Monday, June 30, 2008

Drill There. Drill Now. Pay Less.

Porter County Politics has a copy of a post from the Heritage Foundation's Foundry blog, discussing ANWR. It's too great (and contains too many images) to just copy. Go see it for yourself here.

More Screenshot Fun: Baron Begs for Money, Screws Up Fundraising Email

It's that time again. The fundraising quarter is almost up, so campaigns everywhere are working hard to get every last dollar they can from their supporters.

Baron Hill is no exception.

He (or rather his campaign) is working so hard that they copied and pasted the email from the last fundraising quarter.

Unfortunately, they didn't even bother to change the date on it:

Sent on June 29, but the email text itself says March 30 (the normal end of Q1).

A big tip-o-the-hat to the Hoosierpundit reader in Jackson County (a Democrat, no less!) that sent me this.

UPDATE: Howey, clueless as always, quotes some of the rest of the email here.

Notable also is this assertion:

With its repeal, Hill will be unable to return to his richest donors for triple donations should Sodrel break his pledge not to self-finance this year.

Mike Sodrel has indicated at various times that he does not expect to self-finance; lest Baron Hill later falsely claim Sodrel broke some sort of non-existent promise, that is not the same thing as making some sort of pledge to never do so.

If the election is definitively in the balance with two weeks to go and money is needed to seal it up, I find it hard to believe that Sodrel wouldn't reach for the checkbook (though I suspect that his wife might slap his hand if he does).

What's Andy Horning Running for Anyway?

I thought he was running for governor, but this recent post on his blog seems to indicate otherwise.

Horning is something of a perennial candidate; Indiana's own Harold Stassen, William Jennings Bryan, Alan Keyes, or Lyndon LaRouche, you might say.

He has run for a number of offices before, including Congress, so I guess there could be some confusion, or a very bad copy-and-paste error.

If it is the latter, is it too much to ask for candidates for governor to not rehash stuff from prior campaigns whole cloth? Or at least tweak it to ensure that it's up to date? Maybe?

Pastrick Case Going to Trial; Linda Pence Still Running Away from Her Record

Poor Linda Pence.

She's still trying to run away from her record and from a certain interesting omission about her past history that she made in the first days of her campaign.

Pastrick's sidewalks-for-votes case has been green-lighted to go to trial, and Pence is still denying that the case matters.

She is still refusing to take a strong stand on prosecuting corruption, even when the corruption might involve fellow Democrats.

From the NWI Times:

INDIANAPOLIS | U.S. District Court Judge James Moody cleared the way Friday for the state's protracted civil racketeering lawsuit against former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick to go to trial.

Moody dismissed arguments by Pastrick and other defendants, who said the case against them was so weak it shouldn't go to court. But Moody also threw out most of the motions made by Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter, who argued the Pastrick administration displayed an undisputed pattern of corruption that undeniably harmed city taxpayers.

The ruling, which means the four-year-old lawsuit now will move before a jury, elicited applause from both sides of the case and triggered a political challenge in the race for Indiana attorney general.

Carter declared victory. He filed the 2004 civil suit in an attempt to hold the longtime Democratic mayor and other East Chicago officials responsible for more than $24 million drained from city coffers in a 1999 sidewalks-for-votes scheme.

"The court has unequivocally denied the motions of two primary defendants to have the case thrown out on legal grounds," Carter, a Republican, said Friday. "This is a major step forward in the fight against public corruption and in restoring public confidence in local government in Lake County."

Deputy Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who is seeking to succeed Carter, seized on the ruling. He called on his Democratic opponent, Indianapolis attorney Linda Pence, to match his vow to carry out the East Chicago case if elected attorney general.

"My question is whether this doesn't make it clear that she would have a duty to move forward," Zoeller said. "It's not a question of reconsidering (anymore)."

Pence, a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney, continued to insist she cannot make a pronouncement on the East Chicago lawsuit -- or any other case before the attorney general office -- without first seeing all the evidence.

"That is a very unfair question (by Zoeller) because without reviewing the file, I can't answer," Pence said Friday. "If I review the file and there is a case against Bob Pastrick, no one would be better than me to work on that. I do not, will not, and never have tolerated public corruption. Never."

Pence previously represented Rieth-Riley, a paving firm that two years ago paid $625,000 to settle claims it colluded with East Chicago officials in an attempt to legitimize the paving spree that preceded Pastrick's last re-election victory. Indiana Republican Party Chairman Murray Clark pointed to that defense work in the case as evidence Pence would abandon the financial pursuit of Pastrick, an icon among Hoosier Democrats.

"It's time for Linda Pence to be forthright with Hoosiers and admit she will not continue this important fight against public corruption," Clark said Friday in a statement.

I'm beginning to wonder how much longer Linda Pence can continue this delusional tap dance of pretending that she knows nothing about the case when she was involved as a litigator in it for over a year.

And for how much longer can she continue to make utterly ignorant criticisms of the case that fly in the face of all reason and all facts?

First, she complained about the use of outside counsel in the case.

It turned out that she had made her name as an outside counsel for the O'Bannon administration.

Then, she complained about the cost of the outside counsel in the case.

It turned out that the settlement she made for her clients was almost twice that of the legal fees incurred by the outside counsel; the settlement she reached for her clients more than made the outside counsel pay off.

Now, she has new criticisms, and they are just as absurd:

Pence went on to question whether Zoeller can match her 34 years of courtroom experience. And she questioned why it has taken Carter more than eight years to bring to trial a public works scheme first disclosed in a 2000 state audit.

First of all, just what proportion of Linda Pence's "34 years of courtroom experience" has come from defending clients like Rieth-Riley, her client that settled out of the Pastrick case? An overwhelming proportion of it, if her own campaign website is any indication.

Save for her nine years at the start of her career as a litigator at the Justice Department and her brief stint as a high-paid outside counsel for the O'Bannon administration, Pence appears to have spent (with the exception of a handful of cases as we will see) pretty much her entire career in civil and criminal practice defending clients like Rieth-Riley.

Is that the sort of experience and record Indiana needs in the attorney general's office?

Linda Pence would have Hoosiers believe that she has spent 34 years being a good guy from Law & Order, sort of a Jack McCoy with blond hair and abnormally white teeth, but she has actually spent most of that time on the other side of the courtroom.

You know, where the defenders of the bad guys sit.

In the 27 years since she left the Justice Department, she could find only five cases to cite on her website to tout for her record.

Linda Pence has either been not very busy for those 27 years, or she has mostly been defending people--like Pastrick's co-defendants--that she'd rather not talk about.

I suspect we'll hear about them soon.

As for the timeline of the case, and the time it has taken? It's going to take more than Linda Pence crying about the speed of the Pastrick case to paper over the fact that she doesn't seem to want to pursue it at all.

Moreover, as a former litigator in the case, she knows full well that it was only filed in 2004, not 2000 as she seems to imply above with her statements. Since that time, the case has seen a steady stream of settlements as the AG's office has ground slowly but surely through Pastrick's co-defendants as they build up the case against the former East Chicago mayor and sidewalks-for-votes kingpin.

One of those settlements, as has gotten much attention (mainstream, even), was a client of Linda Pence. It is also the largest of the settlements thus far. Another settlement happened just last week; so much for no progress.

Linda Pence also knows that the case is extraordinarily complex (from what I have seen, it is perhaps one of the most complex RICO litigations in the history of the statute). It had twenty-seven co-defendants at the start, and is so complex that the author of the RICO statute himself was brought in to work on the case. You know, he's the outside counsel Linda Pence didn't want to spend money on.

Another week goes by, and Linda Pence inserts her foot into her mouth yet again.

It's becoming a real pattern.

9th District Race Profile

From the great John Gizzi at Human Events:

“He has come to open the purple testament of bleeding war.”

