The health care bill. The absolute epitome of ideological, public-be-damned arrogance. A horrendous compendium of bribes, exploding bureaucracy, runaway costs, written in secret and unread by those who passed it. It includes a mandate, likely un-Constitutional, forcing people to buy health insurance or pay a fine. The same administration which originally claimed the commerce clause of the Constitution made such a fine possible is now saying that the federal governments's "power to tax" justifies it. Irrelevant. 60% of Americans want this monstrosity repealed, ASAP.
It is a lawyers' adage: If you have the law on your side, argue the law; if you have the facts, argue the facts; if you have neither, pound the table. Forgive the Democrats for their current table-pounding.
They cannot run on their record, which has two pillars. One is the stimulus that did not stimulate as they said it would (or else unemployment would not be above 8 percent). The report that the recession ended in June 2009 means the feeble recovery began before stimulus spending really started.
The second pillar is the health-care legislation. This may not be (as suggested by Michael Barone, author of the Almanac of American Politics) the most unpopular major legislation since the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. But it remains as unpopular as it was when the administration told Americans to pipe down and eat their broccoli.
According to (our) source in Pennsylvania, the DSCC has purchased TV ads for the coming week only in the Pittsburgh media market, where Democrats are facing particularly bad poll numbers. Pro-Toomey groups will be heavily outspending Sestak and Senate Democrats this week, says our source: "Sestak plus DSCC is smaller in every market, except Pittsburgh, than Toomey plus the Club for Growth plus American Crossroads."
The DSCC's nearly $3 million ad campaign over the past five weeks hasn't done much to budge poll numbers in the Keystone state. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Toomey's lead over Sestak has been fairly stable during that time, with Toomey holding anywhere from a 6 to 8 point lead over Sestak. Toomey's current lead over Sestak in the RCP average of polls is 6.5 points.
But that's down a couple of percentage points from the last couple of weeks. I think Joe's negative ads tying Toomey to Wall Street may be working. The Dems would be dumb to give up on this race. But then the Dems have been dumb about a lot of things lately.
It won't happen tomorrow or the next day, but as budget pressures increase it's something county council will have to look at. As councilman Andy Lewis says "all options should be on the table."
The county is not legally responsible to run a nursing home. But it is certainly a nice service for the 900 clients who reside at the county high rise for the elderly. The vast majority of them couldn't afford nursing home care in a private facility.
Fair Acres Executive Director Joe Dougherty runs the place at 98.5 percent capacity and as well as any county home in the state. A private owner would cut benefits and salaries of staff and probably some services as well.
In the years to come, the question is, will county taxpayers care enough about having the home to pay for it?
Jonah Goldberg isn't the first person to notice that it is the liberals of the Democratic party who are most responsible for the sad state of public school education in this country but he does a pretty good job of reiterating that fact:
Amidst all of this talk about education this week, there’s an omission that drives me crazy. Yes, yes, the horrid state of American education is an American problem, and to that extent we’re all to blame in some abstract sort of way. But is there another major area of American public policy that is more screwed up and more completely the fault of one ideological side? Which party do the teachers’ unions support overwhelmingly? What is the ideological outlook of the bureaucrats at the Department of Education? Which party claims it “cares” more about education and demagogues any attempt by the other party to reform it? Who has controlled the large inner city school systems for generations? What is the ideological orientation of the ed school racket? Whose preferred teaching methods have been funded and whose have been ridiculed?
You know the answer to all of these questions. And yet to listen to the debate this week, you would think this is all a bipartisan problem because Republicans share the blame for refusing to fund schools enough.
The top-earning 20 percent of Americans — those making more than $100,000 each year — received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line, according to newly released census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.
Note, they didn't "earn" their income, they "received" it. I guess Obama and the Democrats aren't doing a very good job "spreading the wealth around."
Fitting that the AP article was written by a woman named Hope Yen.
Officials from the state DEP Office of Environmental Justice held a meeting to explain to Eddystone residents that there wasn't much for them to do about the new shredding facility planned for the old Foamex plant. Basically, they said, it's legal, get over it.
These follks don't need state bureaucrats, they the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The TMNTs know how to deal with Shredder.
Newtown Square politcal gadfly Regi Siberski, a stickler for good, responsive government, recently forwarded this question from an unidentified resident to township officials.
