Monday, September 14, 2009

Second Tape From ACORN

Yesterday a video showed the staff at an ACORN office in Baltimore giving advice to two people posing as a pimp and prostitute on how to avoid taxes, for themselves and underage girls that they planned on bringing in to the country from El Salvador. Today there is another video from a ACORN Washington office showing employees explaining again how to hide a prostitution ring.

Another ACORN Office Gives Tax Cheat Advice to Prostitute

ACORN Problem

The Census Bureau has terminated its relationship with ACORN after tapes were released that showed staffers aiding a couple in the human trafficking of underage girls from El Salvador in order to establish a prostitution ring.

From Fox News Census Bureau Severs Ties With ACORN

The Census Director has sent a letter to the National Headquarters of ACORN notifying the group that the Census Bureau is severing all ties with the community organizing group for all work having to do with the 2010 census.

"Over the last several months, through ongoing communication with our regional offices, it is clear that ACORN's affiliation with the 2010 Census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 Census efforts," read a letter from Census Director Robert M. Groves to the president of ACORN.

"Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices. For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership," the letter said.

The news follows the firing Friday of two more ACORN employees after new hidden-camera footage showed workers for the group advising a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute how to subvert the law.

Kudos to the Census Department for Dumping ACORN

Monday, August 24, 2009

Massive Feederal Debt

As previously reported the Federal Deficit is Soaring with estimates for this year being between $1.6 trillion or $1.8 trillion. Now the projected deficit for the next 10 years is up $2 trillion. There are so many disturbing elements to this ever expanding deficit, not least of which is how the U.S. economy will recover with this level government debt. As the deficit shoots upwards so does the risk of inflation, making recovery increasingly more difficult. Not to mention that China owns so much of our debt that at this point they're practically a part owner of this country. The government seriously needs to reexamine its priorities and reign in its spending or this country will find itself in a world of hurt.

Major Garrett reports New 10-year Federal Deficit: $9 Trillion, Up from $7 Trillion
The Obama Office of Management and Budget tells Fox the federal deficit over the next decade is projected to be $2 trillion higher than previous estimates.
The new 10-year aggregate federal deficit is $9 trillion.

An official said the prolonged recession and the ensuing decline in federal revenue prompted a recalibration of the deficit numbers.

The numbers also reflect a projection that post-recession economic growth may not be as robust as after previous recessions, the official said.

An Unsustainable Federal Deficit

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ridge and the Terror Level

If anyone is in doubt that politics is plays way to big a role in the running of the government another example comes out of the Bush White House.

Ridge: Bush officials sought to raise terror alert before ‘04 vote

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge says he successfully countered an effort by senior Bush administration officials to raise the nation’s terror alert level in the days before the 2004 presidential vote.
Ex-Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge says he was pushed to raise the terror alert before the 2004 election.

Ex-Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge says he was pushed to raise the terror alert before the 2004 election.

“An election-eve drama was being played out at the highest levels of our government” after Osama bin Laden released a pre-election message critical of President George W. Bush, writes Ridge in his new book, “The Test of Our Times.”

Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld strongly advocated raising the security threat level to “orange” — even though Ridge believed a threatening message “should not be the sole reason to elevate the threat level.”

The former Pennsylvania governor also writes that he saw no reason for the move, which he now calls a bad idea, because additional security precautions had already been taken in advance of the election.

Ridge On the Politics of Security

Whole Food CEO Under Fire

Whole Foods is facing a boycott because its CEO John Mackey wrote an Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal opposing government run health care. Mackey's thoughtful article gave eight ideas for health care reform, and is not anywhere near what most rationale people consider provocative or radical. On the contrary, he is one of few public figures to put together a clear, concise, well-reasoned approach to health care reform. For his trouble he's being boycotted by those on the far left who can not accept that not everyone shares their point of view. The WSJ article is definitely worth a read for anyone interested in health care reform...

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare - Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit.

The following excerpt Food Fight Over Health Care, from a transcript of On the Record with Greta Vansusteren, also illustrates that Mackey is good person who does right by his employees, and is absurdly being targeted for vocalizing his opinion on health care reform. Hopefully those who see the injustice in this will counter the boycott by stopping by a Whole Foods store and picking up some groceries.

BRIAN SULLIVAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: The irony of this story, Greta, is that if John Mackey, who is the CEO of Whole Food who has been running the company, started the company in Austin Texas about 30 years ago, if he had positioned what he positioned in "The Journal" when we were not considering health care, this would have been considered radical reform. He said here are eight ideas as a successful CEO that I have, including tort reform, allowing insurers cross state lines, self-directed ideas. And yet he is vilified by some of the more liberal followers out there of the president's plan. They are, as you said, waging war against Whole Foods, 18,000 on Facebook in a boycott. There is Web page set up. And they are calling him, get this, Greta, a right-wing zealot. VAN SUSTEREN: This CEO of Whole Foods, in 2007, he said he had enough money to live comfortably, so in 2007 he cut his salary down to $1 a year, and he donated all of the proceeds from his stock option to charity. This does not sound like a guy who wants to stick it to the poor when it comes to health care. He had a different idea, and that was what was in the "Wall Street Journal." SULLIVAN: He is a self-described libertarian. And I do not know if that was angered some people. Not only was he taking $1, but he pushed this through, Greta, a $100,000 need-based fund for Whole Foods workers. They offer domestic partners same sex benefits at Whole Foods. Heretofore this has been considered a relatively progressive company. Now he comes out and says the government-run plan is not the way to go. And he is absolutely being slaughtered on the left side of the blogosphere.

