Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The most damning part of the story is that once his campaign found her living in squalor they told her to not talk to the press until after the election, but they didn’t try to help her.
Some reactions to this story from the campaign trail:
"I have finally figured out why somebody who has been as successful as Barack Obama believes that the government must help people who cannot or do not help themselves: He simply does not understand that helping the poor, unlucky, or incompetent is first the responsibility of family."
"He has used these people -- his grandmother, his aunt and uncle, and so forth -- as props in his political narrative. He wants us to measure him in part by his relationship to these Kenyans, but -- and here is the harsh part -- only as that relationship is described by him. What if his characterization of that relationship is misleading? What if it turns out that while he is delighted to cite these people as evidence of his humble beginnings -- that is what I mean by using them as props -- he is not so delighted to consider them as part of his family? Is that not at least a potentially useful insight into the character of this man about whom we know so little?"
Found in a rundown Boston estate: Barack Obama’s aunt Zeituni Onyango
Barack Obama has lived one version of the American Dream that has taken him to the steps of the White House. But a few miles from where the Democratic presidential candidate studied at Harvard, his Kenyan aunt and uncle, immigrants living in modest circumstances in Boston, have a contrasting American story.
Zeituni Onyango, the aunt so affectionately described in Mr Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, lives in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate in South Boston.
A second relative believed to be the long-lost “Uncle Omar” described in the book was beaten by armed robbers with a “sawed-off rifle” while working in a corner shop in the Dorchester area of the city. He was later evicted from his one-bedroom flat for failing to pay $2,324.20 (£1,488) arrears, according to the Boston Housing Court.
The US press has repeatedly rehearsed Mr Obama’s extraordinary odyssey, but the other side of the family’s American experience has only been revealed in parts. Just across town from where Mr Obama made history as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, some of his closest blood relatives have confronted the harshness of immigrant life in America.
In his book Mr Obama writes that “Uncle Omar” had gone missing after moving to Boston in the 1960s – a quarter-century before Mr Obama first visited his family in Kenya. Aunt Zeituni is now also living in Boston, and recently made a $260 campaign contribution to her nephew's presidential bid from a work address in the city.
Speaking outside her home in Flaherty Way, South Boston, on Tuesday, Ms Onyango, 56, confirmed she was the “Auntie Zeituni” in Mr Obama’s memoir. She declined to answer most other questions about her relationship with the presidential contender until after the November 4 election. “I can’t talk about it, I just pray for him, that’s all,” she said, adding: “After the 4th, I can talk to anyone.”
A photograph of Ms Onyango was later shown to George Hussein Onyango, Barack Obama’s half-brother in Nairobi, who confirmed that it was their aunt. George Onyango, 26, the youngest child of Barack Obama Sr, said that he had spent weekends with his Aunt Zeituni when he was growing up, and instantly recognised her.
George Onyango said that his aunt had left for the US about eight years ago but sent him e-mails. “She left to find work and I suppose she thought her life would be better there,” he said. “She was kind and caring.”
In his memoir Mr Obama describes the joy of meeting his father’s family during his first visit to Kenya in 1988. Aunt Zeituni, then a computer programmer at Kenya Breweries in Nairobi, is portrayed as a feisty woman who proclaims herself “the champion dancer”. Uncle Omar, by contrast, remains a mysterious figure who left for America and never came back. At one point in the book a half-sister tells Mr Obama that people “like our Uncle Omar, in Boston” move to the West.
“They promise to return after completing school. They say they’ll send for the family once they get settled. At first they write once a week. Then it’s just a month. Then they stop writing completely. No one sees them again.”
Aunt Zeituni and Uncle Omar are the children of Mr Obama’s grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, by his third wife – the woman Mr Obama calls “Granny” because she raised his father. Mr Obama’s father, Barack Sr, was Onyango Obama’s son by his second wife, Akumu. That makes Zeituni and Omar a half-sister and half-brother of Mr Obama’s father, or Mr Obama’s half-aunt and half-uncle.
While Mr Obama was on his voyage of personal discovery in Africa, his aunt and uncle were engaged in their own journey in his homeland.
The Times could not determine their immigration status and an official at Boston City Hall said that Ms Onyango was a resident of Flaherty Way but not registered to vote on the electoral roll. However, that Ms Onyango made a contribution to the Obama campaign would indicate that she is a US citizen. Records at the Boston City Hall confirmed Zeituni Onyango’s birthdate as May 29, 1952.
It is not clear when Ms Onyango first came to the US. She said: “I have been coming to America ever since 1975. I always come and go.”
She is a frail woman who walks with the aid of a metal stick. Neighbours said that she lived alone in a ground-floor flat normally set aside for people facing physical hardship.
An Associated Press story about poor people buying lottery tickets at cheque-cashing shops, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 25, 2003, quotes a Zeituni Onyango whom it describes as out of work and without much money. “It's like when I feel luck might fall I do that, like manna might come from Heaven. That’s when I buy it,” she told AP.
A staff member at the Boston Housing Authority office, 50 yards from her house, said Ms Onynango had been a volunteer resident health advocate between December 2007 and August this year. She worked six hours a week for a small stipend. Records show she used the housing authority’s address to make her campaign contribution.
Ms Onyango is also listed on the internet as a volunteer with Experience Corps, a programme in which adults over 55 mentor children in their communities. The “former computer systems co-ordinator” tells the group’s online newsletter: “I felt that I should help the children in my community. I love people and enjoy interacting with them . . . Also, I was idle, and this was a chance to get involved.”
A public record search lists an “O. Onyango Obama”, born on June 3, 1944, at 24 Colgate Road whose name matches that of the “Uncle Omar” in Dreams from My Father.
