May 23, 2011

If Mr. Kucinich Goes to Washington (State), Would He Retain His Seniority?

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:06 pm

398px-Dennis_Kucinich_Official_PhotoFor those who are unaware, because of redistricting in Ohio, which is losing two congressional seats as a result of the 2010 census, longtime Buckeye State Congressman and 2004/2008 unserious Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is considering a run for Congress in Washington State, some 2,000 miles from his current Cleveland digs.

In his coverage of Kucinich’s recent northwestern travels, Carl Hulse at the New York Times characterized the possible long-distance congressional pursuit by the former Boy Mayor, who mismanaged Cleveland to the brink of bankruptcy in the late-1970s, thusly: “It is a somewhat novel idea that could be summed up as: Have seniority, will travel.”

Hulse didn’t follow up on his seniority assertion, but it would appear that if Kucinich were somehow to triumph in an Evergreen State congressional contest, he would retain his status as ranking Democratic member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and his relatively lofty status at the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Unfortunately, that’s not surprising. Although not directly analogous, in 2005, former six-term Ohio Congressman Bob McEwen, who had resided in Virginia during almost all of the previous 12 years after being ousted in 1992, came close to winning a 2005 special GOP primary for the Buckeye State’s Second Congressional District necessitated by Rob Portman’s departure for the Bush administration. One of McEwen’s major arguments was that, unlike his opponents, he would rejoin the Rules Committee with his years of seniority intact. McEwen lost, and his claim was never tested. But there is nothing I have found in discussions with others or in limited research that would lead me to believe that Dennis Kucinich would lose his seniority if he were to grab the carpetbag and somehow win election as a Washington State congressman.

This strikes me as unfair, especially to longtime Washingtonians who might have to run against Kucinich, and to other House members who have remained loyal to their states but would still have to wait their turn to move up the seniority ladder.

But there it is.

Cross-posted at the Washington Examiner Opinion Zone.

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BizzyBlog Update: Gosh, I just realized that today is the sixth anniversary of this post, which changed the nature of this blog forever, and was the beginning of an ultimately successful effort (with lots of help from other quarters) which kept a certain former congressman from again becoming “my” congressman.

AP Goes Back to Cooked Poll, This Time to Misrepresent Public Opinion on Medicare and Social Security

CookingWithAP1109This morning, Associated Press reporters Ricardo Alonso Zaldivar and Stephen Ohlemacher went back to an AP-GfK poll yours truly thoroughly discredited on May 11 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). That’s when the AP’s Liz Sidoti and Jennifer Agiesta laughably claimed that President Obama’s approval had jumped to 60%.

This time, Alonso-Zaldivar and Ohlemacher didn’t “merely” revisit a poll with an absurd 46%-29%-4% Democrat-Republican-Independent makeup (after classifying leaners). They went further, proving that my characterization of the AP’s polling partnership with GfK North America in a subsequent May 16 column as “Absolutely Pathetic Garbage for Koolaiders,” which makes an utter mockery of the AP’s “Statement of News Values and Principles,” was in no way over the top.  The AP pair went even further  this morning by misrepresenting the relevant questions on Medicare and Social Security in their headline and opening paragraph:

AP-GfK Poll: Medicare doesn’t have to be cut

They’re not buying it. Most Americans say they don’t believe Medicare has to be cut to balance the federal budget, and ditto for Social Security, a new poll shows.

The trouble is, guys, what you’ve reported doesn’t reflect what the poll questions were, as seen in this graphic taken directly from the poll’s full topline (red underlines are obviously mine):

APGfKsocsecMedicareQsMay2011

For cryin’ out loud, Alonso-Zaldivar and Ohlemacher turned answers as to whether cuts to Medicare and Social Security can theoretically be avoided (i.e., whether they are “possible”) into hard claims that those polled believe that those programs don’t “have to be cut.” To call this “horse manure” is to be overly kind. The fact that they finally get around to referencing the word “possible” — in Paragraphs 11 and 12 — doesn’t compensate for their opening misrepresentations, given that the text of those paragraphs will almost never hit the airwaves, will be cut from many if not most print and online publications, or will escape the notice of readers who won’t get that far where the full report appears.

While I’m discussing those two paragraphs, perhaps someone can explain how the AP pair reached this (as far as I could tell) not present in the topline conclusion: “Taking both programs together, 48 percent said the government could balance the budget without cutting either one (Social Security or Medicare).”

