December 31, 2007

AP Writer Falsely Casts Voter ID Laws As a ‘Mainly’ Partisan Issue

The Associated Press’s Mark Sherman, as noted by Jim Taranto at Best of the Web, “reports on a pending Supreme Court case in a way that seems to give both sides their due, but in substance does not.”

Here are the first three paragraphs of Sherman’s report (bolds are mine):

The dispute over Indiana’s voter ID law that is headed to the Supreme Court in January is as much a partisan political drama as a legal tussle.

On one side are mainly Republican backers of the law, including the Bush administration, who say state-produced photo identification is a prudent measure intended to cut down on vote fraud. Yet there have been no Indiana prosecutions of in-person voter fraud — the kind the law is supposed to prevent.

On the other side are mainly Democratic opponents who call voter ID a modern-day poll tax that will disproportionately affect poor, minority and elderly voters — who tend to back Democrats. Yet, a federal judge found that opponents of the law were unable to produce evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who had been barred from voting because of the law.

Taranto’s complaint is fine, as far as it goes, in that Sherman cleverly limits his comparison to Indiana law, when he (Sherman) probably knows full well that:

  • Opponents of voter ID laws are, as far as I know, unable to produce evidence of a single, individual Indiana or non-Indiana US resident who has been barred from voting because of the law.
  • Proponents of such laws are able to find plenty of example of “in-person” voter-registration and vote-casting fraud in states other than Indiana. A simple Google search on “ACORN vote fraud” (without the quotes) confirms that. Several related posts are here, here, and here.

The further quarrel I have is with Sherman’s characterization of voter-ID backers as “mainly Republican.” This totally ignores the fact that a bipartisan commission headed by Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican James Baker III came out in favor of Voter ID verification in their September 2005 report (2-page PDF here).

In fact, in May of 2006, as the debate over immigration reform and its possible effects on the voting process heated up, John Fund noted that “the biggest surprise was that 18 of 21 commissioners backed a requirement that voters show some form of photo identification.”

“Mainly,” schmainly, Mr. Sherman.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

WSJ’s Illegal Immigration Naivete Continues, with a Small Concession

A subscription-only editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Monday propagated a carefully-worded whopper, but at least made a small change to the paper’s insufferable 23-year “There Shall Be Open Borders” mantra (bolds are mine):

A recent paper by the Immigration Policy Center, an advocacy group, notes that “Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years repeatedly and consistently have found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native born.” Today, immigrants on balance are five times less likely to be in prison than someone born here.

None of this is to argue that illegal immigration doesn’t have costs, especially in border communities and states with large public benefits. In the post-9/11 environment, knowing who’s in the country is more important than ever. That’s an argument for better regulating cross-border labor flows, not ending them.

The Immigration Policy Center’s use of 100 years averages things out quite a bit, doesn’t it?

Looking at more recent data might be a little more helpful — like the two items that follow, documented last year at this post.

First, Government Accountability Office (GAO) report number GAO-05-337R (‘Information on Criminal Aliens Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons and Local Jails,’ issued May 9, 2005) informed us that:

At the federal level, the number of criminal aliens incarcerated increased from about 42,000 at the end of calendar year 2001 to about 49,000 at the end of calendar year 2004–a 15 percent increase. The percentage of all federal prisoners who are criminal aliens has remained the same over the last 3 years–about 27 percent.

If the current estimate of 12 million illegals in the US is accurate, that would mean that illegals are over nine times MORE likely to be in federal prison:

  • 49,000 divided by 12 million is 0.41%.
  • 133,000 citizen prisoners [the other 73%] divided by the US population of about 300 million is .044%.
  • .41% divided by .044% is 9.21. That’s more likely to be behind bars — not less, as the Immigration Policy Center claims.

A second GAO report, number GAO-05-64R (‘Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States,’ also released on May 9, 2005), studied the criminal records of over 55,000 incarcerated illegal immigrants, and found the following (bold is mine):

….. they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990. They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses. About 45 percent of all offenses were drug or immigration offenses. About 15 percent were property-related offenses such as burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and property damage. About 12 percent were for violent offenses such as murder, robbery, assault, and sex-related crimes. The balance was for such other offenses as traffic violations, including driving under the influence; fraud–including forgery and counterfeiting; weapons violations; and obstruction of justice.

Here’s a question for the WSJ — How much criminal activity does it take before you’ll be convinced that there indeed is a culture of criminality and violence in the illegal-immigrant population, and that it permeates a disproportionate percentage of its population?

As to the “concession,” I may have missed it previously, but it’s the first time I’ve seen the Journal acknowledge that its July 3, 1984 “There Shall Be Open Borders” editorial (reproduced at link for fair use and discussion purposes) was even slightly imperfect. Now I guess it’s “There Shall Be Regulated Labor-Flow Borders.”

It’s a start.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: California man meets rescuer who saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:55 am

From Carson City, Nevada:

December 22, 2007

A California man who had no pulse and was not breathing after he collapsed at the wheel of his truck earlier this month in Carson City has met the rescuer credited with saving his life.

Brian Cerny, 42, of South Lake Tahoe, who crashed into parked cars outside Gottschalk’s after suffering the heart attack, greeted Tom Crawford on Friday in his room at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.

