Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

E-mail Me

Twitter: yourlyingeyes

30 September 2008

How to Profit from the Bailout

Congress is going to give it another shot, this time starting with the much tamer Senate Wednesday night. To get the votes this time round, there will no doubt be more sweeteners to try to turn some votes. While it was the Republicans who rebelled on Monday, there were still a lot of Democrats opposing the bill. One thing Democrats are determined to get is a bailout of their deadbeat constituents, so can we expect some more propping up of defaulting home "owners"?

Financial guru Peter Schiff has a suggestion should the bailout finally go thru.
The first thing you do if you have a mortgage is you stop making the payments. That’s the number one thing for people who have mortgages based on this plan. And use that money to buy gold or stock up on food. You’re going to need it. Meanwhile, no one is going to kick you out of your house. You’re going to be able to live in your house for probably a year or two before the government calls you up to give you a lower mortgage because nobody is going to foreclose on you right now. Why would you foreclose? You sell the loan to the government. This plan is a huge moral hazard and it’s going to lead to a surge in mortgage delinquencies.
That would be cool - pocketing your monthly mortgage payment and socking it away in gold for a couple years - I could definitely go for that. Too bad there's no way I've got the balls to pull that one off.

26 September 2008

The Old Way of Banking

Remember the WaMu commercials, the ones with the really cool, 21st-century Obama-like dude who, with a smile and a good-natured headshake, would tell those stodgy old gray-haired, three-piece-suited 20th-century bankers that the rules of banking have changed?
So how'd that new way of banking work out there, WaMu? Oh how we wish those old bastards were still running things today.

25 September 2008

Getting Serious

Ok, so we're bailing ourselves out of this financial mess by borrowing $700 billion from various foreign governments (with our budget and trade deficits, that's who's basically going to fund it). One of these days, these foreign governments are going to say "Thanks, but no thanks" to our generous offers of debt. We need to start getting serious about this.

Here's a few quick and effective ways we can show the world we are determined to mend our profligate ways and continue to provide a safe haven for foreign investment.

  • Announce a withdrawal of troops from Iraq within 12 months and from Afghanistan in 24 months. Eventual savings: about $150b per year.
  • Apply a 75 cent tax on gasoline nationwide. We already collect federal taxes on gasoline sales - all we need to do is up it by a mere 6 bits. Estimated annual revenues: $100b.
  • Enact a 1% income tax surcharge on all incomes above $200k up to a maximum of 10%. Additional revenues: $170b.

Just these simple measures would reduce our budget deficit by $420b per year. In addition, we need to announce a transition to a Value Added Tax and away from income taxes on middle incomes and on capital gains and interest up to $20k per year. This would increase savings and reduce profligate consumption. It would also make our exports more competitive with other VAT nations without initiating a trade war. But, to hedge our bets, we should institute a trade fuse-box that would kick in across the board tariffs in response to trade deficits exceeding a specified threshold.

These measures would not just pay the bills. We would be telling the world we are serious about not wanting to expand our military adventurism, reducing our dependence on foreign energy, as well as willing to take the hard steps necessary to pay our debts and become fiscally responsible.

Has the Credit Market Really Dried Up?

Alex Tabarrok* says maybe not. If you are an actual qualified borrower - you have a 20% down payment, solid employment history, can truly afford the expected monthly payments and are purchasing a home in an established neighborhood with reliable resale prospects - is it really a problem to get a loan?

I heard an interview on the local public station this morning (on this annoying show, to be precise) with the CEO of a business called Muddy Cup complaining that he can't get a loan to expand to new locations in his upstate NY territory despite his solid business plan and successful track record. Well, maybe that kind of business in today's environment is a bit risky? Is overpriced coffee still an expanding market, particularly when tied to the kind of clientele he's shooting for ("Our space is available to anyone who wants to share their craft whether it be a singer, writer, musician, sculptor or poet.")? If I were a bank I'd be looking real hard at this kind of business and thinking maybe he's about to expand beyond his capacity. So it could be the general business climate is not favorable to his loan prospects, and not tight credit per se. Maybe banks right now aren't willing to just throw money at anything that moves.

Could it be that, right now, the credit market is actually functioning the way it's supposed to work?

* On the other hand, Tabarrok is also responsible for this notorious bit of idiocy, attacking one of the few true prophets of the current crisis back in early 2007.

