Archive for August 18th, 2008

August 18, 2008

DRUDGE: OBAMA VP WED A.M.?

DRUDGE BULLETIN:

Obama has set an elaborate roll-out to announce his decision that will begin with an early morning e-mail to supporters, perhaps as early as Tuesday, [NY Times reporters] Zeleny and Adam Nagourney have been told.
A top source close to Caroline Kennedy tells DRUDGE — the pick is more likely to come early Wednesday morning.

Which almost certainly means Tim Kaine, who’ll appear with Obama in Martinsville, Va., at an invitation-only event Wednesday.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: While awaiting further irresponsible speculation, I’ll point out The Onion’s big scoop:

“Oh, sure, yeah, [Kaine] is definitely ready to fill out the ticket by appealing to white blue-collar workers and Latinos,” said Tim Kaine expert and daughter Annella Kaine, 13. “Not! He’ll probably be like, ‘Vote for me and I’ll make everyone go to bed early. Derr, derr, derr.'”

(Hat tip: John Tabin.)

UPDATE II: Fox News:

“It’s bologna,” Traveling Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of the rumor. “Anyone who thinks they know, doesn’t know. Senator Obama’s looking forward to addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention tomorrow.” . . .
One staffer wondered aloud why the presumptive Democratic nominee would make the major announcement during the middle of a hurricane at a VFW event.

Which tells me that Obama staffers are idiots. But we knew that already, right?

UPDATE III: Dallas Morning News:

He’s at the VFW convention in Orlando on Tuesday, then spends the day in southern Virginia on Wednesday, reportedly with Senate candidate/ex-Gov. Mark Warner (who has ruled himself out), but not with Gov. Tim Kaine (who hasn’t). But there’s talk that Obama will spend the night in Richmond, which gives him every chance to appear Thursday with the governor. Hmmm.

I so called this one.

UPDATE IV: The New York Times story is now online and no big whoop:

Senator Barack Obama has all but finalized his choice for a running mate and set an elaborate roll-out plan for his decision, beginning with an early morning alert to supporters, perhaps as soon as Wednesday, followed by a trip to swing states by the new Democratic ticket, aides said. . . .
Mr. Obama had not notified his choice — or any of those not selected — of his decision as of late Monday, advisers said. Going into the final days, Mr. Obama was said to be focused mainly on three candidates: Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

“Aides said … advisers said,” yadda yadda. TPM’s Greg Sargent:

And Bayh may still be in the running, supposedly, though that’s very hard to imagine.

“Very hard to imagine” because Sargent’s Netroots buddies screamed bloody murder about Bayh. But people I know in Virginia aren’t really impressed with Kaine, either, and I heard from one reporter who’s still got the thick stack of oppo-research the GOP put out on Kaine in 2005. If the list is down to Bayh, Kaine and Biden, and if the announcement is “as soon as Wednesday,” it’s almost certainly Kaine.

Wonder what the PUMAs will say?

UPDATE V: Allah:

Who will it be? The smart money says Biden, who’s just back from Georgia with a feather in his cap and whose foreign policy advisor, Tony Blinken, was coincidentally “vacationing” last week in … Hawaii.

It’s Kaine, dadgum it. Two senators on the same ticket? No, not unless it’s You-Know-Who. And Biden’s an outdated joke from a 3-EV state that’s not even in play. So it’s a governor. The Netroots hated Bayh. And Obama’s going to be in Virginia two days this week, so it’s got to be Kaine.

UPDATE VI: Ace of Spades:

Bill Kristol hears a different three: Kaine, Biden, and Sebelius.
So did he pick Sebelius? Does the NYT’s final three not include her as a head fake?

Dear Ace:
WTF did Bill Kristol ever do for you, huh? I mean, c’mon. And exactly what makes you think any Democrat who has the slightest clue of what’s going on at Obama HQ is going to tell BILL FREAKING KRISTOL anything?
But no, I understand. I see how the game is played. It’s much more impressive to quote Bill “The Iraqis Will Welcome Our Troops With Flowers” Kristol than to quote a mere blogger.
I mean, simple common sense will tell you that if Obama picks Sebelius, the PUMAs will do like Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.” And yet, because he’s Bill Kristol and I’m not, you’re quoting him instead of me, when I’m telling you in BIG RED NEON LETTERS it’s going to be TIM KAINE.
Your disappointed moron,
— RSM

August 18, 2008

Credentials? Not me

Official Democratic bloggers:

