Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

Conservative Wanderer

Follow Conservative:

Question About Prayer has Food Pantry Cut Off from USDA Food

Thursday, March 15th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Thought-provoking:

Todd Young, a Republican congressman serving Indiana’s 9th District, has contacted state officials regarding Community Provisions of Jackson County, a food pantry in Seymour whose director, Paul Brock, insists he will not stop asking clients if they want to pray with him or one of its 45 volunteers when they receive food.

“It certainly appears there is a misinterpretation of some rules,” Young’s spokesman, Trevor Foughty, told FoxNews.com. “We want to make sure that no one is being denied the public assistance that they need.”

Brock told FoxNews.com that he never requires anyone to pray in order to receive nourishment they need.

“We ask them if they want to pray with us; if they say no, then we just let them go on through,” Brock said. “We’re not a church. My job is to feed them and if I can pat them on the back and pray for them and lift them up somehow, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Note, he’s not forcing them to pray, or even sit through a community prayer, he’s asking them, individually, if they’d like to pray. That really doesn’t seem that bad to me, especially given this:

“What we have seen other faith-based food pantries do is to provide signage, have brochures, have prayer cards or have a separate prayer room,” [food bank spokesperson Carrie] Fulbright said.

Okay, so a sign, or brochures, or cards are okay, but a simple verbal question is not? What about those that are illiterate, or perhaps visually impaired? Seem to me that if one format of a friendly offer to pray with the person is acceptable, then all  reasonable methods of offering it should be.

Overall, I think we’ve become way too uptight about things like this in this great nation of ours, and it’s high time we loosened up a little bit. A friendly pat on the back and offer to pray shouldn’t cause this sort of response.

Read bullet | Comments »

Rove: Obama’s Fundraising Lacking, with Spending Outstripping Income

Thursday, March 15th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Okay, I know a lot of you don’t have a lot of affection for Karl Rove, but this time he might have something of interest.

The president faces other fund-raising challenges. For one, there are only so many times any candidate can go to New York or Hollywood or San Francisco for a $1 million fund-raiser. Team Obama is running through its easy money venues quickly.

For another, many of Mr. Obama’s 2008 donors are reluctant to give again. The Obama campaign itself reported that fewer than 7% of 2008 donors renewed their support in the first quarter of his re-election campaign. That’s about one-quarter to one-third of a typical renewal rate: In the first quarter of the Bush re-election campaign, for example, about 20% of the donors renewed their support.

There are other troubling signs. Team Obama’s email appeals don’t ask for $10, $15, $25 or $50 donations as they did in 2008, but generally for $3. Nor are the appeals mostly about issues; many are lotteries. Give three bucks and your name will be put in a drawing for a private dinner with the president and first lady.

This is clever marketing, but it suggests the campaign has found that only a low price point with a big benefit can overcome donor resistance among people who contributed via mail or the Internet in 2008. It also points to higher-than-expected solicitation costs and lower-than-expected fund-raising returns.

Gee, I wonder if Obama’s embrace of the Occupy movement angered the Wall Street crowd, who were some of his biggest donors in 2008?

And, like the big spender he is, he’s also spending far faster than he’s getting donations.

The final financial challenge facing Mr. Obama’s campaign is how fast it is burning through the cash it is raising. Compare the 2012 Obama re-election campaign with the 2004 Bush re-election campaign. Mr. Obama’s campaign spent 25% of what it raised in the second quarter of 2011, while Mr. Bush’s campaign spent only 9% in the second quarter of 2003. In the third quarter it was 46% for Obama versus 26% for Bush; for the fourth quarter it was 57% versus 40%. In January 2012 the Obama campaign spent 158% of what it raised, while the Bush campaign spent 60% in January 2004.

At the end of January, Team Obama had $91.7 million in cash in its coffers and those of the DNC. At the same point in 2004, the Bush campaign and Republican National Committee had $122 million in cash combined.

And this part made me chuckle:

The Obama campaign’s high burn rate doesn’t come from large television buys, phone banks or mail programs that could be immediately stopped. It appears to result instead from huge fixed costs for a big staff and higher-than-expected fund-raising outlays. These are much tougher to unwind or delay. Left unaltered, they generally lead to even more frantic efforts to both raise money and stop other spending.

Big staff? Maybe too many cushy jobs for 2008 donors? Or maybe Obama’s just voting “present” on whether or not he really needs all those people on his campaign? And is that staff getting paid about the same as in other campaigns, or is Obama “spreading the wealth around” to his staffers?

Bottom line, Obama has angered a lot of independents who gave to him in 2008 with his policies and his rhetoric, and now they’re not willing to open their wallets to him. If the GOP can get its act together by November, we have a good chance to show Obama how hard it is to win re-election with only lukewarm support from his lefty base (even the DailyKOS affiliated PPP polling says so) and virtually no support from independents.

Read bullet | Comments »

CBO: ObamaCare To Be Twice As Expensive As Expected, and Cover Fewer People

Thursday, March 15th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Just another one of those things we’re finding out after passing the bill like Nancy Pelosi said, I guess:

The Congressional Budget Office has extended its cost estimates for President Obama’s health care law out to 2022, taking in more years of full implementation, and showing that the bill is substantially more expensive — twice as much as the original $900 billion price tag.

In a largely overlooked segment of the CBO’s update to the budget outlook released Tuesday, the independent arm of Congress found that the bill will cost $1.76 trillion between now and 2022.

That only counts the cost of coverage, not implementation costs and other changes.

“The bill spends more than the president promised, it covers fewer people — probably 2 million fewer people — and it taxes more than was expected,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! The ObamaCare promises aren’t coming true!

As I said last month:

If there’s one thing to take away from this story, it’s that government programs always cost more than the rosy projections the politicians proclaim when they’re trying to get the votes for it. I honestly can’t think of a single federal government program that has come in under budget.

Of course, trusting politicians in the first place is usually a bad idea, especially trusting them with money. As P. J. O’Rourke said many years ago, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

That’s what happens when you have academic wonks that have very limited real-world experience writing bills. The federal government (“Fedzilla,” to use Ted Nugent’s term) pretty much always goes over budget and doesn’t reach its intended goals.

This is a big part of why I believe in smaller government — big government programs just don’t work as advertised, but they work quite well at giving power to power-mad DC bureaucrats who already have too much authority over our daily lives.

Read bullet | Comments »

60% Of Doctors Say ObamaCare Will Hurt Patient Care

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

That’s what a new survey of physicians (link to PDF) by The Doctors Company found. When they break that 60% figure down farther, they found:

  • States range from 52% in Oregon to 72% in Georgia
  • Specialty ranges from primary care at 52% to surgical specialists at 69%
  • Gender ranges from females at 54% to males at 62%
  • Age groups range from “40 and under” at 55% to “51 to 60″ at 64%

In short, in every state, specialty, gender, and age group, a majority say ObamaCare will “negatively affect patient care.”

Other interesting findings, 51.4% say ObamaCare could compromise the doctor-patient relationship, and 9 out of 10 doctors are unwilling to recommend a health-care profession.

That last is a bigger issue than it might appear on the surface. As Heritage notes:

Currently, the United States is on the brink of a severe physician shortage. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, by 2020, the nation will need an additional 91,500 doctors to meet medical demand. Dr. Donald J. Palmisano, former president of the American Medical Association, warns, “Today, we are perilously close to a true crisis as newly insured Americans enter the health care system and our population continues to age.” If current physicians leave the practice early because of the health law, the problem will be exacerbated even further.

I guess we’re finding out what’s in the bill, just as Nancy Pelosi predicted. And what’s in it is a load of… well… insert your own favorite term here.

 

Read bullet | Comments »

Protesting Is More Important Than Teaching To Louisiana Teachers

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Gee, you’d think that they’d want to spend time doing their job rather than protesting because their perks are being threatened:

Two school districts have declared “professional development” days Thursday that will allow teachers to travel to Baton Rouge for hearings on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to make sweeping changes in public schools, officials said Monday.

