Running for President as a Moneymaking Scheme

candidate or conman?

We live in an increasingly shallow and commercial culture, so I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked to learn that some people run for President of the United States specifically in order to enrich themselves rather than because they want to serve our country. To be honest, I’ve often speculated that Obama wanted to be President so he could move up to the investor class, and that he might even prefer to serve only one term and then get on to the business of becoming filthy rich.

Sarah Palin became a celebrity by running for Vice President, after which she resigned her job as governor of Alaska, wrote a couple of books and became a Fox personality. She continued to allow her deluded supporters to believe she intended to run for President in 2012, and then pulled the rug out from under them. Did she do all this just to get rich?

Newt Gingrich’s entire campaign staff resigned in June, reportedly because they felt he was more committed to promoting the books and movies he produces with his wife Calista than to doing the hard work needed to win presidential primaries.

It appears Herman Cain is another example of the largely self-interested, phony presidential candidate, according to an article by Joshua Green at Bloomberg Businessweek.

Green writes that Cain’s occupation over the past fifteen years has been traveling around the country as a “motivational speaker.” He is also promoting his new book, This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House while he is supposedly running for President–and presumably accepting contributions from supporters. Green writes that Cain recently told an audience in Phoenix, AZ that “My American dream,” he boomed, “was, when I grow up, I want to make me some money!” More from the article:

Cain is making money, alright. Bloomberg News reported on Oct. 17 that his campaign paid more than $65,000 to his personal publishing company to buy copies of his books and pamphlets. In an interview before his address to the Arizona GOP, he told me that he continues to give motivational speeches to corporations at $25,000 a pop even as he campaigns for President. “I’m still doing paid speeches,” he confirmed. “But I have not raised my prices. This economy’s on life support, so I’m very mindful of those companies that would like to have me come and speak. But I’m not gonna take advantage of my newfound popularity just to put more dollars in my pocket.” Even so, Cain estimates that he has earned $250,000 this year through his speeches.

Running for President has been good to him, even if no one is certain that the White House is his most coveted destination. Opponents, reporters, and many of his own aides are skeptical. In June, four of his top staffers in Iowa and New Hampshire quit because, as one of them put it, Cain “wasn’t willing to make the commitment to Iowa necessary to win.” Over the past few months, as his popularity has swelled, he has turned his back on the early primary states he once courted diligently and set off on a national book tour to promote This is Herman Cain! He has a bare-bones staff, a thin calendar, and hasn’t registered his name on the ballot in numerous primary states, although he has registered appearances on the Today show and dozens of others to pitch his book.

Cain claims he’s a serious candidate, even though he isn’t making the slightest effort to compete in the early primaries.

Cain insists he’s serious about becoming President and dismisses any suggestion otherwise. “People who criticize me for our strategy, they don’t know what our strategy is,” he says. Cain claims that he has passed over early primary states to sell books and speak to audiences in places like Tennessee and Ohio because he is running primary and general election strategies at the same time. “I have an unconventional campaign,” he says.

Nevertheless, by pretending to be a candidate, he has certainly raised his own visibility and celebrity, just as Palin did. I always had the impression that Cain was nothing but a cheap huckster; but after reading Green’s article my opinion of him has gotten even lower, if that’s possible. And yet this man is currently the Republican frontrunner. Sometimes I feel as if I don’t fit in this new America at all. What has happened to patriotism and idealism?

I’ve started seeing a few stories suggesting that Cain’s support may have peaked. Jonathan Bernstein at the Plum Line asks if Cain’s fifteen minutes are over.

Last night, Herman Cain made a big splash when he backed into pro-choice language on abortion last night on CNN — apparently by accident — when he said he is personally fully against abortion but doesn’t think that the government should tell women what to do. This is already shaping up as a very big deal. Cain is leading in some polls, so other Republicans may use this slip up to try to take him down, and he’ll have to address it.

In other words, this could mean the end of Cain’s 15 minutes.

Republicans certainly would never nominate anyone who was actually pro-choice, and anti-abortion activists won’t forgive anyone who stumbled this badly on the issue, even if he walks it back back (as I expect he will) and clarifies that he misspoke himself and he’s actually 100% pro-life. So this is at the very least a severe blow to his campaign. Given that he’s not a serious candidate, it gives Republicans a clean shot at bashing him for long enough to finally remove him from the top of the polls. As such, it can be seen as a lucky break for Republicans who know that it’s really not a good idea to have a presidential candidate who can’t manage to put three sentences together on most topics without an embarrassing gaffe.

