Wednesday, June 30, 2010

R.I.P. Tom Bube

Harrison County lost our surveyor this past weekend.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

- Psalm 23

Harrison County Surveyor Tom Bube passed away Saturday morning shortly after 5:00 a.m.

Tom was born in Harrison County in 1940. He recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife, Mary. They have one son and three grandchildren.

Tom served five years in the United States Army in Korea and Germany. He worked in maintenance at General Electric for 33 years and later owned The Lunch Box restaurant in New Middletown for about 7 years. Tom was the charter president of the New Middletown Lions Club among his many other community and civic activities.

In 2000, Tom was elected as County Surveyor by the voters of Harrison County. They went on to reelect him overwhelmingly in 2004 and again in 2008. Tom was a hardworking public servant who put many miles on his red pickup truck driving all over the county—“in the field” as he always said—to do survey work. He was a working surveyor that tracked through many fields and woods to help find boundary markers and settle property line disputes for citizens of the county.

Tom was a great Republican and a great public official. But—far more than that and much more importantly—he was a great man, a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend.

We will miss him.

Please continue to keep the Bube family in your prayers.

Here's Tom at two of the candidate forums held during the 2008 election:

Lots of politicians have people speak well of them after they're dead and gone. People (of both parties) spoke well of Tom Bube while he was alive. He was a good friend.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unbelievable: Mexico Joins Lawsuit Against Arizona Immigration Law

They're nuts if they think that this sort of thing helps their cause of amnesty, and we're nuts for having a legal system that lets foreign governments sue one of our own states for laws that they pass.

Hot Air:

In a legal brief supporting one of the lawsuits, Mexico argued that the measure is unconstitutional and “raises substantial challenges to the bilateral diplomatic relations between Mexico and the U.S.”

More than 20 million Mexican workers, tourists and students were lawfully allowed into the United States throughout 2009, said the brief, and the government is worried Mexicans will be discriminated against because of racial profiling.

“Mexico is gravely concerned that (Arizona’s law) will lead to … detentions of Mexican citizens without regard to whether they have taken any actions or exhibited any behavior indicating they are guilty of a crime,” the brief said.

Out-of-State Money for Me, Just Not for Thee

Out of state money is apparently okay for Democrats to spend in House races.

To the tune of twenty million dollars, in fact, plus whatever Pat "The Hair" Bauer can get from Evan Bayh's $11 million remaining war chest.

From the NWI Times:

A national Democratic Party group plans to spend $20 million this year to help Democrats keep control of the Indiana House and nine other state legislative bodies.

In a statement released Monday, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee says it's essential Democrats hold on to their majorities in state legislatures to have a say in legislative redistricting following the census.

The organization did not specify how much money it would spend this election cycle to support Indiana Democratic representatives.

In 2011, the Legislature will redraw legislative districts for members of Congress and the General Assembly. If one political party controls both chambers of the General Assembly, that party can draw district lines to benefit their party and hurt the opposition.

"The results of the 2010 state legislative elections will define how key reforms and policies are decided for the next decade," said Michael Sargeant, DLCC executive director.

Democrats currently hold a narrow 52-48 majority in the Indiana House. Republicans control the Indiana Senate 33-17.

But now we find that the Democrats don't look so kindly on Mitch Daniels raising much less money out of state to help fight off the Democrats.

Also from the NWI Times:

People in Utah, Colorado and Ohio are surprisingly interested in the partisan divide of the Indiana House of Representatives.

Since the beginning of this year, residents of those three states have donated $62,250 to Gov. Mitch Daniels' Aiming Higher political action committee, a fund with the goal of winning control of the Indiana House for Republicans.

And they're not alone.

An analysis by The Times of Aiming Higher donations found that non-Indiana residents from 21 different states have donated $169,650 to the Republican governor's political action committee this year, nearly 26 percent of the $664,995 raised in total. And that doesn't include the haul from the governor's Washington, D.C., fundraiser this past Tuesday that required a minimum donation of $500 to attend.

Daniels told The Times he has no qualms about taking money from out-of-staters and using it to try to influence Indiana election outcomes.

"It's the cause that matters. The money won't be spent on me. The money won't be spent for any reason other than trying to make Indiana a better place," Daniels said. "We'll take help for that cause anywhere we happen to find it."

The governor said out-of-state donations, many of which come from "old friends of mine," are "a tiny fraction" of the overall funds raised by Aiming Higher. He said Indiana congressional candidates often raise a greater percentage of their money from out-of-state donors.

That is correct. In 2008 and 2009, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, a Merrillville Democrat, got 96 percent of his campaign donations from out-of-state contributors and only 2 percent from residents of his Northwest Indiana congressional district.

According to Aiming Higher Finance Director Katie Thomas, the money raised for the governor's state PAC will be used to help elect Republicans to the Indiana House and cannot be used in federal races. Democrats hold a two-seat edge in the House. Republicans control the Indiana Senate.

However, House Speaker Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said the out-of-state donations are evidence the governor is trying to raise his national profile ahead of a potential 2012 presidential bid.

"One thing he's managed to do by saying he's a candidate for president, and he's said it more in Washington than here, it eliminates the lame duck this year," Bauer said. "He may be a long shot, but hey, his chief competition at this point is (Sarah) Palin. And, you know, he might end up on her ticket as vice president."

Term limits prohibit Daniels from running for a third consecutive term as governor in 2012.

Bauer, who'd likely be out as speaker if Republicans win control of the House, also said the governor has been able to raise a lot of out-of-state money from out-of-state companies that hold state contracts, such as road construction projects. Bauer said he'd like to prohibit large donations to elected officials from state contractors.

So far this year, Aiming Higher has spent $171,676, mostly on salaries for campaign staffers employed by the Indiana Republican State Committee. That leaves nearly a half-million dollars to spend between now and the Nov. 2 election.

Daniels said he plans to spend that money to "advance ideas about keeping taxes down, keeping spending down, property tax caps, education reform, local government reform and related to that, supporting selected pro-reform state legislators."

I've got news for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, though. Control of the Indiana House will have absolutely no bearing on Congressional redistricting in Indiana (which is their primary focus).

Thanks to an interesting quirk in Indiana law, ultimate control of the drawing of the Congressional maps rests in the hands of the Governor's party. And since the Governor is a Republican, Republicans and Mitch Daniels will draw the Congressional maps in Indiana in 2011.

That's not to say that control of the Indiana House isn't important. It's hugely important (particularly for a positive future for the entire state outside of who represents Indiana in Congress). It's just to say that a national group focused on winning state legislative seats in order to impact Congressional redistricting ought to know Indiana law before they waste a whole bunch of their money.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Democrats Bail on Passing a Budget

Michele Bachmann:

For the first time since the current budget rules were established in 1974, Democratic Leadership in the House has announced that they won’t do a budget this year. It was an interesting announcement made by Majority Leader Hoyer, especially considering Mr. Hoyer’s remarks back in 2006, when he then stated as the House Minority Leader:

“The most basic responsibility of governing” is “enacting a budget.”

Apparently House Democrats aren’t even able to deliver on the most basic of responsibilities.

The Democrats reckless spending spree has clearly put the budget process on lock down. Under their leadership, we’ve witnessed $935 billion in deficit spending through the first eight months of this fiscal year alone. That’s not a good trend considering that last year, House Democrats added $1.9 trillion to the national debt.

The kicker in this story though is Majority Leader Hoyer’s defense of his party’s economic policies, such as the failed economic “stimulus” and numerous bailouts:

“Let me make it very clear. In the short term we can not stimulate and depress at the same time. That is counterintuitive and I think will not work. No matter what you do, you can’t cut yourself into a balanced budget.”