Boards that oversee the St. Martin and Vermilion school districts authorized the days, superintendents said.

Leaders of the state’s two largest teacher unions, who oppose most of the governor’s plan, say they expect significant turnouts this week, primarily to protest the possibility of fast action on bills that they say are seriously flawed.

Oh, and they’ll be paid for protesting.

Teachers typically collect their normal pay for professional development.

What are the changes? Governor Jindal’s office has the press release of his speech, but the main points are that automatic tenure and pay raises are going away, and teachers will have to prove that they can do their job in order to keep their job. However, the money saved by not giving pay raises to substandard teachers can, Jindal says, be used to pay exceptional teachers better. So, the better you are at your job, the better you’ll be paid — kind of like most other kinds of jobs.

Also, Jindal’s plan expands school choice and gives parents new tools to help change their schools, and requires that school superintendent contracts be reviewed by a state agency.

All of this seems a pretty good way to solve the many problems in education, including poor teachers, overpaid administrators, and parents being powerless to fix failing schools.

Of course, public employee unions are up in arms about it, because they’re more interested in protecting their own turf than actually educating students. In fact, if they really were about educating students, Jindal’s reforms probably wouldn’t be needed. The fact that they can get paid for a day of protesting just indicates how necessary reform is.

(h/t Heritage)

Read bullet | Comments »

Biden at $10,000-a-Couple Dinner Says the GOP Doesn’t Get the ‘Middle Class’

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Yeah, right, Joe.

“These guys don’t have a sense of the average folks out there,” Biden said according to the pool report, “They don’t know what it means to be middle class.”

87 guests paid a minimum of $10,000-per-couple to attend the dinner.

This pretty much parodies itself, but I’ll try. Joe Biden, the second most powerful man in the world, who went to a private Catholic college prep school and had his own law firm before getting into politics, while attending a posh and very expensive dinner, says that the GOP doesn’t have a sense of average folks? Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot, over?

Joe, if you’ve ever been “average folks,” it was so long ago that you’ve likely forgotten what it’s like to wonder where the money to pay the rent is coming from, or have to cancel vacation because you just can’t afford it.

Time to send this buffoon back to Delaware in November, and hope he stays there for good.

Read bullet | Comments »

Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago? 80% Say No.

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Another interesting data point from the poll Bryan highlighted earlier, as caught by NRO’s Jim Geraghty:

Just 20% of Americans feel their family’s financial situation is better today than it was four yearsago. 37% say it is worse, and 43% say it is about the same.

Family’s Financial Situation Vs. Four Years Ago

  • Better today 20%
  • Worse today 37%
  • About the same 43%

It should also be noted that this poll, as would be expected from CBS and the New York Times, oversampled Democrats. As of 1 March, Rasmussen (full article behind paywall, sorry) found 36% identified as Republicans, only 32.4% identified as Democrats; yet in this poll, CBS/NYT polled 304 Democrats and only 263 Republicans, which has the majority on the wrong side (they also report 442 independents, which could be a way for Democrat-leaning respondents to hide).

So, even with Democrats oversampled, more people say they’re worse off today than better, and over twice as many say there’s been no change rather than improvement in their financial situation. Of course, Harry Reid is spinning so fast that you could hook him up to a generator and power Las Vegas:

“I think this poll is so meaningless. It is trying to give the American people an idea of what 300 million people feel by testing several hundred people. I think the poll is flawed in so many different ways including a way that questions were asked. I don’t believe in polls generally and specifically not in this one.”

Yeah, right, Harry. We all know that if this poll had fallen out the other way, you’d be trumpeting it in front of every camera and microphone you could find. But even with oversampling Democrats, it turned out wrong for you, so you’re left with just desperate spin, and worse than that, it’s obviously desperate spin.

I’ll conclude with some free advice for Santorum and Romney: Whoever the GOP nominee is, he should dust off Reagan’s old campaign ad question, and ask Americans, “are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

Read bullet | Comments »

Obama Can’t Answer How Much People Should Pay For Gas

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

A little-noticed (except by Drudge) interview contains a potential bombshell for the President:

Meanwhile, a big issue on the minds of voters is the skyrocketing price of gas.

Obama referred to the phrase, “there’s no magic bullet.”  The president said any politician who says there is one is not being truthful.

Still, an ABC poll released on Monday shows Obama is taking the blame.

The poll shows two-thirds of Americans disapprove of his handling of gas prices, which is a record high for the president, and only eight months before the election.

“Well look, as long as gas prices are going up, people are going to feel like I’m not doing enough, and I understand that,” Obama said.

The president said his fight for a payroll tax cut last year will help Americans afford higher gas prices.

“Ultimately, though there’s no silver bullet. The way we’re going to solve this problem is what we talk about today in our energy report,” Obama said.

The president said America has had the highest domestic oil production in more than a decade.

The nation now exports more crude than it imports, reducing dependence on foreign oil, along with new fuel efficiency standards for cars and investments in alternative fuels.

“The bigger driver of these gas prices is speculation of war in the Middle East, which is why we’ve been trying to reduce loose talk about a war there,” Obama said.

Republicans on the campaign trail see gas prices as a political opening against Obama.

‘Your opponents say they can get gas to the $2.50 range. What do you think Americans should be OK with?” Warmoth asked.

“First of all, nobody believes that. They know that’s just politics. Anybody who says we can get gas down to two bucks a gallon just isn’t telling the truth,” Obama said.

Obama did not give Warmoth an answer as to how much Americans should pay for gas.

However, Obama said his energy advisor did not rule out tapping the country’s oil reserves.

Of course he doesn’t answer, because he wants higher gas prices, but if he said that, he’d have no chance to be re-elected.

Just remember this interview from the 2008 campaign:

And don’t forget to make sure your tires are properly inflated!

And if you’re still complaining, get a trade-in!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vwVaEJ55Iw

Gas prices are Obama’s Waterloo, and he knows it, so he’s going to do everything that he can to spin, and deflect, and say it’s not his fault, when it’s clear that his Department of the Interior (part of the Executive Branch) is deliberately dragging its feet on drilling permits, with over 100 permit applications languishing at DOI as of February 2011, which is devastating the economy of the Gulf Coast. Of course, the fact that the south is largely Republican territory might also factor into Obama’s policies, given his track record.

As I said above, Obama really wants high gas prices, but he knows that he can’t admit it… so it’s up to us to point it out to those that don’t pay as much attention to politics as we do.

Read bullet | Comments »

After The Individual Mandate, What Now?

Monday, March 12th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Let’s assume for the moment that the Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare’s individual mandate, or a future Republican Administration and Congress repeal it. What’s the next step after that? Whether or not the entire bill is struck down, or just the mandate, the American health insurance system is pretty badly broken right now, so we need to do something to fix it.

Politico asked that question, and came up with a few answers:

The backup plan could be automatic enrollment in your employer’s health insurance, a lot like the way you get signed up for the 401(k) plan.

If Congress decides to act to repair that hole in the Affordable Care Act — and that’s a big if — an auto-enrollment requirement is the option that’s getting the most attention from health policy experts. It’s a more low-key way to reach at least some of the uninsured people who would be covered by the individual mandate.

It’s an idea that could even appeal to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — because it’s straight out of the health reform alternative he sponsored in 2009.

Despite having Ryan’s name attached to it, I’m not really sure I like the idea of being forced to opt out… I don’t like deliberately having to opt-out when signing up for something online, whether it’s someone’s newsletter or opting out of a service I don’t use after a free trial. Online marketers love it, especially for free trials, because they know most people won’t opt out right away, and so they can get at least a month or two of membership fees before the customer catches on and cancels it. I’m not convinced that such a tactic is really the way conservatives want to go.

Another alternative comes from Princeton sociologist Paul Starr, who was a senior health care adviser to President Bill Clinton. Under his proposal, people would have three options, not including the poor, who would be covered under health reform’s Medicaid expansion.

