December 3, 2011

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (120311)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 1:30 pm

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows later. Other topics are also fair game.

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At Reason (HT Instapundit) — “Federal Housing Authority Poised to Re-Sink the Economy.”

Fast & Furious“Justice Withdraws Inaccurate ‘Fast And Furious’ Letter It Sent To Congress.” Related comment at Instapundit: “You lie to the DOJ and you go to prison. The DOJ lies to you and it’s just another day at the office.” Does this mean that Scooter Libby and Martha Stewart get do-overs too (/sarc)?

John Nolte at BigJournalism.com“Dead Movement Walking: Top Six Signs the Left And Mainstream Media Have Hung Occupy Out to Dry”

The Cain Candidacy, and America the Politically Dysfunctional (Updates: He’s Out, Much More On Ginger White)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:37 am

CainOnOReilly110111I don’t know whether Herman Cain will drop out of the presidential contest today.

I do know that if he does, it will be despite the fact, based on the available (lack of) evidence, and unlike any number of current and former presidents and presidential candidates in clearly proven circumstances, he has committed no sin.

Let’s look at the Ten Commandments (pick your version) just for the he-, uh, heck of it.

Adultery? Please. As Ann Coulter wrote Wednesday:

White’s proof that she had a 13-year affair is that she has two of Cain’s books signed by him — one with the incriminating inscription, “Friends are forever! Everything else is a bonus,” and the other, “Miss G, you have already made a ‘big difference!’ Stay focused as you pursue your next destination.” (I know — filthy!)

If that’s proof of an affair, I’ve had thousands of them without even realizing it.

… all she has are two books with inscriptions that could have been written to an auto mechanic who waited in line at a Cain book signing. Even her business partner during the alleged affair says White never mentioned Cain’s name.

There’s more evidence which trashes White’s credibility, but let’s not get overly distracted. The point is, there’s no (repeat: no) credible evidence other than White’s highly questionable word.

“Coveting” someone of the opposite sex who is not your wife? Here’s Coulter again (and this assumes that any form of “sexual harassment” as defined by law is sinful, which isn’t even the case):

Only two women (accusing Cain of sexual harassment) were willing to give their names.

(Sharon Bielak) produced no evidence.

The second one, Karen Kraushaar, made unspecified allegations of a “hostile environment” when she was working for Cain, but refuses to say what those allegations were. This despite the fact that the National Restaurant Association waived her confidentiality agreement, thus allowing her to go public.

That leaves the issue of Herman Cain failing to tell his wife about money given to Ginger White. Is that a “sin” (the commandments involved would be the ones against lying and stealing)? Highly doubtful.

The Cains are worth between $2.9 and $6.8 million, according to those who have read the candidate’s financial disclosure form. Although that’s impressive, given his resume and the annual earnings he reported for 2010 (between $1.1 million and $2.1 million), it’s also a probable indicator that Mr. and Mrs. Cain have given a lot of money away during their lives (anyone making $1-2 mil per year for many years who was hoarding it would ordinarily be worth a lot more than the candidate disclosed).

If I’m right, that’s important. I have no inside knowledge of this, but it seems likely that Gloria and Herman Cain give lots of money away to many charities and directly to many individuals. If so, it seems reasonable to believe that they wouldn’t necessarily inform each other concerning each and every donation.

If, in context, the money given to Ginger White amounts to a rounding error in comparison to the Cains’ income and net worth, Herman Cain’s admitted failure to tell Gloria about the money he gave White hasn’t compromised the couple’s financial well-being. If I’m right in context, the argument that failing to tell her (unless she asked, or unless they have privately agreed to a “tell all no matter how small” arrangement) is some kind of sin, or an automatic disqualifier from running for president, is so absurd that it’s hard to believe we’re even discussing it.

Is giving money to another woman who isn’t your wife and failing to tell your wife, regardless of the amount involved, an error in judgment? Possibly, but even if one concedes that, it hardly constitutes justification for ending a political candidacy. We have primaries and elections so that voters — not the media, not the party establishment, and not David Axelrod — can render an opinion on the entirety of the person’s political positions, knowledge, analytical ability, judgment (yes, in both public and private life), and character.

This is why I hope (assuming of course that he is indeed telling the truth) that the Herminator doesn’t drop out, even if his advisers believe that his candidacy is an impossible dream. What’s wrong with letting GOP primary voters decide who’s the best of the whole bunch, warts and all? In fact, I would argue that it would be a (figurative, of course) sin to let others in effect decide voters’ available choices even before the first ballot has been cast.

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UPDATE: He’s out (“suspending”).

UPDATE 2, Dec. 10: Meant to post these for a while, and finally will, thanks to running across an item at Pundit Press.

First, from the New York Daily News on November 29 (these and other stories have been excerpted heavily for future reference purposes):

(Ginger) White described herself in the (Atlanta TV) interview as a jobless former businesswoman. She is middle-aged, has two children and was evicted from her Atlanta home earlier this month, according to a background check done by the TV station.

