October 9, 2007

Huckabee’s Finish: Answers Are Owed (See Updates Below)

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:50 pm

I received a prolife-related e-mail today telling me that “It’s Huckabee or Hillary,” supported by a copy of an identically-named WorldNetDaily column by Janet Folger of Faith2Action. Folger is also, according to my e-mailer, a former Ohio Right to Life Legislative Director.

If I’m going to take this former Arkansas governor seriously as a presidential candidate, he has some explaining to do about how he left office last year. The only reason this story didn’t get the attention it should have was because Huckabee was not yet a declared candidate for the nation’s highest office. Now he is, and if he doesn’t come clean about it and explain himself now, he’ll get shredded over it if he’s the GOP nominee next summer.

Here’s the story about what appears from here to be one of the more cynical manipulations ever contrived to collect ill-gotten favors and to get around public laws designed to limit gifts collected by politicians. While surely not as tawdry as certain similar Clintonian machinations (examples here and here), it’s way too close for comfort (bold is mine):

Monday, November 13, 2006 12:13 PM CST

Huckabees Registered For Gifts

LITTLE ROCK — “Wedding” registries in the names of Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife, Janet, have been set up at two department store chains in advance of the Huckabees’ move out of the Governor’s Mansion into a private home.

The term-limited governor leaves office in January, and friends of Janet Huckabee created the registries at Dillard’s and Target stores to help facilitate their transition to private life, Huckabee spokeswoman Alice Stewart said Friday.

The Huckabees purchased a 7,000-square-foot home in North Little Rock this year.

“Some ladies who are friends of Janet’s are giving her a housewarming party,” Stewart said.

Arkansas law prohibits public servants from accepting any gift worth more than $100, unless the gift is conferred “on account of a bona fide personal, professional or business relationship” independent of the recipient’s official status.

“Items costing more than $100 which are given to public servants to show appreciation for their efforts (i.e., to reward them for doing their job) or to reward them for past or future action are prohibited under this rule,” the law states.

Gifts from relatives are not prohibited, nor are wedding or engagement gifts.

The Huckabees married in 1974. They entered into a covenant marriage in February 2005.

State law also requires public servants to report all gifts they receive of $100 value or more on their annual Statement of Financial Interest.

Stewart declined to say if Huckabee was sure that accepting pricey gifts as a result of the registries would be legal or whether he plans to report any valuable gifts they receive.

The Dillard’s registry on the department store’s Web site states, “Welcome to the wedding registry of: Janet and Michael Huckabee.” The registry lists the “event date” as Nov. 14.

….. He’s using the trappings of the governor’s office to get everything he can, and the sad part of it is, I honestly believe he does not see anything wrong with this,” said (Arthur) Kerns, a retired lawyer for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “It’s like ‘ethics’ is a foreign word to him.”

As I wrote at the time, “I suppose we should be grateful the couple didn’t register at Nieman Marcus.”

Hey, I’m really happy that the Huckabees have made the spiritual commitment inherent in a covenant marriage. But I don’t understand how you justify having a “wedding” registry that just happens to take effect after Mr. Huckabee leaves office — a “mere” 21 months later after the blessed event.

We don’t need politicians who explore every conceivable loophole available in the law (and sometimes not) for personal financial gain. We had eight years of that with the Clintons, and I’m not going to feel any better about going back to that just because the Oval Office’s occupant has an “R” by his name. That’s exactly what appears to have been on display in November 2006 with the Huckabees. If I’m missing something, I’d like to know what it is.

Cross-posted at Wide Open.

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UPDATE: From the excerpted story — If this isn’t a perfect eponymous name, I don’t know what is –

Kevin Crass, a Little Rock lawyer who represented Huckabee in a number of legal disputes with the Ethics Commission, did not immediately return a message left at his office Friday.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to commenter Joe for this link, which has an attempted Huckabee explanation –

Gov. Mike Huckabee on Tuesday angrily defended a gift registry that was set up to help furnish his new home, and said the registry was put together by his wife’s friends for a housewarming party.

“My wife has friends; she has lifelong friends. They wanted to do something for her,” the Arkansas Republican told reporters after speaking at an event in downtown Little Rock. “It has nothing to do with who she is, other than she’s their friend.”

….. Huckabee said the registries at the Target and Dillard’s Web sites were set up as wedding registries because there was no separate category for housewarming parties.

My preliminary take is that this explanation isn’t complete enough.

I called a Cincinnati-area Target store and did indeed confirm that there is no separate category for housewarming. The two fixed categories available are for weddings and babies.

But …. I called the North Little Rock Target Store, and the person there in Guest Services told me that if a person wants to set up their own free-form category (such as, say, “Huckabee’s Housewarming”), they can do so, and that they would have had the ability to do so late last year.

Perhaps Ms. Huckabee’s friends were unaware of that ability, as I was told that it is rarely used. But given, as noted above regarding political gifts, that “Gifts from relatives are not prohibited, nor are wedding or engagement gifts,” that seems a little too convenient. As far as I’m concerned, the jury’s still out.

