Saturday, August 30, 2008
“As for that V.P. talk all the time,” she told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow in late July, “I tell ya, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me: What is it exactly that the V.P. does every day?"
“I’m used to being very productive and working real hard and in administration,” she continued. “We want to make sure that the V.P. slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that were trying to accomplish up her for the rest of the us before I can even start addressing that question.”
“It’s a pretty big job, madam governor,” Kudlow told her.
“This is a pretty cool job here, too, though as governor of Alaska,” Palin responded.
While some are scoffing at Palin asking what exactly the vice president does, the question actually says a lot about how seriously she takes the proposition. Constitutionally, the vice president is assigned two constitutional duties: assume the duties of the president in the event of death or incapacity; and serve as president of the Senate, casting a vote only in cases of a tie. If the president chooses not to assign any additional responsibilities to the vice president, there is nothing the vice president can do but sit and stew. Until recently, vice presidents did very little beyond performing ceremonial responsibilities, such as attending funerals for the death of a foreign head of state. Palin's comments to Kudlow make clear she's not interested in a title. She expects to be an active partner in a McCain administration. You can bet she received that assurance before accepting McCain's offer of the vice presidency.
- Wooten used a Taser on his stepson.
- He illegally shot a moose.
- He drank beer in his patrol car on one occasion.
- He told others his father-in-law would "eat a f'ing lead bullet" if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce.
- A reprimand in January 2004 for negligent damage to a state vehicle.
- A January 2005 instruction after being accused of speeding, unsafe lane changes, following too closely and not using turn signals in his state vehicle.
- A June 2005 instruction regarding personal cell phone calls.
- An October 2005 suspension from work after getting a speeding ticket.
- A November 2005 memo "to clarify duty hours, tardiness and personal business during duty time."
The Anchorage Daily News reports notes that Wooten served on a SWAT-like team, which required a "cool-headed" officer to perform in crisis situations. The article makes clear that Wooten had some serious drinking problems and issues of domestic abuse towards Palin's sister. The alleged death threat against Palin's father if he hired a divorce attorney would have caused any normal person to have concerns about him serving as a state trooper. I think the Democrats are making a huge mistake if they intend to continue making Palin's alleged efforts to get this state trooper fired an issue in this campaign. As Rex Early would say, "That dog won't hunt."
- Palin has held elective office longer than Barack Obama. She was first elected to the city council in Wasilia, Alaska in 1992. After four years on the council, she was elected the city's mayor, a position she held for 10 years, including serving as President of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. In 2006, she was elected Alaska's first woman governor. She also chaired the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission for two years.
- As governor of Alaska, she serves as Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard. It's also worth noting that Alaska borders two international boundaries, including Canada and Russia. She has visited national guard troops deployed in Iraq and wounded soldiers in Germany. Admittedly, it's not much in the way of foreign or military experience, but it's more than Obama's zero experience. Note that he has chaired a subcommittee for the past two years dealing with Europe and the Middle East and has failed to hold a single meeting.
- She resigned in protest as Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in order to expose legal violations and conflicts of interest of Alaska Republican leaders. Her whistle blowing efforts help bring down the governor, attorney general and state party chairman of her own party.
- She bucked the party establishment and took on and defeated an incumbent governor of her own party, promising to clean up Alaska politics.
- As governor, she has passed landmark ethics reform legislation and used her veto power to eliminate wasteful spending. In her first acts as governor, she fired the governor's chef and sold the state's jet on E-Bay. Remember that famous "Bridge To Nowhere" Sen. Stephens obtained $400 million in a federal earmark to build? She told the federal government to keep the money. She also campaigned against U.S. Rep. Don Young in the Republican primary because of his big-spending ways.
It is striking to note how comparisons of Palin's experience are being made to Obama's, the number one guy on the ticket and not the number two guy, Joe Biden. Is Sarah Palin's depth of experience as good as it could be? No. Is it deeper than Obama's experience? You bet it is. You can deride her experience all you want, but at the end of the day, she has executive experience which Obama, and for that matter, McCain and Biden, are lacking. Unfortunately, too many reporters immediately bought into the Obama spin on Palin and are misrepresenting her experience relative to Obama's and Biden's.
The Star's Matt Tully fell right into Obama's lap. "How does Sen. John McCain ever again question Sen. Barack Obama's experience, or argue that Obama isn't ready to lead?", he writes in his column today. "It's hard to imagine McCain could do either after choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, seeking to put a woman who until recently was mayor of a tiny city one breath away from the presidency." Before running down the Democratic talking points, Tully should have taken the time a good reporter would have done to learn who Sarah Palin is. If he had bothered to do that, he would know that the young 44-year-old governor brings experience none of the other three men on the ballot have to offer. And on the issue of change, there can be no question that Sarah Palin is the candidate who has demonstrated the strongest will through her actions to buck the status quo and fight for change.
Friday, August 29, 2008
UPDATE: No, ABC is wrong. It is Palin.
