De-Collectivizing Russia and the Prospects for Agriculture

When I read an article like this one in the New York Times about Russia’s collective farms being converted to industrial megafarms: PODLESNY, Russia — The fields around this little farming enclave are among the most fertile on earth. But like tens of million of acres of land in this country, after the collapse of […]

Air Pollution Is Global

Unlike charity air pollution doesn’t necessarily begin at home: WASHINGTON — From 500 miles in space, satellites track brown clouds of dust, soot and other toxic pollutants from China and elsewhere in Asia as they stream across the Pacific and take dead aim at the western U.S. A fleet of tiny, specially equipped unmanned aerial […]

Hurricane Gustav and the Republican Convention

Hurricane Gustav is barreling down on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who has dubbed this “the mother of all storms,” has once again ordered the evacuation of New Orleans.  Aside from the obvious humanitarian and logistical issues, this is also a huge wild card going into the GOP convention. President Bush […]

Palin to Be Deposed in Trooper Scandal?

ABC News reports that Sarah Palin may have to temporarily suspend campaigning in order to be deposed by an investigation into her alleged actions regarding the firing of her ex-brother-in-law. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain’s surprise vice-presidential pick, is the subject of a legislative probe into claims that she abused her office by trying […]

OTB Latenight – The Eagles

A long, long time ago, I guy I met in Europe made a very compelling case that this song is (also) about Jesus. Regrettably, I’ve long since forgotten the specifics of his argument. Opinions? UPDATE: Broken video replaced.

OTB Caption JamTM

Weekend Caption Jam Linkfest. . . Rodney hopes she gets her parking validated. Wizbang is selling to the highest bidder. Wyatt Earp is getting smacked. Willisms has been hitting the sauce. Cowboy Blob is getting a little hair of the dog. RT’s Ponderings just may be a redneck. The Gone Rick Motel has the attack […]

Sarah Palin, “Small Town Mayor”

Those who’ve read my previous commentary on Sarah Palin, notably yesterday’s post on the announcement of Palin as McCain’s VP pick, know that I think she’s a poor choice.  While she has many fans and may be possessed of some remarkable political gifts, she’s a tough sell as “Ready On Day One” and thus undercuts […]

In Other News: Iran Increases Centrifuges to 4,000

As odd as it may seem there are other things happening in the world outside of the American presidential election. One of these is that it has been reported that Iran has increased the number of centrifuges it has deployed for enriching uranium to 4,000: TEHRAN, Iran – Iran has increased the number of operating […]

Obama’s Convention Bounce

Team Obama is shrewdly lowering expectations, saying they may well not get any bounce at all from their convention. That, of course, would be a first. Yesterday, when Gallup’s poll showed a 3 point uptick in their rolling average, I said that it could either be an actual bounce or random fluctuation caused by sampling […]

Sarah Palin – John McCain’s VP Choice

BREAKING: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been tabbed as John McCain’s vice presidential running mate, CNBC reports. ________________________ Earlier this morning, all signs were pointing to Tim Pawlenty as John McCain’s running mate.  He even had issued the requisite “I’m not the guy” statement. His name has been on the short list all along and, […]

Strong Horse/Weak Horse

There’s an interesting quote and observation in the New York Times article about the failure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional organization consisting of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, to support Russia’s action in the Caucasus: Although the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan fall within what Moscow considers […]

Obama’s Acceptance Speech: The More Things CHANGE, The More They Remain the Same

I wrote a quick post before bed last night giving my off-the-cuff reaction to Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech, arguing that, despite all the talk of “change,” it was basically a speech that Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, or John Kerry could have given. The NYT has a six-page transcript […]

Deadweight Loss

Can somebody send this link to Wikipedia’s entry on deadweight loss to the Obama campaign (and the McCain campaign too)? This is one of the reasons why there is no such thing as a magic energy pony that is going to allow us to “end our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.” And please spare me […]

The Obama Concert

I share James’ view that the first part of the speech could have been delivered by any previous candidate. About the only place the speech differed is that Obama is clearly a more gifted public speaker than Kerry or even Gore. The speech is the same old stuff we’ve heard before. There are more people […]

Obama’s Speech

Barack Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination was . . . long. Too long. The last fifteen or twenty minutes of it, when he went into preacher mode and talked of unity and reconciliation and change and such, were uplifting and solid political theater. Whether it’ll meet the ridiculously high expectations that he had […]

OTB Latenight – INXS

For obvious reasons: The first rock concert I ever went to was Men At Work in August, 1983. INXS opened up for them. I enjoyed the whole show, of course, but I don’t need to tell you which band was objectively better. I saw them again on the post-TV show tour a couple of years […]

