Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Barney Frank Sleeping With The Enemy: Why Doesn't This Surprise Me?

If you wondered why U.S. Rep. Barney Frank was so vocal in his defense of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac four years ago when he fought efforts by the Bush administration and congressional Republicans to regulate the two out-of-control mortgage lender giants, you need look no further than the man sleeping next to him in his bed for many years. Frank's spouse, significant other, gay lover or whatever you want to call him was Herb Moses, a top executive at Fannie Mae. The mainstream media, while poking and prodding constantly into the private lives of Republicans like Gov. Sarah Pallin, won't touch the ethically-challenged, openly gay Frank. Even Frank said Palin's family was fair game. "Frank has argued that family life “should be fair game for campaign discussion,” wrote the Associated Press on Sept. 2. "The comment was in reference to GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her pregnant daughter. “They’re the ones that made an issue of her family,” the Massachusetts Democrat said to the AP." Business and Media notes the media's silence on Frank's ties to the scandal:

The media coverage of Frank’s coziness with Fannie Mae and his pro-Fannie Mae stances has been lacking. Of the eight appearances Frank made on the three broadcasts networks between Jan. 1, 2008, and Sept. 21, 2008, none of his comments dealt with the potential conflicts of interest. Only six of the appearances dealt with the economy in general and two of those appearances, including an April 6, 2008 appearance on CBS’s “60 Minutes” were about his opposition to a manned mission to Mars . . .

The news media have covered the relationship in the past, but there have been no mentions since 2005, according to Nexis and despite the collapse of Fannie Mae. The July 3, 1998, Reliable Source column in The Washington Post reported Frank, who is openly gay, had a relationship with Herb Moses, an executive for the now-government controlled Fannie Mae. The column revealed the two had split up at the time but also said Frank was referring to Moses as his “spouse.” Another Washington Post report said Frank called Moses his “lover” and that the two were “still friends” after the breakup.

Frank was and remains a stalwart defender of Fannie Mae, which is now under FBI investigation along with its sister organization Freddie Mac, American International Group Inc. and Lehman Brothers – all recently participants in government bailouts. But Frank has derailed efforts to regulate the institution, as well as denying it posed any financial risk. Frank’s office has been unresponsive to efforts by the Business & Media Institute to comment on these potential conflicts of interest.

Although Frank had broken up with Moses at the time Fannie Mae problems surfaced, he remained close friends with Moses and collected over $40,000 from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae over the past decade. He has pushed legislation supported by the mortgage giants and argued that a 2004 report by the Bush administration raised "no safety and soundness" issues. This isn't the first time one of Frank's lovers has clouded his judgment. He was first outed as a gay man when it was discovered that a young gay lover he hired to work in his congressional office was running a male prostitution ring out of his D.C. apartment. The House reprimanded him after an ethics investigation into the matter. He is perhaps one of the most partisan and obnoxious members of the House and a complete embarrassment to the gay community, although many GLBT groups foolishly tout him as some great civil rights leader. His selfish desire to satisfy his own sexual appetite at the expense of the public good is self-evident from his actions. It's unfortunate that he represents a gerry-mandered district in Massachusetts where he can expect to be re-elected year after year despite his utter arrogance and incompetence. If he had any decency, he would recuse himself from any participation in the bailout negotiations and apologize to the American taxpayers for his complicit role in this financial disaster.

Hubbard Sets Record Straight On Mortgage Meltdown

Indianapolis native Al Hubbard, former chief economic advisor to President Bush, appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to discuss the Democrat's role in killing reforms to deal with the problems with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. As he explained, the Bush administration began efforts as early as 2002 to address the problem. You saw the video I posted this weekend from four years ago showing House Financial Services Committee Chairman Richard Baker (R-LA) and his fellow colleagues explaining the need for reform, while being chided by Democratic members of the committee. Rep. Barney Frank, who now chairs that same committee, said there were "no safety and soundness concerns" with Fannie Mae and Freddi Mac. The Bush administration was successful in getting legislation through the House Hubbard explains, but the legislation died in the Senate. The prinicipal opponent was Sen. Christopher Dodd, the Democrat who now chairs the Senate Banking Committee. Hubbard points out that the biggest recipients of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over a 9-year period were Sen. Dodd, Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Barack Obama, in that order. Obama's ranking was particularly noteworthy given that he had served for a shorter time than any of the members of Congress on the list. Two former CEOs who made off with tens of millions in bonuses, Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines, are top advisors to Obama's campaign. Unfortunately, an American electorate too easily manipulated by a deceptive media hell bent on electing Obama will never give to the American people the straight story. That's why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Christopher Dodd can stand in front of the cameras and tell outright lies to the American people and never be called out on it by the media.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Carson For The Bailout Bill Before He Voted Against It

Just last week, Andre Carson was interviewed on National Public Radio's "Politics & Society" as the newest member of the congressional black caucus and a member of the House Financial Services Committee. He was asked, "Do you plan to support the President's bailout plan?" Carson responded, "Well, you know, the short answer, yes. Not happy with everything that's in the language right now in the proposal, but we have to do it to help fellow Americans." Today, Carson voted against the bailout bill, which went down to defeat 228-205 and sent the stock market plummeting to its biggest single day loss in history. Now, to be fair to Carson, he went on to add some conditions he wanted in the bill, such as going after golden parachute contracts for CEOs, home foreclosure protections and guaranteed participation in the asset management by minority and women-owned asset managers. The first two were clearly addressed in the proposal voted down today. I'm not sure about the MBE/WBE participation part. According to the Star, Carson was joined by Democrats Pete Visclosky, Baron Hill and Republicans Dan Burton, Steve Buyer and Mike Pence in voting against the bailout bill. Republican Mark Souder and Democrats Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth voted for the bailout. Souder is facing a tough re-election fight. He clearly put the country's best interest ahead of political expediency. As for Carson, so much for that "bold leadership" he promised when he ran for his grandmother's seat. You can bet he and his family won't be anywhere near his Fall Creek neighborhood if all hell breaks loose as a result of a catastrophic collapse of our financial system.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Area Gun Sales Way Up: What Does It Mean?

Fox 59 News had a story tonight about the surge in area gun sales this year. Don's Guns, the city's largest gun seller, reports its sales are up 200% over last year. Don Davis believes the higher gun sales mean law-abiding citizens are arming themselves to protect against the growing crime problem and that's a good thing. I believe the gun sales are driven, at least in part, by people's fear of a complete economic collapse in this country. The sight of the U.S. Marines staging urban warfare simulations in our city this summer fueled concerns among many that our own government was making preparations for an inevitable meltdown. The recent flurry of activity by our government to bail out the banking industry and the unsettled stock market confirms our suspicions. If our banking system collapses and people have no access to cash or credit cards and employers can't meet their payrolls, it is not hard to imagine conditions spinning out of control in a very short period of time. I spoke to an area bank employee who says it has not been uncommon for people to come in and withdraw tens of thousands of dollars in cash and then proceed to deposit the money in their safe deposit box at the same bank. Some people are preparing for the worse.

In 1929, my great grandparents I'm told anticipated the collapse of the banking system. They kept their money in a safe in their farmhouse in rural Marshall, Illinois. On December 30, 1930, assailants broke into their home and shot to death both of my great grandparents but not before forcing my great grandfather to open his safe and turn over a sum of money and bonds thought to approximate $20,000, which was a lot of money in those days. More than 50 years later, my father would learn from a close family friend that the killers who escaped punishment were neighbors. Their parents had visited my great grandfather that very night to pay off a loan of $4,000. The family friend said the two brothers confessed the crime to him, but he kept it a secret all those years because they threatened to kill him if he told anyone. Ironically, the father of the two killers later was elected as the county treasurer. He and his wife attended our church and knew to their dying day the horrible crime their sons had committed. One of the killers himself became a murder victim a few years later in California. My father said the family always seemed to have a lot of extra money to spend. Bad economic times can make otherwise good people do some pretty horrible things.