A Misguided Boycott Of Whole Foods

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Health Care Debate Is Missing An Explation

The health care debate has become one of the most confusing and highly charged debates in recent memory. One main reason for this is that the administration has repeatedly left unanswered the basic question of how this plan will work. There is some good reason for this as there is no real concrete plan as of yet, just a bill that is in process which has been criticized as lengthy but not clear. However, the President has spoken about health care repeatedly in town halls, in press conferences, and has directly addressed the country, but has not once has he given a basic explanation on how his plan will work. Again today in a op-ed in the New York Times President Obama talks about why health care is needed. Yet no one is at a loss for why health reform is needed, they are at a loss for how health reform will work.

Cost is a major issue. The administration says that the plan will be funded approximately 1/3 by eliminating waste and inefficiencies. Yet CNN ran an article stating that little has been done in the current bill to address fraud. Tort reform has also been excluded, which means the waste that occurs through doctors practicing defensive medicine, and the underlying cost of malpractice insurance will not be dealt with. Digitizing medical records has been cited as a way to reduce costs. This would likely reduce costs down the road, but wouldn't there be an initial cost of moving records to a database, setting up a database (or other system) with the appropriate security and protocols? How will this happen? Who will establish this system and oversee its management and especially its security?

The reason so many people are nervous is that if the system is squeezed for savings it makes sense that care might suffer. Without the 'how' people are likely to jump to conclusions, and while proponents can complain that people 'are playing the politics of fear,' the reality is that some people are honestly afraid of what might happen to Medicare and Medicaid if reform means cuts. Granted some have come to ridiculous conclusions like Governor Palin's over-the-top remark about 'death panels.' However, the irony is that remark actually effected the debate because there was no other explanation out there about what 'end of life counseling' means. The administration is adamant that health reform pass, and pass quickly, but they don't appear to know what reforms they want or how they will work. How can the President expect the public to support reform when no one can explain it?

From Purple People Vote Independent Political Blog

Friday, June 26, 2009

Free Iran Recap - Freedom Via Internet

Since the election in Iran on the 12th of June, information about the protests and brutal government crackdowns has flowed in via the internet, particularly social media sites, and specifically Twitter. Twitter was the first place to provide information about the protests as the media largely missed the story in the beginning. Now the flow of information out of Iran has slowed due to massive arrests and violent government oppression. Along with the slowing of information, the main stream media's attention has been diverted. Yet this remains a topic that deserves continued public attention. People are fighting for their freedom under unimaginable conditions.

Here is a recap of some of the videos, stories, and information that has come out of Iran along with the role technology has played...

Total Oppression Versus Open Communication in Iran
In an early show of force students were beaten in their dorm rooms, and their rooms were trashed, computers and the like destroyed. Angered by the brutal beat downs, many professors at Tehran University protested by resigning. Hospital workers who treated the students, also disgusted by the government’s brutality, went on strike the following day to protest the students’ treatment.

Foreign media was banned, journalists have been jailed. Due to the crackdown, citizen journalism virtually the only way the story is getting to the rest of the world.

Iranian government claims that death of Neda was staged by the opposition. They prevent any form of public mourning for both Neda and the many others killed in the protests.

Soccer Team Members who wore green armbands during a game are permanently banned from the sport.

British representatives expelled from the country.

Special courts established for trying arrested protesters.

Mass show of force and violent suppression of peaceful protests continue.

Videos: The first video shows the death of Neda a young Iranian woman who has come to symbolize the Free Iran movement. She was shot while simply watching the protests, and reportedly died by her father's side. Be warned that the first two videos are very graphic and disturbing. The third video, while somewhat less graphic, but is also quite disturbing.

*VERY GRAPHIC* Young Lady Dies on Streets of Iran

*Very Graphic* Video of Iran Protests and Man Badly Beaten

Shooting of Iranian Students Caught on Camera

Massive Show of Force on Streets of Iran

Video of voter fraud in Iranian Election

June 20 Iran Protesters Face Off with Police

Crowds During June 20th Protests

Riot Police Attack Protesters in Iran

Video Showing Scope of Iranian Protests

This Week's Articles:

This week a violent beat down of protesters was under reported as the flow of information slows. CNN and the AP both had reports on this brutality...