Crawford, the Carson City sheriff’s volunteer reserve commander, revived the carpenter by administering CPR at the scene. Cerny then was rushed to the hospital, where he was in a coma for two days.

Cerny, accompanied by family members, threw a hand to his face and welled with tears when he was informed that he was technically dead at first.

“This is too much to take,” Cerny said.

Crawford said it helped that he was able to arrive at the scene within 15 seconds of a radio dispatch. He quickly knelt next to Cerny and began chest compressions. It was the first time he had performed CPR on a person.

“Everything worked perfectly for this guy,” Crawford told the Nevada Appeal. “We were Johnny on the spot, that’s pretty critical. Once you start compressions you get blood flow back to the brain.

“It was a collective effort. Certainly, the sheriff’s office can’t take credit for saving this guy’s life totally. We were able to assist, so that gave the fire department one extra person to assist while they were doing other things,” he added.  …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (123007)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:43 am

AJStrata, in an update at the top of the post, chronicles what he believes is “a checkmate move by the Iraqi Awakening leaders in one of the last areas infested with Bin Laden’s butchers.” Please let it be so.

________________________________________

I guess Drudge considers this statement controversial, as it’s what he used to directly link to Fred Thompson’sMessage to Iowa Voters” video:

TERRORIST(s) WON’T REST UNTIL MUSHROOM CLOUD OVER U.S. CITY…

Uh, yeah Matt.

____________________________________

Joe Wilcox at eWeek’s Microsoft Watch thinks that Google’s successful acquisition of DoubleClick marks the beginning of a Google monopoly. As long as Google has meaningful competition, he’s hyperventilating a bit, but he makes some very good points:

….. Google is positioned to fulfill the decade-old predictions made about Microsoft but as a more dangerous and consumer harming monopoly. Google’s monopoly would be over information, and there is just too much opportunity for abuse. DoubleClick significantly cranks up the potential volume of abuse.

Already, Google is considered a search powerhouse, but is its dominance understated by analyst data? For example, Google provides search capabilities for AOL, among other Web properties. But analyst firms like ComScore and Nielsen Online separately tabulate Google and AOL search data. AOL pushes Google share to about 60 percent—and that’s ignoring the search providers’ service role to other top Web properties.

Why should anyone care about the Google monopoly? Here are my reasons:
- Google is already an information gatekeeper…..
- There is inherent conflict of interest between Google information gathering and selling stuff around the information…..
- Google has already demonstrated questionable ethics…..
- Google’s business model leaches off the good work of others…..
- Google has no respect for intellectual property rights…..

Read the whole thing. For the dangers of having one company dominate a market segment, see “Microsoft Vista.” The economy is having productivity-inhibiting sand thrown in its wheels by one company that can’t get a computer operating system and, to a lesser extent, a web browser right. The market is attempting self-correction, as many users are switching to Macintosh, Linux (not so much), and Firefox, but the holdback effect is undeniable.

Google, with its transparently self-interested advocacy of “Net Neutrality,” is already engaging in rent-seeking and position-cementing behavior. Its (and Yahoo’s) willingness to sell out to the Chinese police state reveals the frightening possibility that behind the “do no evil” happytalk, there is little if any ethical core. YouTube’s selective deletion of videos that might offend the sensibilities of those currently in power, or those who would be brutal oppressors if they ever had any real power, further supports valid concerns.

Paraphrasing Wilcox, if the company gets its market share into the 70s or 80s, recognizes that its competitors aren’t able to harm them, but then has a bad quarter or two, fees for what used to be free will sprout like weeds.

A widget- or unit sales-based antitrust model may not work against this kind of dominance if it comes to pass. I’m not going to claim to have an answer.

_________________________________________

This can’t possibly fly: The world according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) –
….. in legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, ….. maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

That, it appears, would be irrespective of whether or not you make the music available to anyone else. That goes against roughly 40 years of the industry’s position, going back to whether or not the RIAA considered it OK for you to make a copy of a record (remember those?) onto a cassette so you could listen in your car (yes, it did).

_________________________________________

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this USA Today article about the late-nighters and Comedy Central guys Stewart and Colbert coming back without writers is the fact that, despite being linked from Drudge and the story being up for 8 hours, there are no comments. Meaning no interest?

December 30, 2007

Excerpts of the Day: Barone on the Surge; Petraeus Looks Forward

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 1:15 pm

As only he can, Michael Barone, at IBDeditorials.com on Friday, put the Surge into historical context:

There are lessons to be learned from the dazzling success of the surge strategy in Iraq.

Lesson one is that just about no mission is impossible for the United States military.

A year ago it was widely thought, not just by the new Democratic leaders in Congress but also in many parts of the Pentagon, that containing the violence in Iraq was impossible. Now we have seen it done.

We have seen this before in American history. George Washington’s forces seemed on the brink of defeat many times in the agonizing years before Yorktown. Abraham Lincoln’s generals seemed so unsuccessful in the Civil War that in August 1864 it was widely believed he would be defeated for re-election. But finally Lincoln found the right generals. Sherman took Atlanta and marched to the sea; Grant pressed forward in Virginia.