18 September 2008

The Obama Threat

On the other hand, Steve Sailer describes the basic threat Obama poses to our freedom here and here. Obama's campaign is quite Goebbels-like in its squashing of dissent - simply put, any depiction of Obama that fails to hue to the Obama myth is a subject of relentless attacks from his brownshirts. In the digital age, thugs need not be beefy, testosterone-laden enforcers. An army of geeks willing to harass media outlets and advertisers can do the trick, along with an amusingly compliant press. (Here is a stomach-churning example). The tactic of using protests as intimidation to extract concessions from scared businesses and cowardly officials is no doubt one of the lasting skills Obama picked up as a community organizer. The non-stop Sarah Palin revelations on NPR and CNN compared to the (Obama)campaign-directed coverage the Anointed One gets pretty much tells the tale.

I will be voting for neither candidate I'm sure, but I'm really torn between which one I find scarier. One seems determined to get us into an ultimately destructive world war, while the other appears ready to transform the U.S.A. into a fiefdom of his personal brigade of thought.

17 September 2008

Greg Cochran's Take on Sarah Palin

In a comment on my last post discussing the candidates' views on NATO membership for Georgia, the curmudgeonly genius remarks:
Palin? Like it matters, but of course she's clueless. She's never shown the slightest interest in national or international affairs, nor has she bothered to learn jack about them. If it were up to me, she wouldn't even be allowed to vote.
Okay, sounds like he's not in the Palin column. For a very entertaining thread where Cochran and other smart folk discuss the election, see here.

As for me I'm still hoping that she'll surprise us all and show herself to be a formidable and smart candidate. Any day now...

12 September 2008

Was I Too Harsh?

I was most horrified by her unhesitantly calling for Georgia's inclusion in NATO and agreement that it could mean war with Russia. Now I knew that this insanity came from McCain but felt she inartly pushed that matter unnecessarily. But I'm ashamed to admit I did not know to what extent this is the consensus view within the U.S. Government. NYT chief military correspondent Michael R. Gordon lays it out:
Ms. Palin reiterated a view long-held by Senators Obama, Biden, McCain and Clinton. They all voted in April for a Senate resolution calling for Georgia and Ukraine’s admission in NATO, a popular stance with Americans of Eastern European background and perhaps a geopolitically wise step as well. Senators Biden and McCain co-sponsored the resolution and Mr. Obama put out a press release at the time hailing its passage. After Russia intervened in Georgia in August, Mr. Obama reaffirmed his support for Georgia’s bid to join NATO in a statement issued from Hawaii. (Just as Senators McCain, Obama and Biden also supported Kosovo independence.)

Article V of the NATO treaty stipulates that an attack against one should be considered an attack against all. So in that sense, Georgia and Ukraine’s admission into NATO would make it possible that the United States would come to their defense in the event of a Russian attack, which is why some NATO members have been less enthusiastic about extending membership to these nations. Ms. Palin’s comments on this simply reaffirmed the obvious. No news here, though she spoke more bluntly than others might have.
So maybe my grade is too harsh. I might therefore consider it a C, and suppose be thankful that at least one candidate has given an honest answer as to what this insane policy actually means. Has Obama ever been asked about this? A bit of googling turns up nothing

11 September 2008

Palin Interview - First Look

The first two segments of he Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin are here.

Initial grade: D+

It wasn't a complete failure because she was articulate and can prove she can speak complete sentences without a written script. And let's forget the "Bush Doctrine" gotcha question - that was a low blow - Gibson would never have asked anyone else a question like that. Good journalistic practice is not to ask a question that the vast majority of the audience would not understand (I sure as hell couldn't summon up what the Bush Doctrine is, and I'd be surprised if even Obama would know off the top of his head - I mean, it's not like anyone ever talks about it).

But otherwise she fell easy prey to Gibson's bait. He tried to nail her down on NATO membership and she fell for it hook,line and sinker. She effectively stated that a) Russia's invasion of Georgia was 'unprovoked' (almost certainly not true) and that b) Georgia should be admitted to NATO and that c) that means we should make war with Russia should this be repeated. My most charitable interpretation is that she is fundamentally opposed to such a policy and, finding it hard to fully incorporate McCainism into her belief system, she thus ended up inadvertently expressed what is effectively a caricature of it. More likely, she has spent little time thinking about this at all.

The next segment should have been an easy home run. Charlie thought he was rearing back and throwing a bruising fastball on the inside of the plate. In fact, it was a fattie, hanging right down the middle. But Palin's batting coaches had her all confused, and she ended up hitting an infield chopper that maybe she beats out for an infield hit at best. Gibson repeated the gross misrepresentation that Palin had proclaimed that we are on a mission from God in Iraq. Of course, all Palin actually did was ask for prayers that we have a plan, and that that plan is God's plan.