Smoking Gun Proof: Democrats Pushed Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae Coverup

Four years ago, the House Banking Committee under Republican control set out to review a troubling Bush administration report on the mess at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Republican after Republican lawmaker called for action, while Democrat after Democrat on the committee attacked the report and the Bush administration regulator testifying at the hearing on the damning report. Rep. Richard Baker, the Republican Chairman, said, "It is indeed a very troubling report but is a report of extraordinary importance not only for those who would wish to own a home but for the taxpayers who would pay the cost of the cleanup of an enterprise failure." "I did not see anything in this report that raised safety and soundness issues," said Rep. Barney Frank, who is now in charge of negotiations for the House Democrats on the bailout of the two failed institutions. African-American members of the committee accused the Bush regulators of conducting a "lynching" of Franklin Raines, the former Clinton administration official who bilked Fannie Mae out of more than $90 million before leaving it in ruins. Raines and another Fannie Mae official from the Clinton administration responsible for the mess, Jim Johnson, are top advisors to Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Johnson was tapped by Obama to lead the selection of his vice presidential running mate. Both are big Obama contributors. Rep. Maxine Waters accused the Bush administration of trying to fix something that wasn't broke. It is the most outrageous discussion I've heard to date, and it points up the equal culpability Democrats share for failing to clean up this mess before it got this bad. Check out the video here. It will really anger you.

A big hat tip to Redstate blog.

Family Told Obama Not To Wear Soldier's Bracelet

You won't be reading about this in the mainstream media, which covers up everything negative about Sen. Barack Obama and makes up lies about McCain if it can't find anything negative to report about him. I pointed out Obama's big gaffe in Friday night's debate when he was quick to add, "I have a bracelet too", after Sen. McCain told the story of a soldier killed in Iraq and the bracelet he was wearing in his honor at the request of his mother. Sen. Obama stumbled after holding up his wrist with the bracelet, forgetting the soldier's name. He had to look down and read it from the bracelet, mispronouncing the soldier's name in the process. Now it turns out that Obama had received a request from the soldier's family to stop wearing the bracelet, a request he obviously ignored. Newsbusters reports:

Barack Obama played the "me too" game during the Friday debates on September 26 after Senator John McCain mentioned that he was wearing a bracelet with the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a resident of New Hampshire and a soldier that lost his life in Iraq in 2006. Obama said that he too had a bracelet. After fumbling and straining to remember the name, he revealed that his had the name of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek of Merrill, Wisconsin.

Shockingly, however, Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family.

Radio host Glenn Moberg of the show "Route 51" asked Mr. Jopek, a man who believes in the efforts in Iraq and is not in favor of Obama's positions on the war, what he and his ex-wife think of Obama continually using their son's name on the campaign trail. (h/t D. Keith Howington of www.dehavelle.com)

Jopek began by saying that his ex-wife was taken aback, even upset, that Obama has made the death of her son a campaign issue. Jopek says his wife gave Obama the bracelet because "she just wanted Mr. Obama to know Ryan's name." Jopek went on to say that "she wasn't looking to turn it into a big media event" and "just wanted it to be something between Barack Obama and herself." Apparently, they were all shocked it became such a big deal.

But, he also said that his ex-wife has refused further interviews on the matter and that she wanted Obama to stop wearing the reminder of her son's sacrifice that he keeps turning into a campaign soundbyte.

Indiana GOP Calls Pence's Client List "Detestable"

The Indiana Republican Party is hitting Democratic Attorney General candidate Linda Pence for some of the clients she has represented, including two who she defended in complaints brought by the Attorney General's office. The press statement reads:

"Linda Pence has a long client list full of bad actors and corrupt figures," said Jay Kenworthy, GOP communications director. "While Linda Pence has been out trying to get reduced penalties for companies like CR3 and Rieth-Riley, Greg Zoeller has been working for the taxpayers of Indiana, protecting their tax dollars and keeping the criminals in jail."

"It's simply unacceptable for an attorney general candidate to have such a detestable client list," said Kenworthy.

The issue raised by Kenworthy points up a real problem for Pence. A central theme of her campaign is that the Attorney General's office is too passive when it comes to protecting Hoosiers, and that she intends to crackdown on "big oil companies", child predators and whatever flavor of the day she's espousing. The Muncie Star Press notes the irony of Pence defending high profile cases brought by the current office:

Pence's clients have included CR3, a Muncie tire recycling company that was destroyed during a major tire fire in 2003. Carter's office prosecuted CR3's owners, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of filing a false annual tire summary with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. In addition, CR3 pleaded guilty to a felony charge of illegally storing waste tires. A plea agreement also called for the firm to pay $500,000 for a cleanup and $100,000 to the state's waste-tire management fund.

Other clients defended by Pence include state Sen. Sam Smith, D-East Chicago, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor failure to pay sales tax to the state from his funeral home business, and Rieth-Riley, a paving firm involved in a 1999 sidewalks-for-votes corruption scandal in East Chicago.

Pence hit back hard at her GOP opponent, Greg Zoeller, who is Attorney General Steve Carter's chief deputy. "This is a feeble, desperate attack," said Pence, 58, an Indianapolis attorney. "I have literally represented over a thousand clients, and they hire me because I am a fighter and I win, and he's never prosecuted one case," Pence said of Zoeller. "Compare my resume to his and you make the decision. He was Dan Quayle's legislative aide for a long time and a sidekick to Carter for eight years." Pence's attack on Zoeller is a double-edged sword. She can't accuse him of never prosecuting a case and being nothing more than Carter's sidekick at the same time the prosecution of high profile cases under Zoeller's tenure as the office's chief deputy has generated big dollar defense fees for Pence.

And The Deal Is?

Congressional leaders say they've reached a deal on the federal bailout out of America's financial industry sector. The plan calls for the government buying at least $700 billion in distressed mortgage securities and other bad securities held by banks and other investors, $350 billion of which would become immediately available. A provision insisted on by House Republicans will encourage the holders of bad debt to keep the debt and take out insurance from the government to cover defaults. A tax on the financial industry could be triggered if the government fails to recover its investment after five years. Emphasis is being placed on trying to work out repayment plans for homeowners, such as reduced payment terms so they can keep their homes. The deal supposedly has provisions ensuring that taxpayers are first in line to be repaid. New executive compensation requirements are a part of the deal. There will be new limitations on executive compensation in general, no multi-million dollar golden parachute contracts for former executives and a requirement that bonuses be repaid for unfulfilled gains. Congressional deal-makers also removed the controversial plan by Democrats to divert 20% of any amounts recovered by the government to a housing fund that could be tapped by nonprofit groups for housing-related programs.

Three Indiana Firms Top Corporate Equality Index

The Human Rights Campaign has developed a Corporate Equality Index which rates employers on their policies pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Star's Dana Hunsinger notes that three Indiana employers scored a 100%. They are Baker & Daniels, Cummins and Eli Lilly. Baker & Daniels is the only Indiana law firm to achieve a 100% rating. Hunsinger explains the index:

To earn a score of 100, companies had to go above and beyond, offering not only domestic partner benefits, but policies barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Companies on the list offer affinity groups and diversity training that covers sexual orientation and gender identity. They also have supportive gender transition guidelines. Some companies even pay for hormone replacement and surgery for transgender employees.

