Monday, September 28, 2009

Health Care Lobbying

According to the New York Times, the White House is implementing a big health care push, and wil be pulling out all the stops to get its reform agenda passed...

Taking Health Care Courtship Up Another Notch
After months of cutting deals and stroking drug makers, hospitals and doctors, the president’s aides are laying the groundwork for a final round of Congressional arm-twisting, with Mr. Obama increasingly in a hands-on role.

As the Finance Committee wrestles with the bill, which could form the backbone of an eventual Obama plan, the lobbying effort is already bearing fruit. One Democrat who consults frequently with the White House said that a main goal of the administration has been to prevent any Democrat from publicly declaring opposition to the measure. So far, the only one who has, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, has scaled back his criticism after a private Oval Office session with the president.

Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, runs the campaign out of his West Wing office. A former congressman, he knows how to count votes. (It was Mr. Emanuel, for instance, who suggested Mr. Orszag reach out to Ms. Collins.) Aides say he does not host a regular health care meeting, but rather summons his team several times a day, typically with e-mail messages ordering colleagues to drop everything and show up right that minute.

Mr. Emanuel oversees two working groups: a policy group, run by Nancy-Ann DeParle, the head of the White House Office of Health Reform, and a political group, run by Jim Messina, the deputy chief of staff. They are deeply engaged in what Chris Jennings, who advised President Bill Clinton on health policy, calls “intelligence seeking” — trying to learn who has problems with the legislation, what those problems are and what it will take to win each member’s vote.

“We are at the concern-addressing stage,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s deputy communications director, adding, “This is a political and policy challenge of epic proportions, and it takes a lot of effort and attention to achieve it.”

Everyone who has relationships on Capitol Hill is expected to pitch in. Mr. Messina, a former chief of staff to Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the Finance Committee chairman, is the link to the finance panel. Phil Schiliro, the head of legislative affairs, spent years working for Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is an architect of the House bill. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who served for 36 years in the Senate, has been making calls to former colleagues, especially those on the Finance Committee.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, and Gary Locke, the commerce secretary, have also been working the phones. Their notes are passed on to Mr. Schiliro’s shop, which catalogs them for future use. The cabinet secretaries have also been doing interviews with select regional news outlets to shore up wavering Democrats in districts where Republicans are attacking Mr. Obama’s plans.

And the president has been holding more private meetings, aides say, with Democrats like Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, who said she received an invitation to the Oval Office on a recent Friday, when she had hoped to spend the morning at home. She said she told the president the legislation would have to do more to rein in Medicare spending. “He was, like, ‘I’m all for this,’ ” Ms. Cantwell said.

“He is leaving no stone unturned,” said Senator Mary L. Landrieu, the Louisiana Democrat and Finance Committee member, who received an unsolicited call from Ms. Sebelius last week. She said they spent 20 minutes going over what she perceived as flaws in the bill.

The White House is carefully monitoring what senators say. When Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Connecticut independent, said on a Sunday morning talk show that health legislation should be delayed until the economy improves, his chief of staff got a telephone call from a worried-sounding Louisa Terrell, the White House legislative liaison assigned to monitor his office.

“She said, ‘Does he want to speak to Sebelius, does he want Peter Orszag?’ ” the senator said. He said it was not necessary. But last Friday, while Mr. Lieberman was at home preparing for Rosh Hashana, Mr. Locke, the commerce secretary, called. “He wanted to lobby me on health care,” Mr. Lieberman said.

At least one White House official, Ms. DeParle, has gone so far as to make a house call. When Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, expressed misgivings about how expanding Medicaid would affect California’s budget, Ms. DeParle gathered some charts and dropped in on a Saturday. They spent nearly three hours talking over coffee in Ms. Feinstein’s den.


White House Planning Full Court Press On Health Care


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Transparency Promise Not Lived Up To

For the second time this year the Democrats have voted against transparency and by voting against posting a bill online 72 hours before it the vote. Transparency was a huge theme in the last election, this administration claimed it would be the most transparent in history, and while this vote is not President Obama fault, it shows that the Democrats, as a whole, are not living up to the promises of last election. Posting bills online prior to a vote was specifically mentioned during the 2008 race, and now that it is no longer politically convenient, transparency has been thrown overboard.


Democrats’ Second Vote Against Transparency

Monday, September 21, 2009

Roasted ACORN

ACORN, upset about unflattering media attention from Fox news due to recent videos showing ACORN workers giving tax cheat advice to a couple dressed as a pimp and prostitute, is threatening lawsuits. However, as Ken Blackwell of TownHall.com points out, that could backfire in a big way...
If ACORN sues, it would have to sue alleging some variation of defamation or fraud. The problem is that for either allegation, truth is an absolute defense. Nothing could be more relevant to Fox establishing its defense of truth in the lawsuit than having access to ACORN’s office memos, emails, phone records, and bank statements. All of these would have a reasonable chance of providing evidence as to whether ACORN workers had knowledge of any of the topics seen on the videotapes.