But here we can see the campaign preparation process at work. Were she to have forcefully pointed out the distortion, and said exactly what she actually said, she would have scored some major points personally. But, since her actual words clearly express some concerns or doubts about our Iraq mission, the campaign could not have allowed her to take this course. Instead, they came upon the clever tack of attributing the words to Lincoln. But it sounds like bull - because it is bull. Then she gave a ringing endorsement to the insane Bush/McCain doctrine that all people deserve (and the U.S. can somehow secure) freedom throughout the world. The idea that all people are deserving of freedom may sound like a nice sentiment, but from what I've seen of people's behavior around the world (and in Iraq in particular), I'd have to register my sincere dissent from that view.

Steve Sailer has summarized the Bush/McCain vision succinctly: Invade the World, Invite the World, In Hock to the World. In these first interview segments, Palin has fully embraced the first leg of this tripartite lunacy. Obviously, as McCain's vice presidential nominee, she has no choice but to go along. But her failure to cleverly hedge her responses* tells me she either has no other thoughts of her own or doesn't have the intellectual self-confidence to retain any semblance of her own voice. Sarah, you're breaking my heart!

* For example, when asked if Ukraine and Georgia should be in NATO, a simple response would be "I believe membership in NATO for these countries should be on the table, and John McCain will work closely with our European allies to come to an agreement on this issue" But do you believe they should be in NATO? "It's not for me to make this determination on my own sitting here talking to you, that's a decision that must be made in consultation with our allies. It would not be constructive for me to inject my opinion on this type of important diplomatic matter at this time." Instead, she has forcefully propounded a dangerous course of action that even the Bush administration is backing off of.

On the other hand, maybe she has thought about these issues, and this is how she really does feel about the situation over there, and perhaps on her own she went further than McCain's advisers would have preferred. I really can't come up with any comforting scenarios here, try as I might.

09 September 2008

Could it Be?

I've just noticed on my Google Analytics page that this blog got two visits from Wasilla, AK the first two weeks of August (and two more the first 2 weeks of July). Do you think, maybe, is it possible...?

Say What?

Did Obama just claim that the McCain campaign is putting lipstick on a pig? I think he did! "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 even if it's not what Obama meant. "It's still a pig."

Yes, of course it's an old expression and might have just mindlessly been inserted into the speech. But the reference is so obvious it's a little hard to believe the double (triple?) entendre was not considered.

And that's fine with me - really, what's wrong with Obama interjecting a little ad feminem spice into his campaign. I wouldn't care if he called her a "moose-gutting ho'", quite frankly. What interests me is why - why do something so unartful?

I think it means that the Obama camp has pretty much given up its lofty 'unification' goal, and is now girding for a protracted base-war. Note how the crowd didn't share the campaign's alleged naivete - they got it right away and loved it. I'm pretty sure they'd love the moose-gutting ho' crack as well. But it's not going to do much beyond the base.

Obama might have a more motivated base to begin with than any other recent Democrat, so if that's what it's coming down to, he should be able to put up a good fight. But for the first time since McCain became the presumptive nominee in the spring, I'm afraid Obama may well lose.

P.S. - should any of you think I'm a little overprotective of Miss Sarah - please. It can get a lot stupider.

08 September 2008

The Earmark Kid?

Are the Democrats worried about Miss Sarah?
Democrat Barack Obama criticized Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Monday for portraying herself as a crusader against wasteful spending on pet local projects while aggressively pursuing the money for Alaska.
Uh, she's the vice presidential candidate, Barack - aren't you supposed to delegate that kind of wet work? Plus, doesn't this line of attack directly conflict with the "inexperience" angle? Obama went on:
"When she was mayor she hired a Washington lobbyist to get earmarks, pork barrel spending. All the things that John McCain says is bad, she lobbied to get, and got a whole lot of it."
A whole lot of it? Actually, that sounds pretty impressive. From the Washington Post:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor, according to an analysis by an independent government watchdog group. There was $500,000 for a youth shelter, $1.9 million for a transportation hub, $900,000 for sewer repairs, and $15 million for a rail project -- all intended to benefit Palin's town, Wasilla, located about 45 miles north of Anchorage.
In other words, Palin wasn't much of an earmark opponent, but she was one helluva mayor! More impressively, she seems to have initiated the practice on her own:
Wasilla had received few if any earmarks before Palin became mayor. She actively sought federal funds -- a campaign that began to pay off only after she hired a lobbyist with close ties to Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who long controlled federal spending as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

That year, a local water and sewer project received $1.5 million, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, which combs federal spending measures to identify projects inserted by congressional members.

