The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.
Monday, June 30, 2008
"To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." - Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Oct. 24, 2007
WASHINGTON - That was then: Democratic primaries to be won, netroot lefties to be seduced. With all that (and Hillary Clinton) out of the way, Obama now says he'll vote in favor of the new FISA bill that gives the telecom companies blanket immunity for post-9/11 eavesdropping.
Back then, in the yesteryear of primary season, he thoroughly trashed the North American Free Trade Agreement, pledging to force a renegotiation, take "the hammer" to Canada and Mexico, and threaten unilateral abrogation.
Today, the hammer is holstered. Obama calls his previous NAFTA rhetoric "overheated" and essentially endorses what one of his senior economic advisers privately told the Canadians: The anti-trade stuff was nothing more than populist posturing.
Nor is there much left of his primary season pledge to meet "without preconditions" with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There will be "preparations," you see, which are being spun by his aides into the functional equivalent of preconditions.
Obama's long march to the center has begun.
After months of claiming he had insufficient information to express an opinion on the District of Columbia's gun law, Barack Obama noted with apparent approval Thursday that the Supreme Court ruled that the 32-year ban on handguns "went too far." But what would he have said had the high court's 5 to 4 majority gone the other way and affirmed the law? Obama's strategists can only thank swing Justice Anthony Kennedy for enabling Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion to take the Democratic presidential candidate off the hook.
“Romney as favorite” is the hot buzz in Republican circles, and top party advisers said the case is compelling.
Campaign insiders say McCain plans to name his running mate very shortly after Barack Obama does, as part of what one campaign planner called a “bounce-mitigation strategy.”
Included in the list of demanded materials are transcripts and notes from FBI interview notes of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former White House chief of staff Andrew Card, and senior Bush advisers Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett. The committee is also seeking confidential legal documents, analysis and memoranda going back to the fall of 2001 and post 9/11, and any and all documents the Department of Justice might possess related to other linger cases -- in the minds of Conyers and CREW. Included in the subpoena were demands for documents related to a host of unrelated cases, including the investigation of former Alabama Gov. Donald Seligman, the firing of a U.S. Attorney, and several other prosecutions of Democrats.
"CREW has its hands in almost every one of these cases, and basically, Conyers is doing its discovery work for them," says a House Republican Judiciary Committee staffer. "This has been an ongoing problem, and no one is calling them on it."
Conyers is using the appearance and testimony of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan as the impetus for the new request.
That is in contrast to Republican presidential candidate John McCain's Senate office, where women, for the most part, out-rank and are paid more than men.
Eve Carson was shot four other times, according to the report from the Office of the State Medical Examiner that simply lists her cause of death as "multiple gunshot wounds." The 22-year-old from Athens, Ga., was found March 5 lying on a street not far from the university's campus.
Prosecutors have charged two Durham men — Laurence Lovette, 17, and Demario Atwater, 22 — with first-degree murder in her death. Lovette and another man are also charged with the January murder of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato.
Turns out, there is a bigoted good-ole-boy network operating in sports, but not among management. It's on the back pages of your Drive-By newspaper.
A new study finds that 78% of the staffs at newspapers and websites belonging to the APSE, the Associated Press Sports Editors, and that they are white guys. Just 5 percent are black guys, and less than 3 percent Hispanic. Women? Not even 12 percent. As for the guys in management, 88 percent of sports editors are white guys, about 2 percent Hispanic, under 2 percent blacks, and just 6 percent are white women guys. Researchers found just one black female editor in the 341 newspapers surveyed.
And you know what else? The numbers haven't budged since the last survey two years ago. So apparently, the overwhelmingly liberal Drive-By sports media has no desire to "change." Their motto must be: "No we can't!" or even, "No we won't!"
The very people eager to pounce on any word, any deed, or thought they believe is racist – real or imagined – refuse to diversify their own ranks.
Now, for those of you liberal drive-by sports guys who don't like hearing the truth about yourselves, let me add one more thing. If the shoe fits, wear it!
I knocked that one outta the park, don't you think?
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• E&P: Study: Newspaper Sports Departments Mostly Male, White
Friday, June 27, 2008
Two of yesterday's Supreme Court rulings -- both decided 5 to 4, and with the same alignment of justices -- concerned the Constitution's first two amendments. One ruling benefits Barack Obama by not reviving the dormant debate about gun control. The other embarrasses John McCain by underscoring discordance between his deeds and his promises.
Income Redistribution: Mundell on taxes
Instead of the typical Democrat solution, Mundell advocates lowering taxes even further. Specifically, the marginal rate, which is currently 35 percent; it should be 30 percent, according to Mundell. Additionally, the corporate rate should be cut to 25 percent. He advocates making the other Bush tax cuts permanent because “[e]liminating that uncertainty would be more important than pushing for a further cut—in the income tax rates, anyway.” The uncertainty is all the more glaring when looking at the history of income taxes. The top marginal rate has been anywhere from three percent when first instituted to 92.5 percent during World War II. Should Obama be elected and Democrats further expand their congressional majorities, the “change you can believe in” may be only what you can find in the couch.
Bad news for the GOP
Indeed, it is chiefly because of their inability to rein in spending that Republicans can’t seem to gather any support among their base. Sure, the Republican National Committee was able to raise over $24 million in May and has far more cash on hand than the DNC, but the Republican House and Senate fundraising committees continue to lag behind their Democrat counterparts.
In one interesting primary contest Tuesday in Utah, GOP Rep. Chris Cannon (American Conservative Union rating of 96) was booted from the most Republican congressional seat in the country. Challenger Jason Chaffetz clobbered him 60-40. Some blame Cannon’s weak but changing position on immigration, though his temper didn’t help either—he stormed off stage at a debate with Chaffetz. Most likely, Chaffetz’s message that “the Republican Party is broken and I want to fix it” took hold among voters who are tired of business as usual.
Reaction to the 2nd Amendment Court Decision...
“Washington, D. C., will become a safer place to live and work thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday against the city’s absolute ban on handguns... As someone who lived in the District at the time the city imposed its ban 32 years ago, I say it’s about time... The D. C. gun ban never made a dent in the city’s gun crime; it still ranks among the most dangerous places in America. At least now, the Supreme Court has acknowledged the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to protect their own lives when the police can’t.” —Linda Chavez
“I am profoundly disappointed in Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, both of whom assured us of their respect for precedent. With this decision, 70 years of precedent has gone out the window. And I believe the people of this great country will be less safe because of it.” —Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who said of her own “right-to-carry” permit a few years back, “I know the urge to arm yourself because that’s what I did. I was trained in firearms. I carried a concealed weapon. I made the determination that if somebody was going to try to take me out, I was going to take them with me.”