In short, it would blow the doors off ACORN’s vault of secrets. Fox would learn which organizations collaborate with ACORN, how they spend taxpayer money and what ACORN’s leaders say to each other behind closed doors. It would be a treasure trove for a media organization.



ACORN’s Threat of Lawsuits Could Backfire

Pro ACORN in PA

An interesting article on BigGovernment.com shows that the problem with ACORN is not just that they receive federal funding, but many states fund them as well. Pennsylvania, even after the recent video tapes showed the depth of ACORN's corruption, are not resisting calls to de-fund the organization.

http://biggovernment.com/2009/09/21/acorn-got-over-200k-of-pa-taxpayer-money-probably-getting-more/

Despite receiving a “cease and desist” notice from the Department of State to stop soliciting contributions, Pennsylvania taxpayers have given ACORN over $200,000 in state grants since November 2007. Yet none of the mainstream media in the Commonwealth is bothering to cover this issue. Nor has it reported on recent efforts to defend this rogue organization.

Jeff Lord, writing in The American Spectator, noted how Rep. Steve Barrar’s efforts to investigate ACORN’s activities in Pennsylvania are being stymied by Rep. Babette Josephs—a self-identified member of ACORN. Josephs is the Chair of the House State Government Committee—the committee where good government legislation goes to die.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ACORN New York

If there is any question that ACORN supplying tax cheat info, and overlooking human trafficking was a fluke or a couple isolated instances, here's a third tape from ACORN's New York office.


ACORN New York - Third Corruption Tape

Monday, September 14, 2009

ACORN Video

The Baltimore office of ACORN gives tax advice to two people posing as a pimp and a prostitute who say they want to import underage teenagers from El Salvidor to work in the States as prostitutes. ACORN receives federal funding and has had numerous run-ins with the law usually regarding voter fraud. This however is a new low, at best these ACORN employees are condoning the human trafficking of underage girls, and in reality are likely breaking numerous laws.



Note: Except for when ACORN received government funding, I've posted very little about ACORN post-election. The public had their chance to learn about ACORN if they wished, they made their decision, voted, done deal, the race is over. However, this is insane. Democrats have to step to the plate, and renounce this. I in no way think that candidates aided by ACORN or any rationale human with any semblance of a moral compass thinks that human trafficking is acceptable. However, this is an example of an organization not just acting questionably, but this is evidence that ACORN has completely gone of the rails. Any politician to weak to stand up against ACORN will now be tying themselves to an organization that condoned prostitution and indirectly promoted human trafficking.

ACORN Condones Prostitution

Friday, June 26, 2009

Free Iran Recap - Freedom Via Internet

Since the election in Iran on the 12th of June, information about the protests and brutal government crackdowns has flowed in via the internet, particularly social media sites, and specifically Twitter. Twitter was the first place to provide information about the protests as the media largely missed the story in the beginning. Now the flow of information out of Iran has slowed due to massive arrests and violent government oppression. Along with the slowing of information, the main stream media's attention has been diverted. Yet this remains a topic that deserves continued public attention. People are fighting for their freedom under unimaginable conditions.

Here is a recap of some of the videos, stories, and information that has come out of Iran along with the role technology has played...

Total Oppression Versus Open Communication in Iran
In an early show of force students were beaten in their dorm rooms, and their rooms were trashed, computers and the like destroyed. Angered by the brutal beat downs, many professors at Tehran University protested by resigning. Hospital workers who treated the students, also disgusted by the government’s brutality, went on strike the following day to protest the students’ treatment.

Foreign media was banned, journalists have been jailed. Due to the crackdown, citizen journalism virtually the only way the story is getting to the rest of the world.

Iranian government claims that death of Neda was staged by the opposition. They prevent any form of public mourning for both Neda and the many others killed in the protests.

Soccer Team Members who wore green armbands during a game are permanently banned from the sport.

British representatives expelled from the country.

Special courts established for trying arrested protesters.

Mass show of force and violent suppression of peaceful protests continue.

Videos: The first video shows the death of Neda a young Iranian woman who has come to symbolize the Free Iran movement. She was shot while simply watching the protests, and reportedly died by her father's side. Be warned that the first two videos are very graphic and disturbing. The third video, while somewhat less graphic, but is also quite disturbing.