In 2001, McCain's list of spending that had been approved without the normal budget scrutiny included a $500,000 earmark for a public transportation project in Wasilla. The Arizona senator targeted $1 million in a 2002 spending bill for an emergency communications center in town -- one that local law enforcement has said is redundant and creates confusion.

McCain also criticized $450,000 set aside for an agricultural processing facility in Wasilla that was requested during Palin's tenure as mayor and cleared Congress soon after she left office in 2002. The funding was provided to help direct locally grown produce to schools, prisons and other government institutions, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

Wasilla received $11.9 million in earmarks from 2000 to 2003. The results of this spending are very apparent today. (The town also benefited from $15 million in federal funds to promote regional rail transportation.)
So by painting Palin as a hypocrite, Obama really ends up further burnishing her mythic status as a self-made political dynamo. The "hypocrisy" charges, along with attacks on Palin generally, play well with the left-wing base, for whom hypocrisy is the most foul sin imaginable, but for the rest of the electorate the last thing Obama should want to do is add to their sense of her accomplishments.

07 September 2008

Prophetic Comments

In the department of giving credit where credit is due, commenter Miles who has commented here frequently, has been warning that terrorists are going to start using wild fires as a tactic. I have been dismissive of this, since jihadist tactics just don't seem that subtle. But Miles appears to be onto something, as Brenda Walker reports at VDARE.


Our wall-to-wall-Palin coverage continues. Willie Brown, former San Francisco Mayor/California Assembly Speaker and entertaining TV analyst, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sarah Palin is the real deal.
The Democrats are in trouble. Sarah Palin has totally changed the dynamics of this campaign. Period.

Palin's speech to the GOP National Convention on Wednesday has set it up so that the Republicans are now on offense and Democrats are on defense. And we don't do well on defense...

I actually went back and watched Palin's speech a second time. I didn't go to sleep until 1:30 a.m. I had to make sure I got the lines right. Her timing was exquisite. She didn't linger with applause, but instead launched into line after line of attack, slipping the knives in with every smile and joke. And she delivered it like she was just BS-ing on the street with the meter maid. She didn't have to prove she was "of the people." She really is the people.

As for Palin herself, she is going to be very, very effective on the campaign trail, especially if McCain's people can figure out how to gently keep her from getting into confrontations with the press. If she can answer questions like she handled herself at the convention, Palin will turn out to be the most interesting person in all of politics, and the press will treat her like they treated Obama when he was first discovered. And remember, the Palin bandwagon needs to roll for only two months.
Willie Brown, like Pat Buchanan, is one of those rare analysts that appear on TV who like to analyze politics unmoved by an agenda, which is what makes them interesting. I wonder why TV news doesn't find more of these types instead of putting on the same old partisan-operatives disguised as "analysts"?

There is a YouTube video of Palin giving a pep talk to some ministry students at her old church in Wasilla. Larry Auster claims to see a completely different side of her in this video, but I see the same dynamic presence we saw in St. Paul. Consider the poor quality of this video, the down-scale setting - consider all the people you've seen on local public-access or community TV - and note the complete mastery of the moment she displays. Do you find it painfully boring, or do you find it easy to sit thru her entire talk? Consider any other such video you might have seen - could you even imagine lasting 10 seconds?

The content of this video is quite controversial. Initial reports have spun it as her claiming that we are on a mission from God in Iraq, but of course she says no such thing. For example, the AP claimed that "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told ministry students at her former church that the United States sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on a "task that is from God. In an address last June, the Republican vice presidential candidate also urged ministry students to pray for a plan to build a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state, calling it "God's will." That is a rather crude misstatement of what she actually says, as can be determined by simply watching the video. Still, scrutiny of her religious beliefs and their interaction with her governing style are a legitimate concern, given that we currently have a president who, judging him from his own words, appears to have relied more on feedback from prayers than input from knowledgeable and varying points of view. (Here's a fairly reasonable take on it from HuffPo.)