Nelson Ochieng, a cousin of Mr Obama who lives in the Kenyan city of Kisumu, near the family village of Kogelo, said that Omar had changed his first name after moving to the US. “Before he went to America we all knew him as Omar, but he dropped that bit, changing it to Obama Onyango, because he said he preferred his African name,” he said. Gail Greenberger, the landlady who bought the four-storey brick block of flats at a foreclosure sale in 1994, knew her tenant, however, by the name Obama Onyango. “We used to call him ‘Oh-bummer!’. That is how I pronounced Obama in 2000,” she said.
Ms Greenberger said she inherited him with the building but was forced to evict him in 2000 for nonpayment of his rent of about $500 a month. “I remember him being decent but I think he lost his job. When they lose their job, they just stop paying rent. He did not even go to court. He bolted from the apartment,” she said. Records of Boston Housing Court show a “summary process” was executed against Mr Onyango on February 23, 2000, for unpaid rent of $2,324.70.
Mr Onyango was a business partner in a “convenience store” called the Wells Market at 1760 Dorchester Avenue, now a Hispanic bodega, or grocery. Records list him as the treasurer of the corporation, which was set up without his name in 1992 and involuntarily wound up in 2007 after failing to file annual reports since 1997.
In 1994 Obama Onyango was attacked in an armed robbery at the Wells Market, the Boston Herald reported. According to a police report, two masked black males entered the store around 9.30pm on June 7, 1994, and “did assault and beat the victim, and did rob victim of an undetermined amount of US currency. Suspects were believed to be armed with a ‘sawed-off’ rifle, and did flee the area on foot .”
Asked why the man believed to be “Uncle Omar” went by the name Obama Onyango, Zeituni Onyango said that Obama was his true name. “That is the name his father gave him,” she said. Dershaye Geresu, the Ethiopian-born president of Wells Market Inc, confirmed that Mr Onyango was a “cousin” of Mr Obama.
Lennard Tenende, whose wife Lucy was secretary to the shop, said: “I don’t know where he is. It seems as if he is getting a lot of inquiries, a lot of people trying to find him and find out about his relationship with Obama and he just doesn’t want to be found.” Mr Ochieng said that he believed Mr Onyango ran a chain of stores.
The Obama campaign was repeatedly approached for comment yesterday but had not responded at the time of going to press. It is not clear whether Mr Obama has been in touch with his African relatives living in the US, or even whether he is aware that they are on US soil.
In the preface to the 2004 reissue, he writes: “Most of the characters in this book remain a part of my life, albeit in varying degrees – a function of work, children, geography, and turns of fate.”
“What is family?” he reflects. “Is it just a genetic chain, parents and offspring, people like me?” Twenty years after he first met Aunt Zeituni, and first heard of the elusive Uncle Omar, the man likely to be the next president will have the opportunity for another family reunion, rather closer to home.
MAKE SURE BARRY DOESN'T GET LOST
How Barack Obama tells of his first meeting with his aunt:
‘‘Barack!” I turned to see Auma [his Kenyan cousin] jumping up and down behind another guard who wasn’t letting her pass into the luggage area. I excused myself and rushed over to her, as we laughed and hugged as silly as the first time we’d met. A tall, brown-skinned woman was smiling beside us, and Auma turned and said: “Barack, this is our Auntie Zeituni. Our father’s sister.”
“Welcome home,” Zeituni said kissing me on both cheeks . . .
We went to drop Zeituni off at Kenya Breweries, a large, drab complex where she worked as a computer programmer. Stepping out of the car, she leaned over again to kiss me on the cheek, then wagged her finger at Auma. “You take good care of Barry now,” she said. “Make sure he doesn’t get lost again.”
Once we were back on the highway, I asked Auma what Zeituni had meant about my getting lost. Auma shrugged.
“It’s a common expression,” she said. “Usually it means that the person hasn’t seen you in a while. ‘You’ve been lost,’ they’ll say. Or, ‘Don’t get lost’. Sometimes it has a more serious meaning. Let’s say a husband or son moves to the city, or to the West, like our Uncle Omar in Boston. They promise to return after completing school. They say they’ll send for the family once they get settled. At first they write once a week. Then it’s just once a month. Then they stop writing completely. No one sees them again. They’ve been lost, you see. Even if people know where they are.”
Dear Senator Obama:
Two recent campaign advertisements seriously misrepresent the views of my client, The Heritage Foundation. They suggest, quite falsely, that The Heritage Foundation and one of its analysts support your tax plan.
The print ad on your Website as well as your ad entitled “Try This” reference a quote from policy analyst Rea Hederman. In fact, Mr. Hederman never said what is quoted there. Rather, the words you quote are from a New York Sun reporter who interviewed Mr. Hederman and summarized his views erroneously.
That the reporter’s summary is erroneous is evident from the actual quotes from Mr. Hederman presented in the article, which make it quite clear that Mr. Hederman believes your tax plan would be bad not only for the country, but for the middle class. By omitting the direct quotes from Heritage that are contained in the article and attributing to Heritage a conflicting statement not made by its analyst, the advertisement appears to be an intentional attempt to mislead.
Surely there can be no doubt within your campaign as to how Heritage truly views your tax plan. When one of your economic advisors, Jeffrey Liebman, made this same misrepresentation in a September 4, 2008 letter to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Hederman promptly sent a corrective and very public letter. It appeared in the September 16 issue of The Wall Street Journal under the title: “A Bad Plan That Is Less Bad Is Still Not A Very Good Plan.” In it, Mr. Hederman strenuously decried Mr. Liebman’s blatant misrepresentation and set the record straight.
The Heritage Foundation believes that your advertisements’ use of its name is not only not a fair use of its intellectual property, but is an intentional attempt to mislead and misinform voters. As a responsible candidate, you should insist that your campaign cease to run these false advertisements immediately.
