Sunday, January 17, 2010

Political Digest January 17, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Purple for Brown: SEIU Member Supports Republican
Excerpt: Supporters of Republican Scott Brown lined the sides of a street here outside a Democratic rally at Worcester Polytechnic Institute where former President Bill Clinton came to campaign for Martha Coakley. More than 75 boosters of the GOP candidate turned out for the counter-rally, standing the sub-freezing weather to wave Brown signs and loudly sing (to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic"), "Glory, Hallelujah . . . Send Scott Brown to D.C.!"
Among the Brown supporters were - believe it or not - rank-and-file members of the Service Employees International Union. "We're Americans - we have our free choice," said one of the SEIU members, who identified herself only as Michelle and said she drove more than 60 miles from Western Massachusetts - "The stepchild of this state" - to show her support for Brown in Worcester.

Cambridge Police Reject Retired Member's Wife's Candidacy for Senate
Excerpt: The Cambridge, Massachusetts police officers association wants to clear up the record. Just because Martha Coakley's husband is a retired Cambridge police officer, a fact which her campaign frequently mentions, they do not want you to think that they actually support Coakley. No, the Cambridge police officers association, at the insistence of its membership, has endorsed Scott Brown for Senate.

It will be tight
Heard from a former Massachusetts Senate colleague, a Democrat, who said that a Brown win is possible, people he’s talking to like Brown personally, always a good thing, or want to send a message. “It will be tight,” is his opinion. Stay tuned.

Harry Reid is sweating that Scott Brown might change his name to “Scott Tan,” thus ensuring a win.

From what I read, things are likely to get a lot worse before they get better. This will not be Obama’s fault, any more than Katrina was Bush’s fault. But he may take a political hit the same way. However, the media were happy to pour blame on Bush, but will defend Obama—though not as much as they would have six months ago. Funny how the world hates us, until something like this happens and the US Military restores order. Then they shut up for a few weeks.

The Backlash Is Coming! The Backlash Is Coming!
Excerpt: With characteristic hubris, people in this state like to think they've been at the leading edge of American politics since the "shot heard 'round the world" in 1775. And in the past few years, we've given the nation a preview of Barack Obama's presidential campaign with Deval Patrick's successful 2006 bid for governor; provided a critical boost for Mr. Obama's candidacy in the form of an endorsement by Edward Kennedy; and enacted a health-care law that is a template for ObamaCare. But hubris has yielded to shock here at the possibility that the next political trend the Bay State might foreshadow is a voter backlash against the Democratic Party. After Kennedy's death in August, few imagined there would be any problem replacing him with another Democrat in the U.S. Senate. It's been 16 years since Massachusetts elected a Republican to a congressional seat, 31 years since the last Republican senator left office. Gov. Patrick appointed a former Kennedy aide as the interim senator, and Democratic primary voters chose the well-regarded state Attorney General Martha Coakley as their nominee for the special election. That election, which will be held on Tuesday, was widely seen as a formality. Ms. Coakley coasted through the holiday season while the GOP challenger, little-known state Sen. Scott Brown, scrambled for traction.

Should Democrats pass health-care reform even if Martha Coakley loses?
A month ago the question would have been unthinkable.

Clinton joins critics of Nebraska's extra health benefit
Excerpt: The much-maligned agreement in the Senate health care bill that would provide Nebraska a special deal in which the federal government would pay forever for extra poor people to join Medicaid there gained another critic on Friday: former president Bill Clinton. "Get as much gunk out of the Senate bill as possible. That Nebraska thing is really hurting us," Clinton told House Democrats in a closed-door speech at the Visitors' Center at the Capitol, according to a House aide who attended the session. (Nelson is trapped, I think. He has to vote for it even if they take his bribe away. Otherwise, it’s like pleading guilty.)

Senate Can Pass Health Care With 51 Votes
Even if Democrats lose the special election to pick a new Massachusetts senator Tuesday, Congress may still pass health-care overhaul through a process called reconciliation, a top House Democrat said. That procedure requires 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to prevent Republicans from blocking votes on President Barack Obama’s top legislative priorities. That supermajority is at risk as the Massachusetts race has tightened. “Even before Massachusetts and that race was on the radar screen, we prepared for the process of using reconciliation,” Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said.