WAGA reporters also found records showing she has been hit with several eviction notices in DeKalb County, Ga., over the past six years.

She filed for bankruptcy 23 years ago, the station reported. In 2001, she also filed a sexual harassment suit, which was later settled, according to the station.

Her former business partner, Kimberly Vay, once sued her and accused her of stalking, the station reported.

Vay, who did not respond to calls for comment Monday, also sought an order of protection against White, charging that she was bombarded with emails and texts “threatening [a\] lawsuit” and defaming her character.

A judge ruled in favor of Vay in a libel suit she had filed against White, the station reported.

… She gave the TV station loads of cell phone records, and Cain’s personal cell phone, which he answered when someone from the station called it.

She also gave the station’s reporter two books Cain signed for her. In one of them, his 2001 autobiography “CEO of SELF,” Cain added a little note: “Friends are forever! Everything else is a bonus.”

Then there’s this, which is now only at Pundit Press (the Google Cache mentioned is gone):

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

Not only did Ginger White lose a libel case this year, according to a former friend and business partner, Ms. White is a lesbian.

And, on top of all of that, Kimberly Vay, who had a relationship with Ms. White, stated that Herman Cain was “never mentioned” during the years they spent as partners.

From the Examiner (link no longer works — Ed.):

According to (ABC’s Laura) Reddy, Ginger White, the woman who alleged having a 13-year-long extramarital affair with Herman Cain, was involved in a lesbian relationship with Kimberly Vay, her former business partner.

“His name has never come up,” Vay said, while telling ABC she was involved in a love affair with White for 13 years – the same length of time White said she was involved with Cain.

Update- The Examiner took down their story for whatever reason. However, Google cached it here.

Here’s the original ABC item:

Former Business Partner: Ginger White Never Mentioned Herman Cain

The female bodybuilder who once ran a bicycle business with latest Herman Cain accuser Ginger White says the Atlanta woman never mentioned the Republican presidential candidate, who she says was her lover for 13 years.

“His name has never come up,” said Kimberly Vay, who told ABC News that she and White were former business partners.

But Vay, who filed and won a libel lawsuit against White, refused to comment directly when asked whether she considers White’s accusations about Cain credible. “When you see the details of my lawsuit,” said Vay, “they will speak for themselves.” She then referred ABC News to her attorney.

According to Vay’s suit, which was filed in June 2011, White and Vay were partners in a fitness coaching business called No Limit Cycling, and held spinning classes inside the Martin Luther King Recreation Center, which is owned by the City of Atlanta. In November 2010, claimed Vay, White asked to end their partnership, with White continuing to operate No Limit Cycling, and Vay agreed.

On December 9, according to the complaint, White sent a “defamatory” note to a master email list of the company’s clients and to city officials. The email said that White’s business had “come tumbling down [on] the day I invited Kim Vay into my life and my business” and that Vay had turned her “dream” into a “nightmare.” According to the complaint, the email alleged that Vay, a competitive bodybuilder, injected veterinary drugs into her system prior to contests,” and also said that Vay preferred to date black men but had made derogatory comments about black women’s hair.

Vay’s complaint termed the allegation about drug use “false, malicious, defamatory” and “reckless,” and therefore libelous.

Both women retained attorneys, according to Vay’s account, and reached an out-of-court settlement in April 2011. In June, Vay filed suit, claiming that White had failed to live up to the settlement and that she was entitled to sue for libel. Vay’s attorney Kurt Martin told ABC News that White had failed to honor the financial agreement that had settled the case.

Vay also told ABC News that she had filed a petition for a restraining order against White, but that the petition was never finalized and no restraining order was issued.

When White did not respond to a subpoena or appear at a hearing, a DeKalb County judge entered a default judgment in Vay’s favor on Nov. 3, 2011. A jury will decide damages.

During an interview with Atlanta Fox affiliate WAGA, White was asked about Vay’s libel case. She said, “I admit it. Whatever happened with Kim and I happened.” Her attorney told the station that White didn’t respond to Vay’s lawsuit because she though the dispute had already been settled.

The ‘Cain Scrutiny’ Leads to a ‘Reassessment’

CainOnOReilly110111“This is how liberals dirty you up when they’ve got nothing.” — Ann Coulter

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Thursday.

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Anyone watching Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s Wednesday morning address in the Cincinnati suburb of West Chester would have come away believing that the last thing on his mind is dropping out of the 2012 race.

Alas, such is not the case. In both the post-speech press scrum (second video at link) and a two-segment interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto Wednesday afternoon, Cain made it very clear that a “reassessment” is indeed in progress, and that it will take at least several days to complete it.

Why so long? Well, whoever is behind what Cain insists is a concerted smear campaign will be happy to know that he may decide to abandon his presidential run not because of the strain he is enduring as a result of a series of sexual harassment charges followed by an “out of the blue” (Cain’s words) claim by a woman of a 13-year extramarital affair, but because he senses that it is becoming a burden his wife and family either cannot bear or should not be required to bear. As Cain intimated to Cavuto, that’s not something you can figure out while on the road; it will require some face-to-face presence and frank discussions at home.