Very truly yours,
Alan P. Dye
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
If this were a video of McCain at the same dinner reception, not only would the L.A. Times release the videotape, the editors and reporters would hand deliver it to the DNC who would, in turn, buy airtime on all three networks to show it in its entirety. Chris Matthews would be "shocked and outraged", Katie Couric would be questioning the McCain's character, and Keith Olberman would somehow blame it on Bush.
When will America wake up and revolt against the grossly biased media?
LA Times Refuses to Release Tape of Obama Praising Controversial Activist
The Los Angeles Times is refusing to release a videotape that it says shows Barack Obama praising a Chicago professor who was an alleged mouthpiece for the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was a designated terrorist group in the 1970s and '80s.
According an LA Times article written by Peter Wallsten in April, Obama was a “friend and frequent dinner companion” of Rashid Khalidi, who from 1976 to1982 was reportedly a director of the official Palestinian press agency, WAFA, which was operating in exile from Beirut with the PLO.
In the article -- based on the videotape obtained by the Times -- Wallsten said Obama addressed an audience during a 2003 farewell dinner for Khalidi, who was Obama's colleague at the University of Chicago, before his departure for Columbia University in New York. Obama said his many talks with Khalidi and his wife Mona stood as “consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases.”
On Wednesday, John McCain's campaign accused the newspaper of deliberately suppressing information that could establish the link between the Democratic presidential candidate and the former PLO spokesman.
“Khalidi was a frequent dinner guest at the Obama's home and at his farewell dinner in 2003 Obama joined the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers in giving testimonials on Khalidi's role in the community,” McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb said in a written statement. “The election is one week away, and it's unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job -- make information public.”
Khalidi is currently the Edward Said professor of Arab Studies at Columbia. A pro-Palestinian activist, he has been a fierce critic of American foreign policy and of Israel, which he has accused of establishing an “apartheid system” of government. The PLO advocate helped facilitate negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the early '90s, but he has denied he was ever an employee of the group, contradicting accounts in the New York Times and Washington Times.
The LA Times told FOXNews.com that it won't reveal how it obtained the tape of Khalidi's farewell party, nor will the newspaper release it. Spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan said the paper is not interested in revisiting the story. “As far as we're concerned, the story speaks for itself,” she said.
The newspaper reported Tuesday evening in a story on its Web site that the tape was from a confidential source.
“The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it,” the Times' editor, Russ Stanton, said. “The Times keeps its promises to sources.”
In recent months Obama has distanced himself from the man the Times says he once called a friend. “He is not one of my advisers. He's not one of my foreign policy people,” Obama said at a campaign event in May. “He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel's policy.”
But on the tape, according to the Times, Obama said in his toast that he hoped his relationship with Khalidi would continue even after the professor left Chicago. "It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table ... [but around] this entire world.”
A number of Web sites have accused the Times of purposely suppressing the tape of the event -- which former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn reportedly attended.
Sullivan said she would not give details of what else may be on the tape, adding that anyone interested in the video should read the newspaper's report, which was its final account.
“This is a story that we reported on six months ago, so any suggestion that we're suppressing the tape is absurd -- we're the ones that brought the existence of the tape to light,” Sullivan said.
The Los Angeles Times endorsed Obama for president on October 19.
Will Unions, Again, Kill Our Economic Recovery?
One of the great untold stories about the Depression is that there were really two of them. By the mid-1930’s the U.S. economy was well along the road to recovery with the number of unemployed dropping from 13 million in 1933 to 7.6 million in 1936. The Supreme Court, bowing to the court packing pressure of FDR, approved the Wagner Act and the economy tanked again. The reason? National Right to Work Committee’s Mark mix explains:
“This measure, which is still the basis of our labor relations regime, authorized union officials to seek and obtain the power to act as the “exclusive” (that is, the monopoly) bargaining agent over all the front-line employees, including union nonmembers as well as members, in a unionized workplace.”
As Amity Shlaes observed in her recent history of the Great Depression, “The Forgotten Man,” within a few months after the Wagner Act was upheld, industrial production began to plummet and “the jobs started to disappear, with unemployment moving back to 1931 levels,” even as the number of workers under union control was “growing astoundingly.”
Given the reality of unions in the workplace, the law meant that efficiency and profitability were compromised, by forcing employers to equally reward their most productive and least productive employees. Therefore subsequent wage increases for some workers led to widespread job losses.
Now the left wants to enact the Orwellian named “Employee Free Choice Act” which effectively eliminates the secret ballot in union organizing elections. The Corner’s Peter Kirsanow explains what this means to average Americans like Joe the Plumber:
“The Union targets Joe’s employer for unionization. There are 100 employees in the proposed bargaining unit, so under EFCA the union only needs to convince 51 of them to sign authorization cards for the union to be certified as the collective bargaining representative for all 100.”
The Union leaders are pretty sophisticated at organizing. After all, it’s what they do. Pretty quickly they identify both the employees most receptive to unionization as well as those most opposed. Joe falls into the latter group so the Union never even attempts to get him to sign a card. In fact, since most of the pro-union employees work a different shift, Joe’s not even aware a union drive is going on.
The Union gets 51 employees to sign cards and gets certified by the NLRB as the collective bargaining representative for all employees — including Joe, who had absolutely no say in whether he wanted a union.
The Union and Joe’s employer begin negotiations but can’t get an agreement within 120 days. Under EFCA, a government-appointed arbitrator then writes the “contract”. The arbitrator puts a union security and dues check-off clause in the “contract”, thereby requiring Joe’s employer to deduct $45 a month from Joe’s paycheck and remit the amount to the union. The arbitrator also orders Joe’s employer to pay a 5% wage increase — an amount that squeezes the employer’s margin. The employer considers lay offs to avoid losses. Joe is near the bottom of the seniority list.
