Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Leave Barack Alone!"

Rothenberg on Montagano: "More Like an Overly Enthusiastic Undergraduate Running for Class President than a Member of Congress"

Exerpted from a much longer piece in the Rothenberg Political Report about Democrat long-shot races in heavily-Republican districts:

Everyone knows about the 40 to 50 GOP House seats at risk this cycle. But what about those lower-tier contests that some consultants and bloggers are pushing?

Does Mike Montagano (D) really have a chance in Indiana’s 3rd or Steve Sarvi (D) in Minnesota’s 2nd?

Talk of a 30-plus seat Democratic year is overblown. Even though many factors favor Democrats, the party would need to win solidly Republican districts to get that kind of gain, and that’s a daunting challenge. Partisanship still matters a great deal.

If [Michael] Skelly were running in a competitive district [TX 7], I’d think he’d have a good shot. But he isn’t. Texas’ 7th gave George W. Bush 64 percent in 2004 and regularly delivers big numbers for Republicans, making it a nightmare for any Democrat.

If you really think Skelly has much of a chance, ask yourself this: Do you really think that Republicans could beat Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.) or Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) even in a bad political year for Democrats? Of course not. Yet their districts went for Kerry in 2004 by roughly as much as Culberson’s Texas district went for Bush four years ago.

Montagano and Sarvi? Sarvi has no money ($98,000 in the bank on June 30) and Montagano, 27, who has raised an impressive amount (probably with some family help), seems more like an overly enthusiastic undergraduate running for class president than a Member of Congress.

In general, however, be skeptical early on about low second- and third-tier Democratic challengers in solidly Republican districts. If they are in the game in early October, give them a longer look. But for now, don’t buy the hype.

Ouch.

I heard recently from someone that said that the 3rd District race of Souder and Montagano reminded them of the race between Hostettler and Ellsworth. I'm not sure that I buy that analogy; Stuart Rothenberg sure doesn't.

Hostettler was never competitive in fundraising and effectively gave up early. Souder is certainly well in the game mentally, has a penchant for waging tough campaigns, has competitive fundraising, isn't quirky / crazy, and his district is more institutionally and compositionally Republican at a local level than the 8th District.

Sodrel Calls On Hill to Wage Positive Race, Have the Many Debates Hill Wanted in 2006

The Sodrel campaign has put out this press release:

(Jeffersonville, IN) – Congressional Candidate Mike Sodrel sent the attached letter to Congressman Baron Hill yesterday.

“Congressman Hill said he wanted to ‘elevate the level of discourse’ during this campaign so my proposal to him will help accomplish that” said Sodrel.

The two-part proposal would set up an independent, bi-partisan committee to set forth ground rules for all campaign advertisements and to review all advertisements for their accurateness and truthfulness. Secondly, Sodrel proposes a series of 20 town hall style meetings, one in each county, to discuss issues directly with the voters.

The letter sent to Hill was included with the press release (it was sent to Baron several days ago).

The text of it follows:

Dear Congressman Hill,

I would respectfully make the following two proposals to make this 9th District Congressional Campaign a more positive and issues-oriented one.

1. An Independent committee should be established to evaluate all political advertisements related to the 9th District congressional race. This committee would respond to any complaint brought about regarding the truthfulness, or appropriateness of any ad purchased by, or on behalf of the two candidates. They would also check and verify the facts on any statements made by a candidate about themselves or their opponent.

I propose the committee be made up of five (5) members. Two (2) members would be
Democrats, and two (2) would be Republicans. The four (4) members thus appointed would then choose a fifth member.

In order to serve as a Democrat or a Republican member, an appointee must have held office as a member of the Democrat or Republican party, or be eligible to hold office as a member of their respective party. I would appoint the two Democrats and you would appoint the two Republicans.

Once established, the committee would set forth ground rules for all advertisements.
The candidates would not have veto power over the standards established, but they would be permitted to comment in writing prior to the rules and regulations being finalized and made public.

2. I further propose that we participate in a series of joint town hall meetings. Congress will likely adjourn for the month of August, and will not be in session a large portion of October. There are twenty (20) counties in the 9th Congressional District. I propose a joint town hall meeting in each county where citizens are free to ask any questions they may have, in an informal atmosphere.

The length of any opening and closing statements would be mutually agreed on prior to the town hall meetings. The length of questions, the length of answers and any rebuttals would also be mutually agreed upon prior to the meetings. Only a timekeeper would be needed.

Audience members would have to be pre-identified as a legal resident and registered voter in the county in which the meeting is being held. Questions would come directly from the audience and candidates would alternate choosing an audience member to ask a question.

Mr. Hill, the fine people of the 9th Congressional District of Indiana deserve to know the positions of the candidates running for office. They also deserve an independent body to check the facts that are presented to them, and to judge the appropriateness of the campaign ads.

The key word is ‘independent’, not stacked with liberals or conservatives. We are prepared to make our appointments to the campaign board in a week or less. We are also prepared to schedule the town hall meetings on the same timeline. Additionally, we are prepared to respond to any counter-proposal within one (1) working day.

There are a little more than ninety (90) days left in this campaign. I look forward to your prompt response.

Mike Sodrel
Candidate
9th District, Indiana

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Baron Hill to agree to run a positive race.

Last summer, Baron personally attacked Mike Sodrel in a letter to the editor when Sodrel was not even a candidate for office.

Last winter, Baron told his supporters when announcing his reelection bid that he intended to "put Sodrel away forever."

His liberal allies in Indianapolis have spent a great deal of time attacking Mike Sodrel with negative smears, particularly concerning gas prices (which Baron promised to lower if returned to office).

His liberal allies in Washington have already dedicated $1.6 million (with more to follow, no doubt) to firebomb the 9th District with a negative campaign the likes of which southern Indiana has never seen, the sort of smearfest of lies that will make 2006 look tame in comparison.

Mike Sodrel has now put forward a mechanism to spare the people of the 9th District from three months of unmitigated misery (watching the ads from Kentucky will be bad enough), and Baron is almost certain to either ignore the proposal or twist it so as to be meaningless.

The irony, of course, would be delicious.

Sodrel's bipartisan commission proposal is amazingly similar to the ethics committee proposal put forward by Baron Hill in his reelection bid in 2006 (a proposal that hasn't seen the light of day in the Do-Nothing Democrat Congress). Don't, however, expect what is good for the goose to be good for the gander.

And who can forget Baron's repeated desire to have many, many, many debates in 2006 to talk about gas prices?

Baron won't want lots of debates now that he owns responsibility for high gas prices, and he won't want to have any sort of bipartisan effort to save folks in the 9th District from a negative campaign.

Jill-Bob & 'Ol Roy-Boy

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama's Energy Plan: Inflate Your Tires



Of course, an analysis of the numbers by The Campaign Spot doesn't bear out Obama's claim about this sort of thing accomplishing as much as oil drilling.

Better yet, let's all keep our tires inflated and drill for oil. Makes sense, right?

That might be why Luddite liberal Democrats oppose the idea.

