Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Welcome Back

Delco escapee, captured in Delaware, returns to jail to the tune of Welcome Back Kotter
Welcome back,
A snafu was your ticket out.

Welcome back,
To that same old place we all laughed about.

Well, the names have all changed since you hung around,
But Taaqi and Taariq, well they've both been found.

Who'd have thought we'd catch ya? (Who'd have thought we'd catch ya?)
Down there where we snatched ya (Down there where we snatched ya)

Yeah they teased us a lot, you sure put us on the spot, welcome back,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Your Junk is Safe with Big Sis

Dude, Where's My Bong?

The medical marijuana movement has made its way Pennsylvania. With a doctor's note you would be able get weed to alleviate whatever aches, pains and/or anxieties you have with the help of medicinal pot, you know, as opposed to the recreational kind.

A number of states have already approved doctor-prescribed pot, which is to say the camel's nose is well under the tent. This is a lot like gambling industry and how we got table games in Pa. First it was the state lottery, then slots, then craps. It was only a matter of time and taste.

There really is no good reason why pot, ought to remain outlawed when so many other quasi-unhealthy products are perfectly legal and on the market. No doubt, there will be social costs with the decriminalization of pot. The more tolerant we are of drugs, the more use there will be. But decriminalization has its benefits. Instead of wasting time locking people up and burdening our courts with these sorts of cases, we should be treating casual (and even excessive) use as a personal life-style choice to be respected, condemned or made fun of as the community sees fit.

It has always seemed incredibly odd to me that you can have a legal abortion in this country but you can't legally smoke a joint.

In Michigan, medical marijuana is legal. Nolan Findley has some reasonable thoughts on the subject.

Leslie Nielsen Dies

Nothing to see here.



Something to see here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bomb Plot Foiled, But Not By TSA

From Friday's Daily Times, my print column on the TSA at PHL and one girl's trip through the security line.

Also, last week I predicted in my Wednesday print column that the next terrorist attack in the U.S. wouldn't be at an airport or against an airliner but some other less protected target.

It appears I was right.
The FBI thwarted an attempted terrorist bombing in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square before the city's annual tree-lighting Friday night, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon.

A Corvallis man, thinking he was going to ignite a bomb, drove a van to the corner of the square at Southwest Yamhill Street and Sixth Avenue and attempted to detonate it...

...Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a Somali-born U.S. citizen, was arrested at 5:42 p.m., 18 minutes before the tree lighting was to occur, on an accusation of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The arrest was the culmination of a long-term undercover operation, during which Mohamud had been monitored for months as his alleged bomb plot developed.
Nice work by the FBI. And notice they didn't have to search a million air travelers to prevent it from happening.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This Morning at the PHL

I just got back from F terminal at the Philadelphia Airport. It's dead. There are more TSA agents than there are travelers heading out for the holiday weekend.

But I did meet and talk to a few people including the Saals, John Amy and Noah, of Newtown Square. They got there way early for their noon flight to Greensboro. And though John is not wild about new security measures that allow federal agents to view his wife reasonably naked, they'll do what they have to do to visit his mother for Thanksgiving.

video

More later.

UPDATE: Off a morning flight from Cincinnati came Leandra Arnold. A student in Philadelphia to visit her fiance for the holiday, Arnold said security in Cincinnati was quick and easy to get through. As for stories about more invasive procedures, Arnold said, "It doesn't bother me a bit. I'd rather be safe."

Also in from Ohio was the Miller family, Lisa and Shane and their kids, Max and Sam.

"It was so easy," said Lisa. The TSA agent were "especially" good "with the children. "They made an effort to make it smooth."
As for all the new procedures, Lisa said, "Safety's the most important thing."

In from Milwaukee, Kelsey Canfield said she had to go through a pretty standard pat down. She said wouldn't much like anything more invasive.

"I know they're just trying to keep people safe but I don't like the whole idea of invasion of privacy." Neither does she buy the TSA's claim that they don't keep the photographic images of travelers.

Still, she said, she'd rather go through the machine than go through the extensive pat down.

"If you refuse (the body scanner) they take you into a private room and really go at it. I would not go for that at all."

None of the people I spoke to voiced any great concern over the new TSA procedures, but according to a new Zogby poll a majority of likely voters don't approve of them.
The implementation of full body scans and pat downs by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as part of security enhancements at our nation's airports will cause 48% of Americans and 42% of more frequent fliers to choose a different mode of transportation when possible, a recent Zogby International Poll finds. 

Overall, 61% of the 2,032 likely voters polled from Nov. 19 to Nov. 22, oppose the use of full body scans and TSA pat downs.  Republicans (69%) and Independents (65%) oppose in greater numbers than Democrats (50%).

Profiles in Ignorance

Ruth Marcus gives a reasonable, if not convincing, defense of the TSA's invasive new practices.

Her willingness to have her "saggy butt" anonymously viewed by a TSA agent in another location is for the greater good. Just as allowing a federal worker to feel in between the crevace of one's butt cheeks satisfies the same social contract for safety's sake.

As it is, polls show that a majority of Americans are willing to submit to such procedures for the greater good (security), Marcus and others talk about. In their view, the marginal benefit of being extra safe outweighs the indignity of being probed.

As for profiling, Marcus, like her colleague Gene Robinson, doesn't believe it will work because eventually terrorist leaders will recruit white, grandmotherly types to do their suicide bombing for them. This seems a stretch. Suicide bombers have a particular psychology that is played upon over months and sometimes years. The likelihood of Al Qaeada leaders being able to recruit a 56-year-old woman from Norfolk willing to blow herself up to kill hundreds of innocents is so remote that it isn't worth protecting against.

What are the other possibilities? Could such terrorists sneak enough PETN and TAPN into such a person's underwear for them to unknowingly carry the explosive onto a plane? Maybe. But then they would have to detonate the device by combining the two subtances. So no. They would need a willing subject.

What about holding family members hostage, threatening to kill them unless the old lady cooperated? That too, seems unlikely to work. What reasonable guarantee could the terrorists give that they would let the family go after the woman blew herself up to induce her to go along with the plan?

No, profiling would work. But it is shied away from by politicians and bureaucrats afraid of the CAIR and the PC police. If we are to be told that it is part of the social contract to allow physically intrusive searches of our bodies in order to protect the lives of our fellow citizens, then federal screeners ought to be ordered to use even more effective means for ferreting out terrorists. Our state department declares whole countries to be dangerous for American citizens to travel to. Our government declares certain countries to be exporters of terrorism. Why can't citizens of those countries receive greater scrutiny when traveling by air in this one?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From "Come Fly With Me" to...



Thank you, Iowahawk.

UPDATE: More good stuff here.

Gene Gene, the Scanning Machine!