The recent report in September 22, 2010 County Press mentioned a successful golf outing at the Edgmont County Club to benefit of the planned Veteran's Memorial on West Chester Pike. The list of donors supporting the event included Newtown Township and Newtown Township Police Department.
Can a municipality or its Department of Police be a major sponsor to any cause and donate tax dollars to support an event without prior public permission from the full governing body?
Here is township solicitor Bruce Irvine's reply:
regi..again get a life....it was a 100$ hole sposor for a charitible cause...stop it.....
sposor? charitible? 100$?
Note the charm, the respect for local taxpayers, the spelling! Township solicitor. Nice work if you can get it.
So says 77-year-old Mary Jane Birkofer of Brookhaven in this e-mail:
I had a recent experience with Sweetzels, the cookies were too hard & crisp and did not soften when dipped in milk. I called Sweetzels and was given a refund but no reason for the problem. On Fri. Sept. 24th I bought Ivins and had the same problem. I called 1-877-932-7948, the number on box. Info on box is SuperValu Inc., Eden Prairie, MN 55344. I was told that they would look into problem and contact National Brands and have them call me. National Brands called and I was shocked to find out they have had several complaints and were trying to remove Ivins from the store shelves because of possible choking on the hard crumbs. They imply that they are overcooked and are manufactured by same baker that makes Sweetzels. My concern was that if I gave a child one of these spiced wafers they could choke or possibly die. God forbid I would have offered one to 2 small children next door. This is Halloween time and all school children look forward to treat of cider and spiced wafers. I suggested that National Brands put ads in local papers and on store shelves place a warning but would be best to remove all wafers from store shelves until a change is made. Ivins' are sold at Acme and Sweetzels at Pathmark, Giant and I don't know where else. I realize that Spiced Wafers are a very local Fall & Halloween treat. In fact my sister lives in Ala. and last season I sent Ivins to her (her choice), she too said they aren't the same as years ago. We are 77 yrs. of age and remember all the happy times at Halloween time and guess we just want todays children to enjoy the treat also. I also suggested that local TV stations could investigate this and report to the public if this is really a serious problem. Thanks for any attention you give this matter.
Mary Jane Birkofer
So there! You've been given fair warning. If you don't want to risk choking and possbily DYING, chew your ginger snap 100 times. Or better yet, go with a nice big piece of soft, moist carrot cake. It has that delicious cinnamon flavor too without the risk of hard crumbs that might KILL YOU or a loved one.
The play of Michael Vick is the story of the young 2010-11 NFL Season. Having won the starting quarterback job from the young and promising Kevin Kolb, he has performed spectacularly, leading the Eagles to two wins and an almost remarkable comeback victory in game one.
Andy Reid's much criticized decision to start him in game three is looking more and more like a no-brainer. How do you sit down the hottest and one of the most effective QBs in the league?
Given the team's flaws, it's weak offensive line, it's suspect defense (although it played well yesterday) the need to be able to put points on the board is essential. Grind it out, defensive football is the game plan of the past. Wide-open, run and gun is the game plan of this Eagles team. That Vick is showing the maturity to wait just a bit longer for his receivers to get open underneath, is opening the field for him to run, if they don't.
He is an offensive weapon extraordinare. Whether better NFL teams will come up with defenses that better contain and confuse him, remains to be seen. As our Bob Grotz says, Vick is bound to stumble sometime this season. What he has proven already though is that with the receivers he has, and those legs of his, he can strike at anytime.
Now, for those who will never forgive him his past crimes against man's best friends, I sense a softening.
With yesterday's game safely in hand in the middle of the fourth quarter, Mrs. Spencerblog and I took our two mutts for a walk. For the first time, she admitted Vick's talents and the Eagles' need of them. Still, that didn't keep her from mentioning the fact that, among his other numerous crimes, he'd taken his own family's dog and threw it to a trained killer just to see how long she'd last.
We - the dogs and I - ignored her. It's too awful and gruesome to think about. We choose to believe he is a changed man.
And yet, his new success could re-inflate that old sense of entitlement that comes (for some) with being praised beyond all common sense and proportion.
Did those many months in prison, chasten him or is this all an act? Eventually, we'll find out.
In the meantime, the NFL's first big game of the season is coming up this weekend; Philadelphia vs. Washington. Vick vs. McNabb. The Thrilla in South Philla. Should be fun.
What the tea party and independent voters sympathetic to it are about is giving the United States the tools to compete again in the big global game. It starts with Stop-the-Spending. To the Democrats now demonizing the tea party and its candidates, those three words mean Armageddon, the end of their game.