AP Reports Iran Security Forces Again Beat Down the Opposition Protesters

Distraught woman describes the brutality to CNN, Reports of Brutal Crackdown In Iran

Article's Prior to the June 20th Protests

Concern About Khamenei’s Statements

Arrests and Protests Continue in Iran

American’s Practical Support of A Free Iran

Articles About the Role of the Internet in post-Election Iran

Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism
One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, ‘Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.’ Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Following Iran Elections on Twitter – A Lesson in Freedom and Technology
Google Farsi - English Traslator: Google launches Farsi - English translator Thursday night/Friday morning. A hugely helpful tool that aids communication, and understanding of news directly from Iran.

Cable and Network News relying on Twitter: Saturday the 20th, with a government imposed blackout of foreign media CNN and others have to rely on citizen journalists along with Twitter and other social media sites to gather news. Protests are scheduled even though Ayatola Khamenei has made statements that suggest a possibly violent crackdown on protesters. Reports of tear gas used and armed police barricades used to disperse crowds.

Students Shot on Camera: A tweet linked to this video of Iranian students being shot

A graphic YouTube video of a woman's death (Neda) becomes a symbol of the movement. Trending topic on Twitter is #Neda as references to the video, and her life show how moved people were by her tragic death.

Mousavi Facebook post:
Through a post on Facebook it has been reported that Mir-Hossein Mousavi has stated that he is "ready for martyrdom."

Embassies Take Wounded Iranians: Word spreads quickly on June 20th that many European embassies are taking care of wounded Iranians. These embassies along with their address/directions were also disseminated through Twitter. The safety of the hospitals is in question, and the Canadian embassy is pressured (via use of Twitter) to open its embassy too, yet embassy remained closed on Saturday.

Iran Elections and the Internet
An interesting subplot to the Iranian elections is that the internet is providing people more information than major news networks...Dear CNN, Please Check Twitter for News About Iran

Since writing about the Twitter Effect in Iran, and the role of the Internet as a whole, I have also been interviewed on radio and TV. For more info on appearances, please visit the Broad Side of the Barn.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twitter, Iran, and Cracking the Totalitarian Model

One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, 'Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.' Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Yet now there is Twitter, other social networks, and the internet at large. It's wise for Tweeters and others to understand that the deck is still stacked against those protesting the election. The Iranian government still controls the media, and in a textbook totalitarian move they have banned foreign press. While members of the Twitter community have set up proxy servers for people in Iran to use, the government has shut down known internet connections, which means that in all likelihood a large majority of Iranians are only hearing the official government version of events.

Yet protests continue and news spreads in large part due to Twitter and the internet. This is not something past totalitarian regimes have had to deal with. There are enough Iranians using Twitter (or other forms of communication) to organize that protests continue. The government has not been able to implement complete control. Hopefully those watching, participating, and following #iranelection on Twitter recognize that there is a definite possibility that this ends very badly as totalitarian regimes are also brutal. The reality is that what results from this is wholly a guess, but it changes the playing field and gives voice to those who previously had none. Person to person communication tools change the dynamic shifting, at least some of the power to the people, and puts a crack in structure of totalitarianism.


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Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Palin Letterman Feud Starting

While the Palin Letterman feud heats up, lets look at why David Letterman's bad joke appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

1. Letterman likely jumped on the Palins' last nerve when he made a crude joke at their daughter's expense. Governor Palin hasn't just been criticized, she and her her family have been attacked in a particularly hateful way, and at some point that has to wear thin particularly when ones children are targetted.

2. The Palin's reaction conqsequently was a little overreaching. It seems unlikely that Letterman was referring to the Palin's 14 year old daughter as the Palins thought. Circumstances pointed to the fourteen year old, but Letterman accurately pointed out that he doesn't have a history of making crude remarks referencing children. However, making vulgar remarks about any of the candidates/politician's kids is inexcusable, they didn't choose the public life and should be left alone (and 18 is still pretty young). The Palin's anger is completely justified and understandable.

3. Lots of people are fed up with jokes about female politicians always going 'there.' This can be seen in the HillBuzz blog (a Clinton supporters blog) requesting a boycott of Letterman sponsors. The lead in to the joke about the Palin girl was a crack about Palin looking like a "slutty stewardess." Like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin has been the brunt of jokes and criticism that directly critique her appearance and sexuality. As hated as Bush and Cheney were in the last eight years, no one criticized their appearance or made explicit comments and jokes about them the way they have about Clinton and Palin. Again Letterman stomped on a raw nerve.

4. Some will be angry at the remark, others will be angry at anything referencing Governor Palin. Therefor this is is going to be big. Palin supporters can be quite intense (and oddly similar to the fervent Obama supporters). They're not likely to let it go, and the left's kooky raging Palin hatred means they won't let it go either.