That line from Shakespeare’s Richard III can serve as a summary of the political situation in Indiana’s 9th District. In ’02, Democratic Rep. Baron Hill barely repelled a challenge by Republican Mike Sodrel, who then turned the tables and in ’04 narrowly became the district’s second Republican congressman in a century. In ’06, however, with voters angry at George W. Bush and disgraced Republican Representatives Bob Ney (Ohio) and Mark Foley (Fla.), Sodrel (lifetime ACU rating: 90%) lost to Hill (lifetime ACU rating: 26%).

Voters might well wonder whether, after three grueling battles against the same opponent and a fourth now underway, Sodrel has grown to dislike Hill.

“Our races have been more about issues,” says the former bus company owner, now 62 and a grandfather of seven. But then he adds: “After all of these campaigns, it’s hard to be completely objective.”

On the latest front in this bleeding war, energy and the economay dominate the action. Sodrel points out that Hill voted for the costly economic stimulus package favored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership and that he opposes drilling in the Arctic Natural Wildlife Reserve.

“He says ‘we can’t drill our way out’ of the gas crisis,” notes the conservative hopeful, but “I say we can -- with greater exploration and use of our resources, here in America.” Sodrel’s credo, applied to his opposing the costly stimulus package and supporting making the Bush tax cuts permanent, is a simple one: “Trust the market place.”

But social issues and national politics also come into “Sodrel vs. Hill Four.” The GOP nominee drives home the fact that his opponent has not signed on to the legislation of Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood and that Hill made an early endorsement of Barack Obama for President even though Hillary Clinton rolled up nearly 66% of the primary vote in the 9th District.

The race in this Indiana district is unique in that not only do both major party candidates have voting records in Congress by which to judge them, but also both have been before the voters three previous times. This is a race, then, where every phone call to voters, every mailing, every drop of coffee at homes will count in what is guaranteed to be another close contest. In a nutshell, that’s why conservatives need to rally to Mike Sodrel.

I had a conversation recently with a Hoosierpundit reader that I have always known as a loyal supporter of Baron Hill and a stalwart Democrat partisan. Their assessment, in stark contrast to the recent polling (a poll that I have no reason to disbelieve), was bleak.

This person spoke of Baron receiving a "State of the Union" reception at the 9th District meeting at the Democratic Party's state convention. State of the Union, I asked (and I bet you're wondering too). "Half the room stood, clapped, applauded," they said. "The other side sat on their hands."

There are some indications of movement against Baron (not so much movement in favor of Sodrel, but against Baron). In Scott County, there are indications of significant Democrat movement in favor of Sodrel, and things in Jackson County are apparently no better for Baron than they were when he called his home county chairman a liar in the Seymour newspaper. Even so, Sodrel has not run an aggressive campaign and has done nothing to capitalize on the issue of gasoline prices.

Where Baron in 2006 followed Sodrel around with a proverbial gas pump the entire summer, Mike Sodrel has been nowhere to be seen until his recent press conference on the issue, which was mild and got only a day of earned media in only a few news outlets in the district. Meanwhile, Baron's press releases about his political gimmickry on gas prices get copied-and-pasted almost verbatim in every Democrat-leaning paper in the district.

Gas is now almost twice what it cost when Baron took office, and Baron campaigned on a promise to lower gas prices. He has done nothing to do so, but has instead relied upon weak stunts and empty press releases.

His vulnerabilities, particularly in light of how many Democrats are unwilling to forgive him for the Obama endorsement, are huge but unexploited. A few press conferences are not going to garner advantage for Sodrel out of them.

It's true that there is a balance to be struck between being aggressive when it comes to gas prices, and not being so aggressive that Democrats angry with Baron decide to rally to his side simply because of their traditional discomfort with Mike Sodrel. At the same time, doing so little during the gas price issue also runs the risk of giving Baron breathing room to make up with those angry with him.

Interesting Facts about Expanded Drilling

From the New York Times (of all places):

Only about 20 percent of the continental shelf is open for drilling, providing about 27 percent of domestic oil production and 14 percent of natural gas production. Republicans say that modern seismic work and drilling in deep waters in the central Gulf of Mexico have meant a sixfold increase in estimates of the oil there, and they believe that would happen again if exploration were expanded.

Representative John E. Peterson, Republican of Pennsylvania, is leading the House forces in favor of offshore drilling. He said opening more areas would cut down on fear and speculation in the oil markets.

Most oil companies support the Republican position and are particularly eager for access to the eastern gulf, noting that the water in some parts of it is shallow and drilling would be easy.

“These areas have potential, and we really need to find out what is out there,” said Stephen J. Hadden, senior vice president for exploration and production at Devon Energy, a major gulf producer. “We’re encouraged the dialogue is now occurring, and people are asking the hard questions as to why this is off limits.”

Supporters of the Republican position put estimates for potential oil production from new areas at 1 million barrels a day or more. That would be a notable improvement in domestic production, of about 5 million barrels a day. The United States consumes more than 20 million barrels of oil a day, importing most of it.

A 20% increase in domestic production of oil is nothing to be scoffed at. Moreover, it will have a ripple effect on the price of oil futures, which will price in the new drilling in short order.

And once there is drilling, the negative balance of trade (an abnormal amount of which comes from oil imports) will become somewhat more favorable, which will have a positive impact on the value of the dollar. That will make additional oil imports themselves less expensive in turn, further shifting the balance of trade, and creating a positive feedback loop rather than the negative one that we have now.

All it takes is a willingness to get past the special interests:

For the Republicans to accept that conservation and renewable energy are a part of the solution, and thus bite their tongue on their free market purity rhetoric.

For the Democrats to accept that expanded sources of energy (like more drilling, nuclear power, and measures to enable an expansion of refining capacity) are a part of the solution, and thus bite their tongue on their environmentalist purity rhetoric.

I've seen a lot of John McCain willing to do this sort of thing when it comes to reaching across the aisle. I don't see a lot of Barack Obama willing to reach back the other way.

And yet I thought it was Obama that wanted to transcend politics and bridge the red-blue divide.

Strange, no?

Obamassiah Gaffe du Jour: Nervous Allies

It is worth remembering that Obama has already made Canada nervous on trade issues. And that European officials are already fretting that an Obama presidency would engage in an unconditional surrender regarding the Iranian nuclear threat. Barack Obama was supposedly running as a candidate who would not alienate US allies — did he flip-flop on that too?

Hat tip: Obama's Gaffes.

Somewhere, Caesar Weeps: Japanese Grandma Beats Up Italian Soldiers

From the Daily Telegraph:

Italian soldiers are facing the embarrassment of being beaten up daily by a 77-year-old Japanese grandmother.

Martial arts expert Keiko Wakabayshi, nicknamed the "Samurai Granny", has been hired by the country's military to train recruits in hand-to-hand combat.

Miss Wakabayshi, who stands exactly 5ft tall, looks tiny compared to her charges who are mostly over 6ft.

But the pensioner is a trained master in an array of martial arts disciplines including jujitsu, jojitso, kenjitso, judo, kendo and karate.

She wipes the floor with soldiers of the Folgore brigade at their barracks in Livorno on a daily basis.

Miss Wakabayshi was born in Japan but now lives in Northern Italy.

She tells her students to look at her and believe that nothing is impossible.

After flooring an opponent she tells them: "Don't think it's unbelievable. The physique doesn't matter."

Sparring is regarded as the most effective method of teaching martial arts and senior Italian military officers hope the experience of being humiliated by Miss Wakabayshi will toughen up their soldiers.

Miss Wakabayshi trained for many years to achieve her level of expertise and believes she can carry on defeating brawny soldiers for years to come.

McCain Ad: "Accountable"

Saw this ad on television here yesterday.

