January 25, 2010

The Impending Yost Announcement

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:43 pm

Originally posted at about 1:20 p.m., and carried to the top.

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Let’s assume for the moment that this DDN report is true; there’s no reason to believe it isn’t:

Delaware County Auditor Dave Yost will announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for state auditor on Monday, Jan. 25, setting up a possible primary with state Rep. Seth Morgan, R-Huber Heights.

Matt Borges, Yost’s spokesman, confirmed the announcement plans on Sunday.

The announcement will come at a news conference at 2:30 p.m. at Ohio Republican Party headquarters in Columbus, a sign of the support Yost has from state Republican Chairman Kevin DeWine, who asked Yost to consider getting in the auditor’s race.

My take:

  • I currently lean towards Seth Morgan in the auditor’s race. It turns out that Yost has some audit experience. But Morgan is a CPA. Yost would have to prove to me that he’d somehow be a better auditor, and that establishing a precedent that the office should be occupied by a CPA regardless of party affiliation isn’t that important. I don’t see how he can.
  • If the filing deadline isn’t already making the idea impractical, I’d love to see someone seize the moment and challenge Mike DeWine in the GOP primary. Seriously, if DeWine is the nominee and there are only two choices, I’m either sitting it out or voting for Rich Cordray, who at least knows how to read the Second Amendment — but it’s probably a sit-out. I would vote for a person with genuine Tea Party values (Democrat, Republican, Independent, or legitimate third party) who has even a little legal background and a beating heart over either of them.
  • Speaking of Tea Party candidates, I believe that if Sandy O’Brien can’t beat Jon Husted (and though she could pull off a shocker, she doesn’t seem to be trying hard enough), a Tea Party values candidate can beat both Husted and whoever his Democratic opponent might be. Jon Husted will not get my vote. Period.
  • Sad to say, Josh Mandel is the only down-ticket guy favored by ORPINO (Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) who comes out of all of this with his integrity fully intact.
  • I have lost at least half of my enthusiasm for Kasich-Taylor because, as far as anyone can visibly tell, they sat on the sidelines and watched the ill-advised ORPINO orchestration unfold without objection. This is not “new way, new day” politics, guys. Related: “Somebody” warned you about this kind of thing, John.

Yeah, this is just what one guy thinks, and in that sense I’m sure Kevin DeWine and the ORPINO marionettes will decide that what the guy who runs one “little” blog in Southwestern Ohio thinks doesn’t really matter.

I agree, Kevin. What really does matter is that I could not be more confident that I am far from alone (see Update 2), and that many who feel the same way are the people you presumptively expect to work at the phone banks, in the mail rooms, and at the computers this fall. Some of them will still do so out of concern over the effects of a second Strickland term.

But a lot of others need to be motivated by something positive, a feeling based on evidence that after all these years things will be genuinely different in this state if “our side” wins, that we won’t be governed like a blue state as we have been for over 15 years.

There were signs during the past years that this time things would be different. But we’re not feelin’ it now, Kevin. Why the heck should we?

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UPDATE: I’m hearing a rumor that there may be a third Auditor candidate, and that this third person would be considered the ORPINO’s anointed one.

UPDATE 2: Hell is indeed freezing over, in triplicate. You go girl.

Blatant vs. Balanced: CNN, MSNBC Played Faves With Mass. Election Night Speeches; Fox Carried All of Both

JohnnyDollar0110Building on Brad Wilmouth’s critique at NewsBusters of Keith Olbermann’s disgraceful treatment of Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts, Johnny Dollar (HT Taxman Blog) measured the coverage of the victory/concession speeches of Brown and his opponent Martha (or is it Marcia?) Coakley.

Imagine my non-surprise when I saw the results:

During Tuesday night’s coverage of the Massachusetts special election, CNN and MSNBC aired only a fraction of the Republican candidate’s speech. Fox News Channel aired both candidates’ speeches in their entirety.