This week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ award
“Today, President Bush’s radical Supreme Court justices put rigid ideology ahead of the safety of communities in New Jersey and across the country. This decision illustrates why I have strongly opposed extremist judicial nominees and will continue to do so in the future.” —Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
This week’s ‘Braying Jackass’ award
“It is frightening that America loves guns, and to me, I think this decision really places those who are rich and those are in power—they’ll always feel safe. Those who do not have the power do not feel safe, and that’s what they’re saying. If you’re elected officials, you feel safe. You cannot carry a gun into a federal building. You cannot carry a gun into a federal court. So they’re setting themselves aside, and really, they’re saying to the rest of America that the answer to all the constitutional issues is that we can carry guns. And I just don’t understand how they came to this thinking.” —Chicago Mobster, er, uh, Mayor, Richard Daley
CNSNews.com Editor in Chief
One of the most dramatic changes in American life in the years since World War II involves the way we raise our children.
We used to do it ourselves. Now, convinced we have better things to do, many of us leave the job to others.
Encouraging this flight from parenthood, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has proposed what he calls his "Zero to Five" plan. It is a collection of programs aimed at getting the government involved in the raising of your children from the moment they are born.
In August, the world's most powerful particle collider comes online near the border of Switzerland and France. The Large Hadron Collider is a ring of supercooled magnets 17 miles in circumference, built underground. Its purpose is to smash atoms. Scientists hope to discover amazing things once the atoms get whacked like "invisible matter," so-called dark matter. Maybe even an extra dimension in space.
But don't let that happy science talk fool you. Critics warn that turning this thing on might lead to an Armageddon-type disaster! The collider could spawn a black hole, which would swallow up the whole Earf. Poof! We're gone. Or it could release particles that could melt the planet – and us, of course, right along with it.
The collider-science guys dismiss these predictions but they're not being made by your run-of-the-mill kooks. One critic, Walter L. Wagner, a lawyer and a physicist, has filed a lawsuit here in the States to stop this thing before it's too late. He says there's a "significant risk" that there might be "unintended consequences which could ultimately result in the destruction of our planet."
So there you go. Settle your personal business; update your wills. Do all the things that you need to do to prepare for imminent demise. Call the newspapers so they can put headlines in there. You've got until August, so make it count, folks.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• AP: Scientists Say There's Nothing to Fear From Atom-Smasher Experiments
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Slate’s ad analyst Seth Stevenson hit on the problem: "My problem with these ads begins with the casting. As the Mac character, Justin Long ... is just the sort of unshaven, hoodie-wearing, hands-in-pockets hipster we've always imagined when picturing a Mac enthusiast. He's perfect. Too perfect. It's like Apple is parodying its own image while also cementing it. If the idea was to reach out to new types of consumers (the kind who aren't already evangelizing for Macs), they ought to have used a different type of actor."
Meanwhile, the PC is played by John Hodgman - contributer to the Daily Show and This American Life, host of an amusing lecture series, and all-around dry-wit extraordinaire. Even as he plays the chump in these Apple spots, his humor and likability are evident ... The ads pose a seemingly obvious question - 'would you rather be the laid-back young dude or the portly old dweeb?' - but I found myself consistently giving the "wrong" answer: I'd much sooner associate myself with Hodgman than with Long.
Obviously, we’re supposed to want to be the Mac guy, but I suspect a lot of consumers laugh because they relate to the PC - the world is changing too fast for him to keep up, he’s so far from cutting edge that by the time he tries something it’s obsolete, the cool crowd looks down on him, and some snot-nosed twenty-something who thinks he knows everything is ready to take his job. There’s something Charlie Brownish about the PC - he tries hard, but it never seems to work out quite right. Of course, Charlie Brown is one of the most popular characters in the world.
Clearly, the ads have worked for Apple; they’re in their third year. But note that Long’s Mac character has shifted from boasting and bragging (reading his own great reviews in the Wall Street Journal, bringing out a supermodel to symbolize his home movie), to constantly expressing sympathy for his befuddled friend/rival - albeit in an irrepressibly condescending manner. In a 2007 ad entitled “Counselor” that depicts a joint therapy session, Mac says, “I don’t know why you’re so hard on yourself. . . . You are a wizard with numbers, and you dress like a gentleman.” There is probably no clearer parallel to “You’re likable enough, Hillary Clinton,” in advertising.
McCain thankfully isn’t making comical pratfalls like Hodgman’s PC, but contrasted with Obama, he can’t help but be defined as the de facto “old reliable.” Obama is the Mac Guy: young, brimming with coolness - fist bumps, moves adopted from Jay-Z videos - beloved by the press and perpetually surrounded by technology-savvy fans. — Jim Geraghty
Real Clear Politics
WASHINGTON, D.C. - What is an "Obamacon?" The phrase surfaced in January to describe British Conservatives entranced by Barack Obama. On March 13, the American Spectator broadened the term to cover all "conservative supporters" of the Democratic presidential candidate. Their ranks, though growing, feature few famous people. But looming on the horizon are two big potential Obamacons: Colin Powell and Chuck Hagel.
Neither Powell, first-term secretary of state for George W. Bush, nor Hagel, retiring after two terms as U.S. senator from Nebraska, has endorsed Obama. Hagel probably never will. Powell likely will enter Obama's camp at a time of his own choosing. The best bet is that neither of the two 2000 and 2004 supporters of President Bush will back John McCain in 2008.
Powell, Hagel and lesser-known Obamacons harbor no animosity toward McCain. Nor do they show much affection for the rigidly liberal Obama. The Obamacon syndrome is based on hostility to Bush and his administration, and revulsion over today's Republican Party. The danger for McCain is that desire for a therapeutic electoral bloodbath can get out of control.
NBC's Today Touts 'Barack Star: Obama on Cover of Rolling Stone'
ABC Talks Up Non-Existent 'Recession' Eight Times in Three Days
Bad Economy Kills Pet Dogs, Cats, Pigs, Goats...and People Too
The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.
The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Consider the plight of officials at the Blue Ridge Parkway: Faced with a public increasingly in search of a cushier mountaintop experience, the National Park Service is considering a makeover for the venerable linear park that would bring more air conditioning to its lodges, along with telephones and televisions.
