ed bill (Senate Bill 99) is "Obama's one accomplishment" related to education. The answer is - not exactly. During Obama's stint as a state legislator, he did vote for other education reform bills that actually did become law, unlike the sex-ed bill, which did not. According to
He was a cosponsor of what became the Chicago Education Reform Act of 2003, which allowed for an increase in the number of Chicago charter schools and required the Chicago Board of Education to enter into a formal partnership with the Chicago Teachers Union to "advance the Chicago Public Schools to the next level of education reform." [According to the Heritage Foundation: the Act "provides for the creation of 15 new charter schools in the city, but it also gives teachers more bargaining rights--making charter school advocates wary of the measure."] He was also a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill to help Illinois high school graduates be eligible for in-state college tuition rates even if they weren't U.S. citizens.
So. Did Obama "accomplish" something good by voting to grant taxpayer-subsidized, in-state tuition to non-citizens, including those who are in the country illegally? Was it an "accomplishment" to provide for more charter schools in the City of Chicago, while simultaneously undermining that objective by handing even more power to that city's teachers' unions? You be the judge.

In politics, putting forth subjective judgments about an opponent's record is nothing new. What is new is that so many people have apparently lost the common sense or the good will necessary to distinguish statements of fact from statements of opinion.

But what about the McCain ad's most controversial allegation: that Obama supported "legislation to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners"? That's the Obama camp's most substantive complaint about the ad, but it's also the least defensible. Because Obama did in fact support legislation to expand the state's comprehensive sex education program to include kindergartners.

The old (and still existing) law in Illinois states:
Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades 6 through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention, transmission and spread of AIDS.
The text of the bill Obama supported would have amended that to say:
Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.
See the difference? The McCain ad's only misrepresentation on this point is that the Obama-supported legislation would have expanded the state's sex-ed curriculum to include all elementary school students in grades K-5, not just kindergartners, as the ad implies.

Obama contends that kindergartners would only have been instructed as to how to avoid sexual predators and recognize inappropriate touching. That's possible, but doubtful. Granted, the legislation provided that all course material and instruction should be "age and developmentally appropriate," but the big concern among Illinois parents was that radical groups like Planned Parenthood - who were influential in crafting the legislation - would be equally influential in determining the "appropriateness" of what to teach their children about sex and when to teach it.

NRO's Byron York got in touch with one of the bill's sponsors, Sen. Iris Martinez, who shed some light on the extent of Planned Parenthood's involvement. In an article published today, he wrote:
When I asked Martinez the rationale for changing grade six to kindergarten, she said that groups like Planned Parenthood and the Cook County Department of Health — both major contributors to the bill — “were finding that there were children younger than the sixth grade that were being inappropriately touched or molested.” When I asked about the elimination of references to marriage and the contraception passages, Martinez said that the changes were “based on some of the information we got from Planned Parenthood.”

After we discussed other aspects of the bill, I told Martinez that reading the bill, I just didn’t see it as being exclusively, or even mostly, about inappropriate touching. “I didn’t see it that way, either,” Martinez said. “It’s just more information about a whole variety of things that have to go into a sex education class, the things that are outdated that you want to amend with things that are much more current.”

So, I asked, you didn’t see it specifically as being about inappropriate touching?

“Absolutely not.”
That blows Obama's defense of his vote out of the water. Planned Parenthood and its allies simply do not agree with most parents about what is "age appropriate" when it comes to instruction about sex and sexuality. Still, as the nation's largest abortion provider and a $100 million recipient of federal funding, Planned Parenthood is enormously influential in Democratic Party politics and thus in the crafting of public policy. There is little doubt that the sex-ed legislation Obama supported would have extended that influence even further, to the detriment of Illinois families.

As Byron York said in the conclusion to his article:
Obama’s explanation for his vote [that the bill's implications for kindergartners would be "age appropriate" and would only involve instruction about how to avoid sexual predators and how to recognize inappropriate touching] has been accepted by nearly all commentators. And perhaps that is indeed why he voted for Senate Bill 99, although we dont know for sure. But we do know that the bill itself was much more than that. The fact is, the bills intention was to mandate that issues like contraception and the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases be included in sex-education classes for children before the sixth grade, and as early as kindergarten. Obamas defenders may howl, but the bill is what it is.

