Sunday, September 27, 2009

R.I.P. John Hill, 1931-2009

My recent post highlighting (again) Baron Hill's YouTube town hall blow up is tempered by news of the passing of his older brother John this past week.

This has been a tough time for Baron, fully aside from political reasons. He lost his son-in-law to cancer last spring, and now his brother this year.

Please keep Baron and the Hill family in your prayers.

Covered At Last: Courier-Journal Gives Front Page Treatment to Baron's “This Is My Town Hall Meeting” Blow Up

Baron Hill at Bloomington Town Hall
And in which Baron Hill denounces the girl that asked him a question about his taping policy as "his political enemy."

It's a sad state of affairs when a United States Congressman views students wanting to get good grades on projects as his political enemies. But then, it's also a sad state of affairs that a United States Congressman would view the office he holds as belonging to him and not the people, and it's dismaying when that Congressman views the town halls he holds as being his rather than the people of the district, let alone have this backward taping policy.

As I've noted before, this coverage has been long in coming; you still won't find a single mention of this video in the many IDEA-aligned local newspapers within the district itself (IDEA being the Indiana Democratic Editorial Association), unless (as--credit where due--the Corydon Democrat did) it gets mention in the letters section.

The CJ tracked down the young lady that asked the question, and reported on the exact circumstances of her involvement. Surprise, surprise, what they reported is not the story that Baron's staff have claimed--and Baron himself have claimed--for the past few weeks after the video went viral.

What? Baron lie? Surely not.

The story, which featured on the front page of the Indiana edition of today's Courier-Journal:

Hill forum incident lands on YouTube despite no-taping policy

Despite his best efforts to prevent it, U.S. Rep. Baron Hill has become a hit on YouTube after being confronted by an Indiana University student who was ordered by Hill’s staff to stop recording his town hall meeting on health-care reform.

IU sophomore Ashley Scott says Hill’s staff gave her permission to video-record Hill’s Sept. 2 town hall meeting at Bloomington High School North — then was told later she had to stop or be escorted out.

Notice how Baron and his staff omit this part in their various accounts of what happened.

Scott chose to stay and later questioned Hill in a recorded exchange that has since been posted on the Internet video-sharing site by the National Republican Campaign Committee.

“Why can’t I film this? Isn’t this my right?” Scott asked.

Hill answered, “This is my town hall meeting and I set the rules.”

After howls from some in the audience, Hill went on: “Let me repeat that one more time. This is my town hall meeting for you, and you’re not going to tell me how to run my congressional office. Now the reason I don’t allow filming is because usually the films end up on YouTube in a compromising position.”

The NRCC clip of Hill had been viewed more than 170,000 times as of Saturday.

Pause for a moment here to relish the delicious irony of this. No matter how many times Baron's quote gets repeated, it's hard not to accompany it with the number of views that the video has received.

In case you missed it:

Hill, D-9th District, said he was following his policy, which bars anyone other than “accredited media” from taping his public appearances.

Hill said in a telephone interview from Washington that the reason for the taping policy “is exactly what happened here.” He said the video takes the event out of context.

“You’re taking a 30- to 60-second snippet of a 60-minute town hall meeting, and it is not a true representation of how that town hall meeting was conducted,” Hill said.

Watch the above video again.

Then go about 17 minutes in on the full footage (courtesy of the Bloomington Herald-Times and from which the "my town hall meeting" clip was taken) and watch five minutes of the town hall. The question about recording comes about eighteen minutes in and lasts for about a minute.

How is it being taken out of context?

He also said some constituents had told him they felt uncomfortable when people were taping them.

Scott, an IU language major, said she was at the town hall meeting to help a friend, journalism major Ashley Freije, tape and photograph the event for a class project.

She acknowledged she opposes the health care overhaul that Hill favors and was sitting within a group of people who also oppose the measure, but did not go to the meeting for that purpose.

“I was honestly shocked by his response,” Scott said. “I mean, he’s an elected official, so it wasn’t his town hall, it’s mine. My vote puts him in office and gives him the right to call town hall meetings.”

Freije said she also was upset by the incident.

“I just wanted to take pictures for my project,” she said. “… If the congressman is so afraid of it being used badly then maybe he should think about what he says to make sure things won’t be misconstrued that way.”

She said the project was one that she selected on her own, and was not specifically assigned.

There you have it; the first time anyone has talked to the young lady that asked the question, and the first time that anyone has reported on the related facts.

And, again, the facts do not match the spin that Baron's staff has put on this whole affair.

Good reporting from the Courier-Journal's Harold Adams.

Freije’s professor, Claude Cookman, said federal student privacy rules prevent him from commenting.

Hill described the two women as “my political enemies.”

Let's repeat that last line:

Hill described the two women as “my political enemies.”

This is madness.

A young lady asks a simple question.

Baron's response is just terrible.

And the thing ends up on YouTube anyway because media that Baron's office allowed to record the event did record it.

And that makes this young lady and her friend Baron's political enemies?

Since when did Baron Hill become Richard Nixon?

Since when did asking simple and straightforward questions of a United States Congressman get you on his enemies list?

This is just bizarre.

“It became evident that they weren’t there to get legitimate answers to a question. They were there to disrupt,” he said.

This is a lie.

Again, it has absolutely no basis in fact or reality.

Go back and rewatch the question. The girl asked about the recording policy.

And after Baron gave his YouTube-worth answer (and then berated the crowd for its reaction to his arrogance), she asked a second (also substantive) question:

"How will you provide health care to fifty million new people without adding any new doctors, especially now that doctors and nurses are leaving because of a lack of tort reform?"

Baron answered that question without complaint of the young lady being disruptive:

"Well, we need new doctors and I'm glad that my daughter is one of the persons that's going to be adding to that list. But right now, the people who don't have health insurance now still get coverage by the doctors that we have. What do they do? They go to the emergency room. They end up going to the emergency room where it's more costly. [noise from the crowd] Now just a minute. They go to the emergency room where it's more costly. They can't pay for it, and so the costs are shed off to us so we have to pay for it because they don't have insurance. [applause] That to me is a very inefficient system and one that we need to change. And you've had your chance, I want to go to the next person."

Notice that Baron--his temper flaring--didn't term her disruptive at the time, and he also didn't answer her question about tort reform. Her question wasn't about emergency rooms or the doctors we have.

Her question was about how we are losing existing doctors because of high practicing costs (malpractice insurance, etc) brought on by a lack of tort reform. It was a salient and thoughtful question.

Baron did not give her an answer.

But Scott said she and Freije “kept everything very polite and non-disruptive, so I have no idea what he could be referring to.”

And this is verified by a simple watching of the video.

When asked what evidence he had to support the disruptive claim, Hill responded that Scott falsely claimed to be a journalism student.

First of all, this is a lie.

Second of all, that has absolutely no bearing on either of her questions during the event itself, and neither of her questions later on can be construed as disruptive, as a rewatching the video itself will confirm.

Does anyone really think that this video would have any fewer views or been any less indicative of Baron Hill's arrogance if it was asked by some other young lady instead?

Conversely, does anyone think that the rest of Baron's town hall performance would have gotten this many views on YouTube if he did not have this absurd no recording policy?

Scott, however, said she made clear when she was given a media pass that Freije was the journalism student “and I was assisting her with a project … and she made sure that I had to conduct myself as such.”

“I was here to do a project that was unbiased,” Freije said.

As for the policy to restrict tapings, Hill said he consulted with the House General Counsel’s office “and they told us we have every right to do this.”

Shaida Fai, a law clerk with the general counsel’s office, said, “Our office doesn’t comment on its legal advice to members.”

Dan Gillmor, an Arizona State University professor who is director and founder of the Center for Citizen Media, the non-profit organization affiliated with ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said he knows of no other public official with a policy like Hill’s.

Let's repeat:

...he knows of no other public official with a policy like Hill’s.

There are 535 members of Congress.

Not a single other one has a "don't tape me bro!" policy like the one being exercised by Baron Hill.

And a heck of a lot of good his policy did him anyway, since the video is on YouTube and has now been viewed by 171,000+ people.

I'm no lawyer, but I am by no means convinced that the policy is legal given that it is a public event, a public official, in a public building, and potentially subject to various state open door and sunshine laws (it was held in a public school paid for with state money, after all).

I defer to those with legal expertise to say more. A fuller treatment of the issue is certainly necessary.

“Even if what they’re doing is permitted by law, it’s bizarre and it’s destined to fail anyway in the long run” because of the proliferation of smaller and smaller recording devices that can easily be concealed, Gillmor said.

Trey Pollard, spokesman for U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District of Kentucky, said Yarmuth does not place restrictions on taping at his meetings.