McCain ‘Well Done’ Ad

The McCain team spent the day touting a commerical spot that they’ll be running during and around Barack Obama’s acceptance speech tonight.  The ad, named “Convention Night,” turns out to be a nice one: Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America. Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I […]

Caption Contest Winners

The I Can Has CheezWheel Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Obama Gets ‘Big Bounce’ in Gallup Poll

In the first poll since the start of the Democratic convention, Gallup gives Barack Obama what RealClearPolitics calls “a big bounce,” taking a six point lead over his rival, John McCain. Democratic candidate Barack Obama has gained ground in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking average from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and now leads Republican […]

Supreme Court Justice Nominations

My colleague Tom Traina is looking ahead to the fall and scoping out some potential Supreme Court nominees for both Obama and McCain. He also points out that, as kind of a nature of the beast, you can’t always predict what kind of Justice a nominee will turn into: Frequently, the appointment of justices is […]

McCain Grumpy, Guarded

John McCain got to where he is — the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for president — by building a reputation as a straight shooting maverick.  While part of that was always more mythical than real, a key part of building the mythos was his unprecedented access to reporters and, briefly, even bloggers. Now, […]

Russia Not Feeling the Love

Russia hasn’t received the support it had hoped for from the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization: DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – China and several Central Asian nations rebuffed Russia’s hopes of international support for its actions in Georgia, issuing a statement Thursday denouncing the use of force and calling for respect for every country’s territorial integrity. […]

Reality TV Politics

Steven Donegal has achieved what I’m pretty sure is an OTB first: An InstaLink to a comment, for this entry in yesterday’s Obama as Jackie Robinson discussion. There’s only one way to resolve this 3 am thing: reality TV. Set up a TV program where each candidate is called unexpectedly at 3am and tell them […]

What Obama Needs to Do

Democratic pundits are understandably nervous about the fact that Barack Obama’s once impressive lead in the polls has all but vanished.  That’s led to a lot of second guessing about the early convention speeches, the 50-state (or is that 57?) strategy, and so forth. TNR senior editor John Judis thinks Obama needs to make radical […]

Best. Speeches. Ever.

I just haven’t been able to muster the enthusiasm to watch much of the Democratic Convention coverage. It’s a shame, too, as I understand John Kerry, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden all gave the best speeches of their lives last night. Really, though, what were the odds? I’ll watch Obama’s performance at Mile High Stadium […]

Caption Contest

Time for the Thursday OTB Caption ContestTM (AFP/File/Mandel Ngan) Winners will be announced Monday PM

ABC Producer Arrested for Photographing Democrats

An ABC News producer-reporter has been arrested for taking pictures of Democratic Senators and other VIPs, apparently from a public sidewalk. Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic Senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting […]

OTB Radio – Tonight at 7 Eastern

The next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live tonight from 7-8 Eastern. Dave Schuler and (tentatively) Steve Verdon will be joining me tonight to discuss the Democratic convention, the campaign in general, and whatever tangents we wander off into. Please join us. We’ll also be taking your calls at […]

Obama as Jackie Robinson

Adam Serwer laments the fact that Barack and, particularly, Michelle Obama have to humanize themselves to the electorate and fight back against an elitist caricature. [T]he Obamas are still fighting Jackie Robinson Syndrome, the reflexive double standards and often small, sometimes large, but always public humiliations that come from being the first black person to […]

Planning for the Future

In his column in the New York Times this morning Tom Friedman, dazzled by China’s growth and development, urges us to get our act together lest we end up on the scrapheap of history: China did not build the magnificent $43 billion infrastructure for these games, or put on the unparalleled opening and closing ceremonies, […]

The Bush Boom

Kevin Drum reports that, Bush expansion is over, and Brad DeLong describes it as “the first business cycle during which median household income in America falls from peak to peak.” And indeed it is. The closest we’ve come to such a dismal recovery in the postwar era was the dreaded stagflation-driven economic expansion of Jimmy […]

Maliki Cracks Down on the Sons of Iraq

Writing for the L.A. Times, Shawn Brimley and Colin Kahl have a disturbing report about the ongoing crackdown of Iraq’s Sunni population by the Maliki government. Much of Iraq’s dramatic security progress can be traced to a series of decisions made by Sunni tribal leaders in late 2006 to turn against Al Qaeda in Iraq […]

Platitudes We Can Believe In

I was running some errands and got to listen to part of Hillary Clinton’s convention speech, and what a typical mish-mash of nonsense and pandering platitudes. Change we can believe in? Please, spare me. What really got me was this baloney, And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he’ll revitalize our economy,…. It […]

Hillary Convention Speech: I Question the Timing

It’s 10:13 Eastern time and Hillary Clinton hasn’t spoken yet.  Granting that large numbers of people live in other time zones, it strikes me as awfully odd that they saved the premier speech of the night for so late. Perhaps she insisted on a 3 a.m. speaking time?