Now, let me be very clear. The best way to stimulate the economy and create jobs is to cut wasteful spending, reduce the tax burden on small businesses and families, and keep money in the private sector. That’s a tried and true recipe for economic success. Unfortunately, current House leadership just doesn’t get the message. By not doing a budget, Democratic leadership will continue their wild spending spree at the expense of future generations of Americans.

Chris Christie on His Style

A bit long, but worth listening to. It's a very insightful commentary on our modern politics.

Tweet of the Day

Folks now you know how to get a meeting- Destroy the Gulf (60 days until Barry meets you) Insult Barry (7 hours until he meets you)

- JoeyBiden

Quote of the Day

Moderate suburban voters do not see the world as liberals do, even in the most propitious circumstances, and never will... economic policies are about values. If your policies undermine personal responsibility by separating the link between effort and reward, voters will punish you for it...

Americans now see debt as the primary threat to their well-being... liberals may see themselves as the champions of the little guy, but in the new age of austerity, many voters see them as protectors of the special interests, as the guardians of the unaffordable promises.

Republicans have their own problems. They’ve begun over-reading their ideological mandate without the usual intervening step of actually winning an election. But the big story is that liberals have failed to create a governing center-left majority. If they can’t do it in circumstances like these, when will they ever?

- David Brooks

Origins of “Brad the Beautiful”

The other day, I had a reader ask me the origins of the "Brad the Beautiful" reference to liberal Obama rubber stamp Congressman Brad Ellsworth.

Now, most nicknames are self-evident. If you've ever seen a picture of Pat Bauer, you know why I call him "The Hair" (because he doesn't have any, and that thing on top of his head sure isn't hair).

The "Brad the Beautiful" one seems to escape some people.

Back in 2007, when he was new to Washington and was still being brainwashed into being a mindless drone for Nancy Pelosi, Ellsworth won an award. The Hill (a newspaper on Capitol Hill for members of Congress, their staffs, lobbyists, and so forth) named him #1 on their list of the fifty most beautiful people in Congress.

Ellsworth's mother, entertainingly, disagreed:

Mothers typically boast of their child’s beauty. But Rep. Brad Ellsworth’s (D-Ind.) mom, Margaret Ellsworth, had a different reaction when her son was chosen as The Hill’s No. 1 most beautiful person in Congress.

“As his mom, I never really thought he was good-looking,” she told Jimmy Nesbitt, a reporter for the Evansville Courier & Press. Nesbitt said that Mrs. Ellsworth, 76, was a “tough critic” and prefers her son to be known for his legislative achievements, not his physical attributes. She also told the local newspaper that her son closely resembles his maternal grandfather, Joe Scherle. Ellsworth’s late father, Jim, was a blonde.

ITK phoned Margaret Ellsworth for reaction. Apparently, she has since learned to say no to the press. “He told me, ‘Mom, say no comment.’ So I better do what he said,” she replied.

Despite requests by phone and e-mail, Ellsworth’s office also had no comment. His office released a statement that said, “The list is all in good fun, but the Congressman is convinced his mother must have an in with the selection committee.” (Apparently Ellsworth’s staffers don’t realize his mother didn’t want her son on such a list.)

On the other hand, Mark Bennett, a columnist for the Terre Haute Tribune Star, said few people batted an eye at the freshman Democrat being the top choice.

“I don’t think people were surprised,” Bennett said. “During the campaign, a lot of people made note of how easy the camera was on Congressman Ellsworth. It seemed to be a visual appeal that was going to take him to an easy win.”

So, quite literally, they ranked him as beautiful. The most beautiful, in fact.

In four years in Washington D.C., Brad Ellsworth is a liberal empty suit that hasn't accomplished anything else of note except be noted as a pretty face who does whatever Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama tell him to do.

That might be why he's trying to pretend he's still a sheriff.

Obama Grades His Spill Response

Obama Grades His Spill Response

Spending Gusher

Spending Gusher

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ellsworth, Coats, & the NRA

Geraghty provides some news from Ohio:

The National Rifle Association makes its first general-election endorsement of the year: Ted Strickland, governor of Ohio, a Democrat.

I understand why the NRA operates as a single-issue organization; Strickland has given the NRA no real reason to oppose him. But with Ohio’s unemployment rate at 10.9 percent — above 14 percent in 13 counties! — there are probably a lot of Ohio gun owners who would like to see a better economic future for their state, a better economic future that Strickland has failed to deliver.

Beyond that, how often do you hear a politician say, “I was wrong”? Because that’s precisely what Strickland’s GOP rival, former congressman John Kasich, said about his vote for the assault-weapons ban back in 2004.

Now what's this got to do with Indiana?

Well, Democrats have been crowing for months that Ellsworth will win the NRA's endorsement since Coats is soft on 2nd Amendment issues.

But for any gun owner that might even think of taking Brad Ellsworth seriously as some great advocate for and defender of the 2nd Amendment, I have a simple thought:

Brad the Beautiful claimed to be a great advocate for and defender of the right to life, too.

But when push came to shove, and Obama needed him to sell out his supposed "principles" and vote for a health care bill that represents the biggest expansion of abortion in America in a generation, how did Ellsworth vote?

That's right. He voted how Obama told him to vote.

He voted for abortion.

And that was on, seriously, a matter of life and death.

No wonder Dan Coats has been endorsed by National Right to Life.

So if Brad the Beautiful would sell out his supposed "principles" and obey Obama when it came to the murder of innocent life, do you really think he'd be troubled to sell out his supposed "principles" when it came to whether or not innocent people can have guns?

Something to think about.

Flashback: Obama Approved Federal Funding for Offshore Drilling in Brazil

Offshore drilling in other countries is apparently okay.

But here in the good old U. S. of A.? Nope.

We need to give other countries money so that they can drill for oil that we can then buy from them (drilled offshore in conditions probably less safe for the environment than what would happen here, no less).

From the Wall Street Journal back in April of 2009:

Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling

You read that headline correctly. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is financing oil exploration off Brazil.

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas.

But look on the bright side. If President Obama has embraced offshore drilling in Brazil, why not in the old U.S.A.? The land of the sorta free and the home of the heavily indebted has enormous offshore oil deposits, and last year ahead of the November elections, with gasoline at $4 a gallon, Congress let a ban on offshore drilling expire.

The Bush Administration's five-year plan (2007-2012) to open the outer continental shelf to oil exploration included new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. But in 2007 environmentalists went to court to block drilling in Alaska and in April a federal court ruled in their favor. In May, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his department was unsure whether that ruling applied only to Alaska or all offshore drilling. So it asked an appeals court for clarification. Late last month the court said the earlier decision applied only to Alaska, opening the way for the sale of leases in the Gulf. Mr. Salazar now says the sales will go forward on August 19.

This is progress, however slow. But it still doesn't allow the U.S. to explore in Alaska or along the East and West Coasts, which could be our equivalent of the Tupi oil fields, which are set to make Brazil a leading oil exporter. Americans are right to wonder why Mr. Obama is underwriting in Brazil what he won't allow at home.

What Took So Long?

More Good News: Social Security Now Running in the Red, Five Years Early

Michael Barone:

Here’s something I didn’t know, from financial blogger Bruce Krasting: Social Security tax receipts for the first half of 2010: $346.9 billion; Social Security benefits payments for the same period: $347.3 billion. Before this year, projections have always been that Social Security wouldn’t cross that line into negative cash flow for five years or so. Now it’s a reality. Congress has been spending Social Security’s positive cash flow for years. Now there’s no positive cash flow to spend.
To see how the negative trend has accelerated, consider the same figures for the first half of 2009: Social Security tax receipts were $366.0 billion and Social Security benefits payments were $334.3 billion. A positive cash flow of $31.7 billion has disappeared in the course of just 12 months. Scary.

