Thursday, November 30, 2006

Glenn & Helen Show podcast: An American Civil War?

Author Orson Scott Card is interviewed by Glenn Reynolds and Dr. Helen Smith in the latest Glenn & Helen Show podcast--which I listened to during my afternoon run today.

Card is the author of Empire, a near-future novel of the type Tom Clancy writes, about how the red state and blue state political divisions could possibly lead to a second American civil war.

The author is an independent-minded Democrat, and has lots to say in the podcast about fanaticism--both from the left and the right.

A good listen.

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V for Vilsack but probably not for victory

If I recall, an obscure Georgia governor was the first Democrat to publicly announce his intention to run for president in the 1976 contest. That guy ended up winning.

So today, an obscure Iowa governor is the first Democrat to officially throw his hat--which might've been a John Deere cap--into the 2008 Democratic presidential ring.

This governor, Tom Vilsack, is probably trying catch lightning in a bottle twice, repeating the Jimmy Carter miracle, as well as catching fire on the internet--think Howard Dean--to come from the nowhere of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa and landing on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Yes, history tends to repeat itself. But miracles--or near miracles--usually don't.

This President AP report refers to Vilsack's "heartland appeal." Although I live in the heartland, I'm unfamiliar what heartland appeal is.

I wonder if I have heartland appeal? Not that I'm looking for anyone, but for fun I occasionally look at the personal ads, and I never see "heartland appeal" mentioned.

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Daniel Pipes: The outsiders role in academic hirings

A couple of days ago Daniel Pipes published a column that led off with this question:

Should outsiders try to influence the hiring or tenuring of university faculty?

Well, you shouldn't be surprised that academics believe that outsiders should have no role in hiring or tenure decisions.

Here's what Pipes thinks:

I beg to differ. Educational institutions may appoint whomever they wish, but they cannot expect immunity from public criticism. Precisely because academe offers unique job security, public evaluation of untenured academics has a potentially vital role. The more pre-tenure scrutiny, the better. Organizations like Campus Watch focus precisely on those areas that tenure committees typically miss.

As for tenured faculty, robust public criticism can keep them in line by embarrassing them and hurting their credibility. Juan Cole characterizes senior professors as "sort of like baseball players" whom other teams look at "from time to time, as recruitment prospects." In response, Martin Kramer of the Shalem Center notes that "We don't put baseball players on pedestals, and a whole section of the newspaper relentlessly criticizes their performance. Academics want to have it both ways: lifetime job security, sports-like celebrity, lots of vacation time, and no accountability."

Hat tip to Dr. Steven Plaut for this story.

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Bill Frist will not run for president in 2008

Yesterday outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced he won't be running for president in 2008.

Frist is one of the potential GOP candidates I liked, so I view his announcement as bad news.

Yes, he's a senator, and the dig on senators--only two senators in the last 100 years have moved from the upper house to the White House--is that they're not in a "buck stops here" decision mode. But Frist, in his days as a heart transplant surgeon, had to make plenty of tough choices, for instance, who gets a heart and who doesn't.

Frist had some marks against his record: A sale of of HCA stock from his blind trust last year--before its value tumbled--was a hit on his clean image. He made an impassioned plea on the Senate floor in favor of saving the life of Terry Schiavo--nothing wrong with that--but he based his medical opinion on Schiavo on a video tape he viewed. Some conservatives soured on Frist because they believed that he didn't fight hard enough for President Bush's judicial nominees.

On the flipside, conservatives would've remembered Frist's break with precedence by traveling to South Dakota in 2004 to campaingn against the leader of the opposition party at the time, Tom Daschle. Tim Johnson, by a narrow margin, defeated Daschle.

But the Republican loss of the Senate earlier this month was the final strike, in my opinion, against Frist's presidential hopes. If he ran in 2008, he would've come off as the coach of a losing team.

Still Frist, who is a marathon runner by the way, has plenty to give to society. He's still a doctor.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Obama watch

There are two Obama for President sites out there, at least two, that is.

While driving home from work, I heard about Run It's run by Todd Webster, a former spokesman for ex-Senator Tom Daschle, (D-SD). Daschle's been quiet lately, but he's dropped a hint or two about running for president himself.

The other site, Draft, which features a petition asking Obama to run for president.

On Friday, appearing alongside fellow 2008 presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback, Barack will take an AIDS test, his third, in front of Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, which has drawn the ire of some evangelicals because Obama is a supporter of abortion rights.

Yesterday, Senator Obama met with controversial rapper Ludacris in Chicago. The pair are pictured leaving Obama's Chicago office.

And finally, on Friday Obama will be a guest on NBC's Tonight Show.

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Good news, bad news for George Ryan

The good news is right below, former Illinois Governor George H. Ryan will remain free on bail while he appeals his fraud and racketeering convictions. The bad news is that on the same day the RINO got that news, the Illinois The General Assembly Retirement System ruled that the death penalty opponent will lose his entire pension--about $200,000 a year.

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Former Ill. Gov. Ryan stays out of prison while appeal is heard

Disgraced former Ill. Governor George Ryan will stay out of prison until his appeal is heard. The Republican's attorneys convinced a federal appeals court that Ryan should stay out of prison until the appeals process is exhausted.

Ryan was scheduled to surrender himself on January 4.

As I've remarked before, Ryan is best known nationally--and internationally--for emptying out Illinois' death row. In Illinois his claim to fame are his racketeering and fraud convictions and his role in the destruction of the Illinois Republican Party.

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Crazy day.... no posts yet. Some are coming, I promise.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wal-Mart and Sam's Club foundation donates $1 million to the Salvation Army

Marshall Manson over at Edelman forwarded me this Tuesday press release on the $1 million the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Foundation donated to the Salvation Army.

A lot of stores, such as Target, ban the Salvation Army bellringers from their storefronts. Wal Mart does not.

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Durbin urging Obama to run for president

Sen. Richard "Turban" Durbin has been on the Barack Obama bandwagon for a while, but now Durbin's campaign web site has an online petition up in support of an Obama run for the presidency.

Here is what the petition says. Noticeably, there is no mention of Obama's legislative accomplishments of his almost two years as Illinois' junior senator.