Baron Votes to Increase Tobacco Regulation

From the Courier-Journal:

For the first time in history, the U.S. House today is scheduled to consider legislation that gives the federal Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products.

Based on the pace of the House floor debate at this hour, debate over tobacco probably will start mid-afternoon or so.

The tobacco bill, sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has 233 co-sponors from both parties, including Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District. No other Kentuckians are listed as co-sponsors. Rep. Baron Hill, D-9th District, Indiana, also is not a co-sponsor.

A similar bill is awaiting Senate action.

Baron voted AYE when the bill came to the floor.

That's bound to go over well in Vevay and those parts of the 9th District where farmers grow tobacco (or smoke or chew it).

Baron has, in the past, told audiences in Bloomington that he wants to raise taxes on tobacco products; he's not content to merely just regulate it.

In that same event, he also said that he wanted to raise taxes on fast food, liquor, and beer.

Photo of the Day

What if a candidate threw a press conference and nobody came?

It might look like this campaign event by 4th District Democrat candidate Nels Ackerson:

Nels Ackerson Press Conference
Hat tip: Indiana's Conservative Hardball.

Bridge to Nowhere


Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Veep in Waiting

RNC Ad: Obama in Berlin



And while you're at it, check out the RNC's Obama Facebook parody page.

Slap Dunk

Minding His Own Terrorist Business

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There's Just Something about Linda Pence

Linda Pence has built her campaign to be Indiana's next attorney general on her supposed skills as a lawyer and, most recently, on her claims that she will fight corruption more vigorously than Steve Carter has or Greg Zoeller will.

Her skills as a lawyer were not enough to save her client from having to make a $625,000 settlement with Carter's AG office; it would seem that she is not a better lawyer than Zoeller (Steve Carter's chief deputy) after all.

Her protestations that she will fight corruption sort of ring hollow when compared to how she tried to hide from Hoosiers her work for a codefendant in the East Chicago sidewalks for votes RICO case, the most notable corruption case in Indiana this decade.

Then she went to the Chicago offices of Greenberg Traurig, the former law firm of a certain convicted corrupt lobbyist by the name of Jack Abramoff, to raise money for her election campaign.

Pence then went on to say that she could not talk about the East Chicago RICO case, because of attorney-client privilege. It turned out that her client waived attorney-client privilege as a part of its settlement with the AG's office.

Linda Pence has even put forward some rather comical quotes.

"I never hid anything in my life," she "indignantly" told the Indianapolis Star several weeks ago in response to questions about the East Chicago case.

This was the same article in which she said that she could not talk about the case due to attorney-client privilege. As noted above, that privilege was waived as a part of her client's settlement, a settlement she signed.

But, as it always does with Linda Pence, things just keep getting better.

The East Chicago sidewalks-for-votes scandal is just the most infamous public corruption cases in Indiana in the past decade.

Perhaps among the most notable example of public corruption in the prior decade was the abuse of public money from Frank O'Bannon's "Build Indiana" fund.

The Indianapolis Star had an interesting investigation of where the money from the Build Indiana fund was going. They estimated that, between 1997 and 1999, over $40 million in Build Indiana funds went to projects that violated the law.

The Star's investigation found, for example, that $445,000 in Build Indiana money went to a "Baptist Women's Shelter" put in the budget by Senator Sam Smith (D, East Chicago).

The only problem? There never was such a shelter, and the church to which the money was supposed to go (Build Indiana money wasn't even allowed to go to churches) never could explain where it actually went:

The Baptist Women's Shelter -- a project coordinated by Second Baptist Church of East Chicago and put in the budget by Sen. Sam Smith, D-East Chicago -- shows everything that's wrong with how the Build Indiana Fund works.

The money -- $445,000 -- went to a church group, not a government entity as specified in the law.

The women's shelter was never built, even though four checks for the Baptist Women's Shelter were sent out in January and March 2000. That violated the terms of the grant agreement, which requires recipients to use the money for an approved project.

The first check, for $300,000, was mailed to Second Baptist Church of East Chicago and endorsed by that church's pastor, Lee Gilliam. The three other checks -- totaling $145,000 -- went to Mount Hermon Baptist Church, where Smith is a member.

The organization never filed a report with the State Board of Accounts, as required by law.

Gilliam acknowledges that there is no women's shelter, saying the money was instead used for a men's shelter...

But Gilliam has made contradictory statements about the location of the men's shelter and how the money was used. According to invoices that Gilliam turned in to the state, construction work on a shelter took place in 1999.

Gilliam initially told The Star that the money was used to buy and fix up a warehouse that formerly housed a soda pop distributor. When pressed for the exact location of the shelter, he gave the address of a house on a residential street near his church. But Lake County tax records show that house is owned by a couple not affiliated with the church.

Gilliam and Smith never could get the story straight on the Baptist Women's Shelter.

They ended up having a variety felony charges brought against them by Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman:

The news that made headlines from the seminar was felony charges being filed against state Sen. Sam Smith, an East Chicago Democrat, and his friend Lee Charles Gilliam, a church pastor.

Gilliam is accused of diverting $445,000 in public tax money from Build Indiana grants intended for a battered women's shelter that prosecutors say never existed, and spending more than $350,000 of it on himself and his family.

Prosecutors say Gilliam used the money to buy fur coats and clothes, make lease payments on a Ford Expedition and Cadillac, pay for trips and hotel stays, rent cars, purchase 15 pairs of cowboy boots and throw a $3,000 dinner to celebrate his wedding anniversary.

They say he bought three buildings, rented out rooms and opened a for-profit grocery store that never paid sales taxes. Jack Crawford, Gilliam's attorney, says his client is innocent of all charges.

Smith arranged the grant as a state senator but was not charged for how it was allegedly spent. Nevertheless, he faces seven felony counts for allegedly failing to pay income taxes, not enough sales taxes on services from his funeral home, and lying to the state about how much he owed.

Apparently, Smith's tax situation somehow "came to light" while Gilliam was being investigated.

One can't help wondering how that happened. How exactly do investigations of a shady Build Indiana project lead to felony tax charges being filed against a state senator? The world wonders.

Smith later pled down those charges to a misdemeanor. Last year, he resigned from his senate seat, attributing his decision to wanting to expand his family's funeral home business, and urged that his wife Diane replace him.

Party leaders balked at selecting Smith's wife, so he changed his mind about resigning; his wife got thumped in the May primary.

Anyhow, this is a post about Linda Pence.

Guess who was Sam Smith's attorney when the Marion County Prosecutor came calling with those felony charges?

You guessed right, everyone's favorite AG candidate:

[Smith's] attorney, Linda Pence, said she is confident the matter will be resolved in a positive manner for the senator.

I guess, if pleading felony charges down to a misdemeanor and not being able to get reelected is resolving the matter "in a positive manner," then Pence was successful for Senator Sam Smith.

Another shady Lake County politician in trouble with the law, and Linda Pence was there to defend him.

One more fun quote from Linda Pence:

"I am against public corruption," she proclaimed after her involvement to the sidewalks-for-votes case became public.

That's a claim that's rather hard to swallow given how she seems to be involved in representing so many defendants that are somehow involved in or linked to public corruption cases.