Fresh off his appearance in Delaware County, Gov. Meat Loaf appears in California to stump for Meg Whitman. And when a heckler attempts to give his two cents, the Guv lets the "divider" have it.
Incidentally, after my Wednesday column, in which I wrote what I thought were flattering things about Gov. Christie but made note of his being rotund, I got an e-mail from someone named Charles P. Sexton, who complained I was not respectful enough of the New Jersey governor.
"You are the last guy I ever expected make fun of a person because they may have a personal problem such as weight control."
I wrote this man back and asked he if he has the personal problem of being "out of his mind?"
During Christie's campaign for governor, his opponent Jon Corzine ran ads seeming to attack him for being fat. Christie went on Imus and made fun of himself and his corpulence. Corzine ended up looking ridiculous for bringing it up.
Christie is now the antithesis of the cute, blow-dried, sleek and smooth talking pol, which makes him a breath of fresh air to a lot of voters. He is direct, blunt, and built like a an defensive lineman. That, by the way, is how he comes at his opponents. Good for him.
In writing back to this Sexton fellow, who - I believe - once had something to do with Delaware County politics, I suggested he read the column again and to stop being so sensitive (or pretending to be).
In reply, he admitted he'd never heard of Meat Loaf (shame on him) and that he still loved me. What could I say to that, but my standard: "I love you too, sweetie."
God, help me.
UPDATE: He also invited me to lunch, which reminded me of this scene from Albert Brooks' "Lost in America." (Stay with it for the pay off at the end).
(Spoiler Alert: "Don't have lunch with this man. Be very careful. He'll want to take you to lunch. Don't do it. He'll tell you all about the future, how good the future is going to be here. I've seen the future. It's a bald-headed man from New York.")
I've seen the future too. It's a fat man from New Jersey.
Kim Strassel explains why Joe Sestak's attempt to demonize Pat Toomey as the Congressman from Wall Street is failing.
Something significant is happening on the electoral battlefield, and it has an "Inc." by its name. Many candidates running as Republicans could as easily be sitting for a business profile. Twenty months of Democratic business-bashing has not turned the electorate against entrepreneurs. Quite the opposite. This election is highlighting a political turn, not unlike that of the late 1970s, in which voters are looking to free-market, pro-growth candidates to turn back government.
Spitzer: Cuomo ‘Dirtiest, Nastiest’ Of Politicians
Got to love the story's kicker:
Cuomo’s campaign said his record, credibility and honor speak for themselves, then added: “As do Mr. Spitzer’s.” Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal, has said he’ll support Cuomo for governor, although they’ve had conflicts.
Before Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid changes his mind yet again about his starting quarterback, many Delaware County fans are lining up behind the man once maligned as a “dog killer.”
The definition of "malign" is
To make evil, harmful, and often untrue statements about; speak evil of.
Michael Vick wasn't maligned as a dog killer. He is an admitted and convicted dog killer.
He not only killed them, he tortured them. In saying so, I am not maligning Michael Vick, just accurately describing his past actions.
Still, count me among the people who believe he deserved the second chance the Eagles have given him. He did his time, paid his fines, and lost $100 million in the bargain. He has apologized for his crimes and past behavior. He is taking part in animal cruelty prevention programs. It is hard to say what more he could be doing to deserve the second chance he has been given.
Having signed him and paid him millions of dollars, the Eagles organization can be expected to use him on the football field as it sees fit. Starter or back-up, Vick has so far proven himself a capable (and exciting) NFL quarterback. Millions of football fans will be interested to see how he does this Sunday and the rest of the season as the Eagles starter. And why shouldn't they be? His is a fascinating story of a poor kid rising to the height of sports stardom only to fall almost as far as a man can fall. He is working his way back to excellence on the field and respectability off it.
What football fan won't be interested in how Vick and the Eagles do this weekend?
Some critics of Andy Reid starting Vick, say he is postponing the Eagles chances of going to another Superbowl. They say that young Kevin Kolb, the man Reid said was is his Number 1 quarterback, will need time to develop and Reid is denying him that time by starting Vick. These same critics say that Vick doesn't have what it takes to take a team deep into the playoffs. To win in the playoffs you need a well-defended pocket passer, who can surgically pick apart a defense. Maybe so. But right now the Eagles's offensive line isn't among the best in the league. And right now, the Eagles are a better team with a QB who can escape the rush and run for a first down when one is needed.