08/06/2008 13 SCHEDULING ORDER ISSUED
THE FOLLOWING COURT DATES ARE ESTABLISHED:
(A) FIRST CASE REVIEW 08/11/2008
(B) FINAL CASE REVIEW 09/02/2008
(C) TRIAL 09/11/2008
02 CCR 08/11/2008 CASE REVIEW CALENDAR: SET FOR FINAL CASE REVIEW.
03 SUBISS08/15/2008 14 SUBPOENA(S) ISSUED.___SHERIFF(2)
04 NOLPRO 08/28/2008 15 NOLLE PROSEQUI FILED BY ATTORNEY
GENERAL RSN: INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE
05 CASE 08/28/2008 CASE CLOSED.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
If ever there was a crash that tugged at the heart of the entire state, it was the one that took the lives of Joe Biden’s wife and baby daughter and hospitalized his two toddler sons 35 years ago, just weeks after his precocious election to the U.S. Senate.
It was an unbearable turn of events, from one of the most daring political breakthroughs in Delaware political history to unspeakable grief, and there is no reason to make the accident appear worse than it was.
While campaigning in Iowa for the Democratic presidential nomination, however, Biden did.
“Let me tell you a little story,” he was quoted as saying last Friday in the New York Times.
“I got elected when I was 29, and I got elected November the 7th. And on December 18 of that year, my wife and three kids were Christmas shopping for a Christmas tree. A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly – and I never pursued it – drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly, and hospitalized my two sons, with what were thought to be at the time permanent, fundamental injuries.”
Except there was no drinking. There was not even speeding. The truck’s brakes checked out, as well. It was not the driver’s fault.
Biden quickly abandoned the drunk driving claim when he was called out on it. “All I said was what I heard at the time. What I heard from folks at the time is he’d been drinking,” Biden said, sounding agitated. “I don’t want to talk about it. . . . She must have pulled out. . . . It’s still painful to talk about 35 years later.” Imagine the pain of the innocent truck driver's family that he was being falsely accused by a U.S. senator and presidential candidate of getting drunk and slamming into Biden's wife car, killing her and his daughter? Cohen explains that embellishment and plagiarism are not unfamiliar territory to Biden:
The embellishment is reminiscent of one of the problems that undid Biden the last time he ran for president 20 years ago. He was swallowed up mostly by plagiarism charges, but there was also an incident, taped by C-SPAN, in which Biden became irritated with a New Hampshire voter and belittled him by inflating his own uneven academic credentials.
Among Biden’s claims, he said he was named the outstanding student in political science at the University of Delaware and was in the top half of his law school class at Syracuse University, both untrue, and won an international moot court competition, which was true. He also gibed, “I’d be delighted to sit down and compare my IQ to yours.”
As I said when Obama picked Biden, the two are meant for each other. They are the most pathological, self-absorbed people you will encounter in American politics today. Now the mainstream media will not share stories like this which reflect on the true character of Biden or Obama. So pass this story along to your friends. It says a lot about Joe Biden and the person who admired him so much that he put him on his presidential ticket with him.
Charges against dozens accused of involvement in "pea shake" gambling in Indianapolis have been dropped because of errors in the warrants used to arrest
them last year, the Marion County prosecutor's office said.
The suspects were arrested during several police raids on what authorities said were illegal gambling operations in 2007. Since then, more than one judge has ruled the warrants that police used to enter buildings, gather evidence and make arrests had technical flaws, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.
Details about those flaws weren't available. The prosecutor's office didn't say exactly how many people had charges dismissed, but it said the number could be more than 50.
Despite the dropped charges, the raids succeeded in closing the operations, and police officers will try to ensure they remain closed, said Indianapolis Deputy Police Chief John Conley.
"Any attempts by those people ... to reopen and go back to doing what they were doing before, they're going to find themselves in jail again," Conley said.
There you have it, folks. It's been going on for decades, but nobody is held to account. Our only hope is that the federal government, as rumored, is stepping in and going after corrupt law enforcement officials responsible for these criminal activities. We all thought those arrests last year were all for show during the mayoral election. Now you know the truth.
When I talk with my Republican friends about Obama, the conversation almost certainly turns to the notion of “experience.” And my standard answer has been this: If you were to line up the 1860 resumes of Edward Bates, Salmon Chase, William Seward and Abraham Lincoln and make a decision based strictly upon that, you wouldn’t have chosen Lincoln. And when you compare the Obama and Lincoln resumes, there is some similarity. Lincoln had served two years in Congress and eight years in the Illinois legislature. Obama is in his fourth year in Congress, served eight years in the Illinois Senate and had endured a defeat in his first run for Congress.Howey's decision to limit the experience to their legislative service is quite self-serving. A presidential candidate brings not only his political experience to the office, but his entire life experience. On the broader score, Obama can't hold a candle to Lincoln's experience.
Lincoln grew up poor, the son of of uneducated farmers. His mother died when he was nine years old. Unlike Obama, there were no prestigious prep schools and private colleges, to earn a good education. Lincoln educated himself. Lincoln married and lost three of his four children to sickness. His wife often suffered from irrational thoughts and was suspected of being a spy for the Confederacy because of her slave-owning Kentucky parents. Lincoln suffered severe bouts of depression which he had to learn to self-medicate.