At the right-wing Boston Herald, Wayne Woodleif writes that is “already deflating” because of another embarrassing gaffe:

The air is gushing out of Herman Cain’s balloon in the Republican presidential race after his rivals battered his beloved 9-9-9 tax plan Tuesday night in Las Vegas and the former pizza mogul, co-leader in recent polls, made a huge gaffe on terrorism in post- and pre- debate interviews.

In the debate, Cain had brushed off CNN moderator Anderson Cooper’s question of why the candidate had told Wolf Blitzer in an earlier interview that he would consider negotiating the release of all the terrorist detainees at Guantanamo for the return of a single American held hostage (a la Israel’s deal with Palestine). “I would never negotiate with terrorists,” Cain answered.

But when Cooper, post-debate, played video from the earlier interview, Cain was caught clearly saying, “I could see myself as president authorizing that kind of transaction.” Once he had all the facts, Cain sang a different song. “I misspoke,” he said. “Things were going so fast” in the interview.

So Cain may soon join Palin as a Fox News Host or perhaps become a more high-profile talk radio host than he was before he “ran for President.” But whatever he chooses to do, he’ll be a lot richer and more famous because pall the free media exposure he received while pretending to be a serious candidate.

Am I the only one who finds that deeply disturbing?


SDB Evening News Reads for 071911: Women Politicians, Hungry Prisoners, and Free Birth Control

Get it all at the Midget Market!

Is everyone having a good summer?  I don’t know about y’all but I am ready to have some fun…

Okay, we’ll start with a quickie, this time another sound bite from Herman Cain: Mitt Romney Can’t Win GOP Primary Because Southerners Are Bigots | Firedoglake

I’m paraphrasing, but make no mistake — that’s exactly what he said.

[…]

That whole “no religious test” part of the US Constitution seems to have escaped these patriotic freedom-lovers. Anyway, this latest outburst by Cain is ironic, since it seems to have escaped him, as well.

Looks like New Agenda is getting some press, most of our readers know our “opinion” of New Agenda…but to catch some of you up, I don’t think having a politician with a vagina is reason enough to vote for a candidate. I do not and will not support a candidate, who does not support a woman’s right to choose and a woman’s right to affordable reproductive healthcare.  Whether they have a coochie or not.  So I will post this link because I am sure it will get some play in the blogosphere. However, be certain that in no way do I support Palin or Bachmann…

I also must state that I still hold a grudge with the Democratic Party for what they did to my candidate.  Just because I agree with the statement below by Wasserman-Schultz…does not mean I agree with all the other stuff she says in the article. You got it? Especially the crap about Obama doing so much for women…that is a load of BS.

So, with my position clear, here is an article that you should read in full…From Clinton to Palin to Bachmann: Why some Dems now support GOP women – CNN.com

After Clinton’s failed Oval Office bid, Siskind and a small group of women who had supported Clinton decided the best way to break the glass ceiling in presidential politics was to put ideology and partisanship aside and support any woman seeking a top political office — including Bachmann and Palin, two darlings of the tea party movement known for their conservative views on economic and social issues.

But some Democratic leaders dismissed the idea, arguing the electorate is more sophisticated.

“Women don’t support women candidates simply because of their status as women, simply because of their gender,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee.

We’ll see what discussion follows.

Moving on, this is something I don’t think we have written about on Sky Dancing.  Pelican Bay Prisoner Hunger Strike: Prison Staff Not Following Medical Protocol | The Dissenter

Prisoners engaged in a hunger strike at Pelican Bay supermax prison have been on strike for more than fifteen days now.  With a growing group of supporters on the outside, the strike against solitary confinement and other conditions in the prison has spread to at least thirteen other prisons. But, those providing support for the prisoners are concerned about the deteriorating physical conditions of the prisoners and whether the prison will be able to provide the prisoners with proper medical care.

Carol Strickman, staff attorney for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and staff to the mediation team representing the hunger strikers, reports medical protocol is not being followed. They are supposed to be doing “daily assessments after two days and that includes weighing, physical condition, emotional condition, vital signs (such as blood pressure) and hydration status.

“We know that these things are not happening, either at all or sporadically,” says Strickman.

Scales for weighing prisoners are not synchronized and sometimes the prison staff weighs prisoners with chains and sometimes without chains. So, the accuracy of information is questionable right now. Additionally, the doctors are supposed to be performing physical exams. Strickman reports, instead of providing physical exams, “The medical staff is doing what I have been told are called drive-by exams, where they stand outside the door with no physical contact and just ask if people are okay, which is basically saying, ‘Are you alive?’”

