Patterico's Pontifications


Republicans Ask DOJ to Investigate ACORN

Filed under: 2008 Election,Government — DRJ @ 6:42 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Six Republicans in Congress have written a letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey asking the DOJ to investigate vote fraud by ACORN.

The Representatives urge the DOJ to assist State officials in their investigations of vote fraud. They also express concern that “the recent letters and press release by the Commissioner of Social Security [Michael J. Astrue] questioning the high usage of the verification process in six States … ” will chill State efforts to investigate fraud.

Here is a link to the Social Security Commissioner’s press release but it loads slow at times. Here is another link that summarizes the press release.


More Taxpayer Subsidies for Hollywood

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 4:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Your State tax money at work:

“Already on the hook for billions to bail out Wall Street, taxpayers are also finding themselves stuck with a growing tab for state programs intended to increase local film production.

One of the most shocking bills has come due in Louisiana, where residents are financing a hefty share of Brad Pitt’s next movie — $27,117,737, to be exact, which the producers will receive by cashing or selling off valuable tax credits.

As the number of movies made under these plans multiplied in recent years, the state money turned into a welcome rescue plan for Hollywood at a time when private investors were fleeing the movies. But the glamour business has not always been kind to those who pick up the costs, and states are moving to rein in their largess that has allowed producers to be reimbursed for all manner of expenditures, whether the salaries of stars, the rental of studio space or meals for the crew.”

In addition to Louisiana, the article states that Michigan, Rhode Island, Colorado, New Mexico and as many as 35 other states currently offer or have in the past offered lucrative taxpayer-funded subsidies to filmmakers. That probably explains why No Country for Old Men – a drama set in West Texas – was actually filmed in New Mexico.


Electioneering 101

Filed under: 2008 Election,Government — DRJ @ 2:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Colorado is a battleground state and both Presidential candidates have urged their supporters to do everything they can to turn out the vote in these states. One Obama supporter – an employee in the office that “oversees the Denver Elections Division that arranges and certifies election ballots and maintains voter registration files” – is doing her best:

“A Denver Clerk and Recorder employee is being reprimanded for using her work e-mail to send messages to city workers asking for campaign donations for Barack Obama and notifying them about rallies.

Denver Clerk and Recorder Stephanie O’Malley said Ernestina “Tina” Gallegos was disciplined but would not elaborate on the action taken Friday.

Sen. John McCain campaign spokesman Tom Kise said what happened is concerning because it could imply the clerk’s office has “a preference to register Democrats.”

This could be an innocent mistake (Gallegos claimed she wasn’t aware she had done anything wrong) but typically government employees at every level are warned against electioneering on their employer’s time or with their employer’s resources. If that’s what happened here, the Denver Clerk should publicly clarify her policies so that her employees and constituents know the rules and the consequences of breaking them.

And I’d say the same thing if this had been a McCain supporter.


Obama Supporters are an E-clectic Bunch

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Matthew Mosk at the Washington Post blog The Trail introduces us to Obama supporters Edrty Eddty and Es Esh:

“The number of fake names attached to Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign contributions continues to inch up as news outlets and political researchers page through thousands of pages of donor listings.

Turns out, they’re not that hard to come by. New discoveries from a cursory review of the listings include Edrty Eddty, who donated $250 in July 2008 and Es Esh, who gave $325 in July. Esh hailed from this unusual address: “fhdfhdfh, Erial, NJ 08081” Eddty listed his, or perhaps her, employer as “Poiuyttrrewe / Qwertyuio” — the letters, more or less in order, found on the top line of standard computer keyboards.

The Obama campaign gave all the money from questionable donors back. But the series of news reports uncovering fake contributions is raising eyebrows. How could a system that collects contributions not immediately discover such obviously false names?

Remember when Obama told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that running his campaign qualified as executive experience? I certainly hope a President Obama would use his fundraising skills to convince people of all nations to donate money to the U.S. Treasury with the same zeal they’ve supported his campaign.


Tasergate Report is Out

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Beldar is not impressed with the Alaska report on Palin’s role in Tasergate a/k/a the Branchflower Report:

The Branchflower Report is a series of guess[es] and insupportable conclusions drawn by exactly one guy, and it hasn’t been approved or adopted or endorsed by so much as a single sub-committee of the Alaska Legislature, much less any kind of commission, court, jury, or other proper adjudicatory body. It contains no new bombshells in terms of factual revelations. Rather, it’s just Steve Branchflower’s opinion — after being hired and directed by one of Gov. Palin’s most vocal opponents and one of Alaska’s staunchest Obama supporters — that he thinks Gov. Palin had, at worst, mixed motives for an action that even Branchflower admits she unquestionably had both (a) the complete right to perform and (b) other very good reasons to perform.”

Now go read the whole thing.


MLB Playoffs

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 11:52 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Red Sox lead the Rays 1-0 and play again tonight at 8:07 PM EST.

The Phillies are two up on this blog’s hometown Dodgers, and their next game is Sunday at 8:22 PM EST.

I don’t follow baseball the way I used to so I’ll leave it to our resident baseball fans to forecast the rest of the playoffs and offer predictions for the World Series.


A Response to Armed Liberal on Ayers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:41 am

My friend Marc “Armed Liberal” Danziger says that I (together with some other conservatives) am going “bonkers – just bonkers” over the William Ayers issue. As evidence of my “bonkers” mentality, he links to this post of mine, in which I document ways that the Los Angeles Times omitted evidence that Obama and his campaign have given misleading answers about his relationship with Ayers.