*VERY GRAPHIC* Young Lady Dies on Streets of Iran

*Very Graphic* Video of Iran Protests and Man Badly Beaten

Shooting of Iranian Students Caught on Camera

Massive Show of Force on Streets of Iran

Video of voter fraud in Iranian Election

June 20 Iran Protesters Face Off with Police

Crowds During June 20th Protests

Riot Police Attack Protesters in Iran

Video Showing Scope of Iranian Protests

This Week's Articles:

This week a violent beat down of protesters was under reported as the flow of information slows. CNN and the AP both had reports on this brutality...

AP Reports Iran Security Forces Again Beat Down the Opposition Protesters

Distraught woman describes the brutality to CNN, Reports of Brutal Crackdown In Iran

Article's Prior to the June 20th Protests

Concern About Khamenei’s Statements

Arrests and Protests Continue in Iran

American’s Practical Support of A Free Iran

Articles About the Role of the Internet in post-Election Iran

Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism
One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, ‘Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.’ Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Following Iran Elections on Twitter – A Lesson in Freedom and Technology
Google Farsi - English Traslator: Google launches Farsi - English translator Thursday night/Friday morning. A hugely helpful tool that aids communication, and understanding of news directly from Iran.

Cable and Network News relying on Twitter: Saturday the 20th, with a government imposed blackout of foreign media CNN and others have to rely on citizen journalists along with Twitter and other social media sites to gather news. Protests are scheduled even though Ayatola Khamenei has made statements that suggest a possibly violent crackdown on protesters. Reports of tear gas used and armed police barricades used to disperse crowds.

Students Shot on Camera: A tweet linked to this video of Iranian students being shot

A graphic YouTube video of a woman's death (Neda) becomes a symbol of the movement. Trending topic on Twitter is #Neda as references to the video, and her life show how moved people were by her tragic death.

Mousavi Facebook post:
Through a post on Facebook it has been reported that Mir-Hossein Mousavi has stated that he is "ready for martyrdom."

Embassies Take Wounded Iranians: Word spreads quickly on June 20th that many European embassies are taking care of wounded Iranians. These embassies along with their address/directions were also diseminated through Twitter. The safety of the hospitals is in question, and the Canadian embassy is pressured (via use of Twitter) to open its embassy too, yet embassy remained closed on Saturday.

Iran Elections and the Internet
An interesting subplot to the Iranian elections is that the internet is providing people more information than major news networks...Dear CNN, Please Check Twitter for News About Iran


Since writing about the Twitter Effect in Iran, and the role of the Internet as a whole, I have also been interviewed on radio and TV. For more info on appearances, please visit the Broad Side of the Barn.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twitter, Iran, and Cracking the Totalitarian Model

One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, 'Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.' Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Yet now there is Twitter, other social networks, and the internet at large. It's wise for Tweeters and others to understand that the deck is still stacked against those protesting the election. The Iranian government still controls the media, and in a textbook totalitarian move they have banned foreign press. While members of the Twitter community have set up proxy servers for people in Iran to use, the government has shut down known internet connections, which means that in all likelihood a large majority of Iranians are only hearing the official government version of events.

Yet protests continue and news spreads in large part due to Twitter and the internet. This is not something past totalitarian regimes have had to deal with. There are enough Iranians using Twitter (or other forms of communication) to organize that protests continue. The government has not been able to implement complete control. Hopefully those watching, participating, and following #iranelection on Twitter recognize that there is a definite possibility that this ends very badly as totalitarian regimes are also brutal. The reality is that what results from this is wholly a guess, but it changes the playing field and gives voice to those who previously had none. Person to person communication tools change the dynamic shifting, at least some of the power to the people, and puts a crack in structure of totalitarianism.

tienneman

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Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism

Friday, June 12, 2009

Obama Proposal or McCain Proposal

As a staunch McCain supporter I'm over the defeat; that is except when the Obama administration attempts to use parts of the McCain platform that they previously criticized. When the Obama administration followed the McCain plan in their Iraq and Afghanistan I was relieved. They weren't as reckless as their campaign statements made them appear. Also, I have to give them a gamesmanship points (even if they lose honesty points) for completely sticking it to the far left without making them angry. Yet the annoyance started when Obama used the McCain rhetoric about the economy without including all that pesky fiscal discipline. The statements post stimulus about strong economic fundamentals were practically verbatim what Senator McCain said during the election. Now health care is on the table and so is taxing employer based health insurance. Remember Obama campaign ads revolved around the idea that this was a terrible plan for Senator McCain to propose. Now it apparently is not such a bad idea. What makes it worse is that in the McCain plan there was a $5000 tax credit that would have off-set the tax. There will be no tax credit with the Democrat's plan, so any tax assessed is coming right out of your pocket. I'll get over the annoyance, but if the Obama administration keeps adapting McCain ideas the least they could do is adopt his fiscal discipline (and math skills) too.


