Canada's elections: looking like a change is coming

Things are also looking up in Canada.

The governing Conservative party has extended its lead in Canada, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 38 per cent of respondents would support the Tories in next month’s election to the House of Commons, up two points since late August.

The Liberal party is second with 24 per cent, followed by the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 21 per cent, the Bloc Québécois with nine per cent, and the Green party with seven per cent. Support for the Grits fell by four points, while backing for the NDP increased by three points. . . .

The conservatives currently have a minority government and if this lead in the polls keeps up, they will have a majority one.

Just as interesting, the NDP may replace the Liberals as the largest opposition party. If the two opposition parties are fairly similar in size it could increase the Conservative's dominance in parliament.

From The Economist magazine: "The mainstream left seems to be in trouble all over Europe. We look at the French Socialists and Germany’s Social Democrats."

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Robbery at Dairy Queen with Gun Free Zone signs

Here is the story:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Police were searching for the person who shot the manager of a Dairy Queen during a robbery attempt Tuesday night on the city's north side.
The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. at the Dairy Queen located on Tamarack Circle South, 10TV's Lindsey Seavert reported.

The gunman entered the restaurant and demanded money from the register, police said.

Jack Workman, 55, was complying with the gunman's request when he was shot in the abdomen. Workman was transported to Riverside Hospital, where he was in stable condition early Wednesday morning. . . .

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Has Obama gone too far?

Obama's new ad states:

"[McCain] admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an e-mail"

Seems kind of damning doesn't it? The person who might be the next president of the US can't use email. Well, it turns out that there is a good reason why he can't:

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.

Or this:

At 63, he is the oldest of the bunch and because of his war injuries, he is limited in his ability to wield a keyboard.

This interview in the NY Times makes it look like he can use the mouse if not the keyboard.

Q: What websites if any do you look at regularly?

Mr. McCain: Brooke and Mark show me Drudge, obviously, everybody watches, for better or for worse, Drudge. Sometimes I look at Politico. Sometimes RealPolitics, sometimes.

(Mrs. McCain and Ms. Buchanan both interject: “Meagan’s blog!”)

Mr. McCain: Excuse me, Meagan’s blog. And we also look at the blogs from Michael and from you that may not be in the newspaper, that are just part of your blog.

So it appears as if Obama is not only attacking someone who is crippled from old war injuries but it is also wrong because he does have some knowledge of the web.

UPDATE: I just did a Google news search on all this at 1:40 PM EDT. Using the terms "Obama ad McCain computer" produces 4804 hits over the last day. Using the terms "Obama ad McCain computer vietnam" produces 256 hits.

Howard Kurtz has a discussion here. The LA Times blog mentions the issue here, with a note about McCain's war injuries.

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The massive sudden change in Intrade odds that McCain will win

If you want to see something striking, you should go to Arthur DeVany's page here. The "Palin Effect" is very dominant. Art also goes through some more complicated calculations that indicate that McCain's odds of winning are even higher than the raw data suggests.


Dishonesty at ABC on Palin interview

I told one of my sons earlier today that it could be that Gibson was simply not well prepared for his interview with Palin or it could be that he was dishonest -- it is really impossible to know and one would like to assume the former over the later. However, there have been a couple of pieces of information that are causing me to move towards the second possibility.

1) As I have already discussed a couple of times on this blog, Gibson and the media have completely blown the "holy war" question. Possibly Gibson was merely relying on the quote out of context provided by the AP. Yet, even given that Gibson's condescending assertion that he was using the "exact words" that Palin had used despite her “You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote" was obnoxious. But apparently things get even worse. These guys at ABC EDITED OUT part of Palin's discussion with him from what they broadcast! Fox has the story here:

The exchange between Palin and ABC’s Charlie Gibson, in which she questioned the accuracy of the quote attributed to her, was edited out of the television broadcast but included in official, unedited transcripts posted on ABC’s Web site, as well as in video posted on the Internet.

ABC never told viewers that Palin's comments had been edited out. ABC also refused to answer questions from Fox News about why they did this: "ABC News did not respond to requests for comment from FOXNews.com."

2) To make matters worse, ABC's promo used this misleading information over and over again.

3) The Washington Post goes through all the definitions of "The Bush Doctrine" here. Whether they did this as a result of Krauthammer's piece on Friday, I have no clue, but at least they did have the piece.

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Dem Pollster Mark Penn: "media is on very dangerous ground . . ."

Mark Penn on the impression that the media is going after Palin:

CBSNews.com: Your former colleague Howard Wolfson argued that you all unintentionally paved the way for Palin by exposing some of the unfair media coverage that Hillary Clinton received. And, therefore, a lot of the media may now be treating Sarah Palin with kid gloves. Do you agree with that?

Mark Penn: Well, no, I think the people themselves saw unfair media coverage of Senator Clinton. I think if you go back, the polls reflected very clearly what "Saturday Night Live" crystallized in one of their mock debates about what was happening with the press.

I think here the media is on very dangerous ground. I think that when you see them going through every single expense report that Governor Palin ever filed, if they don't do that for all four of the candidates, they're on very dangerous ground. I think the media so far has been the biggest loser in this race. And they continue to have growing credibility problems.

And I think that that's a real problem growing out of this election. The media now, all of the media — not just Fox News, that was perceived as highly partisan — but all of the media is now being viewed as partisan in one way or another. And that is an unfortunate development.

CBSNews.com: So you think the media is being uniquely tough on Palin now?

Mark Penn: Well, I think that the media is doing the kinds of stories on Palin that they're not doing on the other candidates. And that's going to subject them to people concluding that they're giving her a tougher time. Now, the media defense would be, "Yeah, we looked at these other candidates who have been in public life at an earlier time."

What happened here very clearly is that the controversy over Palin led to 37 million Americans tuning into a vice-presidential speech, something that is unprecedented, because they wanted to see for themselves. This is an election in which the voters are going to decide for themselves. The media has lost credibility with them.