Over 120 blogs have been credentialed as members of the media for the Democratic National Convention; those who have received credentials are allowed to cover the Convention at the Pepsi Center. …
Catholic League president Bill Donohue is protesting two of the blogs . . . .
“On the home page of Bitch Ph.D. there is a picture of two children: one of them is shown flashing his middle finger. Today’s lead post, which was written August 17, is called ‘Jesus Christ.’ It begins with, ‘I’m a really crappy Catholic who hasn’t been to mass in ages because most parishes around here ‘will’ insist on being aggressively anti-abortion….’ The writer then objects to some children’s toys on the grounds that they are more offensive than desecrating the Eucharist. The toys are actually balloons that have been made to depict Jesus in various poses, including a crucified Christ; one of these images shows Jesus with a penis. Several who commented on this image made patently obscene comments.
“Towleroad describes itself as ‘A Site with Homosexual Tendencies.’ Accordingly, it shows men in jock straps and underwear. It also has a post on Pope Benedict XVI that takes him to task for wearing a cape with ermine. Some of those who commented on this described the pope in a vile and profane way.
“Both of these blogs should be cut immediately from the list of credentialed sites. Neither functions as a responsible media outlet and both offend Catholics, as well as others. To allow them access to the Democratic National Convention sends a message to Catholics they will not forget. We look for Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Convention, to nix them ASAP.”

I’m not Catholic, and am not shocked, and I’m not credentialed for the convention, either. They deadline for credential applications was in April, for crying out loud, and who plans that far in advance?

What does a resourceful professional journalist need with “official” credentials anyway? The real action at a convention isn’t in the hall. That’s just a TV show. But if I wanted to get into the Pepsi Center, I’d be there.

August 18, 2008

Income, wealth and ‘the rich’

In addition to chasing Iggy Pop and her “cone of silence” conspiracy theory, the other item in Sunday’s Saddleback forum that’s obsessed the Left is when Rev. Rick Warren asked the two candidates to define “rich.”

St. Hopey said $250,000 a year is rich; Maverick said $5 million a year. Both are wrong, although Obama’s much wronger than McCain.

Income is not wealth. When ordinary Americans talk about being “rich,” they usually mean, “having a lot of money,” i.e., the possession of wealth, which is not exactly the same thing as having a large income.

This basic political confusion between the two categories — your annual income as opposed to your wealth (net worth) — is to some extent a function of the fact that the federal government taxes income, and so much political discussion of economics involves Democratic redistributionist proposals to tax the “rich” in order to provide benefits for the “poor.”

People who have wealth can hide their income. It’s not really difficult for wealthy people — that is, people who already have a large net worth — to engage in financial and accounting practices that allow them to live very well without reporting a huge personal income to the IRS. And nothing that Congress is likely to do anytime in the near future will ever allow them to close every “loophole” by which this is done, because to do so would create an onerous burden on too many middle-class people and have a dampening effect on the economy.

Most talk of taxing the rich is therefore dishonest. There are some sociopathic people who are full of a malicious spirit of envy, and who therefore thrill to hear some demagogue tell them that he’s really going to stick it to the rich. It never really works out that way, but the sociopaths never seem to catch on to the game, and so the demagogues keep promising to impose punitive taxes on “the rich” but never doing it. (See Clinton administration, 1993-2001.)

People with large incomes often live in places with high costs of living. Ezra Klein notes ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson’s assertion that households earning $200,000 a year are “struggling” and can’t afford more taxes. Well, yes, indeed — Gibson lives in New York City, one of the most expensive places on the planet, and a New York couple earning $200,000 a year (maybe a nurse married to a firefighter) aren’t exactly sipping cognac on their yachts, lighting their cigars with $20 bills, and feeding caviar to their poodles.

Rich people are very rare. There are a little over 100 million households in America, and of those, the top 1% (i.e., about 1 million households) report an average annual household income of $348,000. Think of a successful building contractor having a good year, or may the vice-president of a university and his wife who’s a professor of English literature.

Now, $348,000 a year is very good money, don’t get me wrong. But assuming that this money is mostly salary or income from a small business, it does not necessarily mean these people are “rich.”

OK, at $348,000 a year, you can afford the mortgage on a nice house, the payments on a couple of nice cars, and private-school tuition for a kid or two. But, assuming you’re working for a living to earn that money — as opposed to having inherited it, or made some other kind of multimillion-dollar windfall that now pays you dividends — you’re not really rich.

In fact, even if you’re making $348,000 a year, there is no guarantee you’ll be making that amount next year, or five years from now. And 10 years ago, you might have made only a fraction of that amount.

Say you were a 25-year-old medical student in 1998, and today you’re a successful surgeon earning $348,000 a year. Are you “rich”? Well, you’re certainly not poor. But chances are you’re still paying off your student loans, plus you might have borrowed additional money to help you establish your own independent practice, and once these payments are subtracted from your income, you’re not exactly a Getty or a Hilton.

Suppose you are this young surgeon, and you marry a smart young lawyer who brings home $200,000 a year. Your first year of marriage, you’re reporting a gross income of over half a million bucks. Are you “rich”? Well, your lawyer wife probably brought her own debts into the marriage — she’s got her payments to make on student loans and so forth — and what’s going to happen if she decides she wants to have a baby? Either she’s going to have to take off time from work, or else you’re going to have to pay beaucoups bucks for child-care.