Properly-worded questions would have gone something like this:

  • “Do you believe that Medicare will have to be reformed or restructured as part of balancing the federal budget over the long-term?”
  • “Do you believe that Social Security will have to be reformed or restructured as part of balancing the federal budget over the long-term?”

Of course, those answers might have come back with a majority in the affirmative. We can’t take a chance on that happening.

The questions as formulated by AP-GfK are textbook examples of polling malpractice. By misrepresenting the answers given, the AP reporters have engaged in journalistic malpractice.

This really is a perfect partnership, isn’t it?

Anyone who can stand reading the entirety of the AP item will see that the wire service’s reporters claim that “the Republican Medicare privatization plan” has already “flopped,” that “Medicare seems to be turning into the new third rail of politics,” and that “nearly every solution for Social Security is politically toxic.” If the final claim is true, which I’m not ready to concede, you have to ask: “With poisoned polling like AP-GfK’s — Gee, I wonder why?”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lickety-Split Links (052311, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:58 am

Paul Ryan’s response to David Gregory on Meet the Press (carried at Breitbart) about the popularity of his budget reform initiatives is fine on one level. Ryan basically said that effective, passionate leadership moves the poll numbers.

That’s basically fine, but given that the establishment press often rigs the poll numbers, the completely correct answer for Ryan would have been to say that effective, passionate leadership moves public opinion.

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Football player Ray Lewis says that the National Football League and the players need to come to an agreement, because if they lose the season, there will be an increase in crime:

That’s because, Lewis said, the NFL lockout affects “way more than us” — the owners and the players.

“There’s too many people that live through us, people live through us,” he said. “Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.”

When asked why he thought crime would increase if the NFL doesn’t play games this year, Lewis said: “There’s nothing else to do Sal.”

Maybe we should listen to Lewis (no, I don’t really believe that). After all, when it comes to crime, he has hands-on experience, including a criminal conviction, as documented here.

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The photo caption here is more evidence, beyond that noted here and here, that the Associated Press is determined to keep Herman Cain’s substantial resume away from the general public:

Herman Cain announces his run for Republican candidate for president at a rally Saturday, May 21, 2011 in Atlanta. Cain has run a pizza chain, hosted a talk radio show and sparred with Bill Clinton over health care. He’s never held elected office. Now the tea party favorite wants to be president.

Sure guys, all Cain did in business was to run some pizza chain.

It would have been very easy in the space available to indicate that “Cain has been a business turnaround specialist, Board Chairman at the Kansas City Fed, and was head of the National Restaurant Association when he sparred with Bill Clinton over health care.” That’s about 30 words, captures all of his business experience, and is about the same length as the AP’s last three sentences, the final two of which were wasteful filler (“tea party favorite” could have been the first three words of the entire item). But see, that would have been fully descriptive, and the AP apparently doesn’t want that.

As to the “problem” that’s he’s never held elected office, Kyle-Ann Shiver, in a brilliant Pajamas Media column on why Cain is able, quotes the Herminator: “Everyone in Washington has held public office before. How’s that working out for you?”

A full report on Cain’s background, experience, and current momentum is here at National Review.

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At Mediaite last Thursday (internal link added by me):

The effort by liberal media watchdog group Media Matters to convince half a dozen leading national advertisers to pull their dollars from the Fox News Channel got a high-profile snub Thursday when Orbitz, the travel company, not only declined to participate, but fired back at Media Matters, calling the “Drop Fox” campaign a “smear effort.”

Orbitz shot back, describing Media Matters as “a political organization that has been funded pretty extensively to go after one network, and we aren’t going to engage in that fight,” Orbitz spokesman Brian Hoyt told The Hollywood Reporter

It’s only a coincidence, but I’m glad I used Orbitz for my last two flights.

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This just in:

Hamas condemned President Obama’s AIPAC speech, saying it will not recognize Israel despite the United States president’s demand.

The Obama administration is “not a friend to the people of the region,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the Ma’an Palestinian news service.

Abu Zuhri said Obama’s continued support of Israel showed that the U.S. is biased, and will “support the occupation at the expense of the freedom of the Palestinian people.”

“The US administration will fail, just as all others have in the past, in forcing Hamas to recognize the occupation,” Abu Zuhri said.

Why does anyone waste “negotiating” with Hamas? Unconditional recognition of Israel’s right to exist must be a precondition for any kind of talks, period. Instead, the pressure is primarily on Israel. Horse manure.