The problem of course is that the media never gave Obama this type of scrutiny.



Charles Krauthammer nails Charlie Gibson for his obnoxious interview of Palin

Gibson was at best incredibly sloppy and possibly outright dishonest in his discussion of Palin's view of religion and the Iraq war. (Earlier I posted on this "Associated Press Quotes Sarah Palin out of context to make her appear extreme" and Gibson used the out of context quote with Palin and when she questioned him on the accuracy of the quote he obnoxiously told her it was accurate.) Krauthammer goes after Gibson on the "Bush doctrine" -- pointing out that there have been at least four notions of the Bush doctrine.

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CNN has O'Hanlon described as an independent analyst in analyzing Palin's ABC interview

I have had my disagreements with O'Hanlon before, though I think that he is a reasonable Democrat. That said, it is clear that he is a Democrat, and CNN just had him on analyzing Palin's interview with ABC. It just seems to me that he should have been described as something other than an "independent analyst."


Note on Obama at Thursday night’s forum on service

Obama: "so part of my job is I think to make government cool again."


Boy suspended for broken pencil sharpener

This is a horrible and heartbreaking situation. What is being done to this good boy is really horrible.

Island fourth grader suspended for using broken pencil sharpener
Published Thursday, September 11, 2008

A 10-year-old Hilton Head Island boy has been suspended from school for having something most students carry in their supply boxes: a pencil sharpener.

The problem was his sharpener had broken, but he decided to use it anyway.

A teacher at Hilton Head Island International Baccalaureate Elementary School noticed the boy had what appeared to be a small razor blade during class on Tuesday, according to a Beaufort County sheriff's report.

It was obvious that the blade was the metal insert commonly found in a child's small, plastic pencil sharpener, the deputy noted.

The boy -- a fourth-grader described as a well-behaved and good student -- cried during the meeting with his mom, the deputy and the school's assistant principal.

He had no criminal intent in having the blade at school, the sheriff's report stated, but was suspended for at least two days and could face further disciplinary action.

District spokesman Randy Wall said school administrators are stuck in the precarious position between the district's zero tolerance policy against having weapons at school and common sense.

"We're always going to do something to make sure the child understands the seriousness of having something that could potentially harm another student, but we're going to be reasonable," he said.

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You got to love a candidate like this, more on Palin

From Senator Jim DeMint in the WSJ:

Mrs. Palin used her veto pen to slash more local projects than any other governor in the state's history. She cut nearly 10% of Alaska's budget this year, saving state residents $268 million. This included vetoing a $30,000 van for Campfire USA and $200,000 for a tennis court irrigation system. She succinctly justified these cuts by saying they were "not a state responsibility." . . .

Mrs. Palin also killed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in her own state. Yes, she once supported the project: But after witnessing the problems created by earmarks for her state and for the nation's budget, she did what others like me have done: She changed her position and saved taxpayers millions. Even the Alaska Democratic Party credits her with killing the bridge. . . .

Mrs. Palin has proven courageous by taking on big spenders in her own party. In March of this year, the Anchorage Daily News reported that, "Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is aggravated about what he sees as Gov. Sarah Palin's antagonism toward the earmarks he uses to steer federal money to the state." . . .

I didn't think that there were any more politicians like this around.



New Op-ed at Investor's Business Daily: Unions Bargain At Table With Governor Whose Re-election They're Helping Fund

Sonya Jones and I have a new piece at Investor's Business Daily:

Democrats are expected to make strong gains in state legislatures this fall, but what do these stronger Democratic majorities mean? A look at Washington State may show what is in store for the rest of the country.

Public employee unions are handing over vast amounts of money to the incumbent governor's re-election campaign, while the governor is simultaneously sitting at the bargaining table negotiating contracts with these very unions. . . .

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Dems starting to worry about the November Elections

Some amazing quotes in the Financial Times:

Democratic jitters about the US presidential race have spread to Capitol Hill, where some members of Congress are worried that Barack Obama’s faltering campaign could hurt their chances of re-election.

Party leaders have been hoping to strengthen Democratic control of the House and Senate in November, but John McCain’s jump in the polls has stoked fears of a Republican resurgence. . . .

“There is a growing sense of doom among Democrats I have spoken to . . . People are going crazy, telling the campaign ‘you’ve got to do something’.” . . .

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EU cut biofuel use in half

Backing away by half is better than nothing.

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- EU lawmakers voted Thursday to cut in half an ambitious target for using crop-based biofuels for 10 percent of its road transport needs by 2020.

The vote by the European Parliament's industry committee deals a blow to climate change goals agreed by EU leaders last year to try to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Environmental and aid groups had criticized the EU's 10 percent biofuels use target, claiming it harmed efforts to fight global poverty, to effectively tackle carbon emissions and caused deforestation.

The biofuels target is part of an ambitious climate change package the 27 EU leaders embraced last year, which they hope to enact by year's end.

The overall aim is for the EU to draw 20 percent of all its energy from renewable sources by 2020 -- up from 8.5 percent now. . . .

Adrian Bebb, from Friends of the Earth Europe, said Thursday's vote "recognizes the serious problems associated with the large scale use of biofuels."

"Using crops to feed cars is a false solution to our climate change problems and could lead to irreversible loss of wildlife and misery for millions of people in the South," he said.

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Chicago Hires Criminals to be Police

The Chicago Sun-Times has this today.

Some were rejected from suburban police departments.

Others sold cocaine and smoked pot.

'Why is it so hard to fire a policeman?'

A few were thieves. Others are related to crooks. One was even a gang member.

They're among dozens of people restored to the Chicago Police Department's hiring list after they were found unfit to become cops.

The Chicago Sun-Times explored a little-known appeals process for police applicants blackballed because of problems in their backgrounds.

Of 221 who appealed, 79 people were returned to the hiring list by the city's Human Resources Board between 2005 and 2007, records show.