Inclusive policies by employers is recognized as a way of attracting better talent according to Elizabeth Stahl, a human resources consultant. "Companies want to cast a wide net," said Stahl. "The more inclusive an organization can be, the greater its ability to attract talented individuals, and it really doesn't matter their gender or sexual preference." Hunsinger notes that Indiana has a reputation of being slow when it comes to tolerance and inclusion. Indiana was, however, the first state in the nation where some of the state's most prominent employers lobbied the state legislature to oppose a constitutional amendment to ban recognition of same-sex marriage and domestic partner benefits for unmarried couples.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Look At Indiana Political Blog Rankings

Alexa.com provides rankings for websites based upon alleged web traffic to all sites on the Internet. I plugged in several Indiana political blogs to see what I would come up with and here are the results:

1. Bilerico (178,350)
2. Kenn Gividen's Indiana News (657,454)
3. Advance Indiana (824,135)
4. Hoosier Access (864,223)
5. Howey Political Report (952,007)
6. Blue Indiana (1,276,441)
7. Masson's Blog (1,642,873)
8. Hoosier Pundit (1,808,709)
9. Capital Watch Blog (2,112,032)
10. Indiana Barrister (3,228,368)

Blognet News rates Indiana blogs' influence using some formula which takes into account a number of factors. Their latest ratings for this week show the following:

1. Hoosier Pundit
2. Hoosier Access
3. Advance Indiana
4. Blue Indiana
5. Opening Arguments
6. Masson's Blog
7. Indiana's Conservative Hardball
8. Indiana Barrister
9. Kenn Gividen's Indiana News
10. Bilerico

Not sure that you can extrapolate a whole lot from these rankings. It's just kind of interesting to see what they show. The Alexa rankings are definitely subject to manipulation with add-on tools some bloggers purchase to make it appear traffic is higher to their site than what it actually is. Some complain that the Blog Net ranking is too easily influenced by cross-posting and linking between blogs and is not necessarily a good indication of a blog's influence.

Democrats Earmark Bailout Money To Left-Leaning Political Nonprofits

One would think the Democrats in Congress would be primarily concerned with ensuring that all the money recovered from the government take-over of bad mortgage debt would be returned to the U.S. Treasury. Instead, a provision tucked away in the proposed bailout legislation would divert billions to nonprofit organizations like ACORN, the National Council of LaRaza and the National Urban League. ACORN has close ties to Sen. Obama and has a long history of criminal voter registration activities on behalf of Democrats. Here's the provision that is raising the concern:

1. DEPOSITS.Not less than 20 percent of any profit realized on the sale of each troubled asset purchased under this Act shall be deposited as provided in paragraph (2).

2. USE OF DEPOSITS.Of the amount referred to in paragraph (1)

1. 65 percent shall be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund established under section 1338 of the Federal Housing Enterprises Regulatory Reform Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4568); and

2. 35 percent shall be deposited into the Capital Magnet Fund established under section 1339 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 4569).

REMAINDER DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY.All amounts remaining after payments under paragraph (1) shall be paid into the General Fund of the Treasury
for reduction of the public debt.

The Wall Street Journal had an article in July discussing how the housing bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush would allow potentially billions to be diverted to partisan, nonprofit organizations like ACORN. This is the same legislation which allowed a $29 million grant to be awarded to the City of Indianapolis to deal with the problem of abandoned and foreclosed homes. The money recovered from the bailout should be used to pay back the Treasury for this enormous new debt. It's obvious the Democrats are more interesting in funding groups which will help them win elections than restoring financial stability to the country.

Ballard's Abandoned Housing Initiative Gets A Boost

The City of Indianapolis has been awarded a $29 million grant by HUD to deal with the home foreclosure crisis. The money can be used to buy and sell abandoned homes through a land bank, which Mayor Ballard has already established, and to demolish abandoned homes. At least 25% of the money must be targeted to purchasing and redeveloping abandoned and foreclosed homes for people whose income does not exceed 50% of an area's median income. With the city's tight budget, this federal money should be enough to give some real viability to the Mayor's initiative. Let's hope the money is wisely spent.

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Was On His Game Tonight

Sen. John McCain has had a lot of experience grappling with foreign policy issues and it really showed tonight. Obama looked like a shrinking violet trying to stand toe-to-toe to McCain. I watched the debate on Fox News, which used the split screen. Obama's facial expressions and demeanor while McCain was speaking did him no favors tonight. He acted like a spoiled brat who couldn't wait his turn to speak. He appeared to be scowling at McCain whenever he spoke, while McCain always had a pleasant smile on his face when Obama spoke. As for the age thing, McCain spoke clearly and deliberately at all times. Obama continuously stammered and stuttered to piece together his thoughts. McCain didn't have to look down at his wrist to know the name of the fallen Iraqi War soldier he was honoring with a bracelet. Obama's "I've got one too and his name is . . . uuh . . . looks down . . . what is it? . . . oh, yeah." I fell out of my chair laughing watching him read the soldier's name on his bracelet. How could you wear a bracelet on your wrist every day in honor of a fallen soldier and not recall his name? I guess if you're only wearing it for show and not as a sincere tribute to the son of the mother of the fallen soldier who gave it to you.

Democratic Attack Ad On McCain's Health Despicable

I would be hard pressed to think of a political ad that I find more repulsive than the one an independent group run by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's brother is currently running suggesting McCain is likely to die of melanoma cancer if he is elected president. Extremely graphic, up close photos taken of the facial scars from McCain's cancer surgery from eight years ago are depicted in the ad. The ad falsely claims that McCain has refused to disclose his medical records. In fact, McCain allowed reporters to review more than one thousand pages of medical records. By contrast, Sen. Obama has provided the public a mere one page statement from his doctor based upon a medical examination taken more than a year ago. Both of Obama's parents died at young ages. His mother died of cervical cancer. His father, an alcoholic, killed himself in an automobile accident. McCain's 97-year-old mother is still going strong.

Every network except NBC refused to run the ad. NBC's cable news network, MSNBC, has unabashedly backed the presidential campaign of Barack Obama this year and smears John McCain and Sarah Palin daily in its political coverage. Not surprisingly, MSNBC is dead last in the cable news ratings. NBC News is owned by General Electric, which was once one of the safest blue chip bets for a stock investment. Not anymore. The company's profits and stock price have been in a deep slide. Current management has basically run this great company into the ground. After Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, one of the top ranked cable news shows, lit into GE and NBC for allowing the ad to air, it reversed course and pulled the ad.

I've been warning you folks for months about the smear campaigns Barack Obama and David Axelrod run against all of their opponents. Don't think for one minute the two weren't behind this attack ad. Howard Dean rigged the party machinery during this year's primaries to favor Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton. Upon Obama's apparent victory, Dean moved the DNC's primary operations to Chicago at the orders of Obama and Axelrod. If Howard Dean had any objection to his brother's organization doing this ad, you can bet it would have never aired.

Rezko Cooperating With Fitzgerald's Investigation

When it comes to what's happening in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed is the go-to girl. There have been rumblings of recent movement in Patrick Fitzgerald's ongoing investigation of political corruption in the Land of Lincoln. Sneed informs us that Obama pal Tony Rezko, who was recently convicted on multiple counts of political corruption, is cooperating with federal investigators while he awaits his sentencing, which is scheduled to take place shortly before this year's election. Sneed writes in her column today:

Sneed hears rumbles that convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko, whose dealings have been linked to Barack Obama and Gov. Blagojevich, is singing to the feds.