Not only do you do a wonderful job representing the people of Illinois, in just a few short years you have proven yourself to be an incredibly inspirational national leader. From your memorable and unifying speech at the Democratic National Convention to your new book The Audacity of Hope, you have shown you have the best interests of all Americans at heart.

That is why I want to see you run for President in 2008. I believe that you are the right man to lead our country at a time of such turmoil around the globe, bringing Americans together at a time in our nation's history when we need unity more than ever.

As your memorable speech at the 2004 convention proved, you understand that our country isn't as simply divided between red and blue as political commentators seem to believe. There isn't a monolithic "red state voter" who is different in every way from her blue state counterpart, but rather there are Americans in every corner of our country who have their own hopes, dreams, and communities -- and many more of these overlap than conflict.

With a unifying leader like you in the White House, I know that we can overcome the deep divisions that cause such unnecessary friction to arise between red and blue, both in Washington and in our nation as a whole. That is why I hope you will run for President in 2008.

Besides the 2008 presidential contest, another third of the United State Senate comes up for election, and Durbin's seat is one of those. Sad to say, after three straight election debacles for the Illinois Republican Party, I can't see Durbin facing a tough re-election battle.

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Hasta la vista Hastings to House intel post

Rep. Alcee Hastings, (D-Fla.), who was impeached while a serving as a federal judge--and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voted to impeach--will not be the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

I'm sure Nancy's people read the blogs and listen to talk-radio. Certainly they advised her that placing Hastings in such a sensitive positon would hurt the Democratic Party.

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Obama headed to New Hampshire

Well, no one goes to New Hampshire in December for the warm weather. But Barack Obama is headed to the Granite State for a Democratic Party function there next month.

Gee, I wonder why?

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Bush in Latvia, but Latvians shunted asisde

President Bush arrived in Latvia earlier today for the annual NATO summit, but according to Mrs. Marathon Pundit's contacts there, ordinary Latvians aren't too happy about it, because whole sections of Riga, the Latvia capital, are closed off to people not associated with summit.

That means many Latvians aren't able to go to their jobs until the summit is over.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

The suicide of a peace activist

Earlier this month I awakened to reports that a body had been set on fire adjacent to the busy Ohio Street exit ramp off Interstate 90-94 on Chicago's North Side.

As a lifetime Chicago area resident, I figured that the deceased was a murder victim whose body suffered the final indignity of being set on fire. The constant stream of sick and senseless crime stories numbs everyone that lives here.

My assumption on the burning body report was wrong. There was a name and a story that belonged to the body, and that name was Malachi Ritscher. Marathon Pundit reader Dave alerted me to this his tale, which can be found in Peter Margasak of the Chicago Reader's "Post No Bills" blog.

On Saturday the Sun-Times ran a small item about a man who had set himself on fire during rush hour Friday morning near the Ohio Street exit on the Kennedy. His identity has still not been officially determined, but members of the local jazz and improvised music community say they are certain it was Malachi Ritscher, a longtime supporter of the scene. Bruno Johnson, who owns the free-jazz label Okka Disk, received a package yesterday from Ritscher that included a will, keys to his home, and instructions about what should be done with his belongings. Johnson, a former Chicagoan who now lives in Milwaukee, began making calls. Police are still awaiting the results of dental tests, but Johnson says an officer told one of Ritscher's sisters that all evidence pointed to the body being his; his car was found nearby and he hadn't shown up for work since Thursday.

Buried on Ritscher's web site Chicago Rash Audio Potential, a compendium of invaluable show postings, artwork, and photography, are a suicide note and an obituary. Both indicate that he was deeply troubled by the war in Iraq and pinpoint it as a motive for suicide (no method is specified), though there are indications that he may have had other issues as well. "He had a son, from whom he was estranged (at the son's request), and two grandchildren," reads the obit. "He had many acquaintances, but few friends; and wrote his own obituary, because no one else really knew him." Ritscher was a familiar face at antiwar protests, and he was arrested more than once for his involvement, including this time this past May. A note found at the scene of the immolation reportedly read "Thou Shalt Not Kill."

Although Ritscher, who was in his early 50s, had played music off and on over the years, he was best known for his devotion to documenting other people's shows. Several nights a week for at least the last decade he could be found at places like the Empty Bottle, the Velvet Lounge, and the Hungry Brain; by his own count he recorded more than 2,000 concerts. Over the years he invested more money in equipment and as his skills improved, many of his recordings went to be used on commercial releases--by Paul Rutherford, Gold Sparkle Band, Isotope 217, Irene Schweizer, and Ken Vandermark among others. Ritscher was fiercely modest about these pursuits--I once tried to do a piece on him for the Reader but he declined, saying he didn't want publicity.

Obviously Ritscher and I didn't have much in common--I support the war, he was bitterly opposed to it. I like President Bush, Ritshcher hated him. All that being said, Malachi's death is a tragedy and the Chicago music scene, and the rest of the world, is worse off without him.

No side in any political disagreement has sole control of truth or virtue. And despite some obvious mental health issues, Ritscher staunchly believed in his causes, but his inner demons consumed his being and his life.

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More John Edwards retail hypocrisy

As I noted last week, former senator John Edwards is on a book tour, one that brings him to Chicago on Tuesday.

Edwards didn't write the book he's peddling, he only edited it.

Two weeks ago, Edwards and his fellow Democrat Barack Obama participated in a conference call with Wake Up Wal-Mart--the two scolded Wal-Mart because they said they don't pay their employees enough.

But look what Brian at Iowa Voice found in today's Manchester Union-Leader.

Former Sen. John Edwards is to spend an hour at the Manchester Barnes & Noble tonight promoting his new book. We find his choice of venue very interesting.

In Manchester, the local Wal-Mart store sits right behind the Barnes & Noble. It has more floor space, a parking lot several times the size of Barnes & Noble's, and is easier to access by car or public transportation.

But Edwards would not be caught dead inside a Wal-Mart. Saying that the company pays its employees too little, Edwards has embarked on an anti-Wal-Mart crusade. He instructs his staff members and all Americans not to shop at Wal-Mart.

