Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year - But Please, Be Careful, Be Around to Enjoy the New Year

If I get my wish tonight, everyone I care about will be here tomorrow. To that end, please watch the video below before you go out for the evening. If it doesn't make you stop and think, and keep you sober, nothing will.

And remember, drinking excessively is not acting like an adult, and certainly not "manly." Want to be an adult, want to be a man? Do the right thing. Don't drink and drive.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Funeral For A Friend

By the time you read this the body of Joe Dent, 92, former Sergeant, U.S. Army will be laid to rest in a cemetery in Hebron, Connecticut where he lived.

If Joe's name isn't familiar to you, that is your loss not his. We often hear about Americans who flooded the military recruiting offices after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December, 7, 1941, but Joe had a somewhat different story.

He had already served in the US Army in the 1930s and was honorably discharged years before America entered WWII. But Uncle Sam tapped Joe on the shoulder once again and requested his return to active duty. Joe, who at various times in his life was a cowboy and a bull rider - as opposed to bull throwers which are much more common - responded without complaint and re-entered the Army.

He survived World War II, including 7 months of combat in the Battle of New Guinea. This battle actually was divided into several phases that went on from 1942 to the end of the war in 1945 in some places. As a major land mass just to the north of Australia, New Guinea was strategically important because it was suitable for all kinds of military bases including air fields.

Joe didn't talk much about the war when he went to Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion meetings at the veterans post in Hebron. He was more prone to talk about doing something right because it was the right thing to do.

For instance, he was well known to Hebron's veterans, politicians, and municipal workers alike for his constant attention to the status of the various American flags in town including those flying at the schools, Town Hall and the town green. If a flag was tattered, if it was flying at night without the requisite light shining on it, if if was damaged, if it was flying at full staff when either the governor or president had ordered it to be at half staff, someone would get a phone call.

One such person was John Tuttle, past commander of American Legion Post #95. "Hey Tuttle," the call would go, "the flag at the center is at half staff. It's supposed to be back at full staff. Get someone to take care of that will ya?"

And just like that, the problem would be corrected. Joe was also the driving force behind the VFW's annual Buddy Poppy sales to raise funds for local veterans in need. But he didn't just chair the committee. He also visited the locations where the poppies were distributed a week before Memorial Day each year, literally inspecting the troops and making sure they all were presentable.

Dent never asked people to shape up. He told them to shape up. Joe Dent was a sergeant and sergeants usually don't ask when they can give orders instead.

In recent years Joe was suffering from cancer and unable to make most of the meetings of the veterans organizations he belonged to, although he would move heaven and earth to attend the annual Memorial Day parade and ceremonies in Hebron. But as part of the Veterans Day ceremonies that took place this November, Joe was named the first Veteran of the Year by his peers.

He was honored at a packed Veterans Breakfast hosted by the local Senior Center, and the news media gave him great coverage. His photo was on the front page of the local Bulletin, in full color, and he gave a great interview.

In an impromptu speech to the gathering Joe told of the difficulties encountered in fighting the Japanese in New Guinea and made no effort to hide his disgust toward the former Japanese military society that gave no quarter and treated prisoners of war with extreme brutality. Like many of his generation Joe was not prepared to deal with the savagery of a centuries old military structure that considered defeat or surrender a disgrace that was far worse than death.

Joe was close to death at that breakfast but as many of his friends and comrades noted, "He sucked it up; he toughed it out." In his speech Joe also noted that he had a soft spot in his heart for the US Marines, having shared the South Pacific combat theater with Marine units. Which is probably why the Marines in Hebron who knew Joe had a soft spot in our hearts for him.

When my book on the Marine operations in Vietnam, Masters of the Art, came out in 2005, Joe bought one copy, read it, and then bought another to give away. He called and told me, "Winter that book told it just like it was." I told Joe that I had encountered some criticism from some who thought the language in the book was too salty - profane in some cases. "What did they expect, that's the way we talked," he responded.

I'm glad I knew Joe, and happy that he was named my community's first Veteran of the Year. I can't think of a more fitting way to say a final goodbye to a true American patriot, a man who served selflessly and never asked for anything more than the right to live in freedom, which he proudly fought to preserve.

At his wake, on Wednesday December 15, dozens of veterans took part in the joint funeral services by the VFW and Legion. Joe was eulogized by VFW Post #8776 commander Ron Parkyn, American Legion Post #95 Commander Joe Fetta, Post #95 chaplain Warren Holbrook, and past Post #95 Commander Tuttle. Tuttle read Joe's list of decorations, the first of which was the Army Medal for Heroism.

We had never heard Joe speak of that medal or how he earned it, but it was no surprise to any of us that he had earned it, and wore it proudly but quietly. There was no shortage of volunteers to act as pall bearers at his funeral today.

His passing is sad, but not tragic. He lived a full and honorable life and will be remembered that way. I suppose I should point out one other factor regarding Joe's death.

He died this past Sunday night, December 12, as the vicious storm that dumped heavy snow and high winds on much of middle America finally arrived in New England. The snow that collapsed the roof of the Minneapolis Metrodome stadium forcing a relocation of the Giants-Vikings game, and raised havoc throughout the Midwest, came to New England as rain due to a warm southern air flow.

Instead of snow we were hammered with torrential rains and high winds.

As the storm raged Sunday night, the call went out around 10 p.m. - Joe had finally succumbed to the cancer he had fought for years. Oddly enough, another call went out at nearly the same time. The flag on Memorial Green had been damaged by the high winds and would need repair. Someone would have to get out there and retrieve the flag and put it safely away until the pole was fixed.

I know what you're thinking and you're probably right. Those two events were probably just a coincidence and one had nothing to do with the other. On the other hand ...
Sunday, November 07, 2010

Connecticut Should Be Ashamed of Bridgeport; Foley Must Stand Up AND Stand Tall!

In the movie An Innocent Man, actor Tom Selleck's character, in prison after being framed, is told by a fellow inmate, "In here you don't have to stand tall, but you do have to stand up."

I've been thinking about that quote a lot since Election Day, probably because, like Selleck's movie character, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley is facing a test of strength and character under nightmarish conditions.

Foley told a news conference Friday that even though Connecticut's Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz finally "officially" designated Democrat Dan Malloy as the winner of Tuesday's election, he (Foley) doesn't trust her numbers and will take this weekend to decide whether to contest the flawed election in court.

I don't trust Bysiewicz's numbers either, and I doubt there are more than a handful of people with IQs over the triple digit mark in the entire state who could pass a lie detector test if they said they did trust her.

There were so many "irregularities" in the just passed election, many in Bridgeport but presumably elsewhere as well, that with the very small margin Bysiewicz has handed Malloy there should at least be a recount, and at best a runoff election.

Friday night, three days after the election was over, after Bridgeport missed legal reporting deadlines by days, and after it was revealed that Bridgeport election officials "found" bags of previously "undiscovered" ballots, Bysiewicz released a statement showing 566,498 votes for Malloy and 560,861 for Foley — a difference of 5,637 votes out of 1,127,359 cast.

That comes out to just over one-half of one percent separating the two, which would be a major point in any other major race in the state - in which an automatic recount is triggered if the margin is one-half of one percent or less. Except that this is the race for Governor, which requires that a recount is automatic only if the margin is under 2,000 votes, regardless of the percentage. Why is that? Did our Republican senators and representatives go along with that criteria?

Regardless, the margin is razor thin, there were so many documented violations of election law in Bridgeport alone that there should not only be a recount, but a new election and a federal investigation. This election is a travesty, and the entire state should be ashamed of the mockery that the Connecticut Democratic party has made of our system.

Most of all, Dan Malloy should be hanging his head in shame, although, having watched his electioneering over the past several months, I doubt he has the acumen to understand why people might think that way.

Faced with what is such an obvious effort to steal this election - reminiscent of the similar theft that continued the political career of "Landslide Lyndon" Johnson in Texas, and look how that turned out - Foley is honor bound to stand tall in this case and push as far as he has to, all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary. I realize that the cost of this effort could be dumped right on him, but Foley was willing to spend millions of his own dollars to run for election, and he shouldn't get skimpy when it comes to ensuring that the election was fair.

Foley won't get much sympathy from some media people, that was obvious from the tone and flat out stupidity of some of the questions he fielded at his Friday press conference. One media genius asked if he Foley was showing disrespect for the Republican registrar of voters in Bridgeport - the second loneliest job in the world after Maytag repairmen considering that Bridgeport is overwhelmingly Democratic - and another asked if Foley honestly thought he could find more than 5,000 extra votes.

What a mental giant. Hey Media - Foley may need to find only 2,819 votes to turn this election around. Why? Because assuming that the total stays put, for every vote that goes to Foley, one gets taken away from Malloy. See how that works? And Foley's total already was adjusted upward in Torrington, a small city on the west side of the state, by 2,000 votes. So what makes our ever so upright and capable media think that he wouldn't find similar mistakes elsewhere in the state?

Oh, I get it! The media doesn't want him to find miscounts in any other communities. I see. Just like the media is walking away from the highly questionable vote tallies received by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid out in Las Vegas. Reid won by nearly 6 percentage points after every major polling organization in the country had his opponent ahead by anywhere from 1 to 4 points. Yet, even as the GOP was claiming voter fraud in the days when early voting was allowed, no one seems too interested in finding how Reid came up with a totally unexpected 60,000 votes!

