September 9, 2006

See ‘em While You Can (‘Path to 9/11′ Segments)

RedState and the Traditional Values Coalition have what they are saying is the original cut of the portions of “The Path to 9/11″ that those who want to prevent its airing are objecting to:

RedState (HT Hot Air)

Traditional Values Coalition (site may be overloaded or down)

It’s broken up into six segments of maybe 3-4 minutes each. Red State also has synopses of each clip here.

As I said in a previous post, the shocker is that Bill Clinton, who is the person who actually failed to approve multiple attempts to kill Osama Bin Laden when he was in our sights, is off the hook in the film, and Sandy Berger is the fall guy. “Quit while you’re ahead” would have been advised.

UPDATE, Sept. 10: WaPo critic Tom Shales joins the unhinged. Here is the e-mail I sent to him in response to his review:

What you overlooked is that the film depicts Clinton Admin folks declining to take out Bin Laden when they had the chance, when in truth Mr. Clinton himself was the one who failed to do so on something like eight occasions. This is according to someone who was there, Buzz Patterson, who wrote the book “Dereliction of Duty.” To my knowledge, no one has ever come forward and claimed Patterson’s book is incorrect.

My point is that Mr. Clinton should be thanking his lucky stars he’s not personally named in “The Path to 9/11,” as he should have been.

Your blaming Ken Starr for distracting Bill Clinton for what Bill Clinton did, which included lying under oath, is very telling. And your characterization of Disney, and by inference ABC, as “conservative” is an absolute howler.

Until now, I never thought you were among the unhinged. Was I ever wrong.

E-mails Never Forget, Mr. Lamont

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:42 pm

This surely should be one of the 10 Commandments of PoliticsBefore you criticize your opponent (link requires registration) for a speech he made eight years ago, make sure you didn’t send him an e-mail at the time shortly thereafter lauding him for his “eloquence and ‘moral authority’”:

Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont, who recently denounced U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman for his public scolding of President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, lauded the senator at the time for his eloquence and “moral authority.”

Lieberman’s Senate office this week released copies of a letter that Lamont sent by e-mail to the senator shortly after Lieberman took to the Senate floor to chide Clinton in September 1998.

“I supported your statement because Clinton’s behavior was outrageous: a Democrat had to stand up and state as much, and I hoped that your statement was the beginning of the end,” Lamont wrote.

Lieberman’s rebuke made him the first prominent Democratic lawmaker to openly criticize Clinton’s conduct with the former White House intern. The boost to his national profile also helped him secure the party’s 2000 nomination for vice president.

Ouch. The spin attempt by Lamont in the Globe article is pitiful. It’s a truly “Lamentable” development.

Is that sound I hear the wheels falling off of someone’s campaign?

______________________________

UPDATEThe New York Times has a follow-up piece where it posts a copy of the e-mail and a couple of other tidbits, including that Ned forgot that Joe wrote him back:

A campaign aide to Mr. Lieberman alerted a reporter to the e-mail late Friday, after an article about Mr. Lamont’s recent comments appeared in The New York Times. Mr. Lieberman’s Senate office then faxed a copy of the message.

Casey Aden-Wansbury, a spokesman for Mr. Lieberman, said that after Mr. Lamont announced his candidacy, the senator recalled corresponding with him, and the staff culled old files. She said the 1998 missive was the only correspondence found from Mr. Lamont.

Mr. Lieberman’s campaign aides pointed out Friday night that Mr. Lamont contributed $500 to his campaign shortly after the speech, in 1999, and did not donate to Mr. Clinton’s legal defense fund.

….. Back in 1998, he wrote to thank Mr. Lamont, saying his “kind comments and words of support mean a great deal to me.”

“This was the most difficult statement I have had to make in my 10 years as a senator,” Mr. Lieberman wrote, adding a handwritten “Thanks, Ned” at the bottom. “So it is very reassuring that you feel I made the right decision in speaking out.”

UPDATE 2 — Other reax: Just One Minute, Bullwinkle Blog, RedState, Politburo Diktat, Political Wire, and California Yankee.

UPDATE 3 — Here’s the ultimate hypocrisy of all of this: After Bill Clinton was impeached but escaped Senate conviction, Lieberman’s Senate floor speech was credited with having saved Bill Clinton’s presidency (scroll down about 60% at link), and was a major factor leading to his selection as Al Gore’s VP in 2000:

GWEN IFILL (public radio reporter): Al From, obviously Joe Lieberman is known best for the speech he gave on the Senate floor, putting great distance between himself and a lot of Democrats and the behavior of Bill Clinton during the impeachment saga. Do you think that he’s nice, as Congressman Gejdenson has been saying?