It seems like every time there's a case involving shady doings in Lake County, Linda Pence is never far away.

Why would we want anyone with a record like that to be Indiana's next attorney general?

Thoughts on the First Long Thompson Ad

Well, here it is. It's not quite as negative as some had initially implied; more like a ham-fisted attempt to run the 2004 My Man Mitch campaign in reverse, but with the optimistic parts surgically removed and replaced with far-lefty liberal talking points.



First of all, what is it with the light blue? It's a weak color, and the fact that both her suit and the right side of the ad are the same shade is somewhat strange. Moreover, the same light blue shows up over and over again in some of the shots of the ad, like the counter behind her when she is shaking hands with people seated in a diner or cafe, and the people she is shaking hands with are almost all wearing blue. There are even frames of the ad, if you go through it in slow motion, that are entirely solid blue, with almost nothing else on them. Some sort of subliminal message? Probably not, but it's just strange. Is her color palette limited to the color that news networks associate on election night with the Democratic Party?

Second, does Jill Long Thompson only have one suit? She appears in the same outfit in every shot of the ad. Can't she afford a second set of clothes, perhaps a set that doesn't match (though perhaps compliments) the coloration of large empty areas of screen in her commercial? Maybe she couldn't afford to hire the camera crew to film the ad for more than one day.

Third, what's with her eyes? In multiple shots around the 20 second mark, her eyes are doing this wide and bulging thing that looks unnatural. She's a candidate for governor, not a crazed madwoman, and I'm pretty sure that the primary experience didn't drive her completely loopy.

Finally, if she learned the value of hard work and optimism, then why is so much of this ad, well, not optimistic but instead down and harsh on Indiana as a whole?

Harry Reid: Paying Taxes is Voluntary



Um, yeah...

Fair and Balanced?

Feeding the Crocodiles

Monday, July 28, 2008

JLT "a Disappointment" to Values Voter

From the opinion page of Terre Haute's Tribune-Star comes this delightful letter:

Dem candidate a disappointment

I am disappointed with Jill Long-Thompson’s campaign games. While Indiana’s economic situation is clearly an important political issue, she fails to list her positions on social issues like abortion and gay marriage on her Web site.

Could it be because she wants to avoid advertising that large portions of her campaign funding come from Emily’s List, an organization that supports candidates who favor abortion-friendly policies?

Thompson’s runningmate, Dennie Oxley, has been called pro-life and voted in favor of an amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. He should be ashamed of himself, having compromised his own values to jump onto the ticket of a candidate who refuses to stand against gay marriage and who will be looking for ways to return the monetary favors from Emily’s List in the form of pro-abortion political action.

— Carly Robbins, Terre Haute

It's an interesting point. Nowhere on Long Thompson's website does it say a word about her positions on various social or traditional values issues.

Given the amounts of money she has been given by far-left organizations like the pro-abortion group Emily's List, you'd think that she'd want to make those positions clear (especially if they are actually different from those of that organization, which I suspect they aren't).

During the primary, Long Thompson also made abundantly clear her position opposing the marriage amendment.

So, what does Long Thompson have to say?

Is she going to follow the agenda of Emily's List and other far-left groups that are bankrolling her campaign, or will she change her mind and agree with the values of Hoosiers?

Obamassiah Refuses to Pledge to Prevent Second Holocaust

A pledge like that should be a no-brainer, right?

Then why wouldn't he answer this reporter?

From Political Punch:

Upon arrival at Yad Vashem [the Israeli Holocaust memorial], Obama was greeted by Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem.

An Israeli journalist called out to Obama: “Can you ensure that there will be no second Holocaust?”

Obama walked into the museum’s main building without responding.

Once again an Israeli journalist asked the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee how he’d help prevent a second Holocaust. "Senator can you assure Israel that there will be no second Holocaust despite Iran's threat to wipe us off the map?" he asked.

Obama demurred, saying that it wasn't appropriate to answer the question there.

"This is Yad Vashem!" the journalist responded.

Obama said he would answer the question at a later press availability.

And, of course, the Enlightened One never did answer the question?

Why not? Shouldn't "I will never let the Holocaust happen again" be an answer that any candidate could give without pause or a second thought?

What's wrong with him? Why dodge such a simple question?

Photo of the Day


Obama campaign signs are on display at Jerusalem's Western Wall before the visit there by the Illinois Senator last week.

I doubt that Christians would like to see Obama plaster campaign posters all over the Church of the Nativity, or Muslims like to see him stick them up around the Sacred Mosque and the Kaaba in Mecca.

RNC Ad: "Empty Rhetoric"

Gas Price Flashback


Time Magazine, June, 2001:

In May, convinced the nation was terrified of going California and hungering for a steak-and-eggs energy plan, Bush sold his plan as an aggressive drill-and-dig, anti-regulatory prescription to shoo away the tree-huggers and get the nation — and the economy — humming again.

Two months later, a New York Times/CBS poll released last week found that not only do two-thirds of the nation think Bush and Cheney are too beholden to oil companies, 60 percent think the pair made the whole energy crisis up.

And why not? Energy prices are falling, both in the market and at the pump, and Alan Greenspan, in a post-rate-cut speech Thursday in Chicago, said energy-price inflation was the furthest thing from his mind.

President George W. Bush, July 2, 2008:

…I’ll remind people it took us a while to get into the energy situation we’re in and it’s going to take us a while to get out of it. But one thing is for certain here in the United States, that we can help alleviate shortages by drilling for oil and gas in our own country — something I’ve been advocating ever since I’ve been the President. I’ve been reminding our people that we can do so in environmentally friendly ways. And yet, the Congress, the Democratically controlled Congress now has refused to budge. It makes no sense for — to watch these gasoline prices rise when we know we can help affect the supply of crude oil, which should affect the supply of gasoline prices.

Hat tip: Red Planet Cartoons.

Wind-Powered

Sunday, July 27, 2008

East Chicago Case Continues to Move Forward

From the Post-Tribune:

HAMMOND -- Former East Chicago City Councilman Frank Kollintzas, whom authorities believe fled to Greece three years ago to avoid a 12-year prison sentence, still should have to pay back his share of the $24 million he owes city taxpayers, state Attorney General Steve Carter said.

Carter four years ago filed a civil racketeering lawsuit against Kollintzas, former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick and numerous others in connection with their roles in a paving-for-votes scheme that resulted in the criminal conviction of a dozen city officials. As Carter's term in office winds down, and with no trial date yet set, the state has reached settlements with several defendants.

This week, noting that Kollintzas has not responded to correspondence connected to the trial since he fled to Europe in February 2005, Carter filed a motion for a default judgment.

"We don't anticipate getting a hold of him," Carter said Friday. "We will accept a judgment at this point, with the damages to be determined later."

Carter has reached pre-trial settlements with several contractors and lesser defendants in the case, recovering $1.2 million.

Kollintzas and his co-defendants in the criminal case already owe restitution from their criminal convictions and federal prosecutors already have liquidated numerous bank accounts and retirement funds in his name. A divorce filing by his wife, Joanna, was all that kept them from forcing her to sell off their house.