Obama Using McCain Ideas

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Palin Letterman Feud Starting

While the Palin Letterman feud heats up, lets look at why David Letterman's bad joke appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

1. Letterman likely jumped on the Palins' last nerve when he made a crude joke at their daughter's expense. Governor Palin hasn't just been criticized, she and her her family have been attacked in a particularly hateful way, and at some point that has to wear thin particularly when ones children are targetted.

2. The Palin's reaction conqsequently was a little overreaching. It seems unlikely that Letterman was referring to the Palin's 14 year old daughter as the Palins thought. Circumstances pointed to the fourteen year old, but Letterman accurately pointed out that he doesn't have a history of making crude remarks referencing children. However, making vulgar remarks about any of the candidates/politician's kids is inexcusable, they didn't choose the public life and should be left alone (and 18 is still pretty young). The Palin's anger is completely justified and understandable.

3. Lots of people are fed up with jokes about female politicians always going 'there.' This can be seen in the HillBuzz blog (a Clinton supporters blog) requesting a boycott of Letterman sponsors. The lead in to the joke about the Palin girl was a crack about Palin looking like a "slutty stewardess." Like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin has been the brunt of jokes and criticism that directly critique her appearance and sexuality. As hated as Bush and Cheney were in the last eight years, no one criticized their appearance or made explicit comments and jokes about them the way they have about Clinton and Palin. Again Letterman stomped on a raw nerve.

4. Some will be angry at the remark, others will be angry at anything referencing Governor Palin. Therefor this is is going to be big. Palin supporters can be quite intense (and oddly similar to the fervent Obama supporters). They're not likely to let it go, and the left's kooky raging Palin hatred means they won't let it go either.

So there you have it, we're in for a broohaha. Letterman's apology was weak because he was starky towards the Palins, and didn't recognize the fact that all of their kids should be off-limits particularly when making off-color jokes. Michael Steele has addressed the Palin Letterman matter by saying,
"Letterman's joke about Sarah and Todd Palin's daughter was thoughtless and tacky," Steele said in a statement to The Hill. "I saw his explanation for the joke, but sometimes the easiest thing to do is simply say 'I'm sorry.'"

"When Letterman starts making tasteless jokes about kids, it's time to turn the channel,"

Senator McCain defended the Palins saying,
"I don't understand why Letterman would say that about a young woman," McCain said during a telephone interview on Thursday. "They (the Palins) deserve some kind of protection from being the butt of late-night hosts."

As Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune sums up the situation in his article Palin is Right About Letterman by stating...
It's hard to see what Bristol has done to deserve the ridicule. It's not her fault her mother is a national political figure. Dealing with her situation is hard enough without being under a media spotlight.

Instead of acting as though he's the victim of someone else's misunderstanding, as he did last night, Letterman ought to simply admit he blew it, big time, and personally apologize to the Palins and his viewers.

He also should to keep in mind that if you're going to ridicule someone's sex life, you might pick on someone your own size. And make very sure you have the right person.

CBS's Feedback Form
Palin Letterman Politics

Friday, June 5, 2009

Senator Brownback on Gitmo

Senator Brownback talked to bloggers today laying out the problems with closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. The most pressing of these problems is what to do with the detainees. Senator Brownback explains that one commonly overlooked risk of bringing prisoners to U.S. prisons is that the surrounding prison communities may be subject to violent acts by groups making political statements about the prisoners' detention. He also explains that the Geneva Convention says that prisoners of war will not be held along with a general prison population. Senator Brownback lays out numerous reasons why closing Guantanamo is poorly thought out, and is decisively lacking a realistic and safe plan. The propsal also lacks support both in Congress and among the American people. A new Gallup poll shows that by a 2 to 1 margin Americans Oppose Closing Gitmo and Moving Prisoners to U.S.

This call is worth listening to as one may be surprised at the number of solid reasons the Senator gives for opposing the Obama adminstration's call to close Guantanamo.
Blogger Call with Senator Brownback
Brownback Talks Guantanamo and Foreign Policy « Purple People Vote

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pelosi Apologize or Prove CIA Lied

While some may see the following statements by John Boehner as politically motivated, in truth he has a strong point to make. If the CIA lied to Nancy Pelosi that's illegal, and Pelosi should follow through on providing evidence so that that they will be held accountable. If the CIA did not lie then they are (at least) owed an apology.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Free Us Now Radio Featured Guest, Author Katherine Morrison

Featured Radio Presentation

Monday Night May 4th soROARity
Katherine J. Morrison
"Author of An Independent Call"

Free Us Now guest, Katherine Morrison wrote a book about the 2008 presidential election. The book entitled An Independent Call, chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain supporter and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is- "A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign-attention to detail is brilliant."
No radio needed The Free Us Now Radio show is online - If your computer is down no problem call on the phone and hear the entire show right on the phone- Please come! Monday 10 PM eastern/ Bring your questions.
Call-in 347 539-5420.