…. CNN only ran 26% of Brown’s speech, while MSNBC aired 37%. Fox News Channel carried 100% of both speeches:

speechesjpgspeeches

Oh, but you don’t understand, John. Letting Keith Olbermann rant on about Brown as “irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea bagging, supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees,” and “sexist” was much more important than actually letting the candidate’s words get through to the audience. (/sarcasm)

If there’s a bright side, it would at least be that showing all of Coakley’s awful “dream lives on” speech probably turned off quite a few viewers, even in the fever swamps of CNN and MSNBC.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Fox Reporting $25 Mil No-Bid Contract Went to Dem Donor

Checchi

I don’t know why I’m relaying this to readers. After all, according to former White House Communications Director Anita “Mao Inspires Me” Dunn, it’s not coming from a real news organization. Her successor, Dan Pfeiffer, agrees. So does David Axelrod.

But on the off chance that what follows might actually mean something, here is an excerpt from a lengthy piece of investigative journalism from Fox News’s James Rosen (HT to an e-mailer):

Obama Administration Steers Lucrative No-Bid Contract for Afghan Work to Dem Donor

Despite President Obama’s long history of criticizing the Bush administration for “sweetheart deals” with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.

The contract, awarded on Jan. 4 to Checchi & Company Consulting, Inc., a Washington-based firm owned by economist and Democratic donor Vincent V. Checchi, will pay the firm $24,673,427 to provide “rule of law stabilization services” in war-torn Afghanistan.

…. The legality of the arrangement as a “sole source,” or no-bid, contract was made possible by virtue of a waiver signed by the USAID administrator. “They cancelled the open bid on this when they came to power earlier this year,” a source familiar with the federal contracting process told Fox News.

“That’s kind of weird,” said another source, who has worked on “rule of law” issues in both Afghanistan and Iraq, about the no-bid contract to Checchi & Company. “There’s lots of companies and non-governmental organizations that do this sort of work.”

…. Asked if he or his firm had been aware that the contract was awarded without competitive bids, Checchi replied: “After it was awarded to us, sure. Before, we had no idea.”

…. Asked about the contract, USAID Acting Press Director Harry Edwards at first suggested his office would be too “busy” to comment on it. “I’ll tell it to the people in Haiti,” Edwards snapped when a Fox News reporter indicated the story would soon be made public. The USAID press office did not respond further.

…. As a candidate for president in 2008, then-Sen. Obama frequently derided the Bush administration for the awarding of federal contracts without competitive bidding.

“I will finally end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all,” the senator told a Grand Rapids audience on Oct. 2. “The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton will be over when I’m in the White House.”

…. The records show Checchi has given at least $4,400 to Obama dating back to March 2007, close to the maximum amount allowed. The contractor has also made donations to various arms of the Democratic National Committee, to liberal activist groups like MoveOn.org and ActBlue, and to other party politicians like Sen. John F. Kerry, former presidential candidate John Edwards and former Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont.

I seem to recall that the “sweetheart deals” for Halliburton were often sole-sourced because Halliburton was the only company that could credibly claim to have the capabilities required. Rosen’s report indicates that this clearly isn’t the case with the work awarded to Checchi (home page; “about” page; “scope of services” page).

So …. will the rest of the establishment press risk the tattered remnants of its credibility, follow the White House’s suggestion, and ignore the story because it’s coming from Fox? Stay tuned.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (012510, Morning); ‘This Goes Back’ Edition

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:45 am

This goes back a couple of weeks, but Michelle Malkin’s point about Flight 253 being a repeat of history is too good to let slide by without notice:

Like Abulmutallab, not a single one of the unmarried, rootless, Muslim male nomads who secured student and business visas to commit mass murder on American soil should have ever obtained a temporary visa in the first place.