The Great Seal of the Obamassiah

Uncle Sam's Finger

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Baron Votes to Raise Some Taxes, Halt Increases in Some Other Taxes

Behold, the glory of PAYGO:

The alternative minimum tax is increasing, so we'll stop that increase by raising your taxes on something else!

Including, of all things, domestic oil production at a time when Americans and Hoosiers are paying more than ever at the gas pump!

And, yes, Baron voted for it along with the rest of his liberal buddies.

Photo of the Day: All Alone, Eyes Closed

Via Howey.

I am reminded of the old line about the sound of one hand clapping, and just how fitting is it that her eyes are closed and her face is contorted in a grimace?

Bill Clinton: Obama can "Kiss My Ass"

From the Daily Telegraph:

[A senior Democrat who worked for Clinton] told the Telegraph: “He’s been angry for a while. But everyone thought he would get over it. He hasn’t. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who he’s been in contact with and he is mad as hell.

“He’s saying he’s not going to reach out, that Obama has to come to him. One person told me that Bill said Obama would have to quote kiss my ass close quote, if he wants his support.

Ah, feel the unity.

Hat tip: Hot Air.

Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less.

Sign the petition.

Hillary's Last Stand

The Price of Unity

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Truth about Linda Pence is Coming Soon...


I can hardly wait.

Mike Sodrel on Lowering Gas Prices: "Yes We Can"; Baron Responds: "No, We Can't"

Mike Sodrel had a press conference on Thursday to lay out a series of ideas on what can be done not just to lower gas prices but to address America's energy crisis also.

More drilling and more incentives to develop new technology, among other things; real ideas to address a very real problem.

Baron Hill, meanwhile, has proposed more government regulation, more taxes, more lawsuits, and more political gimmicks that accomplish nothing.


Sodrel calls for congressional action on rising fuel prices

By Shayla Reaves

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - The high price at the pump has an Indiana politician calling for change in Washington. Republican congressional candidate Mike Sodrel made a campaign stop in Jeffersonville Thursday morning to talk gas prices.

Sodrel says he is fed up with the rising cost of fuel. In Indiana, AAA puts the average price of gas at more than $4.00 a gallon. Sodrel says drivers are having to choose between food and filling their tanks and he wants to see Congress do something about it.

"I am tired of listening to the Chicken Little's and the sky is falling. Americans are the most creative people on the planet. If you provide the incentives and get out of their way, they will fix this problem," said Sodrel.

The former 9th District congressman wants to see fuel alternatives besides corn and soybeans used and new fuel processes invented to help drivers do more with less.

And the Courier-Journal:

INDIANAPOLIS – Saying that rising gasoline costs are hurting Hoosiers, the major party candidates in the 9th Congressional District race zeroed in today on proposals to combat prices at the pump.

Republican Mike Sodrel said today at his own news conference that lawmakers are focusing too much on funding energy research and not enough on funding results. He proposed shifting some existing money earmarked for research grants to serve as rewards for developments that turn into a usable product.

“The American people are the most creative, innovative people on the planet,” said Sodrel, who served as the district’s congressman for two years after defeating Hill in 2004 but then lost to Hill two years ago.

“If you provide real incentives to the private sector, they might be able to do something like make ethanol out of kudzu,” Sodrel said. “That would clean up the highways and make fuel out of something you can’t eat.”

Until such products can be developed, though, Sodrel said he supports expanding places in the United States where oil drilling is allowed – an expansion that would include the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Hill and Sodrel are focusing on what has become one of the biggest issues in the district and nationwide.

“People are hurting,” Hill said. “We hear about it every day.”

Sodrel said gas prices have become voters’ top issue.

“It’s hard to divorce it from concern about the economy, but I think it’s in first place now,” Sodrel said.

But the two have different views about solutions to high prices.

Hill said he supports legislation to require oil companies to drill on the 68 million acres of land they’ve already leased or lose the leases, something he hopes will delay any need to look for fuel in places like the Arctic refuge.

“If they have 68 million acres they can presently drill on, why aren’t they drilling?” Hill asked. “The only answer I can come up with is they don’t want to. They want to be making money without any risk.”

Hill acknowledged he’s had a number of constituents call his office to urge a vote expanding where drilling is allowed, but he doesn’t think it’s worthwhile.

Sodrel said failing to open the refuge and other wildlife areas for energy exploration and instead relying on existing oil leases is irresponsible.

“There isn’t oil or natural gas or natural resources under that entire 68 million acres,” Sodrel said, referring to the leases. “A portion will never be developed. Either it doesn’t have oil or it’s not feasible to get it.”

And Sodrel said he doesn’t believe speculators are causing the run-up of prices.

“I wouldn’t oppose that legislation, but it’s not going to bear fruit,” Sodrel said. “It’s busy work. It’s more regulation, investigation, taxes and lawsuits – which is all we hear from the Democratic Congress – and you can’t produce anything with those four.”

Apparently, it never occurred to Baron that there might not be oil under the existing leases.

I could lease out the land under my house, but that Congress can't mandate that oil be under it. Doesn't matter whether the oil companies drill or not; there's no oil there.

There is oil in ANWR, offshore, and in oil shale and so forth.

Yet Baron opposes going after it, preferring to increase taxes on domestic oil drilling by 50%.

Baron opposes incentives for new technologies, preferring instead to go through the motions of the same old political gimmicks that have never helped lower gas prices and sure aren't going to help now.

Baron favors doing nothing but focusing on conservation and on raising taxes and passing new regulations.

Sodrel, by contrast, recognizes that the country needs to go on an energy diet, but also knows that we can't starve ourselves out of this situation either.

It may take five to ten years to get to some of the oil that is out there.

How interesting, then, that Baron voted five and seven years ago against going to get it?

Just like he voted against better fuel economy standards years ago too.

When it comes to taking real action to lower gas prices, and getting real change to fix America's energy problems, Mike Sodrel is saying "yes we can."

Baron Hill is saying "no, we can't."

Photo of the Day

From here:

I was recently on a flight from Baltimore (BWI) to Louisville with my crew from Hydro Tech. Arriving just before departure was none other than the previous congressman and current candidate for Indiana Mike Sodrel.

As usual my guys and I spread out so we could have a little room between us, when Mrs. Sodrel sat between another Lady and myself. I saw her coming down the isle with Mr. Sodrel so I knew she was with him, but he sat in the middle seat a few rows up. I ask her if she was with the Congressman, and she said yes. So I did the right thing and sat in the middle between my crew members and ask the Congressman to take my seat next to his wife.

Now I told you all of that not to make myself look like a do gooder, but to set the stage for the trip. The Congressman, after the usual thank you's for courtesy, was now seated just across the isle from my two good friends and myself. So as to not miss a great opportunity such as this, we discussed politics with the politician himself.

Now to clear up any misnomers from the beginning, I voted for Mike during for his first term, and for his re-election (which he lost to Baron Hill). And subsuquently this election which I voted early so as to not miss it while out of town on business.

I heard the Congressman speak at a Home Builders Association meeting four years ago, he is an elegant speaker, but what impresses me the most is the fact that he's a real person. He is a business owner in Jeffersonville, In and a life long Hoosier.

Our flight 'flew' by pretty fast as we solved the nations problems and discussed just what the *&^% Jimmy Carter is doing talking with Hamas. Congressman Mike Sodrel is not only a real person, but was genuinely interested in what three construction workers had to say. I'm sure he won't remember our names, or even our happenchance meeting, but besides our respect he has our votes.

Mike keep up the good work and get back to Washington. I'm coming for the Capital building tour as soon as you get back in office.

I suspect (on the basis of past experience, actually) that Baron Hill wouldn't have given these guys the time of day.

Pelosi Favors Return of Fairness Doctrine

Because free speech is a right that the people can't be trusted to use, apparently.