Sam Marcosson, a First Amendment expert at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, said Hill’s policy probably is on solid legal ground.

“Anyone has the right to say they do not wish to be taped and recorded and to set the conditions under which they will be recorded,” Marcosson said.

This is not necessarily the case. It might be for private events in private buildings. Public events held by public officials in public spaces are likely a different matter.

But he added that implementing such a policy is ultimately a political decision.

“That may be—and the voters ultimately will decide—an incredibly unwise thing to do, even foolish,” Marcosson said. “But I don’t think it violates the First Amendment.”

Saying that the no taping policy is unwise and potentially foolish is the understatement of the year. As I noted above, there was nothing Baron said at either town hall that would have generated 171,000+ views on YouTube were it not for his no taping policy provoking this question, and leading to him giving an arrogant and insulting answer. His lies and phony spin after the fact are just icing on the cake of irony.

Poll: Voters in Contested Districts & States Overwhelmingly Oppose ObamaCare

Riddle me this: Is Indiana blue enough after Obama squeaked a victory here in 2008 for folks like Evan Bayh and Baron Hill to ignore a poll like this?

And this isn't some push poll commissioned by some group seeking to pretend that an unpopular policy is popular; the poll itself was done by Zogby.

From the Washington Examiner:

A top-to-bottom, government-run health care system is clearly not popular with 2010 voters. Fifty-eight percent of voters in states with competitive 2010 Senate races oppose the creation of a government-run health care system, or "single-payer" system, where the federal government pays for and provides health care for all Americans. Fifty-five percent of voters in competitive 2010 House districts oppose a "single-payer" system.

Less popular with 2010 voters is a key provision in Sen. Max Baucus', D-Mont., recently unveiled health care bill that would require all Americans to purchase health insurance or face a hefty fine. A clear majority of voters in competitive Senate races (68 percent) oppose such a provision, as do 70 percent of voters in competitive House races.

Also unpopular is the so-called "employer mandate," which would require large and small businesses to provide health insurance to their employees or face a fine. Fifty-nine percent of voters in competitive Senate races oppose the "employer mandate," as do 60 percent of voters in competitive House races.

President Obama's proposal for a new government agency called the "Independent Medicare Advisory Council," which some fear would use its powers to deny payments for certain procedures that it deems unnecessary or futile, does not appear to sit well with crucial 2010 midterm voters.

Fifty-nine percent of voters in close 2010 Senate races oppose the creation of such an agency, while only 31 percent would support it. Sixty percent of voters in close 2010 House races oppose the idea, and just 29 percent support it.

Voters also oppose new taxes on employer-provided health care benefits. A whopping 77 percent of voters in 2010 Senate races oppose this tax, as do 80 percent of voters in 2010 House races.

Also tremendously unpopular is the notion of raising taxes to pay for a new government health insurance program to cover the roughly 26 million Americans who can afford to purchase health insurance (but choose not to purchase it for whatever reason) and the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. Seventy-seven percent of midterm Senate election voters oppose new taxes for such a program, and 76 percent of midterm House election voters are in opposition as well.

Hope and change.

Photo of the Day: The Case for Killing Granny

Obama: “I'm Not Interested in Victory.”

Well, that just explains everything...

Video says it all:


Reid: "Thank you Mr. President, you just mentioned sanctions that have bite, what kinds of sanction, and I know you can't get into details but what kind of sanctions at all would have bite with Iran, do you really think that any kind of sanctions would have any effect on somebody like Ahmadinejad, secondly some of your advisers today said that this announcement was a victory, do you consider it a victory and if so why didn't you announce it earlier since you have known since you were President elect?"

Obama: "I'm not interested in victory, I'm interested in solving the problem"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dan Dumezich Travels State, Ponders Senate Run Against Birch's Boy

From the Indy Star:

FISHERS -- Former Indiana Rep. Dan Dumezich is talking to Fishers constituents tonight as he decides whether to challenge Sen. Evan Bayh in the 2010 election.

The 49-year-old Republican from Schererville served two terms in the Indiana House of Representatives but did not seek a third term.

He has been exploring a run for U.S. Senate and expects to announce his decision in the next few weeks. He has declined to say which way he might be leaning.

"I think right now the country is going in the wrong direction," Dumezich said. "I think Sen. Bayh is part of the problem, not part of the cure."

If he decides to enter the race, Dumezich will face fellow Republicans Don Bates, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman and Carmel businessman Richard Behney.

Dumezich has toured the state, talking to constituents, and Fishers is his latest stop, said Mario Massillamany, chairman of the Hamilton County Young Republicans.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where Is Baron?

A letter to the editor in the Corydon Democrat:

"This is my town hall meeting for you. And you're not going to tell me how to run my Congressional office. Now, the reason why I don't allow filming is because usually the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position."

Congressman Baron Hill said that when he refused to allow a high school student to record his town hall meeting in Bloomington on Sept. 2. Hill's remark wound up on YouTube in a compromising position anyway, when a portion of the meeting (recorded in full by the local newspaper) was posted on the site.

I'm stunned by Hill's arrogance. First, Hill was talking down to the people who pay his salary and his pension. Then, Hill admits a nakedly political motivation to hide his words from the public and is willing to stifle academic freedom and freedom of speech to do so.

What is Hill trying to hide? Where is Baron?

This statement comes less than a month after speaking of his need to "control" town hall meetings, calling some of his constituents "political terrorists" who want to "blow up" a meeting. Such inflammatory rhetoric is unbecoming of a Congressman. Shame on Baron Hill.

Scott Tibbs

The YouTube video being referred to above, in case you missed it:

Popular Political Label: “Like Ronald Reagan”

From Contentions:

Scott Rasmussen has a new poll out regarding political labels. The public, it seems, doesn’t like any of them. “Liberal” continues its long slide, and only 15 percent now regard it as a positive. “Progressive,” which is what liberal politicians increasingly tend to call themselves to avoid using the ever-more-toxic “liberal,” is now positive to only 32 percent, down from 40 just after the last election.

“Conservative” isn’t doing a whole lot better, also at 32 percent positive, down from 37 percent after the last election.

Indeed, what voters like in terms of political labels, it seems, is “like Ronald Reagan.” Forty-three percent regard that as positive, and only 26 percent think it’s a negative (it was 44 percent positive and 27 percent negative last November).

What’s going on here, I think, is a growing disgust with the political class as a whole, and such a development is not new. In 1994, in a political earthquake that has never been given its due attention in American political history, the public threw out the governmental establishment. Even the Speaker of the House lost his seat, the first time that had happened since 1862. The new Republican majority enacted substantive reforms (but not enough of them) but then grew more interested in re-election than in reform. The people threw them out in 2006. Obama, in 2008, promised a new era, “change you can believe in,” post-partisan government. The people, desperate for exactly that, gave him a bigger percentage of the popular vote than any Democratic president had received since Lyndon Johnson was elected nearly half a century ago.

Instead, Obama has governed as the most partisan president in recent decades (just compare him with Reagan) and seems determined to cram a deeply unpopular health-care “reform” through Congress regardless of popular opinion.

Inside the Beltway, it’s becoming more and more like Versailles in the last days of the ancien rĂ©gime. The inhabitants called it “notre monde,” because it contained everything and everybody they cared about. They were oblivious to the world beyond. I would suggest that the political class—liberals, progressives, conservatives, whatever—in Washington start paying attention to the world beyond.

They might want to remember what happened to those who lived in “notre monde.”

Quote of the Day: Great Moments in Constituent Services from Pete Stark

The quote comes about at about 1:30, in response to a constituent saying, "Congressman, don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining."

"I wouldn’t dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn’t be worth wasting the urine."
- Pete Stark, (D, California)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Democrat Push Poll Finds Popularity for Cap & Trade in Southern Indiana?

The Environmental Defense Fund, which favors cap-and-trade legislation, commissioned a push poll in three conservative districts held by Democrats to build support for a renewed push for cap-and-trade legislation that will raise taxes on energy.

From Who Runs Gov:

It’s become a Beltway article of faith that Blue Dog and conservative Dems have to tread really carefully on health care because their vote on cap and trade earlier this year was tremendously risky in so-called “marginal” districts.

But is this really true? I’ve obtained a new poll done for the Environmental Defense Fund which found that in three conserva-Dem districts, backing cap and trade vote may not be a huge risk, after all. The poll, done by respected Dem firm Garin Hart Yang, found:

* In Blue Dog Dem Heath Shuler’s North Carolina dictrict, cap and trade is supported by 55% of voters, versus 29% opposed.