Good sports franchises have the patience to develop young players who appear to have great potential. All the Eagles have to do is look across the parking lot to see such a franchise. But then, football is a little different than baseball. The season is shorter. Every loss means more.
As far as the Eagles are concerned, that they let a team like Detroit put up 32 points against them, does not auger well for their defensive talents. If they aren't going to stop teams, they are going to have to score a lot of points against them. Who better than to have a double-threat like Vick behind center?
Suddenly, this is not the rebuilding year, Eagles fans were led to expect it would be. Suddenly, the Eagles are thinking now, not tomorrow, not two years or three years into the future. Now.
For a fan-base as demanding, as invested, as emotional as the Eagles fan base is -- the future is always NOW!
Liberal Davis Guggenheim and Conservative Bill McGurn can agree on one thing: Inner city public schools are broken.
For years, of course, conservatives have documented the failures that Mr. Guggenheim highlights, and in some cases have even succeeded in pushing through some good reforms. Yet that's just what gives "Waiting for 'Superman'" its potency—the indictment issues from an unrepentant liberal instead of the Heritage Foundation. I suggest to him that the kind of truths about public education he illustrates will be far more inconvenient for those in his circle than say, the friends of a former Bush speechwriter.
"I would love a union leader to see this film and say, 'I love being a teacher and I love my union but we need to get on the right side of reform,'" he answers.
“Everybody has been talking about insiders in Washington,” Obama said, according to a White House transcript. “Well, Joe is not one of the insiders who’s been part of the problem. Instead, he’s been solving problems in Washington. He didn’t go there with a liberal agenda or a conservative agenda.”
But he sure ended up with the liberal one.
UPDATE: The only real example of Sestak bucking the Democratic establishment is his running for the Senate seat held by Arlen Specter. When it comes to personal political ambition, Joe didn't listen to the party. On everything else, he pretty much did.
The Sestak campaign is trying to make a big deal out of Pat Toomey doing some financial work for a Chinese billionaire in Hong Kong back in 1991.
The Washington Post's Greg Sargent posted this item about Toomey's old work. Sounds pretty innocuous to me. And as Sargent points out the Sestak campaign has been accusing Toomey of participating in some controversial currency swaps but says there is "no evidence" of it.
The pattern here is that Sestak will be trying to paint Toomey as a tool of Wall Street and billionaires, while Toomey will be painting Sestak as a tool of Nancy Pelosi's and her extremely liberal, pro-big government and big spending agenda. And there is some evidence of that - Joe's record of voting with her 97 percent of the time.
Watched the game in Washington D.C. bar with a few other Philly fans. Hard to imagine Kevin Kolb doing anything close to what Vick managed, play in and play out. While Mrs. Spencerblog continued to root for a career-ending injury, I cheered him on.
Mrs. Spencerblog got into a disagreement the day before when it was suggested to her that the Vick controversy was a "black-white" thing. She replied it's a "sick ----" thing. She's got a point.
Me, I'm into second chances. He served his time. He paid his debt. And hopefully he's learned his lesson.
As for next week, it's right and fair for Andy Reid to start Kolb. He was the team's starting QB and he deserves his shot at the job. Two quarters is not enough to time to evaluate whether he can hack it or not. It's nice to have Vick to bring in if Kolb can't get the job done. But you can't take the starting job away from Kolb on the basis of one game, or a game and a half.
Mrs. Spencerblog disagrees. It's not nice to have Vick to bring in, unless you're a person with very low moral standards and think pro-football is a lot more important than it is.
Sestak no longer has the political wind at his back. My print column is up.
I have just seen Joe's new ad. Here it is.
Pretty good and could be very effective.
Joe is the highest ranking military man ever to "serve" in Congress. And like John Kennedy, John McCain, John Kerry and dozens of others before him, he is using his military career to great political effect.
It is interesting that according to every Gallup rating for the last several years, the military comes out on top of the public institutions in which people have most confidence in the country. But Congress rates last. So we have Sestak leaving the most trusted institution for the least trusted.
As a military guy, Sestak was more than competent, rising to the highest eschelons of the Navy. But as a politician, he is just another boilerplate congressman. He is hard-working and smart but a poor speaker and has a hard time cogently arguing for his positions.