• • To wit: "I'm told by a close friend of Rezko that he's cooperating with the feds," said a Sneed source. "I don't know whether he's talking about Gov. Blagojevich or Barack Obama or anyone else," the source said.

• • The shocker: Rezko, a Wilmette businessman who was a top adviser and fund-raiser for Blago, has been locked up at the Metropolitan Correctional Center awaiting an Oct. 28 sentencing -- one week before the presidential election.

• • Background: Convicted in June of wide-ranging fraud tied to kickbacks on state deals, Rezko's involvement in real estate deals with Gov. Blago's wife, Patti, are also under federal scrutiny.

• • The backshot: Rezko's name has continually surfaced as a friend of Obama, who benefitted from a real estate deal involving Rezko -- which involved Obama's Kenwood home. Thus far, no serious paint has been splashed on Obama by the Rezko brush. But rumors abound that the feds have their eyes fixed on Blago and his wife, who firmly maintain their innocence.

• • The buckshot: Being locked up at the MCC has been known to be a sure way to break a felon's silence. Tweet. Tweet.

Political Sign Debate

As with every election, a debate always ensues over someone's political signs. Typically, someone accuses one campaign of stealing another person's campaign signs. That's usually explained by someone putting the signs in the right-of-way instead of on private property. Recently, a debate has ensued about political signs in Indianapolis for Mitch Daniels' gubernatorial campaign. Jim Shella blogs about Marion Co. Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy writing a letter to city legal asking that the city's sign ordinance be enforced against over-sized Daniels signs:

Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy wrote the city attorney today asking that Mitch Daniels campaign signs be removed because they violate a size ordinance.

The large signs are visible on Meridian Street and in the Meridian Kessler neighborhood. Strict enforcement of the sign law, however, will also force the removal of some Obama signs of similar size.

I have no problem with strict enforcement of the sign law, but the Obama campaign has been violating this law blatantly. There are over-sized Obama signs which have been displayed in people's yards since the May primary. In some cases, these mini billboards have been attached to homes, creating a real eyesore. I haven't heard the Democrats complaining about those signs.

Moscrip Hits Rodman For Playing Politics With Tax Bills

Marion County Republican Treasurer candidate David Moscrip hit Mike Rodman, the current occupant of that office, for suggesting he might not send out tax bills until after this November's election. In a moment of candor with a reporter for the Star, Rodman let it slip that he had no intention of sending out tax bills right before this November's election. Now he's saying that the election has nothing to do with it; the bills won't be ready to be mailed until mid-to late November. The real problem here is the cost of Rodman's delay. Local governments in Marion County have been forced to borrow money because the bills are going out so late. The longer it takes to get those tax bills mailed, the more interest cost local governments will incur. The failure of the township assessors to do their job in the first instance is the culprit of this problem. Voters need to remember to vote to abolish these outdated vestiges in November. Rodman, on the other hand, does not appear to be doing his job in getting out the bills in an expeditious manner in light of the circumstances and mitigating the damage from the township assessors' failures.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pence Misrepresents Case To Tout Her Own Campaign

If Linda Pence's campaign to become Indiana's next Attorney General has demonstrated anything, it's her ability to twist the facts and truth to serve her own political ends. Whether it's criticizing the Attorney General's office for pursuing a public corruption case in East Chicago without disclosing she represented one of the defendants in the case or blasting "big oil" for price gouging at the pump while her law firms represents one of the largest gas and oil companies in the world, Pence has proven she will do almost anything to win an election. Several weeks back I reported on the questionable legal tactics she pulled against another attorney, who formerly volunteered as a rowing coach for the International School in Indianapolis. Pence sued the school and the former volunteer rowing coach attorney, claiming he engaged in sexual relations with two female members of the rowing team. Pence used this case to claim there is a big loophole in Indiana's law because criminal charges weren't brought against the former rowing coach. The Star's Jon Murray reports:

The Democratic candidate for attorney general said today that she would lobby to change Indiana's child seduction statute so it covers anyone with responsibility over a teenager.

Without the change, Linda Pence said, people who volunteer at schools and camps or work at places that give them authority over children might not be covered by the law. She called it a loophole . . .

Indiana's statute on child seduction covers guardians, adoptive parents, adoptive grandparents, custodians, stepparents or child care workers who engage in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual conduct, fondling or touching with children who are 16 or 17. Child seduction is a Class D felony that carries up to three years in prison . . .

Pence said she recently represented teenage girls seduced by an Indianapolis-area coach who was a volunteer and didn't face criminal charges.

The girls' families sued the coach, and the lawsuit was resolved through a settlement, Pence said. She declined to name the parties.

What Pence failed to explain to the media today was that criminal charges were not brought against the person in question because the sex she alleged occurred took place after he had moved to Chicago and was no longer working as a volunteer coach for the school. The age of consent in Indiana is 16. Even if Indiana law was changed as proposed by Pence, the person in question would still not have committed a crime. Pence also omits the fact that at least one of those alleged victims fought Pence and her father every step of the way and condemned the questionable legal tactics Pence pulled during this litigation.

If a reporter wanted to find out more about the case to which Pence refers, he or she will run into the same problem I did when I visited the archives for Marion County's closed court cases. The case files vanished, even though the case was just closed last year. Pence mentions that the case was resolved through a settlement, in this case a confidential settlement. What she doesn't say is that settlement quickly came about after the defendant sued Pence and her client for abuse of process, false light, invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage in federal court. Both cases were settled days after the suit was filed against Pence.

Obama Campaign Admits Meeting With Lake Co. GOP Chairman

A few more pieces to the puzzle fall in place. A follow-up story in today's Gary Post-Tribune confirms Lake County GOP Chairman John Curley's claim that an Obama campaign representative, Orrin Evans, met with him to discuss early satellite voting in Lake County. The Post-Tribune writes:

Curley said Orrin Evans, a field representative for Obama's Indiana organization, made the offer during a Sept. 12 meeting about early voting offices in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago. Swain acknowledged that Evans, 23, contacted Curley at the behest of Lake County Democratic Chairman Rudy Clay to try to convince Curley to endorse the satellite plan.

"Orrin has had many meetings to discuss the need for satellite voting centers, with officials from both parties around the state," Swain said.

Curley, who has opposed the satellites on the grounds they promote vote fraud, told Evans it didn't make political sense for him to support the sites since Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in the three northern cities.

"I told (Evans), 'I'm worried about Mitch Daniels,' " Curley said.

According to Curley, Evans then offered to "procure votes" for Daniels at the satellite locations since Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jill Long Thompson has no chance of defeating Daniels. "He told me 'Don't worry about the governor. We can get votes for the governor up there,' " Curley recalled. "I told him to forget it."

Swain said he was surprised by Curley's accusation.

"Nobody in this campaign would ever approach a routine meeting of this kind with any kind of deal in mind," Swain said. "Orrin does not recall a discussion of a deal of any kind."

Evans could not be reached for comment.

What is surprising is that the Obama campaign would send in a 23-year-old staffer to do the work of a seasoned political veteran. We've seen plenty of machiavellian-style actions by the young upstarts working in Obama's campaign. I have no problem believing this guy said exactly what Curley says he told him: we'll help you get votes for Daniels if you give us the satellite voting facilities in Gary, East Chicago and Hammond. Of course, the Obama campaign had no intention of helping get votes for Daniels. They just want to make their job of exporting illegal votes from Chicago into Lake County to swing Indiana for Obama a little easier.