From the great John Gizzi:

The speaker of the House made it clear to me and more than forty of my colleagues yesterday that a bill by Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) to outlaw the “Fairness Doctrine” (which a liberal administration could use to silence Rush Limbaugh, other radio talk show hosts and much of the new alternative media) would not see the light of day in Congress during ’08. In ruling out a vote on Pence’s proposed Broadcaster's Freedom Act, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-CA.) also signaled her strong support for revival of the “Fairness Doctrine” -- which would require radio station owners to provide equal time to radio commentary when it is requested.

At a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor yesterday, I asked Pelosi if Pence failed to get the required signatures on a discharge petition to get his anti-Fairness Doctrine bill out of committee, would she permit the Pence measure to get a floor vote this year.

“No,” the Speaker replied, without hesitation. She added that “the interest in my caucus is the reverse” and that New York Democratic Rep. “Louise Slaughter has been active behind this [revival of the Fairness Doctrine] for a while now.”

Pelosi pointed out that, after it returns from its Fourth of July recess, the House will only meet for another three weeks in July and three weeks in the fall. There are a lot of bills it has to deal with before adjournment, she said, such as FISA and an energy bill.

“So I don’t see it [the Pence bill] coming to the floor,” Pelosi said.

“Do you personally support revival of the ‘Fairness Doctrine?’” I asked.

“Yes,” the speaker replied, without hesitation

I still say that blogs are unfairly dominated by liberals.

If Democrats want to legislate "fairness" in talk radio, why not also legislate fairness in blogs?

After all, what's good for the goose, the saying goes, should be good for the gander, right?

Maybe, just maybe, they don't want fairness in blogs because the blogs are on their side.

Radio Drama

Inside Gas Prices

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Poll: Stick a Fork in JLT, She's Done

Survey USA has a new poll out, and it shows some very interesting results in both the presidential race and the gubernatorial race (presidential crosstabs here).

Incumbent Republican Governor Mitch Daniels leads Democratic challenger Jill Long Thompson by 5 points, according to this latest SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for WHAS-TV Louisville and WCPO-TV Cincinnati.

Today, it's Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky Skillman 50%, Long Thompson and running mate Dennie Oxley 45%. Among men, Daniels leads by 8 points; among women, Daniels leads by 3. 15% of Republicans cross over to vote for the Democratic ticket; 22% of Democrats cross over to vote for the Republican ticket. Independents favor Daniels by 3 points.

On its face, that's a typical result, right?

Another poll, another lead for Mitch. Even JLT's polling shows Mitch in the lead.

So why are certain Democrat blogs so happy and joyful?

In a word? Schadenfreude; Wagner and Cook never liked JLT anyway.

They're also delusional (you don't merely "cling" to a 5 point lead when even your candidate's polling shows your opponent ahead, along with every other poll; their spin is truly hilarious to behold).

Let's look for a moment at the polling sample.

The Survey USA poll is based upon a sample that includes 2% more Democrats than Republicans, and this same poll shows Obama one point ahead of McCain.

Now, have the Democrats seen a growth in party identification in Indiana given the primary process? Almost certainly.

Have they seen a growth in party identification that would bring them ahead of Republicans in this, the most Republican of states? I doubt it.

The poll likely oversamples Democrats, so the paper-thin Obama edge is hardly surprising.

But think about it slightly differently.

This poll, with its abnormal oversampling of Democrats shows that Mitch Daniels leads by five points. In the wake of his great response (bipartisan-acclaimed) to the recent flooding, JLT's lite gov announcement of Dennie Ray II to pander to southern Indiana voters that will despise her liberal stances, a divisive Republican convention process, and the Democrat convention, Mitch still leads handily.

He has an advantage of almost two-to-one around Indianapolis and the collar counties, for example. He leads by 12% in non-donut Central Indiana, and 11% in southern Indiana.

This poll represents a worst-case scenario for the Republicans: a surge in Democrat party ID over them that is without historical precedent or analogue, and a narrow win for their presidential nominee (the first since 1964).

And yet Mitch Daniels still wins handily.

Come election day in the Hoosier state, it is unlikely that Democrat party ID will surpass Republicans in exit polling.

The fact that this poll assumes it will, and still shows Mitch Daniels winning, shows just how seriously far ahead the Governor is at this point over his opponent's campaign to become State Fire Baton Twirler. It also shows how bad of a position the Long Thompson - Oxley campaign is presently in.

She'll be going hard negative any day now, at least as negative as her paltry campaign contributions will let her afford. She has no choice.

Stick a fork in her; she's done.

Vote for Steve Buyer

Take a moment and go over to the Frankfort Times online poll.

Turnabout is fair play when it comes to spamming online polls.

Jill Long Thompson for State Fire Baton Twirler - Now with More Video Action!

From Angry White Boy at Fort Wayne News.

Based on the original video, here.

The Dr. No of Energy Security

Nice ad. But if you're going to ape the James Bond theme, go all of the way and use the full John Barry instrumentation.

House Republican Calls for Inquiry into Democrat "Culture of Corruption"

From Politico:

A leading House Republican called Monday for hearings to determine which lawmakers received discount mortgage deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., but his colleagues in the House and the Senate don’t seem particularly eager to start turning over rocks.

In the wake of reports that Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) received special VIP discounts on Countrywide mortgages, Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling said Monday that he wants to know which members of Congress “might be knowingly or unknowingly receiving preferential treatment while millions of hardworking Americans struggle to repay their mortgage debts and cope with $4-a-gallon gasoline and soaring food prices.”

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said he would be interested to see whether “House Democrats decide to ask some tough questions of their own members, or if they will just look the other way and provide those in their own party with the equivalent of a political bailout.”

“When it comes to addressing the mortgage crisis, it is safe to say that Democrats have defaulted on their credibility,” Spain said.

In keeping with their usual practice, staffers for the Senate Ethics Committee declined Monday to discuss any potential investigation.

Frustrated government watchdog groups say they don’t expect the ethics committee to act — and that it probably wouldn’t do more than admonish senators if it does.

“If it turns out there were any other members involved, this could become a very big issue,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “There is a responsibility of the Ethics Committee to look into this. … They should say, ‘We’re going to get to the bottom of this.’”

Prediction: Democrats will never move to investigate other Democrats, and their allies in the media will never pressure them to do so either.

Two Dwarfs

Meet the Best

Meet the Best

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fear Not, Hoosiers! Baron Hill Has an Answer to Your Health Care Woes!

Baron's Over the Hill...or not.

He's proposing yet another commission to study the issue.

Sort of reminds me of all of the commissions and studies (and studies to study the study, and then studies to study the study that studied the study; try saying that three times fast) that have been done for a bridge over the Ohio River east of Louisville.

So much for Baron actually doing anything that would really benefit Hoosiers.

Heck, it's a partisan sham job, rather than a genuine or sincere bipartisan effort.

Republicans in Congress are completely shut out of the process, and the White House is given one appointment space to Congress' four (and none of those four include any Republicans; just Democrat committee chairmen).

Indeed, the Democrats reserve to themselves positions as "co-chairmen" of the commission; Baron's proposal makes no pretense of bipartisanship whatsoever, despite the importance of the issue and the need for both parties to work together to address it.

This is little more than a cheap election year political stunt by Baron to cover his rear and to allow him to back down from his earlier declarations regarding health care.

Back in January of 2007, Baron proclaimed, "I think access to health care is a constitutional right."

I have read the Constitution; I can't find it in there, but I digress.

Baron then went on to declare, "What we ultimately do remains to be seen."

No, really?

Anyhow, Baron had obviously not read the Constitution; there is no right to health care contained within its articles or amendments.

After this shocking revelation (Baron is a constitutional scholar without peer, after all), Baron declared in April of 2007 that he would put forward a constitutional amendment to make health care a right.