Rasmussen says it was a higher-than-expected turnout among people who were essentially disinterested in the race, but when pressed favored Reid!

But back in Connecticut, we know where the problems are and we don't have to do an in-depth analysis of the electorate to see what went wrong. The entire system went wrong especially in the state's largest city, but elsewhere too, and there is no way we should allow this to stand without the fullest and most complete challenge possible.

I know this has been a difficult time for Tom Foley and his family. They have been campaigning for months, and they have been going non-stop. But the race isn't over, and if Foley lets it go at this point, he not only has let the voters down, he has let his family down, and is setting the stage for the disenfranchisement of future generations as well. This election has been nothing short of a debacle for Republicans in Connecticut and Foley is the one person in the right position to at least insure that the vote for the state's highest office was legal.

Money may be an issue, but I strongly suspect that if there is a legal way to set up a fund to pursue this to the Supreme Court, the Tea Parties, locally, throughout Connecticut, and nationally as well, will be more than willing to contribute and help defray the costs.

Anything less is simply unacceptable.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Linda McMahon: Doomed From the Outset?

Before the Connecticut state Republican convention in May I was a staunch backer of former Congressman Rob Simmons in his quest for the nomination to run in the US Senate race against Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

During that period I wrote several columns showcasing potential problems that would be faced if Linda McMahon were selected as the GOP candidate, starting with her World Wrestling Entertainment firm's history regarding steroid use, questionable skits and "soap opera" story lines starring the wrestlers and various members of the McMahon family, deaths of former employees and federal investigations.

I did this for two reasons. I wanted fellow Republicans to back the man I was backing, and I also wanted them - and McMahon - to see what they were sure to be facing in the fall elections if she won the nomination. My reasoning on the second point was simple: deal with these issues now or you will surely be facing them in the fall.

But even though she bragged that she would spend as much as $50-million of her own money to win the race, which in itself was a questionable tactic, her ultimate campaign was one of blunders, gaffes and missed opportunities, which leads me to question whether the people backing her ever intended for her to win.

When McMahon visited my local GOP Town Committee I asked her point blank what she was going to do to turn around her incredibly high negative numbers - the percentage of people who see her in an unfavorable light. She said she would attack the negatives with her indomitable fighting spirit just as she had other issues she faced in life. Her supporters gushed and smiled at each other, but apparently failed to note that she had no specific plan.

At the GOP state convention in May, where I was a delegate and voted for Rob Simmons, I had an opportunity to talk one-on-one with McMahon. I found her to be warm, charming and engaging, and in response to a question from her I promised that if she won the convention - and what was sure to be a primary afterward - fair and square, I would close ranks and support her in the general election.

It should be pointed out that I followed Rob Simmons' lead in this position; he is a gentleman and not the kind of man who will desert his party or his beliefs even if he loses and even if there is an unholy conspiracy behind his loss.

She won both the convention - in a display of vote changing at the end of the first three-way ballot that I found disgusting - and the primary, and both Rob Simmons and I kept our promises. But oddly enough there was no interest in what either of us had to say or input that could have helped her against Blumenthal.

McMahon garnered big headlines when her campaign provided the New York Times with proof that Blumenthal was lying about his claimed service in Vietnam, but she made the grievous error of trying to ride that one issue to victory. Nowhere in the campaign did I see anything about the myriad weaknesses Blumenthal was carrying from his years as Connecticut's Attorney General, and nowhere did I see anything in the general election campaign that would tell the undecided voter exactly what McMahon would do differently in Washington if she was elected.

When she should have been on the offensive, gaffes such as a confusing answer on the state minimum wage kept her on the defense. She spent millions on advertising, but apparently no one pointed out to her that there was a point of diminishing returns.

There were so many mailers coming into my home that after a while they ceased to have any impact. There were so many television and radio commercials that after a while they merged into a form of white noise, something going on in the background that wasn't really seeping into conscious thought and action.

McMahon did well in her debates against Blumenthal and nailed him to the wall when he couldn't explain how to create a job. But she relied on the Vietnam lies to win all the state's veterans, which carried two errors. First, so much advertising was focused on his Vietnam lies that over the summer the issue lost its impact. Second, although Vietnam vets are the largest veteran demographic today, they aren't the only segment of the veteran demographic and there are nuances within that overall demographic that must be addressed if such a large voter bloc - 300,000 in Connecticut - is going to support a candidate.

It was in this realm that I offered to help, especially after a commercial attacking Blumenthal's Vietnam claims aired in early October - with the people on the commercial offering no indication by clothing, insignias or other identifiers that they were veterans, or more specifically that they were Vietnam vets.

My offer went exactly nowhere, except possibly into the circular file, as the legions of veterans with expertise in voter dynamics who were on McMahon's campaign staff apparently assured her that what she was doing was all that needed to be done. (Sarcasm intended if not understood.)

Which again makes me wonder; did the people who ran and backed her campaign ever expect, or more pointedly, want her to win. There is little doubt that McMahon wanted to win; assuming that even someone worth a half-billion dollars feels the loss of $50-million. McMahon used her money early on to co-opt the GOP leadership in Connecticut; for instance, hiring the wife of state Chairman Chris Healy for communications work at a really, really nice salary, much higher than normally is paid for that position in this state.

She hired a campaign manager from the west side of the state who despite running unsuccessfully for Congress two years previously, had the support of the inside D.C. Republican establishment including then-President George Bush. She made donations to Republican town committees, and used the promise of future riches, implied if not overt, to lure Simmons supporters to her side before the convention and primary.

But despite the money and the assumed support of the GOP establishment, McMahon never had it. I attended a Simmons fund-raiser in Greenwich in the spring where national GOP strategist Dick Morris referred to McMahon's campaign as "a joke." Some well-known Republican stalwarts attended that event, and it was clear that establishment Republicans would never support McMahon.

Last night, I sat in the Vernon, CT, GOP headquarters as the returns came in and were posted. I noticed that McMahon was beaten handily in traditional Democratic districts, but she also was beaten handily in traditional Republican districts, even when other Republican candidates did very well in those districts. Obviously, Republicans were thinking about their choices, and they either didn't vote for McMahon, or they voted for Blumenthal over her.

Which brings me back to the main point. Did the people surrounding McMahon really intend for her to win, or were they just milking her of some of the WWE's profits, knowing all along that she was the lesser of the GOP candidates and not likely to make a reasonable showing?

In the days before the election McMahon's negatives were over 50 percent, and women were not flocking to her at all. In fact a huge percentage of women voters were totally turned off by her and royally offended that she was blowing millions on an ineffective campaign when so many people are out of work, losing their homes and worried about their bills. She did not connect, and the average woman voter did not feel that she shared their view of the world.

I also talked with several people today who were angry with McMahon's concession speech, which was described as "a victory speech without the victory," and her declaration that she would party all night long. They say she didn't seem to have taken the future of our state and country seriously.

I have believed for quite some time now that many so-called GOP "leaders" in Connecticut who describe themselves as true-blue hard-core Republicans, really aren't Republicans at all.

How else to explain that the Democrats still maintain control of the Connecticut House and Senate and now appear to have won the Governors race too, although there could be a court challenge over voter fraud especially in Bridgeport? How else to explain that when so much of the country turned to the GOP, in Connecticut most voters turned away?

Many other rank-and-file Republicans also have been questioning the true loyalties of the Connecticut party's so-called leaders. Nothing I saw in this election has done anything to answer those questions.
Monday, November 01, 2010

Obama, Bill Clinton Preach to the (mini-version) Choirs; Hartford Cops Tell Visconti - Get Outta Dodge!

The city of Bridgeport, Connecticut has nearly 140,000 residents and is considered a major Democratic stronghold - the kind of place where Democrats go in the final days of a tough campaign to turn out the faithful, get lots of really good publicity shots, and use the "momentum" to squeeze out one more victory.

Which explains why Democratic President Barack Obama went there this weekend to help the faltering campaign of Democratic Representative Jim Himes who is fighting for his political life in Connecticut's 4th Congressional District. Based on media reports that between 8,000 and 9,000 people - including anti-AIDS protesters who are angry with Obama - showed up, it didn't work.

Similarly, former Democratic President Bill Clinton went to West Hartford, Connecticut Sunday night. West Hartford with a population of about 64,000, is nestled up against Hartford, with a population of about 123,000, again Democratic strongholds in a mostly non-affiliated (independent) state. Crowd estimates went all the way up to 2,000; hardly enough to support the women's basketball team at the University of Hartford gymnasium where the rally was staged.

UHart is right on the line between the west side of Hartford and West Hartford, two areas where there are tons of really, really RICH Democrats. These are the kind of Democrats who usually make out financially if they can maintain the status quo, so why wouldn't they turn out by the tens of thousands to show support for Dan Malloy, Democratic candidate for governor?

As an aside, virtually all of the media shots of the events I found in state newspapers were close cropped to give the impression of much larger crowds that just weren't there. Shots on Facebook however, taken with a wide-angle lens at a distance revealed just how embarrassingly thin the crowds were. HMMMMMM.