* In Blue Dog Dem Baron Hill’s Indiana district, cap and trade is supported by 45%, versus 30% opposed.

* In Dem Rep. Tom Perriello’s conservative Virginia district, cap and trade is supported by 42%, versus 25% opposed.

“We went into three districts where conventional wisdom held that Demorats took a tough vote on cap and trade,” Allan Rivlin, a partner with Garin Hart Yang, told me. “The poll shows that it didn’t hurt these members in these districts. It actually helps them. Even in districts that are represented by moderate or conservative Democrats, supporting action on climate change is the popular position to take.”

Garin Hart Yang is the same pollster that does Baron Hill's campaign polling (or at least has in the past).

The full poll is available here (PDF warning) from Politico, which has already started to cite the poll as proof that this tax hike vote would actually be popular in these conservative (and in at least IN-9, coal-dependent) districts.

The question was one of those absurd "do you like clean air" questions that the respondent would have to think for a moment about before realizing that they were being asked about cap-and-trade:

Do you favor or oppose the energy reform legislation to require significant reductions in carbon emissions and to promote the development and use of alternative and renewable energy resources?

There was, as you can see, no mention of the economic consequences of the legislation or the tax hikes and energy cost increases it would cause.

In that respect, what's surprising about this poll is that 30% of Hoosiers were smart enough and informed enough to recognize this push poll for what it was and say that they were opposed to legislation that will raise the average electric bill by $50 a month, among its other issues.

Malia, Not Maya

The First Dad must have been confused:

Bill Clinton Tells All

Political Wire:

Former President Bill Clinton "may be having some second thoughts about the 79 oral history interviews" he gave to historian Taylor Branch during his presidency, USA Today reports.

"The former president has been on the phone with Branch for hours since he got page proofs of Branch's new book, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (Simon & Schuster), running 'hot and cold' about the account based on Branch's recollections of their conversations."

Said Branch: "I think it's fair to say he's nervous."

One of the more interesting incidents Clinton spoke about was about how Boris Yeltsin's "late-night drinking during a visit to Washington in 1995 nearly created an international incident. The Russian president was staying at Blair House, the government guest quarters. Late at night, Clinton told Branch, Secret Service agents found Yeltsin clad only in his underwear, standing alone on Pennsylvania Avenue and trying to hail a cab. He wanted a pizza, he told them, his words slurring."

"The next night, Yeltsin eluded security forces again when he climbed down back stairs to the Blair House basement. A building guard took Yeltsin for a drunken intruder until Russian and U.S. agents arrived on the scene and rescued him."

Another one if how Clinton had a "heated, two-hour discussion" with then-Vice President Gore just after Gore had lost the 2000 presidential election.

"The meeting started politely enough, Clinton recalled. Then Clinton, who felt underutilized during the 2000 campaign, told Gore he could have tilted the election to the Democratic side if he had been dispatched to stump in Arkansas or New Hampshire, both states in which Clinton was popular. Either state would have provided the electoral votes Gore needed to win."

Gore replied that Clinton's scandalous shadow was a 'drag' that had plagued Gore at every step of the campaign. The two 'exploded' at each other in mutual recrimination."

More on the Britton Lawsuit

From the Courier Journal:

Britton family ready to file civil suit over jailer’s death

The family of Christine Britton has notified Harrison County Sheriff Mike Deatrick and county officials that it intends to file a wrongful-death lawsuit in connection with a 28-year-old woman’s fatal shooting last March.

The notice — filed in the form of a letter from Britton family lawyer Greg Clark — states that Christine Britton’s estate intends to seek damages in excess of $700,000 resulting from “wrongful acts” by Harrison County and the sheriff’s department and its employees.

Under Indiana law, anyone who intends to sue a government entity first must send a notice. The government has 90 days to respond in writing of its approval or denial of the claim. If no settlement can be reached, then a lawsuit may be filed.

The notice is the latest development in a case that now is under review by Harrison County prosecutor Dennis Byrd and his chief deputy John Colin. Indiana State Police reports said that John Britton told investigators that Christine Britton had killed herself with a pistol he’d left on the couple’s bed after the two had been arguing.

Neither John Britton nor Harrison County Sheriff Mike Deatrick could be reached for comment. Harrison County Commissioner James Goldman said he empathizes for Christine Britton’s relatives and understands their need “to search for answers,” but he doesn’t think the county commissioners or the county council are culpable.

No criminal charges were filed. Blood evidence at the scene supported John Britton’s assertions that he had left the room moments before Christine Britton had shot herself once through the head.

No blood spatter was found on John Britton boots or clothing, indicating he had not been in the vicinity when the weapon discharged, according to state police reports.

But the woman’s family has pressed for a full investigation, asserting that John Britton’s admissions raise questions about whether he’s responsible for assisting a suicide. Under state law, it’s a felony punishable by two to eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine to assist someone who is known to be suicidal by providing the means for that person to attempt or commit suicide.

Byrd has said previously that he may convene a grand jury to review the allegations. However, the prosecutor said Monday that the lawsuit notice raises concerns for him over whether he and Colin as county employees should handle the criminal case.

Because “that raises some other ethical issues,” Byrd said that he’s asked for guidance from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. The state agency provides research, training and legal counsel to county prosecutors.

Clark said in an interview Monday, meanwhile, that regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, the family will press ahead with the civil wrongful-death action. The claim names the Harrison County commissioners and council, as well as Deatrick and the sheriff’s department.

Each is a target because the family believes the weapon that Christine Britton used to shoot herself was John Britton’s county-issued handgun. Since such weapons must be used only in the line of duty, Clark said, they will argue that John Britton had acted in his capacity as a sheriff’s deputy and county employee.

The law states that an employee acting within the scope of his or her employment can be held liable in certain instances.

Clark’s letter states that Christine Britton was survived by a daughter, a minor from a former relationship for whom Christine Britton was responsible for supporting. The girl’s grandmother and Christine’s mother, Charlotte Hitner, was appointed personal representative of Britton’s estate in Harrison Circuit Court and is expected to pursue the claim, the letter said.

Credit where very due; the Corydon Democrat broke this story last week (despite its weekly publication schedule!).

Mainstream Media Discovery

Mainstream Media Discovery

Obama: What Me? ACORN? Huh?

Alfred E. Obama
The Wall Street Journal:

Only one of the five television networks that interviewed President Obama for their Sunday shows bothered to ask him about Acorn, the left-wing community organizing group whose federal funding was cut off last week by an overwhelming vote in Congress.

"Frankly, it's not something I've followed closely," Mr. Obama claimed, adding he wasn't even aware the group had been the recipient of significant federal funding.

Mr. Obama took great pains to act as if he barely knew about Acorn. In fact, his association goes back almost 20 years. In 1991, he took time off from his law firm to run a voter-registration drive for Project Vote, an Acorn partner that was soon fully absorbed under the Acorn umbrella.

Mr. Obama's success made him a hot commodity on the community organizing circuit. He became a top trainer at Acorn's Chicago conferences. In 1995, he became Acorn's attorney, participating in a landmark case to force the state of Illinois to implement the federal Motor Voter Law. That law's loose voter registration requirements would later be exploited by Acorn employees in an effort to flood voter rolls with fake names.

In 1996, Mr. Obama filled out a questionnaire listing key supporters for his campaign for the Illinois Senate. He put Acorn first (it was not an alphabetical list). In the U.S. Senate, Mr. Obama became the leading critic of Voter ID laws, whose overturn was a top Acorn priority. In 2007, in a speech to Acorn's leaders prior to their political arm's endorsement of his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama was effusive: "I've been fighting alongside of Acorn on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote in Illinois, Acorn was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work."

But the Obama campaign didn't appear eager to discuss the candidate's ties to Acorn. Its press operation vividly denied Mr. Obama had been an Acorn trainer until the New York Times uncovered records demonstrating that he had been. The Obama campaign also gave Citizens Consulting, Inc., an Acorn subsidiary, $832,000 for get-out-the-vote activities in key primary states. In filings with the Federal Election Commission, the Obama campaign listed the payments as "staging, sound, lighting," only correcting the filings after the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review revealed their true nature.

Given his longstanding ties with Acorn, President Obama's protestations of ignorance or disinterest in the group's latest scandal seem preposterous. Here's hoping White House reporters will press the president to clarify just how much he really knows about Acorn and when he knew it.

Shorter WSJ: Mr President, you lie.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Random Thought

It occured to me recently that the Corydon Democrat seldom identifies Harrison County Sheriff Mike Deatrick's political affiliation (or that of his former chiefs, Fischer and Gilley) in their reporting.

Deatrick, of course, is a Democrat. The Corydon Democrat, of course, is owned by the family of late Democratic governor Frank O'Bannon.