Franklin Roosevelt picked the right generals and admirals from the start in World War II, but the first years of the war were filled with errors and mistakes.

Even Vietnam is not necessarily a counterexample. As Lewis Sorley argues persuasively in “A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam,” Gen. Creighton Abrams came up with a winning strategy by 1972. South Vietnam fell three years later when the North Vietnamese army attacked en masse, and Congress refused to allow the aid the U.S. had promised.

George W. Bush, like Lincoln, took his time finding the right generals. But it’s clear now that the forward-moving surge strategy devised by Gens. David Petraeus and Raymond Odierno has succeeded where the stand-aside strategy employed by their predecessors failed. American troops are surely the most capable military force in history. They just need to be given the right orders.

Petraeus, as would be expected of the man who is 2007′s real Person of the Year, is still looking foward, as seen in his year-end letter to the men and women under his command:

It is now imperative that we take advantage of these improvements by looking beyond the security arena and helping Iraqi military and political leaders as they develop solutions in other areas as well, solutions they can sustain over time.

At the tactical level, this means an increasing focus on helping not just Iraqi security forces — with whom we must partner in all that we do — but also helping Iraqi governmental organizations as they endeavor to restore basic services, to create employment opportunities, to revitalize local markets, to refurbish schools, to spur local economic activity and to keep locals involved in contributing to local security.

We will have to do all of this, of course, while continuing to draw down our forces, thinning our presence and gradually handing over responsibilities to our Iraqi partners.

Meanwhile, at the national level, we will focus on helping the Iraqi government integrate local volunteers into the Iraqi security forces and other employment, develop greater ministerial capacity and capability, aid displaced people as they return and take the all-important political and economic actions needed to exploit the opportunity provided by the gains in the security arena.

ICasualties.org, as of this moment, shows that 20 US soldiers have died in Iraq in December — 14 due to hostile causes (modify graph at link to view hostile data result). If they hold, these will be the lowest monthly figures since early 2004.

USAT Reporter Caught in Distortion, Portrays Thompson as Unambitious

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:25 am

Erick at Red State reports that USA Today reporter Jill Lawrence distorted what she reported Saturday on a statement made by Fred Thompson to a Burlington, Iowa audience.

Here, per Erick, is how Thompson actually responded to the question, “Do you want to be President?” –

The first place, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t be doing this. I grew up in very modest circumstances. I left government and I and my family have made sacrifices to be sitting here today. I haven’t had any income for a long time because I figured to be clean, you’ve got to cut everything off. I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a tv show. I had a contract with ABC radio…and so forth. A man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing if he didn’t want to do it.

I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don’t do it. I want the people to have the best president they can have.

But here is what Lawrence posted:

Bill Theobald of Gannett News Service has been following Republican Fred Thompson around Iowa. In a dispatch today from Burlington, Bill quotes the former Tennessee senator as saying he doesn’t like modern campaigning, isn’t that interested in running for president and “will not be devastated” if he doesn’t win.

This makes it appear as if Thompson is just going through the motions, doesn’t it?

To her credit, Lawrence updated within an hour when Theobald called “to clarify that Thompson said he doesn’t like the process of running for president but he does want to BE president. He told the Burlington audience he would not have given up his acting career and time with his family to run if that were not the case.”

She then posted a link to a transcript of Thompson’s remarks at the Corner at National Review, and Theobald’s original story (which I could not find elsewhere). Theobald’s report began thusly:

Fred Thompson said Saturday he does not much like the modern form of presidential campaigning and that he “will not be devastated” if he doesn’t win the election.

“I’m not particularly interested in running for president,” Thompson said, but rather he feels called to serve his country.

But what originally caused Lawrence to take that bolded sentence and turn it into what she did? Was it “easy” because of the “lazy, uninterested” meme Old Media has been developing on Thompson ever since (perhaps even before) he entered the race? Is it, as Erick seems to believe, that Lawrence is “feeling slighted by the campaign for not getting a one on one with FDT”?

Regardless, it was clearly an error, in an answer to a question about Thompson’s ambition for the presidency, to skip over the full context of his answer.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

______________________________________________

UPDATE: The Iowan who asked the question provides full context. I am copying it in full from The Campaign Spot because it’s a keeper:

(more…)

Positivity: Christmas miracle for adopted girl given days to live

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Hong Kong:

Posted : Sun, 23 Dec 2007 05:08:05 GMT

It was just after Christmas 2003 when 6-year-old Chinese girl Kailee Wells looked up at her adoptive mother Linda and said: “Mummy, I am going to miss you when I die.”They were words no mother would want to contemplate. Linda felt like crying, but held back her tears to reply: “Sweetheart, mummies usually die before their little girls.”

She knew, however, there was was a very strong possibility Kailee would die before her. She had been diagnosed with severe aplastic anaemia when she was 5, and on many occasions doctors had told the couple their daughter had only days or weeks of life left.

But they never gave up hope.

“We always believed we were going to keep our girl and we had to keep fighting for her. If she was going to make it through then by God we were going to save her,” Owen Wells said.
Their journey took them from New Mexico, across the world to Asia, where the plight of Kailee touched the hearts of thousands of people.

And this Christmas, what seemed an impossible dream has been realized after a Chinese donor who heard of her plight stepped forward and provided the marrow that has given her the gift of life.