They could buy insurance, with subsidies if they qualify. They could pay an annual tax penalty for going uninsured. Or they could opt out with no penalty — but they couldn’t opt back in for five years. And those who opt out wouldn’t have the protections under the health reform law, meaning any insurance — if they could get it at all — could be prohibitively expensive.

This is basically just a fancy way to enforce the individual mandate, while proclaiming loudly that they’re not — just what you’d expect from a Clinton adviser. Going 5 years without being able to opt back in is a pretty serious penalty, so we’re back to “buy insurance or be penalized,” which is also a pretty good summary of the individual mandate it would presumably replace.

So what do we do? Despite not liking Ryan’s 2009 automatic sign-up proposal, last year Heritage reported on another Ryan idea that I like a lot more: introduce market forces into healthcare.

  • Moving Medicare to a premium-support system. By transforming the way seniors receive their health benefits from the government, they would be able to “enroll in the health plans of their choice and receive a defined contribution (known as premium support) toward the cost of their plan…. The premium support will be sufficient for seniors to afford an adequate level of benefits, regardless of age or health care condition.”
  • Moving Medicaid to a block grant system. “In exchange for the capped federal allotment, states are granted considerable new flexibility to manage and administer the restructured Medicaid program to meet its mutual federal and state objectives. This means that states are granted broad discretion and authority to meet general objectives and outcome measures. States that wish to try very different approaches to better serve and improve health care quality for these key populations would have additional authority beyond the normal waiver process.”
  • Tax reform to replace the flawed tax treatment of insurance. “The current individual tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance and other tax mechanisms are replaced with a non-refundable fixed tax credit for households to purchase health coverage…. This change is needed because under today’s system, the tax code provides unlimited tax breaks only to those workers who receive coverage through their employers. Workers cannot use this tax break if no plan is offered through their employers or if they simply prefer a plan other than their employer’s…. The exclusion provides little or no help to lower income workers who are struggling to afford coverage for their families.”

And, as I myself wrote back in 2008:

There is very little ability for consumers to cost-compare in the current system. Think about it… when you get your oil changed, you know the cost up front and can shop around. When you buy a new pair of shoes you know the cost up front and can shop around. When you buy a sack of potatoes you know the cost up front and can shop around. But when you go to the doctor you most often don’t know the cost up front, and would have a lot of trouble shopping around.

[snip]

If you don’t think this will work, just consider what you do when you shop for anything else. You generally either choose solely based on price or, if one store (restaurant, hotel, gas station) is much friendlier than another, you don’t mind paying a little extra for those little extra touches. The important part is, you have made an informed choice to pay more for what you feel is more value. You can’t do that in the current health care system, because there’s no way to compare.

Let people shop for a doctor the same way they shop for the latest Toby Keith CD, and costs will go down.

There’s even more evidence that market forces will work in health care than I mentioned in 2008, even self-identified Democrat David Goldhill admitted, also in 2008, that it’s worked for laser eye surgery:

But most health-care technologies don’t exist in the same world as other technologies. Recall the MRI my wife needed a few years ago: $1,200 for 20 minutes’ use of a then 20-year-old technology, requiring a little electricity and a little labor from a single technician and a radiologist. Why was the price so high? Most MRIs in this country are reimbursed by insurance or Medicare, and operate in the limited-competition, nontransparent world of insurance pricing. I don’t even know the price of many of the diagnostic services I’ve needed over the years—usually I’ve just gone to whatever provider my physician recommended, without asking (my personal contribution to the moral-hazard economy).

By contrast, consider LASIK surgery. I still lack the (small amount of) courage required to get LASIK. But I’ve been considering it since it was introduced commercially in the 1990s. The surgery is seldom covered by insurance, and exists in the competitive economy typical of most other industries. So people who get LASIK surgery—or for that matter most cosmetic surgeries, dental procedures, or other mostly uninsured treatments—act like consumers. If you do an Internet search today, you can find LASIK procedures quoted as low as $499 per eye—a decline of roughly 80 percent since the procedure was introduced. You’ll also find sites where doctors advertise their own higher-priced surgeries (which more typically cost about $2,000 per eye) and warn against the dangers of discount LASIK. Many ads specify the quality of equipment being used and the performance record of the doctor, in addition to price. In other words, there’s been an active, competitive market for LASIK surgery of the same sort we’re used to seeing for most goods and services.

The history of LASIK fits well with the pattern of all capital-intensive services outside the health-insurance economy. If you’re one of the first ophthalmologists in your community to perform the procedure, you can charge a high price. But once you’ve acquired the machine, the actual cost of performing a single procedure (the marginal cost) is relatively low. So, as additional ophthalmologists in the neighborhood invest in LASIK equipment, the first provider can meet new competition by cutting price. In a fully competitive marketplace, the procedure’s price will tend toward that low marginal cost, and ophthalmologists looking to buy new machines will exert downward pressure on both equipment and procedure prices.

So, after the individual mandate is gone — whether by the Supreme Court or by a Republican Congress and President’s repeal — we need to work at re-introducing market forces to health insurance and health care (they’re not the same thing). It won’t be easy, but it needs to be done.

Read bullet | Comments »

Obama Mobilizing Leftist Army To Shape Media Coverage Of ObamaCare SCOTUS Hearings

Sunday, March 11th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

The Community Organizer-in-Chief is up to his old tricks again:

On Wednesday, White House officials summoned dozens of leaders of nonprofit organizations that strongly back the health law to help them coordinate plans for a prayer vigil, press conferences and other events outside the court when justices hear arguments for three days beginning March 26.

The advocates and officials mapped out a strategy to call attention to tangible benefits of the law, like increased insurance coverage for young adults. Sensitive to the idea that they were encouraging demonstrations, White House officials denied that they were trying to gin up support by encouraging rallies outside the Supreme Court, just a stone’s throw from Congress on Capitol Hill. They said a main purpose of this week’s meeting, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, was to give the various groups a chance to learn of the plans.

Right. They’re not encouraging demonstrations and rallies, they’re just giving everyone a chance to learn of plans to encourage prayer vigils (talk about your irony, given the anti-religion contraception mandate), press conferences, and “other events,” which could mean demonstrations and rallies.

Don’t believe me? Well, I read the NY Times so you don’t have to:

Supporters of the law plan to hold events outside the court on each day of oral argument. The events include speeches by people with medical problems who have benefited or could benefit from the law. In addition, supporters will arrange for radio hosts to interview health care advocates at a “radio row,” at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill.

There’s those “events” again.

“The White House was very encouraging and supportive of our activities,” said Ronald F. Pollack, executive director of Families USA, one of more than 60 organizations that sent representatives to the meeting.

Just take a look at the Families USA website, and it’s easy to see where they stand. Given that they’re highlighting analysis from ThinkProgress and Slate on their Supreme Court Watch page, it’s not hard to determine which way they lean.

Jennifer M. Ng’andu, a health policy specialist at the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic rights group, said White House officials emphasized that the court case provided “a great opportunity to highlight benefits of the law for real people.”

Never forget, “La Raza” literally translates as “The Race,” which gives you an idea of just how radical that group is.

Groups working with the White House include the Service Employees International Union; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees;  Health Care for America Now, a consumer coalition that fought for passage of the legislation; Protect Your Care, a nonprofit group created last year to defend the 2010 law; and the Center for American Progress, a research and advocacy group with close ties to the White House.

Again, pretty much a roll call of lefty groups.

Of course, they also have to demonize those who oppose them:

Levi Russell, a spokesman for Americans for Prosperity, said buses would bring people to rally against the health law from Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia, among other states. The theme is “Hands off my health care.”

On its Web site, the Obama re-election campaign describes Americans for Prosperity as a “special-interest front group run by the oil billionaire Koch brothers.” In a recent fund-raising appeal, Jim Messina, the campaign manager, said that the oilmen, Charles and David Koch, were “obsessed with making Barack Obama a one-term president.”