One-hundred twenty-eight were kept off the hiring list and another 14 withdrew their appeals. . . .

Those interested in reading economic research on the impact that this hiring policy has on crime rates (hint it is bad) can download my research here.

Thanks to Gus Cotey for the link.

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Fox News: "New Film Lifts Veil on Effort to Kill ABC Docudrama on 9/11"

From the end of the new piece by Maxim Lott:

However, no DVD has ever been released of the film despite the industry normally releasing miniseries on DVD within months of the original air date.

"This is a shame; it's censorship in the most blatant way," director Stone was quoted saying in The Los Angeles Times. "I'm not vouching for its accuracy — it's a dramatization — but it's an important work and needs to be seen.”

Nowrasteh said that a high-level Disney executive specifically told him the DVD would've been released had Sen. Hillary Clinton not been running for the presidency in 2008.

One Disney shareholder, Tom Borelli, asked Iger at a March 2008 board meeting why ABC was not releasing the DVD or selling the rights to it, considering the success of the miniseries. Borelli pointed out that Disney’s Fahrenheit 911, a controversial documentary by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, had made $46 million in DVD sales for Disney.

Iger responded that Disney had made a “business decision” to keep the miniseries under wraps. He declined to elaborate.


Obama explains his support of the assault weapons ban


As a long-time resident and elected official of Chicago, Barack Obama has seen the impact of fully automatic
weapons in the hands of criminals. Thus, Senator Obama supports making permanent the expired federal
Assault Weapon Ban. These weapons, such as AK-47s, belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.
These are also not weapons that are used by hunters and sportsmen. . . .

1) The Assault Weapons Ban did not involve fully automatic weapons. Machine gun regulations are completely separate.
2) The inside firing mechanisms for the banned guns are indeed the same as the semi-automatic guns used by hunters and sportsmen.
3) The number of murders in the entire US from machine guns are very, very few. The notion that this explains murder rates in Chicago is just plain wrong. Unfortunately, I believe that Obama knows that this is wrong.

Thanks to Say Uncle for pointing to this.

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Why are the Press finding so many people who dislike Palin to interview when she has such high approval ratings?

Here are two polls from late July to the beginning of September.

American Viewpoint (September 2, 2008):

Her job approval rating is astoundingly high with an 86% overall approval rating and 63% strongly approving of her job performance. Independents approve by a margin of 86% - 10% and there is absolutely no gender gap. 97% of Republicans approve of the job she is doing as do 75% of Democrats. She receives high job approval ratings across all regions of Alaska. . . .

Hays Research (7/24/08 - 7/25/08):

Do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable impression of Sarah Palin?

Very favorable 179/404 44.3%
Somewhat favorable 144/404 35.6%
Total somewhat + very favorable 323/404 80.0%

Somewhat unfavorable 44/404 10.9%
Very unfavorable 21/404 5.2%
Total somewhat + very unfavorable 65/404 16.1%

No Opinion 12/404 3.0%
Never heard of 4/404 1.0%

Look at how the polls have changed in Alaska. In late July Rasmussen found McCain ahead by only 6 percentage points in Alaska over Obama. Now McCain/Palin is ahead by 31 percent. It doesn't look like too many people dislike her.

OK, with these polls, what is the percentage of people who are interviewed in Alaska dislike her? Monitoring CNN over the last week indicates to me that the vast majority of people that they interview from Alaska dislike her.


New scandal involving Palin's first term as mayor?

Brace yourselves, but apparently Palin tried to get other people with her views elected to the Wasilla city council so that she could get the proposals that she was backing passed by the council. This is undoubtedly the most damaging charge against her so far. The notion that she would try to "pack" the city council and elect council members who agreed with her is just down right undemocratic. Fortunately, the Seattle Times is on the case (republished in the Anchorage Daily News):

She became embroiled in personnel challenges, a thwarted attempt to pack the City Council and a standoff with her local newspaper. Her first months were so contentious and polarizing that critics started talking recall. . . .


Ron Paul likes Sarah Palin

John Fund has this in the WSJ's Political Diary today:

Even though Mr. Paul has clear disagreements with Senator McCain on the Iraq War and civil liberties issues, he seems more forgiving towards his running mate Sarah Palin. "She said nice things about me on MTV," he told me at last week's GOP convention. "I hear nice things about her from my supporters in Alaska."

Mr. Paul is referring to an MTV interview in which Mrs. Palin referred to Mr. Paul as "a good guy" who was "independent of any party machine" -- much as she was during her own climb from the Wasilla City Council to the governor's office in Juneau. . . .

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John McCain Obama On Education

Those objecting to the ad point out that SB 99, the sex education bill, included the following proviso:

However, no pupil shall be required to take or participate in any family life class or course on HIV AIDS or family life instruction if his parent or guardian submits written objection thereto, and refusal to take or participate in such course or program shall not be reason for suspension or expulsion of such pupil.

This is a joke. Anyone who has had kids going through school knows that very few kids are removed from classes because of these types of objections. There is a great deal of social pressure and the children do not like being singled out.

There is also the claim that the bill only involved teaching children in kindergarden to avoid sexual predators. Yet, the bill did include language such as this:

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.

Is it really appropriate to have 6 year olds discussion "the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV"? One state Senator tried to get the grades that would discuss this raise to 6th grade, but the amendment was never voted on.

Even discussions such as that by Factcheck.org ignores this provision.

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Five male burglars are stopped by one woman with a gun

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has this:

Charges are expected to be filed today against four people arrested in connection with a residential burglary over the weekend in Chisago County, said Capt. Keith Hoppe of the Chisago County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities are still looking for a fifth suspect, a 22-year-old man from Rush City, who also is expected to be charged, Hoppe said.