In 2002, Kailee had been diagnosed with the rare and potentially fatal blood condition similar to leukaemia, in which her bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells.

A bone-marrow transplant was her only chance of survival. A biological sibling would have had one in four chances of being a match for the transplant. But Kailee’s case was complicated by the fact that her biological family were unknown. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 29, 2007

Excerpt of the Day: On Borrowers’ Role in the Subprime Situation

Rob Asghar, a writer and editor based in Southern California, dished out unwanted but necessary medicine in a subscription-only Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday:

By and large, the lenders were no less irresponsible than the borrowers who aspired to live a bigger life than they could afford. But all of the strange creatures of subprime — the overpaid loan officers, bloated budgets, lavish Las Vegas “planning meetings” and the like — were nurtured by consumers who believed that incurring massive debt was the secret to becoming a rich landholder (or boat owner).

Regulation of the industry may address some problems — but not without creating the new ones that inevitably result from straitjacketing the free market. Besides, market forces were already slaying subprime’s monsters. By late 2005, most in the business knew the feast was entering its final moments.

The recent effort by the Bush administration to help a segment of subprime borrowers is, fortunately, a mostly cosmetic matter. (One mortgage executive tells me that only about 5% of the loans in his company’s loan portfolio will be affected.) Policy makers in Washington would do well to leave it at that. We need bureaucratic meddling far less than we need a sober and clear-eyed citizenry.

As my own friends bought and maintained homes, I quietly mused about how the homes owned them, not the other way around. I moved often, based on job commitments, with no interest in buying a house.

….. When the average person learns to treat those (market) forces with humility and respect, we’ll all be served far better than by any political promises that claim to stand up for the little guy.

With Barney Frank and John Conyers (second item at link) around, and a presidential campaign in progress, the chances of “leaving it at that” are lower than they should be.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (122907)

Michael Yon: “When nobody is shooting, it means that you are winning.

Yon also relays a thank-you letter — from a soldier, specifically LTC Jim Crider, the commander of the 1-4 CAV soldiers based at FOB Falcon. He’s thanking us “for the honor of fighting for and representing the United States of America. ….. I am stronger, more driven, and humbled all at the same time.” Fair enough. The debt we owe Mr. Crider is one that can never be repaid.

______________________________________

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has converted to Catholicism.

Memo to impatient prolifers and profamily advocates who want an instant “I was wrong, I am sorry” for Blair’s support of abortion rights and other anti-family measures while he was in public life:
- The operative term is FORMER Prime Minister.
- Forgiveness, penance, repentance, and the visibility of his (yes) required renunciation of his previous public views and actions, are between him, his confessor, and God.
- God, and Tony Blair, assuming he’s attempting to follow God’s will, don’t operate on your instant-gratification timeline.

I’ll be the first to rip Mr. Blair if he acts like Massachusetts CINOs (Catholics In Name Only) John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and plays the “I don’t personally believe in it, but I can’t condenm it” tune. But a little patience is in order, people.
_____________________________________________

Favorite headline of the week (link may require subscription): “No recession in ’08, says Bear analyst.” That would be an analyst from Bear Stearns.

_________________________________________

Mark Steyn (HT Instapundit), on his being hauled before the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal over some of the content inAmerica Alone” (background here):

I want the constitutionality of this process overturned, so that Canadians are free to reach the same judgments about my writing as Americans and Britons and Australians and it stands or falls in the marketplace of ideas. The notion that a Norwegian imam can make a statement in Norway but if a Canadian magazine quotes that statement in Canada it’s a “hate crime” should be deeply shaming to all Canadians.

Exactly. And to repeat a question from December 18 (scroll to “Pain Dealer” item) — Where in the bleep is Stephen Harper in all of this?

Positivity: Wreaths Across America

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

From the organization’s home page (HT A Rose by Any Other Name):

The Wreaths Across America story began over 15 years ago when Worcester Wreath Company (a for-profit commercial business from Harrington, Maine) began a tradition of placing wreaths on the headstones of our Nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.

Over that period of time, Worcester Wreath has donated 75,000 wreaths which were placed by volunteers in a wreath-laying ceremony each December. This year, Worcester Wreath Company will do even more to show its respect and appreciation for those who serve, by doing the following:

* Doubling its annual donation to 10,000 wreaths destined for Arlington National Cemetery.

* In addition to the Arlington Wreath Project, Worcester Wreath will donate 2,500 wreaths to the Maine Veterans Cemetery at Togus, and over 1,800 ceremonial wreaths, representing all branches of the armed forces, will be sent to over 200 other state and national veterans cemeteries across the Country.

* For the first time in 2007, ceremonial wreaths will also be donated to 24 veterans cemeteries on foreign soil, and aboard U.S. ships sailing in all seven seas.

* All wreath-laying ceremonies will be held concurrently on Saturday, December 15th, at 12:00 noon EST.

* And lastly, on Monday, December 10th, 51 wreaths will be donated for a special wreath-laying ceremony at each State Capital and 36″ ceremonial wreath for our Nation’s Capital.