More Of That Change Obama Is Promising

It may seem like chump change in the scheme of things, but a $100,000 earmark Sen. Barack Obama obtained for a campaign worker while serving in the Illinois Senate says a lot about the politics Obama represents. Previously, I mentioned a $100,000 grant Obama obtained for a community organization run by an Obama campaign volunteer in 2001 to fund construction of a botanical garden in his district. Obama had promised to raise $1.1 million for the group while he was running for Congress against U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, who crushed Obama in that race. Obama never followed through on the promise to raise the necessary funds, and now it looks like the $100,000 Obama obtained for the group went directly into the pockets of the campaign supporter and her spouse, prompting a state investigation. The Sun-Times reports:

A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- a Democrat who is supporting Obama's presidential bid -- is investigating "whether this charitable organization properly used its charitable assets, including the state funds it received," Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff, said Wednesday.

In addition to the 2001 grant that Obama directed to the housing association as a "member initiative," the not-for-profit group got a separate $20,000 state grant in 2006.

Madigan's office has notified Obama's presidential campaign of the probe, which was launched this week. But Obama's actions in awarding the money are not a focus of the investigation, Smith said.

Those who will no doubt dismiss this investigation as trivial should understand that this is not an isolated incident. As a state senator, Obama used his influence to steer tens of millions in government housing grants and loans to Rezmar, a company owned by one of his closest friends and political supporters, Tony Rezko, who is now sitting in jail on multiple felony convictions for corrupt influence peddling in Illinois state government. Many of those housing projects were located in Obama's senate district and fell into a state of utter disarray. We also know that shortly after Obama's failed congressional bid he found himself in serious financial trouble. A campaign supporter hired Obama as general counsel for his company and paid him close to $112,000. Obama never disclosed this relationship on his financial disclosure statement he filed as a state senator. Obama used his state senate letterhead to write letters of support and had a legislative assistant in his office help obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in state grants for the business. After Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, his wife was promoted to some vice president of diversity and community outreach job at the University of Chicago hospital, making over $300,000 a year. Obama in turn used his Senate position to obtain more than a $1 million in federal earmarks for the hospital. When Obama's financial picture improved dramatically, he obtained the assistance of Tony Rezko in purchasing his million-dollar South Side mansion, allowing Obama to save $300,000 on the purchase price of the home after Rezko purchased the adjoining lot as part of the house deal, improved it with a new privacy fence and then sold part of the lot back to Obama, enhancing the value of Obama's home. Rezko also helped Obama obtain a discounted mortgage on the home from a bank with which he had close personal ties.

If U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wants to do it, he will have no problem obtaining indictments against Obama for corrupt political influence. With Rezko sitting in jail awaiting sentencing on what could be a long term in prison, his only hope is for Obama to become president of the U.S. Obama can then at least commute his sentence and effectively shutdown Fitzgerald's investigation of political corruption in Chicago. Obama has already pledged he will not fire Fitzgerald if he becomes president, a commitment he made while facing tough questioning from the Sun-Times editorial board about his ties to Rezko. I simply ask people to take a look at Obama's record in Illinois. There is none of the change he's been promising the American people. Obama has never challenged the status quo in Illinois. He's always been a go along to get along guy, who occasionally dips his own cup into the well for a piece of the action. This is not a time to put a corrupt Chicago politician into the White House. We need a real leader with the backbone to stand up to the special interests. Barack Obama is not that man by a long shot.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Major Illegal Gambling Operations Busted Locally?

Ed Feigenbaum has the scoop on search warrants being served this week in Marion, Hendricks and Morgan Counties, resulting in the shutdown of "major gambling operations." Feigenbaum writes at the Indiana Daily Insight:

The Indiana Gaming Commission's Gaming Control Division with the assistance of the Indiana State Police served a series of search warrants this week involving several illegal gambling investigations in Marion, Hendricks, and Morgan counties, shutting down some allegedly major gambling operations of assorted types. We'll bring you the details . . . and explain to you why this is so important . . . in the next issue of Indiana Gaming Insight.

Will McCain's Gutsy Move Pay Off?

Sen. John McCain shocked the political world today by announcing he was suspending his campaign to return to Washington to help pass emergency legislation to deal with the worst financial crisis facing the United States in the past century. He called on Sen. Obama to do the same and to delay Friday's scheduled presidential debate in Mississippi. Sen. Obama immediately rejected McCain's move. He said the debate is on and he has no intention of returning to Washington to work on the financial crisis unless his party's leaders ask for his help. Sen Harry Reid decided to play politics by saying McCain had nothing to offer to the process and that he should stay away. Reports that few Republicans are jumping aboard and supporting the pending plan to rescue our financial system indicates otherwise. The truth is that McCain's leadership is needed in the Senate right now; Obama's is not. McCain puts country first as usual. Obama puts his own political career first. Obama's "call me if you need" me attitude focuses attention on his complete irrelevance in getting anything done legislatively in the Senate. He's a non-entity on that front. He's spent the past four years campaigning for president instead of serving as junior senator for the state of Illinois. It's all about him. Take note America.

New York Times Lies About McCain Campaign Ties To Freddie Mac

Proving once again that it is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Obama campaign, the New York Times runs another front-page story containing blatant misrepresentations in an attempt to tie Sen. John McCain to the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mac failures and to cover up the deep ties Obama has to the two failed institutions. The newspaper opens its story with prepared text from the Obama campaign:

"One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain's campaign manager from the end of 2005 through last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

The disclosure contradicts a statement Sunday night by McCain that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had no involvement with the company for the last several years."

The campaign of Sen. John McCain was quick to call out the New York Times for its deceitful reporting. Rick Davis has not been associated with the firm in question, Davis Manafort, since 2006. The Times' original story suggested Davis had been a registered lobbyist for Freddie Mac. Davis has never been a registered lobbyist for Freddie Mac or Fannie Mac and has not registered to lobby for the past three years. The McCain campaign points out the NY Times complete failure to investigate Obama's ties to the failed institutions. Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, two former executives with the failed institutions, pocketed tens of millions of dollars before leaving behind the mess at Fannie Mae. Obama collected more campaign contributions from the two institutions than any other member of Congress except for Sen. Chris Dodd, the senator who chairs the committee overseeing the mortgage industry. The campaign statement reads:

The New York Times has never published a single investigative piece, factually correct or otherwise, examining the relationship between Obama campaign chief strategist David Axelrod, his consulting and lobbying clients, and Senator Obama. Likewise, the New York Times never published an investigative report, factually correct or otherwise, examining the relationship between Former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson and Senator Obama, who appointed Johnson head of his VP search committee, until the writing was on the wall and Johnson was under fire following reports from actual news organizations that he had received preferential loans from predatory mortgage lender Countrywide.

Therefore this "report" from the New York Times must be evaluated in the context of its intent and purpose. It is a partisan attack falsely labeled as objective news. And its most serious allegations are based entirely on the claims of anonymous sources, a familiar yet regretful tactic for the paper.

McCain's campaign notes the NY Times refusal to acknowledge McCain's efforts to clean up the mortgage mess more than two years ago, which fell on deaf ears in Congress. Here's the prescient statement from McCain two years ago:

Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae's regulator reported that the company's quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were "illusions deliberately and systematically created" by the company's senior management,
which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae's former chief executive officer, OFHEO's report shows that over half of Mr. Raines' compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator's examination of the company's accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs--and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO's report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO's report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation.