Under EFCA, the arbitrator’s order is binding for two years. Joe and his co-workers can’t reject it. Joe’s company can’t reject it.
Let’s review: Joe had no choice in being represented by the union.
He had no choice in paying union dues. He had no choice in accepting the arbitrator’s order that might lead to his lay-off.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
"The Congress and Federal Government need to get out of the business of providing unlimited financial support, bailouts, incentives, and plum financing to private enterprises. It has been going on for decades and is spiraling completely out of control with this latest problem. If Congress sets a precedent for federal bailouts of private companies that have a tremendous impact on the economy and stock market, who will be next? Ford? GM? United Airlines? The auto and airline industry already get significant "financing" and incentives from the government, but they'll come looking for much more after this bailout package passes."
As predicted, the "others" would soon line up and they are. Any bailout of the auto industry in America is merely a band-aid on a much larger problem.
The "real" problem with the Big Three is the same problem they have been dealing with since the 1970s -- the unions. If the Big Three operated with the same workforce and efficiency as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, they would be in a much stronger financial position.
When the unions went away from protecting American workers from unfair labor practices in the early and mid 20th century and began holding the private sector hostage to outrageous demands for pay, health benefits, work hours, etc., it began taking its toll on U.S. business. This is the core reason why the U.S. manufacturing industry in the Midwest is already gone and why the automakers are next. It may take another decade or so, but the Big Three will die or get gobbled up by the New Big Three -- Honda, Toyota and Nissan...
I've said it for years, and I'll say it again, American unions are crippling American business. They were vital at a moment in time when the American workers were being treated like slaves (read "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair); today, they are simply a thorn in the side of American ingenuity and productivity.
From today's news wires:
Momentum is building in Washington to aid wounded U.S. automakers with cash to help their finance arms and possibly even money to help seal a deal for General Motors Corp. to acquire Chrysler Llc.
Officials "at the highest levels" of the Treasury, Energy and Commerce departments have talked to top automaker executives on the topic, presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino said yesterday. "It's a possibility that they could qualify under it."
Congress recently authorized $25 billion in low-interest loans designed to help automakers develop new energy efficient technology but to also help keep the companies afloat amid hard times.
Each of Detroit's Big Three automakers are burning up cash as the U.S. auto market downturn continues with no end in sight. Analysts say GM and Ford are spending more than $1 billion per month more than they bring in. They add that GM could reach its minimum operating cash level of $14 billion sometime next year. GM's sales are down 18 percent, and the company has lost $57.5 billion in the past 18 months, although much of that comes from noncash tax accounting changes.
Chrysler's figures are unknown because it's a private company. But industry analysts say the automaker apparently is in the most dire condition, and its owner, Cerberus Capital Management Lp, is in talks with GM, the combined Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA and others about selling the company.
Perino said that the administration is "working as quickly as we possibly can" to finalize the regulations necessary to release the $25 billion in congressionally approved loans to automakers, but she wouldn't put a specific time frame on it or rule in or out any further federal aid, beyond the loans, to stave off bankruptcy by any of the U.S. automakers.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama have called for the $25 billion to be expedited. Obama has also said the loan program should to be doubled to provide $50 billion.
The slump has set off fierce lobbying on behalf of the auto industry ahead of the U.S. presidential election, with supporters arguing that a bankruptcy of an automaker would have a cascading impact across the country.
David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, estimated that a failure of GM or Ford could threaten as many as 2 million jobs.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I have to give it to PSU, which committed zero turnovers and zero penalties in the game. They capitalized on the big turnover and that was the difference. Now it looks like PSU will most likely end the season undefeated and will have to see if the SEC and Big 12 Goliaths knock themselves out in order to get a shot at the national championship. They will definitely need some help...
On the political front, if signage, bumper stickers, and commercials are any indication, McCain is not playing too well in the Columbus metropolitan area. The city has become more cosmopolitan in recent years so it has attracted a larger population of younger professionals, including techies, so that demo plays right into the Obama message. It also doesn't hurt to have 60K students at a university with Lib faculty. Once you get outside of Columbus into rural Eastern Ohio, it was definitely "McCain Country", as was Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Western Maryland.
With eight days to go, the McCain campaign continues to look more and more than Bob Dole's failed attempt at the White House in 1996. There is simply no "there" there -- no new ideas, no "energize the troops" speeches, etc.
Sadly, I continue to hear stories of independent and GOP Bush supporters in 2000 and 2004 who are just tired of Bush and the Republicans and tie McCain to that group. Those people are looking at Bob Barr or, in some cases, voting for The Messiah. Go figure....
For all of McCain's faults, it is simply a misinterpretation to lump him as a Republican who walked in step with Bush and the GOP-controlled Senate over the past eight years.
As Conservatives, in seems like only yesterday that we were all bashing McCain for "splitting" from the party when he sided with Sen. Kennedy on immigration. At the time, some pundits, however farcical, even called for him to switch parties. Yet now, Obama and his media machine continue to pound away in speeches, advertisements, and literature the Bush/McCain connection. So far they have been successful. Sadly, McCain and his camp waited too long to publicly distance themselves from Bush. They are only now working at a fevered pitch to make that separation. With just over a week to go, it may be too little, too late.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
A church-state watchdog group has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether the Roman Catholic bishop of Paterson, N.J., violated tax laws by denouncing Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
In a letter sent to the IRS on Wednesday (Oct. 22), Americans United for Separation of Church and State accused Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli of illegal partisanship for lambasting Obama's support of abortion rights.
In a column posted on the Diocese of Paterson's website and published in its weekly newspaper, Serratelli also compared Obama to King Herod, the biblical monarch who ordered the death of John the Baptist.
The bishop did not refer to Obama by name but only as "the present democratic (sic) candidate."