Needless to say Worcester Wreath Co. is by far the largest donor to the Wreaths Across America project and they are dedicated to this project for many years to come. It is a vision that we will one day honor every veterans’ memory for the holidays, as a way to show our gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made to preserve our freedoms.

Wreaths Across America was formed as a non-profit organization (501-C3 status – EIN 20-8362270) in 2007, in direct response to the many letters and requests from supporters all around the Country, about how they too could get involved and bring the Arlington Wreath Project experience to their local communities. ….

Go to their home page for more.

December 28, 2007

Unfit Mitt Romney, Grosse Pointe-MLK, and the Push Poll

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:10 pm

This post has been moved to the top for the rest of the day.

___________________________

“Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar.”

– New York Times columnist and former Nixon
speechwriter William Safire; January 8, 1996

With appropriate paraphrasing, how can we not now be at about the same place with Unfit Mitt Romney as Safire was with Hillary Clinton almost 12 years ago? (Side question: What has happened in the intervening time period that would contradict Mr. Safire’s assessment of Mrs. Clinton?)

Grosse Pointe, George Romney, and MLK

Oh how I wanted to give Romney the benefit of the doubt on the “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King” episode. I thought it had all the appearances of a kerfuffle when it first appeared, as the comment that I made at the Boston Phoenix on December 19 shows (excerpted; paragraphing added):

I’m no Romney fan, ….. but I think he’s probably accurate enough given the likely full history, if not precise.

….. I think this might get Mitt off the hook, given that he would have been about 15 years old at the time. There WAS a big MLK March down Woodward Avenue (in Detroit) on June 25, 1963, and I would not be at all surprised if his dad marched in that — Except that as gov, security may have been a problem. Recall that MLK was a Republican. Go to Page 28 at this link.

Ah, but the plot thickens: George Romney’s PREDECESSOR as governor marched down Woodward Avenue. The Wiki entry for George Romney says he was strong on civil rights, but makes no mention of the march. It would be interesting to see if George Romney issued a proclamation of any kind or made a speech on the day of the 1963 march, if he didn’t himself march.

Again giving Mitt the benefit of the doubt, it’s not unlikely, since he was 15 or so during the time period, that he would over the years have juxtaposed the events and even given his father a little more credit than he deserved. …..

I wrote this because it appeared, based on the research I was able to do, that nothing relating collectively to Grosse Pointe, George Romney, and MLK happened in 1963 or 1967. So I said, “OK, they must have been at the 100,000-strong Woodward Avenue march.”

It turns out that I was much too generous.

Not to George Romney. Unfit Mitt’s civil rights-supporting father wasn’t at the Woodward Avenue march, but, as found in a Phoenix follow-up, he actually did issue a proclamation the next day. It was well-received by King (who “refused to criticize Romney for not attending the demonstration”), but not by many of his rank-and-file supporters.

But I was much too generous to Unfit Mitt and his campaign. They cravenly upped the ante, in the process revealing a part of the candidate they would probably rather not let us see.

Unfit Mitt first embellished:

Peppered with questions while campaigning in Iowa yesterday, Romney defended his account that his father marched with King, saying it had become part of the family’s history.

….. “My brother also remembers my dad having spoken about the fact he did not do political events on Sunday but that he decided at the last minute that he was going to break that self-imposed rule and participate (in Grosse Pointe)”

Then last Friday, two “eyewitnesses” came forward to say they saw George Romney march with King in Grosse Pointe in June 1963.

Based on what I had found, or actually not found, I was fairly certain that the “eyewitnesses” would be debunked.

And they have been. Those “witnesses,” God bless their faulty memories, were only “half right” (i.e., George Romney was there, but not MLK), making Unfit Mitt Romney all wrong, (per the Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog; HT The Phoenix), and cynically so:

By getting this story (of the two “eyewitnesses” — Ed.) out late on Friday afternoon, heading into the holiday weekend — good luck getting a King historian on the phone before Wednesday — the campaign was pretty well assured that it could keep alive through Christmas their claim that Mitt Romney was mistaken only about “seeing” it, not about it taking place.

Then-governor George Romney did indeed march in Grosse Pointe, on Saturday, June 29, 1963, but Martin Luther King Jr. was not there; he was in New Brunswick, New Jersey, addressing the closing session of the annual New Jersey AFL-CIO labor institute at Rutgers University.

Those facts are indisputable, and quite frankly, the campaign must have known the women’s story would eventually be debunked — few people’s every daily movement has been as closely tracked and documented as King’s. As I write this, I am looking at an article from page E8 of the June 30, 1963 Chicago Tribune, which discusses both events (among other civil-rights actions of the previous day), clearly placing the two men hundreds of miles apart. I also have here the June 30, 1963 San Antonio News, which carries a photo and article about Romney at the Grosse Pointe march; and an AP story about King’s speech in New Jersey.

A King researcher editing his letters from that time has stated definitively that the two men never marched together; Michigan and Grosse Pointe historians have stated definitively that King was not at the 1963 Grosse Pointe march; Michigan civil-rights participants of the time have concurred; so have those who worked for George Romney at the time.

All of this evidence is important to present to the general public, but it is unnecessary for the Romney campaign — it has been clear for some time that they know perfectly well that the two men never marched together.