A default judgment will not move the state ahead of the federal judgment and Carter acknowledges the prospects of collecting much more from Kollintzas are "slim."

"It's just one of those things," he said. "We've got to prepare the case against the defendants we have there when the trial goes. If he's not going to step forward to settle, this is a pretty efficient way of settling it."

The RICO case has become something of a campaign issue in the race to succeed Carter, who is not seeking another term. Carter's top deputy, Greg Zoeller, is the Republican candidate and has pledged to press the case if elected. The Democratic nominee, Linda Pence, has said she would have to examine the case, and has done legal work for a construction firm that was among the defendants.

Knowledge of Linda Pence's involvement in the East Chicago RICO case (about which I have blogged much in the past), has now become so widespread that virtually any article mentioning the case now seems to invariably mention her and her involvement (something she tried to hide from Hoosier voters, no less).

With her record of not being open and forthright with Hoosiers, with voters up north constantly reminded of her ties to the biggest corruption case in Indiana history, with Zoeller's name carrying huge weight and stature in the south, and with central Indiana a reliably Republican fortress for Mitch and other GOP candidates, what chance does Linda Pence really have?

The Obamassiah & Democrats Oppose Tax Breaks on Gas Prices, Except for Themselves

I thought that the Obamassiah believed that suspending gas taxes was a "political stunt."

That's what he said during the run up to the Indiana primary.

It seems that such reasoning did not apply to the Democrat's national convention in Denver next month:

The committee hosting the Democratic National Convention has used the city's gas pumps to fill up and apparently avoided paying state and federal fuel taxes.

The disclosure brought immediate scrutiny. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said the practice "would seem" to be illegal and referred the matter to the state Department of Revenue.

Nonprofits, such as the host committee, are subject to state and federal gasoline taxes, according to the Department of Revenue.

The issue arose during the regular weekly meeting of [Denver Mayor] Hickenlooper and City Council members. Downs requested authorization for a contract so the Public Works Department could be reimbursed by the host committee for use of "fueling facilities, fuel and car washes."

City Councilman Charlie Brown raised the question of whether the host committee would be paying fuel taxes, and Downs said it wouldn't.

"There's something there that just doesn't seem right to me because, in a sense, you're saying then that the officials who pass the laws are not willing to live by them," said Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz.

Remember, folks, the Obamassiah says that waiving gas taxes is an "obvious election year gimmick" and "a political stunt," but the convention coronating him didn't mind at all not paying those same taxes.

Daily Audacity of Vanity Update

More from Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Critics say the trip is nothing but a PR stunt to strengthen his foreign-policy credentials and that he has only rarely been to Europe before.

Rice: Senator Obama has travelled to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia many times before. He lived in Asia. He bows to nobody in his understanding of this world.

Such hubris will doubtless leave him well served when it comes to counteracting the world's image of Americans as arrogant.

So Much for the "Europe Loves Obama" Meme

Presented for your consideration are two articles from the German leftist magazine Der Spiegel (which earlier ran the story saying Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki agreed with Obama's withdrawal timetable, something Maliki's staff later said was mistranslated).

The headline of one reads, "Obama-Plan: Europeans Should Bleed for US Tax Cuts", in response to the Obamassiah's statements that Germany and NATO should send more troops to Afghanistan.

The headline of another reads, "Will a German Speak at the Washington Monument in 2009?", in response to the Obamassiah giving a speech in front of a monument to Prussian militarism.

Looks like the honeymoon love affair of lefty Europeans with Barack Obama is already over, and he hasn't even won an election yet.

Hat tip: Davids Medienkritik.

Jill-Bob Visits the County Fair

Photo of the Day


Reporters ham it up with Barack Obama during his overseas tour.

Remember... They're impartial and unbiased.

Photo from the Daily Mail.

The Audacity of Ego

Friday, July 25, 2008

There Are No Words for How Great This Is...

From Gerard Baker at the Times of London comes this great piece on the travels of the Obamassiah.

It's lengthy, but read the whole thing.

You won't be disappointed; it's hilarious in the way that only people with funny accents can be.

He ventured forth to bring light to the world

The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers


And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.

He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media. He ventured first to the land of the Hindu Kush, where the

Taleban had harboured the viper of al-Qaeda in their bosom, raining terror on all the world.

And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them. And in the great battle that ensued the forces of the light were triumphant. For as long as the Child stood with his arms raised aloft, the enemy suffered great blows and the threat of terror was no more.

From there he went forth to Mesopotamia where he was received by the great ruler al-Maliki, and al-Maliki spake unto him and blessed his Sixteen Month Troop Withdrawal Plan even as the imperial warrior Petraeus tried to destroy it.

And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light.

And the Persians, who saw all this and were greatly fearful, longed to speak with the Child and saw that the Child was the bringer of peace. At the mention of his name they quickly laid aside their intrigues and beat their uranium swords into civil nuclear energy ploughshares.

From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered “Hosanna” and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet.

In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.

As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.

And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.

The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.

And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.

Black gold gushed from the ground at prices well below $140 per barrel. In hospitals across the land the sick were cured even though they were uninsured. And all because the Child had pronounced it.

And this is the testimony of one who speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth so that you might believe. And he knows it is the truth for he saw it all on CNN and the BBC and in the pages of The New York Times.

Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length.

But when he had finished speaking his disciples told him the crowd was hungry, for they had had nothing to eat all the hours they had waited for him.

And so the Child told his disciples to fetch some food but all they had was five loaves and a couple of frankfurters. So he took the bread and the frankfurters and blessed them and told his disciples to feed the multitudes. And when all had eaten their fill, the scraps filled twelve baskets.

Thence he travelled west to Mount Sarkozy. Even the beauteous Princess Carla of the tribe of the Bruni was struck by awe and she was great in love with the Child, but he was tempted not.

On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.

And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: “Yes, We Can.”

Epic win.

Sour Grapes from Long Thompson

Earlier, I pointed out the differences between the Republican Governors Association giving money to Mitch Daniels (a small proportion of his total campaign war chest), and Jill Long Thompson receiving three quarters of her money from out of state (and from hyper-liberal special interests that are diametrically opposed to the beliefs of most Hoosiers, at that).

If you don't see the difference between getting one dollar in eighteen of your campaign funding from a big out of state group, compared to three dollars out of every four, then you've really been spun.

Moreover, if you don't understand the difference between the Republican Governors Association (whose only mission is to elect more Republican governors) and far left special interests like the pro-abortion group Emily's List or the SEIU labor union, then you've also really been spun.

The RGA isn't giving Mitch Daniels money to own him.

Emily's List and SEIU pretty much now own Jill Long Thompson; they seem to be giving her unlimited money in clear expectation of a return on their investment in the form of the enactment of far left policies if she is actually elected (unlikely as that might seem).

Take a close look at the Democrat gubernatorial candidate when you see her on her phony "I'm going to only visit the small communities that have friendly Democrat-controlled local newspapers and media outlets" tour.

I suspect you'll find "Property of Emily's List" and "Property of the Service Employees International Union" tattooed or stamped on her somewhere.