He never did so.

Instead, he has settled for creating yet another sham commission to study health care instead.

Baron couldn't even have the courage of his convictions to follow through with his "health care is a right" rhetoric; he had to settle for some politics-as-usual gimmick instead.

More on Montagano's Gas Stunt Shadiness

A letter-to-the-editor in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

Two years ago, the non-partisan issue-advocacy group Citizens for Truth filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission when U.S. Rep. Baron Hill was buying gasoline for voters at a campaign event. Hill’s defenders tried to spin the event as an innocent way to promote dialogue about high gasoline prices. That is a good one. I am sure every single voter came away from the event thinking about the issues around high gas prices, and no one went away thinking, “That nice man helped pay for my gasoline. I think I’ll vote for him.”

Now, Mike Montagano is pulling the same unethical (and probably illegal) stunt in his campaign for Congress in the 3rd District. The lack of respect that Indiana Democrats have for the rule of law is shocking and should be an automatic disqualification for anyone considering voting for them. It also exposes the hypocrisy of Democrats who supported “campaign finance reform” in a bid to get the money out of politics.

Montagano should have known better. During the same campaign, Kentucky Democrat Mike Weaver faced questions of possible lawbreaking for a similar gas-buying stunt. Both Rep. Mark Souder and the National Republican Congressional Committee are right to question the legality of the stunt, and I hope both the Souder campaign and the NRCC aggressively pursue the issue and the complaints.

Whether Montagano’s vote-buying scheme was illegal or not will be determined by an investigation. Legal, illegal or somewhere in between, the campaign stunt was highly unethical and represents the worst of modern politics. Ironically, Montagano is trying to unethically buy votes while his party’s nominee for president promises a new tone in Washington. Can we move past the shady politics of the past? Montagano says, “No, we can’t.”

SCOTT TIBBS Bloomington

Scott Tibbs is a familiar name to folks down here in the 9th District; he is a tireless letter-writer when it comes to pointing out the liberal doings of Baron Hill.

Souder & Ellsworth Pushing to Up Mileage Reimbursement for Veterans

From the Anderson Herald Bulletin:

Veterans are a special group. They’ve made sacrifices to serve their country. Many of them have returned from war zones in need of extra help, which they often seek at Veterans Administration hospitals.

These facilities are not plentiful on the American landscape. Here in Indiana, without major military bases or outlets, they are scarce. That means veterans have to travel long distances to get medical aid.

Indiana Reps. Mark Souder, Republican, and Brad Ellsworth, Democrat, co-authored the Veterans Travel Equity Act, which would increase mileage reimbursement to federal employee level.

Currently, veterans are reimbursed 28.5 cents per mile when they travel to VA medical centers. Souder and Ellsworth want to increase that to 50.5 cents.

It was only in February that Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake increased the mileage reimbursement for veterans from 11 cents a mile to the current 28.5 cents a mile.

As the old saying goes, the mileage reimbursement is the least we can do for veterans. “After bravely serving our country, (veterans’) mileage rates shouldn’t be less than federal employees. We owe them better,” Elsworth said. “This bill is a common sense and fair way to give them some relief.”

Many veterans need constant care because of combat injuries, which means frequent trips to VA facilities. With the price of gasoline at $4 or more, veterans don’t need to worry about going broke buying gas to take care of their health needs.

According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Souder said the increase in mileage reimbursement would add significant cost to the government, but he had no estimates. Souder said there are several similar proposals in the House and added there should be enough votes to override a presidential veto.

It’s good to see bipartisan bills come along to help veterans. It’s hard to fathom why the president would veto such legislation that will aid veterans, but it’s good to know votes are there to help out Americans who helped America.

Hoosier bipartisanship in action; good politics and good public policy.

I suspect that you can cross Brad Ellsworth off of Michael Montagano's Christmas card list.

Howey: Democrat Unity a "Facade"

Howey says that all is not well at One North Capitol:

Jill Long Thompson has work still to do with the party faithful, who at the state convention Saturday appeared more swept by the candidacy of Barack Obama and even the muted appearances by the Hoosier congressional delegation than of Indiana’s first female gubernatorial nominee. And behind the scenes, the machinery of the Democratic establishment still appears to be exacting upon her nothing short of malicious vengeance.

The candidate was met with polite applause as she toured district and interest group caucus meetings, but skepticism persisted, especially among the roughly half of the party that supported her opponent in Indiana’s May primary. That unease was punctuated dramatically by the UAW’s refusal to endorse her candidacy the morning of the convention, a move that appeared designed to rain on the nominee’s parade.

The UAW’s support proved vital to architect Jim Schellinger’s primary campaign, which received $215,000 from the autoworkers’ political action committee in 2007 alone. Without the UAW’s field mobilization, Schellinger would likely not have made it onto the ballot. And in 2004, the group donated $255,000 to Governor Joe Kernan’s re-election campaign.

Long Thompson appears set to lose at least as much in funding for her campaign as long as the UAW holds out. Though Long Thompson minimizes the problem by asserting that the bulk of the UAW’s volunteers will hit the pavement against Governor Daniels whether or not she receives a formal endorsement, the financial loss will be significant for a campaign that already acknowledges it will never reach fundraising parity with Daniels.

Don't worry, JLT.

Emily's List is sure to ensure that your campaign for State Fire Baton Twirler is at least sort of well-financed.

New McCain Ad: "Just Words..."

Support the Troops!

Move America Forward has launched an effort to ship the largest number of care packages to U.S. troops - in history. Between now and June 26th we're asking Americans to sponsor care packages as part of a mass shipment to our troops - just in time for the 4th of July holiday!

Sponsor care packages for our troops - BY CLICKING HERE.

The grand finale to this effort will be a Jerry Lewis style 8-hour Internet Telethon ("From the Frontlines") on June 26th (from 4:00pm - Midnight - Eastern). This cutting edge production “From The Frontlines” will be broadcast live by and hosted by Melanie Morgan & Michelle Malkin. Live and taped reports will be broadcast from our troops serving in Iraq & Afghanistan during the historic 8-hour event. We are also deeply honored that Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has also signed on to support the "Candy Diplomacy" portion of this effort!

CLICK HERE for complete details regarding the "From the Frontlines" 8-hour telethon that takes place on June 26th.

Strangling Supply

Of course, it's a slightly dated cartoon; gas is now well over four bucks a gallon; it has almost doubled in price since the Democrats came into office.

Oil that Is, Black Gold, Texas Tea...

You may need to click on the image to get the enlarged version; it's easier to read.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Revised JLT Campaign Logo Revealed!

The Jill Long Thompson for State Fire Baton Twirler Committee is also proud to provide a small-sized version for bloggers:

And a matched set for those that want to also show their support for a certain candidate for governor:

The Jill Long Thompson for State Fire Baton Twirler Committee requests that you link all imagery back to the video that started it all (here or here), so as to ensure maximum results on Google and other search engines.

Baron Voted Four Times Against ANWR Drilling

Baron Hill pumping gas in 2006. He promised to reduce gas prices if elected.

While trudging around in the bowels of the Internets, reading about prior voting in Congress about drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, I came across some interesting facts about Baron hill.

At least four times when Baron was in Congress, the issue of drilling in ANWR came to the House floor for a vote.

Every single time, Baron voted against drilling there.

In 2001, he voted for an amendment that would strip the ANWR drilling provisions from an energy bill.

That vote failed, so Baron voted against the entire energy bill.

In 2003, Baron voted again for a similar amendment that would strip the ANWR drilling provisions from an energy bill.

Again, that vote failed, and Baron voted against the entire energy bill too.