Good Enough for Government Work

Good Enough for Government Work

Annoyed Yet?

Annoyed Yet?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

GOP Emerges United from Convention

The stories about the Republican state convention in the Courier-Journal and the Indy Star put most of their focus on the Governor's remarks. While I don't suppose that's surprising (I saw many reporters leave the convention hall after Mitch spoke, and he spoke only about halfway through the program), it missed the larger significance of the convention.

The Republicans had a healthy competitive Senate primary and have emerged stronger (and more united) for it. It's not that dissimilar to the healthy competitive race they had for attorney general in 2008. Dan Coats got a very friendly reception from the delegates, both in the main hall and in the caucuses the night before.

The Governor's remarks, while not bad, were not on the level of the great speech he gave to the convention in 2008. The intro video, showing Mitch riding his motorcycle and opening with faint background tones from the theme to the Superman movies, was followed by something of a let-down as Mitch came out from behind a curtain onto stage. Not that the Governor's not an impressive guy, but the delegates would have gone wild if Mitch had ridden his motorcycle into the hall. Now that would have been an entrance. (It probably also would have been against some sort of convention hall rule, but I digress.)

Mitch basically rebuked the crowd for chanting "Run, Mitch, Run!" despite the fact that almost everyone speaking before Mitch came out (and at the caucuses the night before) had been hinting (sometimes not so subtly) at Mitch running for President. Some of them even encouraged the delegates to chant for him to run. Mitch didn't want to hear much of that, it seemed.

Outgoing Congressman Steve Buyer, the honorary convention chairman, probably gave the most moving remarks of the convention, speaking about his family and his time in office. Richard Mourdock spoke well, reminding everyone if the national significance his office has taken (and the likely national target now on his back because of that). Charlie White came alive, both at the caucuses the night before and in his convention speech.

The ladies, though, stole the show. Becky Skillman showed everybody why she's going to be Indiana's next governor. Future Congresswoman Jackie Walorski gave the invocation and gave great stump speeches in several caucuses the night before (she crashed the 9th District caucus by showing up out of the blue, proceeding to give a better impromptu stump speech than the candidate for that district). Dee Dee Benkie gave a great speech seconding the nomination of Charlie White, reminding everyone that it will be nice to have a Secretary of State with a perspective shaped by time "in the trenches" in local politics and in local municipal government. And Christy Stutzman, future Congressman Marlin Stutzman's wife, did a great job singing the National Anthem; the fourth verse (my favorite one).

Marry Clark's warning at the opening of the convention did not dampen the enthusiasm everyone in attendance has for November, but it was well-said and bears repeating:

We all know that our position heading into this fall is one of strength. We are poised for sweeping victories but we have not won anything yet.

The hen, Lincoln once said, is the wisest of all creatures, for it never cackles until after it has laid the egg.

What was wise then is wise now; Republicans would do well to remember that.

The Indy Star story:

Republicans had their minds on not just this November's elections, but on 2012, as they held their state convention Saturday in Indianapolis.

While the immediate job was nominating a statewide ticket and building enthusiasm for their 2010 candidates, the race for president in 2012 -- and the chance of Gov. Mitch Daniels being their candidate -- hung over almost everything.

Daniels, who took the stage at the Indiana Convention Center to chants of "Run, Mitch, run," tried to keep the attention on Indiana.

He didn't shut the door on a run for the White House in 2012, but he told the more than 1,500 Republican delegates that "I have never once looked in the bathroom mirror and seen the president of the United States looking back."

He insisted that governing Indiana tops his to-do list, not national politics.
"My thoughts are here. My plans are here. My heart is here."

As he left the convention center, Daniels told reporters that Indiana "is my sole focus right now. "

"I'm not doing any of the things that people who run for national office do," he said. "It's just nothing I'm prepared to discuss any time soon and maybe never. I've got my concentration on Indiana. I promised a few folks that maybe I'd listen to them later on, but nothing has changed about that. I still don't expect or plan to do anything other than try to use every day of our term. We are not out of gas. We are not out of ideas."

Still, even former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, running this year to return to the Senate, gave a shout-out to Daniels' presidential buzz, asking those in the crowd if they could think of any governor who'd make a good president -- prompting a chorus of "Run, Mitch, run."

The thought of a change in the White House was one of the energizing forces among these Republicans.

Only two years ago, Democrat Barack Obama carried Indiana en route to winning the presidency.

Saturday, Coats credited Obama with having "done more to strengthen our party than anyone else."

He argued that his election over the Democratic nominee, U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth, is essential "since the Senate is the place we can slow down, if not stop, Barack Obama."

With Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh deciding against a third term, Coats said, "we absolutely cannot afford to elect someone to the United States Senate, like incumbent Congressman Brad Ellsworth, who will continue to enable President Obama's radical move to the left."

The official business of the convention was to nominate candidates for treasurer, auditor and secretary of state. Republicans have dominated those offices in the past two decades and currently hold every statewide elected office in Indiana.

Nominated for re-election were Auditor Tim Berry and Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Charlie White, a Fishers Town Council member and GOP chairman in Hamilton County, was nominated for secretary of state.

And the Courier-Journal:

Gov. Mitch Daniels told Republicans at their state convention Saturday that Indiana could easily lose its position as a fiscally solvent state that is thriving despite the recession if voters don't elect GOP candidates this fall.

"It takes a lot of work to build a great state," Daniels said at the Indiana Convention Center, where more than 1,500 Republicans gathered. "You can wreck it in a year or two. A great state is hard to build and easy to undo."

He cited problems in Michigan, Wisconsin and California -- states Daniels said Hoosiers have envied.

"Look how far and how fast they have fallen," Daniels said. "We're not going to do that here. We have done too much. We have moved too far."

He touted Indiana's improving credit rating and noted that the state has not raised taxes. He did not, however, mention that he has had to cut the budget by nearly $800million, including $300million in school funding, this fiscal year.

Daniels is in the second year of his second and last term as governor, and he told Republicans it's time to look for new leaders to move the state forward.

He urged the election of GOP candidates in the Indiana House, which Democrats now control 52-48, and called the party's nominees for state auditor, treasurer and secretary of state the "faces of Indiana's future."

Republicans formalized those nominations at Saturday's convention. Next weekend Democrats will pick their nominees at a convention at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.

The GOP nominees for statewide office were unopposed.

Two of them -- state Auditor Tim Berry, 48, of Fort Wayne and Treasurer Richard Mourdock, 58, of Evansville -- are seeking second terms.

"We need your help. We need your support," Berry said. "We need your energy ... as we go to spread the message across the state that responsible Republican leadership is working in our state and can work for America too."

Republicans nominated Fishers Town Council member Charlie White, 40, an attorney, to run for secretary of state, a post now held by Republican Todd Rokita, who is prohibited by law from seeking a third term and is running for Congress in the 4th District.

White, the Hamilton County GOP chairman but a newcomer to statewide politics, pledged to "vigorously defend" the state's requirement that residents show a state-issued photo ID to vote and said he would try to help counties find ways to save money on local elections.

Republicans have had a stranglehold on the auditor, treasurer and secretary of state offices for more than 15 years. Former Secretary of State Joe Hogsett was the last Democrat to serve in any of them, leaving the job in 1994.

But Indiana GOP Chairman Murray Clark warned Saturday that Republicans should not be overconfident about any races.

"We all know that our position heading into this fall is one of strength. We are poised for sweeping victories but we have not won anything yet," he said. "I challenge each of you today to work as if we are behind."

Republicans are particularly motivated to elect former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats to the seat opened up by the retirement of Sen. Evan Bayh, a Democrat.