According to Hoppe, four men kicked in the front and back doors to gain entry to a house on the 52000 block of Government Road in Rushseba Township. The homeowner was sleeping when the burglars came calling at 2 a.m. Friday. She grabbed a 9 millimeter handgun and fired two rounds, but didn't hit anybody, authorities said. . . .


FactCheck.org evaluates claims about Sarah Palin

Here is their summary. They have more detailed information here.

We’ve been flooded for the past few days with queries about dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making claims about McCain’s running mate, Gov. Palin. We find that many are completely false, or misleading.

--Palin did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska by 62 percent. She didn’t cut it at all. In fact, she tripled per-pupil funding over just three years.
--She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a "What if?" question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term.
--She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She’s been registered as a Republican since May 1982.
--Palin never endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president. She once wore a Buchanan button as a "courtesy" when he visited Wasilla, but shortly afterward she was appointed to co-chair of the campaign of Steve Forbes in the state.
--Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools. She has said that students should be allowed to "debate both sides" of the evolution question, but she also said creationism "doesn't have to be part of the curriculum."

Pajamas media has its own list of false claims here.



Congressional Republicans have rebounded tremendously

There is still a difference between individual candidates and these overall polls, but this is a huge improvement.

If the elections for Congress were being held today, which party’s candidate would you vote for in your congressional district: the Democratic Party’s candidate or the Republican Party’s candidate?

. . . . . . . . . . . Sept. 2008 Aug. 2008 Jun. 2008

Republican . . . . . 50% . . . . .42% . . . . .42%

Democratic . . . . . 45% . . . . 51% . . . . .52%

Other / Unsure . . . 6% . . . . . 7% . . . . . . 7%

Source: Gallup / USA Today
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 823 likely American voters, conducted from Sept. 5 to Sept. 7, 2008. Margin of error is 4 per cent.


Fighting rages in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

My friend David Boldt has this post on something that isn't being mentioned in the US media. University students are battling government troops, and they have taken over various government buildings. So far the students vastly out number the troops.


Paglia on Sarah Palin

Paglia's piece can be found here:

Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, 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. . . .


On the intent of Obama's reference to lipstick and pigs

The Obama campaign has been claiming that there was no intent to imply anything about Palin when he mentioned lipstick and that he is amazed that anyone could draw that conclusion.

"A top Obama aide e-mailed Politico to say it was "crazy" to insinuate that Obama was talking about Palin. "That expression is older than your grandfather and has nothing to do with her," the aide said."

Well, the Politico mentioned this yesterday.

"Though on a day when Obama's surrogates were joking that Palin's record can't be concealed with lipstick, it was hard for those following the campaign not to hear the echo."

I think that this gets to intent. But as if that wasn't enough, Obama's audience laughed and started chanting "No More Pitbulls, No More Pitbulls." If Obama's audience and staff see the link, Obama has a hard road to claim that it wasn't obvious to him also. Note also that the laughter starts as soon as Obama says "lipstick" even before he got to the punch line. From the AP:

"You can put lipstick on a pig," he said to an outbreak of laughter, shouts and raucous applause from his audience, clearly drawing a connection to Palin's joke. "It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years."

Given the crowd's reaction to Obama's comment, it is hard to see why Obama claims that it is amazing that people can think that he was talking about Palin. Why didn't Obama offer a correction when the audience reacted to the word "lipstick" if there was no connection? Possibly he wasn't listening to the audience. That is surely possible, but it is harder to square with the comments of his staff mentioned above.

One additional thought is needed here. Obama has continually found racial discrimination where nothing was involved -- just ask Bill Clinton (unless you think that Clinton is a racist, which I don't).

UPDATE: I was listening to ABC Radio news at 3:30 PM, and it showed amazing bias. The entire news report was how Republicans have used the "lipstick on a pig" comment, and suggested that Obama was simply using a common phrase. Common phrase, fine, but the notion that Obama didn't use this on purpose for Palin seems weak.

UPDATE 2: Dennis Prager noted on his show today that "lipstick" had been mentioned earlier in the same presentation by Obama. Why would the Obama people want the term "lipstick" raised twice in the same presentation? (Note: Prager doesn't think that Obama deliberately used "lipstick" to go after Palin, though Prager does say that Obama should have realized that was the way that it was taken as soon as the audience reacted.)

UPDATE 3: Not surprisingly, most people now regard the media as biased.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% of voters think most reporters are trying to help Obama win versus 11% who believe they are trying to help his Republican opponent John McCain.

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Executive Experience in Alaska

The WSJ mentions this:

For more than two decades Thad Beyle, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina, has maintained an index of "institutional powers" in state offices. He rates governorships on potential length of service, budgetary and appointment authority, veto power and other factors. Mr. Beyle's findings for 2008 rate Alaska at 4.1 on a scale of 5. The national average is 3.5.

Only four other states -- Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia -- concentrate as much power in the Governor's office as Alaska does, and only one state (Massachusetts) concentrates more. California may be the nation's most populous state, but its Governor rates as below-average (3.2) in executive authority. This may account in part for Arnold Schwarzenegger's poor legislative track record. The lowest rating goes to Vermont (2.5), where the Governor (remember Howard Dean) is a figurehead compared to Mrs. Palin.

In Alaska, the Governor has line-item veto power over the budget and can only be overridden by a three-quarters majority of the Legislature. In 1992, the year Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was elected President, his state budget was $2 billion and among the smallest in the country. Compared to that, Sarah Palin is an executive giant.



First Obama changed his position on public financing, now he has changed his mind on using 527s

Is there any promise that Obama has stuck with? Will somebody please tell me what it is? When a promise comes in conflict with self-interest, the promise is tossed aside. The Atlantic Blog has this:

after a year of telling donors not to contribute to 527 groups, of encouraging strategists not to form them and of suggesting that outside messaging efforts would not be welcome in Obama's Democratic Party, Obama's strategists have changed their approach.

An Obama adviser privy to the campaign's internal thinking on the matter says that,with less than two months before the election and with the realization that Republicans have achieved financial parity with Democrats, they hope that Democratic allies -- what another campaign aide termed "the cavalry" -- will come to Obama's aid.