Sarah and Hillary

Courtesy of Saturday Night Live:

Saturday, September 13, 2008
On this day:

Why John McCain "can't send an e-mail"

The Obama campaign's latest ad makes fun of John McCain because he "can't send an e-mail."

Well, here's why...

From Forbes magazine, May 29, 2000:
In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate's savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. "She's a whiz on the keyboard, and I'm so laborious," McCain admits.
H/T Suitably Flip via Ace of Spades via Jonah Goldberg.

More from Instapundit.

Thursday, September 11, 2008
On this day:

Obama campaign: Do you really want a President who can't type on a computer?

The following is from the Boston Globe - March 3, 2000:
McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain's encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He's an avid fan - Ted Williams is his hero - but he can't raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.
That makes Barack Obama's new ad mocking Sen. McCain for his lack of computer skills (which usually involve typing on a keyboard) a little less "cute" than the Obama campaign had intended, don't you think?

H/T to Jonah Goldberg, who has more here.

Artur Davis: Republicans have their "best week in four years"

Here's U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D., AL-7), quoted at

Republicans used their St. Paul, Minnesota, convention to focus attention on McCain's personal character and leadership qualities, and highlight his independence from President George W. Bush. The message was reinforced by the selection of Palin, who was presented as a reformer who fought oil companies and took on her party in Alaska.

This has allowed the Republicans to have "their best week in four years,'' said Representative Artur Davis, an Alabama Democrat. "McCain is the one Republican who could have been competitive this year because John McCain does his own brand independent of George Bush."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
On this day:

Is Obama lifting his speeches from cartoons now?

If not, then this is a remarkable coincidence.

I knew there had to be a reason Obama wanted Biden on his ticket.

McCain's "POW Card"

As Fred Thompson said in his speech at the Republican convention, "Now, being a POW certainly doesn't qualify anyone to be president, but it does reveal character."

That's exactly right. If John McCain were a liberal - advocating higher taxes, undue government regulation, and the imposition of laws via judicial fiat rather than through the means established by the Constitution - then I wouldn't be supporting him for President, no matter how many days he had spent in North Vietnam or how harsh his treatment there was. If McCain were a liberal, I'd acknowledge him as a man of proven character, but not as one with the proven judgment to be President.

I've known a few

Sarah Palin: red state feminist.

Paglia on Palin

As much as I differ with her politically, I still love Hurricane Camille:
Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment. ...

As a dissident feminist, I have been arguing since my arrival on the scene nearly 20 years ago that young American women aspiring to political power should be studying military history rather than taking women's studies courses, with their rote agenda of never-ending grievances. ...

Over the Labor Day weekend, with most of the big enchiladas of the major media on vacation, the vacuum was filled with a hallucinatory hurricane in the leftist blogosphere, which unleashed a grotesquely lurid series of allegations, fantasies, half-truths and outright lies about Palin. What a tacky low in American politics -- which has already caused a backlash that could damage Obama's campaign. When liberals come off as childish, raving loonies, the right wing gains. I am still waiting for substantive evidence that Sarah Palin is a dangerous extremist. I am perfectly willing to be convinced, but right now, she seems to be merely an optimistic pragmatist like Ronald Reagan, someone who pays lip service to religious piety without being in the least wedded to it. I don't see her arrival as portending the end of civil liberties or life as we know it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008
On this day:

More on Sulky Sully's Silence

Other bloggers have noticed it, too:

Joe My God and Not Very Bright think that Andrew's cryptic messages bear a clue.

This guy and the Kos-monauts think he's being censored.

This guy's "spies" say that Sullivan's been fired by the Atlantic.

One of Sullivan's fellow Atlantic bloggers is censoring all commenter speculation as to Sullivan's whereabouts.

Another Atlantic blogger, Marc Ambinder, says that Andrew's fine: "Worry not, fans."

And Alfred E. Neuman says, "What, me worry?"

Andrew Sullivan: Suddenly silent

We've heard hardly a peep out of the Atlantic's chief gossip columnist, Andrew Sullivan, for two days now. This isn't like Andrew. In a tersely worded blog post yesterday, he wrote:
Thank you for your many emails of concern. For the record, I'm absolutely fine, nothing has changed with this blog, no one is pressuring me to write or not write anything, and I spent part of the day yesterday with my husband soaking up the last moments of summer together.
Again, this is just not like Andrew. Ordinarily, he would have posted at least two or three of those glowing "e-mails of concern." He would've arranged for a diverse group of stand-in bloggers to post to his site whilst he was away. And he certainly would've told his readers ahead of time that he wouldn't be posting for awhile.