Kris Kobach: ‘The Case for Voter ID’

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:05 am

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning, Kobach demonstrates that requiring positive photo ID at the polls and when originally registering can’t depress turnout, because, contrary to critics’ absurd assertions, virtually everybody has one (bolds are mine):

Critics of these laws nevertheless make outrageous arguments against them. New York University’s Brennan Center, which stridently opposes all photo ID laws, claims that a whopping 11% of the American voting-age public—that means tens of millions of people—don’t possess a photo ID. It bases this number on a survey it conducted in 2006.

However, we don’t have to rely on implausible estimates when the actual numbers are readily available. In Kansas, my office obtained the statistics, and they tell a very different story. According to the 2010 census, there are 2,126,179 Kansans of voting age. According to the Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles, 2,156,446 Kansans already have a driver’s license or a non-driver ID. In other words, there are more photo IDs in circulation than there are eligible voters. The notion that there are hundreds of thousands of voters in Kansas (or any other state) without photo IDs is a myth.

Carrying a photo ID has become a part of American life. You can’t cash a check, board a plane, or even buy full-strength Sudafed over the counter without one. That’s why it’s not unreasonable to require one in order to protect our most important privilege of citizenship. But just in case any person lacks a photo ID, Kansas’s law provides a free state ID to anyone who needs one. Other states have included similar provisions in their photo-ID laws.

Some opponents of election security laws also declare that they are part of a sinister plot to depress voter registration and turnout, especially among minority voters who are more likely to vote Democrat. Here too the facts do not support the claim. Georgia’s photo ID requirement was in place for both the 2008 and 2010 elections, when turnout among minority voters was higher than average. Likewise, Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for registration has not impeded minority voters from registering.

So there’s still a danger, but it’s that there are people out there with multiple IDs who might vote more than once. The danger is certainly not that there are hundreds of thousands or millions of people who don’t have one in the first place — and if they don’t, as noted, they can get one for free.

Read the whole thing.

The only conclusion one can reach is about many of the opponents of voter ID laws is that they are not only unconcerned about the integrity of elections, but they are also interested in rigging their results.

Positivity: Teammates, family honor Hall of Famer Killebrew

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Peoria, Arizona:

May 20, 5:25 PM EDT

Harmon Killebrew’s Hall of Fame career as one of the most powerful sluggers baseball has known was merely a subplot to his story as family and friends gathered to say goodbye.

What they recalled most was Killebrew the gentle, caring man who treated all those he encountered with respect.

Several hundred mourners, including past and present members of the Minnesota Twins, attended Killebrew’s funeral service at a suburban north Phoenix church on a gorgeous sunny Friday morning.

Killebrew, who hit 573 home runs in his long major league career, died Tuesday at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., of esophageal cancer at 74.

Former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven had those in attendance stand and cheer Killebrew for an imagined home run No. 574 near the end of the service, and the crowd responded with a rousing effort.

But it was Killebrew the man who was celebrated far more than Killebrew the baseball player.

The nickname “Killer” didn’t seem to fit a man so kind, his grandson Eric Queathem said.

“In his modest and caring way, he always tried to make people feel good about themselves,” Queathem said.

Son Cam spoke of the outpouring of support his father had received in recent months as he fought the deadly disease.

“I don’t think he really realized how much he was loved,” he said. “That’s the kind of man he was. He was so humble. He got a lot of things but I’m not sure he really got that, and it was just beautiful.”

A private burial is planned Monday in Killebrew’s hometown of Payette, Idaho. A memorial service is scheduled next Thursday night at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The Twins, in a twist of fate, were in Arizona to begin a three-game interleague series against the Diamondbacks on Friday night, so the entire squad was on hand.

Current Twins Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau, as well as manager Ron Gardenhire, were pall bearers, along with ex-Twin Paul Molitor and Killebrew’s former teammates Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Frank Quilici. Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Frank Robinson also attended the service, which was open to the public.

Afterward, Cuddyer said it is his goal to “strive to be Harmon Killebrew.”

“Strive to treat people the way he treated people,” he said, “and make everybody feel comfortable, make everybody feel like they’re special. For one of the biggest names in a sport to be able to make every single person he came into contact with feel special, that’s a pretty big achievement.”

A lone bagpiper played “Amazing Grace” as the casket was rolled into the giant auditorium, followed by the members of Killebrew’s large family.

Go here for the rest of the story.

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UPDATE, May 30: At Twin Cities-based Powerline — “Remembering Harmon