This ad boils down to "Pat Toomey is bad. He worked on Wall Street. Vote for Me. I served in the Military." Not a single mention of Joe's three-year voting record as a Congressman.
School Choice in Washington D.C. is under serious threat with the defeat of it pro education reform mayor Adrian Fenty. Teachers unions have always treated the program as a threat to power and have tried to kill it for years. Now, they may be able to. This is just tragic.
Just because the Dems are horrible, it doesn't mean the GOP will govern well in their place should they win control of congress. The good thing is they know it.
From Rich Lowry's column:
Saying boosterish things about the Republican party is part of Virginia congressman Eric Cantor’s job description. On the verge of what could be a historic midterm sweep, though, the top Republican leader strikes a self-effacing note: “None of us are under any illusions that this election is turning on the fact that people are pining for Republicans. It’s all against the other side.”
Cantor and his colleagues Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy will be three of the most powerful members of the House if Republicans take the majority. They have been dubbed “The Young Guns” and have published a new eponymous book. For them, the prospect of impending victory is tinged with the memory of failure and defeat four short years ago. They are chastened rebels, delighted at a shot at running the House again, aware of all that could go wrong should they get it.
When Denis and Lena Conrad moved into the Southeast Delco school district, they were given a choice where to send their eldest daughter to school. Now that her sister is ready for first grade, no choice.
It's sorta' of complicated. Read all about it in my print column. It's up.
Try as they might to scare Independent and moderate voters that the Republican Party is being taken over crazy right-wing tea partiers, Democrats and their fellow liberals in the press are failing. There is no backlash against the GOP for embracing the concerns of people who believe government is too big, too busy, and too expensive.
In Delaware, the nomination of tea partier Christine O'Donnell has the New York Times editorial board and MSNBC both aghast and cheering. She may well not win in a state that has far more registered Democrats than Republicans but she is only 12 points down to a Democrat Harry Reid calls "my pet." O'Donnell is by far the weakest of the Tea Party candidates and has been harshly criticized by the Republican establishment. And still, public animosity toward the Democrats in Washington gives her a fighting chance in this election year.
One of the left's big beefs with O'Donnell is that 14 years ago she participated in a video-taped discussion about pre-marital sex in which she shared her view that masturbation was unholy. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow ran the videotape of the youthful O'Donnell earnestly attempting to make her point. So far, the fear that a new Republican congress with prospective members like O'Donnell will move to outlaw masturbation is not catching on.
But this seems to be a huge concern of Rachel Maddow's. Go figure.
The crime scene at 138 Griffith St. has changed in 76 years. Today it is a barber shop. In 1934, it was a tailoring and cleaning establishment owned and run by Jacob Maged, 49.
With his responsibilities as a father of four, Maged should have shunned a life of crime. Instead, he advertised his criminal activity with a placard in his shop window, promising to press men's suits for 35 cents. This he did, even though President Franklin Roosevelt's New Dealers, who knew an amazing number of things -- his economic aides were not called a "Brains Trust" for nothing -- knew that the proper price for pressing a man's suit was 40 cents.
Look at the astonishing numbers in the Rasmussen poll released last week. Nearly seven in 10 respondents (68%) want a smaller government, lower taxes and fewer services. The party breakdown: GOP, 88%; Democrats, 44%; and Other, 74%. In short, the independent voters who decide national elections have moved into the anti-spending column. I don't think they'll leave any time soon.
In a note on last week's poll, Rasmussen points out that the only time it recorded a higher shrink-the-government number, at 70%, was in August 2006. That was just ahead of the famous off-year election in which Republican voters withheld support for their party's free-spending members in Congress.
Also Henninger mentions our very politically clever governor.
Pennsylvania's shrewd Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, scripting the new conventional wisdom, says the tea party movement supporting Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Joe Miller in Alaska proves the GOP is in the grip of crazies. With luck, none of his audience will wake up from this delusion before November.
Democrats may be able to hold on to the Senate thanks to the nomination of the religiously conservative O'Donnell in Delaware but Angle is within a point and a half of the Senate Majority Leader and Miller, who has a resume any Democrat would love (Yale law, West Point grad, U.S. Magistrate Judge) is going to easily win in Alaska.
As for Ed and his conventional wisdom, I recall him predicting Joe Sestak would get murdered by Arlen Specter in his bid to win the Democratic Senate nomination.
Joe is now running 8 points behind Pat Toomey almost assuredly because of his votes for all the mamouth spending pushed by Democrat leaders.