So there you have it, we're in for a broohaha. Letterman's apology was weak because he was starky towards the Palins, and didn't recognize the fact that all of their kids should be off-limits particularly when making off-color jokes. Michael Steele has addressed the Palin Letterman matter by saying,
"Letterman's joke about Sarah and Todd Palin's daughter was thoughtless and tacky," Steele said in a statement to The Hill. "I saw his explanation for the joke, but sometimes the easiest thing to do is simply say 'I'm sorry.'"

"When Letterman starts making tasteless jokes about kids, it's time to turn the channel,"

Senator McCain defended the Palins saying,
"I don't understand why Letterman would say that about a young woman," McCain said during a telephone interview on Thursday. "They (the Palins) deserve some kind of protection from being the butt of late-night hosts."

As Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune sums up the situation in his article Palin is Right About Letterman by stating...
It's hard to see what Bristol has done to deserve the ridicule. It's not her fault her mother is a national political figure. Dealing with her situation is hard enough without being under a media spotlight.

Instead of acting as though he's the victim of someone else's misunderstanding, as he did last night, Letterman ought to simply admit he blew it, big time, and personally apologize to the Palins and his viewers.

He also should to keep in mind that if you're going to ridicule someone's sex life, you might pick on someone your own size. And make very sure you have the right person.

CBS's Feedback Form
Palin Letterman Politics

Friday, June 5, 2009

Senator Brownback Address the Problems with Closing Guantanamo

Senator Brownback talked to bloggers today laying out the problems with closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. The most pressing of these problems is what to do with the detainees. Senator Brownback explains that one commonly overlooked risk of bringing prisoners to U.S. prisons is that the surrounding prison communities may be subject to violent acts by groups making political statements about the prisoners' detention. He also explains that the Geneva Convention says that prisoners of war will not be held along with a general prison population. Senator Brownback lays out numerous reasons why closing Guantanamo is poorly thought out, and is decisively lacking a realistic and safe plan. The propsal also lacks support both in Congress and among the American people. A new Gallup poll shows that by a 2 to 1 margin Americans Oppose Closing Gitmo and Moving Prisoners to U.S.

This call is worth listening to as one may be surprised at the number of solid reasons the Senator gives for opposing the Obama adminstration's call to close Guantanamo.
Blogger Call with Senator Brownback
Brownback Talks Guantanamo and Foreign Policy « Purple People Vote

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Computer Virus Strikes FBI

WASHINGTON — Law enforcement computers were struck by a mystery computer virus Thursday, forcing the FBI and the U.S. Marshals to shut down part of their networks as a precaution.The U.S. Marshals confirmed it disconnected from the Justice Department's computers as a protective measure after being hit by the virus; an FBI official said only that that agency was experiencing similar issues and was working on the problem."We too are evaluating a network issue on our external, unclassified network that's affecting several government agencies," said FBI spokesman Mike Kortan. He did not elaborate or identify the other agencies.
Computer Virus Strikes FBI, U.S. Marshals Service - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News -

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Free Us Now Radio Featured Guest, Author Katherine Morrison

Featured Radio Presentation

Monday Night May 4th soROARity
Katherine J. Morrison
"Author of An Independent Call"

Free Us Now guest, Katherine Morrison wrote a book about the 2008 presidential election. The book entitled An Independent Call, chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain supporter and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is- "A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign-attention to detail is brilliant."
No radio needed The Free Us Now Radio show is online - If your computer is down no problem call on the phone and hear the entire show right on the phone- Please come! Monday 10 PM eastern/ Bring your questions.
Call-in 347 539-5420.

Event: Free Us Now Radio Show
Host: BettyJean Kling
Start Time: Monday, at 10:00pm
End Time: Monday, at 11:30pm
Call-in:  347 539-5420

Friday, April 17, 2009

You Too May Be A Radical

Tea Party protesters won a victory today as the mainstream media could not ignore their protests like they have in the past. As expected some of the media described the protesters as radicals (ever-classy and most-trusted Anderson Cooper of CNN used an obscene joke to describe the attendees) despite the pictures showing peaceful gatherings of people of all ages in attendance. Yet media logic dictates if you don't love Obama, you must be crazy.

Yet it's not just the media searching for crazy. A report was leaked by DHS on "Rightwing Extremism." To quote the report,
Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.

Dang it, I'm a radical. There were signs, once in high school I got a detention for a overdue library book; even back then I was bad. My internet chatter about obscene government spending has all been a clever ploy to manipulate my readers to take radical action like, 'vote the bums out,' or 'tell your representatives what you think.' I tell you I'm bad, and if I didn't have a job or a cold I would have been one of those crazy tea party animals too. You need further proof that I'm a radical? How about this...
Rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and have recently focused on themes such as the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India, Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to pressure other countries, and China’s investment in U.S. real estate and corporations as a part of subversion strategy.

Well there you have it. I'm concerned that China owns us, and all our debt, I must be a radical. Granted, I'm a centrist on guns and immigration, and lean a bit left on the social issues discussed in the report, but imagine my surprise to find out that I've been cavorting with other radicals over the past 2 years by volunteering for the McCain campaign. Pro-life, pro-second amendment, high concentration of veterans, don't let the good humor, sarcastic wit, family values, and helpful manner fool you - we were all a big bunch of radicals, just ask MSNBC.