A recent trip to the Indiana campaign finance website for the Long Thompson campaign, however, reveals that the whining of Dan Parker and JLT about money from the RGA are also just sour grapes.

The Democratic Governors Association gave Jill Long Thompson some money on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, they only gave her a token donation of $50,000.

It seems that Long Thompson's campaign must not be viewed as being very competitive by Democrats if they are giving her only one-fifteenth of the contribution that Republican Governors Association is giving to Mitch Daniels, and it certainly cannot be seriously contended by anyone that she does not need more money.

But then, why would the DGA want to waste their money?

They're in the business of electing governors, not state fire baton twirlers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama Begins Presidential Transition Work

From The Atlantic:

With less than six months to go before he would be sworn in as the nation’s 44th president, Sen. Barack Obama has directed his aides to begin planning for the transition.

"Barack is well aware of the complexity and the organizational challenge involved in the transition process and he has tasked a small group to begin thinking through the process,” a senior campaign adviser said. “Barack has made his expectations clear about what he wants from such a process, how he wants it to move forward, and the establishment and execution of his timeline is proceeding apace.”

Normally, you have to win the election before you start planning for the transition.

The audacity of hope.

Gratuitous Ship-Sinking Video

Posted simply because it's cool.

Random Thought

The Corydon Democrat gives extensive ink to a sparsely-attended visit to town by Jill Long Thompson and Dennie Ray Oxley II.

But when Becky Skillman participated in the recent bicentennial parade, in which neither Long Thompson nor Little Oxley were present, how much appeared in print about that?

With the exception of a lone photo on their website, not a word anywhere else that I can find.

At the very least, a visit to town by the Lieutenant Governor to honor the 200th birthday of the First State Capitol merits a sentence or two.

She was the only statewide official in the parade, the second-most-powerful person in state government, and the only elected official in the parade from outside of Harrison County.

Yet no mention at all? Not to whine, but isn't that a little unfair and unbalanced, particularly in light of the Long Thompson and Oxley II story?

I find it hard to believe that it could be an oversight by the author of the parade story (though many of the Democrat's reporters were in the parade, as the paper had an award-winning float, so they might not have seen the LG).

Pence Still Stuck on Pastrick Ties

From the NWI Times:

The two candidates for Indiana attorney general are sparring over the role a public construction contractor could play in the upcoming racketeering trial against former East Chicago city officials.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Greg Zoeller, whose office is prosecuting the civil case, said employees of the contractor will play a "critical" role in the trial -- which could mean company officials probably will want their attorney, Linda Pence, at their side during the case.

Pence is the Democratic candidate for attorney general, and Zoeller is the Republican candidate. The election is in November, and a trial date for the case has not yet been set.

"If you've been involved in a specific case ... you can't represent both sides," Zoeller said.

Pence has said she will not commit to going forward with the racketeering case against former East Chicago Democratic Mayor Robert Pastrick's administration until she has a chance to review the files and judge the strength of the evidence.

Zoeller has said the office is mandated to pursue the case because state law says the office "shall" try to recoup money that turns up misappropriated in state audits -- as more than $24 million was under the Pastrick administration.

The civil lawsuit is the largest-ever collection effort in the history of the attorney general's office.

The lawsuit centers on hoards of publicly financed concrete and tree-trimming work that Pastrick-era officials used to curry favor with voters ahead of the 1999 mayoral primary election. More than a dozen people eventually went to prison in the scheme in a separate case.

Zoeller said contractor Rieth-Riley is bound to play a "critical" role in the trial, because city officials tried to cover up their actions after the fact using an old Rieth-Riley contract and cooperation from company officials.

Rieth-Riley originally was named as a defendant in the case, but the company paid $625,000 to settle the claims and cooperate against the remaining defendants.

A copy of the settlement obtained by The Times shows that Pence signed the agreement as counsel for Rieth-Riley.

For those that recall, the settlement text was first posted on this blog (the full text is available for viewing at the bottom of that post).

Again, Pence hardly needs to review the files, given how extensively she has been involved in the case as the counsel for one of its co-defendants.

Heck, she even claimed that she could not talk about the case because of attorney-client privilege, despite the settlement text (viewable at the above link) clearly showing that her client had waived it as a part of its agreement with the office of the attorney general.

Honesty, integrity, and transparency are important qualities to have in an attorney general.

Again and again, by misleading Hoosier voters and by refusing to be forthright about her involvement in the Pastrick case, Linda Pence indicates unacceptable deficiency in these critical elements.

Harrison County's Sheriff Mike Deatrick (Still Plagued with Scandal & Under Investigation) Asks for 32% Pay Raise

Yes, you heard that right. He wants a 30%+ raise. It's buried deep in the text of the Corydon Democrat's recent article about the discussion of county pay increases, but it's there:

The sheriff requested a 32.05-percent raise, from $84,821 to $112,000, for his annual pay and a 16.02-percent increase for his chief, Capt. Eric Fischer, which would raise his salary from $38,788 to $45,000.

Some people have no shame.

If Mike Deatrick thinks that $84,000 (remember, his wife is on the county payroll, on top of that) is not sufficient compensation for the embarrassment he has put the county police and the entire county through with his alleged antics, then maybe he should go look for a new job.

Maybe he'd find someone willing to pay him more than minimum wage.

Most county workers will have to settle for a 3% raise, with a few exceptions:

The council agreed to give county employees a 3-percent raise across the board last Wednesday night except for salary lines subject to review, in which case the council could give more or less than a 3-percent raise. Councilman Ralph Sherman suggested the 3-percent raise.

"The taxpayers are not getting a break; we have to be careful we don't over tax them," said Councilwoman Rhonda Rhoads. "Their wages don't change."

"How do you know?" asked Councilman Gordon Pendleton. "I don't think we can say other people don't get a raise."

"This is my fourth budget go-round; we've done 3-percent every year. It seems like a good number," said Councilman Chris Timberlake. "I like the number but not across the board. I think there are some salaries we need to reign in."

Council chairman Carl (Buck) Mathes said the department heads deserve more than a 3-percent raise.

"The high-end people get shorted with 3-percent," he said.

Some of those exceptions have already been approved. Others have not. I wonder how many of those yet to be approved exceptions will be for individuals with political or family connections, or who happen to have friends in high places.

Three percent is the traditional across-the-board amount in Harrison County, as Timberlake notes. He's also right when he says that certain salaries (like that of the sheriff and his son-in-law, the chief deputy) need to be reigned in.

Maybe a greater increase is called for. Maybe not.

Maybe a set sum should be allocated to each department head for them to distribute to their employees on the basis of merit and who has been the best worker. What a radical concept that would be, no?

Perhaps the county government can obtain data on the average wage or income increase being seen by Harrison County residents, and can align the increase for county employees accordingly.

Maybe that's more than 3% and maybe it's less, but it doesn't make sense to me for the salary of a government bureaucrat to grow at a percentage greater than the income growth of the taxpayers that are ultimately having to pay it.