This is likely to set the stage for the election in November, so keep a close eye on what the lefties are doing. I’m sure PJ Media will be doing plenty of coverage.

Read bullet | Comments »

Democrat Sheriff In WV Pleads Guilty To Vote Fraud

Sunday, March 11th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

A while back, Bryan asked why the left is so desperate to smear True the Vote, an organization dedicated to eliminating voter fraud.

Consider this story a partial answer.

As the sheriff of Lincoln County, W.Va., Jerry Bowman is sworn to uphold the law. But the 58-year-old law enforcement veteran stood in a federal courtroom in Charleston on Wednesday and pleaded guilty in a shocking voter fraud case that has stripped him of his job and could send him to prison for a decade.

Prosecutors say Bowman and former Lincoln County Clerk Donald Whitten, 62, were part of a scheme to steal the May 2010 Democratic primary by stuffing ballot boxes with illegal absentee ballots.

Bowman admitted to falsifying more than 100 of the absentee ballot applications and even voting with some of the ballots himself, while Whitten, who also pleaded guilty Wednesday, acknowledged lying to investigators about the plan to try to throw the election.

“It makes you mad,” said Charles Brumfield, who ran against Bowman for Lincoln County circuit clerk, about having the election stolen from him. “It was hurtful. You just didn’t think that would happen in today’s society.”

Note, please, which party’s primary Bowman was running in. He wasn’t running as a Republican, he was running as a Democrat.

And pay close attention to the modus operandi of their scheme.

Brumfield told Fox News that on election night, he was ahead by about 235 votes. That is, until additional batches of absentee ballots started mysteriously appearing, repeatedly, throughout the evening.

“We knew something was wrong, because the post office closes at 4:30 … you don’t go to the post office at 9 o’clock at night and find ballots.”

But for several hours on election night, “They kept coming out and saying ‘we found some more ballots’ … and they did this about three times from 7 to 11 p.m., and when the final tally was taken, we lost,” Brumfield said.

This reminds me very strongly of the 2004 Washington state gubernatorial election, where they kept finding more ballots, and more ballots, and more ballots, until the Democrat was declared the winner, with some help from the state supreme court. So while Bowman may have been very clumsy about it, this “finding ballots” scheme has actually been part of the Democratic playbook for years.

Keep your eyes open in your local elections this year. Sign up to be a poll watcher in your local elections, and don’t be intimidated by Black Panthers trying to scare Republican voters away. If you see something you think needs to be reported, by all means, tell us about it! Use the Contact Us form at the bottom of any PJM page, and give all the details you can.

ACORN and the other lefty operatives will be pulling out every dirty trick in their bag to re-elect their statist puppet Obama. To stop them, we need to be ready, we need to be vigilant, and we need to be loud when we see something like mysteriously “discovered” ballots.

Read bullet | Comments »

OWS Almost Out Of Money

Saturday, March 10th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Another sign that they’re fading into history:

Occupy Wall Street in New York City could run out of cash in a matter of weeks.

A finance report shows the group that galvanized the nationwide movement against economic inequality six months ago had about $45,000 left in its main account.

That’s for the week of March 2. Weekly donations plummeted to about $1,600.

I guess those $700 a night hotel rooms drain the bank account fast. And something — perhaps the cognitive dissonance of leaders staying in hotels while the rank-and-file sleep in tents — seems to have turned off even lefty donors.

Meanwhile, Tea Party events are still going on.

Chalk up another failed attempt by the left to replicate the success of the Tea Party.

Read bullet | Comments »

Electable? Who’s Electable?

Saturday, March 10th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Romney supporters like to make much of polls that purport to show that their guy is “electable.”

However, new polling data from Rasmussen seems to be saying that there’s more than one “electable” candidate in the field (emphasis added):

With the perception growing that he will be the GOP nominee, Romney leads President Obama by five points in a hypothetical 2012 matchup. Today’s numbers show Romney at 48%, Obama at 43%. That’s Romney’s largest lead since December. Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).

If Santorum is the Republican nominee, he is up by one point over the president, 46% to 45%. This is the second time since polling began in 2011 that Santorum has had a slight lead over Obama. Romney is the only other candidate to lead the president more than one time in the polls. See tracking history   for Obama vs. all four Republican candidates.

Now, bear in mind that back in 1980, the polls at this point in the cycle said that Carter would crush Reagan… and we all know how things actually turned out. So, as always, take polls like this with a large grain of salt.

However, it’s interesting that Santorum, once written off as “unelectable,” now has a lead — albeit a slim lead — over Obama.

Perhaps Santorum could be “electable” too?

Read bullet | Comments »

“Doonesbury” Equates Ultrasound With Rape; Some Papers Refuse To Run It

Friday, March 9th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Ahh, that Garry Trudeau, always pushing the envelope… and always in the same direction (emphasis in original):

The series centers on a new Texas law that requires abortion doctors to show or describe an ultrasound image to a patient before the procedure. The comics feature a woman who goes to a clinic and is confronted by several people who suggest she should be shamed for seeking an abortion.

Media blogger Jim Romenesko reported in detail on the contents of the series. According to his blog, the woman in the strip first meets with a male lawmaker who, after she says she’s been using contraception, says: “Do your parents know you’re a slut?”

Preparing to deliver a “transvaginal exam,” the doctor then tells her: “By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape.”

What Trudeau doesn’t tell you is that a transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) is also used to diagnose ectopic pregnancies, ovarian cysts, and even ovarian cancer. Would he say that a test for ovarian cancer is “rape,” and declare that it was done by authority of “the GOP base”? And for the comfort of those with weak stomachs, I’m not going to go into the exact mechanisms of abortion, except to say that many of them have some similarities with the TVU procedure.

Of course, this is the same Garry Trudeau of Branford, CT, employed as a “Cartoonist” by Universal Press Syndicate, who gave $15,000 to “Obama Victory Fund 2012″ last year, so it’s hardly surprising that he hates — yes, I said hates — “the GOP base” enough to use them as the “authority” for “rape.”

Some papers are saying that they’re just not going to run that series of strips (again, emphasis in original):

The Oregonian announced on its website that it will not be running the comic strips, which are the work of cartoonist Garry Trudeau– who is known for his edgy political satire.

[snip]

The article said the Los Angeles Times and St. Louis Post-Dispatch have made similar decisions.

A St. Paul Pioneer Press editor also told Romenesko the newspaper would not be running the “Doonesbury” strips next week.

[snip]

Universal Press Syndicate president Lee Salem said he wouldn’t be surprised if 20 to 30 of the 1,400 newspapers that carry the strip decided to opt out and run the replacement series.

Better pull your seatbelts tight, ladies and gentlemen, this is the way the entire political season is going to go. The “GOP base” or other bogeymen are going to be demonized repeatedly, because they know that Obama can’t be re-elected on his record, so the only thing they can do is sling mud at conservatives.

Read bullet | Comments »

Gloria Allred Wants Rush Arrested

Friday, March 9th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Irony alert!

Rush Limbaugh has drawn the ire of celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who sent a letter to the Palm Beach County state attorney requesting an investigation into whether the popular radio host should be prosecuted for calling a law student a “slut” and “prostitute” last week.

“Mr. Limbaugh targeted his attack on a young law student who was simply exercised her free speech and her right to testify before congress on a very important issue to millions of American women and he vilified her. He defamed her and engaged in unwarranted, tasteless and exceptionally damaging attacks on her,” Allred told POLITICO Friday afternoon. “He needs to face the consequences of his conduct in every way that is meaningful.”

Excuse me, Gloria, doesn’t Mr. Limbaugh also enjoy the right of free speech, not to mention freedom of the press? Or is that reserved for leftist law students in your alternate universe?

In a letter dated March 8, Allred, writing on behalf of the Women’s Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund, requested that Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe probe whether the conservative radio personality had violated Section 836.04 of the Florida Statutes by calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke the two derogatory words.