Believe me, they know the two men never marched together. This is an attempt to rewrite history. And even if it is a small rewriting, it is offensive.

And, sad to realize, likely habitual.

Those Anti-(Insert Romney’s Religion Here) Calls

The tactics on display in the “I saw” story ought to bring a new level of scrutiny to what is now known about the anti-(insert Romney’s religion here) calls that took place in New Hampshire and Iowa (and, according to a now-unavailable Salt Lake City Tribune article, South Carolina) on or about Wednesday, November 14. These labor-intensive 20-minute calls were said to be among the drivers behind the sudden need for the “The Speech” in early December.

EyeOn08 hears an echo from the past in the “I saw” story, citing a TPM Election Central post from November 21:

….. the Romney campaign is confirming that it referred reporters to two recipients of the calls without disclosing that the two were also on the Romney campaign payroll, TPM Election Central has learned.

In response to questions from TPM Election Central, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden confirmed that the campaign had failed to disclose this info to reporters. Madden suggested that the campaign had identified them as “supporters,” which is a far cry from being directly paid by the campaign, as the two call recipients were.

No kidding.

(Note: Please spare me the objection that TPM is liberal. These people either were being paid by Romney, or they weren’t. If you have evidence that they weren’t, e-mail me.)

Am I supposed to believe that Team Romney couldn’t find anyone not being paid to come forward and talk about the calls, after The Associated Press was able to was able to find seven others?

Something is still not adding up in all of this.

In the top GOP tier, only Giuliani’s campaign has the money to even think about doing this, and their denial is convincing (see Update V here).

That leaves some “mystery 527,” some other totally independent person or entity, Ron Paul (who has some money), one of the Dem campaigns, or the Romney campaign itself (take your motivational pick between determining the extent of the religion problem, generating sympathy as a distraction from more serious matters, or setting the stage for “The Speech”) as the possibilities. I don’t see how you can take any of them off the table yet.

The Significance

Is the “I saw” story a 45 year-old ado about nothing? Is bringing out “supporters” who were really paid campaign members just a disclosure oversight?

I doubt it very much. Throw the two items described above in with at least these three items:

  • Romney’s patently false, unconstitutional, and oath-of-office breaking assertion about how he HAD to follow the (non-existent) court “order” in the Goodridge same-sex marriage case (made, by the way, to keep a campaign promise not to get in the way of the expected ruling).
  • His false claims that Ronald Reagan and Henry Hyde were ever “effectively pro-choice,” and in Reagan’s case, “adamantly pro-choice.”
  • His reassertion of a debunked claim that his mother was pro-choice in 1970 when she ran for the US Senate in Michigan — “Two longtime Romney family friends and political supporters — former governor William Milliken and former Republican National Committee co-chairwoman Elly Peterson — told (Boston Globe reporter Eileen) McNamara (in 2005) they could not recall Lenore Romney speaking out publicly for abortion. If she had, it would have represented a dramatic change of heart and break with the Mormon Church. Peterson, who worked on Lenore Romney’s campaign, said, ‘If it happened, I’d remember it. It didn’t and I don’t.’”

How many of these things does it take before they constitute a pattern?

And speaking of possible patterns, the original “I saw” part of the four-Pinocchio George Romney-MLK whopper (the Fact Checker blog’s evaluation) reminds me of two other people, who fed us horse manure like this throughout the 1990s, on matters large (collection here; also add “the worst economy in 50 years“) and small (e.g., his “vivid and painful” memories of Arkansas church burnings that never occurred; her claim to have been named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who conquered Everest six years after she was born).

Instapundit, in a pre-witness debunk post, noted an annoying tendency Unfit Mitt has. He calls it the politician’s disease, but I think it’s better described as the Clinton Disease (try to name a politician who engaged in this behavior before the Clintons did):

…. it’s not enough to report that something happened, you have to report it in a way that puts you in the story.

Exactly.

I am so not up for even the possibility of 4-8 more years of the large or small stuff. I would hope that GOP voters aren’t either, especially with someone in their own party.

___________________________________________

UPDATE: In New Hampshire, Romney has a negative credibility evaluation coming from the left, but more importantly, a sharp jab from the Manchester Union Leader, a biggie on the right:

Last week Romney was reduced to debating what the meaning of “saw” is. It was only the latest in a string of demonstrably false claims — he’d been a hunter “pretty much” all his life, he’d had the NRA’s endorsement, he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. — that call into question the veracity of his justifications for switching sides on immigration, abortion, taxes and his affection for Ronald Reagan.

In this primary, the more Mitt Romney speaks, the less believable he becomes.

California Spendin’: WSJ Notes, Rest of Media Ignore

A hard-hitting subscription-only editorial in the Wall Street Journal today needs some reinforcement.

That’s because Californians relying on Old Media for their news about the Golden State’s dire financial situation are being conditioned to believe that only a tax increase will solve the state’s problems.

The latest offering in that regard is a Field poll covered at the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined “Many voters think deficit fix will require higher taxes” and “Voters resigned to higher taxes to solve budget crisis,” respectively. Those headlines conveniently obscure the fact that the margin of those believing that tax increases are necessary vs. those who think that the answer is totally in spending cuts is only 48%-43%.