Do they think that people already know he's a Democrat? Do they think, given the political aspirations of those from his department, that it doesn't merit being identified? Do they not want people to know? Is the paper so brimming with news that there isn't enough space to identify his political affiliation?

A review of the archives on the Corydon Democrat's website is quite telling. Since this latest series of sheriff scandals began last year, the Corydon Democrat has identified Mike Deatrick's political affiliation twice. Once was in an editorial (written by a Republican).

The other time was when Deatrick had a heart attack and was hospitalized. The Democrat's story recounted Deatrick's political history, and the sheriff's political affiliation was mentioned alongside his margin of victory over his Republican opponent in the last election.

Invariably there are comments on the Corydon Democrat's website in many articles about the sheriff situation where people are asking (quite seriously and sincerely) what the sheriff's political affiliation is, because they genuinely do not know.

And in every article it publishes about this situation, the Corydon Democrat has carefully declined to tell them. Why?

More on Rokita & Redistricting

More on Rokita and Redistricting
Rokita's redistricting website also features this nifty YouTube video, reminiscent of something you'd see on Jay Leno:

I've been very critical of the "Rokita Plan" in an earlier post. As more details of the plan have come out, I've found things in it to like (nesting districts and following existing geographical boundaries as much as possible, for example) and things in it to dislike (prohibiting the use of political data, which I don't think is practical, and the use of taxpayer dollars in the plan).

Gerrymandering is one of those ugly things in democracy. Nobody likes it. I'm sure its poll numbers are terrible. But you'll never see it up there high on the list of issues voters are concerned about, and I'm fairly certain that few people (if any) have ever gone into a voting booth saying that so-and-so has engaged in gerrymandering and they're going to vote for the other guy, or this incumbent benefits from gerrymandering and so they're going to vote for his opponent.

Unfortunately, voters don't think that way. Would that they did; American democracy would be the stronger for it. But they don't. For that reason, it's probably not a springboard issue for anybody (Todd Rokita, who proposed it, or Mitch Daniels, who has said he will veto unfair maps this next time around when they are drawn).

Now, Todd Rokita seems to believe that the prohibition on the use of political data can be enforced. I'm not so sure. His suggestion seems to be a series of tests, the violation of which would be grounds for lawsuits in court to have the map thrown out and the legislature forced to go back and draw it again. This would be similar to how lawsuits can be waged if redistricting maps in various southern states violate things like the Civil Rights Act.

Those measures could just be minor hurdles that clever gerrymandering cartographers would have to subtly work around. They might ensure maps more fair and processes more fair than what we have now (which wouldn't be hard), but they also wouldn't be 100% fair either.

There are lots of Republicans who would like to return the favor done to them by Pat Bauer and the Democrats in the redistricting of 2001, when the Democrats drew House maps hugely unfriendly to Republicans, consigned multiple Republican incumbents to a single Congressional district, and tried to punish Steve Buyer for his involvement in Bill Clinton's impeachment by drawing him into a geographically-deformed district that included fellow Republican Congressman Brian Kerns (whom Buyer beat in the primary).

Turn the other cheek is not in the vocabulary of many politicians in either party; it's unlikely that Rokita's effort to get them to do so will win him many friends.

Anyway, there may be a legal construct that could surmount the problems and issues I see with banning the use of political data. I could be convinced; I'm just not convinced right now.

And then there's the issue with the cost of this whole thing, which was answered by Todd Rokita's chief of staff in a comment left at a blog post over at Hoosier Access.

In Tuesday’s Indianapolis Star article, the cost of the Rethinking Redistricting initiative was identified at a total of $110,000 – $50,000 for the development of the conceptual maps and $60,000 for the development of the website, creative, collateral materials, etc…

The key thing here is that the Secretary of State’s office spent no new money. As our office has usually been able to do, we were scheduled to give back over $300,000 from our budget to the state’s general fund. Instead, we reverted almost $210,000 and set the rest aside for this project, all blessed by the State Budget Agency.

I'm glad that they spent no new money on this, but I'd rather (given the state's revenue shortfall problems and already-tight budgets) that they spent no money at all.

But to fully complete the picture of the true cost of this initiative, there’s even more you should know. The $50,000 is a “contractual not to exceed” amount and the true cost of the maps will come in at a fraction, approximately two-thirds.

That's good to know also, but even then some $33,000 of our money was still spent on maps that could have been drawn at no cost to the taxpayer in an afternoon by an existing SOS staffer with Excel, access to past election results on the Secretary of State's website and Census population statistics on Wikipedia, and a computer with MS Paint.

Maybe I'm in the wrong profession. Perhaps I should give up blogging and seek out expensive government contracts drawing easy maps like this.

In regards to the $60,000 allocated to getting the message out to voters and taxpayers, less than half was used for the development of the Rethinking Redistricting website. The remaining amount was used to develop the necessary resources to help better alert and inform the public on this matter.

Again, it's still too much money given the state's budget situation. The SOS already has a website and a variety of resources to get this message out to the public. Why could this have not been done in-house as a part of the existing SOS website?

In his continued commitment to fiscal stewardship, Secretary Rokita turned in a biennial operating budget earlier this year for the Secretary of State’s office that is the same, unadjusted for inflation, as the budget approved for the Secretary of State in 1987. Under Secretary Rokita’s leadership, the Secretary of State’s office has been able to reduce costs by adopting innovative business practices and technologies to deliver services more efficiently. In fact, we were able to reduce the physical footprint of government by reducing the physical office size by over 30,000 feet this year alone.

Given Rokita's excellent fiscal stewardship (and he stands in good company with many other statewide officials in this regard, it must be said), why spend this money at all when it could be done inside his office with existing resources? It's a puzzling change in that regard.

The reality is that the redistricting process can and should be improved through a core set of criteria, increased transparency of the process, and the use of Hoosier common sense. It’s not rocket science, as the conceptual maps clearly show. That’s not to say the conceptual maps are the ideal but that they are at least a roadmap to something a whole lot better than what currently exists today.

This is correct. That much fairer maps could be drawn without spending so much in the way of taxpayer dollars (or any at all) only serves to further highlight the flaws in existing maps and the problems inherent in the current redistricting system. The ease with which more fair maps could be drawn (in an interesting irony) strengthens the case for redistricting reform, rather than weakens it.

Is Rokita's plan the answer? I'm not convinced. It has started the discussion, though. Credit where due; Todd Rokita has started the conversation, and it's a conversation Hoosiers need to have.

Another Harrison Sheriff Lawsuit

Filed on Friday:

The Corydon Democrat has learned that an estate has been opened for the purpose of bringing a wrongful death action against Harrison County Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick, the Harrison County Commissioners and the Harrison County Council in Harrison County Circuit Court.

Greg Clark, an attorney representing Christine Britton's family, confirmed the notice was filed yesterday (Sept. 17) on behalf of the estate of Christine Britton. Britton allegedly shot herself on March 29, using a pistol belonging to and provided by her husband John Britton, who is a police officer with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.

Christine Britton's estate sent a Notice of Tort Claim, putting Harrison County on notice that it plans to bring a wrongful death action against it for the woman's death. By law, when a party plans to bring legal action against a government entity, the party must file a Notice of Tort Claim. The county has 90 days to respond to either accept, deny, and/or negotiate the claim.


Do You Feel Stimulated?

From Power Line comes a progress report on the "stimulus" package:

The economy is so stimulated that all of twelve percent of employers intend to add jobs before the end of the year.

Boy, that's getting our money's worth, right?

Democrat Rules of Civility and Decorum

Even Huffington Post Notes Baron's “This Is My Town Hall Meeting” Blow Up

They've done two articles about Baron's town halls. One about the one held in New Albany, and another about the one held in Bloomington, including mention of the YouTube video.

Still virtually zero coverage from local media within the 9th Congressional District.

Imagine that.

Obama's Convenient Fantasies

Michael Barone:

The resignation over the Labor Day weekend of White House "green jobs" czar Van Jones tells you some interesting things about the Obama administration. One of them is that a man who proclaimed himself a "communist" in the 1990s and signed 9/11 "truther" petitions suggesting Bush administration complicity in the Sept. 11 attacks was considered fit for a White House appointment. Liberal columnists have been attacking Republicans because some of their voters are "birthers," believers in the absurd charge that President Obama was not born in Hawaii and thus is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. But they have failed to identify any "birther" who occupied a position in the Republican firmament comparable to that of "truther" Van Jones in the Obama administration.