With the New York Times' parent company's stock and profits way down, you have to wonder who is looking out for the shareholders' interests at the newspaper. This continued partisan news reporting that is completely lacking in journalistic integrity is destroying the newspaper. Fewer readers mean fewer subscription and ad revenues. It's that simple. Instead of devoting its efforts to fabricating stories trying to link McCain to the country's financial crisis, perhaps the editors at the newspaper should spend a little time figuring out what is bringing on the financial crisis which threatens the newspaper's own existence.

Why Does Obama's Campaign Want Satellite Voting In Lake County So Bad?

Lake County Democrats are determined to open up satellite voting centers in Lake County for this year's general election by hook or crook. Indiana law requires a unanimous vote of a county election board in order to open up satellite voting centers where voters can vote prior to election day. Lake County GOP members voted against the plan, however, because Democrats would only agree to open up voting centers in the Democratic cities of Gary, Hammond and East Chicago and no areas of the county where Republicans are more dominant. Lake Co. GOP Chairman John Curley says he had an understanding with Rudy Clay to have voting centers during the primary but not the general election. Curley says Clay changed his mind because the Democratic gubernatorial campaign of Jill Long Thompson had pulled his street money (i.e. unreported expendictures in the form of cash used by political operatives in any way they please to win votes) for the general election. A press release from Curley says:

Rudy Clay, Lake County Democratic Chairman, negotiated a plan with me in the spring of 2008 to open satellite voting locations for the primary. I said I was not in favor of the satellites but would go along with him then but NOT in the fall. He agreed. Chairman Clay approached me again a few weeks ago and I reminded him of our agreement. He said Jill Long has pulled his “street money” and he needs the satellites. I declined.

Notwithstanding Indiana law requiring a unanimous vote, Democrats plan to go ahead and open up the early voting centers illegally according to the Gary Post-Tribune. So what does this have to do with the Obama campaign? Curley claims that Obama's Chicago office approached him recently and offered assistance in garnering votes for Gov. Mitch Daniels if the Republicans would agree to go along with the satellite voting centers. Here's how Curley describes the exchange with the Obama campaign representative:

A representative of Obama’s Chicago organization asked to meet personally with me to discuss satellites. He specifically offered to procure votes for Governor Daniels at those satellites stating that Jill Long can not win and the governor is in “good shape.” He then asked if there was anything he could do to get this accomplished. I told him “No way.” It seems that Chicago politics is now invading NW Indiana.

It's quite clear that the Obama campaign believes these early voting centers in heavily Democratic Gary, East Chicago and Hammond are critical to his efforts to win in Indiana. The idea that Democrats would have helped deliver votes for Gov. Daniels at these voting centers is completely preposterous. Once upon a time, Republicans up in Lake County would have fallen for that offer hook, line and sinker. Obama has the full resources of the Chicago political machine available for these efforts just across the state line and we know all too well about their successful history in stealing elections.

As I've opined previously, this is all about the fact that Indiana is typically the first state in the country to be declared for the GOP presidential candidate. If Obama can make the race in Indiana so close that it cannot be declared for either candidate as soon as the polls are closed, this will send a chilling message about McCain's chances and have the intended effect of hurting GOP turnout in the parts of the nation where polls are still open. We saw in this year's May primary how Lake Co. GOP Chairman Rudy Clay withheld vote results in Lake County until the wee hours of the morning so that Clinton could not declare victory in Indiana during prime time. That left Obama alone to declare a big victory in prime time in North Carolina on that same election night. Clay and the Lake Co. Democrats learned how to utilize these voting centers during the primary to pump up Obama's vote totals. With a little practice under their belts, who knows what they're capable of doing in this general election.

Big hat tip to Frugal Hoosiers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Biden's "No Coal Plants" Proclamation

Four of the hotly-contested states in this year's presidential campaign are major coal producing states, including Colorado, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Asked by an attendee at a political rally in Ohio about his view of clean coal technology, Biden emphatically declared, "No coal plants here in America." He basically indicated that clean coal technology should be utilized in China where they are building a lot of coal plants, but the technology was not needed here because we're not going to build any here in the United States due to global warming concerns. Are there enough coal miners left in Indiana for this issue to make much of a difference? Recent statistics indicate Indiana employs about 2,500 coal mining jobs.

Debunking Another Palin Smear

Every major news media outlet followed the liberal blogs in proclaiming that Sarah Palin as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska had a policy of billing rape victims for the cost of rape kits used by hospitals to examine them, and that the state legislature had to pass a law to specifically stop this aberrant community from carrying out this bad public policy. Jim Geraghty completely debunks this story over at the National Review Online. The former Democratic legislator and former Democratic governor (who Palin defeated) have been on every major cable news station lying about the circumstances surrounding this legislation to smear Palin. The record shows that Wasilla's policy never came up during any of the legislative debate surrounding this legislation, but the city of Juneau, the state's capital and a much larger city than Wasilla, was specifically discussed.

The testimony at the hearing on the legislation indicated that the state police commissioner testified that he was not aware of any police agency in the state which had billed rape victims for the rape kits. In fact, the hospitals were billing the victim's insurer or the victim directly without ever billing the local police agency according to the testimony. A search of the public records of Wasilla where one or two rapes a year occurs found no victims who had been billed by the city. The truth is that this problem existed in many communities throughout the United States, including Obama's state of Illinois until recently. More recently, attention was focused on this practice in the state of North Carolina, which has a Democratic governor. Geraghty concludes the whole story was manufactured and spread by the Axelrod-Obama smear machine. How many lies will the media print about Sarah Palin before it comes to its senses about its obligation to journalistic integrity in reporting in this presidential race? This is exactly the tactics Obama and Axelrod used to manipulate the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times during Obama's Senate campaign. Any smear item the duo could come up with about one of his opponents, the news media in Illinois stumbled all over each other to report it first, while covering up the criminal and scandalous record of Obama.

Parking Privileges For The Few

A VIP parking program for the elite insiders? Who would have thought? It's not enough that billionaire Herb Simon's Pacer team gets hundreds of millions in public subsidies; he needs free parking privileges while visiting downtown as well. Think about that the next time you get stuck paying a $20 fine for going 5 minutes over the meter you earlier fed $3 for 2 hours of parking on a city street. It's nice to hear that Public Safety Director Scott Newman has announced the VIP parking permits handed out to political insiders and other elites is being revoked, but you have to wonder if that action would have happened had reporters for the Indianapolis Star not been digging around for as much information about the program as possible. You know how this one is going to turn out. As soon as noone is looking, the privileged few will get back their free parking privileges. You can count on it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Democrats' Hypocrisy On Use Of Nonprofits

WISH-TV's Jim Shella says that Democratic blogger Chris Worden is raising a stink over the appearance of a not-for-profit employee in one of Gov. Mitch Daniels' campaign ads. Shella writes at his blog:

The latest television ad about protecting children from Governor Mitch Daniels is under fire from a public defender in CHINS (Child in Need of Services) cases.

Chris Worden wrote a letter to Sharon Pierce of The Villages (she appears in the ad.) Worden says Pierce violates IRS rules by appearing in the ad because she works for a not-for-profit. He asks Pierce to call on Daniels to pull the ad.

The letter is being distributed by the Jill Long Thompson campaign. When asked about it the Daniels campaign had no comment.