Event: Free Us Now Radio Show
Host: BettyJean Kling
Start Time: Monday, at 10:00pm
End Time: Monday, at 11:30pm
Where: http://www.Blogtalkradio.com/NO-WE-WONT
Call-in:  347 539-5420

Friday, April 17, 2009

And You Too Could Be A Radical...

Tea Party protesters won a victory today as the mainstream media could not ignore their protests like they have in the past. As expected some of the media described the protesters as radicals (ever-classy and most-trusted Anderson Cooper of CNN used an obscene joke to describe the attendees) despite the pictures showing peaceful gatherings of people of all ages in attendance. Yet media logic dictates if you don't love Obama, you must be crazy.

Yet it's not just the media searching for crazy. A report was leaked by DHS on "Rightwing Extremism." To quote the report,
Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.

Dang it, I'm a radical. There were signs, once in high school I got a detention for a overdue library book; even back then I was bad. My internet chatter about obscene government spending has all been a clever ploy to manipulate my readers to take radical action like, 'vote the bums out,' or 'tell your representatives what you think.' I tell you I'm bad, and if I didn't have a job or a cold I would have been one of those crazy tea party animals too. You need further proof that I'm a radical? How about this...
Rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and have recently focused on themes such as the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India, Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to pressure other countries, and China’s investment in U.S. real estate and corporations as a part of subversion strategy.

Well there you have it. I'm concerned that China owns us, and all our debt, I must be a radical. Granted, I'm a centrist on guns and immigration, and lean a bit left on the social issues discussed in the report, but imagine my surprise to find out that I've been cavorting with other radicals over the past 2 years by volunteering for the McCain campaign. Pro-life, pro-second amendment, high concentration of veterans, don't let the good humor, sarcastic wit, family values, and helpful manner fool you - we were all a big bunch of radicals, just ask MSNBC.

Now I know there is a serious side to this report. Every group in every country has its nutballs, and its the governments main job to protect its citizens from radicals of all sorts. Yet this seems like a veiled attempt to blur the line between staunch conservatives and radical Klan-like groups, when in reality that is a very clear and distict line. Veterans in particular are owed an apology for their less than flattering portrayal in this report. As for me, I'm going to keep chattering about the economy, and take pride in the fact that someone out there thinks I'm radical.

You May Be A Radical Too...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NH Independent and Veteran Canvas Hampton

Excerpt from An Independent Call the story a New Hampshire Independent McCain Supporter


Finally, on a more upbeat note, one trait that Senator McCain shares with a good number of his fellow veterans is a wicked sense of humor. While I’d like to say that my rationale for voting McCain was all high minded, I have to admit his sense of humor roped me in in the beginning. It’s probably part of the reason I enjoyed so many of the events with veterans; I’m sure there are veterans out there that lack a sense of humor, but overall I found them quite fun to be around.

During the general election I headed out to canvas a neighborhood with a veteran named Wes. He drove; I hopped out and knocked on the doors. We were canvassing Hampton Beach, a sort of unfortunate task in late Fall to early Winter, since not a lot of people stay at their beach house when the temperature drops. The sheets given to guide us to the appropriate address were accompanied by a brief survey asking whether the occupant was home and whom they were supporting for the different elected offices. The numbering of houses and condos on these sheets could be hard to follow, as locations were not necessarily listed in numerical order. Condo complexes could be particularly difficult to figure out. For instance, 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 16 could be a different page from 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 14, and unit 15 would simply not be on the list at all. The other problem was that you often had to be allowed or buzzed into many of these condo complexes. This basically meant looking for condos, routinely unoccupied due to the season that, even if occupied, could not be accessed. Consequently, we’d just drop a stack of literature on their doorstep, which will likely be picked up sometime this coming June.

So in the process of trying to locate a particular address on Ocean Boulevard, Wes backed his car up right into a pole. Looking down, arranging literature at the time, I was startled at the hit and said, ‘Ooo!’ and looked over at Wes. Thinking, this can’t be good we both hopped out of the car and took a look at his bumper. There was a new yellow stripe down the back side of his car and he said, “Ah, it’s just paint.” Relieved that it wasn’t too serious and that the damage didn’t trouble Wes, we hopped back into the car, and started trying to figure out where our next stop was. As we headed forward we spotted the house number of the next stop; Wes hit the brakes and his coffee flew off the dashboard, hitting me in the arm and soaking my left side. This time Wes looked stunned as I sat there looking at my sweater covered in coffee. “Well, it’s not hot,” I said. He handed me towels and clearly felt badly that I was wearing his drink. I had a t-shirt on under the sweater, so I hopped out of the car again, rung out the sweater and dried it off as best I could with some towels, put it back on, and hopped back into the car. While I smelled of coffee all day, the sweater was dark so it didn’t really matter.