Primitive campgrounds along the 469-mile scenic drive would begin offering electricity to campers to power their microwaves. And new paved trails in the surrounding woods would appeal to visitors who prefer bike rides on asphalt to rugged hikes over roots and rocks.
Investor's Business Daily
If anyone suggested that Tiger Woods should try to be more like other golfers, people would question the sanity of whoever made that suggestion.
Why should Tiger Woods try to be more like Phil Mickelson? If Tiger turned around and tried to golf left-handed, like Mickelson, he probably wouldn't be as good as Mickelson, much less as good as he is golfing the way he does right-handed.
Yet there are those who think that the United States should follow policies more like those in Europe, often with no stronger reason than the fact that Europeans follow such policies. For some Americans, it is considered chic to be like Europeans.
From Rush Limbaugh:
"Republican John McCain said Tuesday the federal government should practice the energy efficiency he preaches, pledging as president to switch official vehicles to green technologies and do the same for office buildings." Who is it that's going to be Jimmy Carter's second term, is it going to be Obama or McCain? I thought it was going to be Obama. "Expanding upon his ideas to address the nation's energy crisis, the Arizona senator also called for a redesign of the national power grid so power is better distributed where it's needed--" (sigh) Where is it not needed? Appalachia? West Virginia? Where's it not needed? "--and the country has the capacity to run electric vehicles that he wants automakers to supply."
Of course, my friends! I've been saying this for years. But for the gullible – who actually believe we can "conserve" our way out of high energy prices – I've got a related item here about food.
The head of the UN's food agency has issued a warning that food prices will remain high. He says the problems associated with high food costs won't be solved without increasing food production. So he is advocating that world leaders press to increase production.
But now wait a minute! Why not apply the same remedy that the Messiah – Barack Obama – suggests for oil prices? Let's tax the food producers. They're making profit from selling food. Let's blame greedy food speculators for driving up the price of food.
Then let's tell all the hungry parents around the world they should develop "alternative foods" and "renewable foods" like cows do, to feed their hungry kids. Chew your cud! And of course they should "conserve" the food they have. Eat a little less each day so we don't damage our pristine natural resources.
Someday, those children will be grateful.
Those that haven't starved to death.
It's a beautiful thing.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• AP: Report Sees Big Jump in Energy, Fossil Fuel Use
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Wednesday Funnies :-)
Jay Leno: President Bush blasted Congress for not allowing oil exploration in the Alaskan Wildlife Reserve. Democrats said it wouldn’t do any good, because it wouldn’t produce oil for 10 years. You know, the same thing they said 10 years ago. ... Hillary Clinton is taking a month off from her job as senator to rest up from her campaign. How does that work? Think about this. You’ve been neglecting your job, trying to get a better job. You don’t get that job. So, you take a month off from the job you were trying to get out of, and go on vacation. Huh? Imagine if you tried that with your boss. “Hey, boss, listen. Boss, I’ll tell you, I’ve been looking for another job. I am exhausted! I want to take a month off. Here’s where you can send my check.” Let me know how that works out for you. ... Former Vice President Al Gore has endorsed Barack Obama. Have you seen Al Gore lately? I think his last endorsement was Stove Top stuffing, if I’m not mistaken. ... Barack Obama announced this week he’ll visit Iraq and Afghanistan before the election in November. He said he wants to see an area that’s been overrun by violent extremists. So, sounds like he already misses his old church.
Officials offer to replace plates with ‘WTF' over text acronym
The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles has notified nearly 10,000 holders of license plates with the letter combination. Officials learned last year that the common acronym stands for a vulgar phrase in e-mail and cell-phone text messages.
But this week, the DMV officials got another surprise when they learned that the same letters appeared on the agency's own Web site on a sample personalized plate.
"I can't believe it," DMV Commissioner Bill Gore said Monday when told about the online glitch. "Obviously, I didn't know it was there."
The "WTF-5505" used on the Web site's sample plate was the first random letter combination available when DMV switched from blue- to red-lettered plates, officials said.
A 60-year-old technology teacher from Fayetteville complained about the plate last July after her teenage grandchildren clued her in.
Experts say that the “Fairness Doctrine,” which was ended under the Reagan Administration, would put a major burden on small radio stations in providing equal time to Rush Limbaugh and other conservative broadcasters, who are a potent political force. Rather than engage in the costly practice of providing that time, the experts conclude, many stations would simply not carry Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other talk show hosts who are likely to generate demands for equal time.
Wisconsin city may ban restaurant drive-throughs over global warming concerns...
Now, a member of the influential Madison Plan Commission wants to ban the restaurant drive-through -- or at least restrict the ubiquitous symbol of America's auto-centric lifestyle.
"Given the concern about all the carbon going into the atmosphere, I'm not sure we should be building more places for people to sit idling in their cars," says Eric Sundquist, who was appointed to the citizen panel by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz this spring.
A former newspaper reporter in Atlanta now working as a researcher at the UW-Madison's Center on Wisconsin Strategy, Sundquist notes that several cities in Canada have recently moved to ban the drive-through coffee shop or stand-alone fast food restaurant (www.ecospace.cc/culture/drive-thru-ban.htm).
"Bans haven't gotten as far in the U.S., although I know San Luis Obispo, Calif., has one," he says.
The issue came up last week during discussions over a conditional use permit for a new Starbucks coffee shop along a congested frontage road across from East Towne Mall.
The site at 4302 E. Washington Ave., in front of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, formerly housed the Frame Workshop retail store but has been vacant for more than a year. Property owner Tim Neitzel now wants to lease half of the 3,300 square foot retail building for a Starbucks that will also feature indoor and outdoor seating.
To facilitate the drive-through, developers are using a portion of the Crowne Plaza parking lot. Drivers picking up their morning coffee will have to make a circle route through the property to avoid potential traffic backups.
But nearby business owners are concerned about bringing more cars through the already congested intersection of East Washington and Continental Lane. The owner of a gas station on the frontage road said it's not uncommon for cars to wait through three traffic signal cycles to get across East Washington.
East Towne area Ald. Joe Clausius admitted the intersection is a problem and said with the Starbucks it "could get very backed up." Still, he said the corridor is badly in need of some redevelopment.
"I'm constantly getting peppered with questions from people about what is happening there and when will it happen," he says.