When Democrats say that drilling in the Arctic wouldn't help because it would take five to ten years to get to the oil, just remember:

Baron was against drilling in ANWR way back then, and approval for drilling then would be helping us at the gas pump right now.

Don't get me wrong; drilling in ANWR isn't the end-all of lower gas prices, but it sure is a good start.

And when it came time to make that good start, Baron voted against it four times.

Dems Love Pastrick: Dan Parker Says Sidewalks-for-Votes Kingpin "Always Welcomed in Our Party"

Check the lost and found, Dan. Someone has run off with your brain.

From NWI Times:

Bob Pastrick left the East Chicago mayor's office following defeat in a 2004 special election prompted by rampant absentee ballot fraud in the regular contest a year earlier.

His last successful re-election, in 1999, later was tainted by the unearthing of a massive sidewalks-for-votes scandal that snared a trio of top aides and three city councilmen. But Pastrick, the so-called King of Steeltown, never has been charged with a crime.

And that's enough for the Indiana Democratic Party.

Despite his considerable political baggage, the 33-year mayor continues to serve as one of three Hoosiers on the Democratic National Committee. The prime post, which Pastrick has held for more than three decades, makes him a member of the exclusive club of 13 Indiana superdelegates.

"We think a lot of Bob Pastrick," said Bonnie Reese, a Wheatfield Democrat, who serves as 1st District chairwoman of the party's State Central Committee. "He's an elder statesman of the party, and we treat him with respect. And unless he's convicted of a crime, we're going to keep on treating him with respect."

State Democrats have no plans to push Pastrick, 80, toward political retirement, even though the longtime mayor is at the center of a civil racketeering lawsuit seeking to recover more than $24 million in public money diverted to a paving spree that preceded his last re-election victory.

"He'll always be welcomed in our party, and the attorney general hasn't proved anything in this case," said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker. "The only thing he's proved is he can spend a lot of money with an out-of-state (legal) firm."

Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter, a Republican, launched the racketeering suit in August 2004, while Pastrick still was mayor and about a week after Indiana Democrats re-appointed him to the DNC. The state so far has recovered $1.3 million from former city officials and contractors, while paying $317,000 in legal fees to a former federal prosecutor who helped convict Illinois Gov. George Ryan.

The East Chicago civil case has become a flashpoint in the current race for attorney general between Republican Greg Zoeller and Democrat Linda Pence.

Zoeller, Carter's chief deputy, has vowed to carry out the lawsuit. Pence, who represented a paving firm that paid $625,000 to settle claims it colluded with city officials, has said she doesn't know enough about the case to make such a commitment.


Only a Dan Parker could be dumb enough to hurl himself before a proverbial political machine gun nest by defending Bob Pastrick.

And only Linda Pence could torpedo her AG campaign out of the gate by denouncing and pretending to know nothing about a case where she represented a Pastrick co-defendant.

Tonight, as I post this, she's in Chicago raking in the campaign cash from the Jack Abramoff's law and lobbying firm.

UAW Rains on Long Thompson's Parade

From Howey comes the latest little rain cloud following Jill Long Thompson around.

Does the lack of a UAW endorsement hurt JLT and Dennie Ray II? You bet it does.

But another question (and one I have not seen asked in the blogosphere) might be whose campaign will benefit from the UAW's resources, since they will clearly redirect them to some other campaign (state or federal) that they find to be more deserving.

Could the UAW endorse Mitch Daniels? I doubt it.

Where will those resources go? Most likely they will go toward Federal races (though some Democrat candidates, like Baron Hill, have contentious relationships with certain unions due to past votes on issues like trade), since I don't see the UAW seeing big value in devoting resources to helping elect a Democrat attorney general or a Democrat head of public education.

How to Speak Democrat


The Broken Promises of the Obamassiah

A promise made amid questioning by Tim Russert, ironically. Sadly, Mr. Russert isn't here anymore to run (rightly) the Obamassiah through the Meet the Press "quote-o-matic" ringer to show what a hypocrite and a liar the Democratic nominee is.

Over at The Campaign Spot, Jim Geraghty notes that Obama is now accepting contributions from special interest lobbyists, which is another broken promise:

Barack Obama justified his flip-flop on public funding by arguing that "John McCain's campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs."

From Bob Novak's column Saturday:

As he gives up public funding for his campaign, Sen. Barack Obama is reaching out to new sources, including Washington insiders whose influence he has vowed to end.

Obama is now using lists of contributors to Democratic congressional chairmen, primarily lobbyists of both parties. One recipient of a letter signed by Obama is a Republican lobbyist who has contributed to senior Democratic Reps. John Dingell of Michigan and Charlie Rangel of New York, not out of ideological affinity but to keep their doors open.

"Together, we change the way business is done in Washington," said the Obama letter. "We can end the undue influence of special interests."

Going to lobbyists for campaign cash while speaking of ending "the undue influence of special interests" is like a fat person going to an all-you-can-eat buffet while speaking of going on a diet.

I am sure that his change of heart on special interest money has nothing to do with that rather bad fundraising month the Obamassiah had in May (he and McCain raised almost the same amount of cash last month).

As Geraghty aptly puts it:

All Obama statements come with an expiration date. It's just a matter of when.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Jill Long Thompson Says Being Governor of Indiana Is like Fire Baton Twirling

You just can't make this stuff up.

Jill Long Thompson for State Fire Baton Twirler!

You can view the entire video of her (and several other people) here.

Linda Pence Fundraises in Chicago, Rakes $$$ in from Jack Abramoff's Lobbying Firm

Oh boy.

Just when you thought that Linda Pence couldn't get herself into any more trouble...

First Pence denounced Attorney General Steve Carter for hiring outside counsels to help with important cases.

It turned out that the lead item on her resume (going after a polluter of the White River) was done as an outside counsel for the state of Indiana during the O'Bannon administration, work for which she was quite handsomely paid.

Then Pence demurred on whether she would continue the RICO case against former East Chicago Mayor Bob Pastrick, saying that she did not know much about the case and would have "to examine" it before deciding whether to continue it.

Not only did Pence's statements show her as soft on corruption in Lake County, but they were shockingly accompanied by a failure to disclose one important fact.

That fact was that Linda Pence had spent more than a year as a litigator in the Pastrick "sidewalks for votes" case representing one of Pastrick's co-defendants.

Better still, her client settled out of court for so much money that the settlement paid for the fees of the case's outside counsel (which she had earlier attacked) twice over.

Linda Pence has spent much of the time since her announcement repeating over and over again that she'll be tough on corruption; this despite her lengthy history of defending folks involved in corruption cases.

It takes a special kind of campaign to get in so much trouble on the very first day.

And now, it appears that Linda Pence has gotten herself into even more trouble.

Her campaign has made much of its fundraising ability, having raised over a quarter of a million dollars before the Republicans even settled on a nominee.

It's no wonder why.

Monday evening, Linda Pence is holding fundraiser at the Chicago offices of Greenberg Traurig.

First of all, let's wrap our heads around that for a moment, shall we?

What is a candidate for Attorney General of the State of Indiana doing raising money at a law firm in Chicago?

Is there something from Chicago she wants to bring to Indiana?

As far as I'm concerned, a little bit of Chicagoland politics has spilled over into Indiana in the form of corruption in Lake County, and we don't want any more of that; getting rid of what's there has been hard enough.

We've also seen where Linda Pence stands on prosecuting the bad guys in Lake County.

Second of all, Greenberg Traurig is not exactly a place that someone seeking to bring and create the image of a high standard of conduct to the attorney general's office would even want to raise campaign cash.

Greenberg Traurig, you see, was the law firm of a certain convicted corrupt lobbyist by the name of Jack Abramoff. (And their Wikipedia page lists a lot of other trouble that the firm has gotten into in the past.)

Linda Pence has already shown herself to be soft on corruption in Lake County and has a record of defending folks in those sorts of corruption cases.