In a howler of a column WaPo's Eugene Robinson claims the TSA is being "unfairly maligned" for the way it goes about its job of protecting us.
Last Christmas, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to bring down an airliner by detonating explosives concealed in his underwear. The device did not properly explode, but the incident sensitized the TSA to the danger of terrorist bombs that might make it past a metal detector -- hence the rush to install full-body scanners that give a clear view of what's beneath a person's clothing, junk and all.
Whoa. The crazy thing about the Abdulmutallab case was not that we had the technology to prevent him from boarding a plane but didn't put it in place. The crazy thing about that case was that Umar's OWN FATHER warned authorities that his son was a threat, a possible Al Qaeda operative, and STILL he was allowed to board a jetliner headed for America.

Instead of acting on actionable human intelligence in Africa, the response of Homeland Security is to start body scanning grandmothers in Omaha. What is wrong with this picture? Nothing, according to Robinson.

After citing the Al Qaeda's failed attempt to send bombs to America loaded in copy machine catridges, Robinson concludes, "
these AQAP people are resourceful and determined." They are also fairly easy to identify in so far as they come from a very specific couple of places in the world.

Incredibly, Robinson goes on to pooh pooh profiling (as if profiling was even needed in the Abdulmutallab case) as a "civil rights" violation without seeming to notice he's asking millions of flyers to give up a a real constitutional right against unreasonable searches.

Then there's this gem:
Now, we could decide that treating air-traveling Americans like Guantanamo inmates is going too far -- that by doing so, we invest a bunch of terrorists with power they do not deserve.
Got it?

In order not to invest a bunch of terrorists (terrorists just a paragraph earlier he was calling "resourceful and determined") with power they do not deserve we must treat the air-traveling public like Guantanamo inmates. Logic demands it!

So don't blame Janet Napolitano for her efforts.
After all, if terrorists are clever enough to hide powerful explosives in ink cartridges, then eventually they'll find a suicide bomber who looks just like you, me or Granny.
Eugene just doesn't get it.

When it comes to suicide bombers, it isn't about looks. It's about location and behavior.

Sheesh!

Robinson doesn't get, but Ramirez does...

Back to the Future

Daily Times reader and letter-to-the-editor writer Liz Lawson of Norwood is disappointed in the recent election results.
The election has set our government back into the mentality level of the ’50s. So when our new government starts taking away our rights, things we fought to have, just remember that they are taking them away from you too. Also remember that you said that was okay with your vote.

Ya' mean like our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches, Liz?

I guess if President Obama says X-ray strip searches and "junk"-touching pat downs at airports are "reasonable," that's good enough for some people.

When Airport Scanners Were Funny

Peter Funt remembers when... and takes heart that Americans are beginning to challenge authority when it acts ridiculously.

UPDATE: I looked for the video the old Candid Camera airport stunt but couldn't find it. But in searching I did find this: It has nothing to do with airport security but it's brilliant.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Pre-Thanksgiving Vacation

I'm just back from Las Vegas where I went to visit a sick friend but here are the Cliffs Notes:

THURSDAY 7 A.M.: Go through airport security at PHL. It's thrilless. I was determined to Opt Out of the full body scan in favor of one of the TSA new full body massages. But there was no scanning machines at B terminal, just an old fashioned metal detectors. The TSA agents seemed to be extra nice, saying good morning to everybody. Smart move, after all the flak they've been getting recently aggressively patting down 80-year-old ladies and 3-year-old children. I can't Opt In to a pat down, let alone Opt Out. Maybe I'll have better luck on the way home.

10:30 a.m. Arrive Vegas.

11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. gamble.

4:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. watch "Get Low" with my friend, Sam. Good acting. Bad script.

7:00 p.m. 8:30 p.m. dinner.

8:45 p.m. Gambling.

Jayson Werth shows up at our table. He holds up a $25,000 brown chip. "I found this on the floor," he says.
I check my pockets. "It's mine," I say. "I just dropped it." He says, "I found it over there." I say, "It rolled." The dice are cold but Jayson like to play the High Horn coming out. I hit him two 12s and he's flush. He leaves after about 40 minutes with more money than he showed up with.

10 p.m. to 3 a.m. More gambling.

FRIDAY 8 a.m. - 4 a.m Saturday - Golf, gambling, dinner, more gambling.

SATURDAY 9 a.m - 1 a.m. Sunday - Golf, gambling, watch the film "Machete" with Sam. It's surprisingly entertaining. Robert DeNiro plays a racist, anti-immigrant Texas politician, a Mexican character actor plays Machete, a Mexican federale, whose good with a blade and cuts a lot of drug dealers' heads off. He gets ensnared in a plot to assassinate DeNiro, but its all a big conspiracy to build a border fence that will somehow help Mexican drug lord, Steven Segal, and DeNiro with their careers. Lindsay Lohan gets naked. Dinner, gambling.

SUNDAY 7:30 a.m. to 7:45 - Ride to airport. Cab driver is a from Kansas, a construction worker. Drives a cab now. "Harry Reid says we need them Mexicans. We don't need them Mexicans. There ain't a job they'll do an American won't do." But Harry's better than that dummy of a woman who ran against him. "She blamed the media for all the dumb things she said so she stopped talking to 'em the last week of the campaign." At least Harry will keep bringing back the bacon.

8 a.m. Go through McCarron Airport security. The body scanners are there but not on duty. The short fat lady in front of me keeps setting off the metal detector. Three times, they send her back to go through again. The TSA agent hangs his head. Finally, she lifts up her pant leg and takes off her knee brace. D'oh! She makes it through on her fourth try. I glide through. But the old man with the fat lady in front of me gets pulled over for a pat down. It's conducted by a gray-haired guy who probably only a couple years younger. Two old codgers having to play their embarrassing parts in Security Theater 2010.

Three nights in Vegas, feels like a week. It's good to be home.

Domestic Abuse

The Looming Crisis

Robert Samuelson on what needs to be done to get our fiscal house in order.
The problem is not reducing the deficit. It is controlling spending in a way that seems socially just, economically sensible and politically tolerable. If we are honest -- neither party has been -- it means asking how much we allow benefits for the old to burden the young through higher taxes, lower public services, slower economic growth and weakened national security.

Any genuine debate must be wrenching because government has promised more than it can realistically deliver, and lower benefits or higher taxes will leave many feeling (justifiably) mistreated. No one would be happy. Liberals would have to accept sizable benefit cuts; conservatives, tax increases.
Bring on the unhappiness before it gets worse

Happy Holidays

That was a weird game last night but a win's a win and the Eagles are a top the NFC East. Not a bad place to be on Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Dumb, Liberal, Feel-Good Idea II

About the proposed Haverford Township ordinance to protect gay people, my print column is up.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bad for Business

Chief Executive Mag picked the best and worst states for business.

Pennsylvania ranked 32. A pro-business state legislature and governor should do something about that. We'll see.

Another Dumb, Liberal, Feel-Good Idea

Haverford Township is considering an ordinance that purports to outlaw discrimination against gays.