City officials have given their lukewarm support to the Starbucks, which is scheduled for a November opening. They say it could help create a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere near the Crowne Plaza.
"While many future customers will likely be driving automobiles, hotel guests and residents to the north represent a potential walking customer," says city planner Heather Stouder.
Sundquist is planning to bring the issue up before the city's Long Range Transportation Planning Commission on which he also serves.
"I know a ban might be difficult so a better approach might be to restrict them," he says, noting an ordinance in Davis, Calif., puts a number of restrictions on drive-throughs, including one relating to air pollution.
DENVER (The Wall Street Journal) - As the Mile High City gears up to host a Democratic bash for 50,000, organizers are discovering the perils of trying to stage a political spectacle that's also politically correct.
Turning Over a New Leaf
In Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin, FEMA has received about 45,000 registrations for assistance, and has already doled out $81 million in emergency housing funds.
Iowa's Democratic Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge says FEMA had "people on site almost immediately after the flooding began."
And even some Democrats who rarely miss a chance to criticize the Bush Administration admit FEMA's response has been effective.
Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill says, "I think they've made a world of improvement both in terms of their preparedness and in terms of their attitude."
Problem with Barack Obama's First General Election Ad
(Fox News) - Barack Obama's first general election ad says about 46 seconds in that the Illinois senator passed laws that "extended health care for wounded troops who'd been neglected."
The ad "Country I Love", which was released Friday, provides a citation at the bottom of the screen which reads "Public Law 110 - 181."
The problem is Senator Obama never voted for that legislation. Public Law 110 - 181 is part of the defense authorization bill which passed the Senate in January by a vote of 91 to three with six senators not voting. Barack Obama was among those six absent senators.
George Carlin passed away the other day in Santa Monica, California. A lot of people think of George Carlin as a wacko liberal satirist, controversialist or what have you, and on occasion he was. But he really skewered everything, and when it comes to the environmental left, George Carlin was one of us. We have some sound bites to illustrate this from Carlin appearances over the years.
But the silliness doesn't stop there. At Washington D.C.'s National Park, protesters showed up dressed in polar bear costumes to protest ExxonMobil for running an ad during baseball games.
Now, why are the wackos upset? One of their ringleaders declared: "It's bad enough the Texans have had the White House for the last eight years. Now we have to endure advertisements for Texas's largest corporation, ExxonMobil, here in our park? It's our park. It's our team. It's our stadium, and we are not going to let Texas take it again."
Another wacko, Mike Tidwell, asked: "What do we tell our children when they sing 'Take Me Out to the Ballpark,' and they sing about peanuts and Cracker Jacks, while it's called the ExxonMobil Seventh Inning Stretch, and Exxon's name is plastered on baseball's biggest scoreboard?"
Hey, Tidwell? You tell your kids to thank God for companies like ExxonMobil, you doofus, that take risks, and turn crude oil into the products that fuel our economy! And if they're little wacko kids, just tell them to grin and bear it like the polar bears. Or just cool their jets and wait for football season, you idiot.
I can't believe these people even get any news time.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• CNS News: 'Polar Bears' Protest Exxon Ads at 'Green' Nationals Park
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Wall Street Journal
You are the Democratic candidate for president. You want to reach out to Catholics. So what do you do when the majority of the elected officials on your National Catholic Advisory Council have the seal of approval from NARAL Pro-Choice America?
That's the position Barack Obama now finds himself in. A few months ago, his Catholic advisory council was announced with great enthusiasm, and Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) was listed as a national co-chair. His appearance at the top of the council sent a clear message: This campaign is determined to recover some of the lost Democratic sheep who have gravitated to the GOP over abortion.
This council does indeed include some Catholics whose pro-life credentials are impeccable, including Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar. But let us also stipulate the obvious: Of the 21 senators, congressmen and governors listed on the council's National Leadership Committee, 17 have a 90%-100% NARAL approval rating. Even Mr. Casey now enjoys a 65% NARAL approval rating.
Not Green Enough
Nationals Park is equipped with environmentally friendly light bulbs, water-saving toilets and 95 percent of the stadium's steel was recycled.
But that is not enough for some activists who protested at the park on Friday night. The reason? ExxonMobil oil company is a stadium sponsor.
One protester said: "You cannot be green if your No. 1 advertiser is the world's biggest environmental abuser." And the director of Oil for Change International said: "It's bad enough the Texans have had the White House for the last eight years. It's our stadium and we are not going to let Texas take it again."
But an Exxon spokesman says that in 2007 his company reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 5 million tons, compared to Toyota's claim that it reduced greenhouse gases by 4.5 million tons by selling one million hybrid cars.
Obama Backtracks on Pledge to Take Public Financing for General Election
(Fox News) - Barack Obama says he backtracked on a pledge to take public financing for the general election partly because he needs funds to counter those 527 committees that may attack him from the right. And he argues John McCain will do nothing to "stop the smears."
But Cybercast News Service reports that Democratic 527s have raised three times as much as their Republican counterparts: $87 million to $24 million.
The director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute says that Obama "wasn't complaining when he went to the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees Union this week, which ran an ad paid for by its 527 to attack John McCain."
Kyndra Rotunda, who is also an Army Reserve major and an author, says: "We already know that 5 to 10 percent of those released end up back on the battlefield interfering with the mission in Iraq. With this ruling, we could end up with that tenfold."
Rotunda was at a book discussion at the Heritage Foundation in Washington Monday and said that the Supreme Court made a mistake, adding: "We should hold these detainees until the end of hostility."
Refining Her Stance
While speaking to oil company executives at a House Judiciary Committee hearing in May, Waters said: "This liberal will be all about socializing and the government running all of your companies."
But her communications director tells Cybercast News Service: "It was one comment in a long hearing. It's not a developed policy proposal. It was not an intentional statement."
In testimony before Congress on Monday marking the 20th anniversary of his little hoax, Hansen is now calling for "radical steps" to help forestall "a perfect storm" of irreversible climate change.
Among the radical steps, Hansen wants the chief executives of large oil companies arrested and put on trial for "high crimes against humanity and nature." The underlying premise of this wacko scientist is that Big Oil execs have actively spread doubt and lies about global warming.
Hansen is also going to target members of Congress he doesn’t approve of, and actively campaign against them in the November elections -- which is his right, of course.