"Wal-Mart makes plenty of money. They need to pay their people well," Edwards said at a Pittsburgh anti-Wal-Mart rally in August.

The Manchester, New Hampshire Barnes & Noble pays their people $7.00 to start--Wal-Mart pays its new-hires $7.50, the Union Leader reports.

Related post:

John Edwards wakes up to Wal-Mart nightmare

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Rep. John Dingell gets hagiography from Chicago Tribune

On page three of the print-edition of the Chicago Tribune, there's a hagiography of Congressman John Dingell (D-MI), whose district includes a large Arab American population.

Free registration is needed to access the Tribune web site.

What was left out of the article was accusations that Dingell has a pro-Arab bias in Middle Eastern affairs.

This testimonial from Dingell, courtesy of the CAIR web site, is one of the strongest of those listed:

"CAIR and I have a long history of cooperation and my office door is always open to my friends so that I can be of assistance to the causes that CAIR promotes."
-Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI)

Dingell, according to the Tribune, is in line to become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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Wal-Mart $4 generic drug program will be in all 50 states

I'm sure the anti Wal-Mart forces will find something to criticize as Wal-Mart announce this morning that it will expand its $4 generic drug program into all 50 states.

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Murtha's murky Purple Hearts

FrontPage Magazine's Patrick Poole brings up some pointed questions on Congressman Jack Murtha's Vietnam War Purple Hearts. Read here.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Obama has an eye on Iowa

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), is touching base in that state just west of Illinois, Iowa, where the first presidential caucuses take place.

From the Des Moines Register:

Democrat Barack Obama has sought the advice of top campaign workers in Iowa and has established a seedling support network in this state as he prepares to decide whether to seek the 2008 presidential nomination.

The first-term Illinois senator has surrounded himself with advisers rich in experience in Iowa, the leadoff caucus state.

Obama has vaulted to the top tier among prospective candidates for the Democratic Party's nomination, even as the new star in the party says he has not made up his mind about running.

The Iowa connections of Obama's campaign advisers and the senator's behind-the-scenes inquiry into the Iowa caucuses are hardly an announcement that he is running for president. But they show he is visualizing the presidential campaign process, in the event he decides to run.

I'll be shocked if he doesn't run in 2008. For those unfamiliar with Obama's senate record, he has gotten one bill enacted into law since becoming a US senator last year.

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David Broder gives Romney mixed reviews as Mass. gov

Chicago area native and Pulitzer Prize winner David Broder, a Washington Post columnist, has a well-thought out write-up on Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a likely Republican 2008 presidential candidate.

Amazingly, this is a rare article where Romney's membership in the Church of Latter Day Saints, better known as the Mormons, isn't mentioned.

I guess that's why Broder won his Pulitzer.

From his column:

He has been a successful venture capitalist and management consultant, and he saved the tainted 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from scandal. But it is his single term as Massachusetts governor that is Mitt Romney's chief credential in his bid for the Republican nomination for president.

He began his term four years ago on a high note, rescuing the state from an inherited budget deficit. But now, as he prepares to leave office and focus full time on his White House aspirations, his tenure is being viewed in a more mixed fashion.

While he can point to a major policy success in health care, his relationship with the Democratic-controlled legislature that made it possible is in tatters. His efforts to challenge the Democrats and promote Republican candidates for the legislature failed. His partner in the statehouse, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, lost a bid to succeed him. And Romney is leaving office with the state GOP weaker than when he arrived.

And some more...
The result has been a series of fights that have left the state politically polarized, and that reality has shaped -- and limited -- Romney's actions in the past two years. Where the Democrats have been motivated to act, he has had notable successes. His plan for health care treats it much like car insurance, requiring people to buy it or face a fine. It was tweaked and substantially expanded by the legislature, and in the final analysis, the negotiations that led to success were managed more by the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate than by the governor.

Romney, however, has a perfect excuse for all of his shortcomings--He can blame those Massachusetts liberals.

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Michael Richards follow-up: He's still sorry

Michael "Kramer" Richards did apppear on Jesse Jackson's "Keep Hope Alive" radio show this morning.

It is the question the entire nation wanted to ask and on Sunday morning the Jackson got to ask it. "Do you consider yourself a racist?"

"No," Richards replied.

The comedian appeared on Jackson's Sunday morning show, airing on WVON radio, and he again apologized for his racist meltdown.

"I can say now to them that I'm very, very sorry and hope to meet with them and get started with a bit of healing," Richards said.

I think Richards post-Seinfeld career, such as it was, is over. Oh, he'll appear here and there, but after this blows over, he'll fade into obscurity.

But he gets those big residual checks from his days on Seinfeld, so don't feel too sorry for him.

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Michael Richards to be guest on Jesse Jackson's "Keep Hope Alive" show

Well, at least according to an NBC 5 Chicago report, Michael Richards, the onetime "Kramer," will be a guest on Jesse Jackson's "Keep Hope Alive" radio show.

I'm not sure how many people listen to his show; I've never heard of the Chicago affiliate, a Clear Channel station with the call letters WGRB, but if Richards does appear on the show, it should make for interesting listening.

I'll be out running at the time.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Anarchy in the UK: English & Scottish want a divorce

Anarchy for the UK, It's coming sometime and maybe
Anarchy in the UK, The Sex Pistols, 1977.

And that sometime may be soon. And it's not just the Scottish who are thinking of bailing out of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. It's the English too, according to an exclusive Daily Telegraph poll.

The United Kingdom should be broken up and Scotland and England set free as independent nations, according to a huge number of voters on both sides of the border.

A clear majority of people in both England and Scotland are in favor of full independence for Scotland, an ICM opinion poll for The Sunday Telegraph has found. Independence is backed by 52 per cent of Scots while an astonishing 59 per cent of English voters want Scotland to go it alone.

There is also further evidence of rising English nationalism with support for the establishment of an English parliament hitting an historic high of 68 per cent amongst English voters. Almost half – 48 per cent – also want complete independence for England, divorcing itself from Wales and Northern Ireland as well. Scottish voters also back an English breakaway with 58 per cent supporting an English parliament with similar powers to the Scottish one.

The poll comes only months before the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union between England and Scotland and will worry all three main political parties. None of them favors Scottish independence, but all have begun internal debates on the future of the constitution.