For some background on why the prisoners are in a hunger strike,

The prisoners have five core demands and, according to Molly Porzig, Critical Resistance representative in the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, they are asking for “incredibly standard” and “basic” adjustments to prison policy.

“The changes in policies and procedures that the prisoners are demanding are standards in other supermax prisons, like Florence, Colorado, and in Ohio,” explains Porzig. “Or, they refer to policy change that have already been recommended, promised or offered but never actually implemented.”

These five core demands, for those unaware, are the following: end group punishment and administrative abuse, abolish the “debriefing” process [the practice of offering up information about fellow prisoners in return for better food or release from the SHU] and modify active/inactive gang status criteria, end long-term solitary confinement and comply with US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 recommendations, provide adequate and nutritious food and expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates.

If anyone saw the testimony today over in England, you probably got the same feeling I did, the Murdoch’s are going to get away with whatever they did.  For some analysis, give Cannonfire a read: Murdoch matters: Deep-dish paranoia

About Sean. How can any death of a young-ish person be considered “unexplained” but “not suspicious”? How can such a statement be issued even before the results of an autopsy are known?

About Becky. I didn’t know, until just recently, that Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Alsaud (the second largest investor in News Corp.) had called for the resignation of Rebekah Brooks. Her Wikipedia page offers a tidbit that demonstrates the true mental age of the kind of people who get their news from Murdoch:

    While at the News of the World, she oversaw its controversial campaign of “naming and shaming” convicted child sex offenders, after the murder of Sarah Payne. The paper’s decision led to angry mobs terrorising those they suspected of being child sex offenders, which included several cases of mistaken identity and one instance where a paediatrician had her house vandalised, apparently by people who misunderstood her occupational title to be the same as paedophile.

That is just a tease, go to the man’s site for the rest.

And lastly, this report is surely to get some PLUBs in a tizzy, Institute of Medicine Report Recommends Free Birth Control – Maggie Fox and Meghan McCarthy – NationalJournal.com

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Dr. Jim Spears examines Sarah Ittner, a New York-based actor who does not have health coverage. The 2010 health care law seeks to cover 32 million uninsured Americans and new recommendations from the Institute of Medicine released Tuesday say preventive screenings for women should be covered for free.

Health insurers should pay for a range of services for women at no cost, including birth control, counseling on sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS screening, the influential Institute of Medicine recommended on Tuesday.

The recommendations on birth control, especially, angered anti-abortion rights activists, who consider some forms of birth control akin to abortion. But they are sure to thrill some Democrats on the Hill, who have been pressing for the policies for years.

The committee of experts appointed by the Institute named eight preventive services that women should get for free, with no co-pays. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, an independent organization that advises the federal government on health and medical matters.

It will be up to HHS to decide what goes into the final regulations, and Congress may decide to weigh in. “They asked for the guidance on what the evidence and science says, so that’s what we’ve given,” said Christine Stencel, a spokeswoman for the Institute.

But when has scientific evidence been taken seriously by the likes of the Fetus Fanatics?

Some of the recommendations may also give pause to spending conservatives. One calls for fairly pricey testing for the human papilloma virus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, in addition to the cheap annual Pap smears that most women are used to getting. Another calls for insurers to pay for renting breast pumps for nursing mothers.

The eight recommendations include:

  • screening for gestational diabetes
  • HPV testing as part of cervical cancer screening for women over 30
  • counseling on sexually transmitted infections
  • counseling and screening for HIV
  • contraceptive methods and counseling to prevent unintended pregnancies
  • lactation counseling and equipment to promote breast-feeding
  • screening and counseling to detect and prevent interpersonal and domestic violence
  • yearly well-woman preventive care visits to obtain recommended preventive services

Paying for birth control is especially important, said the panel.

“Women with unintended pregnancies are more likely to receive delayed or no prenatal care and to smoke, consume alcohol, be depressed, and experience domestic violence during pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy also increases the risk of babies being born preterm or at a low birth weight, both of which raise their chances of health and developmental problems,” the report reads.

I wonder with all the defunding of Planned Parenthood, if any of this will get past the standard PLUB ideology.  The article quotes Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

“Today’s IOM report means we are one step closer to saying good-bye to an era when simply being a woman is treated as a pre-existing condition,” Mikulski said in a statement. “We are saying hello to an era where decisions about preventive care and screenings are made by a woman and her doctor – not by an insurance company, members of Congress, or a stranger – and women are guaranteed preventive screenings and care with no additional copays or deductibles.”