Something's just not right. I mean...has this ever happened before in American history? Andrew Sullivan - silent? He'd better get back soon or the rumors will start to fly. Rumors like these:
His beagle is pregnant and he's out shopping for maternity collars.

The Atlantic is dropping his blog and Andrew has signed a contract with the National Enquirer.

After two weeks of posting mean and nasty things about Sarah Palin, he's come to realize - like the folks at Slate - that she's his dream girl.

Andrew got upset when his husband recently sent him an e-mail with the following subject line: "But, Andrew...Sarah Palin's HOT!"

His patrons in the Obama campaign have sent him to Alaska to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin and her family.

He's in North Korea serving as a stand-in for Kim Jong-Il.

He's sulking because he just found out over the weekend that I delisted him from my blogroll a few weeks back.

He read the news about the Large Hadron Collider experiment planned for tomorrow, and he's on his way to Switzerland to observe. (In which case, someone should make sure that Andrew read that headline correctly: this the Large Hadron Collider.)

He actually did read that headline correctly, and he's en route to Switzerland nonetheless. He was there when the universe began, and he wants to be there when it ends.

If the world doesn't end tomorrow, he wants to be present when scientists discover what they are sure to dub the "Sullivan particle."

He's the keynote speaker at the "Party of Andrew" Convention tomorrow night in Provincetown.

He's in the hospital with a broken leg...after falling off his high horse.
Anyways...come back soon, Andrew. The world revolves around you. We desperately need you back - hadrons and all.

Update (9/10/08 11:55 AM): Sullivan's back today...denouncing John McCain for enabling "mindless Rovianism" over this pigs and lipstick business. Whatever. I wonder kind of politics Andrew thinks he's been enabling (and practicing) for the last month. Just call him Andrew "Turd Blossom" Sullivan.

Monday, September 08, 2008
On this day:

What a difference a week makes

Here are the latest polling results in the presidential race:
USA-Today: McCain up by 4 among registered 10 among likely voters.

Gallup: McCain up by 3 among registered voters. (pre-convention, Gallup had Obama up by 8)

Zogby: McCain up by 4 among likely voters.
Lots of folks are attributing McCain's bounce in the polls to his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. I don't doubt that that's part of it, but the biggest contributor, in my opinion, is John McCain himself. His speech at the convention - which was watched by more people than any other convention speech in history - was the first time that many Americans had really been introduced to John McCain. And what an introduction it was.

Over the past few days, I've heard pundits criticize McCain's speech for a multitude of reasons: it was lacking in policy detail, the delivery wasn't that good, it was too long or too disjointed. All of those things may be true. But the thing that got me - and I suspect the thing that impressed lots of other Americans out here in the hinterlands - was that it was so moving and so morally compelling. I can't remember hearing any politician - much less a candidate for President - bare his soul as much as John McCain did in his speech Thursday night. Here's the prime example:
I was in solitary confinement when my captors offered to release me. I knew why. If I went home, they would use it as propaganda to demoralize my fellow prisoners. Our Code said we could only go home in the order of our capture, and there were men who had been shot down before me. I thought about it, though. I wasn’t in great shape, and I missed everything about America. But I turned it down.

A lot of prisoners had it worse than I did. I’d been mistreated before, but not as badly as others. I always liked to strut a little after I’d been roughed up to show the other guys I was tough enough to take it. But after I turned down their offer, they worked me over harder than they ever had before. For a long time. And they broke me.

When they brought me back to my cell, I was hurt and ashamed, and I didn’t know how I could face my fellow prisoners. The good man in the cell next door, my friend, Bob Craner, saved me. Through taps on a wall he told me I had fought as hard as I could. No man can always stand alone. And then he told me to get back up and fight again for our country and for the men I had the honor to serve with. Because every day they fought for me.

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.
That part of McCain's speech managed to bring a tear to my eye, but I wish it would've brought two. Full of "selfish independence," McCain attempted to face down the devil and found himself too weak to do it alone. The story is so compelling because it's so familiar. It's just an old war story, but it's our story, too.

Saturday, September 06, 2008
On this day:

What starts with "s" and rhymes with "Nittaly?"