But, my friends, this is the height of arrogance. Nobody even knows the names of these oil execs! But for 20 years -- as long as Hansen has been peddling this hoax -- there has been one consistent voice of opposition. A loud voice, on the front line, fighting these kooks tooth and nail every day. If this Stalinist, anti-free-speech, petulant, junk-science liberal and his wacko buddies are going to run around putting people on trial who don’t buy into their global warming hoax -- how dare they leave me out!
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• NewsBusters: NASA's Hansen: Oil Execs Should Be Tried For "Crimes Against Humanity"
Monday, June 23, 2008
Carolina Journal Online
RALEIGH – Political experience differs as much in kind as in amount – a point clearly illustrated by the first candidate forum of the 2008 governor’s race. Beverly Perdue and Pat McCrory are both experienced politicians, but McCrory came to Saturday’s North Carolina Bar Association event in Atlantic Beach ready to speak, via television, to North Carolina voters. Perdue came ready to speak to the relatively small audience of lawyers, reporters, and dignitaries in attendance.
The difference was striking, and not to Perdue’s benefit.
Tribune Media Services
"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death." -
In today's political climate, a liberal Auntie Mame might say that life
is a banquet, which the government must pay for, and that those who
can't afford a place at the table should behave like it was an
all-you-can eat buffet.
This is the view of Barack Obama. In an interview with The Wall Street
Journal, Obama expounded on the economic policies he would pursue as
president. Among other things, he is concerned about the
"winner-take-all" economy where, he says, "the gains from economic
growth skew heavily toward the wealthy." Actually, the gains from
economic growth can skew toward anyone willing to work hard and make
personal and family decisions that improve their chances for success.
This is boilerplate wealth redistribution, an economic philosophy at the
center of the former Soviet Union. Obama and Democrats wish to embrace
it now in order to make more people dependent on government, rather than
encourage people to rely on themselves and the opportunity America
offers to most citizens, even illegal aliens. Guaranteed equal outcome
Obama Doesn't Take Donations From Lobbyists... Until He Does
National Review Online
Barack Obama justified his flip-flop on public funding by arguing that "John McCain's campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs."
From Bob Novak's column Saturday:
As he gives up public funding for his campaign, Sen. Barack Obama is reaching out to new sources, including Washington insiders whose influence he has vowed to end.
Obama is now using lists of contributors to Democratic congressional chairmen, primarily lobbyists of both parties. One recipient of a letter signed by Obama is a Republican lobbyist who has contributed to senior Democratic Reps. John Dingell of Michigan and Charlie Rangel of New York, not out of ideological affinity but to keep their doors open.
"Together, we change the way business is done in Washington," said the Obama letter. "We can end the undue influence of special interests."
All Obama statements come with an expiration date. It's just a matter of when.
'Get Over It' Is Not a Particularly Healing Phrase
National Review Online
It shouldn't be terribly difficult to unite the Democratic Party. But I'm not sure Obama is capable of it.
According to Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Obama then said, “However, I need to make a decision in the next few months as to how I manage that since I’m running against John McCain, which takes a lot of time. If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it.”
Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., a longtime Clinton supporter, did not like those last three words — “Get over it.” She found them dismissive, off-putting.
“Don’t use that terminology,” Watson told Obama.
Jake Tapper also reported the exchange on ABC News this morning.
While he'll earn some goodwill when he makes gestures like taking on one of his supporters who booed a mention of her name at a rally in Detroit, I get the feeling that Obama has no idea how his victory looks to Hillary's most devoted supporters: That once again, a hardworking, smart woman has worked her way up from the bottom, dealt with all kinds of adversity and challenges and in some cases, blatant sexism; fought hard every day from the moment she woke up to the moment she went to bed at night (and then the 3 a.m. phone calls)... and then, at what ought to be her moment in the big chair, the job went to the young hotshot with less experience. Hillary's base identifies with their candidate on a personal level that's probably paralleled only by Obama and the African-American community; the candidate's victories and defeats are their victories and defeats. They take it personally. The "I'm better on the issues," argument will probably work eventually, but it helps if it's mixed with some empathy.
Remembering the Gipper...
“First, if I may, I’d like to establish the scope of the topic under discussion. For when we speak about the economy, we’re dealing with more than mere numbers, more than statistics about productivity and employment. We’re dealing instead with one of the most basic aspects of human existence: We’re dealing with the way the great majority of men and women spend most of their hours, most days, throughout the most productive years of their lives...I believe it’s important to remind ourselves that in dealing with the economy we’re dealing with human creativity. This insight has represented the underpinning of our economic expansion. We cut tax rates, reduced government regulation, and restrained Federal spending; and we unleashed the creativity of individuals and businesses. We gave them freedom to create; to keep the rewards of their own risk-taking and hard work; and to reach for new, bold ideas.”
But his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, criticized McCrory's support for vouchers for private schools, saying it would undermine efforts to improve public education in North Carolina.
"As governor I will not be distracted by experiments like vouchers and private school tuition," Perdue told several hundred lawyers at the N.C. Bar Association convention in the first debate of the governor's race. "Vouchers take money away from the public schools. I am not going to take my eye off the prize and allow vouchers to break the back of public schools."
Dodd and senior Obama campaign and Senate staff have been speaking for close to a week on strategy to kill the bill as it became increasingly apparent that negotiations on the bill were coming to a successful end.
"Dodd is taking his marching orders from the far left, the ACLU, MoveOn, all the groups that have been lining up and raising millions off this issue for more than a year," says a Senate Republican leadership aide. "A similar version of this bill passed with more than 60 votes last time. We don't see it failing right now, but anything can happen."
Dodd, according to a Democratic leadership aide, went to Senate majority leader Harry Reid and asked to be placed front and center in opposition to the bill, in part, so that he could build vocal support for himself on the far left in the face of what should be a mounting scandal related to his pursuing and receiving a sweetheart mortgage deal.
"If all [Dodd] is doing is sitting back and taking it on the chin for the mortgage, he becomes an albatross politically. But now he gets the ACLU crowd all excited and supporting him, and Obama and others can associate with him because he appears to have strong public support,"
says the Democrat aide.
As it stands, MoveOn is demanding that Obama and Dodd lead a filibuster of the bill in the Senate, something Obama hasn't indicated he's willing to do.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
91 Percent of Obama Donors Not Required to Be Reported to FEC
National Review Online
A fairly glaring whopper from Obama, mentioned in this op-ed by economics professor Jay Mandle in the Washington Post:
During a Feb. 26 debate in Cleveland, for example, Obama said that "we have now raised 90 percent of our donations from small donors, $25, $50." His campaign's own data from January 2007 through January 2008 show that 36 percent of donated funds were from small donors. Obama probably meant that 90 percent of the individuals who contributed were small donors, but the number of donors has not been verified.