We got through the rest of the doors without much incident, but had trouble finding one particular side street. Finally, we found the tiny narrow street in question; we headed down to the end where we eventually spotted the number of the home on a trashcan outside of a sliding glass door. I got out, knocked on the door, and a young guy, who apparently had just woken up, and was wearing a pair of old boxers and a t-shirt opened the door, saying nothing.

‘Hi, I’m a volunteer with the McCain campaign, and…’

‘No,’ he said and he shut the door and went back to bed.

I got back in the car and said, “Obama.”

As we started to head out of the narrow street I looked back, and Wes said, “Don’t worry, I won’t hit anything… …I saw you watching.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything.”

On the way back to the office he said, “You did a good job.”

“Thanks. You too…”

“Except for the pole.”

“Well that and the coffee, but other than that you did a good job.”



Veteran's Good Humor

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In The Beginning - Curiosity

Excerpt from An Independent Call the amusing story of a New Hampshire McCain supporter.

In the beginning I just thought I’d go see the different candidates at the campaign events in New Hampshire. Four years prior, not long after I moved to New Hampshire from Massachusetts, my sister was volunteering for Senator Kerry’s campaign. She’s a loyal and active Democrat; our parents are Republicans. We talked on the phone after the Iowa caucuses when Howard Dean screamed during his concession speech. She hadn’t heard it called the ‘I have a Scream Speech’ yet, and I said that I felt for him. I figured if I were in politics that would be the sort of thing that would take me out. It wouldn’t be scandal or corruption; I’d simply do something so embarrassing that no one would take me seriously again.

My sister told of a news clip she had just seen of a woman who had met Senator Kerry, then fainted. The video looked like a shot from the Wizard of Oz with Senator Kerry standing over a pair of feet. I was starting to realize that I had missed quite a show by not attending Primary events, so I simply thought this time it would be interesting to see. I certainly had no plans of picking a candidate early, and no interest in joining a campaign. I thought it might give me something to write about on my website, but basically I was just curious.



Monday, April 6, 2009

Credible Journalist

Since much of today's media has such a blatant school-girl crush on President Obama, it is important to not only point out the shmoes who can't resist telling America that President Obama gives them a, 'thrill up their leg;' it is also important to point out those few journalists who are credible. National Review did this in their article Jake Tapper Isn't Letting Go. The article not only points out that ABC's Jake Tapper was virtually the only network journalist willing to write an article critical of then candidate Obama, but also that he is now pretty much the only one willing to ask Press Secretary Gibbs a tough question during White House briefings. For many Tapper was the first to show Robert Gibbs as a sub-par press secretary when Gibbs refused to take Tapper's questions about transparency seriously, as shown in the clip below. National Review did all of us who are fed up with the over-the-top media bias a service by not only highlighting Tapper as a solid competent member of the media, but also by reminding us that one can't just complain about those who do a poor job, and that it may be even more important that we applaud and encourage those who are competent than it is to gripe about those whose bias is so obsurd and obvious.


Recognizing a Professional Journalist - Katherine Morrison



Thursday, April 2, 2009

Obama Owns the Budget and the Economy

With an Obama stimulus package, and an Obama omnibus spending bill already passed, and now the a huge Obama budget working its way through the Congress, Politico notes that President Obama owns this budget, and hence the economy. Fierce fights may follow budget victory.
The House and Senate face a flurry of final budget votes Thursday, with Republicans pushed to the margins and having come forward only in the past 24 hours with a detailed alternative of their own.

But the victory for President Barack Obama could prove hollow, especially in the Senate, and Republicans are betting that the president’s very activism will work against him as he takes ownership of more and more difficult economic issues.

“This is a defining moment, and there is overwhelming empathy with folks who are scared to death about the direction this country is going,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) told POLITICO. “All of a sudden, you have the president taking over General Motors, the president taking over the financial industry and now the health care industry? I think there will be even a larger outcry coming from our constituents at the ballot box next time.”

Some of this nervousness already seemed evident Wednesday night in a Senate fight over how to proceed on Obama’s climate change legislation. On two successive votes, one as large as 67-31, a solid bipartisan coalition blocked efforts by liberal environmental interests wanting to use expedited budget procedures to circumvent Senate filibuster rules on cap-and-trade revenue provisions.

The defeat raises the stakes further for health care reform as the big remaining prize for the White House in the budget debate. And to a remarkable degree, Obama has been willing to blur the lines between himself and fellow Democrats to help move the process forward with this goal in mind.


