Election 2008: October 2008 Archives

From an e-mail from NYU:

A research team from the Psychology Department at New York University, headed by Professor Yaacov Trope and supported by the National Science Foundation, is investigating the cognitive causes of voting behavior, political preferences, and candidate evaluations throughout the course of the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. This stage of the study focuses on the information people use to inform evaluations during the last few weeks before the election. They seek respondents of all political leanings from all over the country (and from the rest of the world) to complete a 15-minute questionnaire, the responses to which will be completely anonymous.

I've participated already. If you'd like to participate, follow this link.

A selection of links and excerpts:

CBS News gives Obama-TV a reality check:

Without question, the Barack Obama infomercial served as a very slick and powerful recitation of the biggest promises he's made as a presidential candidate. But the very bigness of his ideas is the problem: he seems blind to the concept his numbers don't add up.

Palestra's coverage of voter fraud in Ohio and the out-of-state Obama campaign workers who have registered and voted in that state. Two college women are doing the reporting the mainstream media can't be bothered to do.

Los Angeles Times still won't release the videotape of Obama speaking at the 2003 farewell dinner for his longtime friend, Palestinian terrorism apologist Rashid Khalidi. A Times spokesman says releasing the tape might put the source in jeopardy. If the tape poses enough of a threat to someone that he might retaliate against the tape's source, all the more reason we need to see it before election day.

Martin Kramer explains why Obama's connection to Khalidi matters:

Obama and Khalidi (and their wives) became friends in the 1990s, when Obama began to teach at the University of Chicago, where Khalidi also taught. In 2003, Khalidi accepted the Edward Said Professorship of Arab Studies at Columbia; the videotaped event was his Chicago farewell party. The Los Angeles Times, which refuses to release the tape (and which endorsed Obama on October 19) reported last spring that Obama praised Khalidi's "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases." Other speakers reportedly said incendiary things against Israel. Whether or how Obama reacted, only the videotape might tell.

That Obama spoke on this important occasion suggests that his attachment to Khalidi wasn't a superficial acquaintance. As Obama admits, the two had many "conversations" over dinner at the Khalidis' home, and these may well have constituted Obama's primer on the Middle East. Yet Obama has given no account of these conversations, even as he has repeatedly emphasized other ones which would seem far less significant.

A commenter on the Crunchy Con blog, a Univ. of Chicago student during Obama' time there as a professor, defends the Marxist label for Obama:

I never took Prof. Obama's classes, but I had both friends who did and friends who were tuned in to the reputation/scholarship/ideology of the various professors much better than I was. When he was running for Senate, one of my most thoughtful friends told me, without a hint of irony, that Obama was essentially a socialist; another friend, a rather liberal Jew, actually volunteered for the Ryan campaign (till it imploded) because what he could gather of Obama's position on Israel at the time scared the hell out of him....

I have no doubt that Obama is a man of personal integrity, at least as politicians go, and I have no desire to besmirch his character. But his associations, his instincts, and his positions on the issues (at least until he positioned himself for national office) mark him as the most left-wing major-party presidential candidate perhaps in American history. There's just no getting round that fact.

Stanley Kurtz continues his careful, scholarly investigation into Obama's political history with Obama's membership in and endorsement by the socialist New Party:

The New Party had members, and Barack Obama was one of them. That is what contemporaneous documents tell us, and that is the reasonable inference to be made from the requirement that endorsed candidates sign a contract of party support. We know that Obama was a close ally, supporter, and even funder of key New Party figures....

All of this matters, not because of some simplistic associational "gotcha," but because Obama's still somewhat mysterious ideology, as revealed in that 2001 radio interview, is greatly illuminated by his New Party ties. The New Party advocated gradual, but radical economic change, arguably socialist, but in any case heavily redistributive, all swathed in the soothing vocabulary of traditional American democracy, and grounded in the hope that the reach of groups like ACORN could one day be multiplied many times over. This, I'd wager, is what Barack Obama believed when he was endorsed by the New Party in 1996, what he believed when he spoke of "major redistributive change" on the radio in 2001, and what he hopes to accomplish (over time) should he become president of the United States in 2009.

Bill Sammon points to Obama's autobiographical accounts of seeking out radical leftist friends and associates:

But Obama himself acknowledges that he was drawn to socialists and even Marxists as a college student. He continued to associate with Marxists later in life, even choosing to launch his political career in the living room of a self-described Marxist, William Ayers, in 1995, when Obama was 34....