Now, she's raising money from her campaign out of state, and at the former firm of Jack Abramoff to boot.

Just what sort of change is she trying to bring to the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Indiana anyway?

Mitch to the Rescue

From the Courier-Journal:

INDIANAPOLIS -- The state will advance $620 million in 2008 homestead property-tax credits to Indiana counties, in most cases months ahead of schedule.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said yesterday that the decision was made because of cash-flow problems many local governments face because of bad weather, including the recent tornadoes and flooding.

The state hopes local governments will receive federal disaster-relief funds to replace any money they're using now to cover expenses such as infrastructure repairs or overtime for police and emergency personnel.

"As I traveled around the state, many mayors and town board presidents and other officials told me that the flooding has really caused them some cash problems," Daniels said. "They had things they needed to do in the near term. This is a way we can get $620 million of cash to the counties and the localities in the state so they don't have to borrow money to deal with immediate needs."

Daniels said his administration initially considered sending out the advance payments only to counties affected by the recent tornadoes and flooding. But he said the decision to send the money early to all 92 counties was made because 75 of them have been in disaster status at some point this year.

What else is there to say?

It's a good thing.

Harrison County Recount Decided

From the Courier-Journal:

After nearly two days of counting, a court-appointed commission yesterday declared Rhonda Rhoads of Corydon the winner of Harrison County's Republican primary for District 2 commissioner.

Rhoads finished with a 10-vote margin over Kenny Saulman, who congratulated Rhoads at midday as the three-member recount panel completed its work.

The panel hand-counted nearly 2,370 pink GOP ballots from all 36 county precincts and a stack of provisional ballots.

The final tally: Rhoads 824, Saulman 814.

Rhoads said that she was relieved that what had been a four-vote margin for her immediately after the May 6 primary held up. She said she was eager to set her sights on the fall contest against Democrat Carl "Buck" Mathes, a fellow County Council member.

"Kenny was a tough opponent," said Rhoads, 57. Now that the recount is over, she said, "I hope all Republicans will find me suitable … and (that) some Democrats will, also."

Rhoads, a retired kindergarten teacher, said she intends to focus on the same issues this fall that she has in nearly two terms on the council. She said serving as a watchdog for taxpayer money, particularly in an era of $4-a-gallon gasoline, will be a big priority.

Saulman, 65, a retired supervisor for Clark County Rural Electric Membership Corp., said several people had encouraged him to challenge the results. He also said defeating Mathes won't be easy.

The recount panel met all day Wednesday and tallied the results in 24 precincts, leaving Rhoads with a 10-vote edge. Yesterday, ballots from the 12 precincts that remained were counted, and each candidate gained one vote.

And on Friday, too.

The folks at the Corydon Democrat are probably tearing their hair out at the timing of all of this breaking news within the county.

The Race Is On

Five to Four Rulings

Friday, June 20, 2008

Obamassiah National Security Advisor: "Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”

"Tut, tut! It looks like rain..."

From Britain's Daily Telegraph, because the news media here will never tell you this:

Richard Danzig, who served as Navy Secretary under President Clinton and is tipped to become National Security Adviser in an Obama White House, told a major foreign policy conference in Washington that the future of US strategy in the war on terrorism should follow a lesson from the pages of Winnie the Pooh, which can be shortened to: if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.

Mr Danzig told the Centre for New American Security: “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”

He spelt out how American troops, spies and anti-terrorist officials could learn key lessons by understanding the desire of terrorists to emulate superheroes like Luke Skywalker, and the lust for violence of violent football fans.

Winnie the Pooh? Luke Skywalker? Violent football fans?

You can't make this stuff up.

Initial hat tip to the Campaign Spot.

There is much hilarity to be had from the blogosphere on photoshopping things like this, though.

Michelle Malkin has the round-up.

American Elephant:

"Winnie the Pooh and Ahmadinejad too."

DoublePlusGood Infotainment:

President Obama's cabinet.

The People's Cube:

Are We Lumberjacks:

Ace of Spades HQ:

"Why are dictators such meanies?"

I wish that I had that much free time on my hands.

First 9th District Poll Shows Baron Ahead

In an election for US House of Representatives in Indiana's 9th Congressional District today, 06/19/08, incumbent Democrat Baron Hill defeats Republican Mike Sodrel -- his opponent in 2002, 2004, and 2006 -- by 11 points. Libertarian Eric Schansberg, who also ran in 2006, takes 4% of the vote.

Among men, Hill leads by 7 points; among women, Hill leads by 14. Among voters age 18 to 49, Hill leads by 4 points; among voters 50+, Hill leads by 18. 17% of Republicans cross over to vote for Hill; 14% of Democrats cross over to vote for Sodrel; independents favor Hill by 18 points. 14% of independents vote for Schansberg.

Crosstabs here.

Unsurprising, given that three straight prior challenges (including a victory on Election Day in 2004) have seen Sodrel lead in only one poll in all of that time (and that was a Survey USA poll right before he lost in 2006).

The position between the two right now is roughly similar to past polling done in the prior race in March of 2006, early September of 2006, and late October of 2006 (Hill leads of 10, 11, and 8, respectively).

The crosstabs are interesting.

Not because they show anything that is grossly out-of-whack, but because they show that the poll asked questions about social issues like abortion and attendance to church. The usual questions about education, income, Bush job approval, and so forth (present in all of the prior Survey USA polling in the district) were not present for comparison.

Sodrel only has a nine point lead among opponents of abortion, and a two point lead among regular churchgoers. He also has a 70-20 lead among self-described conservatives, but that's down from 80-14 last go around.

Republicans to Visit ANWR

Jack Colwell:

SOUTH BEND - Two Hoosier Republican congressional candidates plan to campaign way up north in Alaska in July. It’s not that they’re trying to escape Indiana’s summer heat. They’re going just about as far north in Alaska as possible to put the heat on the incumbent Democrats they hope to defeat.

Destination: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Purpose: To make ANWR a familiar acronym in their districts and convince voters that failure to drill for oil there is a factor in high gas prices and that it’s all the fault of Democrats.

Luke Puckett, Republican nominee for Congress in the 2nd District, came up with the plan. He is running against Rep. Joe Donnelly, the Granger Democrat who seeks a second term. Puckett announced that four other GOP congressional challengers, including former Indiana Congressman Mike Sodrel, will accompany him. Sodrel is in another rematch with Rep. Baron Hill, the Democrat who reclaimed the 9th District seat in 2006.

Also scheduled to travel to ANWR, way up in the northeast corner of Alaska, are Republicans challenging Democratic incumbents in three other states: Craig Williams, in Pennsylvania’s 7th District; Chris Lien, for the at-large House seat in South Dakota; and Paul Stark, in Wisconsin’s 3rd District.

I've seen mention in the news about Puckett and some of the others.

This is the very first mention I have seen, at least in Indiana media, of Sodrel going.

Not getting the word out much?

Just maybe?

Not All Democrats Happy with Dennie Ray

From the Indy Star:

Running mate bolsters state's backward image

I am writing to express my sincere disbelief, sadness and disgust in Jill Long Thompson's selection of state Rep. Dennie Oxley as her running mate.

Oxley is nothing more than a Republican in Democratic clothing. He is opposed to a woman's right to choose, gay rights, gun control and everything else a true Democrat stands for in this century. To say he is "fairly conservative" is an understatement at best.

Every member of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual community and every woman should raise all kinds of cane about this choice. Indiana is seen as a backward, redneck state because we keep perpetuating the image with choices like Oxley.

Vote for Daniels; after all, the devil you know beats the devil you don't.

Dan Brown


"Dr. Tony Bennett's Race"

Heh. What's this say about the Democrat guy running for the office, what's-his-name-again?