AL FROM (Democratic Leadership Council): I think Joe Lieberman is a wonderful man, he’s a man who lives his values. And what he did is he criticized President Clinton when President Clinton was wrong. But he also stood with President Clinton when the Republican Congress went overboard and tried to impeach him when they were wrong. So he is a man of independence and integrity.

UPDATE 4 — More reax: Wizbang, Moderate Voice, Blue Crab Boulevard, Dan Riehl, and NewsBusters (where the Lamont blog is reportedly, and apparently bogusly, whining about Lieberman violating a privacy policy — zheesh).

UPDATE 5 — The Lamont team channels Bob McEwen. This is the Lamont campaign’s reaction (from the Times follow-up; bold is mine):

His [Lamont’s] campaign manager, Tom Swan, did not address the content of the e-mail message, but said: “It is clear that Senator Lieberman would prefer to try to cloud Ned’s statements from eight years ago, instead of talking about the important issues of national security, the war in Iraq, and health care. It is shocking to see his Senate staff, at taxpayer expense, is spending their time trying to make up dirt on Ned Lamont.”

The Lamont team’s “response” echoes this pitiful reaction to embarrassing disclosures in “Homeless Bob” McEwen’s recent losing local congressional campaign. That is not the best playbook to be working from.

UPDATE 6: Conservative Culture Suddenly Sunday Trackbacker.

The Path to 9-11 — Clinton Admits to Some Distraction in His Own Book!

ItemNew York Post, Sept. 7, 2006:

Clinton pointedly refuted several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.

Item — Philosophical sympathizer Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in her June 2004 column evaluating the Clinton presidency:

And then there is the matter of Osama bin Laden and his network of jihadists, al-Qaida. In his autobiography, “My Life,” Clinton writes of a difficult period in 1998 when he was trying to salvage his marriage while also confronting al-Qaida attacks on U.S. embassies. On vacation with Hillary, he said, “I spent the first couple of days alternating between begging forgiveness and planning the strikes on al-Qaida.”

That about says it all, doesn’t it? Even Clinton, with his legendary ability to “compartmentalize,” couldn’t possibly have concentrated fully on the threat. He was not only distracted, but he was also boxed in by the scandal. Any attempt to deal more harshly with bin Laden would have been derided by political foes accusing him of trying to divert the public’s attention.

In “My Life,” Clinton owns up to his sins, admitting that “what I had done with Monica Lewinsky was immoral and foolish.” But he also spends a vast treasury of words to prove that a cabal of ultraconservatives was determined to wreck his presidency. He’s right. They were.

But they weren’t elected president. He was.

The fact that he WAS distracted would appear to be an historical fact, and in the autobiographer’s own words. The only question appears to be the degree of the distraction.

So what exactly is ABC getting wrong in “The Path to 9/11″?

___________________________________________

UPDATE: If we can believe this article, “The Path to 9/11″ WILL air.

UPDATE 2: MacsMind makes a huge point — It’s a wonder that the Clinton camp is complaining so much about the specifics of “Path” scenes, given that they had such bad memories when placed under oath (HT e-mailer Larwyn). Specifically, here are the number of times that Clinton figures who testified in court or before Congress said that they didn’t remember, didn’t know, or something similar: Bill Kennedy, 116; Harold Ickes, 148; Ricki Seidman, 160; Bruce Lindsey, 161; Bill Burton, 191; Mark Gearan, 221; Mack McLarty, 233; Neil Egglseston, 250; Hillary Clinton, 250; John Podesta, 264; Jennifer O’Connor, 343; Dwight Holton, 348; Patsy Thomasson, 420; Jeff Eller, 697. Yes, it is truly amazing how clear and concise they are on history now. Do they really want to re-fight the 1990s against the center-right blogs?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Fun with Tom, Rex, and the Housing Market: Delayed Response Notice II

Given the relative importance of everything else that is happening and other personal matters, my response to the comment carried into this post will just have to wait until Tuesday.

Ratcheted Up

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:26 pm

Clinton Lawyers Demand ABC Yank Film (HT Drudge).

Short of going to court, this is as heavy-handed as it gets.

I would like to think that this commenter sentiment at the link is shared by many, but I fear not:

This is a shameful episode for the Democratic party, I’m ashamed of the ex-president I voted for twice, I’m ashamed of goons like my Senator Dick Durbin (last seen comparing American soldiers to Nazis– guess who’s reminding me of 1933 now, Dick), and I’m ashamed of this site and all the others on the left side of the blogosphere who take it for granted that harassing and threatening ABC over this is perfectly reasonable behavior and not, in fact, an ugly betrayal of everything they should believe in.