Obama supporters point out that plenty of Americans flirt with radical ideologies in college, only to join the political mainstream later in life. But Obama, who made a point of noting how "carefully" he chose his friends in college, also chose to launch his political career in the Chicago living room of Ayers, a domestic terrorist who in 2002 proclaimed: "I am a Marxist."

Also present at that meeting was Ayers' wife, fellow terrorist Bernardine Dohrn, who once gave a speech extolling socialism, communism and "Marxism-Leninism."

Kyle-Anne Shiver at American Thinker reminds us what's so alluring -- and so dangerous -- about socialism (hat tip to Tyson Wynn):

A great many Americans -- perhaps even a majority -- seem poised to hand over vast amounts of their hard-earned money and their hard-won liberties to the promised "collective redemption" being offered by Barack Obama and his socialist band of "progressives" in Congress. With the votes of nanny-state supporters from all classes among us, their utopian dreams will be put to the test on our own ground and the reach of our federal government will be expanded drastically according to their plans....

One of the simplest realities of life is that the person who pays the bill is the one who makes the decisions. When that person is you, you decide. When the payer is a state collective, the collective decides. And you obey....

So, Obama got his ideas by palling around with radical communist revolutionaries of the 60s. Obama chose these radicals as mentors and friends. Obama's own parents were from the same mold as well. Happy socialists all.

John McCain spent a good deal of his adult life with radical socialists too. Five and a half years to be precise. Only McCain got his education on the merits of communism from inside one of their "utopian" cells under force.

Shiver includes this brilliant quote from C. S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Michael Spencer considers his options in the voting booth:

As an evangelical, I'm interested in a lot of issues. But I also want someone who will simply run the country as a conservative with conservative principles.

I just don't buy John McCain as a conservative. I don't trust him to run his presidency from conservative principles.

So is Obama so bad, so potentially radical, so secretly corrupt, so inexperienced and so ambitious that I should vote for McCain anyway?

Maybe. The Chosen One frightens me. All the signals I look for are deeply negative. I don't see personal integrity. I hear manipulative rhetoric. I hear a lot of lies about personal associations. I see little respect for individualism. I hear a lot of serious flirtation with socialism and Marxism. I hear rookie arrogance on foreign policy. I hear promises we can't afford and a complete dedication to the use of racial politics to accumulate and use power. I feel a distressing lack of seriousness about the presidency and nothing that impresses me as statesmanship.

I see charisma, intellect, opportunism, a lack of candor and a vast ocean of manipulative rhetoric.

Finally, long-time newspaperman Michael Malone is trying to understand why so many of his colleagues are so obviously "in the tank" for Obama. He concludes with a fascinating but plausible theory. He looks not to the reporters, but to the editors, who may think they have found a way to keep their jobs in the face of their industry's decline:

Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you've spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power ... only to discover that you're presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn't have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you'll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension....

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it's all for the good of the country ...

(Via Pretty Numbers.)

All you folks who have been asking me about the state questions and the judicial retention ballot -- here you go. My extra piece in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly is about Oklahoma's four state questions and retention votes for some of our supreme court and appeals court judges. In a nutshell, vote yes on all the state questions, and vote no on all the judges, particularly Civil Appeals Court Judge Jane Wiseman.

The Cityscope column proper is about the City of Tulsa street tax again, with a summary of the responses I received from the Tulsa Public Works Department, a summary of the case the Papa Bear proponents are making against the Mama Bear plan, and how County Assessor Ken Yazel's proposal fits in with all this.

New city reporter Brandon Honig debuts in the current issue, with a solid story about the Tulsa Development Authority and its problems with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. And Natasha Ball has a lovely story about the Remingtons, a couple who adopted a family of five siblings early this year.

Later, I'll add links to this entry to background info on the judges and state questions. But this'll have to do for now.

Former State Rep. Mark Liotta, currently studying for a graduate degree, is inspired by the redistributive agenda of The One, and he takes it one step beyond:

As is usually the case, I think of a good argument after class as I am driving home. In tonight's discussion of the supposed flaws in our global economy, the serious question was asked and discussed "well, what's wrong with wealth redistribution?". Some of you probably saw my jaw hit the floor. I apologize for my reaction, but I was surprised. So I tried to think of an example of wealth redistribution that we all might relate to.

At least half of the class is working very hard and deserve an "A". The rest of us have busy lives or just aren't putting in the effort, so we are working toward a "C".

Some would argue this is fair, but is it really equitable?

You "A" students certainly deserve your grade, but you really don't need an A, do you? While the rest of us "C" students, we really need at least a "B" in graduate school.

Now who's to blame for this inequity?