Before they do this township commissioners ought to ask themselves this: How big a problem is anti-gay discrimination in the township? Are gays routinely being denied jobs and housing in the township? Are gays being denied service at local restaurants and bars because they are gay?

If these are not real problems in the township, and I seriously doubt they are, than this is just a political effort by gay activists to guilt local officials into restricting the rights of their fellow citizens and creating causes of action for gays who feel slighted or victimized by one or two people.

Proponents of the ordinance want to see the creation of a Human Relations Board that can sit in judgment of township residents brought up on charges of being mean, unfair and/or discriminatory against a member of this or that victim group.

Such government boards have proven themselves to be divisive, bullying and asinine in their judgments and actions.

Remember when Joey Vento put up that sign at his cheesesteak joint asking people to "Order in English"? He was hauled up on charges by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. It was only thanks to public pressure and outrage that the commission finally backed off.

The state Human Relations Commission is no better in helping people get along or dispensing justice. It awarded some overly sensitive knucklehead at WYSP hundreds of thousands of dollars after he and his co-workers were asked to read a book about how to dress for work. (A real court threw out the PHRC's decision.)

You don't have to be a conservative Christian to be against the creation of more such lame government bodies. The mischief they do in the name of doing good, is well documented. America needs fewer not more of these kangaroo courts.

UPDATE: Here's the first comment on the story:
HaverMom wrote on Nov 17, 2010 7:58 AM:
" Why are Republicans always against disenfranchised groups? How can an anti-bullying ordinance hurt anyone? My guess is that Heilman was a bully. Thats' how he comes across. "
This is a perfect example of liberal argument. If you're against creating a government board to protect gay people you must be a bully. Just how gays are "disenfranchised" HaverMom doesn't say because she can't. Gay are no more disenfranchised than redheaded stepchildren are. Being included into a list of groups Americans are not allowed to discriminate against is hardly enfranchisement, now is it?

Airport Insecurity

Airport security is turning into a live strip show and grab fest and it's completely unneccessary. My print column is up.

More here.

And from Iowahawk, the new TSA lyrics to Come Fly With Me:
Comply with me, before you fly away
Remove those shoes and take a cruise
Through my peekaboo X-ray
Comply with me, I'm your friendly TSA
UPDATE II: Here's the Los Angeles Times' Editorial Board's advice for air travellers: Shut Up and Be Scanned. It's "invasive," but it's a "neccessary evil." No, it's not!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Military Tribunal?


This is just wrong. The very least Rosie deserves is a civilian trial.

Obama's New Book

The Briar Patch of Pension Reform

All you have to know about the just-passed Pension Reform bill to judge it a bad law is who is praising it.
State government employee unions and the Pennsylvania State Education Association applauded the vote.

PSEA president James P. Testerman said the bill "resolves the pension crisis in a responsible manner and over time will save the taxpayers billions of dollars. It also keeps the promise of a secure retirement for current and future workers."
Baloney. Without further changes the system will require massive tax increases in future years to pay for benefits for public employees that private sector workers can only dream about.

Disappointed with the bill were advocates real reform, such as the Commonwealth Foundation.
"We attempted to bring fiscal sanity to the pension discussion, but the reality was that self-interested unions were successful in drowning out the voice of the taxpayers," said Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. "Despite arguments to the contrary, this bill didn't 'save' the taxpayers any money. Taxes will still be going up with this 'reform' next year—$646M more just to pay for PSERS and SERS—and every year thereafter. But it did prevent moving new employees into a Defined Contribution plan—a major victory for labor unions like PSEA, AFSCME and SEIU."

Airport 2010

Former Daily Times Sound-Off man Paul Mulshine sounds off about the TSA's body scanners and newly aggressive groping policy.

We have an editorial about this in today's paper.

What we need are more airport security guys like Lloyd Nolan from the 1970 film "Airport." He sniffed out mad bomber Van Heflin as a very suspicious character, but didn't have the legal power to stop and search his case. Now he has the power to feel up Jacqueline Bissett on her way to having an affair with Dean Martin.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Surrender Nancy!

Thanks to the Stimulus...

Gawker reports:
White House Staffers Got a Bigger Raise Than You Did Last Year.
I know they got a bigger raise than I did.

Summers in the Slammer

Kit Summers saw a thing or two during his stay in Delaware County prison. Now that he's out he's hoping to make a comeback of sorts. My Sunday print column is up.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free Kit Summers' Salsa

It ain't free, but it's good.

video

If anyone wants to buy some proceeds will go to the Kit Summers Legal Defense Fund.

UPDATE: The first review is in.

Mrs. Spencerblog, who is a self-professed salsa addict, just tore through a 16-ounce container of the stuff.

She said, and I quote:
"Ummm. Oh, God! That's good! Ummm. That's friggin' good. Uh, oh, ummm. I can't believe it!!! That's really good! Oh, my God! I ate a whole entire container."

Kit Summers Convicted II

From today's print column:
No sense beating around the bush. What happened to Kit Summers in Linwood District Court Wednesday morning was a travesty of justice. It may have been small travesty, but it was an ugly bit of burlesque just the same.
Please read it all.

Kit Summers was found guilty of disorderly conduct and harassment Wednesday based solely on the word of a man described by his neighbors as a "bully" and a "creep."

District Justice David Griffin thought he was being clever when he tossed out the most serious (and bogus) charge that would have required the case to go to Media for trial and then found Summers guilty of what was in his power to find him guilty of.

But he never heard Summers' side of the story.

Typically at a preliminary hearing, the accused does not testify. Griffin could have postponed judgement or dismissed the summery offenses. Instead he ordered both men into a community mediation program.

It is quite apparent that Griffin didn't want offend the Trainer cops who brought this flimsy complaint to his court. What is apparent to me, after to talking to Trainer Police Chief MaGaw, Summers, the complainant, and the neighbors, is that the cops did a awful job in handling the situation. They allowed a bully to pick on a weaker and more vulnerable member of their community. And that's not what good cops do. Good cops protect the weak against bullies. And they don't rationalize that putting a defenseless, brain-injured, man-child behind bars is really for his own good.

Below, can be found testimonials from people who know Kit Summers and know him to be peaceful, gentle, kind and about a threatening as a bunny rabbit. His accuser is a different story.

One good Samaritan reader (and blog commenter - Davee) says he will pay part of the court costs for Summers' to appeal of his convictions and will be pressing for an investigation into how the Trainer police handled the situation, specifically bringing charges against Summer but not against his neighbor after he was witnessed throwing a rock and hitting Summers in the chest with it.

In the meantime, I will be writing one more column for Sunday about Kit Summers and what kind of person he is.

Stay tuned.