Obama Owning the Budget and the Economy

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Broad Side of the Barn Publishing...

Broad Side of the Barn has added several domain names to its listings in the promotion of An Independent Call.

These include:

An Independent Call - AnIndependentCall.com
Katherine Morrison - KatherineMorrison.com
New Hampshire Primaries - NewHampshirePrimaries.info
Independent New Hampshire - IndependentNewHampshire.info

Also new domains to check out include:

Purple People - Purple-People.info
Battleground States - BattleGroundStates.info

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Independent Call by Katherine Morrison

An Independent Call chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain convert and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

More details at Broad Side of the Barn.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Evan Bayh Opposes Omnibus Spending Bill

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana wrote an Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday coming out against the huge appropriations bill that would increase spending eight percent from last year. His article Deficits and Fiscal Credibility is definitely worth a read, below is an excerpt.
This week, the United States Senate will vote on a spending package to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 is a sprawling, $410 billion compilation of nine spending measures that lacks the slightest hint of austerity from the federal government or the recipients of its largess.

The Senate should reject this bill. If we do not, President Barack Obama should veto it.

The omnibus increases discretionary spending by 8% over last fiscal year's levels, dwarfing the rate of inflation across a broad swath of issues including agriculture, financial services, foreign relations, energy and water programs, and legislative branch operations. Such increases might be appropriate for a nation flush with cash or unconcerned with fiscal prudence, but America is neither.

Drafted last year, the bill did not pass due to Congress's long-standing budgetary dysfunction and the frustrating delays it yields in our appropriations work. Since then, economic and fiscal circumstances have changed dramatically, which is why the Senate should go back to the drawing board. The economic downturn requires new policies, not more of the same.


Senator Evan Bayh Rejects Bloated Appropriations Bill

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rewarding Bad Behavior

With the recent unveiling of the Obama administration's housing plan there is a growing concern that the government is promoting policies that reward bad behavior and punish good behavior. The housing plan is the latest policy where the government gives money to those who are in over there head. This is a somewhat more palatable policy than preceding bailouts as it focusses on helping the individual with mortgage problems. However, it is following a string of policies that that basically says 'if you screw up, the government is here to give you money.' Businesses and individuals that pay their bills and taxes on time are subsidizing those who don't. The housing plan isn't completely without merit, but this trend of government bailouts big and small is wearing on many as can be seen in this CNBC clip of Rick Santelli becoming fed up with the government rewards for bad behavior on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange...




Punishing Good Behavior

Friday, February 6, 2009

$1,000,000,000,000.00

With the Economic Stimulus approaching the $1 trillion mark, lets look at what $1,000,000,000,000.00 equates to…

$1,597,444 check for all of the 626,000 people that have filed unemployment claims this month.

$227,272 check for all 4.4 million people collecting unemployment benefits.

$333.33 check for every American man, woman, and child.

It would take a worker making $50,000 a year 20 million years to earn $1 trillion.

If ever ticket of every home Red Sox home game at Fenway Park for the 2009 season was sold for $308,642.00 each that would equal $1 trillion.

The GDP of Mexico is just over $1 trillion.

The GDP of India is also just over $1 trillion.

The combine GDP of the following countries is approximately $1 trillion…

Uruguay, Lebanon, Yemen, Uzbekistan, North Korea, Cyprus, Estonia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, Ivory Coast, Panama, El Salvador, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Iceland, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macau, Jordan, Bolivia, Ghana, Brunei, Paraguay, Gabon, Zambia, Uganda, Senegal, Botswana, Honduras, Burma, Albania, Jamaica, Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Nepal, Armenia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Republic of Macedonia, Chad, Mali, Malta, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Namibia, Haiti, Benin, The Bahamas, West Bank and Gaza, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Moldova, Niger, Laos, Jersey, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Aruba, Zimbabwe, Montenegro, Guinea, Malawi, Rwanda, French Polynesia, Fiji, Barbados, Mauritania, New Caledonia, Kosovo, Togo, Suriname, Swaziland, Guam, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Somalia, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Lesotho, Eritrea, Belize, Bhutan, Maldives, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Gibraltar, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Djibouti, Liberia, Burundi, British Virgin Islands, The Gambia, Seychelles, Grenada, Northern Mariana Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Comoros, Samoa, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Dominica, American Samoa, Tonga, Micronesia, Cook Islands, Palau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Marshall Islands, Anguilla, Kiribati, Tuvalu
 
If you'd like your political representatives to now what $1 trillion equates to, their contact info can be found at...
 