The Obama campaign can't ask donors to form outside groups; it can only communicate, through the public and the media, with body language, tells and hints.

The upshot: Obama's campaign will no longer object to independent efforts that hammer John McCain, just as, in their mind, the McCain campaign has not objected to those efforts targeted at Obama. "I assume with their 527s stirring, some [Democratic] ones will as well," another senior campaign official said.

The money is there. The top two 527s -- the Service Employees International Union and America Votes -- are liberal in orientation. The SEIU fund has contributed to other 527 efforts, and America Votes has earmarked most of its money for what it calls the "largest grassroots voter mobilization" in history. The third largest 527 -- American Solutions Winning the Future -- belongs to Newt Gingrich, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The AFL-CIO has budgeted more than $53 million for messaging and turnout efforts and has run a limited flight of ads featuring veterans criticizing McCain. But they've shied away from larger-scale campaigns in part because they believe -- or believed -- that the Obama campaign did not want them mounted. . . .

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You have to listen to this interview: Former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel interviewed on Sarah Palin

This interview on Pacifica radio is too much. Some left wing radio hosts are trying their hardest to get Gravel to attack Palin. Even though he doesn't agree with her politically, he keeps on discussing how she is the one who put an end to Republican corruption in Alaska. It is an amazing interview.


Kirsten Powers on Dems attacks on Palin

Kirsten might be a Democratic strategist, but she has often struck me as a reasonable person. Her piece today in the NY Post is very interesting.

Obama's toughest challenge has always been to connect with working-class swing voters. So attacking the poster child for small-town values, Sarah Palin, was a bad strategy.

No, Obama didn't engage in the mass sneering at Palin - but he did fall into the trap of disrespecting her. When McCain chose her, the Obama campaign's first response was to ridicule the size of her town. Then the candidate himself began referring to her as a "former mayor" when she is in fact a sitting governor. . . .

Lured by the McCain camp, Obama supporters engaged in an argument about who had more overall experience - the top of the Democratic ticket or the bottom of the GOP ticket. This diminished Obama.

Meanwhile, the media lit up in all their cultural-elite splendor.

Alaska? they sneered. It has the population of Las Vegas! Funny how the coastal elite only sneers at red states with small populations. Howard Dean hailed from a blue state with almost the same population as Alaska and was a national phenomenon and front-runner for the presidency. Joe Biden's Delaware has a similarly small population - but no mocking was forthcoming there.

Evangelicals will never vote for a woman who works! they declared. This from people who've likely never met an evangelical in their lives. They could barely contain themselves when they found out Gov. Palin's daughter was pregnant, so sure were they that evangelicals would hang her from the highest tree. When evangelical leaders expressed support, there was a palpable disappointment that Palin or her daughter wasn't branded with a scarlet letter.

They claimed that the Palin announcement was some desperate pick that came out of nowhere. Had they been doing their jobs, or even perusing The Weekly Standard or right-wing blogs, they'd have known that she was on the list.

Since they didn't know anything about her, they started making things up. Anything that fit the caricature of a right-wing hypocrite was thrown up with, seemingly, no fact-checking.

They said she opposes contraception, when she said in a campaign debate that she is pro-contraception. They said she cut funding for pregnant teens, when she provided a massive funding hike.

They accused her of cutting funding for mentally disabled children, when she raised it 175 percent over the former administration. She was said to have been a member of the wacky Alaska Independence Party; The New York Times had to run a retraction. . . . .


Bizarre Wikipedia edits regarding Sarah Palin

See the discussion on vandalizing Sarah Palin's Wikipedia article here.

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This is depressing: Koch backs Obama because of false claims that Palin wanted to censor books

From the Politico:

"Any time someone goes to the library and says, 'I want to ban books,' and the librarian says 'no,' and she threatens to fire them -- that's scary," he said.

(Palin at the time said she was just inquiring about the library's policy on banning books, with no aim of actually banning any. "It was a rhetorical quesiton -- nothing more," the McCain-Palin campaign said in a memo yesterday. And no books were banned, the town says.) . . .

See also this.

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Brendan Miniter on Palin Taxing Oil Companies

Are there any attacks on Palin that are correct? The banning books, the Bridge to Nowhere, etc. are all false. Brendan Miniter had this discussion in the WSJ's Political Diary:

Palin's Apostasy on Taxes

Talk about strange bedfellows. Ultraliberal Mother Jones magazine is attacking Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a "tax raiser" and similar hand wringing is coming from some Republican supply-siders. Why? An oil industry tax bill she pushed last year.

Not only did the bill raise an existing tax on oil production. It also increased a windfall profits provision. Previously, oil companies paid a tax on a sliding scale that kicked in at $55 a barrel. The new tax Gov. Palin signed into law kicks in at $30 a barrel and increases at a faster rate than the old tax. It's a record that suggests Mrs. Palin didn't have one eye on this year's GOP veep nomination, but was trying to be an effective governor -- because her efforts cleared a stench of corruption around oil-tax policy and opened the way for a long-stalled pipeline project to deliver natural gas to the lower 48.

Let's look at what actually happened. In 2006, in the waning months of his administration, Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski called a series of special legislative sessions to ram through his embattled plan for a new pipeline to deliver Alaska's untapped natural gas reserves to the upper Midwest. He failed, but succeeded in changing the oil tax, which previously had been tied to gross revenues. As a concession to his opponents, a sliding scale was also imposed that would increase with an increase in the price of oil -- essentially a windfall profits tax.

Within weeks of the bill passing, federal investigations revealed evidence of extensive bribes paid to lawmakers from oil lobbyists. Meanwhile, the bill proved very unpopular with the public, and failed in its aim of smoothing agreement on the pipeline. Enter Ms. Palin, who had defeated Mr. Murkowski in a Republican primary that August and won the general election in November. She called her own special session and enacted a revised tax bill that increased the profits tax to 25% (from 22.5%) and also included the windfall profits tax. But she also succeeded where Mr. Murkowski had failed -- winning agreement on the pipeline. The state is now accepting bids to begin construction.