We’ve become so jaded to politicians leaning on “time with family” as a clearly bogus justification for deciding not to run for election or reelection that it would be easy to dismiss Cain’s “reassessment” as an attention-getting ploy. I doubt it. Let’s step back to Cain’s decision to enter the race early this year.

You’re 65 years old (Cain will be 66 in December). You’re financially worry-free. You’ve got a fabulous wife of forty-plus years, a wonderful family and extended family, and grandkids, nieces and nephews to dote on. You virtually cheated death by beating Stage IV colon cancer in 2006. Since then, you’ve become a Tea Party favorite and a successful local talk show host. As Cain said on Wednesday, “I was on my way to cruise control before the country got messed up.”

But the country is seriously messed up, and getting worse: “(Ronald Reagan’s) shining city on a hill has slid down the side of the hill.” You don’t see anyone out there on whom you can rely to fix things. Instead, you see a two-party establishment whose priorities “are to get reelected and to surround themselves with special rules.”

So you start considering the initially implausible idea of running for president. If you believe the “experts” out there — the ones whose elitist parents thought Ronald Reagan’s quest to win the White House was quixotic — it’s an impossible dream. Of course, as a religious family man, you consult, you pray, and you seek out trusted friends’ and associates’ opinions. After due deliberation, you go all in, knowing full well that if you become competitive (and of course you plan for that to happen, or you wouldn’t waste your time), you will as a black conservative be on the receiving end of attacks far worse than anything even Clarence Thomas suffered.

Now I’m supposed to believe that Herman Cain, a guy who has “rocket scientist” on his resume, was a wildly successful businessperson, and has analytical skills which put the vast majority of politicians to shame, recklessly decided to risk long-term family peace and run for president despite the near certainty that a past pattern of real sexual harassment and a genuine 13-year affair would come out in the process. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’m not buying it, and before I will someone is going to have to present legitimate proof that the flurry of charges has any substance at all.

So far, despite establishment press pretense, that has not happened. As Ann Coulter wrote in her Wednesday column:

Only two women (accusing Cain of sexual harassment) were willing to give their names.

(Sharon Bielak) produced no evidence.

The second one, Karen Kraushaar, made unspecified allegations of a “hostile environment” when she was working for Cain, but refuses to say what those allegations were. This despite the fact that the National Restaurant Association waived her confidentiality agreement, thus allowing her to go public.

… Ginger White claims she had a 13-year affair with Cain — and all she has are two books with inscriptions that could have been written to an auto mechanic who waited in line at a Cain book signing. Even her business partner during the alleged affair says White never mentioned Cain’s name.

… But this is how liberals dirty you up when they’ve got nothing: They launch a series of false accusations, knowing that Americans with busy lives won’t follow each story to the end and notice that they were all blind alleys.

Despite the past month’s obvious stress, Cain’s teleprompter-free, apparently mostly off-the-cuff public speaking performance and sense of his audience appear not to have suffered one iota since his informal appearance and after-dinner speech at Ohio’s grassroots “We the People” convention in July. In his Wednesday speech, he made but one reference to the controversies: “I have been attacked not because I have bad ideas (i.e., “my ideas are good” — Ed.) … they’re attacking my character, my reputation and my name in order to try to bring me down. I don’t believe that America is going to let that happen.”

Well, that remains to be seen, and it would really be important to find out. As I wrote at my home blog three weeks ago:

I’m only going on instincts here and no special knowledge, but those instincts are telling me that if Cain really is telling the truth, his decision concerning whether or not to tough it out until he either wins or loses the nomination — regardless of the outcome — may be one of the most important any presidential candidate will ever make.

I would be the last person to presume to tell Herman Cain’s unfairly suffering wife and family what to say or do. I would only suggest that God is not in the habit of giving people more than they can handle, and that it would be really nice for the rest of us to see the Herminator take his candidacy to its rightful conclusion, in the process hopefully consigning the politics of personal destruction based on flat-out falsehoods to the dustbin of history.

Positivity: Mexican artists craft figures for Vatican Nativity scene

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:45 am

From Mexico City:

Dec 1, 2011 / 02:19 pm

Mexican artisans from the state of Puebla will provide the figures for the Vatican’s Nativity scene which will decorate St. Peter’s Square this Advent season.

The Nativity scene—one of the largest in the world—will be unveiled in a special ceremony at the Vatican on Dec. 13 and will be attended by Puebla’s auxiliary Bishop Eugenio Lira Rugarcia.

Bishop Lira told the Mexican daily Desde la Fe on Nov. 28 that the ceremony will include a photo exhibit at the Paul VI Hall on the treasures of the Mexican state of Puebla.

He added that auxiliary Bishop Dagoberto Sosa, Archbishop Victor Sanchez Espinosa of Puebla and Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar of Tehuacan will attend the event as well. …

Go here for the rest of the story.