Give That Man a Raise

At least one group is doing well in this economy

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Democrats Collapse

Dan Henninger on the Anti-Business Party
Years ago the Democrats' anti-business populism didn't matter much because most people doing politics, including the populists, took for granted that politics included staying connected to local businesses. No more. Most Democrats are driving right past the Mom-and-Pop economy to public union headquarters. The party's candidates are like brides of Dracula, locked forever in an embrace with infusions of public union political money (more than $170 million in this election).

As to the future, look at a map done by the National Conference of State Legislatures showing state-level party control now. The southeastern states, one of the most economically vibrant regions of the country, is wholly red. North Carolina has its first Republican senate since 1870. What's still blue on this map suggests the Democratic Party is collapsing into mostly urban, public sector redoubts—Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Chicago.

The Changeling

George Will sez:
As he promised it would be, Barack Obama's presidency has been transformative, but not as he intended. Whether it lasts two or six more years, it is an exhausted volcano because its biggest consequence may already have happened: It has resuscitated the right, making 2010 conservatism's best year in 30 years - since the election of Ronald Reagan.
Read it all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kit Summers Convicted

I'm recently back from Linwood District Court where Trainer's Kit Summers had his preliminary hearing on charges of making Terroristic Threats, Harassment and Disorderly Conduct.

Represented by Media Attorney Ted Hoppe, pro bono, Summers was found guilty by DJ David Griffin of harassment and disorderly based solely on the testimony of his 61-year-old neighbor, Paul Craig Essick. Griffin threw out the most serious charge, that of his making a "terrorist threat" to Essick.

But why Griffin decided to find Summers guilty of the other charges is a mystery. He ordered both men into a community mediation program, much to the chagrin and disgust of Mr. Essick.

At no time, did Griffin hear from Summers before finding him guilty of the lesser charges. If he had he would have heard a decidedly different version of events, one that painted Essick at the aggressor against the Summers who still copes with a brain-injury from a 1982 accident.

I'll be writing more about this later. But here's a video of Kit after the hearing.

video

Griffin said he would postpone sentencing for 45 days pending both men completing the mediation program. Summers' attorney Ted Hoppe, says he may appeal the Griffin's decision to Media.

UPDATE: Here's an e-mail from reader Phyllis May Lynch, who apparently knows Kit Summers a lot better than I do.
Gil

I don't know where to begin, but I'll start by saying, what a great write-up you did on Kit Summers, and how correct you are in your "take" on Kit!

I am a Realtor, which is how i met Kit and his wife 17 years ago. I have been friendly with Kit since that time, and words cannot express how sick in my stomach this entire situation has made me. Me, as well as my husband and children (who have all come to know Kit over the years) are just completely blown away and saddened that someone that is so gentle and harmless could be put in this awful, completely pathetic situation!

When i tell you that Kit Summers is truly one of the most compassionate, sensitive, kind, caring individuals i have EVER met in my life (not to mention probably one of the most gentle and harmless as well), that would probably be an understatement. Always soft spoken, never loud, never confrontational, always just giving of himself, with a great love for people (especially his family and friends) and also animals (especially his 4 rabbits), is the only way i have ever known Kit to be, EVER! And if you gave me a list of 1,000 people, Kit would be the LAST person on my list that would start any trouble (let alone use a gun)?!?!? (I really don't even think Kit is the type that would hurt a bug! He would be the one that would pick it up and take it outside, so as not to hurt or kill it)! 

I am just hoping that somehow justice will be served, and a man that doesn't bother a soul, and goes about his simple life trying to create good will among so many, will receive the peace that he is so much deserves!

Phyllis May-Lynch
Here's another:
I just read your piece in the paper about Kit.
Let me tell you my story. I had never heard of nor known Kit Summers until
Sept. 2009.

Let me back up a bit ... On July 1st 2009 my son Daniel was in what should
have been a fatal car accident.

He suffered severe head trauma and extensive brain injuries including Diffuse
Axonal Shearing (DAI). The worst type of brain injury possible. ... Daniel was in a coma for a month and inpatient rehab
for another 4 months.

In Sept. I was at a home show in Philadelphia for work. At this point I was
still in a fog, I was basically going through the motions of life, not
really living. I ran into a man at a booth selling Salsa. He saw my
bracelet "Pray for Dan" and we started talking. I told him about my son.
He, to my utter shock, told me about himself. That man was Kit Summers. He
signed a copy of his book for Dan and gave me a set of juggling balls to
take to Daniel in the hospital. He thought it would help Dan to recover his
coordination. All this from a complete stranger.

That was the beginning of the friendship between Kit, Dan and I. What I
would later find out at a BIAPA (Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania)
walk-a-thon is that Kit also knew the mother of a close friend of Dan. What
a small world. Kit volunteered to come and support Dan at the walk-a-thon.

I had dinner with Kit, his sister, Dan and our mutual friend last week. We
talked of the situation and shared some of Dan's progress. Kit has been
wonderful to Dan and nothing short of inspirational to me and my family.

To think that Kit could do ANYTHING even remotely close to threatening
another person is nothing short of ludicrous. The police, who admitted
knowing Kit previously should be embarrassed of themselves. Kit is a
wonderful, kind & gentle human being.

I just thought I'd share my experience with Kit with you.

Dave Perrino
Dan's Dad

And another:
Gil,

Thank you for your story on Kit. I have known him for going on 10
years and would agree with your assessment of him as a human being. I
consider him one of the more fascinating men I have ever met. His life
story is remarkable and heart-achingly tragic. One thing that Kit
needs, more than most of us, is an advocate. I am thankful that God
has perhaps touched you on the shoulder to help in that cause!

Stephen Smickley

The Winter of Kit Summers

Kit Summers of Trainer has had his share of bad luck. His most recent bout involved him spending three weeks in our county prison for a crime, he says, he did not commit.

Kit is from California but has lived in Trainer for 17 years.

He was a world-class juggler and performed at Ballys in Atlantic City before almost being killed one rainy day when he was hit by a truck crossing Atlantic Avenue. He was in a coma for 37 days and suffered a severe brain injury. He never juggled professionally again. But he did use juggling in speaking engagements at schools to motivate students to not give up even after something bad happens to them.

He sure was good. Here he is at Ballys in 1982.



What happened to him recently is subject of my print column today.

Blood Thicker Than Water

County D.A. secretary Vera Carroll charged with lying to a grand jury about passing information to her grandson's attorney about his robbery cases.

Names of witnessess were included. That doesn't sound good.
Carroll, accompanied by attorney Scott Kramer, surrendered Tuesday morning.

Kramer said Carroll has been cooperative with authorities.

“We believe she is ARD-eligible,” Kramer said, referring to the accelerated rehabilitative disposition probationary program for first-time offenders.
Maybe she can even keep her job.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's the Calories, Stupid!

While the Pennsylvania State Board of Education moves to impose "healthier" food standards on our kids, a nutrition professor goes on a Twinkie diet and loses 27 pounds in two months.