Senators - http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
 
Representatives - https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
 

Stimulating Math

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stimulus Money for Beekeeper Insurance

Republican Challenges to Wasteful Stimulus Plan

Republican Senators put together an alternative stimulus package that has a much lower price tag than the current version of the stimulus bill, as the AP reports that the current plan tops $900 billion. The Republican alternative allows home owners to refinance their home mortgages at a low interest rate that will help the home owner and help stabilize home prices in general. This plan also provides more money for infrastructure projects than the current bill and cuts the payroll tax and the corporate tax to encourage economic growth and job creation. Also, it requires spending cuts once the economy has rebounded helping to limit the amount of future government debt. CNN reports not only that their is a this second bill, but moderates are also working on the current bill trimming the excess pork...
Some Republicans want to take it a step farther than their party's leaders. Ten Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain, want more funds -- almost $90 billion -- for infrastructure. They are shopping around a plan with a price tag of just under $500 billion.

"We can either fight the Democrat proposals, which would increase the deficit incredibly and mortgage our children's futures and not beneficially stimulate our economy, which we will do, in many respects. But we have to have a proposal of our own," said McCain, R-Arizona.

That version of the stimulus measure, put together by Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, is broader than the one proposed by GOP leadership, but narrower than the Democratic bill.

The group of Republicans met Tuesday to discuss their plan because they don't believe their leadership's approach, focusing exclusively on the housing crisis and tax cuts, is enough to jump-start the economy.

Another alternative that's getting a lot of attention is a bipartisan plan from Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson and Maine Republican Susan Collins. The two moderate senators are looking at the current economic stimulus package and trying to scrub it of all spending that they say will not stimulate the economy.

One attempt to trim pork from the current bill was successful. An amendment passed sponsored by Tom Coburn that eliminated a $246 million dollar tax break for Hollywood movie companies.

Senator McCain has sponsored a petition protesting the current version of the stimulus bill...

Sign Vote No On The Stimulus Package Petition
Republican Senators Put Together Alternative Stimulus Package

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

McCain v Obama Round 2 The Stimulus

Senator McCain sent an email to supporters explaining his opposition to the current emergency economic stimulus package stating that...


Yesterday, the Senate began debate on an economic stimulus package that is intended to get our economy back on track and help Americans who are suffering through these difficult times. Unfortunately, the proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans. I cannot and do not support the package on the table from the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt. We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy.


He further explains the myriad of problems with this bloated stimulus package and asks for people to sign a petition to voice their disapproval of this bill.


Sign Vote No On The Stimulus Package Petition



John McCain Sponsors Petition Protesting Bloated Stimulus Plan

Friday, January 30, 2009

Americans Will Pay the Bill for Overloaded Stimulus Package

Rasmusen reports that support for the Emergency Stimulus plan is slipping. This is not surprising since the stimulus has been packed with pork, which by anyone's definition seriously stretches the meaning of emergency. Regular Americans know better than many politicians the basic fact that bills have to be paid, and this proposal leaves Americans holding the tab for a pile of pork. President Obama and House Republicans have shown some willingness to compromise, but the House bill that passed yesterday had not one Republican vote for it and 11 Democrats also oppose it for good reason. Just take a look at a few of the items in this bill that have been stuffed into this bill...

• $20 million “for the removal of small- to medium-sized fish passage barriers.”
• $400 million for STD prevention
• $25 million to rehabilitate off-roading (ATV) trails
• $34 million to remodel the Department of Commerce HQ
• $70 million to “Support Supercomputing Activities” for climate research
• $150 million for honey bee insurance

Cited from Earmarks In House Bill
Americans Will Pay the Bill for Overloaded Stimulus Package

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Talks to Take Place Israel and Hamas

Excerpt from Israel, Hamas, Palestinian Authority to Meet for Talks
Egypt's United Nation's envoy says Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority will meet Thursday for talks.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was at U.N. headquarters for the council's emergency session on Gaza, said she had talked with both the Israelis and Arab envoys about the importance of moving forward a cease-fire proposed Tuesday by Egypt and France.

"We are very much applauding the efforts of a number of states, particularly the effort that President (Hosni) Mubarak has undertaken on behalf of Egypt," Rice said. "We're supporting that initiative."

Israel hammered Gaza City with gunfire and air strikes Wednesday minutes after a three-hour cease-fire ended, and its security cabinet voted to push ahead with the ground offensive against Hamas, the Times of London reported.

Israel agreed to principles of the Gaza cease-fire proposal, but has yet to iron out key details about how it would be implemented, senior Israeli officials told Reuters.

The proposal calls for an end to fighting as well as a drive to prevent Hamas militants from rearming, Israel's key condition, Reuters reported

"There is agreement on the principles but translating those principles into practical action is a challenge that is still ahead of us," a senior Israeli official said.