And, in the end, whether they are humble clerical positions or mighty "high-end people" (as Buck puts it), they're all government bureaucrats, and government in Harrison County needs to live within the bounds of what Harrison County's taxpayers can afford.

New McCain Ad: Country First

Obama One

Daily Interesting Campaign Finance Item

I'm willing to bet that there's something screwy with the electronic submission of Luke Puckett's campaign finance reports (its filing was already delayed); it's really unlikely that he has no expenditures at all in the last quarter.

I'm told that it's an issue with the vendor / consultant that's handling the FEC filings, but I'd say it's time to get somebody new. Late and incomplete? Geez.

Granted, Joe Donnelly has a prior history of problems with the timely filing and paying of his taxes, but still.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"That's Not the Israeli I Knew"

From Drudge:

OBAMA VISITS WESTERN WALL IN OLD CITY JERUSALEM... ARRIVES AT 5:08 AM LOCAL TIME [10:08 PM ET]... SUNRISE... SHOUTING MAN: 'JERUSALEM IS NOT FOR SALE, OBAMA'... MOB SCENE... CHAOS... BOWING HIS HEAD IN PRAYER... PLACES NOTE IN WALL... POSES FOR PHOTOS... LOTS OF SHOUTING... LEAVES 5:20 AM... DEVELOPING...

Puckett's Non-Problem: The Rumor Mill Churns and There's Nothing There

Thomas Cook longs to be the next Jen Wagner, living large in the blogosphere, smearing candidates and career politicos left and right, all while taking Dan Parker's money and acting as his hired gun in the Hoosier Internets.

Instead, he spends most of his time banging out laughable and factually incorrect press releases.

Today, he decided to throw out for consideration two smears on 2nd District Republican Congressional candidate Luke Puckett.

The first involves unpaid property taxes by Puckett in 2006. Hardly surprising given the problems that frequent the dispatch of property taxes in Indiana to property owners, but I digress. Joe Donnelly, Puckett's opponent, had four and a half times as much in unpaid property taxes as of January that same year.

The second, of course, is the infamous "churning rumor mill," a "bubbling, brewing issue" of sorts. What rumor mill, you ask? What bubbling, brewing issue, you wonder?

I asked myself the same question.

So I went to the Puckett campaign and asked them what was up.

And, surprise, surprise, they sent me a response.

The answer was rather deflating, to be honest. No lurking demons from Puckett's past history. No outstanding arrest warrants. No spurned lovers. Nope. Nothing so entertaining or droll.

It seems that a former volunteer for the Puckett campaign got himself into some trouble with the law (the individual in question had, as they say, "past history"; campaigns, alas, do not do background checks on volunteers), and decided to make some noise and file a complaint against the campaign with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.

No doubt, Thomas Cook will soon make much of unveiling scans of the complaint to the ICRC. I'm sure he acquired them from completely legitimate sources and that they were open public record and all that.

Even so, the whole thing is a giant nothing.

A volunteer came to the Puckett campaign, was an eager supporter, and wanted to help out. He even had contacts among the smaller local radio stations around South Bend.

The volunteer came to parades and events, and did all of the things that volunteers do. He even, I am told, got his photo snapped in a campaign t-shirt. This photo, in turn, showed up in a pre-primary Puckett campaign commercial.

After the ad ran a few times, somebody called the Puckett campaign and asked them if they knew that the volunteer in question was a convicted felon. Having not done a background check on every campaign volunteer or parade walker, the Puckett folks were surprised to learn this. They went to the volunteer, told him that someone had said this about him, and asked him if what the campaign had been told was true.

The volunteer denied it.

End of story, right? That's what the Puckett campaign thought (they're big believers in truth, honesty, redemption, forgiveness, etc).

The volunteer, however, thought differently. He apparently went and tracked down the person that had told the campaign about him. Next thing anyone knows, the volunteer is in jail.

As soon as he gets out of jail, he files a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission against the Puckett campaign, saying that they owed him back pay and had discriminated against him.

How an unpaid volunteer is owed back pay, since he was never contracted with the campaign to be paid or compensated for anything, remains a mystery to me. I've been a volunteer for many a campaign; free pizza and soft drinks are about the extent of the pay that you can expect.

Now, challenging congressional campaigns are always happy to have unpaid volunteers, and they sure don't do background checks on them beforehand. Moreover, if they had in this one instance, for the volunteer happened to be an African American, they would have no doubt been accused of racial profiling or something similar.

So what, pray tell, did the Puckett campaign do wrong?

Should they have turned down the volunteer when he came to them? That, more so than what actually happened, would have been discriminatory.

Should they do expensive background checks on all of their dozens and dozens of volunteers to determine their past histories? That's hardly practical (or affordable). It's also not fitting with basic Christian beliefs in things like honesty, openness, and redemption.

Certainly, it would be wrong to assume that every person of color is a former criminal (even if this volunteer was or was not). Individuals, regardless of skin color, don't go around with signs blinking over their heads that say "Warning! I'm a former criminal!"

Should they have paid the volunteer money to go away when he filed the complaint? That would hardly be proper either. Then they would be accused of trying to hush up some impropriety where none existed. What sort of back pay do they owe him anyway? An additional free t-shirt? A few more slices of pizza?

Should the Puckett campaign not be an open movement for change in the 2nd District? There is no rule that says someone cannot volunteer or should not be allowed to volunteer because of the color of their skin.

I mean, honestly. What should they have said? Sorry, our campaign t-shirts don't look good on your skin color? Yeah, right.

So what should the Puckett campaign have done? And why should Luke Puckett be faulted at all for running an open and inclusive campaign that someone with "past history" decided to take for a ride?

Indeed, if anything, Puckett should be praised for not having the sort of knee-jerk reaction to this volunteer and these circumstances that other less tolerant and less Christian campaigns might had.

He did the right thing; it is hard to fault him for it, let alone unjustly and wrongly smear him.

Obamassiah Gaffe du Jour

From the Campaign Spot:

"You know, it's always a bad practice to say 'always' or 'never.'" — Obama, speaking in Amman today.

Photo of the Day


Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama stands, hands clasped, alongside Senator Hillary Clinton and Governor Bill Richardson while the National Anthem is played at a steak fry in Iowa hosted by that state's governor, Tom Harkin.

You're supposed to have your hand on your heart (or stand at attention) when the National Anthem is played, particularly if you want to be president of that nation.

The photo was taken on September 15, 2007.

Its accuracy has been verified by rumor-debunking website Snopes.com.

Freedom’s Watch Ad: Twiddling Thumbs

The Dipstick

Oh. The Democrats Are Only Opposed to *THAT* Kind of Drilling for Oil

Random Thought: It's a Matter of Scale

When Mitch Daniels has raised almost $13 million so far for his reelection, an additional $725,000 from the Republican Governors Association is not a big deal.

It ends up being less than one eighteenth of the total amount that Mitch has raised, not that the Democrat Governors Association has yet made a similar investment in the Long Thompson campaign.

By contrast, some 75% of the total money raised by the Long Thompson campaign has come from far-left special interests from outside of the state of Indiana.