Coats, who is facing Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth in November, said voters "can't afford to elect someone to the United States Senate ... who will continue to enable President Obama's radical move to the left."

"This is going to be a pivotal election and a healthy exercise in democracy because the choice will be very clear," Coats said, "and the differences between our party and their party are dramatic."

Even Reporters Are Laughing at Brad the Beautiful's Outdated Sheriff Shtick

From the Courier-Journal's Lesley Stedman Weidenbener this Sunday:

A sheriff? Yes, but Ellsworth is now a congressman

My favorite e-mail of the 2010 election campaign so far came last week from the folks with U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth's campaign for the U.S. Senate.

It touted internal polling results, fundraising numbers and other info meant to show that Ellsworth's race with Republican Dan Coats will be competitive.

The data will explain "why we believe Hoosiers will be sending a sheriff to the Senate in November," wrote Ellsworth spokeswoman Liz Farrar.

Now, what's funny to me is not the idea that the race will be competitive. I don't have a clear sense of that yet but assume that both parties and candidates are capable of raising enough money that either one will have a chance of victory.

But I love that the people representing Ellsworth are acting as if he's not a two-term member of Congress.

Ellsworth first went to Washington, D.C., after the 2006 election, when he defeated long-time incumbent Republican John Hostettler. Before that, Ellsworth did serve two terms as Vanderburgh County sheriff.

But he's a member of the U.S. House right now -- not a sheriff. Being a congressman is his job. Certainly, his experience as a lawman is important but so is his time as a lawmaker.

The sheer absurdity of such contentions by Democrats and by the Ellsworth campaign--to say nothing of their false and failed lobbying attacks on Dan Coats--shows just how desperate Indiana Democrats are this year.

When Democrats Attack

On not one but two (TWO!) cameras:

Delph, GOP State Senators Scold Bloomington Over Arizona Boycott

I wonder if anyone here in Indiana that supports the Arizona immigration law might well consider boycotting, say, Bloomington in response to their boycott of Arizona.

I suspect that such a counter-boycott might have more of an impact on Bloomington than the grandstanding by a few liberal politicians in Indiana's own little San Francisco will ever have on Arizona.

From the Indy Star:

Republican leaders in the Indiana Senate want the city of Bloomington to think twice about it's decision to boycott Arizona businesses because of that state's new immigration law.

A letter dated Thursday from Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, and signed by 23 other Republican senators asks Bloomington officials to "take a step back" from their plan to avoid doing business with Arizona companies.

Delph, who has repeatedly tried to advance Statehouse bills cracking down on illegal immigration, said he hopes local and state leaders can unite to pressure Congress and the federal government to act.

"As fellow elected officials from across Indiana, we invite you to revisit your boycott and join those of us who support the enforcement of state and federal immigration laws and the protection of our national sovereignty and security," the letter states.

Bloomington mayor Mark Kruzan dismissed the letter as a political ploy for votes in an election year. He said it won't change his mind.

Oh, that's rich.

Kruzan engages in a political ploy, then is hypocritical enough to complain that critics of his political ploy are themselves playing politics?

"Illegal immigration is a real problem, but all of us should be concerned about a fear-based law that diminishes civil liberties," he said. "We need to unite, but we need to unite to protect our freedoms, not allow them to continue to erode."

Kruzan, the city clerk and eight Bloomington city council members recently sent a letter to Arizona's governor explaining that the city would not buy goods or services from businesses headquartered in Arizona or send city officials to conferences there. Kruzan said the city does not do much business with Arizona businesses, but that the boycott was a way to send a message.

"I'm not under the illusion that Bloomington government not purchasing from Arizona-based businesses will bring the government of Arizona to its knees," Kruzan said. "It's simply a way for us to demonstrate our opposition to an unjust law."

Delph said the letter sent to Bloomington officials gives them more information about Arizona's situation.

"They're free to make their decisions," Delph said. "I just felt like it was important to give the facts as I know them to my friends in Bloomington."

Hopefully, State Senator Mike Delph will have a friendly Republican majority in the Indiana House of Representatives come next year.

The letter cites statistics that illegal immigration costs Arizona taxpayers more than $2 billion in increased government costs.

"Added to these taxpayer expenses is the high price paid in human costs by innocent Arizona citizens living in fear of violent crime associated with illegal smugglers, drug traffickers and violent felons," the letter states.

Senators who signed the letter include Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville.

Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson, D-Bloomington, said Republicans who signed the letter were not focusing on real issues.

"I wish they would spend as much time focused on jobs and putting Hoosiers back to work as they do worrying about the Bloomington City Council," Simpson said.

Simpson to Republicans: "Quit interrupting while we're grandstanding!"

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has also urged city officials to rescind the boycott after people told the organization they wouldn't support businesses and tourism in the Bloomington area until the boycott was removed.

Like I said, I think that a counter-boycott by opponents of illegal immigration has real potential to impact Bloomington far more than Mark Kruzan's shallow political ploy will ever impact Arizona.

Birch's Boy Went to Washington, Got Rich

Surprise, surprise.

Sen. Evan Bayh will be leaving the Senate with much stronger family finances than when he was elected in 1998, according to financial disclosure reports released Wednesday.

The Indiana Democrat, who is not seeking a third term, reported assets at the end of last year worth at least $6.8 million and possibly more than $8 million.

Bayh's reportable assets in 1998 were a maximum of $2.2 million.

The Bayhs' finances during the past 11 years were boosted by Susan Bayh's service on multiple corporate boards. The senator's wife was still serving on six boards last year, including those of Indiana-based WellPoint and Emmis Broadcasting.

The Bayhs' largest assets include more than $1 million in WellPoint stock

The Harrison County Sheriff, in the News Again

This time for stuff that is happening in the county jail under his watch.

From the Corydon Democrat (emphasis mine):

Harrison County Prosecutor Dennis Byrd has requested the Indiana State Police to investigate an alleged mistreatment incident last month at the Harrison County Jail.

According to an incident report filed by Jail Capt. Nathan N. Simpson, Cpl. Nathan Adams put inmate Tevin Michael Bald, 18, of Louisville, in a restraint chair on May 22, sprayed a spit hood with pepper spray, put the hood on Bald's head, sprayed the inmate's cell full of fumes and left him there for an hour.

"These allegations are very serious and, if true, could support state criminal charges," Byrd said.

In addition to ISP, Byrd said he contacted the FBI and provided the agency with copies of the incident reports.

"They will review the reports and may open an investigation for civil rights violations and/or potential federal crimes," he said.

According to Simpson's report, he was directed by Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick to "do what we had to do" regarding Adams. Simpson said he was advised by the county's attorney, John E. Colin, to terminate Adams immediately because of the severity of the incident and Adam's "write-up history."

Simpson's report said that he notified Adams of his termination, and Adams admitted to making a mistake and apologized for his actions.

"Lt. (Nathan) Banet advised me that Sheriff Deatrick had called him over to speak to him regarding (Adams) and bringing him back to work. (Banet) stated that Sheriff Deatrick had stated that Adams was just stupid and had made a mistake, and that since Adam's grandfather knew the commissioners that he would bring him back to work to avoid any grief from them (commissioners)," Simpson's report stated.

Simpson's report was dated June 4, the same day that Adams allegedly returned to work.

Banet's incident report, dated June 7, said he also met with Deatrick and spoke about Adams' first write-up to his last alleged incident.

"The sheriff went on to say that he was going to go ahead and hire (Adams) back to corrections because he didn't want any grief that he may receive," the report said.

It went on to say that Banet informed the sheriff that he, Simpson and Colin made the decision to terminate Adams based on the severity of the incident. He also said that the jail's medical staff examined the inmate and confirmed that he sustained injuries associated with a chemical agent.