Now I know there is a serious side to this report. Every group in every country has its nutballs, and its the governments main job to protect its citizens from radicals of all sorts. Yet this seems like a veiled attempt to blur the line between staunch conservatives and radical Klan-like groups, when in reality that is a very clear and distict line. Veterans in particular are owed an apology for their less than flattering portrayal in this report. As for me, I'm going to keep chattering about the economy, and take pride in the fact that someone out there thinks I'm radical.

You May Be A Radical Too...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Campaigning with a Good Humored Veteran

Excerpt from An Independent Call the story a New Hampshire Independent McCain Supporter

Finally, on a more upbeat note, one trait that Senator McCain shares with a good number of his fellow veterans is a wicked sense of humor. While I’d like to say that my rationale for voting McCain was all high minded, I have to admit his sense of humor roped me in in the beginning. It’s probably part of the reason I enjoyed so many of the events with veterans; I’m sure there are veterans out there that lack a sense of humor, but overall I found them quite fun to be around.

During the general election I headed out to canvas a neighborhood with a veteran named Wes. He drove; I hopped out and knocked on the doors. We were canvassing Hampton Beach, a sort of unfortunate task in late Fall to early Winter, since not a lot of people stay at their beach house when the temperature drops. The sheets given to guide us to the appropriate address were accompanied by a brief survey asking whether the occupant was home and whom they were supporting for the different elected offices. The numbering of houses and condos on these sheets could be hard to follow, as locations were not necessarily listed in numerical order. Condo complexes could be particularly difficult to figure out. For instance, 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 16 could be a different page from 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 14, and unit 15 would simply not be on the list at all. The other problem was that you often had to be allowed or buzzed into many of these condo complexes. This basically meant looking for condos, routinely unoccupied due to the season that, even if occupied, could not be accessed. Consequently, we’d just drop a stack of literature on their doorstep, which will likely be picked up sometime this coming June.

So in the process of trying to locate a particular address on Ocean Boulevard, Wes backed his car up right into a pole. Looking down, arranging literature at the time, I was startled at the hit and said, ‘Ooo!’ and looked over at Wes. Thinking, this can’t be good we both hopped out of the car and took a look at his bumper. There was a new yellow stripe down the back side of his car and he said, “Ah, it’s just paint.” Relieved that it wasn’t too serious and that the damage didn’t trouble Wes, we hopped back into the car, and started trying to figure out where our next stop was. As we headed forward we spotted the house number of the next stop; Wes hit the brakes and his coffee flew off the dashboard, hitting me in the arm and soaking my left side. This time Wes looked stunned as I sat there looking at my sweater covered in coffee. “Well, it’s not hot,” I said. He handed me towels and clearly felt badly that I was wearing his drink. I had a t-shirt on under the sweater, so I hopped out of the car again, rung out the sweater and dried it off as best I could with some towels, put it back on, and hopped back into the car. While I smelled of coffee all day, the sweater was dark so it didn’t really matter.

We got through the rest of the doors without much incident, but had trouble finding one particular side street. Finally, we found the tiny narrow street in question; we headed down to the end where we eventually spotted the number of the home on a trashcan outside of a sliding glass door. I got out, knocked on the door, and a young guy, who apparently had just woken up, and was wearing a pair of old boxers and a t-shirt opened the door, saying nothing.

‘Hi, I’m a volunteer with the McCain campaign, and…’

‘No,’ he said and he shut the door and went back to bed.

I got back in the car and said, “Obama.”

As we started to head out of the narrow street I looked back, and Wes said, “Don’t worry, I won’t hit anything… …I saw you watching.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything.”

On the way back to the office he said, “You did a good job.”

“Thanks. You too…”

“Except for the pole.”

“Well that and the coffee, but other than that you did a good job.”

Veteran's Good Humor

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In The Beginning - Curiosity

Excerpt from An Independent Call the amusing story of a New Hampshire McCain supporter.

In the beginning I just thought I’d go see the different candidates at the campaign events in New Hampshire. Four years prior, not long after I moved to New Hampshire from Massachusetts, my sister was volunteering for Senator Kerry’s campaign. She’s a loyal and active Democrat; our parents are Republicans. We talked on the phone after the Iowa caucuses when Howard Dean screamed during his concession speech. She hadn’t heard it called the ‘I have a Scream Speech’ yet, and I said that I felt for him. I figured if I were in politics that would be the sort of thing that would take me out. It wouldn’t be scandal or corruption; I’d simply do something so embarrassing that no one would take me seriously again.