The statute stipulates that anyone who “speaks of and concerning any woman, married or unmarried, falsely and maliciously imputing to her a want of chastity” is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Allred explained that the statute recently came to her attention as having never been repealed, and that it could very well apply to Limbaugh’s remarks as his show is broadcast from West Palm Beach.

I am not a lawyer, but I think that if they did try to prosecute Rush based on that law, that could start a process that would result in the law being declared unconstitutional, because it seems to me that it’s a clear violation of the First Amendment

I guess after successfully pushing Herman Cain out of the race, Gloria was looking for another way to get her name in the papers and her face on TV.

Read bullet | Comments »

Gas Prices “An Important Factor” In Super Tuesday Voting

Thursday, March 8th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Obama might be shooting himself in the foot by shooting down the Keystone XL pipeline:

It might be one of the biggest issues in the upcoming presidential election. Last night, CBS News exit polls found 77 percent of those voting in seven Super Tuesday states say rising gas prices were an important factor in their vote.

The poll reflects growing consumer anxiety as gas prices have risen nearly 50 cents a gallon in just over two months.

Since this refers to a poll, I’m gonna repeat my poll disclaimer:

Take all political polls with a large grain of salt, especially polls where you do not know the demographic breakdown of respondents. Please do not assume that any given poll is unbiased, or that the sample matches reality, without digging into the details, and maybe not even after digging.

However, this poll seems to match reality fairly closely, since just about everyone except the neo-luddite greens seem to be concerned about rising gas prices.

It’s also a piece of political wisdom that people vote their wallet, and many pundits have already said that rising gas prices could be a big problem for Obama this year. Which makes his doing everything he could to stop the Keystone XL pipeline tantamount to political suicide.

Part of me wants to just stand back and let him complete his political seppuku, but then again, I don’t really wanna be paying $5 at the pump either, so I’m torn.

Read bullet | Comments »

Sebelius Has “No Idea” What’s In ObamaCare

Thursday, March 8th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise (to quote an old TV show):

Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius appeared flummoxed by questioning from Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) at a hearing on the new health care law Wednesday.

Johnson challenged Sebelius over a number of the Obama administration’s claims about the new health care law, namely that it will reduce the deficit and allow individuals to keep their current healthcare plans.

On several occasions, Sebelius professed to have “no idea” what Johnson was talking about.

I’m sure you believe that she has no clue about things like deficit reduction:

JOHNSON: Right. So, the original estimate for deficit reduction–

SEBELIUS: I’m assuming–

JOHNSON: The original estimate for deficit reduction in the first 10 years was $143 billion, correct?

SEBELIUS: Yes–

JOHNSON: So now we, we’ve reduced that $143 billion by $86 billion – by not getting revenue from the CLASS Act – and now $111 billion because we’ve increased the mandatory costs of the exchanges, correct?

SEBELIUS: I’m assuming the numbers are correct.  I’m sorry I don’t have them.

And she doesn’t know what Obama promised:

[JOHNSON:] It’s also true, that President Obama very famously said, ‘if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.’  Period.  ‘If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan.’  Period.  No one will take it away, no matter what. Now, we’ve granted quite a few waivers – about 1,200 to 1,700 waivers – on about 4 million Americans, correct?

SEBELIUS: I’ve no idea what waivers you’re talking about or–

And she doesn’t even know about the waivers her own department is issuing!

JOHNSON: Well, those are waivers–

SEBELIUS: On doctors and health plans, is that…I–

JOHNSON: Just waivers from having to implement portions of the healthcare law that probably would have allowed those – or forced those workers – off their employer-sponsored care.

SEBELIUS: Again, I’d be happy to answer these questions, but I have no idea what waivers you’re talking about–

Well, Nancy Pelosi did tell us we had to pass the bill to see what’s in it, so maybe Sebelius hasn’t gotten the word that the bill has been passed yet, so she still doesn’t know what’s in it. That would be in character, if she really has no idea what Rep. Johnson was talking about.

If, on the other hand, she was trying to pull the wool over our eyes, it’s one of the worst attempts I’ve ever seen in my years following politics, and that includes a lot of really sad attempts by lefty trolls online. Not to mention that a pathetic try at deception doesn’t really indicate a higher level of intelligence than her repeated “I have no idea” statements do.

Read bullet | Comments »

Obama Hires Another Lobbyist

Thursday, March 8th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Remember back during the 2008 campaign, Obama promised that lobbyists “won’t find a job in my White House”? It turned out early that was “just words.” And now Obama is hiring yet another lobbyist.

Steve Ricchetti, whose long list of lobbying clients included Fannie Mae, General Motors, the American Hospital Association and Eli Lilly, was tapped to be counselor to Vice President Biden.

Ricchetti achieved this feat — getting around the ban on lobbyists serving in the administration — by using one of Washington’s most-honored traditions: the loophole. Just as Obama won the presidency, Ricchetti de-registered as a lobbyist for his various clients. But he remained president of the lobbying firm that continued to work for many of those same clients, as well as a few more, such as the American Bankers Association.

Only in today’s Washington could a president circumvent his own ban on hiring lobbyists by hiring the head of a lobbying firm.

As I hinted above, this is hardly the first lobbyist that Obama has brought into his White House. Back in 2009, Politico even listed the lobbyists that Obama had hired at that time:

Eric Holder, attorney general nominee, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm.

Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association.

William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive.

William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use.

David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric.

Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.

Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone.

Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003.

Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.

Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union.

Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations, lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005.

But, no, lobbyists “won’t find a job in [Obama's] White House.” Just how stupid does he think we are?

(image credit: Ben Schumin)

Read bullet | Comments »

School Employees Don’t Want Government-Run Health Insurance

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Oh, taste the irony:

A group of educators and their supporters rallied in front of the Skagit County Courthouse in Mount Vernon Monday against a bill they say would undermine their bargaining rights to determine health care coverage.

Senate Bill 6442 would place all of the state’s public school employees under a consolidated health care plan overseen by a new state department.

[snip]

But opponents disagree, saying it wouldn’t save money, and would “reduce benefits and limit choices” and eliminate “local decision-making about educator health benefits,” according to information from the Washington Education Association.

Aren’t those some of the same things that conservatives said about ObamaCare? I guess to the Washington Education Association, it’s okay to do that to other people, but not to them! After all, the WEA is part of the National Education Association, and the NEA was a strong supporter of ObamaCare and a single-payer healthcare system.

But, when it comes to their own members, all of a sudden it’s time to rally against it! I wonder how many of the educators at that rally also rallied against ObamaCare when it was being shoved through Congress? Personally, I’ll be very shocked if any of them rallied against ObamaCare.

So, one law for the self-anointed elite, and another for the “little people,” seems to be their rallying cry.

Read bullet | Comments »

The Day After Super Tuesday: Looking At The Results

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

On Monday, I posted a piece where I looked at polls from 5 different states holding primaries on Super Tuesday (I didn’t do caucus states cause there wasn’t polling data out there for most of them).

So, the time has come to take a look at how accurate the polls were, state by state.

Georgia

On Monday, the Real Clear Politics (RCP) average had “Gingrich leading with 39.3%, Romney second with 23.8%, Santorum third at 20.5%, and Paul trailing with 6.0%.”

The results: Gingrich 47%, Romney 26%, Santorum 20%, and Paul 7%, so we got the order right, and given that the polls only accounted for a little under 90% total, meaning there were about 10% undecided or naming another candidate, I’d say the percentages were in the ballpark as well, especially Santorum and Paul.

Oklahoma

Monday, the RCP average had “Santorum leading with 41.0%, Romney second with 20.5%, Gingrich third with 20.0%, and Paul trailing the field with 7.5%.”

When all the ballots were counted, we had Santorum with 34%, Romney 28%, Gingrich 27%, and Paul with 10%. Again, the order of finish was correct, and the final percentages were within shooting distance of the polls, though Santorum’s drop of 7 points wasn’t hinted at by the data I saw from RCP.