Registered Democrat ShrinkWrapped has more commentary, plus the contents of a letter he received from Tom McMahon, Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee.

The Corporate Social Responsibility Appeasers Are Probably Long-Term Market Underperformers

Filed under: Business Moves,Corporate Outrage,Economy,Environment — Tom @ 1:13 pm

Nick Nichols at Townhall.com has a must-read column for investors who think that the companies they have put their hard-earned money into are all looking to do what they’re supposed to do — maximize shareholder value:

(I learned from WorldChanging.com that) 34 companies listed on the S&P 100 (have) issued Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports based on a third-party standard – the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

As an investor and a long-time critic of corporate socialism, my curiosity was piqued. Surely, 34 blue-chip companies would not embrace these so-called Sustainability Reporting Guidelines without first determining with whom they were getting in bed. Was this Global Reporting Initiative a counter-balance to the whacky, anti-free enterprise dogma preached by the kill-kapitalism crowd that launched the CSR movement in the first place? Was industry finally getting its act together? I fired up my turbo-charged laptop to find the truth.

Truth be told, the 34 companies that have adopted the reporting guidelines advanced by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are either blissfully ignorant or they have joined the ranks of corporate appeasers and capitulators in the Neville Chamberlain Club.

It turns out that GRI is run by Ernst Ligteringen, a former Executive Director of Oxfam International and a past consultant to the International Labor Organization. The U.S. representatives on GRI’s board are Sean Harrigan, who previously served as an official with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and Joan Bavaria, who has served as President and CEO of the Trillium Asset Management Corporation, a social investment firm. For the record, Ms. Bavaria also sits on the boards of Earthjustice and the Earth Day Network. She is on the advisory boards of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Greening of Industry Network.

Of particular note is that Ms. Bavaria is also the Founding Chair of CERES, a national network of investment funds, environmental organizations and other activist groups. Why is this noteworthy? Well, according to its website, GRI started as a project of CERES. So, who runs CERES? Does its governing board include representatives from the blue chippers of the S&P 100? No. Not one. Zero. Zip. Nada. The CERES board is a who’s who of the anti-free enterprise lobby, including the executive director of Friends of the Earth, and officials from the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, World Wildlife Fund, AFL-CIO, AFSCME and, yes, the Screen Actors Guild.

As an investor, it’s important to know that the Social Investment Research Analyst Network (SIRAN) has provided a useful service by profiling the S&P 100 companies in their performance against seven “corporate social responsibility” benchmarks (example here).

You can simply look at this page, scroll down a bit, and count the number of orange circles by each company’s name. The larger the number of orange circles, the more “socially responsible” SIRAN believes the company is. If you believe as I do, and as Nichols does, that companies wasting time, energy, and resources trying to please SIRAN are more likely to underperform the market, you’ll have a good idea of which stocks to consider avoiding.

Weekend Question 1: Whatever Happened to That Country Club That Was Targeted for Eminent Domain?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 10:07 am

Answer: It avoided it, but there’s a lesson in it.

If you didn’t hear about this last year you’ll be shocked that anyone even thought of it. But it could have happened, especially if those defending themselves hadn’t had deep pockets. Even then, the club was lucky that one person lived in the town that wanted to carry out the taking:

But with Deepdale (Golf Club), eminent domain moved from heartbreak to absurdity, as the local mayor kicked around the idea of seizing a plush private golf course and making it “public.”

Deepdale is located in the tony village of North Hills, New York, along a strip of Long Island’s North Shore known as the Gold Coast. Founded in 1924 by William K. Vanderbilt II, its most famous members have included Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, as well as New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg and a bevy of celebrities. The club boasts around 200 current members–by invitation only–and gauges the value of its 175-acre property at over $100 million.

….. The story of how Deepdale fell into the crosshairs of eminent domain traces back several years, to the tenure of former North Hills mayor John Lentini, a Republican, who served for over a decade. Shortly before his death in 2002, Lentini gave an interview to New York Newsday and gushed over a survey that had listed North Hills as the eighth wealthiest community in the United States. “This is a great community, full of warm people, most of whom are professionals,” Lentini said, calling his village “a success story unrivaled in New York State.”

Then he divulged his curious strategy for making North Hills even more attractive. “We believe our acquisition of the Deepdale Country Club will be the crown jewel of our municipality and bring us to a new level of North Shore Gold Coast affluence, perhaps bringing us to number one.” Deepdale members were alarmed by the comment. Such chatter continued under Lentini’s successor, Republican Marvin Natiss. But until recently the talk was just that–talk.