OTB Latenight – Patsy Cline

By request from reader Joyce A.:

Can Hillary Convince Supporters to Back Obama?

Hillary Clinton’s speech is the big draw tonight at the Democratic Convention.  She’s going to have to convince a lot of people  — perhaps starting with herself — to put aside their grudges and voter for Barack Obama to be the next president. Matt Yglesias echoes my longstanding view that this will happen organically and […]

29 Million

OTB crossed the 29 million unique visitor mark, as measured by SiteMeter, early this afternoon. As always, thanks to all who visit, link, and comment.

Russia Recognizes Abkhazia, South Ossetia

Unsurprisingly, Russia has now recognized the independence of Georgia’s breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia: President Dmitry Medvedev has declared that Russia formally recognises the independence of the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The move follows a vote in both houses of parliament on Monday, which called on Moscow to recognise […]

Georgia Crisis: Who Started It?

Michael Totten has a detailed post on the ongoing crisis in Georgia pushing back against the conventional wisdom: Virtually everyone believes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili foolishly provoked a Russian invasion on August 7, 2008, when he sent troops into the breakaway district of South Ossetia. “The warfare began Aug. 7 when Georgia launched a barrage […]

The Western Media Respond to the Beijing Olympics

As I suggested over the weekend now that the Games are over and the correspondents happily back from their sojourns in China covering the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Western media are singing a somewhat different tune than they were while the games were in progress. L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace. Yesterday a story in the […]

Jericho Scott Pitches Too Good

A youth baseball league has banned a 9-year-old, and disbanded his team, because he throws too hard. Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player — too good, it turns out. The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven […]

Obama Assassination Plot

Reports from several Colorado sources (although, curiously, not yet WaPo or the NYT) about an assassination plot against Barack Obama has the blogosphere abuzz. Denver’s CBS 4 appears to have broken the story: CBS4 has learned at least four people are under arrest in connection with a possible plot to kill Barack Obama at his […]

McCain Recycles 3 A.M. Ad

We  all knew this would happen sooner or later:  John McCain is using Hillary Clinton’s “3 a.m.” spot against Barack Obama. VIDEO TRANSCRIPT CLINTON AD: It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone? ANNCR: Uncertainty. Dangerous aggression. Rogue nations. Radicalism. HILLARY CLINTON: I know Senator McCain […]

Caption Contest Winners

The Exit Stage Left Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Red Light Cameras Work Great!

Security technology guru Bruce Schneier has a post up entitled “Red Light Cameras Don’t Work” which ultimately succeeds in making the opposite point. He points to yet another study showing, as do all credible studies not funded by interest groups, that the cameras not only lead to more crashes at intersections but lead to more […]

Russian Legislature Recognizes Breakaway Provinces

The Federation Council and the Duma, the upper and lower houses of the legislature of the Russian Federation, have voted in favor of recognizing the independence of Georgia’s two breakaway provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, from Georgia: MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s parliament unanimously approved on Monday resolutions calling for the recognition of two rebel regions […]

Obama and Biden: Merely Very Liberal, Not Ultra Liberal

Contra Fred Barnes and National Journal, Brendan Nyhan argues that Barack Obama and Joe Biden are not the 1st and 3rd most liberal Senators but only the 11th and 10th most liberal Senators.  By contrast, John McCain is either the 8th or 2nd most conservative Senator, depending on the year. Considering that twice as many […]

Who Does Obama Need to Sway?

Today’s National Journal poll question: Pick the demographic group that Obama most needs to sway during the convention, with Women, Whites over 45, and Blue Collar Voters the proffered choices. Once again, the breakdown of Left and Right bloggers varied dramatically: Amusingly, also again, Left bloggers seem to be much less constrained by the given […]

Race Still Tied After Biden Pick

CNN is breathlessly reporting that Barack Obama and John McCain are now tied and that the selection of Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate has hurt the ticket. It’s a dead heat in the race for the White House. The first national poll conducted entirely after Barack Obama publicly named Joe Biden as his running […]

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones

Kevin Drum has opened the door at his new digs at Mother Jones, where they’ve cleverly named his blog Kevin Drum. Update your bookmarks, feeds, and whatnot accordingly. He’s been at it six years now, as of Saturday, and I’ve been reading him for all but five months of that tenure. We disagree on much […]

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