Twinkie, anyone?

John Green Re-Charged

Former Penn Delco school board member John Green has been re-arrested and charged by the DA's office with treating a girls' athletic association's bank account as his own. According to the DA, he wrote checks for thousands of dollars for family and personal expenses.

The ethics violations to which he pleaded guilty not too long ago were piddling. These charges are not. If convicted, he will probably do time and he will have earned it.

Decker Gets Probation

About what I expected. And fair too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pretty Tricky

Maybe the Eagles should try this:

Hal Taussig: Marxist?


Neat story about Hal Taussig, the 85-year-old Media philanthropist, who lives frugally on social security and rides a bike everywhere.

I've met and written about Hal myself and he's delightful guy.

He decribes himself as a "Christian Marxist" but really he is so much better than that. Marxists believe in the workers controlling the "means of production" and an intellectual vangard running the government. 'From all according to their abilities to all according to their needs.' With the vangard deciding just what those abilities and needs are. Blah, blah, blah. It's a system that hasn't and doesn't work anywhere in the world.

What Hal does is simply give his money away like any good, decent capital-having philanthropist. It should be remembered that there have been thousands of good capitalists who have made and given away far more money than Hal ever has. Few of them live as frugally as Hal, but many of them, (Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Gates, Buffett, etc.) have given away billions of dollars to good causes and charities.

They had all that money because they live in a society that values individual freedom and initiative. One that allows people to keep the fruits of their labor (at least some good portion of them) and dispense them as they see fit.

Hal is no more a Marxist than Sen. Elect Chris Coons is, even though he too once described himself as such.

Anyway, it's a nice story.

Foot, Meet Bullet!

Remember when America's premier Catholic University, Notre Dame, honored the most pro-abortion president in American history? Well, it cost them.

Dems' Problem: Not Socialist Enough

Joan Walsh on Democrat Repudiation Day: It happened because Democrats weren't socialist ENOUGH! Not enough class welfare against the rich. Not enough government control over healthcare. Not enough stimulus spending.

Joan sez:
The smart money may be on Obama caving to the GOP, as he did when Republicans demanded a smaller-than-needed stimulus, healthcare reform without a public option or curbs on industry profits, financial reform without a ban on banks' gambling with federally insured money -- and then delivered few or no votes for the watered-down result, anyway. I still believe Obama can stick to his guns, realizing that he's living through a depressing hazing ritual for Democratic presidents -- being stuck cleaning up after a Republican bacchanal -- and refuse to budge.

Why? Because the alternative -- Obama caving -- is unthinkable, politically. It would extend the last 30 years of class warfare -- the rich against the rest of us -- indefinitely. It would doom the Democrats for the foreseeable future. And it could throw the country back into the recession from which it's barely recovered, since paying more money to the uber-rich would make spending on jobs or any other kind of recovery measures almost impossible.
Get it? The "uber-rich" are being paid money. It isn't the government that takes it away by demanding taxes and imposing expensive regulations. The government owns the money and disperses it to a greedy nation as it sees fit. That's Joan's story, the liberals' story, and she's sticking to it.

Decker Getting Sentenced, Sued

Former Ridley Police officer Brian Decker gets sentenced today. I'm guessing some sort of probation.

He is being sued by Monique Bronson for smacking her after she gave him some lip that he didn't like while trying to purchase some chewing tobacco at the local WAWA.

The 43-year-old mother of four, Bronson is now "homeless" for some reason that she and her lawyer are blaming Decker. She is also suing Ridley Township for not supervising him properly while he was off-duty. She is now seems to be unemployed. No doubt she hopes to recover a nice junk of money and being jobless will help in that endeavor.

I smell a settlement coming on. The whole thing stinks to high heavens.

Objective Journalist Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann doesn't vote but he does contribute to political campaigns in violation of his employer's rulebook. That earned him a suspension from his job, but he'll be back shortly.

Dumb rule, especially at MSNBC where the talking heads make their biases so obvious.

Play the video and listen to Keith get scolded by the hens on the View.

Eagle Eye

Listen Up, Lindsay

What a mess.
Listen up, California. The other 48 states—your cousin New York excluded—are sick of your bratty arrogance. You're the Lindsay Lohan of states: a prima donna who once showed some talent but is now too wasted to do anything with it.
At least, they still have Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown to help lead them back to the Promised Land.

Denial Ain't Just a River in Egypt

George Will on Democrats in denial:
On Oct. 1, Nancy Pelosi, referring to Republicans, said, "I would rather be where we are than where they are." Now she is where they were - in the minority in the House. The Democrats' House caucus will be smaller and more homogenously liberal. Their Senate caucus will be leavened by one freshman who got there by strongly criticizing the defining aspects of Obama's agenda (Joe Manchin of West Virginia) and another who endorsed an important part of George W. Bush's (Chris Coons of Delaware, who endorsed extension of all the Bush tax cuts).

28 Years Later...

Justice delayed is justice denied for Officer Faulkner and his family

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bonfire of the Vanity Fair

Meet Graydon Carter:
This dandy is telling America to "man-up?"
A distinguished colleague of mine likens the wiggy mood of the nation to that of a hormonal teenager. What do you call an electorate that seems prone to acting out irrationally, is full of inchoate rage, and is constantly throwing fits and tantrums? You call it teenaged. Is voting for a deranged Tea Party candidate such as Christine O’Donnell, who has no demonstrable talent for lawmaking, or much else, so different from shouting “Whatever!” and slamming the bedroom door? Is moaning that Obama doesn’t emote enough or get sufficiently angry so different from screaming, “You don’t understand!!!”
Really? Insulting the voting public doesn't seem a very smart way to win back their support, but then Carter is the foppish editor of a glossy magazine that exists to flatter the political sensibilities of its "upscale" liberal readers. He obviously doesn't know much about winning elections.

If you wanted to see real adolescent behavior all you had to do was watch MSNBC's election night coverage. Though it tanked in the ratings, it provided viewers a perfect look at what left-wingers do when they see their agenda being rejected by a majority of the country. The panelists, Larry O'Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Eugene Robinson and Chris Matthews, all leftists, smirked and insulted their GOP guests and focused on the few number of races Democrats didn't lose. It was like watching a football game where the home team was getting clobbered 48 to 3 and listening to the announcers make fun of the winning team's center for the way he snapped the football. This was their way of ignoring the reality of what they were seeing, a definitive and democratic rejection of their agenda and world-view.

(A review of the coverage can be found here.)

This wasn't manning-up. It was impotently snarking and raging up. At least, the panelists all assured themselves an invitation to Vanity's Fair famous Oscar party. How cool is that?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crudely Accurate

Nobody analyzed this election before it happened better than Frank J. Flemming. (Warning: He uses the s word in abundance.) As in: The Republicans "sucked" but the Democrats sucked worse.
(N)ot just plain old, usual politician sucked, but epic levels of suck where it’s hard to find an analogue in human history that conveys the same level of suckitude. It was sheer incompetence plus arrogance — and those things do not complement each other well. We’re talking sucking that distorts time and space like a black hole.