I would suggest the culprit is our professor. Isn't he the one who created this system that assigns grades based on effort? Shame on this grades dictatorship that does not ensure an equality of outcomes. Surely you and I could have created a system that "spreads the wealth around" and allows us to receive an equal grade with little or no effort.

In the spirit of redistribution of wealth, I propose that those of you with A's have some of your grade redistributed to those of us with C's. Now everyone will have B's. No one excels, but no one fails, either.

Now we have equity, but is that really fair?

I know this example isn't original to me, but I thought it was appropriate to our class and our times. Show me the flaw in my logic and I'll buy your lunch. And I am a free capitalist, so if I buy your lunch, it's MY money, and I will decide how to spend it on you, not you, and not the government.

MORE: Another take, via Tulsa City Councilor Rick Westcott, from Augusta Chronicle cartoonist Rick McKee (click for the full-size image on the Chronicle's website):


Just how in the tank is CNN for Barack Obama?

I was grabbing a late lunch at McDonald's and caught some of Rick Sanchez on CNN.

Sanchez introduced a quote by CNN commentator David Gergen (a man as squishy as the first diaper change of the day) ridiculing Joe the Plumber for making some remarks about US policy toward Israel. Rather than let the audience hear what Mr. Wurzelbacher had to say -- you know, "we report, you decide" -- Sanchez let the audience hear Squishy Dave express astonishment at the very idea that someone like Wurzelbacher would express an opinion on such an issue. For the record, here's what happened:

Wurzelbacher was hitting the campaign trail on behalf of McCain for the first time, joining former Rep. Rob Portman on a GOP bus tour through Ohio.

At a stop in Columbus, he fielded the question on Israel from a self-identified Jewish senior citizen.

The questioner said he was "concerned" with Barack Obama's associations and "It's my belief that a vote for Obama is a vote for the death to Israel."

Wurzelbacher responded: "I do know that."

The questioner then complained about Obama's tax policies and reiterated his Israel comment.

"Well, you know what, I'll actually go ahead and agree with you on that one," Wurzelbacher said. "You know ... no, I agree with ya.'"

Wearing an obnoxious smirk, Sanchez told the audience that because Joe Wurzelbacher ("Joe the Plumber") had now thrust himself into the public eye, by doing interviews and making public appearances in support of John McCain, roto-rooting into his private affairs by the mainstream media (and, one assumes, Ohio public officials) was retroactively justified. He then ran through the canonical list of misleading factoids intended to distract from Obama's answer to the question Wurzelbacher asked when Obama wandered into his driveway.

Never, at any time in this segment, did Sanchez remind the audience what Barack Obama said to Joe the Plumber that created a national stir: "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." Who Joe Wurzelbacher is doesn't change what Obama said.

Here's the sequence of events, Rick, in case you've forgotten:

  1. Obama, out campaigning, approaches Wurzelbacher, who was out in his yard.

  2. Wurzelbacher asks a question about Obama's tax policy.

  3. Obama gives his "spread the wealth around" reply.

  4. Obama's answer gets national attention.

  5. Obama operatives and the mainstream media (I repeat myself) begin to "vet" Wurzelbacher.

  6. After being kicked around by the Left, Wurzelbacher decides to support McCain.

  7. Wurzelbacher campaigns for McCain in Ohio.

Chicago public radio station WBEZ has posted MP3s of then State Sen. Barack Obama's appearance on four editions of their public affairs program Odyssey. This includes several controversial remarks by Obama, frequently heard over the past few days, about flaws in the U. S. Constitution and how to bring about "economic justice" and "redistributive change." At the link above, you can also click to listen to the original Real Audio files.

Wealth_Spread_220.jpgI applaud WBEZ for making this information more easily available. Obama has such a thin paper trail, these discussions provide valuable insight into his ideology, his understanding of the proper role of government.

(I also applaud them for keeping seven-year old archives of programs available to the public. Too often, radio and TV stations purge their online archives after a change in website structure or a change in on-air personnel, and valuable historical material is lost.)

Several comments on the above post called for WBEZ to demand, under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), that YouTube take down the videos containing excerpts from the show. Acting program director Steve Edwards explained why they declined to do this:

Some of you have inquired as to why we didn't request a takedown notice for the YouTube video. Here's the deal: As an organization we strive to be an impeccable source of independent, unbiased news and information. While our audio content in this case was excerpted and repackaged in way that wasn't in keeping with our own editorial standards, the source audio was available to others on the web and its use in this case was within generally acceptable fair use provisions. Thus, we didn't have any clear legal claim to intervene one way or the other. And more importantly, to do so would have been tantamount to intervening on behalf of the Obama campaign. To take actions that could be construed as helping either campaign (Obama's or McCain's) is contrary to our own standards of reporting in an unbiased and independent manner. Instead, we believed the best approach was simply to make available the original source of the audio - in its entirety - for others to listen to themselves and to decide what Senator Obama said and meant.