Under federal tax law, nonprofit groups — including religious organizations — are prohibited from intervening in campaigns for public office by endorsing or opposing candidates.
Serratelli wrote that Obama has pledged, if elected president, to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, abortion-rights legislation the Catholic Church vehemently opposes.
"If this politician fulfills his promise, not only will many of our freedoms as Americans be taken from us, but the innocent and vulnerable will spill their blood," Serratelli wrote.
The Rev. Barry Lynn, president of Americans United, said it is "impossible to interpret this passage as anything but a command to vote against 'the present Democratic candidate' because of his promise to sign a certain piece of legislation disfavored by the Catholic Church's hierarchy."
The Paterson diocese said Serratelli's column was focused on proposed abortion legislation, not the upcoming presidential election.
"It's absolutely, positively misleading to say that the bishop urged Catholics not to vote for Sen. Obama," the diocese said in a statement.
Rob Boston, a spokesman for the Washington-based Americans United, said that of the estimated 90 claims it has filed with the IRS since 1996, only four others have accused Catholic bishops or dioceses of electioneering.
Earlier this year, Americans United asked the IRS to investigate Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, for criticizing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was running for the Republican presidential nomination at the time.
Media coverage of John McCain has been heavily unfavorable since the political conventions, more than three times as negative as the portrayal of Barack Obama, a new study says.
Fifty-seven percent of the print and broadcast stories about the Republican nominee were decidedly negative, the Project for Excellence in Journalism says in a report out today, while 14 percent were positive. The McCain campaign has repeatedly complained that the mainstream media are biased toward the senator from Illinois.
Obama's coverage was more balanced during the six-week period from Sept. 8 through last Thursday, with 36 percent of the stories clearly positive, 35 percent neutral or mixed and 29 percent negative.
McCain has struggled during this period and slipped in the polls, which is one of the reasons for the more negative assessments by the 48 news outlets studied by the Washington-based group. But the imbalance is striking nonetheless. Sarah Palin's coverage ricocheted from quite positive to very negative to more mixed, the study says. Overall, 39 percent of the Palin stories were negative, 28 percent were positive and 33 percent neutral. Only 5 percent of the coverage was about her personal life. But McCain's running mate remains a media magnet, drawing three times as much coverage as the Democrats' VP nominee, Joe Biden. He was "nearly the invisible man," the group says, and his coverage was far more negative than Palin's. That may be because Biden tends to make news primarily when he commits gaffes.
The project says McCain's coverage started out positive after the GOP convention but nosedived with his frequently changing reaction to the financial crisis. McCain's character attacks against Obama hurt the Democrat but yielded even more negative coverage for the senator from Arizona.
Obama's coverage since the conventions represents a fall to earth from the early primaries of 2008, when the project found that, horse-race stories aside, positive narratives about Obama were twice as frequent as negative ones, 69 percent to 31 percent.
The Wall Street meltdown appears to have been a turning point for both candidates. Thirty-four percent of the stories about Obama's reaction to the crisis were positive, while 18 percent were negative. McCain's coverage, though, went into a free fall after he initially declared that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." By the following week, more than half the stories about McCain were negative and only 11 percent positive, just as Obama's coverage was turning positive by a margin of more than 5 to 1.
The most negative element of the Palin coverage involved scrutiny of her record as Alaska governor, with 64 percent of the stories carrying a negative tone and just 7 percent positive. The coverage of her interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson was a wash, but stories about her subsequent sitdown with CBS's Katie Couric were 57 percent negative and 14 percent positive.
While some will seize on these findings as evidence that the media are pro-Obama, the study says they actually contain "a strong suggestion that winning in politics begets winning coverage, thanks in part to the relentless tendency of the press to frame its coverage of national elections as running narratives about the relative position of the candidates in the polls ... Obama's numbers are similar to what we saw for John Kerry four years ago, and McCain's numbers are almost identical to what we saw eight years ago for Democrat Al Gore."
Click here for a copy of the study: www.ReaganConservatives.us/media/2008_Media.pdf
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Please take a few minutes to click on the link below and read the text and watch the videos. Supurb job by Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham in putting this together. This is "must see" evidence as to why our country will suffer under an Obama regime.
Please read, watch, and forward to your "independent" friends and family!
Denver Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput labeled Barack Obama the "most committed" abortion-rights candidate from a major party in 35 years while accusing a Catholic Obama ally and other Democratic-friendly Catholic groups of doing a "disservice to the church."
Chaput, one of the nation's most politically outspoken Catholic prelates, delivered the remarks Friday night at a dinner of a Catholic women's group.
His comments were among the sharpest in a debate over abortion and Catholic political responsibility in a campaign in which Catholics represent a key swing vote.
While Chaput has won praise from traditionalist Catholics for stressing opposition to abortion as a foundational voting issue, voices on the Catholic left have sought to apply church teachings to war, poverty, the environment and other issues.
Although the Catholic left is not new, several advocacy groups have either formed or ramped up activities since 2004. Partly, their efforts are a response to attention given to the pro-abortion rights stance of Democrat John Kerry, a Catholic who was criticized by a few bishops who suggested he should be denied or refrain from Communion.
Chaput, without getting into much detail, called Obama the "most committed" abortion-rights major-party presidential candidate since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion in 1973.
"To suggest - as some Catholics do - that Senator Obama is this year's 'real' pro-life candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse," Chaput said according to his prepared remarks, titled "Little Murders."
Mark Linton, the Obama campaign's Catholic outreach coordinator, said in a statement Saturday that Obama is "proud to have the support of so many committed Catholics who are hungry for real change after eight years of failed policies. He has offered Americans real solutions even on tough issues like abortion, where we can come together to teach our kids responsibility and self-respect, to prevent unintended pregnancies, and offer strong support to women."