There's also a blog dedicated to stopping the no-name candidate, though.

Random Thought of the Day

She likes polling, she just doesn't like polling that says things she doesn't like.

Numbers Games: This Poll And $2.95 Will Buy You A Tasty Starbucks Beverage

I can understand why Democratic challenger Jill Long Thompson might be down in a head-to-head with the Guv. (For the record, I strongly doubt she's down by as much as this poll shows.) After all, everyone in the state knows who he is; she has limited name ID in Central and Southern Indiana. But she also has five months to rectify that by sharing her message and vision through earned and paid media. He's going to have to spend that time -- and lots more money -- rebuilding his image.

What I don't understand is the Guv's favorability rating. Sixty percent of Hoosiers are suddenly big fans of Mitch Daniels? This is a guy who could barely crack 50 percent just weeks ago.

Oh, I know he's been up on the teevee with 327 different versions of a positive ad that essentially says, "Yeah, I know I've done you wrong, honey, but I promise it'll never happen again."

And I realize that he's completely dominated almost every media cycle since the primary.

But 60 percent?

No freakin' way.

Compared to...

Guv's Race: The Ground Beneath Daniels' Feet Is Far From Solid

If you are a polling wonk, you will want to check out these new gubernatorial numbers released today by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics.

Not only are the data telling, but the intent of the poll -- to determine how asking questions differently affects the outcome of the poll itself -- is interesting.

But, as another blogger has already noted, the results (with one exception) aren't exactly even that friendly to the Democrat candidate; they just show that Democrat losing by less than a certain other poll (more in line with a poll taken by JLT herself that also shows Daniels winning):

In the voting booth today?
Daniels - 49%, JLT - 49%.

Positive or negative about candidate?
Daniels - 5.5, JLT - 4.9.
5 being average, anything above that being better than average.

Who will you likely vote for?
Daniels - 57% likely and somewhat likely, JLT - 43% likely and somewhat likely.

Change your mind before the election?
Daniels - 31% would vote for him regardless, 29% would not vote for him regardless, 40% could go either way.
JLT - 18% would vote for her regardless, 31% would not vote for her, 52% could go either way.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Lite Gov Candidate Indeed

Ladies and gentlemen, Dennie Ray Oxley II:

On the one hand, you have a tall guy in a nice suit that can't speak in public worth a darn and has to read from a script (and even then does a bad job).

And on the other, you have a lady with blond hair who happens to be just about the smartest person in any room.

Appearances can be deceptive; I know who I'd prefer to have as lieutenant governor.

Can you even picture this bumbling dufus as the Governor of the State of Indiana should JLT get elected and get hit by lightning? That'd be like getting hit by lightning twice, but still.

I can picture Becky Skillman as governor; she'd do a darned good job at it, too.

I wince at the thought of Dennie Ray Oxley II being one heartbeat away from running the state of Indiana.

Hat tip for the video: Frugal Hoosiers.

Results? Property Taxes Dropping

Via Howey:

ALLEN COUNTY HOME TAXES PLUNGE 28%: Allen County homeowners can expect an average 28 percent reduction in their property tax bills this year, according to state tax data approved this week. Other types of property, however, will likely see slightly higher tax bills (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Auditor Lisa Blosser said credits in Allen County will reduce tax bills by an average 28 percent for property owners’ primary residences. The funding for the credits comes from an increase in the state sales tax rate from 6 percent to 7 percent that Hoosiers have been paying since April 1. And $250 million more in relief came from licensing fees paid by two horse tracks to open casinos. “We’re seeing all that property tax relief on 2008 bills,” Blosser said.

HOWARD COUNTY TAXES DOWN 50%: Residential property owners in Howard County will receive a pleasant surprise when their property tax bills arrive next week: a drop averaging 50 percent (de la Bastide, Kokomo Tribune). The tax bill includes a comparison of the assessed valuation of the property for the past two years; amount of deductions; gross tax amount; state property tax relief and county tax relief and other charges.

Taxpayers Party?

Hard to stoke those fires when taxes are going down.

Enough with the Lefty Liberal War Cost Meme

If I had a dollar for every time that I heard some anti-war liberal complain about Mitch Daniels' estimate for the cost of the Iraq War, I could probably pay for a good chunk of the cost of the war. At the very least, I could buy an entire island someplace tropical and retire.

This week, Brian Howey has taken a break from his usual worship of the Obamassiah to run some drivel by one of his columnists slamming Mitch Daniels for his estimate of the cost of the Iraq War.

How could he have gotten it so wrong? How could Mitch Daniels have failed to properly advise his President and his country on the true costs of war? Yes, volumes have been written on how nearly "All the President’s Men" gave him bad advice in the lead-up to war and trimmed and tailored their views to suit the President’s inclination to wage a war of choice. But how could the man with ultimate responsibility for our federal budget - Mitch Daniels - have gotten war cost estimates so wrong when he was White House budget director? Shouldn’t that horrendous lapse of judgment raise continuing questions about his judgment now when it comes to objectively valuing state assets or resisting impulses to further privatize state resources like the Indiana lottery?

To be blunt, Mitch Daniels was the budget guy. He was in charge of accounting and numbers.

He was not in charge of planning the war, planning for the post-war, or predicting military situational outcomes. Those jobs are for generals and for the Department of Defense (which, it must be noted, were very wrong in their expectations).

Daniels, it must be noted, based his estimates on the cost of the war upon the expectations and analysis provided to him by the Department of Defense and by various experts involved in war planning.

He made an estimate based upon their expectations, and their expectations were wrong (as we can clearly see now; hindsight is 20-20).

But how at fault is he? More at fault than the Congress that appropriated $54 billion for the war in April of 2003?

More at fault than the folks at the Pentagon and the other experts that planned for a light force and a quick invasion, and did not have any planning at all for an occupation or extended ground presence afterward?

The invasion itself and the immediate aftermath seems to have largely been in line with Daniels' costs for the initial invasion and the immediate aftermath in the few months that followed. If he erred in estimating the cost, it was because he--in making that estimate--trusted those more knowledgeable than he about military affairs.

After all, you wouldn't want the way you fought a war to be determined by the budget guy, would you? Better that the way the war was fought was determined by the Pentagon and Daniels shaped his estimates from them, rather than he gave them a dollar figure and forced them to work around it.

If you want to go to the auto shop to get a rattle noise fixed on your car, the person that makes your appointment might tell you that the work would cost two hundred dollars. But suppose the mechanic then examines the car, and finds out that you've got something wrong with the transmission or engine too? Suddenly the cost for fixing a rattle could increase many times over.

An imperfect analogy with the war to be sure, but bear with me.

Who is at fault for the phony cost estimate for eliminating the rattle? The person that gave you the initial cost estimate over the phone? The mechanic? You, who let the car get in that condition to begin with? Or are you just glad that you got rid of the rattle, found the engine or transmission problem, and got it fixed before your car died on you on the side of the freeway in the driving rain?

Such things are not so clear-cut. The person that made the appointment for you over the phone based their analysis on the situation as described to them by the owner of the car (you). They are hardly at fault for something more being wrong with your car, or the cost for it being greater than they thought based upon a description that was given to them.

Simple reasoning like this shows the utter nonsensical nature of the complaint against the Daniels war cost meme so often put forward by the Governor's more knee-jerk partisan opponents.

Mitch Daniels, as budget director, relied upon the best information given to him by the experts at the Pentagon. His estimate was wrong, but they were wrong too.

I'd dare say that three and a half years as governor say more about whether to reelect or vote out Mitch Daniels than a cost estimate for the Iraq war; heck, his estimate for major combat operations was correct (it was in the lack of an assumption that combat would continue long after the invasion that the problem arose, and that assumption was made by people more expert about things military than Mitch Daniels).