Census Multilingual Ad Campaign Assures Illegal Aliens (they can reveal Status)
Excerpt: The U.S. government has launched and unprecedented $133 million advertising campaign—in dozens of languages—to promote the census with the Spanish ads assuring the decennial count is confidential and cannot divulge respondents’ immigration status.
Billed as the most diverse outreach campaign in U.S. history, the never-before-seen promotional blitz will include television commercials, print and outdoor ads as well as online advertising. Hundreds of ads have been drafted in 28 languages, including two Chinese dialects, Russian, Arabic and Tagolog. The Spanish advertisements, which will be distributed on national television and print media, are of particular interest because they guarantee the safety of illegal aliens who fill out the census forms. One of them calls on Hispanics to "make yourself count" because “your community needs you.” It encourages those who fill out the forms to assure their community that the census is secure because the confidentiality of every person is protected by law. The U.S. Census Spanish-language web site also guarantees that no questions regarding immigration status appear on the forms and that respondents’ identities are kept private and protected by federal law. (Hummm. So if you are a hard-working citizen, who lives in a blue state, in a place like Blagobamaville, where there is likely to be fraudulent counting of illegals and minorities, better if you don’t get counted, so blue states don’t get more Congresscritters than they deserve. Just saying….)

Cafferty on Pelosi
Ripping the taxpayer-paid Congressional vacations to Copenhagen. On CNN. Gotta lve it.

Candidate profile: Corrogan Vaughn for U.S. Senate (Black Republican)
But is he light-skinned enough to serve with Harry Reid? Excerpt: Corrogan Vaughn is running for U.S. Senate against Barbara Mikulski. He has a larger than life personality, but it all comes down to a simple statement. It’s all about people and principles.

The Quiet Man
Excerpt: A few years ago, I met a very stone-faced facility manager to give him a quote for janitorial service. He was an old-school Asian businessman, and he wasn't about to give anything away in our conversation. It took about an hour, and throughout, he was never more than icily professional. It was a large facility in the suburbs, bordering some fairly wild open land. As we were winding up the quote, the room suddenly throbbed with the unmistakable beat of rotor blades and the growling whine of a jet-powered helicopter making a very low overhead pass. The melody was identical to a Viet Nam-era Huey. Suddenly, my indifferent friend's eyes widened as we exchanged glances, and both of us raced to the door to see what was going on. It wasn't a remake of Apocalypse Now. It was just the power company using the helicopter to set some new poles on the land next door. However, something happened to that man in our dash to the door. The sound instantly connected us to another time in both our lives. He suddenly opened up and ultimately told me what happened to him in the wake of April 30, 1975. His father was someone the communists wanted desperately to arrest. They badgered his mother daily in her home for over a month, but she never gave up her husband. When the daily interrogations stopped, they posted spies in the woods near this man's home. After six more weeks, the spies finally gave up and left. He said they could tell they were gone because they no longer smelled the cigarette smoke at night….. This April 30, it will be 35 years since that last Huey hovered above the embassy roof in Saigon. For 35 years we've been told that that shameful image represents America's defeat. It does not. It wasn't America who abandoned her allies, leaving hundreds of thousands of people to the vengeance of a ruthless enemy. It was America's elite: her politicians, diplomats, and most of all, her media that condemned them to their fate. That helicopter is an image of their failure, their treachery, and their mendacity. The shame and guilt is theirs, not America's. On the contrary, it was America who welcomed the survivors of that disgraceful day. It was America, and everyday Americans, who sponsored them as they established themselves in a strange land, with its strange language and culture.