The Obama campaign has been promoting an unusual-suspect sort of endorsement from Douglas Kmiec, a Catholic law professor and former legal counsel in the Reagan administration.
Kmiec wrote a book making a Catholic case for Obama. He argues the Obama campaign is premised on Catholic social teaching like care for working families and the poor and foreign policy premised on peace over war. Democratic efforts to tackle social and economic factors that contribute to abortion hold more promise, Kmiec said, than Republican efforts to criminalize it.
While applauding Kmiec's past record, Chaput said: "I think his activism for Senator Barack Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn."
Pro-Obama Catholics "seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues," said Chaput, who wrote a book this year, "Render Unto Caesar," about Catholics and politics.
Chaput emphasized he was speaking as a private citizen and not as a representative of the Denver archdiocese. The IRS prohibits clergy, in their role as clergy, from supporting or opposing candidates. Chaput already has said that Obama running mate Joe Biden, a Catholic, should not present himself for Communion because of his abortion rights position.
Chris Korzen, executive director of Washington-based Catholics United, which has argued in direct mail and TV ads that taking the "pro-life" position means more than opposing abortion rights, criticized Chaput's statements.
"We are concerned that Archbishop Chaput's comments - even those made in his personal capacity - will have a chilling effect on this dialogue," Korzen said in a statement. "It is also profoundly unfortunate that Archbishop Chaput has chosen to make personal attacks on lay Catholics acting in good faith to promote Catholic values in the public square."
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Keep in mind that the most important power of the filibuster is to shape legislation, not merely to block it. The threat of 41 committed Senators can cause the House to modify its desires even before legislation comes to a vote. Without that restraining power, all of the following have very good chances of becoming law in 2009 or 2010:
Medicare for All
When HillaryCare cratered in 1994, the Democrats concluded they had overreached, so they carved up the old agenda into smaller incremental steps, such as Schip for children. A strongly Democratic Congress is now likely to lay the final flagstones on the path to government-run health insurance from cradle to grave.
Mr. Obama wants to build a public insurance program, modeled after Medicare and open to everyone of any income. According to the Lewin Group, the gold standard of health policy analysis, the Obama plan would shift between 32 million and 52 million from private coverage to the huge new entitlement. Like Medicare or the Canadian system, this would never be repealed.
The commitments would start slow, so as not to cause immediate alarm. But as U.S. health-care spending flowed into the default government options, taxes would have to rise or services would be rationed, or both. Single payer is the inevitable next step, as Mr. Obama has already said is his ultimate ideal.
The Green Revolution
Free Speech and Voting Rights
Look for the watering down of No Child Left Behind testing standards, as a favor to the National Education Association. The tort bar's ship would also come in, including limits on arbitration to settle disputes and watering down the 1995 law limiting strike suits. New causes of legal action would be sprinkled throughout most legislation. The anti-antiterror lobby would be rewarded with the end of Guantanamo and military commissions, which probably means trying terrorists in civilian courts. Google and MoveOn.org would get "net neutrality" rules, subjecting the Internet to intrusive regulation for the first time.
It's always possible that events -- such as a recession -- would temper some of these ambitions. Republicans also feared the worst in 1993 when Democrats ran the entire government, but it didn't turn out that way. On the other hand, Bob Dole then had 43 GOP Senators to support a filibuster, and the entire Democratic Party has since moved sharply to the left. Mr. Obama's agenda is far more liberal than Bill Clinton's was in 1992, and the Southern Democrats who killed Al Gore's BTU tax and modified liberal ambitions are long gone.
In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today's left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for "change" should know they may get far more than they ever imagined.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention infuriated the left for many reasons, but one of the barbs that seemed to upset them the most was her extended attack on community organizers. Weeks later, liberals settled on a retort to Palin that Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) voiced from the House floor: “Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor .” We’ll let Palin explain why she is no Pilate, but rest assured, comparing today’s “community organizers” to Jesus is an insult to Christians everywhere.
Community organizing might sound like pauper’s work, but in today’s professionalized advocacy world, it is not. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), had an operating budget of $37 million in 2006. ACORN is spending $16 million this year alone to register new Democrats nationwide. In today’s world, community organizing is big business, and that business is extortion. ACORN’s scam works like this: 1) identify deep pocket corporation; 2) protest that corporation; 3) sign a partnership with the corporation to end protest in exchange for money. From 2004 through 2006, ACORN won six-figure payments from Ameriquest Mortgage, Citibank, Washington Mutual and M&T Bank. It even won million-dollar payments from JP Morgan and Bank of America.
When ACORN is not extorting money from corporations, it is pressuring politicians for taxpayer dollars. ACORN has been winning federal money since the Carter administration, and the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) estimates ACORN has received $16 million in federal tax dollars since 1997. In the 1990s, ACORN began shaking down local business communities and has established local “Housing Trust Funds” in more than 300 counties, cities and towns. The funds funnel money through groups like ACORN to produce new homes and refurbish existing ones . The holy grail for ACORN has been the establishment of a National Housing Trust Fund, and when the federal government was forced to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this summer, ACORN’s allies in Congress succeeded in making that slush fund part of the deal.
In addition to the extortion and swindling of taxpayers, ACORN also practices outright fraud. In 1986 a dozen ACORN members were convicted of vote fraud. In 2007, eight ACORN employees pleaded guilty to election fraud. This year ACORN has outdone itself. It is under investigation for vote fraud in a dozen states, including Connecticut, Florida, Indiana , Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.