Old Media Impact on Indies Has Diminished

Filed under: Taxes & Government,Wide Open — Tom @ 6:17 am

The area boxed in red below from a Gallup report ought to give pause to leftist politicians who think that traditional Media water-carrying on their behalf will have the same impact it did in 2006:

NewsMediaTrustIndies1007

The old saw is that elections are won by persuading independent voters to come over to your candidate. Only 41% of independents have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust and confidence in the (traditional Old) News Media. That’s down a bunch from 49% a year ago.

That means leftists are going to have to get more of the indie vote the old-fashioned way: They’ll have to get their message out on their own, something moderates and conservatives have had to do, despite Old Media barriers, for generations.

Cross-posted at Wide Open.

SOBer Thoughts (100907)

Filed under: Business Moves,Education,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:02 am

Northwest Territory caught liberal Jonathan Turley’s acknowledgment that gun ownership under the Second Amendment is an individual right — and caught an interesting truncation of the linked article’s URL.

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This Boring Made Dull post, in a nutshell — Professional status does not imply the absence of evil, as some would like us to believe.

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Lead Us Forward has the 2008 primary calendar under control:

- 1/3 – Iowa
- 1/5 – Wyoming
- 1/8 – New Hampshire
- 1/12 – Nevada
- 1/15 – Michigan
- 1/19 – South Carolina
- 1/29 – Florida

That is, until some other state gets a me-first itch.

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Large Bill show that the group rate isn’t always the best rate. Unfortunately, some of the best examples of that sentence’s truth can be found at the AARP.

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Dan Keeler comments on how the City of Cleveland is trying to shake down a suburb for income-tax revenue rather than working on making the city a more hospitable and livable place.

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Conservative Culture“Texas Mayors Are Hindering The Border Fence.”

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Brain Shavings has the unsavory news from the Folsom Street Fair, and a follow-up. It seems the press is interested in supporting the gay community, but not in chronicling what mainstream members of that community do in broad daylight at a public event.

If those referred to in this Interested-Participant post (10/6 at 7:35 PM in case the link doesn’t go directly there) had done at the FSF what they were arrested for doing in public in Tennessee, they would have been celebrated instead of cuffed.

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Right Angle notes an ad by Bill Todd, who is running for Columbus mayor, expressing alarm at that city’s murder rate, which is higher than New York City’s and LA’s. That was true even in 2005. The sad thing is, Columbus’s rate, while still somewhat lower than Cincy’s and Cleveland’s, used to be a lot lower. The city is less safe than it used to be, it’s getting worse, and it’s legitimate to ask Mayor Coleman why.

Positivity: Lorry-crash driver saved by policeman’s quick action

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Northampton, UK:

Published Date: 01 October 2007

A grandfather who was nearly killed in a road accident has been reunited with the policeman whose quick thinking saved his life.

Tony Dickens, 67, suffered severe head injuries and stopped breathing after his car collided with a parked lorry on the A45 in Northampton.

He says he owes his life to traffic officer Andy Griffiths, who rushed to the scene of the smash and used a breath testing tube to open Mr Dickens’ airway.

Mr Dickens, of Homestead Rise in Wootton, said: “I can’t recall much about the accident, but from what I can make out, if Pc Griffiths hadn’t have come when he did, I shouldn’t be here today.

“My injuries were so bad I was only given a five per cent chance of surviving after the crash, but I’ve lived to tell the tale and I’ve got him to thank for that.

“What he’s done is brilliant and he’s a real nice chap, the sort of person you dream about meeting.”

Mr Dickens, a lorry driver, was returning from his allotment in Collingtree when his Land Rover ploughed into the back of the foreign-owned truck, which had been inappropriately parked on the A45, close to the Wootton bridge in Northampton.

Pc Griffiths, who is a police driving instructor based at Mereway in Northampton, was first at the scene and discovered Mr Dickens inside the mangled wreckage of his vehicle.

He said: “I wouldn’t have believed there could be anybody alive in that Land Rover.

“The entire front end of the vehicle was underneath the lorry, right up to the cockpit, and it’s fair to say the fellow inside was virtually dead.”
Pc Griffiths fought his way

into the driver’s cabin of the Land Rover, hauling its load of dozens of logs out of the way, and eventually became trapped himself.

Realising Mr Dickens was not breathing, he improvised a breathing tube from his breath testing kit and forced it into the driver’s mouth to keep him alive until paramedics arrived.

The pair were reunited at Friday’s Pride in Northamptonshire award ceremony at Wicksteed Park, Kettering, when Pc Griffiths was runner-up in the Courage Award for Outstanding Bravery, after being nominated by Mr Dickens and his family.

But the policeman, who lives with his wife in Cambridgeshire, said he was no hero and paid tribute to the courage of the man whose life he saved.

Pc Griffiths said: “The only hero is that old boy, who did everything he could to cling on to life.

“If it had happened to me, I don’t think I’d have survived. He’s got real strength of mind.”