I certainly hope so, but my skeptical nature says no. Anyway, that is it for me today…what do you think? Any other news you want to share? Let’s have it.


Media Making Same Mistake with Bachmann They Made With Palin

Michele Bachmann announcing her presidential run in Waterloo, IA

Michele Bachmann officially announced her candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination today in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa. In her speech, she talked about growing up in Waterloo and how as a young girl she didn’t want to move away to Minnesota.

I often say that everything I needed to know I learned in Iowa. It was at Hawthorne and Valley Park Elementary Schools and my home, both a short distance from here, where those Iowan roots were firmly planted. It’s those roots and my faith in God that guide me today. I’m a descendent of generations Iowans. I know what it means to be from Iowa—what we value and what’s important. Those are the values that helped make Iowa the breadbasket of the world and those are the values, the best of all of us that we must recapture to secure the promise of the future.

[….]

I’m also here because Waterloo laid the foundation for my own roots in politics. I never thought that I would end up in public life. I grew up here in Iowa. My grandparents are buried here. I remember how sad I was leaving Iowa to go to Minnesota in the sixth grade, because this part of Iowa was all I knew—I remember telling my parents that we couldn’t move to Minnesota because I hadn’t even been to Des Moines to see the state capitol.

I’m guessing Bachmann’s recollections of Iowa probably made a good impression on her audience, but multiple media outlets are focusing on a gaffe Bachmann made in talking to a reporter. She claimed that John Wayne was from Waterloo, but the only John Wayne born there was serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Sure, that’s funny–and it’s one of many embarrassing gaffes made by Bachmann during her brief political career. But what is the point of ridiculing her about it while ignoring the scary policies she proposed in her speech? George W. Bush made lots of silly gaffes too, remember? But he was [I won’t say elected] President for two terms.

Furthermore, at conservative blog Hot Air, I learned the following.

It turns out there is a Waterloo connection for John Wayne:

Bachmann’s campaign pointed out to ABC News today that actor John Wayne’s parents did live in Waterloo, although the actor himself did not.
And a little internet research proves that point correct.
According to the book “Duke: We’re Glad We Knew You” by Herb Fagen, Clyde and Molly Morrison – actor John Wayne’s parents – lived in Waterloo early in their marriage – but they moved to Winterset before the birth of son Marion Mitchell Morrison (he changed his name to John Wayne professionally).

Says Dave Weigel, “I’m not from a small town, but I’m from a pretty anonymous place (Wilmington, Delaware), and I know that when you’ve got a tenuous local connection to a celebrity, you flaunt it.” Someone probably once told her that John Wayne’s parents met in Waterloo and either she wrongly assumed he’d been born there or else she’s fumbling a talking point about John Wayne’s family being from Waterloo. But this is simply too stupid a story to devote any further thought to, so let’s move on.

I agree with Weigel. I’d rather focus on making sure Bachmann doesn’t manage to soften her extremist image enough to get the nomination and have a shot at beating Obama.

The most important part of the speech, according to Jonathan Chait is this:

“We can win in 2012 and we will,” said Bachmann in launching her campaign. “Our voice has been growing louder and stronger. And it is made up of Americans from all walks of life like a three-legged stool. It’s the peace through strength Republicans, and I’m one of them, it’s fiscal conservatives, and I’m one of them, and it’s social conservatives, and I’m one of them. It’s the Tea Party movement and I’m one of them.”

Here’s Chait’s argument:

Bachmann is trying to break out of the box of the social conservative movement candidate and define herself as a mainstream Republican. First, she declares she can win. Then she pledges her fealty to all three issue families of conservatism, leaving social conservatism for last.

One reason commentators have so grossly underestimated her chances is that they have an antiquated model of the Republican Party in their minds. In that model, religious conservatives are a faction set off from the rest of the party. Pat Robertson could finish a strong second in the 1988 Iowa Caucus, but his appeal was completely limited to right-wing Christians brought into politics by social issues. But the religious right has changed — its power to bend the party to its will has decreased, and its focus has largely merged with that of the GOP as a whole, so that the religious right is almost as concerned with economics and foreign policy as with social issues.

Bachmann represents that transformation. She came into politics through Christianity, but has broadened that style of apocalyptic thinking to economics and foreign policy. There is hardly any difference in the way Bachmann warns that Obama’s policies will destroy the traditional family and the way she warns his economic policies will destroy the economy, or that his foreign policy will lead to the triumph of our enemies. And there’s hardly any difference in the way she discusses these issues and the way most other Republicans do. They are all speaking the same apocalyptic language now.