Last but not least, let’s not forget the hypocrisy. In 2001, when ACORN members tried to turn the group’s tactics on itself and organize its employees, the upstart members were summarily fired. And ACORN is not the only suspect community organizer. Just this past summer federal investigators raided a city-chartered nonprofit agency accused of abusing a federally financed program that was created to clean up houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina . The agency had been hired by the city to run a $3.6 million program intended to help elderly and poor New Orleans residents gut and board up their storm-damaged houses. Instead, the money appears to have gone to politically connected contractors who did little or no work on the houses. Is this how community organizers want to be known? Fraud, extortion and hypocrisy — all on the taxpayers’ dime.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Harper's party will add at least 16 seats to their previous totals, adding some heft to their ranks, mostly at the expense of the Liberal Party which was hit hard, especially in Ontario.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Here is the news release from the Knights issued earlier...
Poll shows major differences between practicing and non-practicing Catholics.
A just-completed nationwide poll provides new insights into America’s Catholic voters, highlighting the ways in which they differ from the electorate as a whole. But the survey also examines in detail the ways in which the 65 percent of Catholics who practice their faith regularly differ from the 35 percent who do not.
The poll was conducted for the Knights of Columbus by the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion between September 24 and October 3, 2008.
In some areas, the poll finds that Catholic voters’ views are similar to the general population, on issues like government funding for the poor, amnesty for illegal immigrants, global warming, civil unions and same-sex marriage and a belief that the economy is the nation’s number one problem. 70 percent of all registered voters and 70 percent of all registered practicing Catholics say they would vote for a candidate who believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman, including majorities of the electorate and of practicing Catholics who would "definitely vote for" such a candidate. Catholics and non-Catholics agree that America needs a moral makeover. 71 percent of all US residents and 73 percent of US Catholics believe that “the country’s moral compass right now points in the wrong direction.”
But in other areas, Catholic voters differ from the electorate as a whole. They are less likely to vote for a candidate who favors the death penalty, and more likely to favor a candidate who is committed to success in the war in Iraq.
Some of the most dramatic differences are found within the community of Catholic voters. 59 percent of practicing Catholics are pro-life, while 65 percent of non-practicing Catholics are pro-choice. Non-practicing Catholics are far more likely to be pro-choice than the population at large (65 percent vs. 50 percent). Only 30 percent of US residents favor same-sex marriage, while 46 percent of non-practicing Catholics do. 75 percent of practicing Catholics oppose same-sex marriage.
Parental notification if a daughter under 18 is planning to have an abortion is supported by 77 percent of U.S. residents, and by 84 percent of practicing Catholics.
For a copy of Supreme Knight Anderson's presentation on the results of the poll, click here.
For a copy of the entire poll's detailed questions and responses, click here.
Being Squirrelly About ACORN
by ABC News Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper
As reports pile up of voter registration fraud connected to ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, a group that advocates for low-income voters – the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has sought to downplay his past ties with the group.
But in their efforts to do, Obama campaign officials found themselves forced last week to correct an erroneous assertion made on the campaign’s “Fight the Smears” webpage that “Barack was never an ACORN trainer and never worked for ACORN in any other capacity.”
That wasn’t true.
In fact, ACORN spokesman Lewis Goldberg told the New York Times that Obama conducted two unpaid leadership training sessions for ACORN’s Chicago affiliate in the late 1990s.
The “Fight the Smears” website now asserts, "Fact: ACORN never hired Obama as a trainer, organizer, or any type of employee.”
Key word: hired.
Goldberg told the Times that Obama’s work for ACORN was unpaid.
You can see the old version HERE and the new version HERE.
Moreover, Obama also represented ACORN and other groups in the mid 1990s as an attorney suing the state of Illinois to uphold the federal Motor Voter law. The governor and other officials of the State of Illinois were refusing to comply with the law on the ground that it was unconstitutional.
Further confusing the length and depth of the Obama-ACORN relationship was the discovery by conservative bloggers of an error-riddled story in the journal Social Policy featuring not only a 2004 photograph of Obama and ACORN members but an essay called “Case Study: Chicago- The Barack Obama Campaign” written Toni Foulkes, a Chicago ACORN Leader.
"Obama started building the base years before,” Foulkes wrote in her 2004 essay. “For instance, ACORN noticed him when he was organizing on the far south side of the city with the Developing Communities Project. He was a very good organizer. When he returned from law school, we asked him to help us with a lawsuit to challenge the state of Illinois’ refusal to abide by the National Voting Rights Act, also known as motor voter. Allied only with the state of Mississippi, Illinois had been refusing to allow mass-based voter registration according to the new law.
Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the Republican governor at the time) and we won. Obama then went on to run a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992 that made it possible for Carol Moseley Braun to win the Senate that year. Project VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN delivered about 5000 of them).”
Foulkes messed up the chronology in that account, making it sound earlier than it had occurred. The Motor Voter Law was passed in 1993, the lawsuit was brought in 1995.
Additionally, press accounts from the time of the Illinois Project Vote voter registration drive put the number of new voters registered at 150,000, not 50,000.
Still, that doesn't seem to square with the Obama campaign's assertion that "Fact: ACORN was not part of Project Vote, the successful voter registration drive Barack ran in 1992."
Foulkes went on to note that “since then,” ACORN had “invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office. Thus it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for State Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends."
Obama’s losing congressional campaign was in 2000, not 1996.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
For Conservatives, we may have witnessed "That Moment" in the 2008 campaign. Here's the quote from Tuesday night's debate:
"You know that home values of retirees continues to decline and people are no longer able to afford their mortgage payments. As President of the United States, I would order the Secretary of the Treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes -- at the diminished value of those homes and let people be able to make those -- be able to make those payments and stay in their homes."
Of course, we would have expected such a statement from Sen. Obama, but sadly it was said by Sen. McCain. The water cooler chat the next day had supporters and Conservatives scratching their heads and asking, "What is McCain doing?" I understand in reading some of the post-debate reviews that the program he is proposing was not explained properly and it came across more socialist that it really is but the damage has been done.