Meanwhile, Vince McMahon, husband of former World Wrestling Entertainment corporation CEO Linda McMahon who now is locked in a tight race for the US Senate with Democrat Richard Blumenthal, held a wrestling-related event in downtown Hartford this weekend with more than 10,000 in attendance. Vince McMahon encouraged the throngs of wrestling fans to vote, but didn't get partisan.

His wife was not there, she was out on the campaign trail working to convince voters to vote for her so she can apply her business acumen in Hartford.

But Joe Visconti was there. Joe, you may remember, ran unsuccessfully two years ago against Connecticut's Democratic 1st District Congressman John Larson, who is very close in line for the job of Speaker of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. But Joe is not a quitter and since Larson's new race started against Republican Ann Brickley, Visconti, who is deeply involved in Tea Party activities, has been campaigning hard for her and other Republican candidates.

Joe, is a trained actor and singer, and also works in the construction trades in commercial building and renovations. He has a long construction trailer that he pulls behind his pickup truck adorned with huge signs supporting the GOP and busting on the Dems. Joe's enthusiasm got him knocked down by one of Larson's thug bodyguards at a debate in New Hartford last week, and Saturday, the Hartford cops ordered him to "Get Out of Town!"

Joe was part of a caravan of Brickley and McMahon supporters - and other GOP candidates as well - that coincided with the WWE event. Most of the following footage is of the fun variety, but around 6 minutes into it ... well, take a look for yourself.

I have a question. Should we rename Hartford? Instead of New England's Rising Star, it can be Connecticut's First City (Police) State. Opinions and other ideas are welcome.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hackers Tampering With Nevada Vote, Already? I Told You So - Last January!

Normally I am not an "I told you so," type person, but this issue is so serious and can have such a devastating impact on the coming election that I must repeat it and shout it from the rooftops.

When I logged on to my computer this morning and checked my email, which I generally do even before I have my coffee, I checked out my daily updates from blogger Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs -
There I found the following article from the Washington Examiner:

Nevada voting machines automatically checking Harry Reid's name; voting machine technicians are SEIU members
By: Mark Hemingway
Commentary Staff Writer
10/26/10 6:12 PM EDT
Clark County is where three quarters of Nevada's residents live and where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's son Rory is a county commissioner. Rory is also a Democratic candidate for governor.

Since early voting started, there have been credible reports that voting machines in Clark County, Nevada are automatically checking Harry Reid's name on the ballot:

Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Harry Reid's name was already checked.

Ferrara said she wasn't alone in her voting experience. She said her husband and several others voting at the same time all had the same thing happen.

"Something's not right," Ferrara said. "One person that's a fluke. Two, that's strange. But several within a five minute period of time - that's wrong."

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said there is no voter fraud, although the issues do come up because the touch-screens are sensitive.
Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Let me remind you of the column I wrote back on January 14 of this year, when Scott Brown was still in the race for Senate in Massachusetts and hadn't won his big victory yet. Here are some excerpts from that column:
If Scott Brown Wants to Win in Massachusetts, He Should Guard The Vote Scanners

A subplot of the movie Office Space involves three programmers inserting a computer virus into their firm's accounting system to surreptitiously transfer fractions of a penny to a secret bank account hundreds if not thousands of times each day.

Their theory holds that in any transactions resulting in balances figured down to fractions of a cent, which is common in their firm, the accounting department rounds down for simplicity sake, leaving daily balances that no one notices. What the accounting department doesn't need certainly wouldn't be missed, especially if the virus took only a little bit each day.

Movies being what they are, the chief code writer in the group misplaces a decimal point and the results are not at all what they expected.

I bring this up because all the polls in Massachusetts, which rivals Chicago for corruption in politics, are showing a very, very close race for the US Senate seat that opened up after Democrat Ed Kennedy died.

Scott Brown, the Republican candidate, is ... swarming all over the once insurmountable lead in the polls no longer being enjoyed by the Democrat's handpicked successor to Kennedy, Martha Coakley. ... Brown is surging while Coakley hopes she can hold him off for a few more days - but the spread is razor thin, well within the margin of error. ... So what will be the deciding factor in which side wins?

Perhaps the vote counters will determine the race. Not the people - the machines. What with the movement away from mechanical voting machines to optical scanners that operate based on commands from computer programs, it would be wise for Republicans who are making a massive effort on Brown's behalf to keep a very close eye on the scanners on election day.

How can pre-programmed computerized vote counters change the outcome of an election?

Well, you start long before election day, by writing what amounts to a virus into the program that gives instructions to the software that in turn gives instructions to the hardware that displays the counts.

(If) the vote scanners have a virus in the program that automatically advances the count for the "appropriate" candidate 3 percent of the time ... each time 100 votes are cast, the counter "slips" and adds three votes on the Democrat side.

The only way to find out if the number registered by the scanner counter is accurate is to go through the check-in logs and manually count each person who was logged in. The chances of this happening on a widespread basis are virtually zero.

Because if the program ... is tweaked to give a 3 percent preference to one party over another, in a precinct where 5,000 votes were cast, the counter would add three extra votes every time 100 ballots were scanned ... . The final outcome would be 2,584 to the winner and 2,416 to the loser if 5,000 votes were cast. (I realize these numbers are approximate, so don't get all squirrely with me. It is the principle I'm talking about here.)

If that number, or something close to it, came up - and was mirrored across the state - the pundits and pollsters would all go "SEE, it was within the margin of error just like we predicted. But the Republican just couldn't pull it off in such a Democrat leaning state."

And while the results would be within the margin of error that the polls predicted, they would be way outside the margin where a recount is required - usually if the results are closer than one-half of one percent of the total number of votes.

You can read the entire column here:

Since I wrote that column and discussed this scenario with others, a friend with more information on computer programming said the program could even be written to make the counter "slip" on a random basis so poll watchers couldn't predict when it might happen. I ended that column by strongly suggesting the same thing I am suggesting now, in every precinct in this country, large and small, every polling station, every scanner, machine or computer vote tabulator.

The local GOP chairman should order the Republican committees in every community to check the scanners at every polling place in their jurisdiction by running a known number of test ballots, with a known number of votes for each position, through the scanners - and the backup scanners - before the actual voting starts. I would use more than 100 ballots, maybe 500 would be better, and I would do the test between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., just before the polls open.

Then I would keep GOP poll watchers stationed near the scanners all day to discourage tampering. Then I would run another test right after the results are announced, but before the machines are moved out of the polling place.

We all know the outcome in Massachusetts last January and I don't know for sure if my suggestions were followed or not. But I know this: I have an analysis program that keeps tabs on this column for advertising purposes and it tells me how many hits I get each day and where they originate.

Last January 14 my daily hits went through the roof, and a ton of them came from Massachusetts. So, here we are again. And as the article at the beginning of this column points out, there already are questions in Nevada, where a three-point difference could give Harry Reid exactly what he wants, and the country would be unable to do a damn thing about it.

Remember the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Be vigilant when you vote, check and double check, and make sure that every polling station in the country has alert, aware and active GOP poll watchers doing their job.

The fate of the free world hangs in the balance.
Friday, October 22, 2010

Did NPR's Vivian Schiller Break Labor Laws in the Juan Williams Case?

Did NPR's Vivian Schiller Break Labor Laws in the Juan Williams Case?
© 2010 By Ron Winter

When most people leave a job, for whatever reason, it usually causes an upheaval in a very limited universe, generally inhabited by the individual in question, his or her boss who has to fill his or her position, and those who depend on the individual in question.

Usually, the leaving, whether voluntary or involuntary, doesn't generate headlines or non-stop discussion on television and radio talk shows.

Also, and more to the point, regardless of the reasons for a person leaving a job, when they apply for a new job, and have to list their old job on their new application, or their resume, someone is going to contact the previous employer and ask why the applicant left their old job.

Usually, the new employer is referred to the old employer's Human Resources department which by labor law is required to say something along the lines of "We can only confirm that (the individual in question) worked here," and the dates of employment. Now, sometimes a new boss calls directly to an old boss who may have a grudge, justified or unjustified, against the former employee and he or she will use code words such as "I can't say anymore about it." Or "I am legally bound to refer you to the Human Resources Department and our legal agreement prevents me from saying more."

Obviously, potential new bosses will want to know a lot more if they get that kind of response to their inquiries about potential new employees.

None of this happened in the case of National Public Radio - which gets TAXPAYER MONEY - when liberal commentator and analyst Juan Williams was fired two days ago. Williams got canned from the job he had held for more than a decade because he said during an appearance on the FOX Network's Bill O'Reilly show that Muslims on airplanes make him nervous, especially in the wake of the 9-11 attacks.

His firing went viral and in the wake of the uproar NPR's head honcho and axe wielder Vivian Schiller held a news conference to discuss the intimate details of Williams' employment, his termination and his mental stability.

Then she offered a blithe apology for saying Williams had a psychiatrist who would better understand why Williams made the comments he did, which the American Terrorist Media immediately accepted as heartfelt and sufficient and moved on.

Well, then why didn't NPR at least give Williams the opportunity to apologize for his remarks on FOX, if he wanted to? He could have said something like, "I'm sorry that my words upset thin-skinned jackasses who have no sense of reality, and I never meant to give them a scorching case of teen-aged angst as a result of my personal fears over potential terrorists riding on the same flight as me."