According to Adams' and Corrections Officer Ross Timberlake's report, which were filed the day of the incident (May 22), Bald was not returning to his cell from the "day" room. Adams, Timberlake and another officer went to the room to find Bald standing on a table.

"The cell had water all over it, the mop bucket was taken apart and all over the dayroom," the report said.

The report said Bald removed himself from the table after being asked repeatedly, but he would not get on the ground. After being forced to the ground by Adams and Timberlake, Bald was placed in wrist restraints and taken to a padded cell where he yelled and hit the door, the report said.

Adams said he was instructed by his superior to place Bald in the restraint chair for an hour with a helmet and a spit mask and to place him on 72-hour suicide watch. After an hour, the report said, Bald was removed from the chair with no further incident or injury.

Neither Adams nor Timberlake's report mentioned the use of pepper spray.

Lt. James Mabon's report, issued May 31, said he was contacted by staff stating that Adams used extreme measures on Bald. Mabon said Bald was not taken care of medically after being removed from the chair. He also said all officers on the shift who were aware of the chemical being used are in violation for not reporting it to medical staff.

Byrd requested Harrison Superior Judge Roger D. Davis to order Bald to be released from jail on an own-recognizance bond due to concern for his safety. Bald was incarcerated for alleged forgery and counterfeiting after being arrested on April 7. He was jailed after police alleged he tried to use a fake $275 check to open an account at Community First Bank in Corydon.

On Monday afternoon, John L. Smith of Faith Ingle Smith LLC filed a tort claim as Bald's counsel naming the Harrison County Commissioners, Harrison County Sheriff's Department, Deatrick, Mabon, Timberlake and Adams.

The claim asks for $700,000 for medical expenses, both past and future, pain and suffering and emotional distress and a "reasonable" attorney fee and for cost of pursuing his claim.

"This kid is scared to death," Smith said.

Smith said the figure is the maximum that can be requested.

"We're out for justice," he said. "He (Bald) was in there on a non-violent crime, and this happens to him."

Smith also said Adams and Timberlake made derogatory comments toward Bald that made him feel discriminated against.

"This doesn't represent Harrison County at all," Smith said. "We have some rogue individuals out there that need to be gone. You've got to follow the rule of law. We're not some third-world country ... "

Smith said he agrees with the steps taken by the prosecutor's office.

And the coverage from the Courier-Journal:

Lawyers for man claiming Harrison jail torture take step toward suit

Lawyers for Tevin Bald, an 18-year-old Louisville man who says he was tortured while being held in the Harrison County Jail in a forgery and counterfeiting case, have taken the first step toward filing a lawsuit against the sheriff's department.

Attorneys with the Faith Ingle Smith LLC law firm filed a tort claim notice Monday on behalf of Bald, who claims he was stripped, restrained and covered with a "spit mask" containing pepper spray during an incident May 22.

The filing gives the sheriff's department 90 days respond. Under Indiana law, a civil suit cannot be filed until at least part of the claim has been denied.

At a Wednesday news conference in Corydon, lawyers for Bald said he had not attempted to spit or bite anyone, which the masks are used to protect against, and that he has an asthmatic condition.

Bald, an African American, repeatedly heard racial slurs and feared for his life, his lawyers said. They also said he was not allowed to shower for three days and was denied the necessary supplies to clean his cell.

"I've been doing this for many years now, and I've never seen anything like this," said Amie Newlon, Bald's criminal defense lawyer. "I can't imagine in any state, in any city, that this kind of treatment is protocol, or is in any way fair or the right thing to do regardless of color or behavior of the inmate."

Bald was released on Friday by Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger Davis after the allegations surfaced. The FBI and Indiana State Police have been asked to investigate.

Nicole Yates, president of Floyd County's NAACP chapter, said the civil rights group is conducting its own investigation and believes the actions were racially motivated.

"This is such a heinous violation of civil rights that we need to make sure it is dealt with severely so a message is sent that this type of behavior is not tolerated in any way, shape or form," said Dustin White, legal counsel for the NAACP.

Sheriff Mike Deatrick has said he investigated the incident and that accounts about it have been overblown.

Bald was held after being accused April 7 of trying to open an account at Community First Bank in Corydon with a fake $275 check. The case is pending.

One of the comments to the story at the Democrat's website:

I'm a little short on cash. How long do you have to stay at the County Hotel before some idiot leaves me unsupervised with a felon or chains me to a chair and pepper sprays me? Maybe I could be a janitor and have the Sherriff sexually assault me?

Heaven help you all if I ever got a job and you tried to fire me. I'd have Uncle Buck (no relation) give you so much grief you'd beg me to come back.

What a bunch of nepotistic, sadistic, perverts you employ in Harrison County.

Unfortunately, it's not who we employ.

It's who we elect.

Rahm Emanuel on Sestak Bribery Scandal: Nothing to See Here, Move Along

Sad thing is that the media will probably obey his commands.

From ABC News:

The President’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told me the White House has nothing more to add to further explain the circumstances surrounding discussions with Andrew Romanoff and Rep. Joe Sestak about potential jobs that could have steered them away from running against incumbents in Democratic primaries.

House Republicans have introduced a resolution of inquiry to find out more about the job talks. Andrew Romanoff, a former Colorado House Speaker was approached by a White House official about possible government jobs that could have kept him from running against incumbent Senator Michael Bennet. Rahm Emanuel himself enlisted the help of former President Bill Clinton to try to persuade Sestak not to run against incumbent Senator Arlen Specter. Both Romanoff and Sestak won their primaries.

During my exclusive This Week interview, Emanuel said that a report on the Sestak matter released by White House Counsel Bob Bauer concluded that nothing inappropriate had taken place. He added that two attorneys who worked in the Bush administration reached a similar conclusion. Emanuel said, “There is nothing…more that needs to be added to that.”

Left unanswered was whether this position undermines the President’s pledge to change the way Washington works.

The Return of Dale Peterson

If Dale Peterson gets this mad about people stealing his yard signs (and now his former opponent's yard signs), how mad do you think he'd get when oil washes up on Alabama's beaches?

Legal Setbacks for Robo-Call Law

From the Journal-Gazette:

INDIANAPOLIS – State Attorney General Greg Zoeller received two doses of bad news last week regarding the state’s prohibition on robo-calls.

The calls involve the use of automated dialing machines to contact recipients, sometimes to sell products and more often to disperse messages for and against candidates during political campaigns.

Since 1988, these prerecorded calls have been illegal in Indiana unless the recipients have previously agreed to receive them.

The state was sued when former Attorney General Steve Carter cited for making robo-calls on behalf of a California group called the Economic Freedom Fund during the 2006 congressional campaign.

FreeEats argued that the ban violates the First Amendment.

Last week, Monroe County Judge Kenneth Todd issued a preliminary ruling in favor of FreeEats. At issue was whether the statute prohibiting automated dialing machines applied to the artificial-intelligence call system employed by FreeEats.

The company argued successfully that using its call system to obtain consent from those called is just as effective as the state’s requirement of using live operators.

“The effect of the (automated dialing machines statute) to the extent that it requires such calls to be made by a live operator as opposed to an automated system, is to materially burden the political speech in question, not protect the peace and quiet of the Indiana residents in their homes,” the judge ruled.

Bryan Corbin, spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said the ruling is related to a preliminary injunction only and is not the final ruling in the overall case. The office is considering an appeal.

“The attorney general’s office strongly maintains that a live operator must obtain permission first from the consumer before playing an otherwise unsolicited prerecorded message,” Corbin said.

In a related development, Illinois-based Patriotic Veterans Inc. has sued the state over the law in federal court.

Zoeller said the office will vigorously defend the state against the latest challenge to political robo-calls.