Unfortunately, Chait is right. The Republican party has moved so far to the right that the nutty fringe is now becoming mainstream. If Bachmann runs for President the whole public conversation is going to move even further right. Just look where Obama is now. He’s more conservative than Nixon–hell he’s more conservative economically than Reagan! Reagan worried about unemployment and social security. Obama couldn’t care less if we have 10% unemployment and old people dying in the streets.

But what’s the “progressive” response to all this? Juli Weiner ridicules Bachman’s “favorite metaphor,” the three-legged stool.

Not to be obtuse, but we counted four (4) legs on the metaphoric stool: “peace-through-strength Republicans,” “fiscal conservatives,” “social conservatives,” and “the Tea Party movement.” Is the Tea Party movement the stool itself, and not one of its legs? We’re English majors with no background in carpentry, but we feel confident in our interpretation.

Who knows? Who cares? Not the Republicans in Iowa, and apparently not in Florida either. Do progressives really think Mitt Romney will win primaries in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania over Michele Bachmann? I don’t. Can Romney beat Bachmann in the south? Give me a break! We need to see the serious threat her candidacy poses.

Is the ridicule just because she’s a woman? Because it sure looks like Bachmann is going to get the same treatment that Palin got in 2008. That is a big mistake, in my opinion. And how is the Obama administration responding to Bachmann’s speech? I found this statement from spokesman Ben LaBolt at MSNBC.

Congresswoman Bachmann talks about reclaiming the American Dream but her policies would erode the path to prosperity for middle class families. She voted for a budget plan that would extend tax cuts for the richest Americans on the backs of seniors and the middle class while ending Medicare as we know it. Congresswoman Bachmann introduced legislation to repeal Wall Street oversight – risking a repeat of the financial crisis — and while she voted to preserve subsidies for oil and gas companies she opposes making the investments necessary to enhance America’s competitiveness and create the jobs of the future.

What is Obama doing about those issues? A great big nothing, as far as I can tell. I’m expecting him to give away the store to the Republicans during his “negotiations” on raising the debt limit. If Obama doesn’t offer something besides “I’m less horrible,” we could very well end up with our first woman President–and not the woman we all wanted back in 2008.

Bachmann should not be underestimated.


Thursday Reads: Endless War, Quitterella, Fact-Checking Taibbi, and True Crime News

Good Morning!!

Well, last night, President Obama announced his plans to pull troops out of Afghanistan. Here’s the text of his speech. It was very short, less than 15 minutes. There wasn’t much to it. And get this, according to Think Progress: Obama ‘Withdrawal’ Plan Would Leave More Troops In Afghanistan Than When He Began His Presidency

…the troop reduction would not put us much closer to actually ending the war by the end of 2012. Rather this would simply scale back the second surge of 30,000 troops that President Obama announced in December 2009. It would also maintain the first surge of 17,000 troops Obama ordered upon entering office. This comes at a time when a record number of Americans want to end the war in Afghanistan and the costs of which are putting the United States deeper into debt.

They even have graph to demonstrate these findings. Basically this was just another campaign speech for Obama. He had to fudge up something, because Americans are fed up with the wars:

A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds a record number of Americans now want to bring the troops home from Afghanistan, confirming the trends of other recent polls showing majorities now opposed to the nearly decade-long war.

For the first time since Pew Research began asking the question in 2008, a majority (56 percent) now say they want the U.S. to remove American troops from Afghanistan “as soon as possible,” while 39 percent say they they want to leave troops “until the situation has stabilized.” That result represents a reversal since last year, when leaving the troops in place was preferred by a majority of 53 percent to 40 percent.

Not only has Quitterella cancelled her cross country bus tour, but also her trip to Sudan. She says she’s not going to Sudan because of “scheduling reasons,” but it sounds like it had more to do with security concerns, i.e., fear.

She was planning to travel with Franklin Graham, the son of evangelical leader Billy Graham, as well as Fox News personality Greta Van Susteren, to the July 9 independence ceremony of South Sudan, the sources said. Van Susteren also canceled her trip. Graham said on Wednesday that he still plans to go.

[….]

One U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of Palin’s potential political aspirations, said the former governor had gotten so far in the planning process as to secure permission from the government of South Sudan to attend the independence ceremony.

The official said one challenge of the trip was security. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is also tentatively scheduled to attend the ceremony, may not make the trip because of safety concerns in one of the world’s most war-torn countries.

[….]