But that is a minor point. A major point is whether Schiller broke federal and state labor laws by openly discussing the performance of an employee, regardless of how high profile his job. Why didn't Schiller just say, "I'm sorry, but state and federal labor laws prevent me from discussing the specifics of any employee's performance," and then refer all media inquiries to the Human Resources department?

Then the HR professionals could have said, "Why yes, Mr. Williams did work with NPR from (insert date) to Oct. 21, 2010." And that would have been that. Except they could have added, "We wish him well in his future endeavors," which is HR code for "We think he's a horse's ass and if he falls off the face of the earth we could care less."

None of that happened. No, instead Schiller lambasted Williams, and told the world in essence that he had been a problem employee who was walking on thin ice for some time, that he made other comments in other venues at other times that NPR didn't like either and then she made the comment about him talking with a psychiatrist.

Frankly, I think Schiller is a horse's ass, who looks like she spends most of her days sucking on sour lemons, and the world would be a lot better off if she shut the hell up and Juan Williams keeps talking, even though I mostly disagree with him. I was working last night so I missed most of the evening news shows and how they handled the Williams story, but I did get to see Sean Hannity, and I believe it was on his show that the comment was made that Williams is a decent man who can disagree without being disagreeable.

I believe it was Dana Perino, former White House spokesperson in the George Bush presidency who said that but I could be wrong. Regardless, that comment was made and I agree with it.

Yesterday I wrote that it might be a good thing if Schiller gets some major heat for her words and deeds since she is a white woman who fired Juan Williams, a black man, and that dichotomy certainly could be leveraged in his favor. But I haven't heard word one from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the Reverends Without Portfolios, who jump up and scream "racism" every time someone comments on another person's tan after a two-week vacation in the Bahamas.

But this time the Mouths that Pout are remarkably silent. I haven't seen them anywhere, when usually you see them everywhere. I think Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Don Imus, Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, Shepard Smith, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Juliet Huddy, Megyn Kelly, Stuart Varney, Charles Paine, and every other commentator in the world should camp out on their doorsteps until they get a quote on this.

Let's see if this issue and the Jackson/Sharpton response send a thrill up Chris Matthew's leg the way Barack Obama did.

But it won't will it? Because this issue was a non-issue to begin with. It was a violation of Williams' First Amendment rights to free speech, which gives him another legal avenue to explore, and the leaders of the American Terrorist Media won't touch this with a 10-foot pole because Williams wasn't communist enough for their tastes.

Imagine that. Williams is seen as way too left leaning for most Fox viewers, who nonetheless are supporting his right to say what he believes, yet he isn't leftist enough for NPR which lauded another commentator who said she hoped Jesse Helms and his grandchildren get AIDS because she disagreed with him. And NPR, the self-proclaimed guardian of free speech, fires Williams because he said what everyone else is thinking.

Another nail in the coffin ladies and gentlemen. Another reason to vote Reid, Pelosi and every single one of their puppets and lackeys right out of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Lately, the communist commentators on cable and the networks have been smirking over the Tea Party slogan "Take Our Country Back!" The communists keep saying, "Take it back from Who?"

Take it back from these people! NPR, the people who listen to it, and the people who would destroy the reputation of a decent individual with a somewhat moderate viewpoint. November 2nd can't come fast enough. I wonder if Juan is vested in his NPR retirement account?
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Juan Williams Should Thank God He Isn't a Conservative White Man!

Liberal journalist, author, and commentator Juan Williams, who often drives me crazy when he voices his opinions on Fox News, either on the Special Report show hosted by Bret Baier at 6 p.m. weeknights, or on Fox News Sunday where he often squares off against Brit Hume, has been fired from his other job at National Public Radio for stating the obvious. (Media photo.)

Williams didn't say anything on NPR that went against the rules, he answered a question on the FOX cable channel during an appearance on the Bill O'Reilly show. Reilly has been milking the daylights out of an uproar he caused when he appeared on a network women's talk show last week and two of the women commentators walked off the set because O'Reilly said it was Muslims who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center on 9-11-2001.

Just for factual purposes, it was in fact Muslims who flew two planes into the WTC, one into the Pentagon and had plans to fly a fourth one that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, into another building in D.C., probably the White House or the Capitol.

Anyway, O'Reilly didn't specify that it was "extremist" Muslims who attacked us, just Muslims, and of course his liberal hosts went off the wall, and two of them walked off the set. Big F'ing Deal! I really don't care.

However, O'Reilly was still talking about it Wednesday night on his show, and Williams who was in on the discussion, said something that everyone who has a brain knows to be true: He said he feels uncomfortable if he flies on a plane and sits next to other passengers who are not just obviously Muslims, but are so devout that you can tell right away they put their Muslim religion ahead of other things in their lives.

So what? It's true. Anyone who has the slightest idea what happened on 9-11 would admit to at least a twinge of discomfort if they are in the same situation. But even though Williams didn't make his comments on NPR, the TAXPAYER FUNDED network got right up on its ever-so-liberal, First Amendment protecting, hind legs and fired that black man for having the audacity to say something that could just possibly be considered stereotypical by overly sensitive minority groups.

Which is why I don't listen to NPR in the first place.

So guess who is coming to William's defense today? Every conservative media outlet and commentator in the known universe. First up this morning was veteran radio host Don Imus, who also has a morning simulcast on the Fox Business Network which I watch every single day. Imus you may remember had his own problems with making a stereotypical comment that offended some black women basketball players and every liberal in the known universe.

Imus was fired from his day job, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton went into apoplexy and the world literally stood still until Imus apologized sufficiently to offset the permanent damage he did to the psyches of the offended parties. Not that Imus should have said what he said, mind you, but the reaction was a whole bunch different.

Which is why I am saying that Juan Williams should thank God he is a liberal black man instead of a conservative white man. For that matter, Williams should thank God he isn't a conservative black man either. If conservative intellectual Thomas Sowell or Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas - both of whom just happen to be black - had said what Williams said there would be lynch parties - not white KKK guys, but black liberals and their lackeys - demonstrating on their front door steps. Bet you.

Can you imagine if Bill O'Reilly had said that whenever he takes public transportation - OK, I know, never ever, but still just as a for instance - he feels uncomfortable whenever black or Asian or Hispanic gangbangers wearing their colors and flashing their signs ride the same bus? Holy Moly there would have been an eruption of cataclysmic proportions.

He probably would have been shot by an offended gang banger.

So, as unfortunate as this reaction to Williams' comments certainly is, it could have been much, much worse. All I can say to Juan is "welcome to the white man's world Juan."

We have been hamstrung by overly sensitive race baiters for decades now, not because every white guy wants to offend people of other races and genders, but if we state the obvious, we are hammered for it not because we aren't correct in our statements or observations, but because someone with skin so thin it is transparent makes a big deal out of it. Or because some slick huckster who has become a millionaire off of liberal white guilt sees an opportunity to make some more money by putting the pressure on once again.

Of course, there is a possible silver lining to this cloud. Maybe race relations in our country have progressed to a higher level than many people like to believe. I mean, NPR did fire a black man for his comments. I realize that the TAXPAYER FUNDED guardian of the First Amendment never would have hired a white guy with conservative views in the first place, but that is acceptable in the world of the liberal media.

On the other hand, the head of NPR is Vivian Schiller, a white woman. So if the heat gets turned up on NPR too high, and the liberal world that already is ticked off at Barack Obama for letting his base down after he ascended to the White House turns on NPR there certainly is a handy scapegoat on tap.

Just when you think you've heard it all.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Foley Has One Word for Malloy; Jealous. Oh, and Soft on Crime; and Wrong on Taxes. And He Has a Chip on His Shoulder. Is That More Than One Word?

The Gubernatorial Debate held at the Bushnell Tuesday night was remarkable primarily for its hard-edged, street-level punk fighting, which apparently is the preferred method of assault used by Democratic nominee Dan Malloy when he can't answer a question.

I watched the debate hoping to get an inside look at the character of the combatants, the other being Republican nominee Tom Foley. Since I am a Republican and Foley has been all around the state campaigning it is natural that I would have met him - three times actually - and have more knowledge of him than I did of Malloy.

In saying I am a Republican that does not make me an automaton who votes reactively for any Republican who is nominated by the party hierarchy, even if that hierarchy works through the primary process as was the case this year. Long before I was a Republican I spent decades as an independent voter, and still retain the habit of actually reviewing the positions of the candidates before I cast my ballot.

So last night was no different for me than any other night when candidates for office debate and show off their positions, skills and beliefs.

I went into the evening thinking I would probably like Dan Malloy, but not sure if I would like his positions. I came away not liking him at all, instead finding him rude, obnoxious, evasive and not all that well versed on the issues. In fact, whenever Foley caught him in an obvious gaffe, Malloy responded by going on the attack and launching personal insults rather than regrouping and clarifying.

Take for instance the death penalty. It was the first question of the night and was keyed on the horrific assaults and murders at the Petit family home in Cheshire in 2007. Foley said he favors the death penalty both as a means of punishment for violent crimes that result in death, and as a deterrent to other criminals.