Obama Rewards Losers, Punishes Winners,_punishes_winners?page=full&comments=true
Excerpt: President Obama's misbegotten bank tax is precisely the wrong policy at precisely the wrong time. It will wind up backfiring across the board. Why? Because bank consumers and borrowers are the ones who will wind up paying this tax, creating an obstacle to economic recovery. Obama is actually rewarding losers and punishing winners -- exactly the reverse of free-market capitalism. Who's being rewarded? Obama's bank-tax penalty is being used to finance the failed government takeovers of GM, GMAC, and Fannie and Freddie. And let's not forget the $75 billion failure of the so-called foreclosure loan-modification program. To this day, no one knows where that money went. But the big banks are going to be forced to finance this through a tax that will damage lending, stockholders and consumers. This is sheer political favoritism. Crony capitalism at its worst, with a sub-theme of bailing out Obama's Big Labor political allies. It's just like his bailout of the unions by exempting them from the so-called Cadillac insurance tax until 2018, all while the rest of us may have to suffer under that tax. Speaking of political unfairness and favoritism, mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie will not pay a nickel of this tax. These government-sponsored enterprises were at the very center of the financial maelstrom, financing the government's quotas and targets for unaffordable mortgages. Think about this for a second. President Obama is out there bashing away at excessive bonuses. And yet Fannie and Freddie's CEOs stand to make $6 million in the next year or two.

Keep on Truckin', Detroit
The highway death toll has dropped. If we are all forced into tiny cars it will rise, average citicens dying for the vision of Al Goreeand Barack Obama, who will be safe in their limos. What a shocker that GM reportedly plans to invest $1 billion to launch new versions of its big, fuel-guzzling pickups and SUVs. Does this mean the whims of the Obama administration can't be expected to trump economic reality after all, which would be a terrible precedent for health care? GM's surprise, of course, is no surprise, unless you live on some faraway world where the visions of the Sierra Club prevail. Demand for pickup trucks was said to "collapse" during the recession and home-building slump, but sales of all vehicles collapsed. In good years and bad, the two top-selling vehicles in the U.S. have almost always been Ford and Chevy pickups, with the Dodge pickup somewhere in the top five or 10. That hasn't changed. Out of bankruptcy and under new management, GM naturally wants to survive and prosper. Just as naturally, it intends to invest in the vehicles that traditionally have generated its best sales and earned its biggest profits, even as management flaunts teensy euro cars and electric vehicles at this week's Detroit auto show.

Cos Under Criminal Probe Get Stimulus Funds
Excerpt: In the never ending list of examples of fraud and abuse in President Obama’s massive stimulus program, tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are going to large corporations with documented histories of criminal practices in one state alone. Several big—and no doubt politically connected—firms in California are raking in lucrative government stimulus contracts despite previous pollution violations, criminal probes and allegations of fraud, according to a local newspaper investigation. The businesses are all doing work in a relatively concentrated area of southern California, despite their shady pasts.

TB-Infected Man On TSA List Slips Onto Flight
Excerpts: Once again highlighting how dangerously incompetent the nation's airline security system is, a passenger with tuberculosis took a 2,600-mile flight on a commercial plane even though his name appeared on a Homeland Security “do-not-board” list. Authorities evidently realized that the visibly ill man had violated their security system after the flight, which originated in Philadelphia, landed at its San Francisco destination more than five hours later. The man was then detained and whisked away to a local hospital after federal health officials were notified. The damage had been done, however. Hundreds of unsuspecting passengers were needlessly exposed to the highly contagious fatal disease that primarily affects the lungs and can spread to the kidneys and spinal column. The infected male passenger slipped through even though he appeared on a do-not-board list submitted to both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Palestinian gets 10 years for shooting Israelis
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: COPENHAGEN - A Danish court on Friday sentenced a Palestinian man to 10 years for the shooting of two Israelis in a Danish shopping mall on New Year’s Eve 2008, judicial authorities said.

Aafia Siddiqui demands no Jewish jurors at attempted murder trial
Excerpt: A Pakistani scientist who is the only woman accused of working with the al-Qaeda leadership has demanded that Jews should be excluded from the jury at her trial in New York. Aafia Siddiqui called for jurors to undergo genetic testing in an outburst in federal court in Manhattan yesterday.

Hamas fighter killed while handling explosives: medic Excerpt: GAZA CITY (AFP) – A member of the armed wing of the Islamist movement Hamas was killed while handling explosives in the Gaza Strip overnight, a Palestinian medic said on Friday. Imad al-Selkawy, 25, suffered fatal injuries in the accidental blast, which occurred at Deir el-Balah in the centre of the Palestinian territory, the medic said.

Class act from BYU
Honoring their opponent—worth watching.

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