“There is a genocide taking place,” said Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), a longtime advocate for greater U.S. involvement in Sudan. “The more people [who travel to Sudan] from the West, from the United States, the better. I’ve been urging different people to go. We have a museum on the mall, the Holocaust Museum. It says, ‘Never again.’ What doesn’t the West understand about this? If this was taking place in the south of France, do you think we’d let it go on?”

Matt Taibbi has a new screed on Rolling Stone. It’s about how dangerous Michele Bachmann is. I definitely agree with him that her candidacy is no laughing matter; because as ridiculous as we think she is, Bachmann is a hard worker, a true believer, and a fantastic fund raiser.

Unfortunately Taibbi made a big error in his article. He writes:

Young Michele found Jesus at age 16, not long before she went away to Winona State University and met a doltish, like-minded believer named Marcus Bachmann. After finishing college, the two committed young Christians moved to Oklahoma, where Michele entered one of the most ridiculous learning institutions in the Western Hemisphere, a sort of highway rest area with legal accreditation called the O.W. Coburn School of Law; Michele was a member of its inaugural class in 1979.

Originally a division of Oral Roberts University, this august academy, dedicated to the teaching of “the law from a biblical worldview,” has gone through no fewer than three names — including the Christian Broadcasting Network School of Law. Those familiar with the darker chapters in George W. Bush’s presidency might recognize the school’s current name, the Regent University School of Law. Yes, this was the tiny educational outhouse that, despite being the 136th-ranked law school in the country, where 60 percent of graduates flunked the bar, produced a flood of entrants into the Bush Justice Department.

Regent was unabashed in its desire that its graduates enter government and become “change agents” who would help bring the law more in line with “eternal principles of justice,” i.e., biblical morality. To that end, Bachmann was mentored by a crackpot Christian extremist professor named John Eidsmoe, a frequent contributor to John Birch Society publications who once opined that he could imagine Jesus carrying an M16 and who spent considerable space in one of his books musing about the feasibility of criminalizing blasphemy.

Um…Matt? Regent University School of Law is in Virginia. Bachmann never studied there. Bachman did attend Coburn School of Law, which is in Oklahoma.

Oral Roberts University (ORU) established the O. W. Coburn School of Law in 1979. The school was founded to educate Christian lawyers. Initially, there was some question whether the American Bar Association would accredit the school because of its emphasis on Christian values, but accreditation was granted. In 1986 ORU discontinued the law school and gave its law library to CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) University (now Regent University) at Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Giving their law library to an already establish college isn’t the same as *becoming* that college. BTW, CBS is Pat Roberts’ operation, not Oral Roberts’. I realize it’s difficult for yuppies like to to keep the right-wing preachers straight, but don’t they have fact-checkers at Rolling Stone to sort things out for you? Bachmann also attended William & Mary School of Law, and Taibbi doesn’t mention that. I’m not defending Bachmann or Christian law schools, but Taibbi is supposedly telling us not to underestimate Bachmann, while at the same time getting her history wrong. There are more problems with Taibbi’s article, but I won’t bore you any further.

I hope I didn’t put you to sleep with that silly rant. Matt Taibbi tends to get on my nerves.

Shades of the 1960s, the government has been spying on NYT reporter James Risen.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen has been subjected to government surveillance and harassment that began under the Bush administration, according to a 22-page affidavit he filed Tuesday.

“I believe that the efforts to target me have continued under the Obama administration, which has been aggressively investigating whistleblowers and reporters in a way that will have a chilling effect on freedom of the press in the United States,” Risen said.

Early this year, authorities arrested former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling and charged him with six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and one count of unlawfully keeping national defense information, mail fraud, unauthorized conveyance of government property and obstructing justice.

The U.S. Justice Department subpoenaed Risen in May to testify at the criminal trial of Sterling, who was allegedly cited in Risen’s 2006 book.

The Justice Deparment claimed that Risen should be compelled to provide information “like any other citizen” and that he was not “being harassed in order to disrupt his relationship with confidential news sources.”

Ain’t it great having a Democrat in the White House? Oh wait—-

CNN has a couple of crime stories that are well worth reading. The first is a piece on human trafficking in the U.S.: Sex trafficking victim testifies, then vanishes

Among the strung out addicts with zombie eyes and the beaten down prostitutes loitering by neon-lit entrances to adult video stores, Kelsey Emily Collins would have stuck out.

She was from out of town and too young to be where she was.

As she would later testify to a federal grand jury, a man 20 years older than her drove Kelsey 170 miles down Interstate 5 from Seattle to Portland’s 82nd Ave.