Malloy opposes the death penalty, and said he will sign a bill prohibiting the death penalty in Connecticut if the legislature passes such as a measure - except that he will make an exception for the criminals who committed the heinous crimes in Cheshire! Really? And just how would he enact a retroactive, pro-death penalty law for some of the residents of Death Row, if he is simultaneously signing an anti-death penalty measure for others?

First off, only the first of the two animals who savaged the Petit family, murdering two girls, their mother and beating the father senseless with a baseball bat has been tried and convicted. The jury hasn't even debated the penalty phase yet, although considering that the first perpetrator was convicted after only 4 hours of deliberation it isn't likely they'll opt for life in prison.

Nonetheless, there still is another trial for the second defendant and then there will be the endless appeals and stays.

So let's say for the sake of argument there will be a new governor by then and just for laughs let's say it's Malloy. How will he justify killing some criminals and letting others live, if they are on death row for essentially the same crimes?

Answer, he won't. The defendants' lawyers will be all over him like flies on garbage, claiming everything from bigotry and unequal application of the laws to cruel and unusual punishment. And they'll win! Malloy came across as a typical career politician, trying to take both sides of an issue simultaneously and not doing a good job with either.

Moving on, let's talk about taxes. Foley described a typical Connecticut family making $68,000 annually, the median income in Connecticut, paying out more than $8,000 in state and local taxes. That is way too much and must come down, he said.

Malloy responded that Foley doesn't know what he is talking about and said the family he described only pays about $2,000 in state taxes. Where does Malloy live, in a bubble? And for the record, Foley said state and local taxes, not just state taxes.

I apparently am in that typical range, and I can tell you, the taxes I pay are much closer to the figure Foley mentioned than the once Malloy used. For starters, I work out of my home and my wife has flexible hours at her job so we have made do for several years with just one motor vehicle. But I still drive about 12,000 miles per year and pay out about $700 is gasoline taxes - at a rate of 62.5 cents per gallon, the second highest in the nation. That's somewhere between a quarter and a third of what Malloy says is my total tax bill, for just one item.

Then there is the 6 percent sales tax on most non-food grocery items, clothing over $50 - have your purchased a pair of slacks or shoes or dress shirt lately? Try finding something under $50 outside of the Goodwill store.

Then there is the local property tax which in my case exceeds $6,000, not to mention state income taxes, motor vehicle taxes, and a plethora of fees and charges. I don't live extravagantly but I also have no idea where Malloy gets his numbers. He is really out of the loop.

But don't try telling that to Malloy, he'll just change the subject and insult you. For instance, he bashed Foley's running mate, former Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, essentially saying Foley had selected a man for whom negative adjectives were invented. Foley responded that the voters selected his running mate, not him, and he then did a great job of listing Boughton's numerous qualifications to be Lieutenant Governor, explaining how their backgrounds would dovetail nicely to provide the best services for Connecticut residents.

Having been caught flatfooted, Malloy covered up by repeating his egregious statements about Boughton, who was not there to defend himself, and still maintaining that Foley selected the GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor rather than the GOP voters!

This continued throughout the debate - when Foley said he favors merit reviews for teachers rather than tenure, Malloy went on a rant accusing him of disparaging teachers - and frankly I found it tedious and far beneath the level of the debate the previous night between the state's Senatorial candidates. I had a pretty good idea where Foley stands on the issues confronting us, but I was still willing to give Malloy the benefit of the doubt.

Until Tuesday night. At the end of the debate, each candidate was given an opportunity to make a closing statement. Foley went first and took the opportunity to discuss his plan to get Connecticut out of the current fiscal crisis and make the state business friendly so we can start reversing our abysmal unemployment figures. He said little about his opponent, preferring to speak about what he can do for our state.

Malloy had the last word of the evening and he used it to throw another series of insults at Foley, which was akin to sucker punching him since Foley could not respond. I found it cheap, classless, tacky and unbecoming of a person who aspires to the highest elected office in our state.

Earlier in the evening Malloy referenced the many problems he faced while growing up, including dyslexia. I am happy that he was able to face and overcome the challenges he encountered early in his life, and proud that he has been successful as an adult.

But it also was obvious from Malloy's behavior Tuesday night that he is a very angry man, with deep-seated resentments of people who aren't him. When Malloy was asked to give a one-word definition of Foley, he said "Rich."

Foley gave a hyphenated response to the same question about Malloy and here I disagree with him. I would have said "Jealous."

It was obvious from his behavior all night that Malloy has a very large chip on his shoulder, and his first action before deciding to run for Governor should have been to do everything in his power to shed it.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010

McMahon Smokes Blumenthal in Senatorial Debate

A commonly held opinion on Connecticut Atty. General and Democratic Senate hopeful Dick Blumenthal is that he is an accomplished speaker, television personality and debater who chooses his words deliberately and wisely, and never says anything that hasn't been well thought out beforehand.

If that commonly held opinion was true, it should have followed that Blumenthal would have crushed Republican challenger Linda McMahon in their widely viewed debate Monday night at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford. So much for commonly held opinions.

McMahon, who was the Chief Operating Officer of World Wrestling Entertainment until she stepped down to run for the US Senate and has never held public office, more than held her own in the debate and on several occasions hit Blumenthal with shots that obviously rocked him.

You probably won't see that in media reports on the confrontation, but the reports I have seen today, several of them as a matter of fact, also are tepidly neutral, which is proof that the Republican held her own and the Democrat did not. If McMahon had slipped or been thrashed in the debate the headlines would have been crowing "Blumenthal Victory" from Hartford to Timbuktu.

Here are a few examples. Blumenthal said he agrees with President Obama that we should withdraw from Afghanistan based on a timetable, not a military victory. This came after he claimed to be a boxer who has fought "above my weight." Well, if he boxed - this is the first I have heard about that, he always is portrayed as a long-distance runner and there is some controversy about an alleged false claim that he was captain of his university swim team - he should know what anyone who has ever squared off against an opponent in the pugilistic arts knows damn well. You don't telegraph your punches. At least, you don't if you want to keep your head on your shoulders.

As soon as I heard Blumenthal say he supported an unconditional withdrawal from Afghanistan, based on political rather military or security conditions, I figured that if he did box in his youth, he got hit in the head too many times.

But wait, there's more. Blumenthal took a shot at McMahon for the amount of her own money she is pouring into the race. There is of course the question about why anyone would spend millions to get a job that pays less than $175,000 but that argument is somewhat specious when you consider that other politicians spend millions of other peoples' dollars for the same seat. McMahon is spending her own money and told Blumenthal that it is money she earned, her money, and if she wants to spend it on a Senate race, she will. Point McMahon.

When Blumenthal brought up McMahon's financial status earlier in the debate, apparently to portray her as an out-of-touch rich kid who doesn't understand the average working family, McMahon shot right back with "If you don't talk about my money I won't talk about your family owning the Empire State Building." Whammo. I knew Blumenthal comes from a rich background and that McMahon has worked her way into the American dream, but I didn't know his family owned the Empire State Building. Whammo again. Two points for McMahon.

Blumenthal hit at McMahon for allegedly supporting a reduction in the minimum wage. Besides the fact that as soon as the minimum wage goes up, costs follow right behind and people who are content to remain at that level with no promotions, no education and no drive to do better end up with a zero increase in spendable income, the fact was McMahon was adamant throughout the debate - perhaps more than was necessary - that she never said she supports a reduction. She turned to Blumenthal after he made that claim and accused him of an outright lie, which is very, very unusual in these forums. Point McMahon.

Then Blumenthal claimed McMahon's WWE had no health care policy for the wrestlers. She nailed him on that one too, outlining in specifics exactly what they have for health care in case of injuries. I don't know if the WWE has a good policy, great policy or mediocre policy, but you don't claim that your opponent has no policy if your opponent has a policy. Point McMahon.

Then Blumenthal dropped what he probably thought was going to be the blockbuster of the evening, revealing that the state of Connecticut has launched an investigation of the WWE's labor practices. But again, McMahon turned it right back on him. She noted that it is a very peculiar coincidence that the WWE has been headquartered in Connecticut for decades, with essentially the same business model and labor practices, but has never been subjected to a labor investigation until she became involved in the campaign against Blumenthal.

Blumenthal looked anything but sincere when he responded that the investigation into her firm is criminal - I'm not even sure that is accurate - not civil, so therefore, as a Democratic Attorney General he would have no knowledge of that at all, no way, never, not a chance. Sorry, but it didn't come across as believable. Again, point McMahon.

But I think the crowning moment of the debate came when Blumenthal was asked what it takes to create a job. He didn't know. I mean it, he really didn't know. That doesn't mean he didn't talk. He did. But this is what he said:

"A job is created and it can be in a variety of ways by a variety of people but principally by people and businesses in response to demand for products and services and the main point about jobs in Connecticut is we can and we should create more of them by creative policy, and that's the kind of approach I want to bring to Washington."

Huh? What? Interpreter please. I'm not fluent in political blather. Which is pretty much what McMahon said when she responded by saying:

"Government, government government. Government does not create jobs. It's very simple how you create jobs. An entrepreneur takes a risk he or she believes in and creates a good or service that is sold for more than it costs to make it."

Blumenthal got what I believe was his only titter of laughter from his supporters all night when he responded that he would be going to Washington as a Senator not as an entrepreneur. That is what worries me. He should at least know what an entrepreneur does if he is going to represent us.