To be clear, this seems to be an ongoing problem no matter who is president, and no matter who is Secretary of State. The dangerously “accommodating” mindset of careerists at State is infuriating, and no amount of tragedy or near-tragedy seems to matter. But, since Obama and Hillary Clinton are in charge, it’s up to them to try to stop this nonsense before more innocent people die in bunches. It’s on them if they don’t.

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This item from the “Pass the Smelling Salts” file goes back to December.

Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman Chad Baus gave Associated Press reporter Colleen Long props for her treatment of gun crime in her “Number of Officers Killed by Gunfire Increased 24 Percent in 2009” story.

I’m not kidding:

(Long writes that) “The availability of guns compounds the problem, criminologists say. But Pennsylvania, the state with the most gun-related officer deaths so far this year, has among the strictest gun laws in the country, according to a ranking by the pro-gun-control Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Other states, like Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kentucky, have very little oversight and had few, if any, officer gun deaths this year.”

Amazing! This is the type of analysis that is completely absent from the vast majority of gun-related reports in mainstream media. Pro-gun advocates often point out that the Brady Campaign gives better grades for having tough gun control laws to states that also have the highest gun violence, but the point is rarely repeated by media who dutifully publish the Brady bunch’s grade card press release each year.

… I’m not sure how Colleen Long’s story made it past the biased editors at the Associated Press, but I’m glad it did.

It is indeed refreshing to see a piece that isn’t reflexively anti-gun.

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This one, from the “you think you’re funny, but you’re really sick” file, goes back to just after the first of the year:

Hey, Rich People: Drop Dead. And I Do Mean Now.

No, seriously. If you’re possessed of a fortune and of a certain age, you really should think about the advantages of kicking off in the next 12 months.

You see, the federal estate tax—which can snatch a sizable chunk of your ill-gotten hoard—went out of effect just as the ball dropped and the horns started to blow.

… (But) The estate tax will (probably, in all likelihood, with any luck) go right back into effect January 1, 2011.

… That’s why you need to die. For the sake of the children. And the grandchildren, those adorable little tykes.

Besides, if you don’t hasten your extinction, they may.

So the wealth of the rich is undeserved, and some of their heirs want to take advantage of the fact that there is no death tax this year to kill them. What a comedian.

There’s a perfect solution to the latter problem: Permanently repeal the death tax, which only generated $23.5 billion in the last fiscal year (see second page at link), or barely 1% of all federal receipts.

I non-humorously weighed the costs and benefits of death tax repeal back in April 2005. Also located there is this quote about how dumb the tax is: “For every dollar of tax revenue raised by the estate tax, another dollar is squandered in the economy simply to comply with or avoid the tax.” That’s not funny.

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This winning streak goes back five weeks. Go here (first item at link) for the qualifiers and the recitation of those who have earned yours truly’s continuing gratitude.

Update: Keeping things in perspective, click here to see proof that there was only one blog in Ohio that mattered last week.

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This one about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s taking office for his third term goes back a few weeks. The relative media silence over Bloomberg’s scheme to get around the voter-approved two-term limit with a City Council vote is all the more outrageous given the hue and cry that greeted Rudy Giuliani when he foolishly mused about wanting a third term in 2001, or even extending his final term by a few months, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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This great column (“ClimateGate: You should be steamed”) by Neil Frank, a meteorologist and former director of the National Hurricane Center, goes back to January 2. It contains this succinct three-paragraph summary of the case against globaloney:

What do the skeptics believe? First, they concur with the believers that the Earth has been warming since the end of a Little Ice Age around 1850. The cause of this warming is the question. Believers think the warming is man-made, while the skeptics believe the warming is natural and contributions from man are minimal and certainly not potentially catastrophic a la Al Gore.

Second, skeptics argue that CO2 is not a pollutant but vital for plant life. Numerous field experiments have confirmed that higher levels of CO2 are positive for agricultural productivity. Furthermore, carbon dioxide is a very minor greenhouse gas. More than 90 percent of the warming from greenhouse gases is caused by water vapor. If you are going to change the temperature of the globe, it must involve water vapor.