Ohio

The state that likes to keep pundits up late had an RCP average showing “Santorum in the lead with 34.0%, Romney a close second with 31.3%, Gingrich a distant third with 15.7%, and Paul in last with 12.0%” on Monday.

The polls, honestly, got this one wrong, but there were things they got right even while not correctly predicting the winner. The final results were Romney 38%, Santorum 37%, Gingrich 15%, and Paul 9%. So, while the polls were correct that this was a very close race, they didn’t pick up on who was going to end up on top.

Massachusetts

Like Georgia, this one was absurdly easy to call. RCP had “Romney way out in front with 64%, Santorum a very distant second with 16%, Paul and Gingrich bringing up the rear with 7 and 6% respectively.” The results were Romney 72%, Santorum 12%, Paul 10%, and Gingrich 5%.

Vermont

The last of the 5 states I reported on Monday, on Monday RCP predicted “Romney ahead with 34%, Santorum second with 27%, Paul in third with 14%, and Gingrich in last with 10%.”

The actual results were Romney 40%, Paul 25%, Santorum 24%, and Gingrich 8%. So while the polls got the winner and loser right, they got second and third places wrong.

What can we make of this? Seems to this humble blogger that we can trust poll averages in blowout races to some extent, but the closer the race gets, or the smaller the number of voters or poll respondents (as in Vermont), the harder it becomes to accurately predict, so I’m going to maintain my skepticism of polls for a little while longer. I guess we haven’t perfected the science of predicting mass human behavior, called “psychohistory” by Isaac Asimov, quite yet.

Read bullet | Comments »

Rep. Donald Payne Loses Battle With Cancer

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Sad news, no matter what party you belong to (emphasis in original):

Rep. Donald Payne, a New Jersey Democrat first elected to Congress in 1988, has died after a battle with colon cancer. He was 77.

Payne just went public with his illness last month. At the time, he vowed to fight the disease, saying his doctors “expect my full recovery, as do I.” But as his condition deteriorated, he was flown from Washington to New Jersey in early March on a medical transport.

He passed away on Tuesday, according to various news reports.

Cancer is a terrible disease, and it causes a lot of pain and suffering, regardless of one’s ideology.

I do hope that my fellow conservatives will show more grace at this man’s passing than the lefties did at Breitbart’s, and join me in praying for his family and friends.

Read bullet | Comments »

Report: Israel Has Already Decided To Strike Iran

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

It’s just one report so far, but let us remember that Israel has struck nuclear facilities they felt were a threat before:

Channel 2 in Israel, sourcing a “senior American official”, says that the decision has already been made by the Israeli government to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“All U.S. intelligence officials are confident the Israeli leadership has already decided to attack Iran, unless a significant change happens in the coming weeks or months with  the Iranian nuclear program,” Channel 2 reports.

This does seem to fit with what Netanyahu told Obama yesterday:

“Israel must have the ability always to defend itself by itself against any threat,” Netanyahu said. “After all, that’s the very purpose of the Jewish state: to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny. And that’s why my supreme responsibility is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate.”

However, the MSM is quoting a presumably different source who says something different:

Benjamin Netanyahu assured President Barack Obama on Monday that Israel has not made any decision on attacking Iran’s nuclear sites, sources close to the talks said, but the Israeli prime minister gave no sign of backing away from possible military action.

So, has Israel decided to strike or not? I’m not inside either government, but considering what we know about Bibi’s opinion of Barack, if the decision had been made to strike, Bibi might not want to let Barack know.

I guess we’ll find out sooner or later. And so will the Iranians.

Read bullet | Comments »

Federal Judge: Gun Owners Don’t Need “Good Reason” For Wanting A Gun Permit

Monday, March 5th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

A victory for the Second Amendment:

Maryland residents do not have to provide a “good and substantial reason” to legally own a handgun, a federal judge ruled Monday, striking down as unconstitutional the state’s requirements for getting a permit.

U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg wrote that states are allowed some leeway in deciding the way residents exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms, but Maryland’s objective was to limit the number of firearms that individuals could carry, effectively creating a rationing system that rewarded those who provided the right answer for wanting  to own a gun.

“A citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights,” Legg wrote. “The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”

This judge has it exactly right. You don’t need to give a “good and substantial” reason for exercising your First Amendment right to free speech (though the Obama Administration is trying hard to make you give a good reason for exercising your freedom of religion), so why should you have to give one for exercising your Second Amendment rights?

It’s not mentioned in the article linked above, but I’d be somewhat surprised if the anti-freedom forces didn’t try appealing this ruling.

Read bullet | Comments »

The Day Before Super Tuesday: Looking At The Polls

Monday, March 5th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

In my day job, I deal with a lot of looking for patterns in things that cross my work PC (sitting right next to my laptop — working from home is great) every day. So, I thought that, with Super Tuesday coming up, we’d take a look at the polls from five states having primaries, to see if there’s any indications of a pattern emerging.

Before I begin, however, I’ve been a confirmed poll skeptic for quite a while, so I’m going to offer the following disclaimer:

Take all political polls with a large grain of salt, especially polls where you do not know the demographic breakdown of respondents. It’s common these days for polls to heavily oversample Democrats (sometimes by double-digits) and undersample Republicans. It’s also easy to insert bias based on how the questions are worded. Please do not assume that any given poll is unbiased, or that the sample matches reality, without digging into the details, and maybe not even after digging.

Okay, with that said, let’s look at the states. I’m using the Real Clear Politics (RCP) average where possible because averaging different polls is helpful in smoothing out some of the wild results that polls come up with from time to time. Averaging doesn’t really do much to overcome the bias and sampling errors I mentioned before, because if you average polls that all oversampled Democrats, the average is still going to be more Democrat-heavy than the real world is.

Georgia

The RCP average has always had Gingrich in the lead in Georgia… sometimes by as many as 53 percentage points, but one poll showed Newt ahead by a mere 1 point. Right now the RCP average has Gingrich leading with 39.3%, Romney second with 23.8%, Santorum third at 20.5%, and Paul trailing with 6.0%. This gives Newt a 15.5 point edge (the difference between first and second), so I think it’s pretty safe to say that Gingrich is likely to win Georgia.

Oklahoma

The Sooner State doesn’t have very many polls, almost not enough for RCP to create an average, but they managed it. One poll from last year had Gingrich up by 19, but now the average has Santorum leading with 41.0%, Romney second with 20.5%, Gingrich third with 20.0%, and Paul trailing the field with 7.5%. On paper, this gives Santorum a 20.5% advantage, but the most recent of these polls was taken two weeks before Super Tuesday (21 Feb), and a lot can happen in 2 weeks, especially in a primary season as volatile as this one. Bottom line, Santorum has a good shot to win Oklahoma, but it’s not in the bag yet.

Ohio

Ohio has been back and forth and back again between October and today. All three front-runners have had double-digit leads at one point in that time frame, and right now the leader only has a 2.7% lead in the RCP average, so it’s definitely not in the bag yet for anyone. The RCP average as of right now has Santorum in the lead with 34.0%, Romney a close second with 31.3%, Gingrich a distant third with 15.7%, and Paul in last with 12.0%. With first and second separated by less than 3% (the margin of error in many polls is around 3%), this is an extremely difficult race to call, so I’m not going to. Ohio is a toss-up state on Tuesday.

These last two states didn’t have enough polls to form an RCP average, but we’ll do the best we can.

Massachusetts

Yes, that Massachusetts, one of the deepest blue of the blue states, and current home state of Mitt Romney. Is it any wonder that all three of the Massachusetts polls that RCP lists have such strong leads for Romney that it’s almost not worth polling there? The latest of these polls has Romney way out in front with 64%, Santorum a very distant second with 16%, Paul and Gingrich bringing up the rear with 7 and 6% respectively. This looks like an easy Romney victory, but beware sampling errors and bias in polls with such a huge gap between first and second.