Based on what they heard on Tuesday night, independents who were still undecided now feel as though there is not much difference between the two candidates when it comes to the voters' No. 1 issue -- the economy. If those independent voters perceive that both candidates are looking to get the government even involved in the economic mess, Sen. Obama stands to gain an overwhelming majority of their support based on the intangibles -- likability, presence, communication skills, etc. It also doesn't hurt that Sen. Obama is portrayed by the press as the greatest thing since George Washington...
Sen. McCain failed miserably on Tuesday night in explaining, in simple terms, how he will make America better. He does win, with ease, on foreign relations and national defense issues, but with the stock market dropping several hundred points each day, he needs to propose a solution that not only makes sense but separates him from Sen. Obama and Pres. Bush. His first attempt was a dud...
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Since Gov. Sarah Palin has arrived on the scene, claims have proliferated that she engaged in draconian budget cuts aimed at needy and vulnerable people.
Case in point: Numerous bloggers have claimed that Palin cut funds to Catholic charities. The idea made at least one mainstream source, as well. In a Sept. 11 Bloomberg News op-ed, Margaret Carlson wrote: “Palin, who said parents of special-needs children would have an advocate in the White House, cut funds for the Special Olympics, Catholic Charities and Covenant House. It would be good to know what she favors that parents need.”
I have previously examined the Special Olympics and Covenant House claims and found them to be false. The Catholic Charities claim is a similar kind of accusation, but a bit more complex.
First, I cannot find a line item or listing for Catholic Charities in the fiscal year 2008 or 2009 Alaska budgets. In the 2008 budget (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008), however, Catholic Community Services was allocated funding for several projects.
By my calculations, the Alaska Legislature proposed $582,925 in four capital projects, and the Palin administration left $62,925 intact. According to the Palin administration’s rationale for vetoes, the $20,000 for the freezer would have been duplicate funding (apparently another source was found), and the $500,000 would have created “new facilities and programs.” Wilda Laughlin, spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services told me that most requests for new facilities were not funded, with the priority given to refurbish existing infrastructure (e.g., the Juneau Adult Day Center parking lot).
Now look at the 2009 funding for Catholic Community Services:
The Angoon folks still didn’t get their freezer and fridge. But the Juneau branch received $50,000 for hospice care, and the Fairbanks branch received $150,000 that they did not have before. Again, the charge regarding a cut relates to a reduced increase — and not a cut. As a legislator, it is relatively easy to ask for money for a constituent’s project knowing that the executive branch must balance the budget. In summary, the Legislature proposed $370,000 in three line items, with the final budget allocating $200,000 to the Catholic charitable organizations.
The Catholic organizations received almost six times as much funding in 2009 as in 2008. I do not see how this can be considered a cut.
In fact, the director of Catholic Community Services was happy to get the funding, according to a May 23, 2008 article in the Fairbanks News-Miner: “Palin also halved funding for counseling and adoption services at Catholic Community Resources. But Camille Connelly-Terhune, the group’s executive director, said the group was ‘thrilled’ with the $150,000 it did get. ‘It gives us the option to continue our services,’ she said.”
If Ms. Connelly-Terhune is happy, then why aren’t Palin’s detractors happy? Ms. Connelly-Terhune knows a raise when she sees one.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
What they don't/won't tell you are the underlying figures that account for that total.
Let me list them for you:
- 9.5 million are not U.S. citizens
- 17 million have household incomes for $50,000 or more and could afford to pay for health care premiums but choose not to do so
That gets us to roughly 20 million Americans without health insurance, but there's more...
- 18 million are between the ages of 18-34, the vast majority of whom are in good health and are not in need of health insurance or choose not to purchase insurance
- Only 30 percent of the non-elderly included in the total who become uninsured remain uninsured for more than 12 months; 50 percent regain their insurance within four months
There in not a health insurance crisis in America, but rather a health cost crisis. Thanks to the Libs who want to control more and more of our lives, we can expect these costs to increase dramatically in the next few years. When free markets are not able to thrive, history has proven that costs increase and service/quality decreases.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
VP Nominee Sarah Palin showed America that she is articulate and intelligent, especially when she is not set up by the Katie Courics of the world. Looking at the debate as an impartial observer, I would give Palin the victory for form and Biden the victory for substance.
Palin deserves even that much more credit considering who she is up on the podium defending -- John McCain. That is not an easy thing to do considering his track record.
With just over a month to go until Election Day, I do fear for America that Obama will win by 4-6 points in the popular vote, based on a snapshot of today's environment. McCain had a good shot coming out of Minneapolis, but the economic situation, coupled with his poorly run campaign, brought him back down to pre-convention levels in the polls. He has been ineffective in getting his message out, whereas the Obama team, with a lot of money behind it, has done the job targeting independents in the key states.
To their credit, the Dems are speaking with one voice. All of the usual characters (Obama, Clintons, Pelosi, Reid, et al) blame Bush and the Republicans and no one else for the economic mess. Who does McCain blame during an interview on "60 Minutes"? Bush, the Republians and, oh by the way, the Democrats. This is not a way to win an election.
A few final comment on last night's debate:
(1) Global Warming -- Is Joe Biden actually being serious when he says that global warming / climate change is completely "man made"? Perhaps someone in the area of earth sciences can educate Sen. Biden on the two principal reasons why climate change is occurring -- (a) time and (b) the sun.
(2) The Obama Tax Plan -- So if ALL of us (95 percent of America) are not going to pay a penny more in taxes for all of Obama's spending plans, then who will? Oh, that's right, the big Corporations (how many times did Biden mention Exxon/Mobil during the debate?). Great, so let's tax the big Corporations. Gee, I wonder if those higher taxes will get passed down to the customer? Can anyone say higher gas prices??? Higher costs for Dell computers??? Higher costs for Apple I-Pods??? Actually, Apple will probably be spared since it is a Lib company...
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
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