Another interesting thing about Jones is that the administration seems enamored of his "green jobs" concept. There's an understandable political reason. Legislation to restrict carbon emissions that is supported by the administration would undoubtedly kill a large number of jobs by increasing the cost of energy, and so you can see why its advocates might want to argue that there will be a compensating number of "green jobs" created -- at least if the government spends a lot of money on them.

But this sounds like fantasy. If there were money to be made in green jobs, private investors would be creating them already. In fact big corporations like General Electric are scrambling to position themselves as green companies, gaming legislation and regulations so they can make profits by doing so. Big business is ready to create green jobs -- if government subsidizes them. But the idea that green jobs will replace all the lost carbon-emitting jobs is magical thinking.

Obama's approach to health care legislation, unless he makes a major course correction in his speech to the joint session of Congress tonight, is of a piece with his hiring of Van Jones. By ceding the task of writing legislation to congressional Democratic leaders and committee chairmen, he has been following a "no enemies to the left" strategy.

By refusing to rule out the government option -- which its architects see as the road to a single-payer government insurance system -- Obama has prevented the emergence of a set of policies that have a chance of passing the Senate. The Senate Republicans in the "gang of six" who have been negotiating with Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus are not going to agree on a bill without assurance from the White House that they won't get rolled by hard-left House Democrats in conference committee.

Yesterday Baucus came out with his own plan, which includes a tax on high-value health insurance policies. But this is likely to be rejected by the Left, by labor unions that have negotiated such benefits from employers, and by members of Congress from states like New York, where, because of state policies, almost all health insurance costs that much.

There is an element of convenient fantasy as well in Obama's health care statements to date. We are going to save money by spending money. We are going to solve our fiscal problems with a program that will increase the national debt by $1,000,000,000,000 over a decade. We are going to guarantee you can keep your current insurance with a bill that encourages your employer to stop offering it.

The list goes on. We are going to improve health care for seniors by cutting $500,000,000,000 from Medicare. We aren't going to insure illegal aliens, except that we won't have any verification provisions to see that they can't apply and get benefits.

Most politicians like to promise voters all good things at once. Democrats got in the habit of doing this over the past 14 years when they could not pass legislation by themselves. Van Jones' moment in the White House is over. Exposure of his record in conservative media made him politically unacceptable, even though mainstream outlets like the New York Times ignored the issue entirely.

The Democrats' health insurance bills remain under consideration, and with large majorities in both houses, passage of some bill cannot be ruled out. But August town hall meetings and national polls have put the Democrats on the defensive. No-enemies-to-the-left and convenient fantasies may work in Chicago. They don't work so well when your constituency is the whole United States.

Missile Defense

Missile Defense
It takes a special kind of incompetence in international affairs to break a signed agreement with Poland (and the Czech Republic) on the seventieth anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland, especially when the deal is viewed by the Poles as a guarantee against Russian revanchism.

It's even worse when he personally publicly pledged to uphold that agreement on missile defense on April 5 of this year:

So let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven.

It's like a poker tell.

Any time that Obama says "let me be clear" it means that he is about to be anything but, or is about to tell a lie.

Geraghty, who first noted during the campaign last year that all statements by Obama come with an expiration date, puts it well:

Not only do all statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date, but the "let me be clear" preface is a signal that they probably won't last the year.

I wonder what the Polish community up around South Bend thinks of Obama selling out their homeland. Will Democrats among them still applaud the mention of his name at next year's Dyngus Day?

Make Mine Freedom

Hat tip: Angry White Boy.

Predictable Move

Predictable Move

Quote of the Day

If bullshit were currency, Joe Biden would be a billionaire.

- George W. Bush, as quoted (perhaps accurately, perhaps not) in a new book

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Website

Meet the Czars

Check it out.

Garrison: Curse You, Red Baron!

Greg Garrison turned his wit and his pen on Baron Hill late last month.

Now, he returns to the subject once again in the pages of Human Events:

After earning the moniker “Bunker Hill” for his mystifying disappearing act at the end of the last congressional session, Congressman Baron Hill (D-Ind.) has finally surfaced -- twice. He conducted two town hall meetings, one down in the extreme south across the river from Louisville in Jeffersonville and the other in what should have been a very safe location, Bloomington, the home of Indiana University. Well, all did not go as planned by the self-proclaimed "Blue Dog.” In both locations according to my patriots-in-the-room, at least half those in attendance came to express their objections to the whole healthcare boondoggle.

Recovering lawyer Rick Hofstetter reported,

The crowd looked to be a representative cross section of Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District -- students, seniors, kids, grey Hippies, young families. Several carried protest signs, both favoring and opposing government-managed health care. A suspicious number of those in line in front of me were clad in blue t-shirts bearing a quote putatively uttered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (I never knew King to have been so interested in health care reform.) The Blue Shirts were apparently the Baron’s henchmen.

But what did the Elusive One have to say on this crucial issue; and did he use the Blue Shirts as his straight men to keep the event under control?

Well, it was apparently much more structured than some of the boisterous events we have all enjoyed around the country. In fact, the Baron strictly forbade anyone from recording or photographing anything inside the room -- that’s right, I said “forbade.” One IU journalism student expressed her objection to this edict, but after she so complained a second time he showed his notorious temper as the effete representative scolded the kid, “This is my meeting, and we will run it by my rules.” I’m not kidding, that’s what he said. Of course the wise one didn’t count on the utterly predictable reaction by the crowd that then proceeded to cat calls and an explosion of sound that drowned him out, public address system and all. From the back one voice was heard to say “Hey, you work for us!” More cheering.

Towing the party line and continuing to demonstrate his disdain for the facts, Hill had his people passing out materials identified as myth-busters intended to debunk all those pesky complaints about the Obamacare “public option,” taxpayer-funded abortions, rationing, and the like. And of course the Baron kept to that script as well, assuring all that there was no chance we would lose our private coverage, that care would at no time ever be subject to restrictions or rationing, and that somehow all this new taxpayer-funded stuff wouldn’t cost a dime. Again, reporter Hofstetter:

One woman, who stated that some things in health care needed fixed, begged the Baron to show proof that if this health care was passed, that she would be guaranteed to be able to keep her current health insurance which she is very, very happy with. After a short exchange with this woman, Hill’s final response was “Trust me you can always keep your own insurance.” Yes, this guy actually said “Trust me” and the crowd exploded in laughter.

All in all it was not a good time for the Red Baron; but unlike his colleagues around the country who stood there and took it for what seemed (to them, anyway) like an eternity, Hill stayed for the announced hour and then was gone, his Crimson Fokker idling in the parking lot, the trademark white scarf blowing in the hot air created by either by the exhaust or by the pilot, not sure which. He dodged and weaved, bloviated vacuous promises and stayed right where the Chosen One told him to stay.

So we head back into that one always-dangerous time -- when Congress is in session -- with these cosmically high stakes weighted and rigged by the likes of Hill of Indiana, formerly-principled representatives who are eager to sacrifice their long track records as moderates to avoid the wrath of Ms. Pelosi and The Chosen One.

Hill steadfastly promised to support cap and trade, zealously defended socialized medicine, and apparently never looked back at the angry throng of those he abandoned, all shaking their fists at his perfidy as the Fokker lifted off and disappeared over the horizon on its eastward journey.

I think that it would be hilarious for someone to do some sort of Photoshop of Baron Hill in a red Fokker Triplane, with Obama logo roundels on the wings, perhaps strafing a wheelchair of some senior whose Medicare he's about to cut.

Dubya Volunteered to Go to Vietnam

And CBS knew it, but ran the false story back in 2004 saying he shirked his duty anyway.

Power Line quotes from the inquiry done into the CBS report:

Mapes [the producer of the Bush National Guard story] had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush "did want to go to Vietnam but others went first." Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify.

They add:

Mapes, a well-known liberal at CBS News, has always contended that she had no agenda, that she was not out to get President Bush. But if she knew that George Bush had volunteered for service in Vietnam - as the CBS outside panel clearly concludes -- she obviously had an obligation to share that with her viewers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Charlie White Files for Secretary of State

From email:


Fishers, IN September 14, 2009-After 10 months of touring nearly 70 counties in the Hoosier State as an exploratory candidate, Charlie White, Republican Fishers Town Councilman, has announced his intention to run for Indiana Secretary of State (SOS) in 2010. Todd Rokita, who is currently in the SOS office, is term limited from seeking this office again.

Charlie White stated, “During his time, Secretary Rokita has led remarkable and innovative changes ranging from Voter ID laws to aggressively prosecuting companies that would try to scam Hoosiers out of their hard earned savings. In choosing to run for this office, I intend to continue to build upon his legacy. There is still much more we can do to make our elections better, our investments safer and our state a better place in which to do business.”