Vermont

Another northeastern state, this should be pie for Romney, and the more recent of the two polls listed does have Romney ahead with 34%, Santorum second with 27%, Paul in third with 14%, and Gingrich in last with 10%. However, this poll was nearly 2 weeks ago (22 Feb), so things could have changed by now. I’m calling this one a tentative Romney victory.

So, the final results, 1 easy win for Gingrich, 1 easy win for Santorum, 1 easy win and 1 maybe win for Romney, and one too close to call. Ohio is definitely the state to watch Tuesday nite.

Read bullet | Comments »

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Convicted Killer Receives Unemployment While In Jail

Sunday, March 4th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

I guess the unemployment folks in California don’t even bother to do the slightest of checks on recipients… like looking to see if they’re in jail:

Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker said Saturday that Anthony Garcia, nicknamed “Chopper,” received more than $30,000 in fraudulent unemployment while in Los Angeles County jail from 2008 to 2010.

Parker says Garcia’s father and two girlfriends would get the checks then cash them and deposit the money in the inmate accounts of Garcia and fellow gang members.

I know there’s a lot of unemployment applications being processed by these government employees (paid with tax dollars), thanks to the Obama economy, but is it too much to ask that they check to see if the recipient is behind bars? True, he was unemployed, but he was also being housed, fed, and clothed at taxpayer expense, so I don’t think he needed the unemployment checks for necessities.

Read bullet | Comments »

Whites Turned Away From FDNY Exam Workshop?

Sunday, March 4th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

So far, it’s just a sketchy report, but if it’s true, it’s quite troubling:

A chaotic scene unfolded outside Middle School 72 in Jamaica, Queens, on Wednesday night as several men who wanted to attend a tutorial workshop for the upcoming FDNY entrance exam were turned away.

These men said it was because they were white. The Workshop was being hosted by the Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization of black firefighters, which apparently only let in people who got a special e-mail.

Fox 5 spoke to a few people who were turned away. They didn’t want to be identified, but they said it appeared that only African-American hopefuls were admitted to the event.

There are a couple of questions that need to be asked of the Vulcan Society, who Fox 5 says did not respond to requests for comment (interesting in and of itself):

  1. Were the emails required for admittance only sent to blacks, or were some sent to whites?
  2. Were any blacks admitted who had not received the email?
  3. Are there any non-black members of the Vulcan Society?

In a truly colorblind society, where race doesn’t matter at all, the existence of “a fraternal organization of black firefighters” would be greeted with the same kind of sturm und drang that someone wanting to set up “a fraternal organization of white firefighters” would set off.

But, as we’ve seen all too many times over the last few decades, the left in America has strayed far from the dream espoused by that famous black man who said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” (emphasis added.) A blacks-only firefighters’ organization, or or that matter a blacks-only stockbrokers’ association or even a blacks-only physicians’ organization, flies in the face of that famous man’s dream, because they’re quite obviously judging on the color of one’s skin.

Read bullet | Comments »

O Say Can You See

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

On this day back in 1931 (a lot more recently than most people realize), Congress officially made the Star-Spangled Banner our national anthem.

In honor of this historic day, I present this.

Read bullet | Comments »

Friday Funny: I Thought YOU Had the Loot!

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Something lighter for a Friday:

Spanish police say hooded thieves crashed a van into a courier service warehouse vault and made off with sacks of valuables on Thursday. They then fled in a waiting Audi, but crashed into another car as they merged onto a Madrid highway.

That caused the flat.

The four thieves carjacked another vehicle at gunpoint. No one was hurt and the thieves got away — but left most of their booty in the back seat of the damaged Audi.

Uh, guys… if you’re going to go to all the trouble of stealing 50,000 euros (about $67,000) or more worth of stuff, and then hijacking a new getaway car to replace the one you crashed, at least make sure you got the stuff you stole with you when you switch cars!

Seems likely they’ll have some time behind bars to consider better planning for their next heist, tho.

h/t Lowering the Bar

(image of Madrid by Sebastian Dubiel)

Read bullet | Comments »

Santorum Blasts Republican Moderates

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Rick apparently doesn’t like moderates:

Rick Santorum continued to cast himself as a scrappy fighter against a mighty Republican “establishment” late Thursday – even lumping together former presidents and former presidential hopefuls into a losing clan of Republican moderates.

“You have an opportunity, here in Washington state, to join me …To say we want a conservative nominee for the Republican Party in the fall,” Santorum told hundreds of supporters in Pasco, Washington, ahead of the state’s caucuses on Saturday.

“We want a conservative nominee because that’s our best chance of winning. Look at the races in the last 30 years, we nominated a moderate: [John] McCain, [Bob] Dole, Gerald Ford. When George [H.W.] Bush ran for re-election back in 1992, after raising taxes and increasing spending. They all ran as moderates. We all lost,” Santorum said.

“Every time we’ve run as a conservative, we’ve won,” the candidate continued. “Why? Because Americans want a choice. If it’s a difference between somebody, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, you know what, this country is going to probably going to stick with the person they know. We need to have a sharp contrast. Someone who paints a very different vision for America.”

That last paragraph sounds like someone most conservatives revere:

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Reagan knew it in 1975. Being Democrat-lite is a path to failure. Too bad so many have either forgotten that principle, or never learned it in the first place.

Read bullet | Comments »

The Torch Has Been Passed

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

A lot has been written about the sad passing of Andrew Breitbart since Thursday. I’ve spent a lot of the time pondering it myself.

There can be no doubt that there are few in the conservative commentary community that can do what Andrew did. He was the kind that comes around all too infrequently, the happy warrior who charged into battle, but who nonetheless had the discipline and intelligence to keep from swinging wildly. He also had a particular genius for finding powerful ways to make his points, which is probably why so many on the left hated him so much that they expressed joy at his death. We may not see his like in our lifetimes, though if we do, we should count it as a blessing.

But that should not stop us from trying. Not every pitcher can do what Nolan Ryan did. Not every hitter can do what Ted Williams did. Not every quarterback can do what Joe Montana did. That doesn’t stop other players from giving their best when they step onto the field. We — whether we write articles or just comments, whether we’re on a big blog or a small one, whether we’re on radio or TV, or just talking to friends and family — may not be able to do what Andrew Breitbart did, but that does not mean that we shouldn’t do the best we can with the talents we’ve been given.

The torch has been passed, and it’s been passed to every single conservative. Will you take up the torch?

Read bullet | Comments »

Ranking Dem On Appropriations Committee Retiring

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Ho-hum. Another Democrat retiring

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, will retire at the end of 2012, he announced Friday.

Dicks, who was in line to chair the powerful Appropriations panel if Democrats were to win control of the House in November, joins a growing list of senior members of Congress to call it quits this year.

In a statement, the 18-term congressman said he wanted to “change gears and enjoy life at a different pace.”

“The privilege of serving in the House of Representatives, with the endorsement of the voters every two years, is indeed an honor unlike no other profession in our country and I have truly enjoyed every day here and have cherished all of the friendships we have made with many of the finest public servants in the nation,” Dicks said. “I am proud that many of these friendships have crossed the ideological and party lines that tend to separate us, and I have always believed that we can achieve greater results if we leave politics aside when the election season and the floor debates are over.”

Eighteen terms is 36 years… so why retire now? The Hill buries a hint deep in the story.

One Democratic aide said the House’s recent ban on earmarks had likely played a role in Dicks’s decision to retire. “Being on the Appropriations Committee isn’t what it used to be,” said the Democrat.

So, if you can’t play games with other people’s money, it’s not worth being a Representative, is that it, Norm? So now you’ll hit the speaking circuit or become a lobbyist and make the big bucks, I am sure. Or maybe if he wins, Obama will name you one of his czars.