There amidst the strip’s seedy motels and lingerie stores where customers can buy backroom lap dances and more, the plan was simple: sell her to as many men as possible.

After that first night in January 2008 when she made about $1,000, all of which she later told investigators went to her pimp, Kelsey went right back to work as a prostitute.

Kelsey was only 16. Later she was approached by Sgt. Doug Justice, a vice squad officer who wanted her to testify against her pimp. Gradually he got Kelsey to talk to him about what had happened to her. Finally she agreed to testify before the Grand Jury. She did testify, and the pimp was later convicted. Afterward Kelsey’s mother wasn’t able to get her the help she needed to recover. She didn’t have money and there was no program that would take Kelsey. Law enforcement basically used her and threw her away. A month after she testified, Kelsey left home with a new “boyfriend,” and disappeared. Justus believes she was murdered because of her testimony. If you have time, please read the article. These are the kinds of women who are targets for predators and serial killers. It’s heartbreaking.

The second article is quite a serious discussion of whether Casey Anthony should testify in her own defense. Here’s just a short excerpt:

George Parnham, best known for defending Andrea Yates, the mentally ill woman who drowned her five children in the bathtub in 2001, says that opening statement “boxed the defense in.” He says Anthony has to tell her story.

“She needs to get up there and defend herself,” he said. “The jury is going to want to hear from her.”

Anthony, 25, is accused of murder, aggravated child abuse, misleading authorities and other offenses. If convicted of murder, she faces the death penalty. In Florida, only seven jurors have to agree on a death sentence.

Parnham, who successfully used an insanity defense for Yates but did not put her on the stand, said he usually decides in favor of letting a jury get to know his client in death penalty cases. “If you humanize her, that may save her life. You’ve got a woman who, if she is convicted, her life is going to be in jeopardy. She’s going to be on death row.”

I know this is tabloid stuff, but there are actually a lot of interesting issues involved in this case–child abuse, teen pregnancy, the death penalty–plus fascinating new forensic techniques.

Anyway, I agree with Parnham. I think the only chance Anthony has to save her life is to get up there and tell the truth. The only problem is that I’m not sure she is capable of being sincere. I think she should try though. It’s entirely possible that she was sexually abused as a child, and it’s obvious that her mother is incredibly narcissistic and manipulative. That doesn’t justify what she did, of course; but it might convince the jury to not to give her the death penalty.

That’s it for me for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


SDB Evening News Reads for 062211: Forget Big Foot, blame an immigrant.

Change the name to "Swing Shift Quiterella"

Good Evening, tonight we are anticipating (as Boston Boomer calls it) the latest “best speech evah.”  So be sure to check back because we will have a live blog going.  The speech is scheduled for 8pm.

Obama Opts for Faster Afghan Pullout – NYTimes.com

President Obama plans to announce Wednesday evening that he will order the withdrawal of 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year, and another 20,000 troops, the remainder of the 2009 “surge,” by the end of next summer, according to administration officials and diplomats briefed on the decision.

Well… I will just cover a few other news items, it looks like the NY same-sex marriage vote will happen tonight.

NY leaders: No obstacles to gay marriage vote – US news – Life – msnbc.com

State legislative leaders said Wednesday afternoon there are no major obstacles to a vote on whether to legalize gay marriage.

Democrats and Republicans emerged from meetings with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and said there is progress toward proposed additional religious protections that could bring a gay marriage bill to the Senate floor for a vote as early as Wednesday night. No deal had been struck as of Wednesday afternoon.

More protection for religious organizations such as adoption agencies and marriage counselors is sought by undecided Republican senators who are key to the vote.

Currently, the Senate appears to be one vote shy of making New York the sixth state where gay marriage is legal. It’s viewed as a critical moment in the national gay rights movement.

I really hope this bill passes.  We will keep you posted on the results of the vote.

Quiterella is at it again!  Yes, the Palin woman has quit her explosive, cough…cough, bus tour.  (Notice I did not use her full name, since she trademarked it..don’t want any infringement issues. I’ll just stick with Dak’s nickname for her.)

RealClearPolitics – Palin Bus Tour Takes Extended Pit Stop

When Palin launched her “One Nation” bus tour on Memorial Day amid a swirl of media attention and excitement from her fervent fan base, many political observers who had once dismissed her were reminded of the jolt that her candidacy could provide to what has thus far been a relatively sleepy GOP nominating fight.

As Palin toured historical sites along the East Coast, she was clearly reveling in the tangible excitement she’d ginned up: She even eagerly answered questions — from the denizens of the “lamestream” media — ranging from matters of political process to an array of issues facing the nation.