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Yemeni editor sentenced to prison for one year over Muhammad cartoons

Here is a story that just won't die. Earlier today, a Yemeni court sentenced Kamal al-Aalafi, editor-in-chief of the al-Rai al-Aam newspaper, to a sentence of one year in prison for publishing the Danish Muhammad cartoons in his newspaper. In addition to that sentence, the court ordered al-Aalafi's newspaper to close down for six months.

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Latvia readying itself for next week's NATO summit

Mrs. Marathon Pundit is from Latvia, so there is some family pride in the fact that next week's NATO summit will be taking place in Riga, Latvia.

This BBC story gives the reader a good feeling for the new Latvia and the unhappy Soviet Latvia.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Sean Connery turned down Gandalf role and biggest acting paycheck in history

Sean Connery may have been smart enough to latch on to the James Bond character for Dr. No and a whole bunch of other 007 sequels, but The Scotsman newspaper is reporting tonight that Connery was offered the role of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Connery was offered a small up-front payment in exchange for 10-15 percent of the world-wide gross. If he had taken the role, Connery would've pocketed $150 to $225 million dollars.

As for the movies, it worked out for the best. Sir Ian McKellen, who of course became Gandalf the Grey, was brilliant as the great wizard.

Meanwhile, in other Lord of the Rings related news, the film version of The Hobbit seems to be a go, but LOTR director Peter Jackson won't be the director of the project.

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A Thanksgiving podcast from the Sanity Squad

As much as is said about July 4th being the ultimate American holiday, it's really in the words of Neo-neo con, that "Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday."

And who else but the Sanity Squad can take a discussion of Thanksgiving and American values and segue that into a talk on the war in Iraq.

Before they get to Iraq, Siggy comments that, "We have as a nation have barely begun to scrape the gold off the streets here."

Meanwhile, podcasts as a medium are gaining listeners, as this AP story reports. As regular visitors to Marathon Pundit know, there are many great podcasts available on the Pajamas Media site.

As for the Sanity Squad, the other two panelists are Shrinkwrapped and Dr. Sanity.

Download or listen the Squad's podcast here. Free subscriptions Pajamas Media Politics Central are available on the iTunes web site.

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Whole bunch of presidential sites for sale

On the legal end of things, I honestly don't know if the URL address of Marathon Pundit on belongs to me or Google. I have purchased the URL, so that's mine to keep or sell.

However, a clever but possibly misguided individual has acquired a whole bunch of 2008 URLs, and that person is offering those sites for sale.

Here is my indirect Black Friday sale of sorts. Here is the blogger who is selling these blogs, Global Review.

These are the sites for sale:

Thompson 08

Frist 2008

Hunter 08

Kerry 08

Election 12

Election 2020

Warner 08

Edwards 08

Pataki 2008

Rice for President 2008

What, no Chuck Hagel site?

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gaza granny blows herself up

In a poorly timed (Thanksgiving Day in the US) and poorly executed (only the bomber was killed--no one else was even wounded) attack, a 64 year-old Palestinian grandmother became Hamas' oldest suicide bomber.

Pictured above is Fatma Omar An-Najar. Hamas, which has the dubious distinction of governing the Gaza Strip, claimed responsibility for the bombing that lead to Ms. An-Najar's death.

UPDATE Nov. 24: More recent reports on Gaza Granny has it that three Israeli soldiers were wounded.

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"Kramer" reaches out to Jesse for help

In another attempt to save his career, Michael Richards, "Kramer" of Seinfeld fame, telephoned the Reverend Jesse Jackson for help twice yesterday. Jerry Seinfeld called Jesse too, according to this NBC 5 Chicago report.

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Suburban Chicago marine gets Thanksgiving call from President Bush

Here's a nice Thanksgiving story from who lives not too far from me:

From AP:

A marine from suburban Chicago who's stationed in Okinawa, Japan got a surprise Thanksgiving treat today -- a call from the president.

White House officials say Corporal Steve Lanham Junior, who goes by the name Mike, received a call from President Bush around 7:00am.

The Marine was one of ten members of the military to receive today's Thanksgiving calls.

The president thanked Lanham for his service. He also told the marine from Arlington Heights to say hello to his mom and dad.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Chicago Tribune columnist Kass knows how to get Rahm Emanuel angry

Four years ago there was an open seat on Chicago's heavily Democratic 5th Congressional District. Longtime state legislator Nancy Kaczak was leading in the polls, but Rahm Emanuel, future Democratic hero of the 2006 House elections, eked out a victory. That triumph was aided by an army of patronage workers led by then-first deputy commissioner of Chicago's water department Donald Tomczak. In his Chicago Tribune column, John Kass regularly refers to the former Clinton aide as Rahm Emanuel, (D-Tomczak), which Emanuel doesn't like.

From Kass' column, free registration required:

Emanuel is the political operative being credited these days with the Democratic takeover of Congress. He's ruthless and hardworking and, in victory, deserving of post-election applause.

But if City Hall had not sent Don Tomczak, the corrupt city water department boss, to Emanuel's congressional campaign in 2002--and Tomczak's political army of hundreds of city workers who stumped the precincts with the promise of overtime--then Emanuel wouldn't have narrowly defeated a local grass-roots Democrat.

And Emanuel wouldn't have been in a position to bask in all the national media love.

So in those glowing reviews of Emanuel's performance in the midterms, it's important for those Rahm hagiographers to include this black mark against the Chicago Democrat.

Last year Tomczak pleaded guilty racketeering and tax fraud.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

MTV brings you a 2008 presidential cheat sheet

Just in time for Thanksgiving and those family get-togethers--a cheat sheet for those who've fallen behind on keeping track of the next presidential election, which is only 23 1/2 months away.

So you needn't fear a family discussion that veers into the subject of Senator Joe Biden (D-Del) and his chances of winning the nomination, and then feeling embarrassed by your inability to add to the conversation.

The crib notes were put together by MTV. It's not all-inclusive, Senator Samuel Brownback of Kansas and Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas were left out of listing of possible Republican candidates.