Because that's how Barack Obama handled an audience full of Penn State fans. Watch:

Friday, September 05, 2008
On this day:

Welcoming blacks into the Alabama GOP

This is good advice:

Cliff Walker of Bessemer said conservative black voters are more likely to respond to an individual candidate, not the Republican Party as a whole.

"My complaint with the Republican Party would be that they're not asking Alabama blacks to vote for them, and if you don't ask, you're less likely to receive them," Walker said.

McCain's speech

Win or lose, that was a speech that America desperately needed to hear, and one that only John McCain could deliver. Beautiful.

Thursday, September 04, 2008
On this day:

Sarah Palin's purpose in life

Jonah Goldberg: "[Sarah Palin] was put on this earth to do two things: kill caribou and kick butt. She's all out of caribou."

McCain's choice

Judging by her superb speech tonight, Sarah Palin may very well be the next Republican nominee for President. And I'm not talking about 2012, but 2008.

Watch it here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Be sure to watch Part 2. If you aren't too keen on politics but like sheer adorableness, at least watch the first minute.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008
On this day:

Why I erased Andrew Sullivan from my blogroll a month ago

Read this and this and I think you'll understand.

The facts about Sarah Palin

There are lots of vicious rumors going around about Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin. If you're interested in hearing those rumors, then you should go read He Who Shall Not Be Named. If, on the other hand, you want the facts about Gov. Palin, you should go here, where, among other things, you will learn that:
Sarah Palin is the reason compasses point North.

Sarah Palin’s enemies are automatically added to the Endangered Species List.

Sarah Palin is what Willis was talkin' 'bout.

Death once had a near-Sarah Palin experience.

Sarah Palin begins every day with a moment of silence for the political enemies buried in her yard.

When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

Sarah Palin once won a competitive eating contest by devouring three live caribou.

Sarah Palin doesn’t need a gun to hunt. She has been known to throw a bullet through an adult bull elk.

Sarah Palin drives a Zamboni to work.

Sarah Palin can divide by zero.

Sarah Palin’s son is going to Iraq after the Surge, because a Palin during the Surge would have been unfair.

Sarah Palin’s hotness is the largest single contributor to melting polar ice caps.

Sarah Palin’s presence in the lower 48 means the Arctic ice cap can finally return.

Global Warming doesn’t kill polar bears. Sarah Palin does - usually with her bare hands.

Sarah Palin will send Biden a pre-debate cheat sheet. The sheet will have tips on defending against Kung Fu Death Grip.

Chuck Norris wishes he was Sarah Palin trapped in a man’s body.

he Northern Lights are really just the reflection from Sarah Palin’s eyes.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008
On this day:

The Alaska gubernatorial debate

Watch Gov. Palin in action here.

Who's "defective"?

Rich Lowry:
I meant to post this the other day ... but I got sidetracked. I found the Palin event Friday incredibly moving. Partly because of Trig.

The sentimentalist in me would be willing to see anyone who is loving and unselfish enough to welcome a Down kid into their family elevated to high office.

When I was thinking of Trig, I was reminded of an encounter I had a couple of weeks ago on the Delta Shuttle from Washington to New York. It was a mostly empty plane, but I went all the back to the very emptiest part of the plane to spread out and enjoy the quiet. And there was a man sitting in the very back row who immediately piped up, "Hi. I'm Ian. Would you like to sit next to me?"

He was a guy with Down Syndrome, maybe in his twenties. I declined the offer, but we struck up a conversation. He was going to New York for a family celebration, including for his birthday. I told him I had a birthday coming up too and he lit up and came over to vigorously shake my hand in congratulations—more delighted by my birthday than his own.

When the plane began to fill up a woman and her daughter came all the way to the back with a huge bag. I began to wonder to myself if I should offer to help them with it, when Ian popped up, told them he'd get it, and lifted it up and shoved it in the overhead compartment. When two men came down the aisle with a box they weren't sure would fit overhead, he intervened and told them it would—"trust me"—and put it up for them.

He chatted amiably with his neighbors during the flight, and when we landed was up out of his seat first thing to help that woman get her bag down.

From this brief encounter, I dare say Ian is friendlier, better adjusted and more considerate than about half of the people on the streets of Manhattan or San Francisco on any given day. Yet most of those people are perfectly unperturbed by the elimination of babies with Down syndrome in the womb. To hell with them. God bless Sarah Palin for bringing Trig into the world, and may he shower those around him with as much sunshine as the gentleman I met on that flight.