Frankly, despite Ned Lamont's claims when he and Rob Simmons were doing a post-debate analysis for Fox Television, I think Blumenthal fell below his expected threshold and I think McMahon rose above hers.

Blumenthal didn't show a lot of spark or spontaneity. He reminded me of a walking sound bite, repeating over and over "I fought for you, and I will continue to fight for you."

Do you remember Mike Boguslowski from Channel 8 in New Haven back in the 70s? "I'm in your corner!"? It seems that Blumenthal can't even come up with an original sound bite.

Advantage, McMahon.
Friday, October 01, 2010

The "Flaccidity" of US Foreign Relations; and Our Government!

That word, "flaccidity" meaning "not firm or stiff," or alternatively "lacking vigor or force" was used by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on the Fox News channel Special Report show a few weeks ago regarding our relationship with Iran.

Earlier in the day Fox News Pentagon reporter Jennifer Griffin broke a blockbuster story about Iran hiding a massive nuclear research facility deep in the mountains outside Tehran. The Untied Nations apparently either had no idea the facility existed, or didn't have the intestinal fortitude to expose it, but its existence is glaring proof that Iran is working feverishly to develop a nuclear warhead - and intends to use it as soon as it is operational.

But the response from the Obama Administration's foreign affairs experts was typically lukewarm. In fact, if it weren't for comments from John Bolton, the former US Ambassador to the UN, you would have thought Griffin was reporting on a siting of the Easter Bunny.

Later in the day Krauthammer, during the nightly panel discussion on the Special Report show at 6 p.m., used the word "flaccidity" to slam the US response to this and other equally egregious acts across the globe that are sinking the US further and further into a quagmire of mediocrity and exposing our population to the whims of international thugs.

The tepid response to exposure of yet another example that international terrorists are targeting the US and our allies, or that voters are royally fed up with the antics in Congress and the White House, is neither new nor surprising. Nor is it limited to the members of only one party.

For example, on Fox News Sunday last week, host Chris Wallace interviewed both Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner on issues relative to the upcoming elections. Boehner was asked point-blank by Wallace several times, if he would, as the presumed Majority Leader should the Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives, put an end to earmarks, the tactic of attaching unrelated spending proposals to legislation that is sure to pass.

Boehner responded time after time that should he become Majority Leader "It will not be business as usual," in the House of Representatives. Wallace repeated that Boehner was not answering his questions, and Boehner kept repeating his mantra. What the hell is that all about?

Earmarks have people upset not because they are inherently evil, but because there is no methodology for separating necessary projects around the country from pork projects that only serve to provide votes for politicians seeking reelection. There actually are some localities across the US that desperately need federal funds for emergency or stalled projects and there should be a means of getting that money to them. "Earmarks" may be a dirty word, but Boehner should have had enough faith in the American electorate to say something other than his "No Business As Usual" mantra.

But Hoyer was even worse. This guy could not respond to any question about the myriad failures of the Obama Administration and the president's plummeting popularity with the American voters, than the totally worn out "Bush Did It." Obama has been in office for nearly two years, the mid-term elections are upon us and all the Democrats can say for the dismal state of both foreign and domestic affairs is Bush Did It!

Wow. Well, let's throw Bush out of office then. Oh, sorry, he served his two terms and left the stage two years ago. What now?

There are so many examples of this flaccidity that it's a wonder the entire male population of the US Government isn't popping erectile dysfunction pills every hour of the day.

Consider liberal commentator Alan Colmes' comments on the Don Imus show on the Fox Business Channel recently. Among other examples of bashing conservatives, the Tea Parties, and Republicans in general, Colmes remarked that one reason there is so much financial chaos in our government is because we are fighting "two unnecessary wars." WHAT???

In the first place, I would gladly debate Colmes or any other liberal pantywaist on the necessity for the war in Iraq any day, any time.

But put that on the back burner for a minute. Is he now saying the war in Afghanistan is unnecessary too? That we shouldn't have pursued the people who brought us 9-11 to their lair and we shouldn't continue to do everything possible to eliminate an enemy that will not quit until every last one of them is dead? I bet when Colmes went to public school in New York City he started every day by paying his lunch money to the school bullies so they wouldn't punch his lights out. But I bet he got his lights punched out anyway.

(Note to Fox News and Fox Business Channels. Whenever Imus or any other host brings on a liberal apologist like Colmes or John Kerry, or the daily Presidential sound bite, I switch to the Home and Garden Channel. Even on Megyn Kelly's show. If you guys keep feeding us this pablum in the guise of being fair and balanced, I will continue to switch to something that is more entertaining and informative. Just sayin'.)

Is it any wonder that the American public is champing at the bit for the opportunity to stand the government on its ear? Is it any wonder that so many women are rising to the top of the Republican party and the Tea Party movement, considering that so many women now on the political scene have so much more moxie than their male counterparts? I see that as a good thing, by the way.

Personally I'm happy that the female gender is finally being represented on a more equitable level. Say what you will about Sarah Palin, when she talks about female grizzly bears and hockey moms, she isn't kidding, and she is referring to two species that have the ability and the willpower to protect that which they hold precious.

Oddly enough, I attended a regional Republican awards dinner last night, and do you know what I found among the hundreds of attendees - both male and female? Tough, pragmatic conservative Republicans, and a few moderates too, who know exactly what they believe in and why they hold their beliefs. Not an apologist in the crowd!

I have found similar situations at other non-national GOP gatherings in other states, which leads me to wonder, what the hell is it with D.C.? Is there some kind of neutering device set up on the beltway, the train station and the airports so that when our office holders arrive they are suddenly rendered impotent? I know, that sounds way too much like too much like science fiction, but then again, maybe you can give me a better explanation.

Our government, both foreign and domestic, has deteriorated to a bunch of hand-wringing Mommy's boys and it is way past time for an infusion of testosterone. Personally, I can't wait until the November elections to see if we get it. I know where my votes are going - and none of them will be to candidates who could even remotely be described as "flaccid."
Friday, September 24, 2010

Ahmadinejad's Unanswered 9-11 Conspiracy Question: Who Owned the Dumpsters?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Grand Poobah of Iran, made an ass of himself yet again in the Untied Nations (misspelling intended) in New York yesterday, accusing the US of executing the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country ourselves.

Ahmadinejihad, who also goes by the sobriquet Green Bean Almondine, in his ever-so-endearing but obtuse manner, said our government attacked our own country and murdered 3,000 people because that would help Israel survive. I see.

Underlying this claim is Green Bean's desire to die in a huge blast of noise, heat and light because he believes that is his path to paradise. But he wants the entire world to accompany him, and he wants to see Israel obliterated first. (Say this very quietly. Green Bean is a Muslim. A Mainstream Muslim, and he hates Jews more than anyone else in the world, but only a little bit more than Christians and other non-believers.)

In response to Green Bean's diatribe our bad-ass representatives at the UN stalked out. What's next, a strongly worded note of displeasure before lunch?

But back to Green Bean's claim of a 9-11 conspiracy. I heard these claims before from students in the college classes I teach on public speaking. They say the films of planes hitting the WTC and the Pentagon in huge fireballs were computer generated, and this actually was the work of American intelligence people, backed by the Bush family. Remember, the first President Bush once headed the CIA. A-ha!

But I have one question that no one has ever answered. Who owned the construction dumpsters?

What construction dumpsters you are probably asking yourself? Well, the construction dumpsters that would have been necessary to haul away all the damaged drywall that would have been strewn about the World Trade Center towers if someone had planted sufficient explosives to bring those buildings down.

You don't understand drywall? OK. Allow me to expand on this.

Drywall, also known as sheetrock, is compressed gypsum, contained between two sheets of extra-thick paper, and formed into panels commonly four-feet by eight-feet, or four-feet by twelve-feet. It is hard, smooth, easy to carry, and creates the walls in a room after the electricity, heating, communications wires, and insulation are installed.

Drywall goes up easily, and the joints between the panels are filled with drywall compound, which construction people call "mud." Some compound comes premixed, in large buckets, and some comes as powder that is mixed with water on the spot in the quantities needed.

First the mud is applied to fill in the joints and screw holes, then special non-stick tape is placed over the mud, then another course of mud is added. This usually takes at least 24-hours to dry, then another course of mud is added. This hides the joints when the job is finished and paint is applied.

After each course of mud is applied and dried it is sanded. Some contractors think two courses are sufficient before you proceed to priming and painting the walls, others prefer three courses. I like three over two.

Regardless, installing drywall is the easy part. Uninstalling drywall is a royal pain. It usually doesn't come out in solid sheets because it has been screwed in and sealed with the mud, so taking it out again makes a huge mess. It comes out in chunks, which have to be disposed of, and the gypsum leaks out from between the outer sheets of paper and gets tracked all over the place.

So, here we have our merry band of conspirators, bent on bringing down two towers of the World Trade Center early one Monday morning. They have to get inside as soon as most people have left on Friday evening, convince security guards that they are doing legitimate construction, and then proceed to the upper floors where the explosives will be planted.