To take a page out of Ed's book, who attributed his own easy victory over Lynn Swann to the fact that many Pennsylvanians are too racist to vote for a black man, I say that if Arlen Specter were the party's nominee this year, he'd be behind Toomey by double digits. Although NOT because Pennsylvania voters are anti-Semitic.
President Obama LIES to school children. So says Ann Althouse. Well, OK. But at least they're white lies.
Sez the Prez:
Nobody gets to write your destiny but you. Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing -- absolutely nothing -- is beyond your reach, so long as you’re willing to dream big, so long as you’re willing to work hard. So long as you’re willing to stay focused on your education, there is not a single thing that any of you cannot accomplish, not a single thing. I believe that.
If you believe that, you are so dumb that your chances of controlling your own destiny are especially small. But it's absurd to tell kids that if only they dream big, work hard, and get an education, they can have anything they want. Do you know what kind of dream job kids today have? A recent Marist poll showed that 32% would like to be an actor/actress. 29% want to be a professional athlete. 13% want to be President of the United States. That's not going to happen.
Sez Me: When I was a kid I wanted to be the All Being, Master of Time, Space and Dimension. I also wanted to be Steve Martin. I settled for this.
O'Donnell Wins Today, Republicans Lose in November
In Delaware, Republican voters shoot themselves in the foot by nominating tea party Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell who can't and won't win in November. This dims Republican hopes of winning back the Senate. Elsewhere tea party candidates who have challenged and beaten Republican establishment candidates like in Alaska, Kentucky etc. will probably win their races.
O'Donnell defeated former governor Mike Castle in an ugly race.
Castle is a liberal Republican but a political moderate. O'Donnell is basically as conservative as a political candidate can get. Delaware has elected moderate Repubicans and liberal Democrats but it has never elected an ultra conservative before. Even in this year of public disgust with how Democrats have been running things in Washington, it won't this November.
UDATE: Bill Kristol opines:
Tea Party activism, enthusiasm and, yes, rebelliousness have been, on net, a very good thing for the GOP. Now in politics as in life, there can be, on occasions, too much of a good thing. Thus Delaware. But it's still much, much better to be the party to which independents and new voters are flocking, and in which activists are energized, than not. And it's better for the GOP, as the out party, that the anti-establishment and anti-incumbent wave is still building (which it clearly is) rather than ebbing. A year ago, the liberal media hoped tea partiers were going to generate suicidal third-party challenges, scare off independents from the Republicans, and generally destroy the Republican party. It turns out they've probably cost the GOP one Senate seat on the way to a huge off-year election victory. It's a small price to pay.
Having cited the constitutional rights of Ground Zero mosque proponents to build a mosque wherever they want and calling opponents ignorant bigots, Cohen compares Jones to runaway slave John Brown, who was admired by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
Jones has little in common with a murderous runaway slave. And Cohen has even less in common with Emerson or Thoreau.
What truly boggles the mind is that the government still thinks that it's somehow a good idea to help push people with basically no savings into homeownership. Do they want to make sure that a whole new class of financially marginal people can enjoy the benefits of foreclosure?
Former Swarthmore resident and author Joe Mcginniss, who moved into a house next door to the Palin family in Alaska while writing an authorized biography about the former governor and vice presidential candidate, is leaving.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Sarah Palin can take down the fence. Palin's neighbor of three months on Wasilla's Lake Lucille, author Joe McGinniss, is packing his bags and notebooks and leaving Sunday for his home in Massachusetts to write the book he has been researching on the former governor and GOP vice presidential candidate.
His arrival in May made headlines and drew an indignant reaction from Palin and a visit from her husband, Todd. The Palins even tacked an extension onto an 8-foot board fence between the homes, leaving only a part of their second-story home visible from McGinniss' driveway.
Peeping into windows or peering through knotholes was never part of his research, McGinniss said.
"I've been very busy but on Lake Lucille it's been very quiet," he said. "As I told Todd back in May—he came over to get in my face about moving in there—I said, 'You're not even going to know I'm there. A lot of the time, I'm not going to be here. And when I am, I mind my own business. I don't care what happens on your side of the fence. That's not why I'm here.'"
So it was just a coincidence that he moved in right next door to the Palins? Into a home with a deck that overlooked their back yard?