Ms. Palin clearly wasn't going to reopen the tainted tax law without somehow signaling to the public that the new bill was on the up-and-up. The reality is, Alaska had been trying for decades to get its huge undeveloped gas reserves to market. Now energy production is finally getting ready to take off, a slightly higher tax rate notwithstanding.

-- Brendan Miniter

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John Fund: Obama sends a mini-army of lawyers to Alaska to go after Palin

John Fund has this info at the WSJ's Political Diary:

Democrats understand Sarah Palin is a formidable political force who has upset the Obama victory plan. The latest Washington Post/ABC Poll shows John McCain taking a 12-point lead over Barack Obama among white women, a reversal of Mr. Obama's eight-point lead last month.

It's no surprise, then, that Democrats have airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers into Anchorage, the state capital Juneau and Mrs. Palin's hometown of Wasilla to dig into her record and background. My sources report the first wave arrived in Anchorage less than 24 hours after John McCain selected her on August 29.

The main area of interest to the Democratic SWAT team is Mrs. Palin's dismissal in July of her public safety commissioner. Mrs. Palin says he was fired for cause. Her critics claim he was fired because he wouldn't bend to pressure to get rid of a state trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a bitter divorce battle with Mrs. Palin's sister. Mr. Wooten is certainly a colorful character. He served a five-day suspension after the Palin family filed a complaint against him alleging he had threatened Mrs. Palin's father. They also accused him of using a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson, drinking in his patrol car and illegally shooting a moose. . . .

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Election causes gun sales to boom

I think that these people have good reason to worry:

Gun sales are going boom around the country as gun owners and gun advocates brace for a potential Democrat in the White House for the first time in almost 10 years.

Democrats, meanwhile, say there's no reason to worry that presidential hopeful Barack Obama would attempt to curtail access to most guns, though that hasn't stopped the buying spree.

"You'd be surprised," said Jeff Mercer, manager of George's Pawn and Gun Shop on High Street. "It's people of all races, too. People are scared."

Across town at The Gun Doctor and More on Glencrest Lane, owner Bob Godell said he has also noticed a similar trend.

"We call it the Obama factor. People are very concerned that if a Democrat is elected they will see more restrictions on handguns and assault rifles." Godell said. "I think as a result of that we have seen steady handgun sales, and there's been an increase in the sale of assault rifles like AK-47s, as well." . . . .

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A Brit explains Palin's foreign policy experience

The UK Telegraph has this:

The surprise is not that she has been in office for such a short time but that she has succeeded in each of her objectives. She has exposed corruption; given the state a bigger share in Alaska's energy wealth; and negotiated a deal involving big corporate players, the US and Canadian governments, Canadian provincial governments, and native tribes - the result of which was a £13 billion deal to launch the pipeline and increase the amount of domestic energy available to consumers. This deal makes the charge of having "no international experience" particularly absurd. . . .


Andrew Breitbart has another great op-ed

From Monday's Washington Times:

If ever there were a candidate destined to shine on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Sarah Palin would be that woman.

In less than a week, the Alaska governor, former PTA member and 44-year-old mother of five - including an infant with Down syndrome - survived a vicious press assault on her family only to win over the majority of Americans with her brave and unapologetic speech at the Republican National Convention last week.

In a media instant, Sarah Palin went from an unknown moose hunter to a mass phenomenon on the precipice of becoming the vice president of the United States.

She is the Oprah audience personified - an unlikely feminist icon that braved the storm while deftly protecting her children. Many already are saying she has the inside track for the top slot in 2012.

Mrs. Palin is history in a dress. And her script is straight out of Hollywood - like those teen movies with the cliched ending featuring the female valedictorian delivering the speech of a lifetime projecting a bold and transformative future with an independent-minded woman in charge.

That future is now.

Women want to get to know Sarah Palin. And they want to meet her family.

Yet Oprah Winfrey, the high priestess of the female empowerment movement and America's most adored television host, denies her massive and loyal audience's most obvious wishes because of her single-minded drive to put Barack Obama in the White House. . . .



Democrats remove webpage that credited Palin with killing the bridge to nowhere

The discussion with links can be found here. The link to the Democratic website that was being used to go after Ted Stevens has been broken.

Here is the cached website that the Dems took down. Note that it says: "However, Gov. Sarah Palin said the $398 million bridge was $329 million short of full funding, and only $36 million in federal funds were set aside for it. She said it was clear Congress had little interest in spending any more money for it and that the state had higher priorities." I have highlighted the relevant text.

Even Palin's arch political enemy Sen. Ted Stevens said that Palin did not support the "Bridge to Nowhere."

Embattled Republican Sen. Ted Stevens defended fellow Alaskan and Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, amid accusations that she once supported the infamous “bridge to nowhere” earmark but has now changed her tune.

“I don’t remember her ever campaigning for it,” said Stevens Monday night. “She was very critical of it at the time.”

Palin and Stevens have had a somewhat frosty relationship ever since Palin ousted longtime Stevens’ friend Frank Murkowski in the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary. So far, Palin has not endorsed Stevens in his reelection bid this fall, however, Stevens is currently facing charges from the Justice Department that he provided false information on his financial disclosure forms.

However, when grilled about Palin’s support for the notorious $398 million bridge in Ketchikan, Alaska, Stevens replied unequivocally: “She did not support that.”

In her acceptance speech last Wednesday at the Republican Convention in St. Paul, Palin said: “I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that bridge to nowhere.”

Many left-leaning blogs have jumped all over the statement, accusing Palin of an outright lie.

Palin herself has insisted she opposed the bridge from the beginning.