It’s Godzilla-smashing-through-a-city level of suck — but a really patronizing Godzilla who says you’re just too stupid and hateful to see all the buildings he’s saved or created as he smashes everything apart. Or, to use Obama’s favorite analogy, you have a car stuck in ditch, so you call the mechanic, but the only tool he brings with him is a sledgehammer. And then he smashes your car to pieces and charges you $100,000 for his service. Finally, he calls you racist for complaining. Obama and the Democrats have been so awful, it’s hard for the human brain to even comprehend.
Any questions? Read it all.

A Different Sort of Democratic Senator



Congratulations to Senator-Elect Joe Manchin (D-WVa)

Liberal Arrogance Leads To...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lentz Will Be Back

Bryan Lentz was one of the bigger losers yesterday. He lost by 10 points in a race that was supposed to have been close. How big a factor was Schnellergate? Hard to say. But it sure didn't help.

He had the disadvantage of running against one of the better-liked and more respected men Delaware County has to offer in Pat Meehan.

Joe Sestak got to run against Pat Toomey, a true blue conservative and free marketer, who hails from Allentown. On the whole Delco is about as moderate politically as you can get. Meehan's a moderate who ran a moderate campaign against a Democratic Washington establishment that has governed from the left, spending money hand over fist with little to show for it in the way of private sector jobs. Lentz was spitting into a GOP hurricane.

What he does now? Who knows but the job of Delaware County DA is coming open pretty soon. Lentz might want to throw his U.S. Ranger's beret into the ring. He'd be as formidable a candidate as the Democrats have put up for that office in the last two centuries. Winning the job could certainly pad his resume to run for higher office. He's been a prosecutor in Philly and voters like prosecutors, especially tough ones.

Lentz is young, smart and politically savvy (Schnellergate notwithstanding.) He's got the bug. He won't retreat back into private practive for long. He'll be back in politics in some form or another. Later, if not, sooner.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid!

Governor-elect Tom Corbett says if you know what kind of governor he intends to be just "look across the river." That weird sound you just heard was 400,000 teachers and state employees shuddering.

If he can just get rid of the LCB, he'll be reelected in landslide.

2008: Those Were the Days, Sorta'



An oldie but a goody. Wassup? Can't wait to see the 2010 version.

Remember What Patton Said

All power is fleeting, especially political power. A sober analysis from Phil Klein:
The American public didn't go from being socialists to Reaganite conservatives in the past two years, any more than their ideology radically transformed from 2004 to 2006. The lesson of recent elections, thus, may not be that the American people are right of center, or left of center, or dead center, but that many of them aren't terribly ideological. This means that political power is ephemeral. No matter how popular one party is, they could be only one election away from embarrassing defeat. No matter how badly one party is defeated, they could be on the verge of a historic comeback. In this environment, reports of the demise of any political party, at any time, are likely to be greatly exaggerated.

Joe Sestak for President

So, after all those months of trailing Pat Toomey by half a length in the polls, Joltin' Joe Sestak lost by an eyelash.

In horse racing they put weight on the best horses to make the race closer. And in this race, Joe Sestak was carrying a lot of weight. But almost all of it was poundage he brought with him and stuffed in his own saddlebag.

His voting record of bailouts, special interest spending, government-run healthcare and on cap-and-trade was among the most liberal in Congress. It was far out of step with what most Americans, let alone most Pennsylvanians, wanted.

The tidal wave of Republican victories last night was a shot to the heart of the Obama governing agenda. It was a complete repudiation of the sort arrogance that the Democratic leadership in Washington has shown these last 20 months.

To his credit, Joe Sestak never came across as arrogant. He was and is, if nothing else, a genuine and earnest believer in the good that government can and should do for people. He's a government guy and has been his whole life.

His decision to challenge Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary made him few new friends in the Democratic establishment but it won him the hearts of rank and file Democrats across the state. He helped expose Specter for what he was, a wiley careerist who would change parties like coats in order to hang on to his job.

Ed Rendell said Joe was going to "get killed." But it was he who did the killing, putting an end to Specter's 30-year Senate career. (Of course, Pat Toomey would have done the same thing if Specter had stayed a Republican.) In beating the Republican turned Democrat, Sestak gave the party it's only real shot at holding that seat in the Senate. But that shot ended up costing the party, at least one congressional seat. Joe gambled for himself and helped lose two seats in the GOP wave.

Where he goes from here is anybody's guess. Here's mine:

Last night he said:
If someone said to me, ‘Start it all over again, if you know how the ending was going to be, start that year and a half again,’ I’d do it even knowing the end. In a heartbeat,” he said. “I can’t even begin to tell you what I learned. Pennsylvanians — they’re something. They care, they desire to believe again and they love America. And that memory, the last year and a half is going to find a home inside of me in the grandest sepulcher of all — the heart of the Pennsylvanian.”

But let's face it, Joe is not a Pennsylvanian any more than Hillary Clinton is a New Yorker. Sure, he was born here, but his own heart is in Virginia and/or Washington D.C.

I'm not saying he couldn't have represented the state's interests in Washington. I'm saying that his interests have always been far less parochial than the average congressman or senator. He was a quick study, and whatever his limitations were as a speaker, he overcame them, with his resume and his work ethic.

Wherever, he ends up - in that big job Bill Clinton kinda' sorta' offered him, or some other big job, you can bet it will be a "big job." Guys like Joe Sestak, take a fall, land on their feet and start running again. Which is why five years from now, I would not be at all surprised (in fact, I fully expect) to see him on TV somewhere announcing his candidacy for President of the United States.

Richard Nixon lost the governorship of California, famously telling reporters that they wouldn't have him to "kick around anymore" before becoming president in 1968. If he could do it, Joe could.

Last night he said, "I can't even begin to tell you what I've learned" during this campaign. (One thing he learned is who Joe Shumpeter is, because I told him.) He is not one to waste such experience.

For now, as he also said last night, "It's Alex Time." But guys like Joe weren't born to be stay-at-home dads. He'll be back very soon, strategically working some angle that puts him on the road to achieve his ultimate goal. I say it's the Oval Office. And I dare anybody to tell me I'm wrong.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Political Combat: Mano a Mano's

At about 3:30 p.m., I go down to my favorite polling place and pizza joint, Mano's Gulf Station at 9th and Kerlin in Chester.

video

Judge of Election Pearl Burton says turnout is "pretty good," though not nearly as good as two years ago.

Go figure.

On my way home I spot a man with a hand-made sign at Edgemont Ave and 22nd Street. The sign says, "If you don't vote, Obama loses."

video

I stop and talk to the guy. His name is Philip Maneval and he's from Swarthmore.