(One of my students said the conspirators would have gotten the explosives past the security guards with relative impunity because President George Bush's brother Marvin was in charge of security. I looked it up on a conspiracy theory site, which said that Bush's brother was on the board of directors of a firm that had the WTC security contract right up to the day of the attack. That's not exactly "in charge of security," but other sites say that firm didn't have the security contract on 9-11, and regardless, Marvin Bush left his position on the board of directors when Bill Clinton was still president. However, the conspiracy theorists say that Marvin Bush was in New York City on 9-11! Holy Moly! Along with what, 11 million other people?)

Also, the site claims that there was a 36-hour power outage on the weekend of 9-9 and 9-10, which conveniently, they say, eliminated security camera coverage above the 50th floor. It also would have eliminated power that would have been necessary for other operations that I will get to in a minute, but why let details get in the way of a good conspiracy?

So, platoons of conspirators make their way to the upper floors of the WTC, where they start ripping out drywall in strategic locations, making a major mess in the process. If you watch the Holmes on Homes show on cable TV you'll get a good idea of what this looks like on a smaller level.

Then sophisticated saws are employed to cut into the exposed load-bearing beams to weaken them, and then packets of high explosives that will be simultaneously detonated to blow the building down are placed on the beams.

Back inside, since there was no electricity, they either have to have huge generators down on the sidewalks, with thousands of yards of power cables running up to the top floors, which no one notices, or they use extension cords, also thousands of yards of them, plugged into live outlets on the 50th floor, which again, no one notices.

After the explosives are placed the drywall guys come in to patch up the damage, bringing in sheets of new drywall, cutting pieces to fill in the holes in the walls, which adds to the mess, then applying mud, tape and more mud. But meanwhile, we have another platoon of laborers, in two buildings mind you, hauling out the tons of drywall that would have been strewn all over the upper floor offices. Construction companies often use chutes that run from the floors where the work is done right down to the dumpsters, but that isn't practical when you are 1,000 feet above the sidewalk.

So we would have had all these laborers going up and down, toting that messy drywall out to the DUMPSTERS. Back upstairs, we would have had huge fans and driers working to make the mud dry faster, because as I pointed out above, it usually takes 24 hours between courses, and even longer on humid days. Again, more electrical appliances, needing power.

Assuming that the task of applying two courses of mud and drying them could be accomplished in time, all without anyone noticing or asking probing questions, we then have the sanders come in, and then the painters to apply first the primer and then the matching paint, so on Monday morning, no one notices what transpired.

Beyond the sheer logistics of this nonsense, we still have the unassailable fact that to do it and clean it up you need someplace to dump the garbage. Oh, I forgot the incredible mess that is made when you sand the walls after the mud dries. You need face masks to protect your lungs and that white particulate gets all over EVERYTHING! The dust from sanding drywall compound is so fine that you need special vacuums to clean it up. Again, more appliances, more people.

So, to handle all of this and make it go off like clockwork you would have needed dozens, perhaps hundreds of dumpsters, lined up out on the sidewalks alongside both of the Twin Towers. Know what's on the side of most construction dumpsters? The name and phone number of the company that owns them. Know why? So potential customers can call up if they need one. It also helps environmental regulators identify people who are dumping illegally.

Thus, if the conspiracy theory holds any water, somewhere, someone has a photo of the sidewalks outside the WTC towers on the weekend of 9-9, and there should be construction dumpsters lined up as far as the eye can see. And since there are limited places where construction debris can be legally dumped, we should be able to check them out quite easily and see who came in with tons of drywall and other debris that weekend.

Then we just look up the principals in the firm that owned the dumpsters and twist their arms until they tell us who hired them to haul all the drywall away from the WTC on the weekend before 9-11. Not so hard to figure out is it? Show me the dumpsters and we can easily backtrack to find out who owned them and from there on who was involved.

Except there are no photos. And we can't backtrack because there were no dumpsters. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they often use vague references to somewhat plausible possibilities but they go really short on details. Show me the dumpsters and tell me who owned them and we can get to the bottom of this. No dumpsters? Busted theory.

I bet the people who push these theories never spent so much as an instant of their lives working on a construction project, or even paid attention to people who do.

It isn't that I trust the government with my life. I know there are conspiracies, and I know they often are perpetrated by governments. But not this one, not this way.

As far as Green Bean's two-part wish A) to die in a huge fireball; and B) to take the rest of the world with him?

I strongly suggest we help him accomplish Part A, and the sooner the better.
Thursday, August 26, 2010

You CAN'T Yell Fire in A Theater; And You Shouldn't Build a Mosque at Ground Zero!

I've heard the phrase "freedom of religion" to justify plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero in New York City a zillion times in the last two weeks, and frankly, I consider it a copout used by weak-kneed, spineless apologists who are in denial and won't face reality.

The so-called Cordoba House, named after an infamous mosque in Spain which had been a Christian church until Islamist invaders conquered that area and "converted" the building to their beliefs, has no place at the site of an attack on the United States by Islamist invaders. Referring to our Constitution and its guarantees of religious freedom as an excuse to allow construction of an in-your-face monument to the 9-11 attacks on our country is sheer cowardice, there is no better explanation for it.

Associated Press photo.

Our Constitution documents rules of behavior for our government, outlining its limits - although it is doubtful the Founding Fathers envisioned an all-powerful bureaucracy - as well as the freedoms guaranteed to US citizens. That includes the right to worship as you please, so long as that worship isn't imposed on others who don't share your beliefs and it doesn't break reasonable laws of morality - some people have pretty strange ideas as to what constitutes "religion."

But nowhere in that freedom to worship does it say "freedom to attack the United States in the name of your religion, kill 3,000 people, and then build a monument to your barbarity at the site of your attack and confront the outraged citizenry with outlandish claims of religious freedom."

People representing the cretins who attacked the US on September 11, 2001 have no business insulting the memories of the people who died, the survivors, their families, and the remainder of the US citizenry. They certainly have no Constitutional "right" to build a monument crowing about their alleged superiority. In the opinion of most Americans, the people who organized those attacks should be killed, along with their supporters and sympathizers - who, after all are no better than the people who planned and executed the attacks.

I hear all the time that there is a vast ocean of Islamists who do not agree with their militant brethren - there is no point is saying anything about sisters because Islamist women rank lower than livestock in their point of view - but I never see or hear from these phantoms. So, I have to believe that building a monument to savagery is universally accepted in their faith.

But their faith is not the dominant faith in the world, and especially not in America. (I saw a news report last year that said Islamists outnumber Catholics, which was spun as outnumbering Christians, but that ignored the Protestants, Episcopalians, etc., etc.) In fact, if you line up Christians along with Hindus, and secularists, atheists, and so on, you find out that Islam is the religion of choice for only about one in five people world wide.

In the United States that ratio is far more in favor of non-Islamists so frankly, I don't see what the big deal is about. The Constitution doesn't give them the right to build a monument to themselves or their brutality and that is that.

We have Freedom of Speech in this country, but you still can't yell Fire! in a crowded theater. You can't libel someone either.

We have the Second Amendment giving us the right to keep and bear arms, but not to go about shooting people without a good cause.

Why is it that every time a difficult issue arises on the national scene, we are confronted with wishy-washy, gutless reactions from people who call themselves "leaders?" We seem to be deteriorating in this country, at least in the Backbone of Our Leaders Department.

Think not? Check out these photos from World War II. First the attack on Pearl Harbor. This is the USS Arizona exploding during the attack. Thanks to the US Navy archives.

Then we have this poster, which was produced within months of the Japanese sneak attack on us that left more than 2,000 dead.

It says "we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain." That comes from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Below that it says Remember December 7th!

In World War II America went on to smoke out and hunt down our attackers on two fronts, committing the entirety of our populace, our economic and our industrial power to bringing the Japanese militants and the German Nazis to their knees. We weren't sensitive about it, we didn't apologize for it, and until two generations later you didn't hear people whining and wringing their hands over how we went about it - and most of that was about using the atomic bomb on Japan. (I can't help but wonder if weak, pacifist cave people back in the Stone Age whined about the development of the spear. Just a thought.)

When we wanted to make a point about taking over someone else's land on the way to defeating the government of a people that believed in savagery as a way of life, we were upfront about that too. We didn't make believe we were building a "community center" or some other public relations ploy. America and our allies freed Europe, and in the Pacific Allied armed forces took islands either owned or controlled by the Japanese one by one and when they were successful they planted our flag on them and said, "Now this belongs to us!"

This is Joe Rosenthal's Associated Press photo, of the second flag-raising on Iwo Jima in February 1945.

What are we going to have in America to commemorate the bravery of the members of our Armed Forces, men and women by the way, who have bled and often died forcing the Islamist militants back into their caves? Will there be a similar photo of a victory for our country, our way of life and the real meaning of our Constitution?

Or will it be a group photo of millions of Americans following the example of President Obama, subjugating themselves before conquerors who ultimately prevailed simply because the weak and spineless never understood the concept that it is better to die a free man than live as a slave?

The choice is ours, but if that monument to savagery is permitted at Ground Zero or anywhere in the United States for that matter, then the fight will become much harder than it has been thus far, and the casualties will be much higher, and measured in categories far more insidious than body counts.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Semper Fidelis? Or Simply Forgot Us? What Happened to the Haditha Marines? Bush Owes Them An Apology!