Of course, that's why he was there. Why else would he have been there? And good for him. If you're writing a book about somebody, a very public figure, and they won't grant you an interview, what better way to get to know them than by moving in next door?
For his effort, Joe has been called, "creepy" and a "stalker." He's been called worse. In a famous essay Janet Malcolm he was called a "con man" for misleading accused murderer Jeffrey McDonald about his intentions during the writing of "Fatal Vision" and a plagiarist by Doris Kearns Goodwin for his book "The Last Brother," which she alleged borrowed to closely from her own work. (For the record, Goodwin has had her own problems with alleged plagiarism.)
It could have been worse. The owner of the home could have rented her house to People magazine or the National Enquirer. Still, it's fair to say she is not a very neighborly neighbor.
The suspicion is that McGinniss moved in next to the Palins not to play Peeping Tom but for the advanced publicity for his book. You've got to admit it was a clever idea. It will no doubt, help sell books no matter how good or bad the book turns out to be.
His last foray into writing about a political family, "The Last Kennedy" was an unflattering and weird account of Ted Kennedy and his clan. The book was panned.
Too bad he couldn't find a rental that overlooked the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport. It might not have helped the writing but the publicity sure might have helped book sales.
A labor leader here once told me he had mockingly congratulated Specter for "staying on the same side of the debate all the way from breakfast to dinner."
A good and thoughtful liberal Democrat who holds an esteemed position in our nation's capitol, recently told me, "There are only two types of people in Washington, Democrats who hate Arlen Specter and Republicans who hate Arlen Specter."
But it sounds like Broder is going to miss him for his "ambivalence."
Yeah I know my some of my friends warned me you were trouble, and that it was the alcohol talking. But I knew that if we gave it a chance we could make it work. You and me, together. And after you moved in, I really think we did for a while. I mean, you've really helped me get over my inhibitions and hangups, and I like to think I've really helped you grow and discover yourself. Like last year when I lent you $800 billion to pay for your demo tape and new rims for the Cadillac.
No, no. I'm not asking for the money back now, Paul Krugman told me you're good for it. And please don't think I don't appreciate all the constructive criticism. It's important for me to know when I'm not meeting your needs and when I'm holding you back. Look, I know I'm not the prettiest democracy in the hemisphere, and I really can't blame you when your eyes wander to Spain or Venezuela. It's just been kind of hard to pay attention to my appearance since losing my job.
The mosque (against) the casino (against), the haunted asylum (for). My print column is up.
UPDATE/Correction: Better Cauler, a local advocate against the planned haunted asylum at Pennhurst, writes in the comments section that I misattributed a quote to her that she merely posted on her web site. She is quite correct and I regret the error.
You can read her entire comment at the bottom of the column and my response.
WASHINGTON -- According to polls, Americans are in a mood to hold their breath until they turn blue. Voters appear to be so fed up with the Democrats that they're ready to toss them out in favor of the Republicans -- for whom, according to those same polls, the nation has even greater contempt. This isn't an "electoral wave," it's a temper tantrum...
In the punditry business, it's considered bad form to question the essential wisdom of the American people. But at this point, it's impossible to ignore the obvious: The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.
If only he had the power to send us to our rooms without any supper.
My fellow Americans you, we, have disappointed one of America's premier liberal pundits. A letter of apology is in order. I have composed one for you all to copy, sign, and send to Mr. Robinson.
Dear Mr. Robinson: We, the undersigned profoundly apologize for our recent attitudes, expressed through national polls, concerning our political leadership in Washington.
We've been thinking it over and we've decided that you know so much more about how this country should be run than we do. So just tell us what to think and we'll do our best - within our limited capabilities - to try. After all, you and your liberal colleagues at the Washington Post spend much more time thinking about all this political stuff than we do. Better that you tell us what to think, who to vote for, and how much money to give our betters to spend as you and they see fit.
Life in America will be so much more pleasant after we cede to you and your liberal friends the power to hold us accountable and tell us what to do.
Thank you for your patience and bravery in speaking truth to us, the ignorant masses that make up the voting electorate. We will try not to let you down in the future. We hope we will not force you to scold us a second time.
The Sestak earmark business that involved Media's own Drew Devitt just took an interesting turn. I was working on a column about it all day.
Sestak spokesman Jonathan Dworkin told me this morning that Devitt had "misrepresented" himself in the appropriation request process which led the congressman to agree to put in Devitt's wind-turbine research idea for funding. It was the same thing Sestak other staffers have been saying since the controversy broke in the Allentown Morning Call.