While the portion of his money raised from small donors probably increased from 36 percent by the time Obama made the statement in the debate, there's no way it changed from 36 to 90 percent in twenty-six days.
Mandle's op-ed notes "Contributions of less than $200 do not have to be itemized in reports to the Federal Election Commission, so we have no idea how many are made."
The FEC asks campaigns to report any donor whose cumulative contributions have exceeded $200. Is that occurring on the Obama campaign? (If so, no wonder the campaign has 700 paid employees. Imagine keeping track of John Smith donating $20 in January, $30 in February, only $15 in March, etc., times 2.7 million. Yes, you read that correctly. According to the Obama campaign, 91 percent — roughly 2.7 million — of their 3 million donors have given less than $100. Presuming that is accurate, right now, they are only obligated to report information to the FEC on 9 percent of their donors!)
If the campaign isn't able to keep up, and donors don't have to report a donation of less than $200 to the FEC, what is to stop someone from working around the $2,300 per candidate per race limit by donating, say, $19,900 in a hundred donations of $199?
Friday, June 20, 2008
"Senator McCain has frequently received some criticism for taking on big industries," Black told NPR's 'All Things Considered.' "John McCain is a populist. He believes in free markets; he believes in limited government and having the free enterprise system produce the jobs and the prosperity that he seeks, but he does think, as did Teddy Roosevelt, that you do need government there with some oversight and some regulation to avoid excess."
Populism, according to Wikipedia: Populism is a discourse which supports "the people" versus "the elites". Populism may involve either a political philosophy urging social and political system changes and/or a rhetorical style, deployed by members of political or social movements competing for advantage within the existing party system.
Both senators received their juicy home loans from Countrywide honcho Angelo Mozilo, as did Jim Johnson, a top Demo operative who was slated to handle Barack Obama’s vice-presidential search committee until his relationship with Mozilo became public. Other friends of the toxic Mozilo include Alphonso Jackson, the former HUD secretary who resigned in April, and Donna Shalala, former HHS secretary under Bill Clinton.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) called for an investigation into the sweet deals given to Dodd and Conrad, but his fellow Republicans are loath to leap at the opportunity, signaling that this scandal could spread beyond just one party. Why else pass up a great opportunity to expose the Democrats’ hypocrisy in an election year? Democrats had been hoping to plow a mortgage bailout through Congress before this whole mess gets exposed, but President George W. Bush has threatened a veto because of the overly generous terms for Countrywide and similar lenders. Now we will have to wait and see if Republicans have the courage to take this issue to the bank, as it were, and call the Demos out before the story gets swept away.
Ohio judicial activism
The case resulting in Burge’s soft-hearted decision was brought by Ruben Rivera, charged with murdering a man during a drug-related robbery, and Ronald McCloud, charged with the 2005 rape and murder of a 57-year-old woman in a church bathroom. Neither man has yet been tried. Although we disagree with the notion that those criminals deemed unfit to live should suffer no pain at the end, there is some small comfort in knowing that Ohio’s most cold-blooded murderers will now die like dogs.
As a side note, Burge’s office features prominent posters of murderous commie thug Che Guevara and uber-Leftist presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama side by side. Which got us to thinking: If Burge idolizes a murderer like Guevara, why would he want to execute two others?
Race hustler Sharpton owes back taxes
GOP cash situation deteriorates
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Well it seems like House Democrats have found a president they can believe in.
Not Barack Obama, who wants the job.
And certainly not George Bush, who has the job.
But Hugo Chavez, who as far as I know, doesn't qualify for the job.
But Chavez qualifies for something else. Something Democrats have increasingly been demanding in the United Sates. Something Chavez has been doing in Venezuela.
Nationalizing the oil companies.
Specifically, some House Democrats want to nationalize oil refineries. This way the government could better control the flow of the oil supply.
Marvelous. So they're opposed to more drilling.
But not opposed to more government.
Shocking. Please cue a FOX News Alert.
National Review Online
An Obama fan writes in to defend the candidate in the matter of four recent claims disputed by Hugh Hewitt.
* That off-shore oil production would only drop gas prices by a few cents in five years
* That an investment of 250 billion dollars five years ago would have produced an engine that didn't require fossil fuels.
* That the technology exists to get 100 miles per gallon.
* That we could move to 40 MPG fuel standards for cars.
The girl had taken her father to Quebec Superior Court after he refused to allow her to go on a school trip for chatting on websites he tried to block, and then posting "inappropriate" pictures of herself online using a friend's computer.
The father's lawyer Kim Beaudoin said the disciplinary measures were for the girl's "own protection" and is appealing the ruling.
"She's a child," Beaudoin told AFP. "At her age, children test their limits and it's up to their parents to set boundaries."
"I started an appeal of the decision today to reestablish parental authority, and to ensure that this case doesn't set a precedent," she said. Otherwise, said Beaudoin, "parents are going to be walking on egg shells from now on."
"I think most children respect their parents and would never go so far as to take them to court, but it's clear that some would and we have to ask ourselves how far this will go."
According to court documents, the girl's Internet transgression was just the latest in a string of broken house rules. Even so, Justice Suzanne Tessier found her punishment too severe.
Beaudoin noted the girl used a court-appointed lawyer in her parents' 10-year custody dispute to launch her landmark case against dear old dad.
Radio talk show host/FOX News Political Contributor
President Bush read a statement (yesterday) outlining the need and importance of offshore and ANWR drilling, and establishing new refineries.
This is great news and he was right on every single point, yet there are still some extraordinary shenanigans surrounding how we handle our existing supplies, both imported and domestic.
For that perfect “Behind the Looking Glass” feeling, here’s a bit of news the president didn’t mention: With a rising unemployment rate and college students entering the market for the summer and beyond, it’s not enough to keep our borders open so we can remain Mexico’s employment agency. We are now making sure Mexican citizens have plenty of cheap gasoline so they can drive on up here to take the jobs American citizens would take if they could get them, or at least afford to drive to.
Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, said members of her caucus asked her to forward the names of Edwards and Nunn when she met Wednesday with Obama's vice presidential search team. The vetting team, Caroline Kennedy and Eric Holder, indicated the two were on the list.