My sister told of a news clip she had just seen of a woman who had met Senator Kerry, then fainted. The video looked like a shot from the Wizard of Oz with Senator Kerry standing over a pair of feet. I was starting to realize that I had missed quite a show by not attending Primary events, so I simply thought this time it would be interesting to see. I certainly had no plans of picking a candidate early, and no interest in joining a campaign. I thought it might give me something to write about on my website, but basically I was just curious.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kudos Jake Tapper

Since much of today's media has such a blatant school-girl crush on President Obama, it is important to not only point out the shmoes who can't resist telling America that President Obama gives them a, 'thrill up their leg;' it is also important to point out those few journalists who are credible. National Review did this in their article Jake Tapper Isn't Letting Go. The article not only points out that ABC's Jake Tapper was virtually the only network journalist willing to write an article critical of then candidate Obama, but also that he is now pretty much the only one willing to ask Press Secretary Gibbs a tough question during White House briefings. For many Tapper was the first to show Robert Gibbs as a sub-par press secretary when Gibbs refused to take Tapper's questions about transparency seriously, as shown in the clip below. National Review did all of us who are fed up with the over-the-top media bias a service by not only highlighting Tapper as a solid competent member of the media, but also by reminding us that one can't just complain about those who do a poor job, and that it may be even more important that we applaud and encourage those who are competent than it is to gripe about those whose bias is so obsurd and obvious.

Recognizing a Professional Journalist - Katherine Morrison

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Obama Owns the Budget and the Economy

With an Obama stimulus package, and an Obama omnibus spending bill already passed, and now the a huge Obama budget working its way through the Congress, Politico notes that President Obama owns this budget, and hence the economy. Fierce fights may follow budget victory.
The House and Senate face a flurry of final budget votes Thursday, with Republicans pushed to the margins and having come forward only in the past 24 hours with a detailed alternative of their own.

But the victory for President Barack Obama could prove hollow, especially in the Senate, and Republicans are betting that the president’s very activism will work against him as he takes ownership of more and more difficult economic issues.

“This is a defining moment, and there is overwhelming empathy with folks who are scared to death about the direction this country is going,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) told POLITICO. “All of a sudden, you have the president taking over General Motors, the president taking over the financial industry and now the health care industry? I think there will be even a larger outcry coming from our constituents at the ballot box next time.”

Some of this nervousness already seemed evident Wednesday night in a Senate fight over how to proceed on Obama’s climate change legislation. On two successive votes, one as large as 67-31, a solid bipartisan coalition blocked efforts by liberal environmental interests wanting to use expedited budget procedures to circumvent Senate filibuster rules on cap-and-trade revenue provisions.

The defeat raises the stakes further for health care reform as the big remaining prize for the White House in the budget debate. And to a remarkable degree, Obama has been willing to blur the lines between himself and fellow Democrats to help move the process forward with this goal in mind.

Obama Owning the Budget and the Economy

Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama Budget Doubles Deficit in 5 Years Triples it in 10

Senator Lindsey Graham talked with bloggers today about President Obama’s budget plan. In short, spending is going way up in all areas except for military and defense spending, which will be cut. For President Obama’s budget to add up he has to take an extremely rosy view of the future. His administration is betting that unemployment will peak this year at a little over eight percent, and they are predicting a substantial economic recovery for next year. His view of the current world situation is also extremely optimistic, as he sees little need for spending on military and defense. Unfortunately, there are logistical problems in taking this perspective since, as Senator Graham put it, “We are flying the wings off our airplanes.” Finally, President Obama has included in his budget a plan for cap and trade that Senator Graham explained is far more costly than the McCain - Lieberman - Warner versions of cap and trade that have been introduced and debated in the past. Senator Graham stated that this is old fashion big government liberalism. He went on to say that in 2007 Senator Obama was ranked the most liberal Senator, and that his policies reflect that, that he simply took a year off from liberalism to run for President.

The problem with all this government spending is three fold. We can’t afford it. The likelihood of massive inflation is extremely high. We are burdening tax payers for generations to come with a huge debt that will almost certainly lead to higher taxes. (The fact China owns a huge amount of our debt is not comforting either.) This isn’t as much about partisanship, or liberalism as it is about bad math. Debts have to be paid, and the numbers are being manipulated to try to pretend that this plan adds up when it does not.

Obama Budget Doubles Deficit in 5 Years Triples it in 10

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Independent Call - Coming Soon

Coming from Broad Side of the Barn - An Independent Call by Katherine Morrison

An Independent Call chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain convert and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pro-Growth is Most Fair Option

Unfortunately, many in America are losing track of the logistics of the economy and are getting caught up in emotion. People are angry about bailouts and white collar crooks running ponzi schemes and are becoming resentful towards big business and the wealthy. Yet we risk losing site of the real goal of turning the economy around when emotion and arguments about fairness start start trumping logic and math. The reason not to raise taxes on the rich, businesses, and capital gains is not because one loves, hates, or feels indifferently about wealthy people. The reason not to raise taxes on those of means is because they are the ones able to create jobs, and invest in the businesses that are so desperately needed right now. The argument that the rich should pay more because that is what is fair ignores the fact that, particularly in a struggling economy, increasing taxes slows growth. Consequently economic recovery slows, and that is fair to no one. In reality when the economy slumps those just getting by pay check to pay check suffer the most. The rich may not be as rich as before, but they're still rich. Those being laid off and struggling to pay their bills are hurt the most in a prolonged recession, and implementing policies that hinder growth is not fair to anyone.