THAT ALL CHANGED in November 2005, when Deepdale received a letter from village attorney A. Thomas Levin. The letter made plain that North Hills was eager to acquire Deepdale via eminent domain. “In order for the Village to obtain information which would assist it in determining the appropriate way to proceed with such an acquisition, and to permit the Village to formulate an appropriate offer as required by the Eminent Domain Procedures Act,” wrote Levin, “the Village requests permission for its appraiser to visit and inspect the property.”

….. Deepdale members swung into motion, hiring a bigwig Manhattan PR consultant. They also tapped John Wilson, the one Deepdale member who lives in North Hills, as their plaintiff in lawsuits filed against the village. Wilson worked closely with attorneys from the powerhouse firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. At least one Wachtell partner, Edward Herlihy, was also a Deepdale member, and he took to the Wall Street Journal to denounce the proposed seizure as “reckless” and “illegal.”

….. The eminent domain clamor spurred Michael Balboni, a Republican state senator from Long Island, to push legislation shielding the club. Balboni, whose district includes North Hills, says he first heard of the Deepdale spat last winter. Mayor Bloomberg in particular expressed his disgust. As Balboni tells it, Bloomberg privately said to him, “This is government-facilitated extortion.”

….. Balboni teamed up with Democratic state assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli on an especially crafty bill to defuse the controversy. “If you read the bill, you have no idea it applies to Deepdale or North Hills,” says Balboni.

Instead, DiNapoli came up with an environmental angle. His legislation barred municipalities from using public funds to acquire land “located within a special groundwater protection area” that was “being used as a recreational facility or open space”–unless the land was already for sale. Deepdale fit both categories. And it was most assuredly not for sale. The measure passed overwhelmingly in both the state Senate and the Assembly this past June.

….. A few weeks ago New York governor George Pataki signed the Deepdale bill, formally ending the episode that had thrust North Hills into the national spotlight. It is worth noting that, while New York lawmakers scurried to defend the rights of wealthy golfers, they have yet to pass comprehensive eminent domain reform to curtail the unjust seizure of private homes and businesses. Maybe now they will.

Club members learned an important lesson:

While club members were able to wage a victorious counteroffensive, most eminent domain victims do not enjoy their resources or political influence. John Wilson, for one, has a newfound empathy for such victims. “It really gave me a better idea of what these people are going through,” he says. “It was surreal.”

For those without unlimited funds, empathy isn’t enough. Ironclad legislation would be, especially at the federal level. Even better would be another case going to the Supreme Court so that the Kelo ruling that started the madness can be overturned.

Positivity: 14 Year-Old Saves Attack Victim’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:12 am

In Yorkshire, England, the person he rescued called 14 year-old Peter Townsend “one in a million“:

02 September 2006

A TEENAGER saved a man’s life after finding him unconscious and bleeding on the pavement.

Peter Townsend, 14, was cycling home when he saw Mick Lawson, 47, lying on the ground with life-threatening injuries after being attacked.

He went to the rescue and put his first aid skills to use by tilting Mr Lawson’s head back and putting him in the recovery position.

Peter, of Ossett, near Wakefield, said: “I was cycling my cousin home when I saw Mick on the floor so I threw my bike down and went to help him. I didn’t think about what I was doing, I just did what I needed to.

“I saw blood coming from his face and from one of his ears so, after checking him over, I tilted his head back so he could breathe and put him into the recovery position.”

Paramedics later said Peter’s actions saved Mr Lawson’s life.

The victim’s partner, Dawn Atkinson, was so shaken she could not even speak to the emergency services and so Peter showed her what to do if anything happened before flagging down a passing car for help.

Peter said: “The paramedics said whoever put him in the recovery position saved his life. I didn’t think about it at the time but afterwards I thought, ‘gosh, I can’t believe I’ve just saved somebody’s life’.”

He picked up his first aid knowledge while on a course organised through a karate club which he attends each week.
He said: “Before you go for a black belt you have to do a first aid course so if anything ever happened, like somebody being injured, you would instinctively know what to do.”

Peter’s chief instructor at the karate club, Ann Walker, 56, said: “I am so proud of Peter – to do what he did and then instruct other people what to do while he was getting help is quite simply amazing.”

Mr Lawson, now on the road to recovery, said: “I am so grateful to Peter; I owe my life to him.

“He’s one in a million. There are not many people who would stop and help someone in the street like he did. I just cannot thank him enough.”