"We've been brainstorming in the Congressional Black Caucus. Former Sen. Sam Nunn's name has come up, as well as John Edwards' name has come up among our CBC members. I reported that to them and they had both of those names on their list," Kilpatrick said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Kilpatrick said she made several suggestions during the 45-minute meeting, including former Vice President Al Gore, Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. Gore endorsed Obama in Detroit on Monday.
King Chief of Police resigns
“We hate to lose him,” King City Manager John Cater said in an interview on Tuesday. “Tim has been a true value to the city for several years. This is a career advancement for him, and we wish him the best.”
Ledford was a patrol lieutenant in King from 2000-2003 before assuming the chief of police position in 2003. In 2006, he was named the North Carolina American Legion Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Ledford is originally from Macon County.
Time Magazine is reporting that nearly half of the girls confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. None of the girls is older than 16.
Principal Joseph Sullivan has not returned calls from WBZ to confirm the report.
Sullivan told the magazine that the pact wasn't the only shocking incident.
"We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," he told Time.
"The problem is not the big oil companies, the problem is not the foreigners, the problem is not begging the Saudis," said Gingrich. "The problem is getting Congress to do its job."
WASHINGTON (Fortune) - The general campaign is on, independent voters are up for grabs, and Barack Obama is toning down his populist rhetoric - at least when it comes to free trade.
In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine's upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn't want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.
"Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified," he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA "devastating" and "a big mistake," despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.
Obama, who set records raising money in the primary election, will forgo more than $84 million that would have been available to him in the general election. He would be the first candidate to do so since Congress passed 1970s post-Watergate campaign finance laws. Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee in waiting, has taken steps to accept the public funds in the general election.
Obama officials said they decided to take that route because McCain is already spending privately raised funds toward the general election campaign. Obama has vastly outraised McCain, however, and would likely retain that advantage if McCain accepts the public money.
Option three involves using Highway 66 as a dividing line with some stipulations. Students who live west of Highway 66, on Highway 66, or whose road dead-ends onto Highway 66 will go to West Stokes High School. Students who reside east of Highway 66 or not on Highway 66 or whose road does not dead-end onto Highway 66 will go to South Stokes High School. The timeline for the implementation of this new plan is still unclear.
WASHINGTON - Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers said Tuesday that Osama bin Laden, if captured, should be allowed to appeal his case to U.S. civilian courts, a privilege opposed by John McCain.
Responding to questions from The Examiner, Sen. John Kerry and former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke said bin Laden would benefit from last week’s Supreme Court decision giving terrorism suspects habeas corpus, the right to appeal their military detention to civilian courts.
“If he were to be brought back,” Clarke said of bin Laden, “the Supreme Court ruling holds on the right of habeas corpus.”
Kerry, who applauded the Supreme Court ruling, said it will be carried out by whichever candidate wins the presidency.
“The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that they have those rights,” he said. “If John McCain were president, he would have to give them those rights.”
Capitol Hill’s opponents of domestic energy production took to the stage yesterday to decry “Big Oil” again, not for its profits, but for “stockpiling” energy leases instead of producing them. In reality, it’s the government that is stockpiling leases.
This group of politicians stated that oil companies hold the rights to millions of acres of federal leases that are not currently producing energy. This is certainly true, but not because of the sinister reasons they would have you believe. The following may help provide the insights the Members of Congress neglected to provide yesterday.
A year later, NewsBusters has revisited the subject -- and guess what? Not only did Gore's "green renovations" fail to bring energy costs down at his mansion; the former Vice Perpetrator actually increased his energy use over ten percent! In the last year, Algore has used over 200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. That's enough power to run 232 average American homes for a month.
All the nonsense about "carbon footprints" that Algore spouts -- all those diatribes urging you to reduce your CO2 output by getting rid of your SUV, changing your lightbulbs or face imminent doom is nothing more than hot air. Life inside the Gore household is typical do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do liberalism.
With decades of holier-than-thou political posturing, self-promotion, and legions of incompetent journalists acting as his PR army, Algore has transformed himself from a run-of-the-mill political hack, to the face of the manmade global warming hoax.
But generations from now, when historians look back, they’ll wonder how a charlatan like Gore pulled off this hoax -- and why so many of you fell for it. Mark my words. Don't doubt me.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• Newsbusters: Gore-ging on Energy, One Year Later Gore's Home Energy Use Climbs 10%
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
House Democrats call for nationalization of refineries
House Democrats responded to President's Bush's call for Congress to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling. This was at an on-camera press conference fed back live.
Among other things, the Democrats called for the government to own refineries so it could better control the flow of the oil supply.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), member of the House Appropriations Committee and one of the most-ardent opponents of off-shore drilling said, "We (the government) should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market...There are a lot of arrows in the President's quiver that he decided not use. What we do has to be in the interest of the American people. Not major corporations."
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) said, "They (Republicans) have a one-trick pony approach...It's like when I talk to my kids. Before we're going to talk about dessert, we've got to talk about what's on your plate. I hope I'm a little more successful with the oil industry than I am with my kids."
Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the Resources Committee said, "You cannot drill your way out of this."
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Select Committee on Global Warming said, "The White House has become a ventriloquist for the oil and gas energy. The finger should be directed back at them. They had plenty of opportunity to (arrange an energy policy). But they did not put an energy policy in place...The governors of California and the governors of Florida are going to scream this is not the way to go...There are so many red herrings out there they might as well construct an aquarium."
National Review Online
The Tennessee Center for Policy Research’s bird-dogging of Gore’s energy hypocrisy sheds light on another scandal: The corruption of media environmental coverage.
The Center is a small non-profit in Nashville dedicated to reporting on Tennessee public policy, primarily government spending. In February 2007, staff investigator Trent Seibert uncovered that the Goracle’s home utility bills were 20 times the national average, a bombshell that came just one day after Gore's Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth.
Drudge picked up the story and it spread like wildfire across the Internet — and it made waves in journalism circles too. How had a tiny think tank scooped the Nashville Tennessean, one of the country’s storied investigative newspapers, on Tennessee’s most prominent public figure?
Wednesday Funnies :-)
Obama on Education...
TAPPER: You talked about the need to change the status quo in education today.
TAPPER: But one of the ways that proponents of school choice say that the best way to change the status quo is to give parents, inner-city parents a choice. Why not?