I'll grant that $725,000 is a lot of money. So is the $1.25 million that came from the pro-abortion group Emily's List and the labor union SEIU.

The difference is that money from out-of-state groups like Emily's List represents an overwhelming majority--three dollars in every four--of the money given to the Long Thompson campaign.

Money from out-of-state groups like the Republican Governor's Association represents an overwhelming minority--less than one dollar in every eighteen--of the money given to the Daniels campaign.

It's a matter of scale.

That sort of cash is a drop in the bucket for the big green machine.

It's pretty much the only money they have over at the Long Thompson campaign.

That just might, just might be indicative of a significant problem for Jill, no?

But you really shouldn't expect a Democrat press release to be truthful, should you?

Particularly when it comes to campaign finance, right?

Nah, never.

Labor Union: We'll Spend "Whatever It Takes" to Buy & Own Indiana's Governor

From Howey:

It appears Democratic gubernatorial campaign Jill Long Thompson has a blank check with the Service Employees International Union. SEIU Illinois-Indiana Director Jerry Morrison told Howey Politics Indiana that the union will spend "whatever it takes" to get Thompson elected.

The union, with about 5,000 members in Indiana - most in the Northwest Region - has already pumped $900,000 into Thompson’s campaign.

Morrison said that Thompson won’t have to match Gov. Mitch Daniels dollar-for-dollar thanks to what he calls the "anti-incumbency" mood in the state. "We will provide whatever it takes to get Thompson elected," Morrison said.

Asked if SEIU would come up with one, two or three million more dollars, Morrison was not specific. He said that SEIU members will flood into Indiana from Illinois to stage the "biggest field operation in history" for Thompson.

Morrison said that with only three or four competitive gubernatorial races in the nation this cycle, both SEIU and the Democratic Governors Association are preparing to prioritize the Thompson-Daniels race.

I guess JLT was handsomely compensated for reading a God-given right to unionization into the Bible.

I wonder if those five thousand SEIU members in Indiana would rather their mandatory payroll deductions go to something besides backing a failing gubernatorial campaign.

And this gives Jill Long Thompson's campaign another dubious distinction.

JLT is already the most liberal major party nominee to ever seek the governorship in the entire history of the state of Indiana.

Her campaign is already almost entirely funded by hyper-liberal out-of-state left-wing special interests like the pro-abortion group Emily's List and the service employees union.

Now that same service employees union is looking to get JLT elected by relying upon out-of-state campaign workers (can she not get Hoosiers to volunteer for her?), like they're already bankrolling her with out-of-state money (can she not get Hoosiers to give her money?).

I am not thinking that Hoosiers will cotton to having a far-left gubernatorial candidate forced upon them by campaign "volunteers" from Illinois, just like they're not going to like having out-of-state lefty special interests wholly bankroll the state fire baton twirler, err, gubernatorial campaign of Jill Long Thompson.

Indiana Not Likely to Lose Seat in Redistricting?

From Michael Barone comes this listing of states likely to lose and gain Congressional seats in the next redistricting:

Arizona +2
California -1
Florida +2
Georgia +1
Illinois -1
Iowa -1
Louisiana -1
Massachusetts -1
Michigan -1
Minnesota -1
Missouri -1
Nevada +1
New Jersey -1
New York -2
North Carolina +1
Ohio -2
Oregon +1
Pennsylvania -1
South Carolina +1
Texas +4
Utah +1

Barone notes that Bush 2004 states gain a net of eight seats (and thus gain eight electoral votes) and Kerry 2004 states lose a net of eight seats (and thus lose eight electoral votes).

The fact that Indiana will likely not lose a seat (as I have seen many political observers and insiders assume) will make the Congressional redistricting here interesting, to say the least.

Barack O'Boner

Epic win from Jon Stewart and the Daily Show:



And, of course, the "everywhere on the blogs today" McCain "the press loves Obama" video, just in case you missed it:



Updated, with different background music:

Jill-Bob's Fixin' to Go Campaigning

Obamassiah Gaffe du Jour

From Jake Tapper's Political Punch:

"Let me be absolutely clear," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said today at a press conference in Amman, Jordan. "Israel is a strong friend of Israel's. It will be a strong friend of Israel's under a McCain...administration. It will be a strong friend of Israel's under an Obama administration. So that policy is not going to change."

And yet McCain is supposed to be the one making all of the gaffes, according to Politico?

Seriously.

Sometimes, Traffic Comes from Unusual Places

Like this, what appears to be a German-language message board full of Ron Paul supporters.

The Empty Suitcase

What Obama's Visit to Baghdad Would Have Looked Like with His Iraq Policy

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pray for Baron & His Family

Not the title you'd expect to see here, and not for the reasons you might expect, either.

Congressman Baron Hill

Contact: Katie Moreau 202.225.5315
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE
Monday, July 21, 2008

"After a long and brave battle against leukemia, I am deeply saddened to report that we have lost a member of our family, Josh Huddleston. Josh was not only my son-in-law, but a dedicated husband and friend. We sincerely appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received during this difficult time."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

From the Mail Bag

I got this email today from a reader, and it asks a salient question that is worth addressing publicly:

I know better than to think the Dems are objective, but what do you make about their observation/claim that Sodrel is paying down debts. (I've heard Republicans locally who had worried about this possibility.)

Indiana Democratic Party press release citation.

The text of the press release in question says this:

Interestingly, Sodrel also chose to use a chunk of his meager contributions to pay down his massive campaign debt. Instead of adding to the campaign coffers, the Republican candidate opted instead to spend a significant amount of last quarter's money paying for his legal expenses.

"Mike Sodrel is raising less than his opponent, he's spending more, and it's starting to look like he is running for office just to pay off his late bills," Parker added.

I've had a great deal of fun at the expense of Dan Parker, and whoever it is he gets to write these pathetic press releases, but this particular claim is outright false.

There are no expenditures by Sodrel this quarter paying down debts.

Just look at the FEC disclosure for Q2 2008.

Anyone able to read a basic Excel spreadsheet would be able to see from this that Sodrel's campaign paid down $9,000 in debt this cycle, not this quarter.

The $9,000 Sodrel allocated to debt repayment was in Q1 2007, just after the 2006 election defeat, when Sodrel did not yet know he was going to run again and his campaign still had some money left over from 2006.

If you don't think you're going to run again, your campaign owes you money, there are no outstanding bills to anyone else, and your campaign has money left after you just lost, you might as well pay down some of its debt to you.

It's the height of disingenuousness, to put it politely, to say that Mike Sodrel is now running for office and using his "meager contributions" to pay down campaign debt when he hasn't done any such thing.

It's outright lying, and anyone that can read the summary of a campaign finance report (which isn't a complicated thing; it's an HTML version of an Excel spreadsheet, basically) can see that.

I'm also not surprised that the Democrats can't read campaign finance reports. In Harrison County, it was very difficult until a few years ago to even get them to submit campaign finance reports, let alone read them or do them correctly.

It would also be no surprise to see the Democrats being hypocritical.

If you want to look at a candidate who is using "a chunk of his meager contributions to pay down his massive campaign debt," then you need merely look at Joe Donnelly.