MTV is dead wrong about the importance of Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack being from Iowa. He'll be expected to do well in the Iowa Caucuses because he's an Iowan. Tom Harkin, a Democratic senator from Iowa won his home state caucuses in 1992, which got him zero momentum, because, know.....

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Pajamas Media Politics Central podcast with Brad Templeton

A busy day of work for me as I enter the busiest time of the year for me on my "real job." But I managed to sneak in a listen to an ear-opening podcast from Andrew Keen of Politics Central and Pajamas Media with Brad Templeton, the Chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

In short, as you listen to the podcast, what you think is private, may actually be public.

Listen or download here. Free subcriptions to Politics Central podcasts are available on the iTunes web site.

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Mayor Daley's son may be deployed to Afghanistan

Patrick Daley, son of Mayor Richard Daley an enlisted man in the Army, may be deployed soon to Afghanistan, according to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed.

The elder Daley was one of the Democratic politicians who called on Senator John Kerry to apologize for the now infamous "botched joke" about our US troops.

Related post: Chicago's Mayor Daley to Kerry: Apologize

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Obama's AIDS test follow up--His Dec 1 test will be his third

I found this item in Lynn Sweet's blog from yesterday.

For the second time in 97 days, Sen. Barack Obama -- who is mulling a 2008 presidential run and giving a big speech on Iraq today -- will take another public HIV/AIDS test.

Given his marriage to his wife, Michelle, and the certainty he is not shooting up anything, Obama's test results will again be negative.

Obama, according to Sweet, previously took an AIDS test for a life insurance policy.

The third AIDS test, which I blogged about last week, will occur on December 1 at a California church. With him will be Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, a senator like Obama who may run for president in 2008.

Publicizing the importance of AIDS testing should not be minimized, but how many more AIDS tests will Obama be taking?

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Crazy Iranian and crazy Zimbabwean leaders meet in Tehran

Anti-semitic and apocalypse-obsessed Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad welcomed racist and economically-toxic Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday in Tehran.

According to the Tehran Times, "Several memoranda of understanding" are expected to be signed, although it is not known at this time if an agreement has been reached between the pair on which one is the biggest nutcase.

Marathon runners face higher skin cancer risk--especially this one

Well, no one should be surprised by this story. Marathoners, who are outdoors running for a long time, often in sunny conditions, face a greater risk of skin cancer than the population at large.

The findings come from a study by the Medical University of Graz, Austria.

From Fox

They compared the runners’ skin cancer risks with those of 210 men and women matched for age and gender who were not long-distance runners. All participants underwent a skin cancer exam and answered questions about personal and family skin cancer history, as well as changes in skin lesions, sunburn history, sun sensitivity, and physical characteristics such as skin and eye color.

Even though more of the nonrunners had higher sun sensitivity, reflected by their light eyes and sensitive skin types, the runners had more atypical moles and more lesions called solar lentigines -- often called "liver spots" -- which are associated with a higher risk of malignant melanoma.

Not surprisingly, the more intense the training regimen, the more likely a marathon runner was to have the lesions and moles, Ambros-Rudolph found. While some runners logged about 25 miles a week, others put in more than 44 miles a week.

I'm in the latter group. Worse for me, is that I'm pretty much bald, but I often wear a hat, as the picture on my blog shows--which was taken before the start of the 2005 Chicago Marathon.

However, I tried once wearing sunscreen--my wife made me do it on vacation in Florida a few years ago before a run, but the damn stuff got in my eyes--so I said "Never again" with the sunscreen before a run.

But according to the Austrian study, 56 percent of marathon runners sometime use sunblock, two percent never too. I guess I should join the larger group.

And I may have to look at a new band of sunscreen. In the short term, November is Illinois' cloudiest month, so I can take my time before changing my no-sunscreen habit. But not for long. I've gotten sunburned running in February in Chicago.

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Pajamas Media's Glenn & Helen Show podcast: Working with capitalism to save American health care

The latest edition of the Glenn & Helen Show is up in podcast format. This time they interview a refugee from the Canadian health care system, Dr. David Gratzer, who is author of the recently published book, The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care.

In the podcast, Glenn Reynolds discusses a previous Glenn & Helen Show with Canadian filmmaker Stuart Browning, whose documentary on Canadian healthcare is entitled Dead Meat.

The socialized medical care of Canada is known for long waiting times for patients to get access to things such as MRIs. However, Browning in his film, Reynolds relates, discovered that in a Canadian veterinary hospital, one can get an MRI for a cat on thirty minutes notice.

The difference? Veterinary services in Canada aren't nationalized.

Of course, since the incoming Democratic-run Congress will try some sort of maneuver, however subtle, towards less of a free-market approach to health-care, this is a podcast that should be on your "must listen" list.

Listen or download here. The podcast is brought to you by Volvo.

Free subscriptions to the Glenn & Helen Show are available on the iTunes web site.

Oh, I almost forget, the late Milton Friedman wrote the foreword to Dr. Gratzer's new book.

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1988 Alcee Hastings impeachment: All top Dems voted for it

Byron York in today's National Review Online has a well-researched article about how all the top Democrats in power or soon to be in power: Pelosi, Hoyer, Rangel, Dingell, Waxman, Dingell, and a whole bunch of others voted to impeach then-Judge Alcee Hastings for accepting a bribe.

The senate later voted to remove Hastings from the bench.

Hastings later managed to get himself elected to House of Representatives from Florida, and may be chosen to head the House Intelligence Committee by incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

If he gets the position, a lot of Dems will have a lot of explaining to do. They didn't want him them, but they want him now.

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Attention Wal-Mart shoppers: John Edwards coming to Chicago to discuss new book

Former senator John Edwards, who got into trouble last week for participating in a conference call for Wake Up Wal-Mart on the same day one of his staffers called Wal-Mart to cut into line so the Edwards family could get their hands on a coveted Playstation 3 device, will be in Chicago next week to discuss a book he edited, Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives

Edwards' partner in last week's Wake Up Wal-Mart call, Chicago resident Sen. Barack Obama, is being urged to run for president by John Edwards. Of course the former presidential and vice presidential candidate may run for president as well in 2008.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kerry delusions continue

Like the fabled 16-point buck John Kerry claims to have encountered while hunting on Cape Cod years ago, John Kerry is clinging to another delusion: He thinks he is viable presidential candidate for president in 2008.