Also, small business owners are being grouped into the 'rich' category in an unfair manner. If a small business owner makes $250,000 a year that becomes a rather average income if he or she has to pay two to three employees salaries with that income. Also if they are trying to grow their business, it is likely a chunk of that income is being put right back into their business. That isn't the life of the highly privileged wealthy class. We'd be well served by taking the emotion and morality judgments out of economic policy, and simply look for policies that are pro-growth.

Larry Kudlow and Donald Luskin voice their frustration about the current policies that are anti-growth. Certainly, not unemotional in their criticism, they point out why a pro-growth strategy is simply the most fair economic strategy for all Americans.

Pro Growth is What is Truly Fair

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Presidet Obama's Address

There’s no denying that President Obama is one of the most eloquent politicians to come along in a long time. That was on display last night in his address to the joint session of Congress. The President put forth ideas that certainly show a shift in direction from the previous administration. It was nice to see energy and the environment move up the ladder of national priorities. The president also did a nice job in using his popularity with young people to tell them that he expects that they not only graduate high school, but further their education beyond high school, and he framed it well in terms of being a responsibility of citizenship.

What didn’t add up about the President’s speech was the math. President Obama laid out a number of ambitious goals one of which was cutting the national deficit in half by the year 2013. However, instituting programs such as national health care, making college accessible to all citizens, and instituting a cap and trade initiative on carbon emission is beyond ambitious when also trying to cut the deficit. With a huge stimulus package that just passed, a large appropriations bill about to come up for debate, and the possibly of more money needed for bailout plans, it seems highly unlikely that the national debt will do anything other than balloon even further. This isn’t just an issue of a theoretical debt that will some day have to be paid by the tax payer. This is a basic math problem that could negatively impact the economy for years to come. Government services take on an added appeal if the price tag is ignored, and a better explanation needs to be given of the cost to taxpayers before these programs are rubber stamped.

President Obama’s Address

Friday, February 20, 2009

Punishing Good Behavior

With the recent unveiling of the Obama administration's housing plan there is a growing concern that the government is promoting policies that reward bad behavior and punish good behavior. The housing plan is the latest policy where the government gives money to those who are in over there head. This is a somewhat more palatable policy than preceding bailouts as it focusses on helping the individual with mortgage problems. However, it is following a string of policies that that basically says 'if you screw up, the government is here to give you money.' Businesses and individuals that pay their bills and taxes on time are subsidizing those who don't. The housing plan isn't completely without merit, but this trend of government bailouts big and small is wearing on many as can be seen in this CNBC clip of Rick Santelli becoming fed up with the government rewards for bad behavior on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange...

Punishing Good Behavior

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How much is $1 Trillion

With the Economic Stimulus approaching the $1 trillion mark, lets look at what $1,000,000,000,000.00 equates to…

$1,597,444 check for all of the 626,000 people that have filed unemployment claims this month.

$227,272 check for all 4.4 million people collecting unemployment benefits.

$333.33 check for every American man, woman, and child.

It would take a worker making $50,000 a year 20 million years to earn $1 trillion.

If ever ticket of every home Red Sox home game at Fenway Park for the 2009 season was sold for $308,642.00 each that would equal $1 trillion.

The GDP of Mexico is just over $1 trillion.

The GDP of India is also just over $1 trillion.

The combine GDP of the following countries is approximately $1 trillion…

Uruguay, Lebanon, Yemen, Uzbekistan, North Korea, Cyprus, Estonia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, Ivory Coast, Panama, El Salvador, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Iceland, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macau, Jordan, Bolivia, Ghana, Brunei, Paraguay, Gabon, Zambia, Uganda, Senegal, Botswana, Honduras, Burma, Albania, Jamaica, Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Nepal, Armenia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Republic of Macedonia, Chad, Mali, Malta, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Namibia, Haiti, Benin, The Bahamas, West Bank and Gaza, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Moldova, Niger, Laos, Jersey, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Aruba, Zimbabwe, Montenegro, Guinea, Malawi, Rwanda, French Polynesia, Fiji, Barbados, Mauritania, New Caledonia, Kosovo, Togo, Suriname, Swaziland, Guam, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Somalia, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Lesotho, Eritrea, Belize, Bhutan, Maldives, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Gibraltar, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Djibouti, Liberia, Burundi, British Virgin Islands, The Gambia, Seychelles, Grenada, Northern Mariana Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Comoros, Samoa, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Dominica, American Samoa, Tonga, Micronesia, Cook Islands, Palau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Marshall Islands, Anguilla, Kiribati, Tuvalu
If you'd like your political representatives to now what $1 trillion equates to, their contact info can be found at...
Senators -
Representatives -