So far this cycle, Donnelly (who hasn't been raising all that much more money per quarter than Mike Sodrel) has used contributions to his campaign to pay down $117,700 in campaign debt.

Those living in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks, right?

Thought so.

They shouldn't lie either.

Howey Blinded by the Obamassiah, Again

Brian Howey's obsession with Barack Obama has been something of an ongoing spectacle of hilarity for a long time.

First he waxed poetic about the Obamassiah's Iowa victory, talking about how he had gone to Illinois to watch him announce his presidential bid.

He has liked to reuse a handful of his decent Obama photos over, and over, and over again.

Before the Hoosier primary, he proclaimed that he could feel the earth move under his feet whenever Obama walked into the room.

Then he all-but endorsed Obama in his final column before the primary was held.

After the primary, Howey compared Hillary's narrow victory to the Prague Spring of 1968, because (of course) a political win by the first serious female candidate for president is so much like a student uprising that was violently crushed by Red Army tanks.

As Hillary continued to tear into his hero and the Obamassiah lost primary after primary, Howey said that he thought that today's school graduates were walking into the apocalypse.

But that mood swing was temporary, as Howey soon went on to proclaim Obama one of the greatest upsets in political history.

And who can forget the time that he echoed the Democratic talking points that John McCain (the one Republican that has disagreed with George W. Bush more than any other) is really just a third Bush term, that people who oppose Obama needed to stop being racists, and that the Obamassiah only needs to pick Evan Bayh to turn Indiana into a land of sweetness and light.

All of these endless fawnings are amusing in their own way, but they are fundamentally still just Brian Howey's opinions (regardless of how absurd they often are).

With the exception of some rather sorry distortions of history, he has not willfully misconstrued or omitted obvious facts in his blatant support for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Until now.

From Howey's latest update today:

[Obama's visit to the Middle East] came as Iraq President Nouri al-Maliki told Der Spiegel magazine that he agrees with Obama’s call for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the war zone within 16 months of next January. Maliki told the magazine he wanted U.S. combat troops out "as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned."

He then continued: "US presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."

First of all, Nouri al-Maliki is the Prime Minister of Iraq. The President of Iraq is a Kurd named Jalal Talabani.

It's all and well to quote Der Spiegel, but one should recognize that it is the biggest left-wing magazine in Germany, so quoting from it is sort of like quoting from The Nation or Mother Jones magazine.

But when you consider that the headlines over at Drudge Report are currently blaring that Maliki says (as reported by CNN) that Der Spiegel's account of his remarks was "misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately," isn't it the height of disingenuousness to repeat the erroneous Maliki quote without providing that important bit of information and element of context?

If you are repeating incorrect information after it has been quite openly and publicly discredited and corrected, that's a serious journalistic failing.

Brian Howey should know better.

But given the lengthy catalog above of his blind support for Barack Obama, I am not surprised that he didn't.

Question: Is Obama a Socialist?

John McCain responds:

[McCain] also said Obama had the “most extreme” record in the Senate.

Asked later if he thought Obama was an extremist, McCain said: “His voting record … is more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont.”

Does McCain think Obama is a socialist? “I don’t know. All I know is his voting record, and that’s what people usually judge their elected representatives by.”

Zing.

Hat tip: The Campaign Spot.

Women of the USS Ronald Reagan



The Navy actually tried to ban this video.

Hat tip: Strategy Page.

Al Gore: The Joker

Saturday, July 19, 2008

We Have Always Been at War with Eurasia: The Obamassiah Rewrites History on Iraq

From the New York Daily News:

Barack Obama's campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop "surge" in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a "problem" that had barely reduced violence.

"The surge is not working," Obama's old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks - not U.S. military muscle - for quelling violence in Anbar Province.

The News reported Sunday that insurgent attacks have fallen to the fewest since March 2004.

Obama's campaign posted a new Iraq plan Sunday night, which cites an "improved security situation" paid for with the blood of U.S. troops since the surge began in February 2007.

It praises G.I.s' "hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics and enormous sacrifice."

Campaign aide Wendy Morigi said Obama is "not softening his criticism of the surge. We regularly update the Web site to reflect changes in current events."

GOP rival John McCain zinged Obama as a flip-flopper. "The major point here is that Sen. Obama refuses to acknowledge that he was wrong," said McCain, adding that Obama "refuses to acknowledge that it [the surge] is succeeding."

A lot of stuff is going to have to disappear into the proverbial memory hole to cover up every radical thing Barack Obama has said and done in the past.

Jill-Bob Tries to Answer a Simple Question

Obamassiah: Immigration Enforcement Efforts "Terrorize" Communities

Text of the Obamassiah's speech:

The system isn't working when 12 million people live in hiding, and hundreds of thousands cross our borders illegally each year; when companies hire undocumented immigrants instead of legal citizens to avoid paying overtime or to avoid a union; when communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids - when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel.

When all that's happening, the system just isn't working.

Howey Mentions Linda Pence's Latest Difficulties Disclosing Her Record

I'll save this one from the wrath of Tweety:

Attorney General: Democrat: Linda Pence. Republican: Deputy Attorney General Greg Zoeller. 2004 Results: Carter 1,389,640, Hogsett (D) 953,500, Milewski (L) 45,212. 2008 Forecast:

Hoosierpundit’s Scott Fluhr trips up Pence in yet another deception concerning her role in representing one of the defendants in the East Chicago RICO suit brought by Attorney General Steve Carter’s office.

Pence’s client, Rieth-Riley, settled out of court with the state in 2006 for $625,000, the largest amount paid to date by any defendant in the civil suit. The blogs first raised concern that Pence failed to mention she had represented Rieth-Riley when she criticized Steve Carter’s office for its handling of the case, which included his use of outside counsel.

When Pence was taken to task for the omission, she said the attorney-client privilege limited what she could discuss about the case: Pence said she could not discuss, but said companies often settle cases not because they have done something wrong but because it’s less expensive to put the matter to rest than to litigate.

As it turns out, Hoosierpundit has turned up the settlement documents in which Rieth-Riley specifically waived its attorney-client privilege. The specific provision in Section 12 of the agreement reads:

"As part of its cooperation in Section 11, and for the sole benefit of the Attorney General, Rieth-Riley agrees to waive any applicable attorney-client privilege concerning any of the relevant facts as to which Rieth-Riley provides testimony or documents to the Attorney General in the RICO Lawsuit. Rieth-Riley also agrees to provide letters necessary to effectuate such waiver."

Yes, her client waived its attorney-client privilege to aid the state in the prosecution of its sidewalks-for-votes case.

"Openness and honesty are important qualities to have in an attorney general," blogger Scott Fluhr writes. "Why is Linda Pence demonstrating, again and again, that she does not seem to have them?"

There is quite literally no end to the political gaffes of Linda Pence.

She continues to mislead Hoosier voters about her record and about her actions.

Why?

Indiana needs an attorney general that is open, honest, and trustworthy, not one that is keeping secrets from Hoosier voters and trying to cover up her very unsettling record.