It's funny that Marion County Democrats didn't see anything wrong with Andre Carson's campaign using Forest Manor Multi-Service Center to stage press conferences to promote his campaign at the center. And didn't one or more not-for-profit employees appear in ads for Carson's campaign?

Note to Carson campaign: Your campaign financial disclosure statements didn't disclose any reimbursement to Forest Manor for the use of their facilities for your political event.

New York Times Columnist Impeaches Self To Discredit Obama Muslim Rumors

A common meme throughout this presidential campaign has been for the Obama campaign and the mainstream media to slime anyone who points out the irrefutable evidence of Sen. Barack Obama's Muslim heritage as a racial bigot. Sen. Obama's Kenyan father was Muslim as was his father's father. Most of the Obama Klan back in Kenya has in fact identified themselves as Muslim. Obama's mother was married to two Muslim men. Obama took the last name of his mother's second husband, Lolo Soetoro. School records confirm that Obama was registered as a Muslim in an Indonesian school he attended while living in that country. During his college years, Obama's close circle of friends was comprised of people of Muslim faith. New York Times' columnist Nicholas Kristof added to the speculation when he wrote about an interview he had with Obama when he launched his presidential campaign. Obama recited to Kristof the Muslim call to prayer in perfect Arabic dialect and praised the prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset.” Kristof now finds himself explaining away why the words in his own column shouldn't be taken seriously:

I’m writing in part out of a sense of personal responsibility. Those who suggest that Mr. Obama is a Muslim — as if that in itself were wrong — regularly cite my own columns, especially an interview last year in which I asked him about Islam and his boyhood in Indonesia. In that interview, Mr. Obama praised the Arabic call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset,” and he repeated the opening of it.

This should surprise no one: the call to prayer blasts from mosque loudspeakers five times a day, and Mr. Obama would have had to have been deaf not to learn the words as a child. But critics, like Jerome Corsi, whose book denouncing Mr. Obama, “The Obama Nation,” is No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list, quote from that column to argue that Mr. Obama has mysterious ties to Islam. I feel a particular obligation not to let my own writing be twisted so as to inflame bigotry and xenophobia.

Interestingly, when Obama himself inadvertently referred to "my Muslim faith" in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopolous, Kristof's column was scrubbed from the New York Times' website so blogs could no longer link to his quotes from Obama about the Muslim call to prayer. There is nothing sinister about stating these facts in the least bit and Kristoff should not be running away from the obvious. Indeed, it was another New York Times reporter who pointed out that according to some Muslim traditions, Obama began life as a Muslim by virtue of his father being Muslim. That set off a debate among Muslim scholars about whether the religion is passed from father to child notes Andy Martin, a Chicagoan who has been a frequent critic of Obama and authored a book on Obama, "The Man Behind The Mask." Parents typically raise their children in accordance with their own religion. Children often, but not always, choose the religion of their parents. Nonetheless, Obama has taken great pains to deny he has ever been a Muslim, even if it was limited to his childhood and college years. I don't think people should question that he became a Christian as an adult and is still a practicing Christian. Similarly, Obama should acknowledge his Muslim heritage. It is insulting to people of Muslim faith to simply deny the obvious. Yet, the pro Obama media's take is that if people think Obama has a Muslim heritage, they won't vote for him. Hence, every person who points out the obvious must be smeared as a religious bigot.

As far as Kristof is concerned, the topic simply can't be broached by anyone unless you are a religious bigot. "Journalists need to do more than call the play-by-play this election cycle," he writes. "We also need to blow the whistle on such egregious fouls calculated to undermine the political process and magnify the ugliest prejudices that our nation has done so much to overcome." Kristof is driven to this view by virtue of polls showing that as many as one-third of American voters believe Obama is Muslim. Kristof blames Christians and, by implication, McCain because one of his ads is criticized for using imagery similar to the "Left Behind" best-selling Christian book series. "Mr. McCain himself is not popular with evangelicals. But they will vote for him if they think the other guy may be on Satan’s side," Kristof opines.

Here it is, Kristof. The American people want to know as much as possible about their presidential candidates. When one candidate constantly denies the existence of an irrefutable part of his life, the American people become suspicious. That doesn't mean they're religious bigots. That doesn't mean they're small-minded. That just means they are rightfully skeptical about the fundamental being of this person.

Does anyone else see the double standard at play here? Immediately upon Palin's selection as McCain's running mate, the news media and liberal bloggers began openly raising questions about Palin's past affiliation with an Assembly of God church. The emphasis on her religion is based upon a perception among many in the media that there is fundamentally something wrong with anyone who is perceived as being a "fundamentalist Christian." Incidentally, Palin doesn't hide the fact that she was raised by her parents as a Roman Catholic, an affiliation which at one time in this country would have doomed any candidate's presidential ambitions. Liberals in the media don't attempt to hide their disdain for people of Christian faith. Obama's own negative reference to small town Americans as "bitter people" who are "clinging to their guns and religion" reflected that sentiment. Yet, nobody in the media complained that Obama was showing bigotry towards fundamentalist Christians when he uttered that statement. Mr. Kristof should take a look at the prejudices in his own backyard before he passes judgment on his neighbors.

Obama Campaign Linked To Palin Smears

The Jawa Report has pieced together damning evidence which links key Democratic operatives and Obama supporters to producing smear ads against Gov. Sarah Palin and then uploading them to YouTube under the guise of a group called "A Group of Concerned Americans." The trail leads all the way to the top, David Axelrod, Obama's Chicago PR advisor well known for running dirty campaigns. No sooner had the Jawa Report's post appeared than efforts were being made to scrub evidence of the links to Obama's campaign from the Internet. Redstate blog has the quick and dirty on how it's done. Michelle Malkin has more here.

Hat tip to Hoosier Pundit.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

FBI Executes Search Warrant On Alleged Palin E-Mail Hacker

The FBI executed a search warrant on David Kernell, the son of a Tennessee lawmaker and self-described Obamacon, to determine whether he was responsible for hacking into a private e-mail account of Gov. Sarah Palin. Kernell was partying at his apartment with several friends when FBI agents arrived around midnight last night according to WBIR-TV. Kernell and the other students fled the apartment when the agents arrived. The news report says agents spent close to two hours in Kernell's apartment. Kernell's three roommates were also subpoenaed and must testify in Chattanooga this week WBIR reports.

Palin Draws Record Crowd In Central Florida Visit

The buzz of central Florida today is Gov. Sarah Palin's political rally for the McCain-Palin ticket at The Villages. Crowd estimates ranged from 25,000 to 60,000. "Whatever the total, it was huge, and hundreds sweated for hours under a brutal Florida sun that cooked The Villages' downtown to a toasty 90 degrees," reports the Orlando Sentinel-News. Recent polls show McCain holding a steady lead here. The only southern state that Obama has a realistic chance of winning is Virginia, which remains very close. Virginia has trended more Democratic in recent years because of the rapidly growing number of federal employees populating the Virginia suburbs outside of D.C.

Why Are Democrats Defending Wife Beaters?

One would think the so-called "Troopergate" scandal up in Alaska is something akin to Watergate to see what the pro Obama news media and Democratic bloggers are writing about it these days. The Democratic lawmaker heading up the investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of her public safety commission this summer announced an "October surprise" was in the works which could lead to Gov. Palin's impeachment once the investigation is concluded. Gov. Palin fired Walt Monegan she says because of insubordination. Her staff produced numerous e-mail exchanges with Monegan showing his efforts to undermine her position in budget negotiations with state lawmakers for his agency. Palin had also expressed frustration that Monegan hadn't acted to rid the state agency of her ex-brother-in-law, state trooper Mike Wooten. Palin's sister was Wooten's fourth wife. Wooten's domestic abuse problems are known to many in Alaska, but there has been nothing reported about Monegan's domestic abuse problems until now. His ex-wife claims he beat her and threatened to kill her. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

It turns out that well before he was jettisoned for what he says was his refusal to fire trooper Wooten at the behest of Sarah Palin, Monegan had his own share of domestic troubles - some of them spilling all the way down to the Bay Area.