“Hoosiers have said in no uncertain terms that they detest robo-calls, don’t want to be disturbed by such intrusions – and they value the privacy that our state’s laws afford them,” Zoeller said.

“In the meantime, people can continue to file telephone privacy complaints against those who make unsolicited calls and they can also shout into the phone ‘Do not call’ and then hang up. It is not impolite to hang up on someone who disrespects your privacy.”

It will be interesting to see which political party (or which political party's candidate or candidates) will be the first to break Zoeller's robocall "treaty" and start using robo-calls again.

Can't Get a Grip (On the Narrative)

Can't Get a Grip (On the Narrative)

Big Talker

Big Talker

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tweet of the Day

“I don't want to say Obama's desperate, but his next trip is to Daniel Plainview's bowling alley.”
- Jim Treacher

Obama's Speech in a Nutshell

“Something must be done. This is something. Therefore we must do it.”

Monday, June 14, 2010

Stutzman Wins 3rd District Caucus

Congratulations to Marlin:

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. -- Republican state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, who was considered a front-runner and favored by tea party voters disenchanted with Washington, was chosen Saturday to replace former U.S. Rep. Mark Souder on the November ballot.

GOP officials in northeast Indiana's 3rd Congressional District picked the Howe lawmaker during a caucus. Stutzman said afterward he was confident that his support at the caucus would translate into a strong campaign.

"It's really about the size and scope of our federal government," Stutzman told The Associated Press. "The direction that they have been taking our country with spending is just crippling the economy."

Stutzman impressed many by running a strong campaign and finishing second in a five-way May primary for U.S. Senate that former Sen. Dan Coats won.

A total of 15 Republicans sought the chance to replace Souder, who resigned last month after admitting to an extramarital affair with a staffer. Stutzman will be on the ballot as the GOP candidate for both the general election and a special election to fill the remainder of Souder's current term.

Both elections will be Nov. 2.

Democrat Tom Hayhurst is already on the ballot for the general election. Democrats meet Thursday in Fort Wayne to choose a candidate for the special election, but most expect Hayhurst to win that caucus.

Democrats started dogging Stutzman even before Saturday's caucus, saying his new run at a seat in Washington means he can't claim he isn't a career politician, as he did in the primary. Stutzman, who first won election to the Indiana House in 2002 at age 26, has said he'd rather be running his farm in Howe but thinks Washington needs fresh blood.

Skillman for Indiana

Jim Shella makes a realization:

I guess if Mitch Daniels can talk about running for President in 2012, it’s ok for Becky Skillman to talk about governor even though the 2010 election still comes first.

“Skillman for Indiana” issued an electronic notice today touting accomplishments on the Lt. Governor’s Chinese trade mission. At the bottom of the notice is a button for anyone desiring to contribute to the Skillman campaign. There is also a reminder to stop by “Becky’s booth at the Indiana State Republican Convention!”

Sounds like Skillman has made a decision on her future.

I've been noting for some time that Becky Skillman has been making all of the moves she'd need to be make to prepare a campaign for governor in 2012.

She's been the focus of gubernatorial speculation for a while now, and Rokita's Congressional bid has helped to clear out one potential opponent for the nomination.

In fact, Rokita's move toward Washington was followed shortly thereafter by Skillman saying that she was "seriously thinking" about running for governor.

She's also already been sending out fundraising letters under the "Skillman for Indiana" header.

Homeless Man Tells New Jersey Governor Chris Christie How Awesome He Is

They Con the World

Huge Mineral Deposits in Afghanistan

Proof, I suppose, that we got into Afghanistan nine years ago to exploit the natural resources that have only now been found there.

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

Whose Ass to Kick

Whose Ass to Kick
Power Line suggests a bumper sticker:

We Know Whose Ass to Kick Bumper Sticker



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Good News: ObamaCare to Deprive One Million Low-Income Workers of Health Care

More unintended consequences of what Obama wants everyone to believe is the best thing to happen to America since, well, he was elected.


Part of the health care overhaul due to kick in this September could strip more than 1 million people of their insurance coverage, violating a key goal of President Barack Obama’s reforms.

Under the provision, insurance companies will no longer be able to apply broad annual caps on the amount of money they pay out on health policies. Employer groups say the ban could essentially wipe out a niche insurance market that many part-time workers and retail and restaurant employees have come to rely on.

This market’s limited-benefit plans, also called mini-med plans, are priced low because they can, among other things, restrict the number of covered doctor visits or impose a maximum on insurance payouts in a year. The plans are commonly offered by retail or restaurant companies to low-wage workers who cannot afford more expensive, comprehensive coverage.

Depending on how strictly the administration implements the provision, the ban could in effect outlaw the plans or make them so restrictive that insurance companies would raise rates to the point they become unaffordable.

Hot Air adds that this seems to have been intentional, fitting with the overall Democratic push to have as many people on the government welfare health care as possible.

And yet it will have a very unintended consequence due to its timing:

This is entirely deliberate, although Congress apparently never considered the timing. Barack Obama and Pelosi continually harped about the “underinsured,” and the mini-med plans are what they had in mind. They wanted to put an end to such cost-efficient plans and force employers to either provide comprehensive insurance or kick their employees into the state-run exchanges, where the newly-uninsured would get welfare payments to buy their own plans in the individual market.

Democrats will get their wish — but the employees won’t get their coverage. The law imposes the penalties for mini-med plans in three months, but the exchanges won’t start until 2014. That means more than three years of having no insurance at all for low-income workers who previously had it, even if Obama and Pelosi sniffed at the worth of the plans.

It’s also worth noting the irony of the timing. The mandates kick in in September, which is probably when the insurers will terminate the coverage. That means up to a million people will get the first-hand impact of ObamaCare just nine weeks before going to the polls in the midterm elections. That certainly qualifies as an unintended consequence.

Expanded ObamaCare Defense Timeline

From Red State comes this expansion of the timeline I mentioned earlier this week.

California Abolishes Primaries as We Know Them


The biggest news out of California last night was not an election: it was the endorsement of a ballot initiative, Proposition 14, that might radically change the type of candidate who seeks and wins congressional and statewide officers. The "Top Two Primary Act" allows voters of any political party to pick anyone who qualifies for the ballot for a particular race regardless of party. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sees Prop 14 as a big piece of his legacy.

The practical effect will be incentivize candidates to avoid the trap of having to run one type of campaign to win base voters and another type of campaign to win the general election. It is conceivable that, with such a system in place, Senate candidate Carly Fiorina wouldn't have felt it necessary to sharply tack to the right. But the same system would have required a lot more energy and expenditure from the incumbent, Barbara Boxer.

Who funded the initiative? Chamber of Commerce types, who know that pragmatic candidates won't want to alienate business interests in the state. It was opposed by activists from both parties, who believe it to be an incumbent protection measure of first order.

Good government types are cautiously pessimistic, because they knew that third party candidates now have virtually no chance to being elected to statewide office unless they're charismatic and spend a lot of money. Richard Winger of Ballot Access News opposed Prop 14 and notes that California now has one of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the country.

Will candidates with new ideas be disincentivized from running? Will California only nominate candidates who reflect the median political values expressed by a California voter? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Will candidates have more power to shape their campaigns than political parties? Unknown, unknown, unknown and unknown.

And will this system survive a federal court challenge? A similar scheme in Washington State is already being challenged in federal court.

One ballot access advocate notes:

California now has the most restrictive general election ballot access in the nation. Even Georgia always has three candidates on the November ballot for statewide office. Even Oklahoma typically has three candidates on the November ballot for Congress, as does North Carolina.