Now that the Democrats are back in the majority, Kerry should concentrate on adding to the meager number of bills of his that have become law in his 20-plus years as a US senator. He should work on his legacy, then call it a career.

However, earlier today Kerry says he has not ruled out a 2008 run for the presidency. Besides himself, Kerry has other obstacles to overcome in a presidential run--anger from Democrats that he "blew it" in 2004, as well as his much-publicized recent crack against our troops in Iraq.

Say good night, Mr. Senator.

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Evangelical Christians for Mitt Romney

Yes, there is a group called Evangelicals for Mitt. And one of the founders of the organization is David French, the former president of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. In addition to being quite helpful in the DePaul-Klocek case, French is a contributor to National Review Online's Phi Beta Cons blog.

An article in the Deseret News points when Romney is mentioned in regards to his presidential aspirations, it's almost always mentioned that he's a Mormon--whereas the religious affiliation of the other presumed candidates is not.

Although it shouldn't matter, Mitt's first name helps him should he decide to run for president. Vote for Romney and Vote for Mitt can be used interchangeably. The same can't be said for John McCain. Of course, there is nothing wrong about being named John.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review discusses the elections

The silver edition, that is, the 25th Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review is up and ready for download. Moderator Austin Bay is joined by video blogger, or vlogger Andrew Marcus (I met him at the DePaul Ward Churchill protest last fall), and Richard Miniter, Pajamas Media's Washington bureau chief.

For its Election 2006 coverage, a few lucky PJM bloggers, including friend-of-the-blog Solomonia, were handed small video cameras (Canon PowerShot A630 8MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom) to cover the big day. Look for devices like these to be used increasingly in future political reporting.

But will bloggers sell out? That topic is also bandied about in the podcast. The meaning of that question is this: To gain access to politicians, will bloggers forgo tough questioning of them? Will they compromise coverage?

I guess we'll find out.

Ed Driscoll produces.

Listen or download here. Subscriptions to Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review are available at the iTunes web site.

The podcast is sponsored by Volvo.

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Ethiopians protest Georgia "female circumcision" conviction

Well, at least the barbarians support a fellow barbarian. "Female circumcision," the removal of a child's clitoris, is not an Islamic practice per se, but it seems to flourish in Muslim areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2001, a vile Ethiopian immigrant living near Atlanta named Khalid Adem performed a "female circumcision" on his two year-old daughter. He used scissors for the task.

As is common in many child abuse cases, the parents are blaming each other for the brutality. What makes this story unusual is the there was a march in Ethiopia today demanding the release of Adem from prison.

These people are just not like us.

According to AP, the US State Department says 130 million "female circumcisions" carried out worldwide each year.

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Ex-Ill Gov. Ryan speaks at DePaul on death penalty

Wow, a DePaul post without mentioning the Klocek case, Norman Finkelstein, or 2005 (see below) DePaul speaker Ward Churchill!

Former Ill. Governor George Ryan, who was convicted on various corruption charges earlier this year, spoke at DePaul University's Student Activities Center.

Outside of Illinois, Ryan is best known as the man who emptied out Illinois' death row, and that's what he talked about at DePaul last night.

Ryan, a Kankakee Republican, begins serving his prison sentence in January. The state GOP, which he greatly damaged, was defeated in every statewide office contest in this month's elections.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Ward Churchill: The O'Reilly Factor's Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

I just got finished watching the O'Reilly Factor, and the Most Ridiculous Item of the Day segment of O'Reilly's show for today belongs to Ward Churchill, the disgraced University of Colorado professor who called the victims of 9/11 "Little Eichmanns."

O'Reilly showed a clip of a Fox News producer confronting the F-Troop Indian in front of his home. The producer identified himself as being with Fox, and Churchill responded:

Kiss my ass!

The producer then asked, while Churchill was walking back to the front door of his house, something along the lines of, "Are you going to apologize to the families of the 9/11 victims for calling them Nazis?"

End of segment.

Related post: Ward Churchill to be fired

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Senators Obama, Brownback to take AIDS tests

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) don't have too much in common, besides their membership in the upper chamber of Congress and that both are considering runs for the presidency in 2008.

Both men will be in California on World AIDS Day, December 1, at a church sponsored "Global AIDS Summit" where the two senators will take AIDS tests in an effort to remove the stigma that surrounds AIDS testing.

In regards to 2008, Brownback's biggest obstacle in regards to conducting a successful presidential campaign is lack of name recognition. Kansas' other senator, Pat Roberts--not exactly a household name--is better known. Lack of experience, not currently seen as a negative for the junior Illinois senator, will be become on issue for Obama--at least I think so--should he join the 2008 presidential derby.

Ending with Obama, lost in the whole John Edwards-Wal-Mart-Playstation 3 debacle is that the senator was the other speaker in yesterday's Wake Up Wal-Mart conference call.

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Pajamas Media's Sanity Squad on the elections and the new Congress

The four blogger/mental health professionals that make up the Sanity Squad are back: Siggy, Dr. Sanity, Neo-neocon, and Shrinkwrapped survey the wreckage left behind after the mid-term elections.

I was able to listen to the podcast during a rare afternoon run.

Siggy gets in the best bit while speaking of the far Left's view of the War on Terror and Islamic extremism.

It is just just is astonishing that the moral eunuchs of the Left have found a home in the Democratic Party. Because you have to be completely have to be completely morally and ethically emasculated to reject any and all attempts to bring freedom and democracy to people that are under the boot of tyranny. I mean these are the same people who--no doubts--in six months time, 'Well you know Hitler wasn't so bad and maybe we shouldn't have bombed Germany the way we did.'

Listen to the podcast here. Free subscriptions are available on the iTunes web site.

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Wait and see for Huckabee on 2008

Republican Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas is still mulling over whether he'll run for president in 2008.

From AP:

Gov. Mike Huckabee, considering a presidential bid in 2008, said Thursday he is putting himself in position to take the plunge into the race and other Republicans' plans won't affect his timetable.