[…]

Though Palin and her staff never announced a timeline for the remaining legs of her trip, aides had drafted preliminary itineraries that would have taken her through the Midwest and Southeast at some point this month. But those travel blueprints are now in limbo, RCP has learned, as Palin and her family have reverted to the friendly confines of summertime Alaska, where the skies are currently alight for over 19 hours a day and the Bristol Bay salmon fishing season is nearing its peak.

Talking Points Memo has a small article about it here:

Sarah Palin Reportedly Quits Bus Tour Halfway Through | TPMDC

I prefer Vanity Fair’s, take on this:

Sarah Palin Abandons Tour—But What Does This Mean for Her Tour Bus? | VF Daily | Vanity Fair

palintourbusx.jpgJust as inexplicably as it began, Sarah Palin’s secret publicity tour, “One Nation,” has summarily concluded. “Though Palin and her staff never announced a timeline for the remaining legs of her trip, aides had drafted preliminary itineraries that would have taken her through the Midwest and Southeast at some point this month. But those travel blueprints are now in limbo,” Real Clear Politics reports. That it’s allegedly the “peak” of salmon-fishing season in Alaska is the leading theory as to why she’s quit.

And so ends another thrilling chapter in the tale of Sarah Palin’s competing avarice and laziness. But what of her grotesque tour vehicle, an oversize, gas-guzzling bus slathered in Americana?

Juli Weiner then goes on to give some suggestions as to what SP can do with her bus.  They are a bit on the anemic side, she should leave the comedy to Jon Stewart…

Good news from China:

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei freed – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

Ai’s release after nearly three months’ detention was not directly confirmed by him or his immediate family on Wednesday. However, Al Jazeera’s Andrew Thomas, reporting from Beijing, was able to reach Ai and verify the news first-hand.

“He has confirmed that he has been freed – he’s at home,” our correspondent said.

Ai “said that he couldn’t tell us anything at all except that he can’t tell us anything”.

No surprise there, but at least he is back home.  Xinhua news is reporting that Ai’s poor health was a factor in his release from prison.  I am sure more news on his release will come out in the next few days.

Hey, this last link I have for you is from MoJo, and it seems my kids need to drop the blame game on Big Foot, and move it on over to illegal “aliens.”

Got A Problem? Blame It On Illegal Immigrants | Mother Jones

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) took some heat this weekend for blaming wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico on illegal immigrants. McCain has since recanted (sort of), claiming that he was merely repeating what an unnamed Forest Service official told him in a briefing.

McCain’s comments are just the latest example of our country’s habit of blaming all manner of problems on immigrants. Let’s take a look at a few recent instances of illegal immigrants becoming scapegoats for… well, you name it:

  • Car Accidents: Thank Arizona’s senior senator for this one, too. McCain told Bill O’Reilly (who else?) that Arizona’s highways were plagued by illegal immigrants who intentionally crash into other drivers. No word on how doing so could possibly be to their benefit.
  • Swine Flu: Remember this? While everyone was running around buying face masks and speculating on Swine Flu’s origin, CNN’s Jack Cafferty suggested that illegal immigrants—not just anyone traveling from Mexico—might be at fault.
  • The Mortgage Crisis: Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin argued that banks specifically targeted illegal immigrants for shady home loans, and when they couldn’t pay up… well, you know what happened.
  • America’s Drug Problem: The majority of illegal immigrants coming from Mexico are “drug mules,” according to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
  • Litter: Some officials think border crossers need to brush up on their “Leave No Trace” etiquette.
  • California’s Budget Deficit: Forget about mismanagement and overspending: some argue that California ran out of money because of illegal immigrants, who used services like hospitals and schools without paying for them. (Actually, many undocumented immigrants pay taxes.) Immigrants had a friend in the Governator, though, who said they were an “easy scapegoat” and not the real source of the problem.
  • Bad Traffic: The American Immigration Control Foundation ran ads accusing immigrants (illegal and otherwise) of worsening gridlock and pushing urban sprawl.
  • Various Episodes of Violence: Something scary happened in your neighborhood and you can’t find the criminal? No problem! It was probably illegal immigrants (this rule applies internationally, too).

Yup, perhaps all those “alien” immigrants need to team up with all those “squatches” and run amok through the conservative heartland of America.  Might as well throw a few “gays” in with the bunch so that they can really affect as much terror as possible…speaking of terror, put a towel around the head of a few of the Big Foots…and exploit the Muslim fear factor as well.  (You know I jest with this paragraph…yes?)

See y’all later tonight!