Lincoln had to endure jokes his entire life about his gangly body and his ugly face. He captured the imaginations of his listeners with his gift for words and speeches he wrote himself without a teleprompter, not from a pretty face and fancy suits.
A God-fearing man, Lincoln never joined a church to prove his religious beliefs to anyone and certainly not one that promoted racial division and contempt for the U.S. government.
Unlike Obama, Lincoln volunteered for military service, becoming a Captain in the Illinois militia during the Black Hawk War.
Unlike Obama, Lincoln rose to the top of the legal profession without a Harvard law degree. He represented little people and big corporations alike and handled both civil and criminal cases. He earned a reputation as one of the best lawyers in America. Not a mere community organizer who never litigated a single case but who instead hung his shingle out at a law firm which exploited his connections to win millions in government housing money for its politically-connected clients who exploited impoverished residents of his own legislative district, all the while feigning complete ignorance of what was taking place.
Unlike Obama, Lincoln risked his political career by opposing a very popular war as a member of Congress, a move that forced him to take a hiatus from politics.
Unlike Obama, Lincoln took an unpopular position with many of his constituents by opposing slavery and fighting for its abolition. Remember, he lost that Senate race after those famous debates with Stephen Douglas, which captured the attention of an entire nation. When Lincoln was first asked to take a seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois, he deferred the seat to a Democrat-turned Republican. Can you imagine Obama waiting his turn for anything? Lincoln would help form the modern day Republican Party, founded upon the notion that all men are created equal.
Yes, Lincoln did more than talk about civil rights. He fought for civil rights and died for it. Obama talks about a single ethics bill he authored. Shame on you, Brian Howey, for even thinking about comparing the experience of Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama.
UPDATE: Howey has company. Al Gore made the same comparison at tonight's convention. ABC New reports: "Gore also compared Obama to Abraham Lincoln, saying that "before he entered the White House, Abraham Lincoln’s experience in elective office consisted of eight years in his state legislature in Springfield, Ill., and one term in Congress –- during which he showed the courage and wisdom to oppose the invasion of another country, that was popular when it started, but later condemned by history."
Hat tip to the Political Inquirer.
To the paid Democratic blogger who is poking fun at this post, I refer you to the ABC News blog discussing this "Greek Tragedy". And did I mention that Obama's stage designer also handled Britney Spears last concert tour?
Said one Democrat: "This is a disaster of mythical proportions." Said another: "It's not enough that he wants to be president -- he wants to be Zeus." Said the first: "Will he send down thunderbolts from the mountain?"
Those are the Democrats -- though assuredly not Obama partisans. Cue the Republicans: The RNC blasted around an e-mail referring to the "Temple of Obama."
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Senator Evan Bayh took to the stage in Denver tonight and had the audacity to say of John McCain and George Bush that “our brave soldiers were killed because of their reckless incompetence” in managing the War in Iraq. There has been no harsher critic of the conduct of that war than John McCain, who advocated tirelessly for the surge strategy that sparked a dramatic decline in violence, decimated al Qaeda, and put victory within reach. Though he didn’t mention it tonight, Senator Bayh, like Joe Biden, supported the Iraq war, but as soon as their support became a political liability, both looked after their own political interests.
“Our brave soldiers were killed by a ruthless enemy in Iraq, and if Senators Bayh, Biden, and Obama had had their way, we would have left Iraq in defeat. In contrast, John McCain had the courage to put his country before his own political ambitions.”—Ben Porritt, Spokesman McCain 2008
Bayh Voted For Authorizing The Use Of Force Against Iraq. "Passage of the joint resolution that would authorize the use of force against Iraq and require the administration to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before, or within 48 hours after military action has begun. The president also would be required to submit a progress report to Congress at least every 60 days." (H.J. Res. 114, CQ Vote #237: Passed 77-23: R 48-1; D 29-21; I 0-1, 10/11/02, Bayh Voted Yea)
Bayh Took Credit For Being "One Of The Principal Sponsors Of The Iraq [War] Resolution." Hannity: "Is your party week on defense issues?" Bayh: "Well, Sean, let me remind you I was one of the principal sponsors of the Iraq resolution along with
Senator Lieberman..." (Fox News' "Hannity And Colmes," 11/14/02)
Bayh: "The Only Way To Remove Saddam, I Think, Was Through The Use Of Force." (Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," 1/20/04) Barack Obama Said That Once We Made A Commitment In Iraq "We Have To Finish The Job, We Owe It Not Only To The Troops Who Sacrificed Their Lives, But Also The Iraqi People." "Obama continued, 'All of us assume that when we make that commitment, that we have to finish the job, we owe it not only to the troops who sacrificed their lives, but also the Iraqi people.'" (Jake Tapper, "Obama In Never-Before-Aired 'Nightline' Interview From 2004: Praises John Kerry's Experience, Disses 'Cut And Run' Proposals From Iraq," ABC News' "Political Punch" Blog, http://blogs.abcnews.com, Posted 8/27/08)
Big hat tip to Shofar.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
It is curious that the Obama team would so closely scrutinize the veep candidate's health when he has shown a complete unwillingness to open up his own health records. While Sen. John McCain released hundreds of pages detailing his health history, Obama released a simple one-page letter from his doctor. Although Obama's doctor claimed in late May that Obama was in "excellent health", he acknowledged he hadn't undergone a physical examination in 16 months. This is of particular concern given the history of cancer in his family, the fact he smoked for many years and abused hard drugs in his late teens and early twenties, and both of his parents suffered from serious illnesses and died at young ages. His doctor's letter's only acknowledgement of medical difficulties was that he had treated him for upper respiratory infections and skin rashes in the past.