Here is some of what the Journal had to say:

Let’s start with the culture of overspending in Sacramento. State outlays have nearly tripled to $142 billion this year from $51 billion in the early 1990s. After the technology bubble burst in 2001, the state’s deficit swelled to $20 billion. Voters recalled Gray Davis from the Governor’s mansion in favor of Mr. Schwarzenegger, who promised to “cut up the state’s credit card.” In Arnold’s first year, the budget was held in check, but the state still issued $9 billion in “revenue bonds” rather than shrink the size of government.

What really rescued the state was the national economic expansion, including the housing boom and the cut in capital gains and dividend taxes that helped the state’s technology industry. Tax receipts rose 40% over the last four years, but Sacramento returned to spending as usual. Expenditures rose by 44%, and billions of dollars of new school and road bonds were issued. After getting trounced by labor unions in state referendums, Mr. Schwarzenegger gave up trying to change any of this.

Even with the new deficit estimates, the Governor and legislature are promoting a new government health-care plan at a cost, coincidentally, of $14 billion.

….. “Our tax policies practically invite Californians to pack up their bags and leave the state,” says Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines. “We can’t possibly balance our budget with new taxes.” Ah, but Democrats are willing to give it a try. Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez wants to institute a new tax on Internet sales, increase corporate taxes, and double the state’s hated car registration tax.

Mr. Schwarzenegger is again preaching spending restraint, which is long overdue. The tragedy is that he and his Sacramento running mates wouldn’t be facing this current fiscal mess had they done more to improve the state’s policies during the last one.

That California’s politicians need to get a grip on spending is illustrated in this table (the spending amounts come from the editorial, the population numbers from the Census Bureau, and the inflation adjustments came from relevant December-ending figures at the Bureau of Labor Statistics):

CaliRealPerCapSpendingIncs1207

The state is spending over 58% more per person in real terms now compared to 12 years ago, and over 12% more in real terms compared to just two years ago. Additionally, I have been told by several residents over the years that the state has pushed a lot of spending down to the counties and cities over the years, increasing the overall tax burden in the state by even more than would be indicated above. Commenter confirmation of that contention would be welcome.

The idea that tax increases are part of the remedy in California is patently absurd, but don’t even expect the state’s Old Media to tell you that.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Quotes of the Day: The Best of Thomas Sowell’s ‘Random Thoughts’ in 2007

About five times a year, the man who is probably America’s foremost legitimate intellectual, who has authored over 40 books (estimate after removing duplicate listings), and is a frequent Townhall columnist, devotes his Townhall column to brief “Random Thoughts,” most of which pack more wisdom into a few words than faux intellectuals are able to utter in a year.

IBDeditorials.com has the complete 2007 collection. Here are my top ten faves:

Teaching is very easy if you don’t care about doing it right and very hard if you do.

The culture of this nation is being dismantled, brick by brick, but so gradually that many will not notice until the walls start to sag — just before they cave in.

Now that the British television documentary, “The Great Global Warming Swindle” is available on DVD, will those schools that forced their students to watch Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” also show them the other side? Ask them.

One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people’s motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans — anything except reason.

One of the great non sequiturs of the left is that, if the free market doesn’t work perfectly, then it doesn’t work at all — and the government should step in.

“A good catchword can obscure analysis for 50 years,” said Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. If so, then we may be hearing about “diversity,” “social justice” and “a living wage” for many years to come.

In contrast with today’s senators who try to get every Supreme Court nominee to pledge allegiance to Roe v. Wade, when Abraham Lincoln was considering nominees to that court, he said, “We cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it.”

Too many people in positions of responsibility act as if these are just positions of opportunity — for themselves. The ones who simply steal money probably do less harm than teachers who propagandize their students, media who slant the news or politicians who sell out their country’s interests in order to get re-elected.

Amid all the media hysteria over the price of gasoline and the profits of “Big Oil,” one simple fact has been repeatedly overlooked: The oil companies’ earnings are just under 10% of the price of a gallon of gas, while taxes take 17%. Yet who ever accuses the government of “greed”?

Despite political spin about “tax cuts for the rich,” cuts in tax rates have led to increases in tax revenues — not only in this administration, but in the Reagan administration before that, and the Kennedy administration before that, not to mention in India and Iceland as well.

_________________________________________

UPDATE: Add one more, from a non-Random Thoughts column (HT to a Hot Air commenter)–

If Senator (Fred) Thompson can beat the odds and become president, he would probably be better than most of those who have been in the White House in recent times — though that is not extravagant praise.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (122807)

A nominee forQuietest Story in the Country” (HT Return of the Conservatives; I changed ROTC’s original link to a longer story):

Eight people were charged with filing bogus voter registration forms in St. Louis and St. Louis County for the 2006 general election, federal authorities announced Friday.

All eight worked for ACORN, the not-for-profit Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN focuses on voter registration drives targeting low- and middle-income people across the nation.

The federal indictments were unsealed Friday morning. Authorities were still seeking some of the people indicted, so their names were withheld.

….. Questions about some of the voter registration cards surfaced in October 2006, when St. Louis Republican elections director Scott Leiendecker sent letters to 5,000 voters registered by ACORN, asking them to verify their registrations on the phone and with signatures returned by mail.