OBAMA: Well, the problem is, is that, you know, although it might benefit some kids at the top, what you're going to do is leave a lot of kids at the bottom. We don't have enough slots for every child to go into a parochial school or a private school. And what you would see is a huge drain of resources out of the public schools.
So what I've said is let's foster competition within the public school system. Let's make sure that charter schools are up and running. Let's make sure that kids who are in failing schools, in local school districts, have an option to go to schools that are doing well.
But what I don't want to do is to see a diminished commitment to the public schools to the point where all we have are the hardest-to-teach kids with the least involved parents with the most disabilities in the public schools. That's going to make things worse, and we're going to lose the commitment to public schools that I think have been so important to building this country.
TAPPER: So it would help some kids, but overall it would be bad for the system?
OBAMA: I think it would be overall bad for most kids.
The campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.
"This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama's commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers."
Speaking in Houston, where many energy companies are headquartered, McCain said of Obama, "He supports new taxes on oil producers. He wants a windfall-profits tax on oil, to go along with the new taxes he also plans for coal and natural gas.
"If the plan sounds familiar, it's because that was President Jimmy Carter's big-idea tool - and a lot of good it did us."
Into the Fire
However, it appears the recipe was copied from the Hershey's Web site. The ingredients and amounts are virtually the same, except McCain’s recipe calls for an unspecified brand of butterscotch chips, while the Hershey recipe calls specifically for Hershey's butterscotch chips.
In April, the McCain campaign was caught copying some recipes from the Food Network Web site and passing them off as Cindy McCain's. Officials blamed that mistake on an intern.
NASHVILLE (Tennessee Center for Policy Research) - In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.
“A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”
In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.
The Washington Post reports some Republicans say the drive is an improper effort to recruit more Obama voters in the key battleground state.
One Republican delegate says, "I don't know a lot of young Republicans who end up being felons... I am sure this registration effort is designed to help their candidate."
An Obama spokeswoman says there is no organized effort to target ex-offenders.
Obama often cites a Rand Corporation study that found widespread use of electronic records could save up to $77 billion a year. But FactCheck.Org reports Obama does not reveal that the same study says that level of savings cannot be reached until 2019 — three years after the end of a hypothetical Obama second term.
And, that Rand report was even criticized by the Congressional Budget Office for its overly-optimistic and best-case scenario findings.
Calls for Congressional Hearings on Lending Scandal Met with Silence on Capitol Hill
(Fox News) - We have a follow-up on Monday's report that Texas Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling has called for Congressional hearings in the wake of reports that at least two Democratic Senators received discount mortgage deals from Countrywide Financial Corporation.
Banking committee chairman Chris Dodd — whose panel oversees the mortgage industry — and North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad reportedly received preferential treatment from Countrywide.
But, The Politico newspaper reports Hensarling's call for an investigation has been greeted with silence on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers apparently are reluctant to push forward with a probe because they do not know where it may lead.
One Senate GOP aide says, "You don't see many people jumping on this, because you don't know if anyone else is dirty."
Today, Dodd denied any wrongdoing, saying that the rates he received were in the range of rates being offered at the time. He says he spoke with no "higher ups" at Countrywide, adding there was no red flag that he was getting any special treatment.
Already caught in the web are Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd, both of whom have denied any wrongdoing in their attempts to refinance or obtain mortgages from Countrywide at favorable terms. Senate Ethics Committee staffers believe that there may be at least two other Senators -- both Democrats -- who had contacts with senior executives at Fannie Mae and Countrywide.
"It apparently was well known that Countrywide had a 'VIP service' through the senior management offices, and current and former senior executives at Fannie Mae were a conduit for those contacts," says a House Ethics aide. "There is a Clinton/Democratic connection here that can't be ignored."
The Democratic White House hopeful has scheduled the inaugural meeting Wednesday of what he's calling his Senior Working Group on National Security. It includes former members of Congress and high-ranking administration officials. Among them are three who advised Hillary Rodham Clinton and had served in her husband's Cabinet -- Madeleine Albright, William Perry and Warren Christopher.
Obama also was meeting Wednesday with nearly 40 retired admirals and generals to discuss the state of the military and the challenges in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
McCain: Sunnis, Shiites "Trying to Confuse Me" :-)
The Borowitz Report
In a major speech on the war in Iraq today, presumptive GOP nominee John McCain said that the Iraqis have split into two factions, Shiites and Sunnis, with a sinister goal in mind.
"My friends, the Iraqis have divided themselves into these two groups for one reason and one reason only," Sen. McCain told an audience in a retirement village in Scottsdale, Arizona. "They are trying to confuse me."
Sen. McCain said that although the two groups of Iraqis are "well-nigh impossible" to tell apart, he vowed to commit U.S. troops to Iraq "for as long as it takes for me to figure out just what the difference between Sunnis and Shiites is."
"If it takes 100 years, 1,000 years, or a billion zillion years, we will stay there until I can tell Sunnis and Shiites apart," the Arizona senator said.
Sen. McCain reserved his harshest words for the Shiites, who he said were trying to confuse him by sometimes referring to themselves as "Shiites" and other times as "Shia."
"What's that all about, anyway?" he asked. "Stop clowning around and call yourself one thing."
Sen. McCain seemed alarmed when a reporter asked him whether he believed that the Kurds, the third major group in Iraq, were trying to confuse him as well.
"The Kurds?" he said. "Who the heck are they?"
Elsewhere, a carjacker in Los Angeles stole a tank of gas but left the Mercedes.
Anyway, speaking before the Center for New American Security, Danzig gave a hint of the kind of change our enemies can expect should Obama win the whole thing. According to Danzig, future American strategy to fight the war on terrorism should follow lessons gleaned from Winnie the Pooh.
You heard right.
"Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security," said Danzig. He said the US military should understand that terrorists really want to emulate superheroes like Luke Skywalker.
The man who could be President Obama's National Security Adviser read this excerpt from Winnie the Pooh to the audience: "Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming down stairs. But sometimes he thinks there really is another way if only he could stop bumping a minute and think about it."
Now, if the logic escapes you here, this is all about the need to "change." And to hope.
There's a lot I could say about Barack Obama and the team of idiots he's assembling to defend our security interests, but it can be summed up in very few words: If Obama wins, we are in deep Pooh -- and that ain't no "change".
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• UK Telegraph: Barack Obama Aide -- Why Winnie the Pooh Should Shape US Foreign Policy