Devitt applied for the a $1 million research and development grant through the Thomas Paine Foundation, which he founded to promote the writings and ideas of the author of Common Sense and The Age of Reason. Only non-profits are eligible for earmark funding. But Devitt planned to have his for profit company, New Way Energy, get most of the money and do the work. The foundation was nothing more than a pass-through vehicle to skirt the funding rule.
Devitt told me he didn't misrepresent himself or mislead anyone. In his application he didn't specifically mention his connection to New Way Energy but said it would do all the work.
Sestak's people have acted like they didn't know Devitt had any connection to New Way but late yesterday Sestak himself admitted that he wrote a letter introducing Devitt to the Department of Energy as the president of New Way Energy.
I talked to Sestak this afternoon and he said he didn't put "two and two" together after the request went in. But it's hard to believe that none of Sestak's people knew about about Devitt's connection to New Way. If they didn't, it's awfully sloppy staff work.
Sestak took the blame saying it was "my error." But really, it's a staff error. And I bet someone or someones are catching hell for it.
He undermined the very campaign that ushered him into the White House and gave Democrats their huge majorities in Congress.
It was as if, in keeping his promise to end the war in Iraq, Obama had become a convert to it.
He heralded the very success he had predicted could never be attained.
He lauded the defeat of an evil regime "that had terrorized its people" -- a despot he once considered an irrelevant distraction from what he called the "real war" that needed to be won in Afghanistan.
And, speaking to soldiers at Fort Bliss earlier yesterday, he said that because of this fight, "America is more secure."
Obama even talked about the importance of Iraq as a "friend" and a "partner" in the Middle East.
Literally, the address could have been delivered word-for-word by former President George W. Bush, whose steadfastness in Iraq earned him the blind hatred of so many liberals.
Joe Sestak has an earmark problem. It seems the congressman put in for a $350,000 grant for the non-profit Thomas Paine Foundation to study wind-farm technology. The problem is the Thomas Paine Foundation is virtually defunct and has been for 6 years. So who would get the $350,000. A local guy named Drew Devitt who runs a for-profit company in Aston called New Way Energy applied for the earmark. (That's Drew over there.) The company is all about developing off-shore wind technology. Devitt is the sole officer of the Thomas Paine Foundation, which seems now to only exist as a conduit for asking for taxpayer money from the government.
Not good. Sestak's people are suggesting they were misled by Devitt, Devitt claims otherwise. But at the very least, Sestak's office is left looking incompetent at best. The whole thing reeks of subterfuge and manipulation.
So eager did Sestak want to look like he was supportive of cutting edge green technology and a local "non-profit" supposedly engaged in it, that he didn't do any due diligence when it came to checking out who was requesting the money.
Democrats recently enacted a moratorium on earmarks going to for-profit businesses, as if all non-profits are somehow socially and ethically superior to for-profit companies.
Sestak has been both sanctimonious and hypocritical when it comes to earmarks. He has denounced them and then given them out to supposedly worthy recipients. He has said he wouldn't take campaign money from earmark recipients and then accepted it. His earmark recipients know when they are welcome to donate to his campaign and when they are not. He has set up rules, time frames and windows when he will take their money and when they are supposed to hold off. The Daily News' John Baer is not impressed with Sestak's earmark stance and actions.
This is worse that Job-gate because it makes Sestak look not only like a politician who doesn't worry about shading or hiding the truth, it also makes him and his office look incompetent and hypocritical.
UPDATE: Also suspect and ignorant is Sestak's not checking out the Thomas Paine Foundation and it's connection to the militantly atheistic Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia.
The FSGP was founded in 1993 by a woman named Margaret Downey and is still a going concern. Back then Margaret was comparing the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America to Nazis for not allowing her to be a adult volunteer. She claimed it was because she and her 12 year-old-son were atheists and so were being discriminated against for their religious views. The Boy Scouts however denied the charge and won in court when Ms. Downey sued them. She did however, get the desired publicity for her "cause" and launched herself a career as an oppressed atheist. Most of the "mainstream" media ate it up. Me, not so much.
Girls' lacrosse coach extraordinaire Jen Duckenfield is out at Strath Haven High. Was she the victim of a small claque of disgruntled "helicopter" parents and over-protected kids or simply too tough a coach for suburban school sensibilities? My print column is up.