I'm curious what the Obama team did with the blood tests. Did they test them for HIV, Hepatitis or other blood-borne illnesses? Were they studying their DNA make-up? Were Obama's Chicago political hacks digging for all the dirt they could on potential political foes? If I had been in Bayh's shoes, I wouldn't have given a blood sample. Why should Obama know about the medical secrets of his veep candidates when he doesn't have the decency to air his own medical records with the American public? After all, it's his hand which we know will be on the nuclear button if he becomes president. It's worth noting that President John F. Kennedy, hid very serious problems from the public. His daughter, Caroline, ran Obama's vice presidential search efforts.
Monday, August 25, 2008
As a Metro police officer was arraigned on a rape charge Monday, Eyewitness News has learned IMPD is bracing for the outcome of another investigation into officer conduct. The new investigation involves a federal grand jury investigation into the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department underway right now. Sources close to the investigation won't say exactly what kind of officer conduct they are looking into, but that same source characterized the grand jury investigation as huge. There is no word on how many or which officers are the target of the investigation.
The grand jury investigation is "huge." Get that?
"Last night, I was called an 'Uncle Tom' by Emil Jones in the lobby of the hotel, right in front of [Ald.] Freddrenna Lyle and [Ald.] Leslie Hairston and [Ald.] Latasha Thomas," said Cobb, a member of Clinton's Illinois Steering Committee. "I walked over to him and asked him, 'What did you just call me?
The embarrassing flap came on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, which will open tonight with a string of Chicago speakers talking about Obama's life story. Jones is often referred to as Obama's "political godfather." . . .
"If people are still making digs at the Hillary Clinton people because we supported her, that is not going to bring us on board. It makes us feel as though we're outsiders, and we're Democrats," Cobb said. "The litmus test for being black is [seen as] supporting Barack."
For his part, Jones denied calling Cobb an "Uncle Tom", but the two aldermen's account clearly supports Cobb's claim. Jones last week announced he was stepping down from the Illinois Senate. Naturally, he annointed his son, Emil III, to take his place on the November ballot.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
- Jim Irsay gets a share of any money you spend at the stadium, including food, beverage, memorabilia and parking.
- Irsay gets 100% of the game day ticket sales and half of the ticket sales from all non-game events.
- Any money spent on advertising at the stadium belongs to Irsay.
- Jim Irsay keeps every dime of the "sales of suites and club seats to corporations and the well-heeled."
- Irsay could make an additional $41 million a year above the $150 million or more his Colts have made in the RCA Dome.
- Irsay pays zero rent and pays none of the operating and maintenance expenses on the stadium.
Why is it necessary to screw over the taxpayers so badly? It always comes down to the size of Indianapolis' market and how the public has to fork over more if it wants a professional football team. "Smaller cities such as Indianapolis tend to shell out more for new stadiums because they fear the team will move away -- something club owners often threaten to do," Evanoff writes. For Indianapolis, that meant shelling out at least 89% of the $720 million cost to be build Lucas Oil Stadium. Evanoff's comparison of other cities' stadium deals makes it abundantly clear Irsay got the best deal in the nation. According to the figures furnished in Evanoff's story, no other public stadium cost more, except for the new stadium in Arlington, Texas for the Dallas Cowboys. Yet the public there is only covering 30% of the costs of that $1.1 billion stadium. And what does Indianapolis get? Prestige. "Keeping the team in Indianapolis lends the city a certain prestige bestowed on few American cities," Evanoff writes.
I still remember when Mayor Goldsmith renegotiated the lease on the RCA Dome back in the 1990s with the Colts. We were told that was an "ironclad" agreement. But it required the City to pay subsidies to the team if the team's revenues dropped below a certain level. Irsay started lobbying the City for a new stadium before the ink on the old deal was even dry. In the end, your government broke the lease agreement and paid Irsay a cool $40 million break-up fee so he could enter into this completely one-sided agreement. As bad as it would have seemed if the taxpayers had been required to pay a maximum of $160 million in subsidies to the Colts under that old agreement, it would have been a bargain compared to what we've been stuck with under the new stadium.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Their stories are not surprising to people all too familiar with the Chicago way of stealing elections. Obama supporters show up without proper identification or proof they are registered to vote in a precinct and are allowed to vote. Clinton supporters are told their names can't be found in the precinct books, or they are told their votes have been counted to go home when in fact their vote hadn't been registered because they hadn't affixed their signature to the registration forms. When all else fails, the Obama supporters resort to threats and intimidation.