(image from Norm Dicks’ website)

Read bullet | Comments »

Occupiers Now Turning To Lies

Thursday, March 1st, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Actually, this may not be a new development, but it sure looks like they’re upping their game on bald-faced lies:

Protesters also turned their attention to the offices of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon.  The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is listed as a sponsor of ALEC’s 2011 conference, but the company targeted by protesters today, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon, isn’t listed as a member.

That didn’t stop Occupiers from targeting the company in a trick pulled straight from the Yes Men playbook.

On Tuesday a man stood up in front of the Blue Cross Oregon headquarters on Southwest Market Street and announced to the crowd of 1,000 marchers that he was “Joseph Hill, director of public relations.”

He then announced the Blue Cross Oregon would resign from ALEC.

“Equal access to health care is a human right,” Hill said, telling the crowd that ALEC had been trying for two years to undermine federal health care reform.

He later gave interviews to news stations and papers from around the city and appeared to have an assistant holding an umbrella over his head. He claimed to have “run out” of business cards.

Okay, first off, they targeted the wrong company. That might have been deliberate, but it honestly could have been a simple mistake, so I’ll give them a conditional pass on that one. (Below is an explanation of the relationship of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.)

However, the bald-faced lie is when Mr. Hill, or whatever his real name is, said he was the director of public relations, and making an announcement regarding Regence’s future activities. I’m not a lawyer, but I wonder if that could be considered fraud or another crime or tort. Any lawyers here want to weigh in on that one?

I’m sure he — and the supporters of the occupiers — will try to weasel out of it by saying he never said he was Regence’s director of public relations, but standing in front of the building, wearing a suit (see the image on the main Tatler page), and proclaiming what the company’s policy would be sure seems to make that argument a hard sell. Clearly he intended to try to fool people into thinking he was the company’s Director of Public Relations.

Speaking of whom, the real deal spoke out later:

Scott Burton, Blue Cross Oregon’s actual director of public relations, says the company isn’t going to retaliate but wanted to set the record straight.

It put out a press release this afternoon explaining the hoax:

This afternoon in front of the Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon headquarters, a member of the public purporting to be a spokesperson for Regence made statements about our company’s ties and connections to the American Legislative Exchange Council. This individual does not represent our organization. To make the facts clear, our company is not a member of ALEC and as such, we cannot resign from this organization’s membership rolls. We appreciate the public’s right to organize and exercise their right to free speech; however we’d like to take this opportunity to correct the record.

Burton explained that Blue Cross Oregon’s relationship to the Blue Cross Association is akin to the Trail Blazers’ relationship with the NBA: it’s an independent company that is simply under the branded umbrella of the association.

I’d ask if the occupiers have no shame, but by this time it’s clear they don’t.

Read bullet | Comments »

McConnell Doesn’t Want To Vote On ObamaCare Repeal Till November

Thursday, March 1st, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Presented for your consideration:

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) told his colleagues this week that he does not want to vote again on repealing President Obama’s healthcare reform law until after the November elections.

The GOP’s game plan on healthcare is politically sensitive because influential conservative activists have called for repeated votes on repeal. But many Republicans on Capitol Hill want to focus on other issues in the coming months, most notably gas prices and the economy.

Republican lawmakers note that repealing what they call “ObamaCare” can be accomplished in 2013, but only if they control the White House and Congress. The votes are not there this year, they add.

Members of the Senate GOP conference are split on the issue. Conservatives such as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) claim they should remind voters they are committed to repealing the $930 billion initiative.

Other GOP lawmakers say they are already on record in favor of repeal and believe another vote is not needed.

During a private lunch meeting on Tuesday, McConnell argued that forcing a vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would give vulnerable Democrats a chance to vote for it and provide them with political cover heading into the election, according to senators who attended and requested anonymity.

“[McConnell] said that we had a debate on it and everyone is on the record. He said some Democrats might vote for the amendment and it would give them cover in an election year,” said a GOP senator.

Sure seems like a bad idea to me. If the Democrats vote to repeal ObamaCare, they’d likely lose part of their base, so it’s not a painless “cover” vote.

Yes, Harry Reid may want to leave ObamaCare repeal votes on his desk, but this announcement actually helps that strategy. If he gets flak for not bringing them up for a vote, all he has to say is, “even Mitch McConnell said he doesn’t want these considered.”

And telegraphing, “hey, we’re taking this issue completely off the table” strikes me as bad optics at the very least, and more likely a major strategic blunder.

Read bullet | Comments »

Embrace Keystone XL Pipeline, Says… Bill Clinton?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

Wow, looks like Bill is at least a little bit to the right of Barack on this one:

Bill Clinton says it’s time to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

Speaking at an Energy Department conference in Maryland on Wednesday, the former president said he was surprised the project has gotten as gummed up as it has, laying the blame on pipeline builder TransCanada.

“One of the most amazing things to me about this Keystone pipeline deal is that they ever filed that route in the first place since they could’ve gone around the Nebraska Sandhills and avoided most of the dangers, no matter how imagined, to the Ogallala [aquifer] with a different route, which I presume we’ll get now, because the extra cost of running is infinitesimal compared to the revenue that will be generated over a long period of time,” he said.

“So, I think we should embrace it and develop a stakeholder-driven system of high standards for doing the work,” Clinton added.

Okay, Bill is both right and wrong above. He’s right that it’s time to just build the pipeline. But it’s not the company’s fault that Obama has been playing politics with approval. I’m sure that if they’d chosen a different route the extreme greenies would have found some other reason to oppose it, and Obama would have played the same political games as a sop to his base.

Speaking of offering a sop to the greenies, Bill has to or risk losing invitations to DC dinner parties:

Meanwhile, Clinton said he worries that increased domestic oil and natural gas production could allow many in the U.S. to lose interest in investing in other, newer cleaner forms of energy.

“There are some hazards to the innovation project, right now. We have massive new recovery technologies in oil and gas which could lead us down the primrose path of thinking [that] we don’t have to keep using less energy and developing clean energy and technologies,” he said.

“A lot of people are saying, ‘Let’s just go for this and nothing else,’” he said, after discussing the oil production in places like the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.

Nice straw man there, Bill. Tell me, who are these “people” who are saying “let’s just go for this and nothing else,” and how many constitute a “lot”? Strangely, you seem unwilling to give specifics about it. In fact, conservatives support everything from coal to nuclear power, because we know that oil reserves are finite. But while we have those oil reserves, by all means, let’s use them until other technologies are ready for prime time.

However, for his support, tepid though it is, of Keystone XL, I’ll give him one tepid kudo.

Read bullet | Comments »

Gun-Toting Judge Resigns or Retires or Something

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 - by Conservative Wanderer

On Sunday, Howard reported on a judge who drew a concealed handgun in the courtroom and offered it to a witness with a smart aleck comment about “killing her case.”

Well, that judge has now turned in his retirement papers.

Judge David Barrett, who last week pulled a gun out during a court hearing in Lumpkin County, has retired, according to a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal dated Wednesday.

Barrett was presiding over a bond hearing for former Hall County deputy Scott Sugarman last week when he pulled out his gun and pretended to offer it to an uncooperative witness, the presiding prosecutor said.

The resignation, which was accepted by Deal, takes effect Thursday.

So, first it’s a retirement, then it’s a resignation. It’s quite likely that this is more than a semantic point; if the judge retired, he’d probably be eligible for his state pension and retirement benefits, which he may not be eligible for if he resigned (or he might get benefits regardless; I’m not familiar with how their benefits work, and I couldn’t find anything online that would indicate one way or the other).

Back to the story, as might be expected from someone who worked closely with the judge for a long time, the local District Attorney had nice things to say about him.

The district attorney [Steve Langley], who was critical of the judge’s actions last week, extended praise of Barrett’s time as chief judge.

“I’ve practiced before him for 13 years and I’ve learned a lot,” he told The Times. “He has a quick mind, great legal knowledge and unimpeachable integrity.

A quick mind is a good thing in a courtroom. A quick draw isn’t.

Retired or resigned, I’m glad he won’t be on the bench anymore.

Read bullet | Comments »