Yet, Obama accused Palin of lying:

Obama also mocked the new TV ad put out by the McCain campaign claiming that Gov. Sarah Palin "stopped the Bridge to Nowhere."

"I gotta admit these folks are shameless," Obama said, "because the record is indisputable," he said, describing how Palin had originally supported the project.

"I wouldn’t do that," Obama said. "I mean, I'm not perfect --"

Additional info here.

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New Op-ed at Fox News: Obama's Judgment

My newest op-ed up at Fox News starts this way:

“Judgment” has become the byword of the election. Barack Obama has always wanted the election to be about the importance of “good judgment,” not experience. While Obama claimed last week that he had more executive experience than Governor Sarah Palin, he has generally stuck to this theme.

During the primaries, Obama’s claim to “good judgment” largely focused on his early opposition to the Iraq war. But, with the exception of picking Joe Biden as his running mate, virtually all the discussion of Obama’s good judgment still rests on his opposition to the war.

Obama still has some work to convince people that he possesses good judgment. A new poll released last week by the Pew Research Center found that Americans by a 51 to 36 percentage point margin trust McCain’s “good judgment in crisis” over Obama’s. . . .

I wish that I had this quote when I was writing the piece yesterday. On Stephanopoulos' show yesterday Obama said:

"How you campaign foreshadows how you are going to govern."

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Fox News responsible for saying that Obama is a Muslim?

This is pretty weird. Someone should ask Obama to be specific about the claim that Fox News is responsible.

Obama also suggested that the McCain was behind persistent rumors that Obama is a Muslim rather than a Christian.

"These guys love to throw rocks and hide their hand," Obama said, referring to the Republicans.

Reminded that McCain and his top aides have denied pushing the Muslim rumor, Obama said the rumor is "being promulgated on Fox News ... and Republican commentators who are closely allied to these folks."

He later added, "What I think is fair to say is that coming out of the Republican camp there have been efforts to suggest that perhaps I'm not who I say I am when it comes to my faith." . . .


Obama somewhat changing his position on timing for tax increases

Before Obama didn't refrain from arguing these higher taxes because of a recession (of course, there is no "recession"), but now they could be delayed:

Democrat Barack Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush's tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy.

Nevertheless, Obama has no plans to extend the Bush tax cuts beyond their expiration date, as Republican John McCain advocates. Instead, Obama wants to push for his promised tax cuts for the middle class, he said in a broadcast interview aired Sunday. . . .


Biden now claims that he is in the "underdog" in the VP debates?

How things can change in one week:

Then, after Sen. John McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, people laughed and said Biden was going to wipe the floor with Palin in the vice presidential debate. Now, after her incredible convention speech, Biden is saying that he's the underdog because he's not a very good debater. . . .

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John Fund on predicting the election

John Fund has this at the WSJ's Political Diary:

Uncertainty is stalking Democratic watering holes in Washington, where diners had been counting on appointments in an Obama administration.

The latest Real Clear Politics average of published polls shows John McCain now taking the lead from Barack Obama 47% to 46%. The newest of those polls (USA Today/Gallup) shows Mr. McCain with a ten-point lead among the most likely voters -- often the most reliable measurement of the electorate that actually shows up on Election Day. Typically, only two-thirds of registered voters end up voting, and those who do vote tend to be more Republican -- one reason for Barack Obama's superhuman efforts to sign up new voters and get them to the polls.

The McCain surge following his convention is genuine. Its message for the Obama campaign is that they can't expect to win the election simply on the unpopularity of the Bush administration and the strength of their man's personal appeal. . . .

In fact, since 1968, no Republican has done worse on Election Day than he was doing in major polls taken around Labor Day. On that basis, Mr. Obama should worry that Mr. McCain has now tied him or is leading in current polls.

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"Feminists Flip Out Over Palin"

Betsy Newmark has this post up at the Fox Forum here.


Fraternal Order of Police endorses McCain/Palin

The Detroit Free Press reports:

The Fraternal Order of Police endorsed the Republican presidential ticket of Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Friday in Detroit.

The national organization is meeting in Detroit this week, and the Republican ticket stopped at the Renaissance Center to meet with the group that represents more than 325,000 police officers.

"He understands the words in the line of duty and knows all too well what it means to put their life on the line," said FOP President Chuck Canterbury. "This has been a long and hard campaign."

Ken Starrs, a national trustee for the FOP from Texas, said more than two-thirds of the organization's states supported McCain.

"Each state gets a vote, and in Texas, we decided that experience is what we wanted," Starrs said.

McCain and Palin met with members of the group later.

"Governor, you're a breath of fresh air," said Cherie Hunter of Oxford, a member of the group based in Pontiac. "I have a child with disabilities, and I think you're going to do a wonderful job." . . .

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I am not usually into slapstick movie, but I won't be able to pass this one up

An American Carol Trailer



Obama and College Sports

"Arctic Sees Massive Gain in Ice Coverage"

Ice gains occurring now at both poles:

Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has indicated a dramatic increase in sea ice extent in the Arctic regions. The growth over the past year covers an area of 700,000 square kilometers: an amount twice the size the nation of Germany.

With the Arctic melting season over for 2008, ice cover will continue to increase until melting begins anew next spring.

The data is for August 2008 and indicates a total sea ice area of six million square kilometers. Ice extent for the same month in 2007 covered 5.3 million square kilometers, a historic low. Earlier this year, media accounts were rife with predictions that this year would again see a new record. Instead, the Arctic has seen a gain of about thirteen percent.

William Chapman, a researcher with the Arctic Climate Research Center at the University of Illinois, tells DailyTech that this year the Arctic was "definitely colder" than 2007. Chapman also says part of the reason for the large ice loss in 2007 was strong winds from Siberia, which affect both ice formation and drift, forcing ice into warmer waters where it melts.

Earlier predictions were also wrong because researchers thought thinner ice would melt faster in subsequent years. Instead, according to the NSIDC, the new ice had less snow coverage to insulate it from the bitterly cold air, resulting in a faster rate of ice growth.