The documentary includes some disturbing accounts from Lake County, Indiana. Although Indiana is a primary state which Clinton won, we all know too well how the Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, the Lake County Democratic Chairman, held up the vote count for many hours and did not release it until after the live television newscasts had signed off for the night. This deprived Clinton of a prime time declaration of a win in Indiana. Obama had already been pronounced the winner in the North Carolina primary. While Mayor Clay did his thing for Obama, Obama celebrated with fawning reporters on the flight back to Chicago. Wearing tight jeans, Obama pranced and posed near the front of the plane to please the demands of the admiring female reporters.
One witness describes how high school students from Gary were bused from their school to precincts in Crown Point to vote with instructions to cast votes for Obama. According to the witness, this was carried out with the approval of faculty and administration. Students were given the rest of the day off from school after casting illegitimate votes. How is that for a civics lesson? Another woman tells how two young men stood outside a polling place in Gary warning people not to bother attempting to cast a vote if they weren't planning to vote for Obama. She observed several voters being turned away, including elderly voters.
The documentary is about 33 minutes long. I would highly encourage you to take the time to listen to the stories told by these people. I'm not a Hillary Clinton supporter by a long shot, but I do believe she was unfairly denied the Democratic nomination this year. Anyone who believes in the rule of law and the importance of fair and honest elections based on the one man, one vote principle should be appalled by what happened this year. It is unbelievable that so much attention could be focused on the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election and, yet, a blind eye is turned towards the outrageous conduct which occurred in this year's Democratic primaries, including the stripping of delegates in Michigan and Florida, both handily won by Clinton. Obama only agreed to restore those states to full delegate status when he knew the nomination was safely secured, largely through the help of the unelected super delegates.
The Obama supporters want you to believe Clinton and her supporters are just sore losers. People who fail to grasp the root of their disenchantment with Obama and the Democratic Party are missing why so many Clinton supporters plan to cast a vote for John McCain or a third party candidate this fall. Indeed, one recent poll indicated that Obama was getting the support of only 52% of the voters who cast a vote in the primaries for Clinton. Keep a close eye on Clinton's supporters in Denver. They want their grievances heard and they are determined to let America know how they feel about it. The question is whether a fawning media will allow America to hear their voices.
Gaston's documentary ends with a famous quote from Thomas Jefferson, "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." If Obama and his supporters are willing to steal the Democratic nomination, what can we expect from them if they win the presidency and control the executive functions of our federal government? After watching Gaston's documentary, you will understand why Democrats fight voter ID laws so vociferously.
Hat tip to Hoosiers For Fair Taxation.
Barack Obama began scaling back TV advertising for the convention week, pulling ads in Republican strongholds in the South and Mountain West to concentrate on ad wars with rival John McCain in battleground states.
But Democratic and Republican officials familiar with Obama's ad purchases said the campaign had decided to pull ads from Alaska, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Montana and North Dakota during next week's convention. Two Democratic officials, speaking not for attribution because they were not authorized to discuss ad strategy, said the campaign intends to return to those state airwaves the following week. Obama has already pulled ads in Miami, but there were conflicting reports on whether he planned to silence his ad presence in the rest of Florida.
It looks like Obama's 50-state strategy has been scrapped for a traditional battleground state approach to the campaign. The South looks like a big losing proposition for Obama. A recent poll in the region shows McCain leading in 11 southern states by a 16-point, 51%-35% margin. Obama's decision to pass over Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) could signal that his campaign is virtually writing off the South. Virginia and Florida are the only two states in the region where Obama is running close behind McCain. His choice of Biden, a Scranton, Pennsylvania native and a Catholic, suggests Obama's campaign is on the defensive. Recent polls show Obama with a narrow lead over McCain in the Key Stone state, a must win state for any Democratic presidential candidate.
- The attorney who represented Bales in negotiating the contract with the City was Bob Grand, managing partner at law firm Barnes & Thornburg. Ballard appointed Grand as president of the Capital Improvement Board and he acts as his "right-hand man."
- "The agreement gives Venture the right to a commission of 2 percent to 3 percent of sale price for disposition of every property the city deems surplus, and for every lease or sale-leaseback deal. "
- "The deal also gives Venture a percentage of “savings realized or revenue generated” by the firm’s efforts to negotiate better deals on real-estate-related expenses of city government. Bales would pocket 10 percent of savings up to $100,000; 5 percent of savings up to $5 million; and 3 percent of savings above $5 million." What this provision means is that Bales' firm will get paid money even if the City simply donates park land to a neighborhood association to run as a neighborhood park.
- "In another twist, the agreement appoints Venture the city’s representative for any development or redevelopment project—a clause that would appear to give Venture a leg up on the potential development of the former home of Market Square Arena at Alabama and Market streets."
- "When Mayor Bart Peterson was in charge, the company had partnered with Hearthview Residential Inc. and Mansur Real Estate Services Inc. on a $150 million proposal for the site calling for a Target store and a 14-story tower with condos, office and retail space." Note: Schouten's article quotes the City's Mike Huber as saying any deal on the Market Square property will be done outside this agreement.
- "Bales has a reputation for landing deals that benefit him as much as his clients, in some cases buying properties his clients are considering leasing. And he’s equally known for political connections; he represented his friend Carl Brizzi, the Marion County prosecutor, a few years ago in the lease of 72,000 square feet at 251 E. Ohio St."