Meanwhile, blogger HalfSigma has questioned Palin's intelligence, guessing she's in the 110 range. It's an interesting post with lots of comments including from yours truly. He bases it on her taking six years to get through college and the generally working-class life choices made by her and her family. I'd guess she's a little smarter than that, but she seems to have such a natural affinity for leadership I find it unlikely she would not have landed herself in a far more lucrative position if she were especially smart. So this is an interesting question, as it may ultimately restrict her ability to rise too far.

James Fulford, in the VDARE blog, found an interview with her where she expresses admiration for Ron Paul, so she at least has promise to be something other than the package the McCain campaign will box her into. Again she speaks effortlessly without notes about some mildly technical issues, so I'm guessing she's a bit more intelligent than Half Sigma claims.

And finally, both Zogby and Rasmussen report a substantial Palin-bounce, as Obama's lead has been wiped out in her wake.

FYI: The original WTWP is here: the PDQ Bach spoof of classical-music radio. The call letters stood for "Wall-to-Wall Pachelbel." Related: the lastest Stuff White People Like entry: Appearing to enjoy Classical music.

04 September 2008

Reality Bites

Wake-up call. After hearing John McCain's acceptance speech tonight, I'm afraid I feel it is imperative that John McCain does not win this November. To distinguish himself from his opponent, he needs to look tough and grizzled on foreign policy. Consequently, since McCain is also a man of his word, a McCain victory will without doubt result in another costly, protracted, and very dangerous cold war with Russia.

And to burnish his free-market, globalistic credentials, he will do nothing to protect American jobs. For workers whose factories have closed, he promises job re-training at community colleges where they would learn skills that can't be exported. Of course the only such jobs are manual service jobs, such as landscaper, bartender, or WalMart greeter. I hope he's not thinking in terms of easily outsourced tech jobs like computer programmer.

So at home and abroad, McCain will be a disaster. Of course on the real threat facing America, the inevitable plunge into the Third-Worldom that our demographic trends promise, neither he nor Obama offer any hope. But at least Obama promises less near-term ruin. Sarah who?

The Community Organizer

The Obama campaign and their surrogates attempted to regain some dignity off of Sarah Palin's zingers about his "community organizer" past. This series of posts in Slate commenting on Palin's speech are most amusing. Here, Slate writer Maureen Sullivan bemoans the "tone" of the convention:
The whole tenor of the evening was more mean-spirited than any convention I can remember. The crowd laughed at the mention of Obama being a community organizer during Giuliani's speech—what I think was not supposed to be a joke but rather a throwaway credit—but I'm sure all those laid-off steelworkers that Obama was working with to rebuild their lives wouldn't think it was funny. "Proud steelworkers," as Palin pointed out that her husband was. It's pretty mean to laugh at someone trying to help those with the true misfortune of a layoff; it seems cruel and unusual that those they were laughing at are professional kin of Palin's husband.
The Obama campaign was making the same argument today, coincidentally:) Now come on - does anybody really think Obama spent his days in South Side Chicago community-organizing steelworkers? The image the Obama campaign is trying to conjure up is rather obvious - a roomful of down-on-their-luck Todd Palin's being coached and inspired by a young St. Barack. But of course this is preposterous. In an article from a couple weeks ago about Obama's community-organizer roots, the steelworker angle is discussed.
And none of the laid-off steelworkers Obama talks about in stump speeches, the people he was brought to Chicago to help, could be found for this article, despite repeated requests to the campaign.

Here's a pretty straight-talking description of the community organizer, especially as a particularly Chicago-oriented calling. Does it sound like a job Middle America would be very impressed with? Here's a more in-depth look at Obama's vocation by Byron York in National Review. Apparently, the "steelworker-retraining" part of the program was a non-starter. But you don't need me to tell you that, no doubt a NY Times reporter is vetting Obama's claims this very moment.

P.S. Here's another gem from that Slate thread, this one by Dahlia Lithwick:
And if it’s small to go after community organizers, or people who are not “always proud of America,” or people with the misfortune to reside in cities, or people inspired by idealism, well so be it.
Oh, so all of a sudden living in the city is a "misfortune"? So city dwellers are supposed to be jealous of those living in the heartland, afterall? How about that.

The 'It' Girl

I was pretty confident Sarah Palin would bring down the house in her speech last night a couple hours before she went on stage. James Carville, who knows these horse races like few do, was commenting on one of the cable networks, and remarked that "anyone can read a speech off a teleprompter...every acceptance speech is a 'good' speech..." He was clearly trying to pre-empt what he knew would be a dazzling performance.