Third, and most important, skeptics believe that climate models are grossly overpredicting future warming from rising concentrations of carbon dioxide. We are being told that numerical models that cannot make accurate 5- to 10-day forecasts can be simplified and run forward for 100 years with results so reliable you can impose an economic disaster on the U.S. and the world.

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Speaking of ClimateGate, there’s an utterly fantastic poster that goes back to late December chronicling the decades-long manmade disaster known as ClimateGate, from the earliest “recognitions” (i.e., story planting) at the New York Times through the November 2009 e-mails. It’s so good I have it at my host, where readers can download it (800k PDF).

An interesting think tank or foundation project would be to mail a full size poster to each and every elementary and secondary school in the country, demanding that this history be included in any discussions of climate science, while chronicling the responses.

Positivity: The Ravens’ (very) secret weapon

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Rick Reilly at ESPN:

Updated: January 15, 2010, 12:01 PM ET

Hey, Baltimore fans, this might make you spit out your crab cakes.

You realize who’s been calling the first play of Ravens’ games lately? Like the one that went for an 83-yard touchdown against the Patriots?

If you said head coach John Harbaugh, you’d be wrong.

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron? Wrong again.

QB Joe Flacco? Strike three.

The guy who’s been calling the first play lately isn’t a guy at all. It’s a 14-year-old Baltimore kid. His name is Matthew Costello, he’s got an inoperable brain tumor and he’s on a lucky streak.

“You gotta meet this kid,” says Cameron.

This all started when Matt, a third baseman and pitcher for Loyola Blakefield Middle School, was hit in the eye with a pitch that tipped off his bat. He ended up with double vision. A few dozen doctors later, they found a malignant tumor. Now his days are mostly going to chemo sessions and wondering if he’s ever going to get back to playing any of the three sports he loves.

Cameron’s son, Danny — Matthew’s classmate — told his dad about him, how he lives for the Ravens. Next thing you know, Cam Cameron was driving through the biggest snowstorm to hit Baltimore in years — getting stuck three times — with a Flacco-signed football, a signed hat and glad tidings for Matthew.

Why? Maybe because Cameron survived serious melanoma cancer at age 28.

Matthew’s dad is a morning news anchor at WMAR in Baltimore and he was on the air, live, when his phone spit out this befuddling text from his wife, Donna: Cam Cameron is on his way.

“I’m like, ‘What?’” Jamie Costello recalls. “‘In a driving snowstorm?’”

Yep. Cameron talked with Matt for 20 minutes, and then, as he was leaving, turned and said, “Hey, Matthew, whaddya wanna call for our first play Sunday?”

Mouth open. Eyes not blinking.

“Seriously,” Cameron said.

Since Matt played QB for the school team, he knew when it was time to audible. “Play-action pass,” he said. “Be cool if you could get it to Todd Heap.”

Sure enough, first snap against the Chicago Bears in Week 15 — with the Ravens trying to make the playoffs — Flacco fakes the handoff and drops back to pass. Only he bounces the ball off the turf for an incomplete pass. But later in that series Cameron looks at his play sheet. Scrawled on the side, he’s written Matthew Costello. So he calls Matt’s play again and it goes for a 14-yard touchdown to Heap, the tight end. Ravens win, 31-7.

End of story, right? Except, three weeks later, the night before the Ravens’ playoff game with New England, Cameron calls again.

“OK, Matt, whaddya wanna do Sunday?”

“Run the ball,” pronounced Matt. “Ray Rice. He’s hot.”

So, first play against the Patriots, Flacco hands to Rice. There’s a hole and Rice is through it like he’s being chased by a bear.

“And I’m thinking to myself, ‘Don’t tell me this is going to go all the way,’” Cameron remembers. It does — 83 yards, untouched, for a touchdown. “The whole way, I’m thinking of Matthew,” Cameron says. …

Go here for the rest of the story.