As the readers of this blog already know, I'm very unhappy with the mayor's decision to enter into this contract. It doesn't pass the smell test by a long shot. Schouten interviewed me for the story and does a good job capturing my thoughts about the deal:
A better approach would be to pay a reasonable fee for a firm to do the review, argues Gary Welsh, a local attorney and author of the conservative blog Advance Indiana who championed Ballard’s election as mayor.
Venture officials have “every interest in identifying as much property to sell off as they can because that’s how they get paid,” he said. “It’s a foregone conclusion you’re going to come up with some property to sell.”
Welsh supports the sale of some small parks that he says are little more than vacant lots turned into parks as political favors or vehicles to honor prominent citizens. But he takes issue with the city’s awarding the contract to Venture.
Welsh said the mayor’s advisers are weaving a tangled web of conflicts of interest. He points to a $30 million real estate investment fund launched recently by Venture that has Bales, Barnes & Thornburg partner Ben Pecar and Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi on its board of directors. The stated mission of the fund: Capitalize on real estate opportunities in Florida and value opportunities in Indiana.
“I don’t think Ballard realizes how much they’re manipulating him on this stuff,” Welsh said.
Friday, August 22, 2008
If Sen. Obama wanted a pathological egotist as a running mate to match his own character flaws, he found that man in Sen. Joe Biden. Like Obama, Sen. Biden has been caught blatantly plagiarizing the speeches of other political leaders. As a candidate for president in 1988, Biden not only plagiarized the speeches of British Labour Leader Neil Kinnok, he also was busted for inflating his resume by claiming such things as academic honors in law school. He actually finished 76th out of 85. I loved this classic remark he made back then in response to his resume inflation as noted by Chris Cilizza:
One of the most overlooked episodes during the 1987 collapse of Biden's campaign was a snippet of footage captured by C-Span in which the Delaware senator, in response to a question about where he went to law school and what sort of grades he received, delivered this classic line: "I think I have a much higher IQ than you do."
Berg is a former gubernatorial and senatorial candidate, former chair of the Democratic Party in Montgomery (PA) County, former member of the Democratic State Committee, and former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania. According to Berg, he filed the suit--just days before the DNC is to hold its nominating convention in Denver--for the health of the Democratic Party."I filed this action at this time," Berg stated, "to avoid the obvious problems that will occur when the Republican Party raises these issues after Obama is nominated."The case has been assigned to Judge R. Barclay Surrick. He was appointed to the federal bench in 2000 by President Bill Clinton. Berg is hard-charging partisan. He once called on the GOP-appointed Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore to voluntarily disbar themselves.
UPDATE: Judge Surrick denied Berg's request for a temporary restraining order at an emergency hearing this afternoon according to America's Right blog, which reports:
As for the hearing, the temporary restraining order was denied by the Hon. R. Barclay Surrick, but the subject can once again be breached once everyone is served. He acknowledged that some issues in his background could serve to hinder credibility, and promised to address those issues with me soon. He also acknowledged that Judge Surrick asked why, after months of this information circling around the Web, he waited until the week before the convention to file suit." I told him that somebody had to," he said.
Berg, according to the blog, denies he is acting on behalf of Sen. Clinton. Berg has posted all documents related to his filing at Obamacrimes.com.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Caroline Kennedy is credited with getting Sen. Ted Kennedy on board the Obama bandwagon. She is one of three people heading up Obama's vice presidential search committee. Sen. Evan Bayh's father, Birch, has had a close personal relationship with Ted Kennedy. Birch is credited with helping to save Ted's life after a plane in which the two were passengers crashed in 1964. Birch pulled Ted from the plane's wreckage. Son Evan has maintained a similarly close relationship with Kennedy family members.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Officer Christopher Poindexter, 34, was arrested Aug. 14 after, police say, he filed a false report to cover up an accident in which his fiancee sideswiped a vehicle while driving his department-issued cruiser.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Michael Spears also suspended and is seeking to fire 10-year veteran James Ingalls amid allegations that Ingalls had sex with a prostitute while on duty . . .
That makes 10 officers either arrested, jailed or under investigation in the past four months, prompting some local leaders and activists to call for greater scrutiny within the department.
Illinois legislators can choose between pressing a green button for a "yes" vote, a red button for "no" vote or a yellow button for a "present" vote. During the last three years I worked for the Illinois legislature, I served as the staff floor manager for then-House Republican Leader Lee A. Daniels. In that role, it was my job to physically cast all of his votes for him when he was not on the floor. Before you panic, let me explain this. In Illinois, the four legislative leaders typically remain in their offices while the legislature is in session unless a key vote is taking place on the floor. A staff person is permitted to cast the vote for the absent leader, although the leader could monitor how his button was being voted and immediately contact the staff person by phone if his vote was not being cast according to his wishes. On rare occasions, Rep. Daniels would direct me to cast a "present" vote. The only time he ever directed me to cast a "present" vote was when he had a conflict of interest, such as when his law firm represented a client with a direct interest in the passage of a piece of legislation. Lawmakers often stated on the record their conflict of interest when they cast a "present" vote.