Even Washington state will sometimes count write-ins. California now has a general election ballot (for partisan office other than President) that compares with Ohio’s general election ballot between 1949 and 1967…no one on the November ballot but Democrats and Republicans, no write-ins counted. We know top-two works this way because that is how it worked in Washington state in 2008.

Consider, for a moment, how Indiana's general election ballot would look if we had California's new system in place right now.

For the United States Senate, Hoosier voters in November would have a choice between Dan Coats and Marlin Stutzman. Evan Bayh's shady trick to get Brad Ellsworth the Democratic nomination without a primary wouldn't have mattered; Coats and Stutzman got the most votes in the primary, so they would be the candidates. California's new system provides no mechanism for a party to pick a nominee separate of the primary system, as parties effectively no longer matter. Brad Ellsworth would be screwed.

In the third, fourth, and fifth Congressional districts, there would be no Democratic candidates for Congress on the ballot at all in November. Souder would have faced Thomas in the 3rd, Rokita would be facing Hershman in the 4th, and Burton would face Messer in the 5th.

If this system was in place in Kentucky this year, the two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, Jack Conway and Daniel Mongiardo, would be facing each other in November. Neither of the Republicans would have made it into the top two.

Do such results speak to the partisan composition of electorates, or do they represent an elimination of the options available to those electorates?

California voters aren't eliminating the primary system so much as they are merging the primary with the general election and establishing a November run-off (as is already the case in some states, such as Georgia and Louisiana, just with the run-off happening after Election Day).

Barack Ignites His Flame Pit, Chars Aquatic Flesh for Congress

Another day with gushing oil, another party at the White House:

This evening [Tuesday night] President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host the annual Congressional picnic for members of Congress on the South Lawn and preparations are already underway.

As the president returned from his event in Wheaton, Maryland this afternoon he inspected an enormous fire pit nearly 8 x 25 feet, aflame and smoking, on the lawn closest to the Oval Office.

The White House says that they are smoking salmon for tonight’s party.

The congressional picnic this year has a “Taste of the States” theme – a map of the United States has been divided into five sections – NE, SE, SW, NW, and Midwest. Food from each section will be served on dozens of burlap-covered picnic tables to members of Congress and their families.

I wonder if the seafood will be served with complimentary sides of tarballs and non-optional coatings of a fine and well-aged thick marinade sauce prepared from a mixture of water, sea salt, and deep-sea petroleum.

Obama to Make Reassuring Eye Contact with Every Last American

The Onion:

In an attempt to convince an anxious populace that his legislative agenda is working and that everything is going to be all right, President Barack Obama embarked on a 50-state, 30,000-town tour Monday during which he plans to gaze assuredly into the eyes of each American citizen, one at a time.

"I know a lot of people out there are nervous. They're worried about unemployment, the oil spill in the Gulf, and whether or not I am making the right choices in Washington," Obama said during a rally at Rockland District High School. "To those Americans, I offer you this inspiring, confident gaze."

Obama then stepped down from his podium, walked into the 2,000-person audience, and peered comfortingly into each person's eyes. After taking 45 minutes to methodically work his way from the front row all the way to the balcony, and punctuating each look with a gentle pat on the shoulder, Obama returned to the stage, collected himself, and addressed the silent group before him.

"There," he said. "All better."

In their announcement of the "2010 Eye-to-Eye Tour," White House officials said that Obama will first spend two weeks making eye contact with the 55 million residents of the densely populated Northeastern states, looking into their eyes and, if necessary, offering them an encouraging head nod. Obama will then continue down the East Coast before taking on the tour's biggest challenge: gazing with confidence into the eyes of a hostile Southern electorate that largely rejects his policies.

Sources said in order to convince Southerners that the $787 billion economic stimulus package is working and that the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is necessary, Obama will stare at them with a serious yet caring squint, give them a soothing smile, and, if necessary, mouth the words "trust me."

At press time, Obama was making his way down North Calvert Street in Baltimore, where he was earnestly looking into the eyes of 42-year-old construction worker Paul Hatfield.

"This is a way for the president to get out of the Washington bubble and really reconnect with the American people," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said during a Tuesday briefing. "To be honest, I was a little hesitant about the idea at first, but then the president called me into his office, sat me down, told me to take off my glasses, and looked at me with the most reassuring expression I have ever seen. At that point I was sold."

In the past several days, more than 60 million citizens have had similar calming encounters with the president. Patrons at the Beefside Family Restaurant in Concord, NH, many of whom expressed concern that the country was more divided than ever, were placated Tuesday when the president went from booth to booth making eye contact with every man, woman, and child present. If diners attempted to avoid his glance, Obama maneuvered his head quickly but confidently until he made direct eye contact and held their gaze.

Obama also offered a self-assured stare to more than 24,000 out-of-work autoworkers in New Jersey; all members of the Vermont teacher's union; some 500 West Virginia coal miners; Philadelphia; attorneys and clients in the law offices of Blum, Horowitz, and Mertz; and Pittsburgh native and Hollywood actor Michael Keaton.

"I was waiting for the T when I felt a tap on my shoulder," Boston resident Jarrod Tomlinson, 36, said. "I turned around and it was the president of the United States. Before I could tell him that as a small business owner, I was a little worried that the new health care bill wouldn't offer me the subsidies necessary to provide my employees with coverage, he just grabbed both of my arms, looked into my eyes for maybe five seconds, massaged my shoulder briefly, and walked away."

"And you know what?" Tomlinson continued. "I think everything's going to be okay."

Though recent poll numbers indicate that Obama is slowly earning the trust of Americans throughout the country, some positive effects of his confident glance appear to have been negated by Vice President Joe Biden, who has been busy winking at every American citizen while pretending to shoot them with imaginary finger guns.

Quote of the Day: Irony, or What a Difference Two Years and a Week Makes

Obama, two years and one week ago:

I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.

Obama's rhetoric now meets Obama's reality:

Care for the sick = wrecking the American health care system and bankrupting future generations.

Good jobs to the jobless = record unemployment.

The rise of the oceans began to slow = maybe the oil slick will somehow keep the sea level down.

Our planet began to heal = going to take more than a blank check from BP and higher energy taxes and electric bills for working families.

We ended a war = troops still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan while the defense budget is being cut.

Restored our image = emboldened our enemies and offended our allies.

Restored our image as the last, best hope on earth = it's pretty clear now that doing this is going to require voting to restrain Obama this November and voting him out in two years.

The Alien in the White House

From Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal:

A great part of America now understands that this president's sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe.


Far greater strangeness has since flowed steadily from Washington. The president's appointees, transmitters of policy, go forth with singular passion week after week, delivering the latest inversion of reality. Their work is not easy, focused as it is on a current prime preoccupation of this White House—that is, finding ways to avoid any public mention of the indisputable Islamist identity of the enemy at war with us. No small trick that, but their efforts go forward in public spectacles matchless in their absurdity—unnerving in what they confirm about our current guardians of law and national security.

Long after Mr. Obama leaves office, it will be this parade of explicators, laboring mightily to sell each new piece of official reality revisionism—Janet Napolitano and her immortal "man-caused disasters'' among them—that will stand most memorably as the face of this administration.

It is a White House that has focused consistently on the sensitivities of the world community—as it is euphemistically known—a body of which the president of the United States frequently appears to view himself as a representative at large.


The beliefs and attitudes that this president has internalized are to be found everywhere—in the salons of the left the world over—and, above all, in the academic establishment, stuffed with tenured radicals and their political progeny. The places where it is held as revealed truth that the United States is now, and has been throughout its history, the chief engine of injustice and oppression in the world.