Charlie, who resides in Fishers with his son William, currently is serving his third term as town councilor for the Town of Fishers. In that role on the Fishers Town Council, he has tackled areas such as economic development, public safety, road improvements and parks development as Fishers' population has nearly doubled to just over 68,000 residents in the last 10 years. Fishers, which is Northeast of Indianapolis and located in Hamilton County, has been named the 10th best place to raise a family in the United States by Money Magazine in 2008 and 11th best place to relocate in the United States by Forbes Magazine in 2009.

Charlie has been a practicing attorney in the public and private sector for over 14 years and graduated from Wabash College in 1992 followed by his law degree from Valparaiso School of Law in 1995.

Charlie states, "As I have traveled the state, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support that I have received from Hoosiers. It's amazing how great the people of our state are and how they respond to the principals of good, common sense plans to move our state forward."

Charlie will continue to travel throughout the state to earn support for his candidacy and he asks those interested in helping or learn more about him, to visit his website at

Baron on ObamaCare: “It's Time to Get It Done”

Baron Hill and Barack ObamaFrom the Madison Courier (notice, no mention at all of Baron's YouTube blow up):

U.S. Rep. Baron Hill liked what he heard from President Barack Obama on Wednesday, and hopes it is the impetus for finally getting a health care law.

"I hope the speech will reinvigorate the members of Congress and the public why we need to do this," Hill, D-Indiana, said after the speech.

Obama proposed a few new aspects for a health care bill.

One of the new ideas was a fee on insurance companies for their most expensive policies. Saying that such a fee would be "reasonable" because insurance companies would gain millions of new customers if coverage of everyone became a requirement, Hill said the fee idea was "interesting."

What Baron and Obama call a "fee" is in fact a tax increase that will be passed on to those holding these so-called "gold-plated" or "Cadillac" insurance policies.

Who tends to hold such policies? Union members that tend to vote Democratic, that's who. They're about to be asked to bend over, hope for the best, and get ready for some change.

"I want to know more about it in detail," said Hill, who represents Indiana's 9th Congressional District.

How utterly unsurprising that a tax increase is suggested, even on traditionally loyal Democratic voter groups, and Baron Hill is ready to follow Obama and implement it.

Obama said and then repeated that his health care reform plan, which incorporates many of the provisions of legislation already before Congress, would not increase the deficit. That resonated with Hill, who is a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats in the House.

"For a Blue Dog like me, and all the Blue Dogs, that's a very important component of his proposal," Hill said.

We're going to add millions of people to the rolls of some government insurance plan without spending any more money. In fact, Baron appears to believe that we're going to pay for this scheme by expanding government while making government more efficient. That's something that's probably never happened before in American history.

Hill said he also liked how Obama "reached out to both Democrats and Republicans."

By calling Republicans liars and getting upset when doing so angered one Republican enough to call Obama on a lie later on.

Hill said "now is the hard part" as Congress fleshes out what Obama outlined and tries to make a bill that both houses can support.

Obama's overall message is one Hill said he shares.

"I think what he's saying is the status quo has to change," Hill said. "I've adopted that as my mantle as well. ... Every single time I return to Indiana, people talk about health care. It's time to act, not give in to these rumors. ... It's time to get it done."

When it comes to ObamaCare, you now have Baron Hill's answer:

"Get it done."

Finally... Somebody in the Media Calls Baron Out on His Town Hall Blow Up

A brief editorial segment that aired on the FOX 41 news, over in Louisville:

The 9/12 Protests

Ambinder takes a (surprisingly, or at least relatively for him, un-spun) look at the large protests against the Obama administration in Washington last Saturday. I don't agree with most of it, but it's still worth reading.

Quotes of the Day

In the Court's view, in seeking leave to dismiss the charge against [liberal blogger Andrew] Sullivan, the United States Attorney is not being faithful to a cardinal principle of our legal system, i.e., that all persons stand equal before the law and are to be treated equally in a court of justice once judicial processes are invoked. It is quite apparent that Mr. Sullivan is being treated differently from others who have been charged with the same crime in similar circumstances...

In short, the Court sees no legitimate reason why Mr. Sullivan should be treated differently, or why the Violation Notice issued to him should be dismissed. The only reasons given for the dismissal flout the bedrock principle of our legal system that all persons stand equal before the law.

- United States Magistrate Judge Robert Collings, rebuking the United States Attorney for dropping marijuana possession charges against Andrew Sullivan after the apparent intervention of the Obama Justice Department

Power Line adds:

No one has been a more uncritical cheerleader for the Obama administration than liberal blogger Andrew Sullivan. Now, Sullivan has gotten his reward, courtesy of Obama's Department of Justice.

Sullivan was caught smoking marijuana in a National Park and was prosecuted, consistent with the usual policy of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. But Sullivan's pull with the Obama administration got him a sweetheart deal: the U.S. Attorney decided to drop the charges, even though there evidently is no doubt about Sullivan's guilt. The issue here isn't whether marijuana possession should be illegal, or should be prosecuted. It is illegal, and the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts does routinely prosecute such cases. But not Sullivan: Barack Obama and Eric Holder paid him off for his slavish devotion.

What is going on here is that Barack Obama's Justice Department is rewarding a faithful political supporter by quashing a criminal prosecution that could adversely affect Sullivan's application for U.S. citizenship. In less than eight months, President Obama has corrupted the Department of Justice to a degree that has not been seen in our lifetimes, if ever. In Obama's Justice Department, the type of justice you get depends on how valuable you are to the Democratic Party.

Jack Webb Schools Barack Obama

“Americans Are a Bunch of Wusses.”

So say the Canadians and the Brits:

Insulting Queen Elizabeth is one thing; insulting Gordon Brown is practically an obligation. Disrespecting the former is an act of treason; disrespecting the latter and his office, a necessity: Every Wednesday, Brown must endure Prime Minister’s Questions, during which his enemies in Parliament grill him. Prime Minister’s Questions may not be the be all and end all, but it affords an opportunity for “telling truth to power” that does not exist in the regal American system.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Burning Through the Money

Burning Through the Money

Monday, September 14, 2009

Good News! Birch's Boy to Become Obama's New Best Friend, Have High Hopes to Replace Joe Biden on 2012 Democratic Ticket

Evan Bayh and Barack Obama
Someday, Evan Bayh hopes to grow up and become not a real boy (that'd be asking too much for a guy made of plastic and hair spray), but a vice president.

According to the Courier-Journal, Bayh is now Obama's Best Friend Forever.

They even made it the title of the article:

Bayh becoming Obama’s new BFF

It’s not the vice presidency, but Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., is much in the thoughts of President Barack Obama these days.

The reason is the health care reform debate in Congress.

Bayh and 16 other centrist Democratic senators he organized this year as the Moderate Dems Working Group are absolutely critical to the success or failure of Obama’s centerpiece domestic initiative.

The last time Bayh got this much attention from Obama was last summer, when the Hoosier senator made the short list of potential vice presidential running mates.

So far, Bayh and his centrist colleagues have gone public only with what concerns them about White House plans to overhaul the health care system.

The day after Obama’s Wednesday address to a joint session of Congress, Bayh and his group were behind closed doors with the president for more than an hour in the White House’s Roosevelt Room.

“How do we make health insurance more affordable for middle-class families and small businesses and do it in a way that’s fiscally responsible and doesn’t increase the deficit? That’s by far and away the biggest concern,” Bayh said in an interview with Gannett reporter Maureen Groppe after the meeting. “Second is the role of government in accomplishing that.”

According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, the face-to-face presidential meeting with the senators was intended to talk through ideas “and figure out how we can continue to move this process forward.”

After the meeting, the White House issued a “readout” saying the session was “positive and constructive.”

“The president expressed his appreciation for the senators’ support and encouragement, and he thanked them for the constructive suggestions they offered for making sure that legislation provides more stability to those with insurance, provides access to insurance for those who don’t have it, and lowers the cost of health care for families, businesses, and governments,” the White House statement said. “The president urged the senators to continue to come to him with suggestions and feedback as the process moves forward.”

Isn't that just so cute? They make such a nice pair.

I bet it warms the hearts of sensible Hoosiers everywhere to think that a few words of flattery and whispered sweet nothings will again awaken, perhaps, the vice presidential urge in Birch's boy and get him to salute nicely and toe the party line when it comes to The One's plan to have the government take over health care.

I mean, Obama must be serious about being Best Friends Forever, right?

He wouldn't love Evan and leave him, like he did when he picked Joe Biden last time, right?


Indy Star Does Snow Job on Baron Hill's “This Is My Town Hall Meeting” Blow Up

Baron HillI've already posted about the extraordinary efforts by old-line media in the 9th Congressional District to avoid reporting on Baron Hill's town hall blow up.