To be sure, members also cast "present" votes in the absence of a conflict of interest. Some legislators would express general support for a bill but choose to vote "present" because they were concerned about some particular language in the bill that might make it unconstitutional or problematic. Typically, the member in this case would explain his or her position on the record. In other instances, legislators would cast a "present" vote to express their disapproval of the bill's sponsor or the group advocating the passage of the legislation. This was a way of "getting even" without actually recording a vote against a legislative idea a legislator would otherwise support. In some instances, a group of legislators would vote "present" in a block to express disapproval with the process. In the final case, a legislator simply voted "present" because he or she did not want to risk offending either side of the issue. As far as I can tell from Obama's numerous "present" votes in the Illinois legislature, this last case explains Obama's failure to vote "yes" or "no."
It is true that a "present" vote has the same effect of voting "no" in the sense that it takes one vote away from the number of votes needed to reach a constitutional majority to pass a bill. In the case of the passage of an amendment, however, as long as more "yes" votes are cast than "no" votes, the amendment will prevail even if there is no constitutional majority. Nonetheless, lawmakers in Illinois typically cast a "present" vote for a reason other than opposition to the bill. So when Sen. Clinton described all of Obama's present votes as "maybe" votes, she had it right.
A couple of days ago, someone spoofed a CNN news link suggesting an aide had inadvertently leaked out Bayh's name as Obama's choice. It momentarily fooled a few until people learned it was faked. The image was strikingly similar to one spoofed by an IU School of Law student a few years ago on April Fools Day, which claimed that the infamous former law school professor, William Bradford, had been nominated to the federal bench by President Bush.
Then came an ABC News report that Susan Bayh had just had her hair and nails done and warned neighbors about the media she expected to descend on her home. That was quickly followed by another strange news report by ABC News about Evan Bayh tossing a gym bag belonging to one of his sons into the street outside his home when departing his home today. ABC reports:
Bayh's week of fatherhood fun hit a roadblock ... or rather, created one.
A large black gym bag got stuck on the door of a car driven by a friend of Bayh's as it pulled out of his garage. The driver then drove about a hundred yards up the street, with the bag dragging along behind the car.
When the car reached the top of the tree-lined residential road, Bayh, sitting on the passenger side, opened his door and the bag fall out into the street. And then, as if nothing had happened, the car drove away, leaving the tag-along bag stranded right in the path of oncoming traffic.
Members of the media staked out at the residence stood around confused about the bizarre scene, before one especially conscientious reporter walked up the hill to pick up the bag. Yours truly took the bag, weighed down with "Spartans" lacrosse gear, back to Bayh's house, dropping it off on the front porch.
The senator, via his spokesman, later expressed his personal gratitude to the good samaritan reporter.
It turns out that Bayh, who is apparently on "Dad duty" at the moment, did not know that the lacrosse bag was stuck on the car, as he drove off to pick up his twin sons, Beau and Nick, at their all-day sports camp. The bag, which belongs to Beau, will fortunately not be needed today, since the boys are at a tennis camp rather than a lacrosse one.
So consider it a crisis averted -- though the incident didn't go unnoticed by Bayh's neighbors. "I thought it was very odd and very strange and out of character that the senator would just toss a bag out into the middle of the street," said Bayh neighbor Ashley Allen.
"He's serious about those boys and their lacrosse," she added. "I'm sure he'll be thrilled to have the bag back."
Bayh, a sports aficionado just like his sons, is planning on hitting some tennis balls with them before returning home later today, where he will find the lost bag safe and sound.
Making matters worse for Bayh, that same ABC report claims Bayh hasn't heard from Obama all week. But then there is major buzz about a major Obama event taking place in Indianapolis on Saturday. The Nashville Post reported:
NashvillePost.com has learned that senior campaign officials from the Barack Obama Presidential campaign are being dispatched from various locations around the country and are converging in Indianapolis for a “major event” to take place on Saturday.
Saturday is the same day that Obama is expected to make his first public appearance with his yet to be announced vice presidential running mate. Indiana is the home state of Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, widely considered to be on the short list of Democratic vice presidential contenders.
Sources in Denver, the site of next week's Democratic National Convention, say that individuals responsible for Obama's major public appearances have been pulled out of the city and are heading east towards Indiana.
The Washington Post dashed Bayh's hopes, however, when it said the Obama campaign flat out denied any Indianapolis trip was in the works for Saturday as reported by the Nashville Post. Is all the hype surrounding Bayh just a bunch of hot air? In the end, all of this media attention may turn out to be one huge negative for Bayh if he once again gets passed over for veep. The attention being paid to he and his wife's self-dealing and the conflicts of interest created by the seven corporate board seats she has managed to attain with few qualifications could prove extremely damaging to his political future in Indiana.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Hat tip to Paul Ogden.
Emmis lost money on Evan Bayh's 2003 autobiography, ``From Father to Son: A Private Life in the Public Eye,'' company spokeswoman Kate Snedeker said. Bayh gave the $4,105 of book royalties to the Evan and Susan Bayh Family Foundation.
The book deal creates the appearance of ``a favor being done for the candidate by the company that his wife is on the board of,'' Buzenberg said.
Smulyan said Emmis published the memoir with expectation of making a profit. Kleiman, Bayh's spokesman, said the deal involved ``a standard book contract that was approved by the Senate Ethics Committee.''