They are attitudes to be found everywhere, but never before in a president of the United States. Mr. Obama may not hold all, or the more extreme, of these views. But there can be no doubt by now of the influences that have shaped him. They account for his grand apology tour through the capitals of Europe and to the Muslim world, during which he decried America's moral failures—her arrogance, insensitivity. They were the words of a man to whom reasons for American guilt came naturally. Americans were shocked by this behavior in their newly elected president. But he was telling them something from those lecterns in foreign lands—something about his distant relation to the country he was about to lead.

The truth about that distance is now sinking in, which is all to the good. A country governed by leaders too principled to speak the name of its mortal enemy needs every infusion of reality it can get.

And You Thought Indiana Had Shocking Post-Primary Surprises?

Meet South Carolina:

A day after an unemployed veteran charged with a felony shocked South Carolina's Democratic establishment by winning the U.S. Senate primary, party officials were still scratching their heads: What happened?

Alvin Greene, 32, didn't raise any money. He didn't have a website. And his opponent was a relatively better-known former legislator, Vic Rawl, who was already preparing for the general election.

Greene was considered such a long shot that his opponent and media didn't even bother to check his background. If they had, they would have discovered he faces a felony obscenity charge after an alleged encounter with a college student last fall.

After The Associated Press reported Greene's charge Wednesday, the leader of the state Democratic party said she asked Greene to withdraw from the race.

"I did not do this lightly, as I believe strongly that the Democratic voters of this state have the right to select our nominee," Fowler said. "But this new information about Mr. Greene ... would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters."

But Greene said he will not step aside.

"The Democratic Party has chosen their nominee, and we have to stand behind their choice," Greene told the AP at his home in Manning. "The people have spoken. We need to be pro-South Carolina, not anti-Greene."

Court records show Greene was arrested in November and charged with showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student, then talking about going to her room at a university dorm.

Charged with disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity, Greene could face up to five years in prison. He has yet to enter a plea or be indicted.

South Carolina state law prohibits convicted felons from serving in state office. Felons can serve in federal office, although the U.S. House or Senate could vote to expel any member deemed unfit to serve.

Rawl said he didn't know about Greene's arrest until reading media reports about it.

Obamapiece Theatre

Obamapiece Theatre

From Halo to Blago

From Halo to Blago

Government Doing What It Does Best

Government Doing What It Does Best

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Obama's White House Is Working Hard to Fix the Oil Spill by Playing Beer Pong and Shooting Squirt Guns with Reporters


Photos of White House staffers enjoying a game of beer pong during the oil spill crisis here.

Photos of Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel having a grand old time with an old-fashioned squirt gun fight on the South Lawn of the White House with the reporters that are supposed to be covering them (including the likes of CNN's Wolf Blitzer), here.

Erick Erickson of Red State opines:

Had Bush administration staffers been caught out on the Sunday after Katrina playing beer pong, reporters would be demanding to know first why they weren’t in church and second how was it responsible to be out playing beer pong instead of bunkered down at the White House trying to solve the problem.

Luckily for White House spokesman Tommy Vietor and Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Favreau, the press would never dare hold them to the same standard. We, however, can and we can ask why an impromptu game of Sunday beer pong instead of being at work.

Now, we know they don’t care anyway. Every state affected by the BP oil spill voted for John McCain save Florida, so screw them. Besides, aren’t Obama staffers allowed impromptu games of beer pong? Answer: yes, they are not Bush staffers.

But then there is the senior staff. Shouldn’t they be working on the BP oil spill? Maybe their water gun fight on the South Lawn was some super secret strategery to deal with the effects of the oil.

I mean, surely someone is working in the White House to solve this mess unless... unless... they really don’t care. After all, not to repeat myself, none of the states affected are going to go their way in 2012 anyway and none of them did in 2008 and they still won.

So screw them. I guess — just like Nashville, a subject Barack Obama never addressed after its horrific floods.

Marc Ambinder, who never misses an opportunity to spin for Obama and his cronies, defends his (Ambinder's) presence at the White House beach party thus:

Indeed, has there ever been a time when journalists and the political establishment have been MORE skeptical about each other?

Yes. How about the eight years before Obama came into office, when that other guy was in there, you know, not having squirt gun battles on the South Lawn and not letting his staffers engage in shirtless beer pong while claiming his administration was "all hands on deck" for dealing with one of the biggest crises of his presidency.

At any rate, the political establishment of Obama and the journalists covering that establishment are certainly nowhere near sufficiently skeptical about each other right now, and this is just yet another example (and Marc Ambinder is a living, daily example too).

NASA: There May Be Life on Titan

Titan, for those of you not up on your high school astronomy, is a moon of Saturn.

The Daily Telegraph:

Researchers at the space agency believe they have discovered vital clues that appeared to indicate that primitive aliens could be living on the moon.

Data from Nasa's Cassini probe has analysed the complex chemistry on the surface of Titan, which experts say is the only moon around the planet to have a dense atmosphere.

They suggest that life forms may have been breathing in the planet’s atmosphere and also feeding on its surface’s fuel.

Astronomers claim the moon is generally too cold to support even liquid water on its surface.

The research has been detailed in two separate studies.

The first paper, in the journal Icarus, shows that hydrogen gas flowing throughout the planet’s atmosphere disappeared at the surface. This suggested that alien forms could in fact breathe.

The second paper, in the Journal of Geophysical Research, concluded that there was lack of the chemical on the surface.

Scientists were then led to believe it had been possibly consumed by life.

Researchers had expected sunlight interacting with chemicals in the atmosphere to produce acetylene gas. But the Cassini probe did not detect any such gas.

Chris McKay, an astrobiologist at Nasa Ames Research Centre, at Moffett Field, California who led the research, said: “We suggested hydrogen consumption because it's the obvious gas for life to consume on Titan, similar to the way we consume oxygen on Earth.

"If these signs do turn out to be a sign of life, it would be doubly exciting because it would represent a second form of life independent from water-based life on Earth.”

Professor John Zarnecki, of the Open University, added: “We believe the chemistry is there for life to form. It just needs heat and warmth to kick-start the process.

“In four billion years’ time, when the Sun swells into a red giant, it could be paradise on Titan.”

They warned, however, that there could be other explanations for the findings.

But taken together, they two indicate two important conditions necessary for methane-based life to exist.

Now They Tell Us

The CBO doesn't think that ObamaCare will help the deficit after all:

Rising health costs will put tremendous pressure on the federal budget during the next few decades and beyond. In CBO’s judgment, the health legislation enacted earlier this year does not substantially diminish that pressure....Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path would almost certainly require a significant reduction in the growth of federal health spending relative to current law (including this year’s health legislation).

“Unconscionable Ineptitude”


I wonder if President Obama regrets, when he was serving in the Senate, referring to the Bush administration’s “unconscionable ineptitude” in the context of Katrina and, during the 2008 campaign, declaring, “We can talk about a trust that was broken, the promise that our government will be prepared, will protect us, and will respond in a catastrophe.”

Knowing Obama, that kind of regret is almost unimaginable, as it would require a degree of self-reflection and self-criticism that is, I suspect, simply beyond him.

In any event, it did look so much easier back in the day when Barack Obama was simply running for the presidency rather than today, when he is serving as president. The kind of balanced judgment that he could have offered then is not likely to be granted to him now. Indeed, based on the standard Obama set for himself and the federal government, he now looks both hapless and helpless, insisting he is “in control” and yet proposing a strategy that has been utterly ineffective and is more or less reduced to his plaintive plea to aides, “Just plug the damn hole.”

But the damn hole remains unplugged. The spill remains uncontained. And the oil continues to wash ashore, with the sickening images of an environmental disaster penetrating the public consciousness every day and without an end in sight. The oil spill is doing extraordinary and irreversible damage to the Obama mythology and, perhaps, to the Obama presidency. We shall see. But once again, and not for the last time, we can say that the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.