….. Earlier this year, seven ACORN workers were indicted in Seattle for submitting phony voter registration forms.

Questions:

  • How many of those 5,000 forms got no response?
  • When is ACORN, which also has been linked to voter-registration and other election-related fraud in 12 states, including Ohio, going to be barred from activities involving voter registration?

___________________________________________

Ya gotta love the sense of humor Tim Gaynor of Reuters inadvertently exhibits (bold is mine):

Illegal immigrants “self deport” as woes mount

In the past year, U.S. immigration police have stepped up workplace sweeps across the country and teamed up with a growing number of local forces to train officers to enforce immigration laws.

Meanwhile, a bill seeking to offer many of the 12 million illegal immigrants a path to legal status was tossed by the U.S. Congress, spurring many state and local authorities to pass their own measures targeting illegal immigrants.

The toughening environment has been coupled with a turndown in the U.S. economy, which has tipped the balance toward self deportation for many illegal immigrants left struggling to find work.

….. Aluisio Carvalho, 66, left a wife and four children behind in Brazil in 2001 when he set off to find work in Boston. Since then, he has managed to pay for the education of his children by working in a restaurant, but is now planning to leave himself in February

“Salaries are really low, and living costs are high. We also face too much exploitation at work here, too many demands,” he said.

Sigh:

I’ll allow for the remote possibility that the good news so far this quarter won’t somehow ultimately lead to a report of positive economic growth. But, for Mr. Gaynor to credibly assert, as if it’s a fact, that there is a “turndown in the US economy,” something besides one or two sectors needs to be, y’know, “turning down.”

If illegals like Mr. Carvalho are leaving, it’s more likely that there are fewer “exploitation” opportunities for illegal work than there were a year or so ago (Mr. Carvalho has learned about claiming victimization, has he not?). Especially given the stats cited, that does not mean that there are fewer legal opportunities.

Let’s not leave the out-of-proportion commission of crimes by illegals out of the picture either. An enforcement response is long overdue, and at least one city has responded. In October, the City of Scottsdale, Arizona, after a police officer in nearby Phoenix was slain by an illegal immigrant Scottsdale police had let go, began “routinely asking for proof of citizenship from every suspect they arrest and turning those who are in this country illegally over to federal immigration officials.” It’s. About. Time.

Once illegals cross the border into Mexico, their ongoing, day-to-day illegality will have ceased. This is a good thing, and it would appear, contrary to the “There Shall Be Open Borders” Wall Street Journal, that the economy might actually be able to handle their absence.

________________________________________

“Charlie Wilson’s War” (CWW) is a Hollywood fantasy, per IBDeditorials.com:

Hollywood would have us believe that Democrats defeated the evil empire in Afghanistan, and that President Reagan played only a minor role and even helped pave the way to 9/11.

….. “Charlie Wilson’s War,” which opened Friday, manages to reduce the president who won the Cold War to a background footnote.

….. The movie also perpetuates the left-wing myth that the covert operation funded Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida and ultimately led to the 9/11 attacks. Reagan-era officials such as Ikle say Osama never got funding or weapons from the U.S. and that he didn’t launch his terror war until after U.S. involvement and the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

No, CWW is not a comedy — at least not on purpose.

Another fantasy may be that CWW, with a production budget of $75 million, will break even at the box office.

Nevertheless, like the pitifully inaccurate “Nixon” and “JFK,” it will probably be coming to a school classroom near you, unquestioned.

Positivity: American soldier adopts Iraqi boy

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Wisconsin, and Iraq (HT Hot Air):

Sun Dec 23, 1:14 PM ET

Capt. Scott Southworth knew he’d face violence, political strife and blistering heat when he was deployed to one of Baghdad’s most dangerous areas. But he didn’t expect Ala’a Eddeen.

Ala’a was 9 years old, strong of will but weak of body — he suffered from cerebral palsy and weighed just 55 pounds. He lived among about 20 kids with physical or mental disabilities at the Mother Teresa orphanage, under the care of nuns who preserved this small oasis in a dangerous place.

On Sept. 6, 2003, halfway through his 13-month deployment, Southworth and his military police unit paid a visit to the orphanage. They played and chatted with the children; Southworth was talking with one little girl when Ala’a dragged his body to the soldier’s side.

Black haired and brown eyed, Ala’a spoke to the 31-year-old American in the limited English he had learned from the sisters. He recalled the bombs that struck government buildings across the Tigris River.

“Bomb-Bing! Bomb-Bing!” Ala’a said, raising and lowering his fist.

“I’m here now. You’re fine,” the captain said.

Over the next 10 months, the unit returned to the orphanage again and again. The soldiers would race kids in their wheelchairs, sit them in Humvees and help the sisters feed them.

To Southworth, Ala’a was like a little brother. But Ala’a — who had longed for a soldier to rescue him — secretly began referring to Southworth as “Baba,” Arabic for “Daddy.”

Then, around Christmas, a sister told Southworth that Ala’a was getting too big. He would have to move to a government-run facility within a year.

“Best case scenario was that he would stare at a blank wall for the rest of his life,” Southworth said.

To this day, he recalls the moment when he resolved that that would not happen.

“I’ll adopt him,” he said. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.