Say she decides she wants to stay home for a few years, at least until the kids start school (yes, “kids,” plural, because once she gets one, she’ll want another, trust me). Well, suddenly, you see, Dr. Gotbux, you’re paying both your debts and her debts with the same $348,000 you were making before you got married. And don’t even ask what your bottom line will look like if she ever decides she wants a divorce.

The path from having a high income to possessing wealth (a large net worth) is by no means an easy path. What’s interesting is the number of people who, despite never earning an impressive salary, nevertheless manage by thrift and shrewd investments to acquire substantial wealth — “The Millionaire Next Door.”

These are just a few things to keep in mind the next time some left-wing demagogue starts talking about “the rich” in terms of snooty Thurston Howell III stereotypes. It’s just not like that.

August 18, 2008

Cover-up? In Chicago?

You don’t say! One of the most corrupt cities on the planet, so crooked that even the public librarians are in cahoots with Daley’s Democratic Party machine.

So Stanley Kurtz’s effort to examine the records of the Annenberg Challenge Foundation — chief nexus of the connection between Barack Obama and Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn — is currently blocked.

August 18, 2008

Bogus Biden buzz

You’ve got to be able to spot the chaff in a situation like this, or your radar will go screwy like CNN’s Alexander Mooney, who’s apparently been deceived by the Joe Biden smokescreen.

Josh Marshall is rightly skeptical:

He doesn’t bring a state. Delaware’s going to go Democratic. And it’s barely a state at that. And I’m not sure you’d rate it as a first: “history is made — first sixty-something white senator with deep foreign policy experience chosen to be vp nominee!”

It’s Kaine. Don’t be fooled.

August 18, 2008

It’s Kaine

The signs are waaaay too obvious:

“Kaine spent 20 minutes huddled in a backroom, where he said he was ‘filming a little thing’ for the Obama campaign,” Tim Craig reports for The Washington Post. “The cameraman later followed Kaine to Henrico County, where he held a town-hall meeting for Obama. But campaign officials stress the ‘filming’ of Kaine has nothing to do with Obama’s choice of a running mate.”

You don’t need a secret decoder ring to read this one, kids: When they send a camera crew to get footage for the candidate’s convention biopic, it’s a done deal.

Virginia is the new Ohio.

(Hat-tip: Hot Air. Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: The big clue, of course, was when Kaine and Obama scheduled an invitation-only town hall event for Wednesday in Martinsville. Booman saw that as very suspicious.

“Invitation only” = “We want a hand-picked audience for the cameras.”

I’ve already got calls in to Virginia sources.

August 18, 2008

Maverick + Rudy = Crazy

“If I were a betting man, I’d be betting against this. But hey, it’s McCain we’re talking about here. Anything can happen.”

August 18, 2008

In the past hour . . .

. . . the Site Meter passed 46,000 visits for August, making this already the best month ever, with 12 days to go and both major-party conventions coming up.

Help celebrate this milestone: Buy an “Ordinary American” T-shirt, buy an “Equality Is For Ugly Losers” coffee mug, or buy a book.

August 18, 2008

Obama in Ohio: Ruh-roh

Hope HQ’s got to be sweating this news:

John McCain has pulled even in Ohio, after trailing in PPP’s June and July polls of the state. He and Barack Obama are each at 45%, with 10% of Ohio voters reporting as undecided.
Party unity is an issue for Obama in the Buckeye State. While McCain has an 89-7 lead with voters who identify as Republicans, Obama has a narrower 75-17 edge with Democrats. Delving deeper into the numbers, it appears that residual unhappiness from Hillary Clinton supporters could be the cause. The 25% of Democrats who currently either support McCain or are undecided are disproportionately middle aged, white, and female or in other words prototypical Clinton voters.

I like that “could be the cause.” Really? You think so? Like maybe because Hillary won the primary by 10 points and Obama seems more interested in campaigning in Germany than in Ohio? Or because he’s acting like he’s got it so sewed up he can spend a week bodysurfing in Hawaii?

And keep in mind, this could get even worse, when Obama names his white male running mate.

UPDATE: Yeah, no time to shake hands at a factory gate in Mansfield or Wilmington, but plenty of time to collect nearly $8 million at a swanky Fairmont Hotel fund-raiser in San Francisco.

August 18, 2008

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Musharraf announces resignation.

Dude’s been the cork in a gallon jug full of pure crazy for a long time. Without Musharraf to keep ’em down, the jihadis are liable to run wild in Islamabad. The next regime in Pakistan will make Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks like a harmless schoolboy.

Afghanistan on steroids, with nukes.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey is more optimistic than me, which isn’t hard, since I expect we’re no more than 180 days from an al-Qaeda-backed jihadist coup in Islamabad.

The West Bank on PCP, with nukes.