The fact is, not everyone can read a speech off a teleprompter. Well, simply read one, yes, but very few can bring it alive, let the words float amongst the audience and through the TV screen, and rivet the attention of millions of viewers. One need only look at the speeches by the two immensely accomplished women who preceded her. Both former CEOs of major corporations. They clearly could 'read' off the teleprompter, but their words died the moment they spoke them. Or even Rudy Giuliani, who knows how to engage a crowd, but is clearly stringing together lines written down. Or, most notoriously, Hillary Clinton, whose delivery veers from sing-songy to grating to toe-curlingly strident with each change in tone of the written word she's delivering.

Giving a speech is a performance like all other performances, and a speaker is a performer like any other performer. Think of an actor, or a singer (for example, the finalists on American Idol). Some performers are barely competent; some can be affecting; some even inspirational. But there are the very rare individuals who seem to consume the entire volume of the hall, who take up every bit of air in the room, and who simply dominate an entire performance-space. That is Sarah Palin, as it is Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and as it was Ronald Reagan. There is no definable characteristic of this quality; it cannot be described and there is no handbook. It's what makes Mick Jagger Mick Jagger and every other singer not Mick Jagger.

The other point brought up later by Pat Buchanan is that "she is interesting." That's a quality she has that Obama doesn't, but it's a quality that cuts both ways. That's why the rumors keep spreading and have such traction - it's all believable, because anything about this woman is believable. Is Barack Obama a communist? He's too boring to be a communist. Did Sarah Palin have an affair with her husband's business partner, did she pretend to be pregnant while sending her pregnant daughter off to have a baby with Downs Syndrome that she then pretended was her own, did she fight hard and successfully for $millions in earmarks then make a sudden about-face and decry them, did she badger the public safety commissioner to fire her no-good former brother-in-law then turn around and fire the commissioner when he refused, all the while building up an 80% approval rating? Sure, sounds plausible to me - any scenario is plausible with this woman.

The danger she poses to the Democrats' hopes and dreams this year is obvious from the furious reaction she provokes. She has got me wanting to vote for McCain just from her own energy and the fury of her enemies. But I'm determined to resist. The wealthy in this country do not deserve any more tax cuts (or to keep the ones they've already gotten) until they can prove they will invest their surpluses in jobs for American citizens. And we do not need to spend more money on defense, or be belligerent towards foreign governments that pose no direct threat to our safety. Sarah Palin won't change this in a McCain administration (at least I have no basis for believing she would). But for now, I'm content to kick back and enjoy the show.

03 September 2008

Good God, They've Gotten to Her Already

Amid all the frenzy and the revelations and recriminations and charges and counter-charges surrounding Sarah Palin over the last couple days; and the questions about her qualifications and the McCain's camp vetting process and reporters digging around her past and her preparations for her speech - our nation's priorities remain in order, as the one constituency that apparently really counts got its opportunity to interview the candidate and provide their thumbs up. New York Sun reporter Eli Lake lays it all out for us:
While the Alaska governor has been kept out of the public eye, she has met with some key interest groups. According to one Republican source familiar with the meeting, Mrs. Palin was introduced to Aipac leaders here by Senator Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut who endorsed Senator McCain last night.

Mr. Lieberman said, according to this source, that he remembered his big week eight years ago when he was tapped by Vice President Gore to be the 2000 Democratic nominee's running mate, and how he was so focused on his speech before.

This source said Mrs. Palin "talked about her personal connection to Israel that she has had since she was a young child, it has been part of her views and how important this small country was for so many people for so many reasons." This source also said, "She subscribes to Senator McCain's 'never again' policy," a slogan popularized after the Holocaust and a promise never to allow genocide to go unchallenged. Mrs. Palin also said her mother had recently traveled to Israel, according to this source, and that she displayed an Israeli flag in her office in Juneau.

The Alaska governor with no record on Middle East foreign policy impressed Aipac. "We got a good productive discussion on the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and we were pleased that Governor Palin expressed her deep personal commitment to the safety and well-being of Israel," a spokesman for Aipac, Joshua Block, said.

He added, "Now that both Democrats and Republicans have determined their respective tickets, Aipac is pleased that both parties have selected four pro-Israel candidates, and in doing so they have reaffirmed the broad bipartisan support that exists in our country for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship." [EA]
So we've gotten that out of the way. Now we can get on to discussing issues where opposing views are allowed, such as whether a woman can be a good mother while holding down a full-time job (and here I thought that was off-limits, too - go figure). (Thanks to Mickey Kaus.)