Stimulating Math

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stimulus Money for Beekeeper Insurance

Republican Alternative Stimulus Plan

Republican Senators put together an alternative stimulus package that has a much lower price tag than the current version of the stimulus bill, as the AP reports that the current plan tops $900 billion. The Republican alternative allows home owners to refinance their home mortgages at a low interest rate that will help the home owner and help stabilize home prices in general. This plan also provides more money for infrastructure projects than the current bill and cuts the payroll tax and the corporate tax to encourage economic growth and job creation. Also, it requires spending cuts once the economy has rebounded helping to limit the amount of future government debt. CNN reports not only that their is a this second bill, but moderates are also working on the current bill trimming the excess pork...
Some Republicans want to take it a step farther than their party's leaders. Ten Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain, want more funds -- almost $90 billion -- for infrastructure. They are shopping around a plan with a price tag of just under $500 billion.

"We can either fight the Democrat proposals, which would increase the deficit incredibly and mortgage our children's futures and not beneficially stimulate our economy, which we will do, in many respects. But we have to have a proposal of our own," said McCain, R-Arizona.

That version of the stimulus measure, put together by Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, is broader than the one proposed by GOP leadership, but narrower than the Democratic bill.

The group of Republicans met Tuesday to discuss their plan because they don't believe their leadership's approach, focusing exclusively on the housing crisis and tax cuts, is enough to jump-start the economy.

Another alternative that's getting a lot of attention is a bipartisan plan from Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson and Maine Republican Susan Collins. The two moderate senators are looking at the current economic stimulus package and trying to scrub it of all spending that they say will not stimulate the economy.

One attempt to trim pork from the current bill was successful. An amendment passed sponsored by Tom Coburn that eliminated a $246 million dollar tax break for Hollywood movie companies.

Senator McCain has sponsored a petition protesting the current version of the stimulus bill...

Sign Vote No On The Stimulus Package Petition
Republican Senators Put Together Alternative Stimulus Package

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

No Wasteful Stimuls Package

Senator McCain sent an email to supporters explaining his opposition to the current emergency economic stimulus package stating that...

Yesterday, the Senate began debate on an economic stimulus package that is intended to get our economy back on track and help Americans who are suffering through these difficult times. Unfortunately, the proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans. I cannot and do not support the package on the table from the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt. We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy.

He further explains the myriad of problems with this bloated stimulus package and asks for people to sign a petition to voice their disapproval of this bill.

Sign Vote No On The Stimulus Package Petition

John McCain Sponsors Petition Protesting Bloated Stimulus Plan

Friday, January 30, 2009

Americans Will Pay the Bill for Overloaded Stimulus Package

Rasmusen reports that support for the Emergency Stimulus plan is slipping. This is not surprising since the stimulus has been packed with pork, which by anyone's definition seriously stretches the meaning of emergency. Regular Americans know better than many politicians the basic fact that bills have to be paid, and this proposal leaves Americans holding the tab for a pile of pork. President Obama and House Republicans have shown some willingness to compromise, but the House bill that passed yesterday had not one Republican vote for it and 11 Democrats also oppose it for good reason. Just take a look at a few of the items in this bill that have been stuffed into this bill...

• $20 million “for the removal of small- to medium-sized fish passage barriers.”
• $400 million for STD prevention
• $25 million to rehabilitate off-roading (ATV) trails
• $34 million to remodel the Department of Commerce HQ
• $70 million to “Support Supercomputing Activities” for climate research
• $150 million for honey bee insurance

Cited from Earmarks In House Bill
Americans Will Pay the Bill for Overloaded Stimulus Package

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Talks to Take Place Israel and Hamas

Excerpt from Israel, Hamas, Palestinian Authority to Meet for Talks
Egypt's United Nation's envoy says Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority will meet Thursday for talks.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was at U.N. headquarters for the council's emergency session on Gaza, said she had talked with both the Israelis and Arab envoys about the importance of moving forward a cease-fire proposed Tuesday by Egypt and France.

"We are very much applauding the efforts of a number of states, particularly the effort that President (Hosni) Mubarak has undertaken on behalf of Egypt," Rice said. "We're supporting that initiative."

Israel hammered Gaza City with gunfire and air strikes Wednesday minutes after a three-hour cease-fire ended, and its security cabinet voted to push ahead with the ground offensive against Hamas, the Times of London reported.

Israel agreed to principles of the Gaza cease-fire proposal, but has yet to iron out key details about how it would be implemented, senior Israeli officials told Reuters.

The proposal calls for an end to fighting as well as a drive to prevent Hamas militants from rearming, Israel's key condition, Reuters reported

"There is agreement on the principles but translating those principles into practical action is a challenge that is still ahead of us," a senior Israeli official said.