Lost in the uproar over comments critical of the Obama Administration in Rolling Stone magazine that were blamed on Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal and led to his early retirement in late June, another career American officer, Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani also was forced into early retirement recently, with a lot less fanfare.

Remember Lt. Col. Chessani? He was the Marine battalion commander in Haditha, Iraq back in 2006 whose troops did an exemplary job of cleaning out a nest of terrorists after the Islamo-fascists hit the Marine patrol with an improvised explosive device, killing one Marine and wounding two others. The Marines battled in and around the town of Haditha all that day, but a few months later a left-wing pro-terrorist stooge wrote an article in a left-wing pro-terrorist media outlet charging that while clearing two houses where terrorists were hiding and shooting at them, Marines indiscriminately murdered two dozen Iraqi civilians in retaliation for the bombing.

The American Terrorist Media - along with members of Congress and apparently some members of the Bush Administration too - immediately convicted the Marine Corps along with all other members of the Armed Forces, because obviously if an American military person is charged with anything, they must be guilty! Right?

Well, not exactly. As it turned out, even though the goons in the military criminal investigation branch convinced - by serious coercion I might add - two members of the squad of Marines involved in the firefight to turn on their brother Marines, it was all to no avail. Seems there was a video of the firefight taken by an aerial drone that was flying overhead, and it showed substantially different activities than what was claimed by the high command.

Lt. Col. Chessani was not directly involved in the firefight, but he was charged with dereliction of duty, which upon reflection seems very odd since there should have been some kind of finding that the squad was actually guilty of something before the commanding officer could be charged. Interesting.

The criminal charges against Chessani were dismissed in June 2008 when Colonel Steven Folsom ruled that Chessani was the victim of undue command influence - meaning higher ups had preordained his conviction before the evidence was in. After two appeals courts refused to overturn Folsom's ruling, Chessani was ordered to go before a Board of Inquiry which would determine whether he could retire as a Lt. Colonel or if he would be demoted, effectively screwing over his retirement as well as his career.

Last month Chessani was forced to retire after Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus accepted the December 2009 ruling by the Board of Inquiry that essentially cleared him of all charges. However, (there's always a however in these cases) the board also ruled that Chessani must retire anyway because of alleged substandard performance, based on the claim that his followup investigation of that day's fighting should have been more detailed.

I should mention here that in the days after the firefight in Haditha, Chessani and others in his command were lauded by their commanders for their exemplary performance. It wasn't until a politically motivated hack wrote his assassination piece months later that anyone began questioning the Marines' actions during the fighting in Haditha.

At least Chessani retired with his rank intact, and his reputation among the people who count is as solid as it was before this travesty.

Along the way, all the other Marines who were charged were cleared, with the exception of one enlisted man, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, the squad leader who led the counterattack. He was charged with a dozen counts of shooting people and breaking things, and his court martial was scheduled to begin September 13 at Camp Pendleton.

However, I learned today that Wuterich apparently was released a couple of months ago and all the charges against him were were dropped! Oddly, considering the hue and cry that was raised when Wuterich and other members of his squad were detained and convicted by the media and a bunch of left-wing lackeys posing as members of the American armed forces, I can't find a damn thing about this on the Internet! I did a Google search for Frank Wuterich and the most recent article was back in March. Wikipedia's entry for Gen. McChrystal is updated to refect his retirement and the reasons for it. But the page for Wuterich is old. Interesting.

I also was told that Wuterich received four years of back pay, keeps his stripes - meaning no demotion - and the charges have been removed from his Service Record Book. Wuterich apparently is still in the service and stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. Unfortunately, none of this has been confirmed by official sources. I hope it is true. I'm trying to get some more updated information and I will pass it on as soon as I do.

In the meantime, former President George Bush, who initiated the war in Iraq, which I supported when he did it, and still do, owes these Marines and all others who have been so viciously attacked by the media and spineless simpletons in the military, a full public apology!

This happened on his watch, he was the Commander in Chief, he could have been a hell of a lot more supportive instead of ruining these men's lives, and Bush owes them an apology!

The attacks on the Marines who fought for us and gave us victory in Iraq are so reminiscent of the attacks on Vietnam veterans 40 years ago it makes me sick. There is obviously a determined effort within both the civilian and military leadership to undermine and discourage our armed forces, probably with the long-term goal of discouraging enlistments in the all-volunteer army. It is obvious from what we continually see in the White House and Congress that there is a concerted effort to destroy America from within, and these attacks on our military are just part of the overall strategy.

All we ever hear about our servicemen and women is that they are stretched too thin, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, can't readjust to civilian life, can't get jobs, lose their houses, get divorced and kill themselves. While all these things do happen to some degree, and whatever counseling, medical aid or other services that are needed should be available free of charge to our returning veterans, I would like to hear a lot more about the success stories.

This has been going on for nearly three generations and it is high time we put a stop to it. We need people in Congress, people in the bureaucracy, and people in the White House who understand the need for a strong military if we are to stay intact as a nation. The story of the Haditha Marines is but a visible example of what is going on behind the scenes to destroy our country, partly by gutting our military, and this travesty never should have happened.

I sincerely hope that Lt. Col. Chessani enjoys his retirement with his family, and that the worms, slugs, and mouth-breathing bottom feeders who conspired to ruin his career all experience slow, painful, cowardly deaths and an afterlife where they spend eternity working as sex slaves for Islamo-fascist martyrs.

Semper Fidelis.
Monday, August 09, 2010

Daria Novak for the GOP Nomination in Connecticut's 2nd District

Republican voters in Connecticut's 2nd Congressional District Tuesday will have a choice of three candidates who want to face incumbent Democrat Congressman Joe Courtney in November.

Of these, Daria Novak, the sole survivor of a year of campaigning that preceded the sudden appearance of her two rivals only weeks before the May convention, has the best chance of making a respectable showing against Courtney. Novak declared early, worked hard, and survived the insider manipulations that many say were intended to destroy her campaign as well as then-frontrunner Matt Daly's.

Daly was ousted at the convention when the combined votes for the two other candidates, newcomers Doug Dubitsky and Janet Peckinpaugh, sapped Daly's support to below the threshold for an automatic primary bid. Ironically, recent financial reports showed that Daly raised more money prior to the convention than all three of the surviving candidates combined have raised in the months since.

Regardless, Daly is out, and neither Dubitsky nor Peckinpaugh has Novak's grasp of the issues facing the district, nor her history of meeting with Republican voters in myriad appearances going back to 2009.

Of the other two, Dubitsky would appear to have a political future if he wants one. At this point Dubitsky is a novice, and has not held office previously. He is an attorney, and owns a farm in Eastern Connecticut. His legal practice specializes in agricultural and equine issues which could be a major asset for him in coming years especially in rural eastern Connecticut.

Dubitsky declared his candidacy only weeks before the May GOP convention and had little time to spread his message or meet the party delegates, much less the rank and file voters. I don't think he has had enough time, especially considering that the primary is being held when many voters are away on summer vacation, to run an adequate campaign, especially to overcome Novak's year-long effort.

In two years Dubitsky could be a force, especially if he stays involved and works with his local party in next year's election.

The remaining candidate, Peckinpaugh, was last in the convention voting, and since then has been last in fund-raising despite the in-denial pre-convention claims of her supporters that Peckinpaugh's name recognition was the key to instant campaign riches.

Peckinpaugh used to be a TV newsreader, and decided in March of this year that it might be nice to try Republicanism for a change. A few weeks after she signed up as a new Republican, only weeks before the convention, she also decided that she wanted to run for Congress too. Despite instant media attention due to her past notoriety Peckinpaugh did next to nothing after the convention to gain the support of 2nd District Republicans and I don't see how that translates to votes.

Novak's supporters are loyal, and likely to turn out to vote. In addition, even though she has not always had an easy road in this column - full disclosure, I worked on Daly's campaign a couple of times, first when he declared in 2009 and then doing news releases for him in 2010 - Novak has always been graceful under pressure and continued on with her campaign.

Her tenacity and grace certainly will have won her some support. She obviously had enough to win the nomination at the party convention, despite the best efforts of GOP insiders to unseat her.

Regardless of who wins the 2nd District nod tomorrow, they will have tough going against Courtney. I was told today that he has so much money that he wrote a six-figure check to the Democratic National Committee recently to help other Democratic campaigns across the nation. That Courtney has more money to give away than the combined fortunes of the three GOP contenders should tell you a lot.

Courtney would use Dubitsky's inexperience against him. Peckinpaugh's "campaign" is a joke and would pose no more difficulty for him than swatting a pesky mosquito. I almost choked on my bacon during Sunday brunch when I heard a local commentator claim that Peckinpaugh has been "making a name for herself" in the 2nd District. Unfortunately for Peckingpaugh and her supporters I don't think the "name" she supposedly is making for herself is the kind that translates to confidence, financial support and most importanly, votes.

She can have all the media friends in the tank for her that she can gather, it isn't going to change the fact that Peckinpaugh is a pseudo-Republican with no backing other than a handful of party insiders who obviously have their own agenda, and that agenda does not include the betterment of the GOP in Connecticut.

From this vantage point, the candidate who is best situated to give Courtney a race is Daria Novak and she will have my vote in the primary.


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