"I took a vacation day today. I've been out here since 8 a.m," he says. "During the primary, my daughter and I registered about 50 new voters from this corner. I want to make sure they stay engaged."

He says it's "hard to imagine" people not voting, "there's so much at stake. Republicans have no answers and are unwilling to compromise, to work together for the common good. It seems the only idea they have is tax cuts and more tax cuts."

That's the party line anyway.

He asked how the turnout was. I told him moderate and he grimmaced. He knows the score.

video

He was joined by Darryl Lee of Brookhaven.

"I read the sign and came over for conversation," he says, "And I'm not leaving... until he does."

Sorry, Wrong Number

Just got a call from the Bryan Lentz campaign. The conversation went like this:

Caller: Is this the Spencer residence?"
Me: Yes it is.
C: This is (garbled) from the Bryan Lentz campaign calling just reminding you to get out to vote.
Me: Been there. Done that.
C: You already voted then?
Me: Yes, I did.
C: Well, hopefully you voted for Bryan.
Me: Is this Alex? (Alex was the last guy to call me from the Lentz campaign)
C: What?
Me: Is this Alex?
C: No this is Rich Minehart, I'm Bryan's uncle.
Me: Well, Rich, this is Gil Spencer from the Daily Times.
C: Oh, so you voted for Bryan then?
Me: Well, no, I didn't.
C: You didn't?
Me: I voted for Jim Schneller. You guys got him on the ballot so I voted for him.
C: That's perfect then.
Me: Yeah, I thought so.

Conversation ends.

UPDATE: Mrs. Spencerblog just left the house to go vote. Our conversation went like this:

She: Do I look all right? Is this OK to wear (to vote)?
Me: No, they have a dress code. You better change
She. I don't care.
Me: Do me a favor.
She: What?
Me: It's my birthday.
She: I was thinking of doing something nice for your birthday.
Me: Vote for Jim Schneller.
She: Really? Get out. Who did you vote for?
Me: Jim.
She. You're lying,
Me: No, I'm not.
She: Look at me. Who did you vote for?
Me: Jim Schneller
She. No you didn't.
Me: Yes, I did and I want you to vote for him too. He should get at least two votes.
She. Really?
Me: Sure.
She. You're lying.
Me: No, I'm not.
She: Hmm. OK, we'll see.

She left and was home in less than 10 minutes.

She: That was easy
Me: Who did you vote for?
She: I'm not telling. But I did vote for Dan Onorato. I said, 'You're not useless.'

She was right. I was lying.

Is That a Republican in the Backseat?

Bad News for Joe

Voter turnout in Philadelphia is being reported at "moderate." He needs it to be heavy for him to catch Pat Toomey.

Meanwhile, in Springfield...

It is 11:20 a.m. and I arrive at the polling place at the Knights of Columbus hall in Sprinfield, across from the Red Lobster on Baltimore Pike.

"You just missed it," says Springfield GOP leader Mike Puppio.

Two vans, one with Illinois plate and one with a Maryland plate, full of some 15 or so political volunteers, just left after asking, "Is this the Lentz staging area?"

Puppio says, he told the group, "No, it's not," and offered to direct them to where they wanted to go if they could give him an address. The leader of the group made a phone call and said they were looking for 19 Baltimore Pike.

"This is 18," Puppio offered, "I would assume 19 would be across the street."

After using the restroom there, ("They must have had a long drive," says Puppio) they drove off, with Puppio smiling to himself.

Bussing in a bunch of people from out of the area to come and "knock on doors and drag people to the polls" is hardly ever a very "effective campaign technique," Puppio tells me.

I ask him how turnout is and he says it's "very active," about twice a normal midterm election.

I report David Landau's trash talk about how the county GOP organization just ain't what it used to be. Puppio doesn't bite.

"I disagree with that," he says simply. "I haven't seen a congressional race with a more organized and detailed get out the vote effort."

As for the Democrats' efforts, Puppio waves his hand at the entrance to his polling place. No Democratic poll workers here. In 2006 and 2008, there were.

Puppio greets voters, most by their first names. Asks about their kids, wives, all that sort of thing. Retail politics.

"Knowing your people. Knowing your friends and neighbors," says Puppio, that's what works.

A gray haired lady walks up, Puppio offers her a Republican sample ballot. She waves it away politely. She knows who she's voting for and points out that she hardly ever votes "straight party." Turns out she is Brian Kendro's aunt, who as it happens is Pat Meehan's campaign manager. And... she's a Democrat. She and Puppio chat.

Yesterday, Puppio told me that he expects there will be a good number of Delaware County voters who will split their ballots to vote Meehan for Congress and Sestak for Senate.

This voter appears to be one of them. She doesn't want her name in the paper (or on Spencerblog) but she's a yakker. Her father grew up in Albania, came here when he was 20. He never stopped reminding his children, "This is the best country in the world."

His daughter would like to see it become more like England, at least where political campaigns are concerned. No campaigning until 6 months out from the election and that there should be a "limit on money," she says.

Puppio plays along. Panderingly, he doesn't disagree. I don't roll that way.

"You don't think much of the First Amendment, do you?" I scold the nice, gray-haired lady.

I tell her allowing the government to make and enforce rules about when campaigns can begin, how much can be spent and who can do the talking and when is a bad idea. The British don't have a First Amendment. They also don't have open primaries in which the candidates handpicked by party leaders can be openly challenged.

This nice lady says not allowing either party to campaign until six months before the election would be "fair" to both parites.

"I didn't say it wasn't fair. I say it's unconstitutional."

And on that note, I take my leave. I cross the street, hoping to find the vans from Illinois and Maryland in the parking lot behind the Red Lobster. They aren't there.

Joe Will Have to Poll Vault to Victory

The final Real Clear Politics poll average has Pat Toomey leading Joe Sestak by 4.5 percentage points.

That a pretty big margin to have to overcome and will require a massive turnout of Democratic voters throughout the state, and especially in Philadelphia.

My sense is, to use a phrase Joe might use, his short but storied political career is about to be torpedoed.

Back to School with David Landau

At 9:45 a.m. I go to vote at my new polling place, Strath Haven High School. This is the place I now send nearly 10 grand a year in taxes. Not that I'm complaining. It's for the kids, you know. My kid, for one. But she's a senior. When she's done this June, that's when I start complaining.

School's out, but the parking lot is chock full of cars. However, from a distance I see only one poll worker talking to a lady. As I get closer I realized it's, it's - wait for it - it's David Landau, leader of the county Democratic party.

He's being bore-assed by some woman complaining about an absentee ballot, but he smiles at me and I smile back. The lady leaves and his phone rings. He looks at the caller ID.

"It's my candidate," he says.

He tells Bryan Lentz "turnout is great, really good, all over Nether Providence. It's not 08, but its 06 or a little higher."