While U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona already kicked off a campaign with the creation of an exploratory committee, Huckabee told reporters he won't announce any plans until he leaves the Governor's Mansion on Jan. 9.

"What I'm doing now is taking steps that get me into the position to make the plunge," Huckabee said. "There's no real advantages to me to declare a candidacy this early. There are a lot of disadvantages," including fundraising restrictions.

Related post: Soon-to-be-former Gov. Huckabee and wife on "wedding" gift registries

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Latest Rezko revelation: Gov. Blagojevich's wife profited from Rezko real estate deal

If he isn't at that point already, indicted real estate developer and Democratic fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko, on a local basis at least, will be synonymous with political corruption on a level similar to that of Jack Abramoff.

Here's the latest Rezko story, this time from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Gov. Blagojevich's wife got nearly $50,000 from a real estate deal in late 2002 involving Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a developer and former top Blagojevich political fund-raiser now under federal indictment.

In the following two months, the governor began giving friends of Rezko seats on influential state boards and began hiring former Rezko employees to upper-level state jobs.

The chain of events in December 2002 and January 2003 is detailed in records obtained by the Sun-Times. It's the first record of Patti Blagojevich making money off a Rezko deal around the time Rezko began seeking favors from the governor.

The governor's office vehemently denied that the first lady's business dealings with Rezko had anything to do with his influence in her husband's administration.

Related posts:

NPR covers Obama-Rezko real estate deal

Cong. Gutierrez got special real estate deal from Tony Rezko

Top Gov. Blagojevich advisor and fundraiser indicted in kickback scheme

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Pajamas Media's Glenn & Helen Show podcast: Popular Mechanics and New Media

Angela Diegel and David Dunbar of Popular Mechanics online edition were in Knoxville recently, and Glenn Reynolds and Dr. Helen Smith of course invited them to Calhoun's Restaurant to tape the latest edition of the Glenn & Helen Show.

(How did I miss this place when I was in eastern Tennessee last month?)

I listened to the podcast during my morning run yesterday, and what I learned was that as a 21st century male, I'm not alone in my "Mr. Fixit" ineptitude. I thought it was just me, but earlier generations of males were more mechanically inclined than the present crop of men. Without abandoning the print edition of the venerable magazine, Popular Mechanics hopes to help out the seemingly hopeless--someone like myself--via the web site to make me a handyman.

Of course, aspiring handywomen are welcome at Popular Mechanics.

Listen or download here. The podcast is sponsored by Volvo Cars US.

Free subscriptions to Pajamas Media Politics Central podcasts are available at the iTunes web site.

Some earlier Glenn & Helen podcasts are available here.

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Legendary Michigan football coach Schembechler dies; Dead Schembechlers band issues statement

The annual Michigan-Ohio State game is tomorrow, but a shadow has been cast over tomorrow's match-up between the nation's top-ranked teams. Former Michigan football coach, Bo Schembechler, died this morning.

The rivalry between the two teams had always been fierce, but Schembechler, and his equally legendary counterpart from Ohio State, Woody Hayes, notched the rivalry up a few notches during their momentous games during the 1970s.

Meanwhile in Columbus, Ohio, home of Ohio State University, there is a punk band called the Dead Schembechlers. Time for a name change, I think.

But they have issued a statement on their web site:

The band wishes to say, "We are crushed to learn of the death of Bo Schembechler, OSU's most valiant foe."

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John Edwards wakes up to Wal-Mart nightmare

As I blogged here a couple of days ago, likely 2008 Democratic presidential candidates John Edwards and Barack Obama (I think he's running) participated in a Wake Up Wal-Mart teleconference.

Wake Up Wal-Mart is United Food & Commercial Workers funded activist group, it's an effort lead by former top Howard Dean campaign staffer Paul Blank.

I only became aware of this phenomenon a few days ago, but Sony's new Playstation3 was released this morning--many stores had hundreds of Playstation devotees lined up for blocks to get their hands on one.

Elizabeth Edwards, the former senator's wife, according to AP mentioned to an Edwards staffer that her younger children would want one. That staffer, according to John Edwards called his local Wal-Mart to see if he could get one--presumably by not waiting in line with "ordinary people."

From AP:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Thursday that a staff member for former Sen. John Edwards -- a vocal critic of the retailer -- asked his local Wal-Mart store for help in getting the potential 2008 presidential candidate a Sony PlayStation3. Edwards said a volunteer did so by mistake.

Edwards told The Associated Press that the volunteer "feels terrible" about seeking the game unit at Wal-Mart a day after his boss criticized the company, saying it doesn't treat its employees fairly.

"My wife, Elizabeth, wanted to get a Playstation3 for my young children. She mentioned it in front of one of my staff people," Edwards said. "That staff person mentioned it in front of a volunteer who said he would make an effort to get one. He was making an effort to go get one for himself.

"Elizabeth and I knew nothing about this. He feels terrible about this. He made a mistake, and he knows he should not have used my name," Edwards said.

At midnight, the Playstation3 devices went on sale.

Last night in Connecticut, two assailants shot a man during a mass robbery of Playstation3 enthusiasts. The victim, I just heard on a Fox News Channel report, is in stable condition.

But it sounds like a good personal injury lawsuit possibility for former Senator Edwards.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Abscam's last sting: Murtha

In 1980, the FBI set up a sting operation, nicknamed Abscam, that led to the conviction of six congressman on bribery charges. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), was approached by a federal investigator while the sting was taking place. He was not indicted or convicted, but his role in Abscam came back to haunt him when an old tape of his meeting with an undercover federal agent during the Abscam probe was broadcast on the internet and television news programs.

It's a safe assumption that the 26 year-old tape had some potent venom left, making Murtha Abscam's last sting victim. John Murtha will not be the new House majority leader.

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Mitt Romney hires Bush ad guru for likely 2008 run

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), hasn't announced if he's running for president in 2008, but barring an act of God, he'll be in the race. Yesterday a tough hired gun joined his fledgling staff.

From the Boston Globe:
Governor Mitt Romney, who continues to sign up big-name political consultants for a probable presidential run, has hired bare-knuckles GOP ad man Alex Castellanos, a veteran of presidential campaigns known for his tough ads against Democratic candidates.