Marc’s argument is that the Ayers issue is not a winning argument for McCain, so we Republican bloggers should leave it alone. I agree with aspects of his argument and disagree with others.

On one hand, I certainly agree with this portion of Marc’s title: “‘The Ayers Argument’ Isn’t An Election-Winner.” I don’t think anyone believes that it is. It’s not McCain’s best argument, and I wish that he would take my advice and hit Obama on Fannie and Freddie every day between now and the election.

But if McCain’s campaign is going to make the Ayers argument, and the media is going to distort the relevant facts, I’m going to point that out. Perhaps that makes me more of a media critic than an amateur campaign strategist, but I can live with that. I think that’s where I can add value.

Amateur campaign strategists are a dime a dozen. Why should anyone really care what I think McCain should do?

By contrast, we media critics, when our arguments are based on documented facts, can add value. We show how the media is distorting the entire electoral process by giving a skewed, distorted, and often just plain false version of the events of the day.

Of course, media criticism means you’re limited to what you read. And if McCain is talking about Ayers, and the L.A. Times is therefore talking about Ayers, then I’m going to end up talking about Ayers. It doesn’t mean I think it’s the best argument McCain can make.

Marc’s advice seems to be that I should ignore media distortions on topics like Ayers that aren’t winning arguments. I couldn’t disagree more.

First, I think that if the media weren’t distorting the facts on Ayers, it could be a decent argument — not the best argument, and not the one McCain should be spending so much time and so many resources on. But a decent argument.

Second, even on losing arguments, I can’t silently sit by and watch the media distort the facts. I’m just not wired that way — and I don’t want to be.

If that makes me “bonkers” in Marc’s eyes, I’ll have to live with that.

P.S. I find a lot of Marc’s post baffling. I know he understands that Ayers wasn’t some random ’60s radical shouting angry slogans about the war. I know this because a) he’s smart and informed, and b) we’ve explicitly talked about it. Yet his post seems to operate on the assumption that Ayers wasn’t anything more than a loudmouthed radical.

Marc prominently displays a picture of himself as a young angry protestor. He says that

branding someone as a “crazy 60’s radical” isn’t itself a very powerful political message. Because lots of people were, and lots of people know them and know they were, and we’re all pretty harmless these days (in fact, we were pretty harmless back then, as well).

That’s not to suggest that Ayers is harmless – he may or may not be (there’s a lot of evidence pointing both ways – on one hand, there’s his Chavez speech, on the other I consider “Hyde Park revolutionaries” to be kind of a narcissistic waste of time as a class, having been one myself). But as a branding exercise, it’s pointless, because it’s not going to have a whole lot of impact on people’s perceptions of Obama.”

Ayers, as Marc knows, was a terrorist. He participated in bombings, and although he’s coy about which specific bombings he helped carry out, his group’s bombs killed people, and his group wanted to kill even more. Ayers wasn’t prosecuted, not because he was proven innocent, but because evidence was suppressed due to governmental wrongdoing (illegal wiretaps and such). Ayers and his wife still talk as though they hate America and are proud of what they did; Ayers famously said in September 2001 that he wished he had done more — and this was during a period of time when Barack Obama was serving with Ayers on the board of the Woods Fund.

Obama is not a terrorist. He is not a traitor. It appears likely that he will elected President — and if he is, then to use Marc’s phrase, he will be my President.

But I don’t respect Obama’s association with Bill Ayers, and I don’t respect his dishonesty about the extent of their relationship — and if the media has decided to give him a pass, that doesn’t mean I’m going to. And if people have already made up their minds because the media has not asked the tough questions and reported the awkward truths, I’m not going to simply roll over and let a skewed version of the truth be palmed off on people.

At least, not without a fight.

Has Obama Spent A Sizeable Portion Of His Campaign Funds Already In Going For An Early Knockout Of McCain?

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 8:57 am

[Posted by WLS]

This post is going to be something of a work in progress because I intend to update it with new information over time.

I have been perplexed by the reporting that Obama is outspending McCain 3-1 on television advertising in battleground states. At first I attributed this to incomplete reporting on the part of the media -– since McCain’s campaign itself has only $84 million in public financing to spend and Obama will have somewhere between $200 and $250 million to spend, the fact that Obama would have a 3-1 advantage over McCain isn’t surprising. The McCain campaign always intended to rely on about $200 million in funds raised by the RNC to even up its funding disadvantage, and Obama doesn’t have a commensurate level of support from the DNC.

Then I saw this Washington Post blog post yesterday at Chris Cizzila’s “The Fix” that shows Obama spent nearly twice as much on television advertising in 17 battleground states as the McCain/GOP forces combined over 7 days from September 30 to October 6.

The math left me shaking my head. How can Obama spend $20 million in seven days, with a full five weeks left until the election, given the gross amount of money available to him? To continue spending at that same level through the election would require another $80+ million.

Obama’s campaign expenditures in the three summer months prior to the convention were $25.7 million, $57.2 million, and $56 million from June to August, respectively. Obviously that didn’t include spending on television advertising at a clip of $80 million a month.

It’s hard to know exactly how much Obama’s campaign infrastructure (everything other than advertising) is costing, but when Palin was named VP, Obama was running an operation spending about $2 million a day. That would be $60 million a month — probably a little high if we’re talking only about overhead, but if that number is $50 million a month, then the months of September and October are going to cost his campaign at least $100 million. And that doesn’t even factor in whether there are increased expenses the week before the election for things like phone-banking and other GOTV efforts.

Let’s revisit some of the numbers that have been reported in terms of Obama’s fundraising and compare them with the anecdotal information about his spending.


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