He tells Lentz I'm there. He listens for a moment, and then to me: "Bryan wants to know if you're working the polls for Meehan."

I accept the shot and minutes later regret not replying, "Schneller."

When Landau hangs up I ask him where his candidate is.

"I forgot to ask," he replies. Turnout though is good. It could hit 60 or 70 percent. In 08, Landau says, "it hit 90."

Everybody's saying this will be a turnout election. I suggest that if his Democrats can hold the 7th congressional seat this year, the GOP may never win it again. Landau, of course, readily agrees.

He says one of the things the Delco Dems have going for them is that, "Delaware County does not have the angry factor," that is, voters furious with Washington D.C. and the Democrats there. "In Bucks County they're really angry. Here, people are unhappy but they don't have that 'I'm coming in to throw everybody out' mentality."

He claims that the local Republicans had "nothing" like the get out the vote operation "we had." As for their overall operation, "They (the Republicans) don't have the organization they once had."

Of course, I ask him about Schnellergate, the Lentz campaign's work to get third party candidate Jim Schneller on the ballot to siphon votes away from Meehan.

"What did you know about that?"

"Nothing," he replies innocently. "They kept me away from it because they know what I would say." As party leader he couldn't countenance party members working for a third party candidate. "I understand it," he says. "It could have made some sense." But, he reiterates, "I was not in on the strategic-making process"

"Was Bryan?"

"I don't think so," Landau replies, and quickly changes the subject.

"We've never had the kind of get out the vote effort in Delaware County in the 25 years I've been involved. And frankly we need it because its a bad year for Democrats."

Win or lose, Landau expresses pride in himself and his fellow Democrats.

"If you do everything you can do to win an election and the voters vote against you," the chairman says, "so be it."

At Sestak Campaign Headquarters

It's 8:30 a.m. and Sestak phone bank volunteers are trickling in to campaign's headquarters in Media, an old car dealership on Baltimore Pike. They are greeted by Arlene Groch, a retired civil rights attorney from New Jersey and a veteran volunteer for Democratic politicians over the years.

"I picked this one (to work on) because I think it's the most important race in the area," she says.

She explains to a volunteer to encourage prospective voters to "make a plan" to vote. Alrene says statistics show that if voters have a plan (where and when to go to the polls) they are "twice as likely to vote."

The old showroom is festooned with Sestak signs and giant posters of Joe with President Clinton, on the stump and in uniform.

Arlene reminds a volunteer to say "Vote for Admiral Joe Sestak," stressing a point the campaign has been making for months. Joe Sestak served in the U.S. Navy for 31 years. Arlene has served Democratic politicians even longer. Her first campaign work was for George McGovern in 1968, "If that tells you anything," she says.

She's been been working for Joe for five weeks now.

"This is the best organized campaign I've ever worked for, with the most devoted volunteers and the hardest working staff. The volunteers and staff are clearly here, as I am, because they believe that Joe is someone who is truly devoted to good government, not his own ego."

Given that Sestak has been running slightly behind Pat Toomey, I asked her "how the vibe is?"

"Very positive," she replied, "because he's always run from behind and he's always won."

As for her own plans, she will head back to Atlantic County, N.J. right after the polls close.

"I'm going home to be with my husband... When you've been married 50 years, it's nice to watch the returns together."

Joe Sestak Was in the Navy?

So it's finally here: Election Day 2010. In like a lion at 37 degrees, but clear and getting warmer as the day goes on. At least the weather will be no excuse for local voters to sit this one out.

In their sprint to the finish, candidates in the big races attempted to hammer home their campaign themes.

For Joe Sestak it is that fact that he was once in the Navy.
“We started at 5:30 this morning, we’re going to go to midnight tonight, 17 events,” said Sestak, a former three-star admiral in the U.S. Navy. “I love it. It’s like being back on a Navy ship, you’re just talking with people.”
He did this throughout the entire campaign. Almost all his analogies had to do with the Navy, from our economy, which had been "torpedoed" by the Bush Administration to his idea that as a political leader you should spend most of your time in the "boiler room," not on the "bridge" on your ship.

This was all nonsense, (Ship captains don't and shouldn't spend most of their time in the boiler room). But it did serve to constantly remind voters that Joe was once a 3-star Admiral (before leaving the service as a 2-star Admiral to run for Congress.)

But again, does anyone believe that being in the Navy, commanding a fleet of carriers, is anything like pressing the flesh and yakking at voters during a political campaign?

Coming out the voting booth this morning, who would be surprised if Joe said: "What a great experience voting is. It was just like being back in the Navy, casting your ballot for who you thought your commanding officer should be."

Sheeesh!

Meanwhile, Bryan Lentz had Gov. Ed Rendell come to Swarthmore to make the case for him. Said the Guv:
“Bryan should be elected because he’s a great state legislator, because he mopped the floor with his opponent in the debates and because he’s smart and his opponent, let’s just say, isn’t as smart.”
How perfect is that? And doesn't it just sum up the smugness with which Democrats have governed these past two years?

Pat Meehan is a Republican dolt. Bryan Lentz used the poor man like a mop. But if Democrats are so smart why are they in such great trouble with the electorate this year? Oh yeah, it's because the voters are so stupid and frightened. That may play in Swarthmore, but it's a failing message throughout the rest of the country.

Elsewhere, Pat Meehan was talking to small business owners, who were explaining why they weren't hiring people. The short answer is because they have no idea what these employees are going to cost them in the coming years, thanks to Obamacare and seeing their taxes go up.
Congress spent billions of dollars in stimulus money to bail out big banks and financial institutions,” said Meehan, of Drexel Hill. “They provide targeted relief to certain hand-picked industries, which put the federal government in the position of picking winners and losers. But your average small-business owner simply has not seen the benefits.”
What a dope. Meehan just doesn't understand that picking winners and losers is the job of politicians and government bureaucrats. When are people finally going to understand this? After all, it certainly works in China where Pat "Club for Gleed" Toomey is running for office.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Scenes from the Love In

Night of the Living Dem


Florida Congressman Alan Grayson appears on the Big Ed Show to make one last appeal to the voters of his distict:
"Vote for me or I will eat your flesh."

Rasmussen Explains the Wave

Scott Rasmussen:
In the first week of January 2010, Rasmussen Reports showed Republicans with a nine-point lead on the generic congressional ballot. Scott Brown delivered a stunning upset in the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election a couple of weeks later.

In the last week of October 2010, Rasmussen Reports again showed Republicans with a nine-point lead on the generic ballot. And tomorrow Republicans will send more Republicans to Congress than at any time in the past 80 years.

This isn't a wave, it's a tidal shift—and we've seen it coming for a long time. Remarkably, there have been plenty of warning signs over the past two years, but Democratic leaders ignored them. At least the captain of the Titanic tried to miss the iceberg. Congressional Democrats aimed right for it.