Most concern has focused on the Arctic regions, rather than Antarctica. Recent research has indicated Antarctica is on a long-term cooling trend, for reasons which remain unclear. . . . ,

Thanks very much to Gus Cotey for this link.

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Gun Sales (even if very costly) start in DC on Monday

The "$125 fee to transfer each handgun" is going to be stiff and combined with all the other hoops that one has to jump through there might not be too many people who get guns. That said, at least it is possible now to own a gun.

WASHINGTON - District residents will be able to buy handguns starting next Tuesday.
The District began registering handguns in mid-July in response to a Supreme Court ruling that overturned the city's long time ban. But, as of last month, only 11 handguns had been registered.

The low number could be because there was no way for residents to buy a handgun and get it transferred into the city. That's about to change.

"I do think the numbers will go up some once you can purchase in the District," says D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. "I don't think it's going to skyrocket."

Because there are no gun stores in the city, residents have been unable to purchase a handgun. The guns registered so far have either been illegal guns that were registered under the amnesty program or guns that were being stored out-of-state.

Federal law requires that guns purchased out-of-state be shipped from the dealer who sells the gun to another dealer in the state where the buyer is going to register the weapon.

Charles Sykes, the only licensed firearms dealer in the District willing to transfer handguns for individuals, tells WTOP his office in Anacostia will be open for business next week.

Sykes says he will be charging a $125 fee to transfer each handgun. Gun stores in Maryland and Virginia charge as little as $25 for the same service. Sykes says he gets between one to two calls a day about transferring guns. . . .

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Another anti-gun politician has armed bodyguards: Tony Blair

Even across "the pond" you have politicians who understand the benefits from having guns to protect themselves.

A blundering bodyguard of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair left a loaded pistol inside a Starbucks bathroom during a pit stop while on duty.

The semi-automatic Glock 17 remained on the floor of the coffee shop’s only toilet for nearly 20 minutes as Blair's close protection officer tried to retrace her steps.

It was eventually found by a horrified Starbucks employee, who called police. . . .

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Democrat directing investigation of Palin

Not much hope that this investigation will go smoothly.

ANCHORAGE -- A Republican state representative says the Democrat overseeing a legislative investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin's dismissal of her public safety commissioner seems intent on damaging her vice presidential candidacy. The Republican wants the Democrat removed from the post.

Democratic state Sen. Hollis French "appears to be steering the direction of the investigation, its conclusion and its timing in a manner that will have maximum partisan political impact on the national and state elections," state Rep. John Coghill said in a letter dated Friday.

Coghill, from North Pole, is on the Alaska Legislature's Legislative Council, the body that appointed French to oversee the investigation. The letter was sent to the council chairman, Sen. Kim Elton, a Democrat from Juneau, whom Coghill asks to convene a meeting to discuss whether French should be replaced.

The state Senate is controlled by Democrats, the state House by Republicans.

Coghill said the council instructed French, of Anchorage, to keep politics out of the investigation.

"He just failed that, in my view," Coghill told the Associated Press on Saturday. Coghill's letter was first reported in the Anchorage Daily News. . . .


Huffington Post relating Palin to Hitler?

Here is something from the Huffington Post:

Chris Kelly
I'm Falling in Love with Sarah Palin's Story
The Huffington Post
September 2, 2008

Here's where I get off board with Sarah Palin's privacy: The baby blanket ... I also think big families like the Palins are great. Hitler was the fourth child in a run of eight, and Pat Buchanan says he grew up to be "an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier in the Great War (and) a political organizer of the first rank." And Sarah Palin used to wear a Pat Buchanan For President button, so it's all cool. We're all on the same page there.

Note the misstatement about the Pat Buchanan button. It was very clear that she was a Forbes supporter in the primary and that she would wear the buttons for the very rare presidential candidates who came all the way out to her town in Alaska.

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One step back, two steps forward on reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

While the government will take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the short-run, the long run goal is supposedly to turn this business over to the private sector. My concern is whether future administrations will follow through.

Mr. Paulson signals that he wants to remake the U.S. housing-finance system in the longer term, ditching the "flawed business model" of government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie and Freddie. This model has produced conflicts between the companies' desire to earn maximum profits for their shareholders and the public mission of supporting housing that has persuaded investors that the government would have to rescue them in a crisis.

The plan limits the size of each companies' mortgage portfolios to a maximum of $850 billion as of the end of 2009. After that, the Treasury intends for the mortgage holdings to shrink about 10% a year until they reach about $250 billion at each company. But that is subject to decisions that may be made by Congress and future administrations.

The government had to wade deeper into the mortgage market because for now "private markets are just not willing to put up the capital" for home mortgages at prices U.S. consumers could afford, said Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Without government support for the mortgage market, home prices would fall much farther, exposing the country as a whole to greater economic strain, Ms. Wachter says. . . .

I know that Wachter is supposedly an economist, but the notion that you should subsidize the housing market to get the right number of homes is strange. Should the government subsidize computers or cell phones or some other products in the same way? If people value homes more than their cost, they will buy them. I am not sure what argument you can make for why houses should not only be subsidized but that they should be subsidized through interest rates. Subsidies mean that too much will be purchased, that people will purchase homes past the point where they value them, possibly getting even larger ones than they would otherwise get.

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Amusing note: Sarah Palin apparently has a tattoo

She apparently lost a bet with her husband.

Palin Made a Bet With Her Husband About Whether Murkowski Would Get Into the Race — the Loser Had to Get a Tattoo. “Palin told The Associated Press that she and her husband, Todd, made a bet on whether Murkowski would run. If the governor says he’ll enter the race, Palin has to get the Big Dipper tattooed on her ankle. If Murkowski says no, Todd gets a wedding ring inked on his finger.” [Anchorage Daily News, 5/26/06]