Monday, August 18, 2008
Is Jones stepping down to make way for his son? Or could the feds be hot on his trail? The Sun-Times has reported over the past year about how he steered $700,000 in state contracts to a firm owned by his step-son and fought utility rate decreases for ComEd, which also awarded contracts to his step-son's business. Jones' wife got a $70,000 pay raise at her state job. Jones loaned himself more than $100,000 from his campaign account free of interest. Jones is a close ally of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is also a target of a government corruption case brought by the federal government. That investigation has already led to multiple convictions for Tony Rezko, a close political supporter of Blagojevich, Obama and Jones.
According to the Sun-Times, Jones could soon begin drawing a pension of more than $80,000, which will jump to nearly $120,000 after a year under a grandfather provision of Illinois' pension code. He could also pocket more than $577,000 in campaign funds. I suspect he'll need every dollar of that amount and more for a good criminal defense lawyer. You can bet Patrick Fitzgerald is hot on this guy's tail. And what has Jones spent his last year in office trying to accomplish? A pay raise for state lawmakers, of course. Jones was miffed that he couldn't get enough of his colleagues to go along with the raise despite the dire financial crisis the state is facing.
Sen. Barack Obama had these kind words for the man who help make him in Illinois politics: "Senator Jones has been a passionate advocate who has fought for working families and the underprivileged for more than three decades, and Senator Obama is confident he will continue to serve the people of Illinois in retirement.” If Obama is elected president, Jones has quipped that he wants to be ambassador to Ireland. Let's hope the only people he serves is his fellow inmates at a federal correctional institution where he belongs.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
This idea, first of all, got way ahead of itself. Mayor Ballard's comments to the Star's editorial board left many uneasy. A further example of how somebody close to the mayor is looking out for their own self-interests instead of a sound, vital and economic approach to our parks is Brendan O'Shaughnessy's discussion of a contract entered into with John Bales' Venture Real Estate Services, LLC. "The contract gives Venture the exclusive right to market any property the city decides to sell -- an arrangement some say gives Venture reason to put its business interests ahead of the community," O'Shaughnessy writes. "Chris Cotteril, the city's top attorney, said the contract was a creative way to save taxpayer money and that the company was taking a big risk. Ballard pointed out that the city would make the final decision on any sales."
The red flags really begin waving with O'Shaughnessy's observation that "another company Bales owned, Meridian Asset Development, drew attention from city officials three years ago when it was hired to find buildings for county agencies to rent and ended up buying the buildings and becoming the developer." Meridian Asset Development later became a part of Venture Companies. Venture Real Estate Services, LLC is the managing partner of Venture Value Fund I. According to the company's website, its directors include Carl Brizzi, Paul Kite and Barnes & Thornburg partner, Benjamin Pecar, among others, in addition to Bales. The City's Corporation Counsel, Chris Cotteril, is a former attorney for Barnes & Thornburg.
I don't often agree with Jen Wagner, but I think her observation about Ballard's missteps of late is dead on. Wagner blogs today:
A Republican friend and I were talking a few weeks back about the need for every elected official to have a close adviser with no vested interest, someone who's there to say, "Hey, friend, I wouldn't do that because [insert unpleasant consequence here] will happen, and you'll look bad . . ."
I'm going to say one more time that I don't think Greg Ballard is a bad guy.
I will say, however, that I think he's tremendously naive, and he's going to be a bad mayor because he doesn't have the wherewithal to stick to his core values amid an onslaught of requests from people who have their, not his, best interests at heart.
While I'm on this point, the Star's Dan Carpenter hits one out of the park today with his blunt assessment of how Ballard is conducting business as usual. Carpenter writes:
"We're talking, of course, about the established, casual, little-examined practice of transferring the people's wealth -- in real estate and cash -- to well-heeled private entities for the sake of "economic development" or simple bill-paying."
From the huge (Downtown stadiums, office towers, hotels, Circle Centre mall) to the petty (conversion of an inner-city park into a parking lot for a bar in which various Democratic elected officials had an interest), the fruits of "public-private partnership" have been cultivated and harvested without a great deal of trifling over taxpayer remonstrance. Want to know why Simon Properties gets free land for its new headquarters, and why advertising revenues for the government-built and -owned football stadium are kept secret? Just ask your stewards, and listen to the laughter.
Ballard will not be a departure from the Hudnut-Goldsmith-Peterson philosophy of creative availability. He offered a few discouraging words during his campaign about municipal generosity to millionaires, then wound up basking in the shower of Super Bowl glory. He declined to balk at the outrageous giveaway of RCA Dome souvenir auction proceeds and Pan Am Plaza sale profits to private foundations, even though the taxpayers took the latter hit from the other party prior to his watch. Previous agreements will be honored, he said when asked about the Pan Am switcheroo. Even though a court has yet to decide whether that agreement was legal? There's magnanimity for you.
I really hoped Ballard was going to be different. Unfortunately, he seems more interested in becoming cozy with the people who did everything they could to stop him from becoming mayor. Those of us who supported him are just sitting on the sidelines watching in disappointment as we come to the sad realization of what could have been is not going to be.