The Indy Star at least did mention the video, but decided to avoid commenting on its impact (its huge viewership, for example) or saying much about its specifics. They preferred, instead, to swallow the furious spinning on the story from Baron's media handler.

They certainly didn't ask any questions about the legality of Baron's taping policy or bother to examine more closely such potentially interesting details.

On the plus side, they did mention his appearance in Michael Moore's new movie.

Everyone should also know about that.

The Indy Star:

Congressman Hill caught on tape
Baron Hill's close-up, from the left and the right

U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, star of the silver screen.

Hill, in fact, had two featured roles recently: one welcomed, the other, not so much.

The Southern Indiana Democrat is in the trailer for the new Michael Moore movie, "Capitalism."

And he's in a YouTube video placed there courtesy of his fans at the National Republican Congressional Committee, who are gunning to win his seat back.

Katie Moreau, Hill's spokeswoman, said his cameo in Moore's movie about the economic meltdown, which opens Oct. 2, came about by accident.

Hill, she said, was walking on Capitol Hill, and talking with his wife on his cell phone, when Moore stopped him.

"You know who Michael Moore is, don't you, Betty?" Hill asked his wife. "The film director? He's filming me right now."

Moore asks Hill: "How did this collapse happen?"

"I got home on a Friday. Everything was just fine. I called back after my plane landed in Indiana, and all of a sudden we've got this crisis on our hands," Hill told him.

It's sure to be a box-office smash.

Not winning such rave reviews, though, is the video posted by the Republicans on YouTube.

The video was taken by the Bloomington Herald-Times at a town hall meeting Hill held. During it, a young woman who is called on by Hill says she is a journalism student and questions why she was told she cannot film the event.

"We have school projects," she tells Hill. "Why can't I film this? Isn't this my right?"

"This is my town hall meeting, and I set the rules, and I've had these rules," Hill begins, before being interrupted by boos from the crowd. "Let me repeat that one more time. This is my town hall meeting for you, and you're not going to tell me how to run my congressional office."

The reason he doesn't allow filming, except by credentialed media, "is because usually the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position," Hill says.

No kidding.

Moreau said she tried to talk to the young woman, asking to see any university ID or letter from a professor that would verify she had a school project, and offering to arrange a one-on-one interview with Hill. The woman, who showed no ID, declined.

As of this posting, the video has been viewed almost 163,000 times.

Baron Spins on His Terrible Summer

When you've gone and made an ass out of yourself on a YouTube video that's now been viewed by more people than will likely ever again vote for you, what's left for a member of Congress to do?

Go make an ass out of yourself on YouTube again, that's what, and tell some outrageous lies:

“America Is Never More than a Terrorist Attack Away from Being Dick Cheney”

The Economist:

LIKE Jason in the "Friday the 13th" movie franchise, Dick Cheney is back again, spurring indignation at the White House and fueling renewed sparring about claims of torture and the efficacy of the interrogation techniques used on terror suspects in the years after the September 11th attacks. Although the Barack Obama faithful in America and scores of millions of Europeans don't like to hear it—and will refuse to accept it—Dick Cheney is America. Or, at least, America is never more than a terrorist attack away from being Dick Cheney.

Of course, American public opinion is not monolithic, and many Americans vehemently oppose unleashing "enhanced interrogation techniques" against terror suspects. But those Americans are, at most, a sizeable minority. Public opinion—even on an issue as odious as torture—is influenced by events, and nothing drives people to embrace their least progressive inclinations like terrorism. How quickly we seem to forget that as recently as four years ago, 61% of Americans supported the use of torture in at least some circumstances. Even Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor and certainly no Cheney neocon, saw it as an ugly but occasional necessity.

One of my colleagues argued in this space last week that the newly-released CIA documents did nothing to settle the dispute over past interrogation techniques. I would add that the newly-launched Justice Department investigation—morally right or wrong, politically smart or foolish—which so inflamed Mr Cheney’s ire will do little more than pour more petrol on the flames. And the broad majority of Americans who had no problem with torture while the World Trade Center was still a heap of rubble in lower Manhattan—and had no qualms about invading Iraq and Afghanistan until American casualties mounted, and still, really, terribly, don’t care much about civilian deaths from Predator strikes on Afghan and Pakistani villages—are just a terrorist attack away from assailing Mr Obama as weak, feckless and incapable of protecting the country.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11 Chronology

I originally posted this a couple of years back over at Hoosier Access.

For a long time, I subscribed to CNN's breaking news email alerts (at least I did until they started considering Paris Hilton breaking news but not things that were happening in Washington or on Wall Street, so I unsubscribed).

Eight years ago today, I got a great many breaking news emails.

I have them saved, and rereading them is a chilling and haunting account of that day.

I have every email saved from September 11 to the fall of Kabul, but I will repost the September 11 ones and those for the immediately following days.

I repost them today, because I think that we should all read and remember. It is too easy to forget and too simple to exploit.

Think back to that day.

Remember what you were doing.

What you saw.

What you felt.

What you thought in those chaotic early hours when nothing was clear and everything was surreal and the fog of war obscured for the first time in almost two centuries three locations on American soil.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 06:55:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Iraq claims U.S. spy plane shot down; Pentagon confirms losing contact with unmanned craft. Details to come.

I include this only out of a sense of irony; Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks, but it was the first breaking news email I got that day.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 08:52:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- World trade center damaged; unconfirmed reports say a plane has crashed into tower. Details to come.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:21:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Second plane crashes into World Trade Center.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:23:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- FBI investigating reports of foul play in World Trade Center plane crashes, according to the Associated Press. Details to come.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:32:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Sources tell CNN one of two planes that crashed into World Trade Center was an American Airlines 767.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:42:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- President Bush calls plane crashes at World Trade Center a terrorist act.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:46:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- White House evactuated. Details to come.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:47:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Fire reported on National Mall in Washington

The cameras that the networks use are all mounted on a single building, and from their perspective the smoke coming from where the plane had struck the Pentagon appeared to either be coming from the National Mall or from the State Department.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:55:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- CNN confirms a plane hit the Pentagon.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:45:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Significant fire at the Pentagon. Details to come.

A personal insert here. I woke up sometime between the time that I received the above email and the time that I received the next one. I had left my computer on overnight with Outlook Express open. I had hit the snooze button on the alarm several times that morning, as is the habit of college students, and was interrupted frequently by the bleeping noise that Outlook made when I got emails. When I woke up, I found that I had received no less than forty emails in my inbox. (These include other breaking news alerts from other sites that I have sadly since lost since then.)

When I saw the number of waiting messages, I was first convinced that someone was spamming the university email system again, as had happened in the past. When I realized that the messages waiting were breaking news, I thought perhaps that the bottom had fallen out of the stock market. When I started to read them, I started to think that someone had hacked into the CNN Breaking News email system and was playing a cruel joke. This was ruled out when I started to read the same breaking news messages from other sources.

I turned the television in my dorm room on just in time to see the first tower fall, and the world change, as mentioned below.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:03:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- One of World Trade Center towers collapses; fire forces evacuation of State Department

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:13:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- United Nations evacuated.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:38:01 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Car bombing at the State Department, The Associated Press reports.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:44:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Pentagon monitoring second suspected hijacked plane.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:50:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Fighter scrambled amid reports of second plane headed for Pentagon.

They wouldn't make it in time.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:26:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- FAA diverting all U.S.-bound international flights to Canada.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:39:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Part of Pentagon collapses

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:30:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Second World Trade Center tower collapses in Manhattan

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 11:18:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- NTSB confirms plane crashes near Pittsburgh

I'll take this opportunity to say that if you haven't seen the movie United 93, you should.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 12:37:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Government sources tell CNN President Bush is not returning to Washington.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 13:27:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Terrorists struck the United States Tuesday morning in harrowing, widespread attacks that included at least three commercial jet crashes into significant buildings.

In the first attack, a plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan shortly before 9 a.m., followed by another plane into the second tower about 20 minutes later. Both towers later collapsed.

About an hour later, a plane crashed into the Pentagon, part of which later collapsed.

American Airlines told CNN that it lost two planes in "tragic accidents:" Flight 11 from Boston with 81 passengers and 11 crew aboard and Flight 77 from Washington Dulles airport with 58 passengers and six crew aboard. Both planes were en route to Los Angeles.

United Airlines Flight 93 airliner headed from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, crashed near Somerset, Pennsylvania -- police said initial reports indicated no survivors. United also confirmed the crash of Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles.