Widely considered one of the country's more influential Republican image-makers, Castellanos has produced television spots for President Bush, presidential candidate Bob Dole, and former senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina. Romney's move to recruit him sends a strong signal that the governor plans to mount a serious national campaign for 2008, political observers say.

"Alex is one of two or three people in the country who you don't run a presidential campaign without," said Dan Schnur, who was communication director for Senator John McCain of Arizona during McCain's run for president in 2000. Schnur added, "You don't hire Alex Castellanos unless you're committed to this."

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NPR covers Obama-Rezko real estate deal

It's taken a while, but the Barack Obama-Tony Rezko real estate deal is finally catching fire outside of Illinois.

Earlier today, National Public Radio's Morning Edition covered the controversy, and yesterday, Michelle Malkin mentioned it on her blog.

The audio piece is three and a half minutes long.

NPR was tough on Obama. Good for them. Their reporter, David Schaper, mentioned that the cash to make the down payment on Obama's South Side Chicago mansion came primarily from the advance he got from his book deal. As I've noted before, Obama received a large book-advance from his publisher while a senator-elect, not a senator--this allowed "St. Barack" to skirt senate ethics rules.

UPDATE November 17: As you'll notice in the comments, there's been a discussion between Archpundit and myself over Senate ethics rules on advances from publishers for books written by senators. You have to poke around the site a bit--I couldn't get the PDF file up at home, but it did come up at work, but page 98 of the ethics rules apparently allows senators to collect book advances--as long as such advances are in line with similar book releases. Okay, on that point, Archppundit is right, I'm wrong. However, I still find it odd that like Hillary Clinton--or maybe I don't find it odd--Obama signed his book deal before being sworn in as a senator.

Secondly, the House ethics rules forbid advances--but not royalties. Obviously, the Senate should follow the lower body's example.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tommy Thompson to form 2008 exploratory committee

This news comes as a shocker to me--former Wisconsin Governor and Health & Human Services Director Tommy Thompson, a Republican, is forming an exploratory committee for a possible 2008 presidential run. He was considered presidential material in the 1990s, but his star dimmed because of his uneven handling of the 2001 anthrax crisis.

While governor, Thompson developed a reputation as a first-rate welfare reformer, but he seemed overmatched by the challenge of the anthrax attacks while heading HHS.

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), a doctor, was the congressional spokesman on those attacks, and his status rose and Thompson's sank as Frist emerged as a more credible source of information during that unhappy autumn of 2001.

Frist, who's been quiet lately, is believed to be considering a presidential run as well.

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Murtha's pork diet and Abscam past raising eyebrows

Nancy Pelosi's choice to be House Majority Leader, John "Cut and Run" Murtha may not be the ideal choice that it once seemed, as AP reports.

The portly Pennsylvania Democrat has been in Congress for a long time, which means he's left some notable footprints over the years.

From AP:

Murtha, a former Marine who generally has supported U.S. military efforts, has gained considerable attention this year for his criticism of the administration's Iraq war policies. He steered Pelosi's winning campaign in 2001 against Hoyer for the No. 2 Democratic leadership post, and his supporters say Pelosi deserves a more loyal wingman.

But Murtha is also a controversial figure. He was investigated in 1980 as part of the Abscam bribery sting, but was the only lawmaker involved who wasn't charged criminally.

FBI agents pretending to represent an Arab sheik wanting to reside in the United States and seeking investment opportunities approached Murtha and several other lawmakers with offers of bribes.

When offered $50,000, Murtha is recorded as saying, "I'm not interested ... at this point." A grand jury declined to prosecute Murtha, and the House ethics committee issued no findings against him. On MSNBC Wednesday, Murtha said, "I told them I wanted investment in my district. They put $50,000 on the table and I said, 'I'm not interested.'"

Maybe. I just now saw the tape with Murtha and the undercover FBI agent and Murtha does not come off well.

According to the same AP article, Murtha developed a reputation for horse-trading with Republicans in exchange for pork projects in his district.

Keep it up, Dems.

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A Lott of old in new Senate leadership

With Bill Frist retiring from the Senate--the Tennesseean and current Republican Senate leader had promised to serve only two terms in the upper chamber--a shake-up for the new minority party leadership was inevitable.

In my opinion, the GOP needed a new look in the Senate, instead, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican Whip, got promoted to Senate Minority Leader. Replacing McConnell will be Trent Lott of Mississippi, the former Senate Republican leader who was forced to resign in 2002 from that position after making bizarre pro-segregationist comments at a celebration for the 100th birthday of the since-deceased Strom Thurmond. He stayed on as a senator.

I think Lott's been exiled in the wilderness long enough--but if the GOP is going to win back the Senate, the House, and keep the White House, fresh faces are needed. Which is why Lamar Alexander, also of Tennessee, should've gotten the Whip job over Lott.

But it's McConnell and Lott. Get to work, fellas.

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More Huckabee ethical problems

Hey, I know it appears I'm piling on Gov. Huckabee from Arkansas, but the possible GOP candidate from the senate will be hearing about his ethical missteps from potential opponents in the coming months should Huckabee decide to run for president.

If the Republicans are going to keep the White House in 2008, we're going to need to show voters that we're for clean government, not "business as usual."

From the Pine Bluff Commercial:

Huckabee has tangled with the ethics panel previously over gifts. The commission has five times found that he violated state ethics guidelines.

Huckabee was issued letters of warning and reprimand and drew a pair of $500 fines after the commission found that he failed to report a $43,150 payment he received from his 1994 lieutenant governor's campaign for the use of his personal airplane, and for failing to report that he was paid about $14,000 from his 1992 U.S. Senate campaign.

Huckabee was issued a letter of caution by the panel in 1997 for failing to report that he received $23,500 from Action America, a tax-exempt organization he incorporated with three associates in 1994 to coordinate parts of his private-sector speaking schedule while he was lieutenant governor.

And in January 2003, the commission ruled that Huckabee violated two state ethics laws on accepting and reporting gifts in 2001. The commission fined the governor $250 and issued him a letter of warning for accepting a $500 canoe from Coca-Cola in 2001.

Huckabee did get a break on the blanket, though.

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