In October 1994, Monegan's estranged wife, who had moved from Alaska to the Peninsula with the couple's two daughters after more than 10 years of marriage, sought a temporary restraining order against him - accusing Monegan of threatening to kill her, waving a gun at her and dislocating her shoulder, according to her declaration on file in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

In an interview last week, Georgene Moldovan said Monegan had threatened several times to throw her body in an Alaska river.

Monegan, 57, who has since remarried, vigorously denied Moldovan's allegations, both in court papers filed at the time and in an interview with us last week. "I'm not a door slammer - I don't punch walls," he said.

Monegan admitted to dislocating Moldovan's shoulder, but said it was an accident that had happened before they were married, while they "were wrestling and tickling."

Moldovan was an emergency room doctor and professor at Stanford and shuttled back and forth from Alaska to the Peninsula the last seven years of their marriage. Monegan asked her for a divorce in 1993, but snapped when he learned he might lose the couple's house, she says.

One day in April 1993, she said in her court filing, "he pulled out his gun and waved it at me outside my home and yelled he would kill me if I stopped him."

In the interview, Moldovan said Monegan "would show up unannounced and break into my apartment and do threatening things. I was forced to get a restraining order because I was really fearful he was going to harm me."

Since this story first surfaced in the presidential campaign, I haven't read anything redeeming about either Monegan or Wooten. Yet, clearly Democrats and the Obama campaign are trying to stoke this "Troopergate" scandal for all its worth. What I can't figure out is how easily the media has been manipulated into going along with this phony scandal. Does anyone know of any governor in these United States who doesn't have the discretion to fire a state agency head for any reason or no reason at all? Anyone familiar with executive prerogative in this area should understand just how absurd the claim that Palin did something illegal by firing Monegan is. I've never seen anything like the way otherwise educated, professional people have turned into complete monsters in their mission to destroy Gov. Palin. Since when did liberal Democrats in America take the side of wife beaters? Simply unbelievable.

The real story here, if there is one, is how it is so difficult in this country to get rid of bad cops. We've seen this issue arise on numerous occasions here in Indianapolis where police officers get in trouble with the law and we learn they had long histories of disciplinary problems which were not appropriately addressed by their supervisors. The Chicago Sun-Times recently did an investigative story on the problem of getting rid of bad Chicago cops. That investigation discovered that hardly one-fourth of problem cops who should have been fired were actually terminated.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Marion County Democrats Want Barton But Not Ackles To Resign

I've not seen the press release from the Marion County Democrats, but a press release this evening from Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John alludes to a call by Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy for Marion County Surveyor Mary Catherine Barton to resign her position. Barton was defeated in the May primary by Deborah Jenkins. John's statement reads:

"It's about time that Ed Treacy finally called for the resignation of the unqualified Mary Catherine Barton as Surveyor. She was unqualified when Chairman Treacy and his party slated her four years ago. It's about time Democrats start to realize that voters will hold them accountable if they continue to put unqualified candidates on the ballot. I hope we see this trend continue. Perhaps next week, Ed Treacy will call for equally unqualified chiropractor, Ken Ackles, to resign as Coroner."

I'm curious to learn what Barton has done in this needless county office that is so bad that Treacy would call for her resignation.

UPDATE: The Star answers my question. Barton is no longer showing up for work or communicating with her staff according to Treacy. "Treacy said party officials tried to resolve the matter, but Barton ignored the efforts," the Star report says. "He said Barton has only rarely been seen at work since June, according to staff, although she did present her office's budget last month."

UPDATE II: Here is a comment Mary Catherine Barton posted on this blog in response to Treacy's call for her resignation:

Hi. This is attorney Mary Catherine Barton, and I am the Marion County Surveyor. I do not like blogging because people often anonymously say such cruel things about each other. I am an independent, think that I have been doing a wonderful job, and do not intend to resign.I am sorry if I have embarassed Marion County by choosing to set my own hours, but after taking office four years ago, corporate counsel did notify my office that I could do so. Please feel free to call me at Room 1922, City-County Bldg., 327-4153. I am recovering from a broken wrist, but do not intend to allow my staff to be harassed or hounded by parties that do not mean us well. Sadly, my devoted excellent technical supervisor, David Pruett, died last week. I miss him so very much. He gave me much strength and confidence, and I had his full support. I still have four wonderful employees and we are there to serve the public from 8 am - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. My issues are government accountability, fiscal
responsibility, and democracy. Thanks for covering current events.

Ballard Sides With Sports Corporation In Pan Am Dispute

In the closing days of his administration, Mayor Bart Peterson let the Indiana Sports Corporation out of its commitment to repay Indianapolis taxpayers if it ceased using the Pan Am Plaza for the public's benefit. In turn, the ISC sold the Pan Am Plaza for $3.8 million to a development group which included the politically-connected Kite Realty Group, money which should have been returned to the City of Indianapolis. ISC President Susan Williams said that then-Mayor-elect Greg Ballard was consulted before the deal was rammed through the Metropolitan Development Commission in December, 2007. Attorney Paul Ogden brought a class action suit against the ISC and the City to undo the sale, citing a number of laws which were broken by the Peterson administration in order to make the deal happen. Mayor Ballard could have agreed that Peterson broke the law in brokering the deal and asked the ISC to at least return the $3.8 million from the sale to the City, but he has not. The City of Indianapolis has joined the ISC in filing a motion to dismiss Ogden's class action suit. The City claims in its motion:

  • The City was not modifying a redevelopment agreement so the laws cited in Ogden's suit do not apply.
  • Ogden failed to give the City a Tort Claims Notice.
  • More recently enacted statutes cited in Ogden's lawsuit don't apply to the resolution approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission.

It is very unfortunate that Mayor Ballard has chosen to take the side of self-dealing insiders, while taxpayers are left holding the bag for millions of dollars of debt remaining from ISC's operation of the Pan Am Plaza. By the City's latest actions, Ballard has effectively taken ownership of this smelly deal. No more just blaming this on Mayor Peterson. As I said from the beginning, this is a way of diverting public dollars to the ISC to use for the Super Bowl and then trying to make the public think that no public dollars are being used to put on this $25 million party for the rich and famous.

UPDATE: Attorney Paul Ogden has posted his comments on the City's decision in this matter. He offers his take on why the City chose to fight the lawsuit:

"I would suggest the obvious: the City wants to avoid going through discovery process because it will lead to an inevitable embarrassing disclosure of all the facts behind the deal, including the people who profited, possibly including people who now work for him." Instead of doing the right thing now and lean on the Sports Corporation to cough up the money, Mayor Ballard has chosen to take a political bullet for the former Mayor by using taxpayer paid attorneys to take against the taxpayers and in favor of corporate welfare. I can only guess that such extremely foolish political advice comes from some of Mayor Ballard’s close advisors who also were eating from the City’s corporate welfare trough before Mayor Ballard was elected. It’s a shame because those advisors he leans on have little interest in the Mayor's political future, certainly less than Republicans like myself who inevitably are put in a position of criticizing a Mayor we want to support."