The Pentagon, the White House, the State Department, the Justice Department, the Capitol, the CIA and all other government buildings in Washington evacuated.

President Bush cancelled an appearance in Florida to return to Washington, calling the crashes "apparent terrorist attacks" and "a national tragedy."

In the first ever national ground stop of aircraft, all flights nationwide have been stopped at their departure airports. All international flights were diverted to Canada.

Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, said in reaction to the news of the terror attacks that "we want to tell the American children that Afghanistan feels your pain and we hope that the courts find justice."

In New York, more than 10,000 rescue personnel rushed to the scene. The entire downtown area of Manhattan was evacuated as far north as Rockefeller Center, according to an official at an emergency command post.

When you read the statement of the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan above, I want you to think for a moment about the prior American responses to terrorist attacks. How they were treated as matters for the courts and for law enforcement. An unusual coincidence that he should urge that the courts find justice, I should think.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 14:23:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- In what appeared to be coordinated acts of
terrorism, two jets crashed into the twin towers of the World
Trade Center, collapsing them Tuesday while another aircraft
crashed into the Pentagon. Hundreds were injured or killed, if
not more.

A fourth aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania with 45 people on

President Bush said the United States would "hunt down and
punish" the terrorists responsible. U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell cut short a trip to Peru to return to the United
States. He also vowed, "The U.S. government will find out who
is responsible."

The U.S. military went on full alert. Two aircraft carriers
left the Naval base in Norfolk, Va., in response to the
attacks. At the Pentagon, witnesses said a plane crashed into
what is known as the "Army Corridor," the building collapsed
and there wase an undetermined number of casualties.

Bush, who wound up an tour in Florida that was to focus on
education, did not return to Washington out of concerns for his
safety but flew to an Air Force base in Louisiana. Later, Air
Force One took from Barksdale Air Force Base, its destination

Officials in Washington said a "Continuation of Government"
plan had been activated. The activation involves a fortified
facility at Mount Weather, Va. There was no word whether any of
the U.S. leadership or ranking military officers had been taken
to the facility, but Congressional leaders were said to be
assembling outside Washington.

The city of Washington declared a state of emergency.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 14:36:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- FAA says no commercial air traffic in U.S. until at least noon EDT tomorrow.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 15:28:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Public transportation in all five of New York
City's boroughs has been restored, Mayor Rudy Giuliani said

Operation had been halted after the apparent terrorist attacks
on the city's World Trade Center buildings.

It took less than six hours to restore public transport.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 15:59:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy is sending ships to sea to
protect the U.S. East Coast from further attack and to reduce
the number of ships in port.

Two aircraft carriers -- the USS George Washington and the USS
John F. Kennedy -- are headed for the coast off New York.

Five other ships -- guided missile destroyers and frigates --
are also headed to sea.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 16:38:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The New York Stock Exchange will be closed
Wednesday, officials said.

The American Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and the New York Stock
Exchange will all be closed.

Trading never began Tuesday after a terrorist attack on the
World Trade Center.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 16:59:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The National Guard is mobilizing all troops
in the New York City area.

Maj. Jose Obregon of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry told CNN
that soldiers are being called to their home bases, where they
are to stand by until they receive further orders.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 17:32:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Third World Trade Center tower, 47-story building 7, collapses. Details soon.

This incident, of course, is the central point upon which so many of the September 11 conspiracy theories rest.

All of eight and a half hours after the first plane struck the first tower.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 17:51:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator
and lawyer, alerted her husband, Solicitor General Ted Olson,
that the plane she was on was being hijacked Tuesday morning,
Ted Olson told CNN.

A short time later the plane crashed into the Pentagon. Barbara
Olson is presumed to have died in the crash.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 18:02:04 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Explosions rock Kabul, Afghanistan, CNN's Nic Robertson reports. Details soon.

Given the time between the attacks and these explosions, the talking heads on television began to immediately speculate that these were B-2 bomber strikes on Afghanistan.

It did not take long at all for people to draw the conclusion that the most powerful nation on Earth had been attacked by a group being harbored by the world's worst hellhole.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 18:07:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The first-ever grounding of all flights in
the United States will remain in effect until at least noon EDT
Wednesday due to security concerns following Tuesday's
hijackings of airliners that were then crashed into buildings,
the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 18:36:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- White House spokesman says President Bush did not order strike on Afghanistan. Details soon.

The talking heads chattering about air strikes all looked foolish right about here.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 19:07:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Afghanistan opposition claims responsibility for Kabul explosions. Details soon.

This would be the Northern Alliance, which we would soon ally with to overthrow the Taliban.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 19:45:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. General Service Administration
will reopen its federal buildings in Washington and all other
regions -- except those in the New York City area -- on
Wednesday, said Hap Connors, an agency spokesman.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 19:50:04 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- New York City reports at least 78 police officers missing, 200 firefighters presumed dead.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 20:23:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The nation's first-ever groundstop will
remain in effect until at least noon EDT Wednesday due to
security concerns following Tuesday's hijackings of airliners
that were then crashed into buildings, the Federal Aviation
Administration said.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 20:36:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Bush: "Search is under way" for attackers.

Most people seemed to find Bush's speech on that night to be disappointing; he more than made up for it with the bullhorn at Ground Zero and in the Joint Session before Congress the next week.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 20:55:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The identities of some of the victims of the worst
terrorist attack on American soil began to emerge Tuesday
evening, including the top executives of a California optical
networks company, a Boston-based technology company, a top NBC
executive producer and the wife of the United States' solicitor
general.As the day drew to a close, it was still horribly
unclear exactly how many people had died, but the number was
clearly in the thousands.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 21:53:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell, returning
to Washington from his aborted trip to Peru and Colombia
Tuesday, said there were "no specific warnings" to herald the
multiple terrorist attacks earlier in the day against the
financial and military nerve centers of the United States, but
he promised those responsible would be caught."You can be sure
the U.S. government will do everything it can to find the
perpetrators of this cowardly attack against innocent people
and bring them to justice," he told reporters.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 22:53:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Several Arab and Muslim groups in
California received threatening phone calls Tuesday in response
to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon. Maha Elgenaidi, executive director of the Islamic
Networks Group in San Jose, said "a lot of Islamic Centers have
shut Web sites down because of the amount of hate mail they
were getting." Her organization received two "hate" calls after
the attacks. Elgenaidi said the first caller told her to "get
the hell out of this country. You people have done nothing but
ruin this country. You don't belong here. Your religion is
vile and evil."

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 00:04:04 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (CNN) -- In parts of the country,
motorists lined up at gas pumps Tuesday following rumors of
shortages that fueled skyrocketing gas prices in the aftermath
of terror attacks in Washington and New York. Fears that tanker
trucks wouldn't make it from refineries to gas stations put a
premium on fuel. In Oklahoma City, prices reached the
two-dollar mark.

Back then, two dollars for gas was a lot.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 00:45:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- At least 265 New York City firefighters were
feared dead as a result of the attack on the World Trade
Center, according to Andrew White, spokesman for the
International Association of Firechiefs. IAFC Executive
Director Gary Briese told CNN earlier the specialized city
rescue companies who went into the fiery twin towers of the
World Trade Center are unaccounted for and it is believed they
were in the buildings conducting search-and-rescue missions
when structures collapsed after two airliners slammed into
them. New York City's fire chief, deputy fire chief, the fire
department chaplain, and the chief of special operations were
all killed in the collapse, White said.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 02:03:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Government sources say senior administration
officials told members of Congress that they believe the
hijacked airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania was headed for
another government target, possibly the White House, the
Capitol or the Camp David presidential retreat.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 05:20:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

RAMSTEIN, Germany (CNN)-- Frankfurt's Messeturm, Germany's
equivalent of the World Trade Center, was evacuated briefly
Wednesday morning following a bomb threat. An anonymous caller
at 9 a.m. said a device would explode at 9:20 A.M. Authorities
quickly led employees out of the building.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 07:36:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Rescuers find 6 survivors in New York: 1 police officer, 5 firefighters. Details soon.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 08:56:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An aide to Senate Democratic Leader Tom
Daschle said Wednesday that both House and Senate are trying to
schedule closed-door security briefings between members and
officials from the CIA and the FBI.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 10:03:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The director of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency has sent rescue teams known for pulling
survivors from earthquake rubble to the terrorist-disaster
sites at the Pentagon and in New York City.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 10:33:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- NATO considering guarantee of military, intelligence support if U.S. responds to terror attack, sources tell CNN.

They would eventually invoke Article V, the mutual defense provision of the Washington Treaty that established NATO.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 10:54:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- President Bush calls attacks 'acts of war;' asks Congress for emergency funding. Details to come.