Good on WBEZ.

(You can read my comments on Obama's January 18, 2001, Odyssey appearance -- with the discussion of "redistributive change" -- here. Image above is from The People's Cube.)

Ace has some helpful things to say (sprinkled as always with words that would make a sailor blush, so be advised) about the Republican Party's failures to plug in effectively to what the conservative blogosphere has to offer. He wants to get bloggers engaged in candidate recruitment, finding non-traditional candidates -- retired military, doctors, farmers, teachers, businessmen -- encouraging them to run and helping to connect them to the resources they need to run and win.

The Democrats have their recruitment pipeline-- lawyers, bureaucrats. The GOP has a much bigger and better talent pool, but we don't exploit it.

I'm not sure why. I think it's because so many people assume, "Gee, I could never do that."

Well, of course you could. If the Democrats can put up one hack lawyer after another, why isn't a Master Sergeant war hero a good candidate?

We need an army of Sarah Palins in 2010.

Look at Joe the Plumber. Pretty sharp guy. pretty likable. He doesn't have the alleged credentials to be a Congressmen -- by which I mean he's not a hack trial lawyer or sub-bureaucrat at the Department of Cutting Checks for People Who Don't Work. So what? He's got what it takes -- he's bright, politically interested, presentable, and, if he does decide to run, backed by a major political party.

I think an awful lot of people fit this profile.

Especially military men and women.

For God's sakes, guys: You know you have a better than even chance of winning just by showing up?

Think about it as just a slightly distasteful new tour of service. One one hand, you'll be surrounded by mutants and halfwits. On the other hand, no one will be shooting at you and there will be lots of free barbecue and (weak) chicken cordon blue.

That is, by the way, how the Oklahoma Republican Party, under Chairman Gary Jones' leadership, has succeeded in winning legislative seats in traditionally Democratic rural/small town districts. They found Republicans who were known as community leaders, not political figures, and gave them the training and access to the campaign support network they needed for a successful run. As a result, Republicans control the State House and are poised to take over the State Senate.

Ace wants to be able to call attention to and rally support for candidates in key congressional races, but for that to happen, the GOP should keep conservative bloggers in the loop and actually solicit our ideas:

Not to overstate my importance, but the internet is a huge fundraising and name-recognition machine. Honestly, the GOP should have us on conference calls every week.

Not for [b.s.] getting-the-message out. They do that. And we do get the message out.

But to be more involved in this. As in, making some decisions and offering input.

Personally the prospect of yet another conference call where I get the talking points I already knew (based on common sense) and was already getting out anyway isn't all that appealing.

Ace links to John Hawkins of Right Wing News, who writes that Republican operatives don't get what blogs could do for them:

The bad news is that the Republican Party looks at bloggers solely as an alternative means to get their message out. In other words, there's a completely non-functional top down organizational structure. It's non-functional because the Republican Party organizations and pols issue talking points and press releases, most of which are of no interest to bloggers, and they are largely ignored. In other words, they spend most of their time issuing unheeded orders to people who, by and large, think they're incompetent and aren't inclined to pay much attention to what they say....

That's a real shame because had they listened to bloggers, most of the big political snafus of the last four years could have been avoided. However, they pay zero attention to things they're told by bloggers, even on the rare occasions when they ask what we think.

Just to give you an example of what I'm talking about, here's a generic conversation, some variation of which I've had with different congressional aides at least half-a-dozen times over the last four years.

Anonymous Aide: Hawkins, I want to ask your advice.
John Hawkins: Shoot.
Anonymous Aide: We're thinking about doing idea x.
John Hawkins: Are you out of your mind? That's going to be a disaster!
Anonymous Aide: Well, they've already decided to do it. How do we sell it to the bloggers?
John Hawkins: You're asking me whether you should put mayonnaise or mustard on a sh*t sandwich. I can give you some advice, but it's not going to go over well no matter how you spin it.

Inevitably, it doesn't sell -- which cuts to the heart of the problem the GOP has with bloggers: they need to have conversations with bloggers instead of just viewing us as another part of the message machine....

What the GOP needs to realize is that bloggers, some of the better ones anyway, tend to have their fingers on the pulse of conservatism.... The Republican Party should pick up the phone and call Erick Erickson, Ace, or Michelle Malkin and ask them what the conservative reaction is going to be BEFORE the GOP makes yet another blunder instead of trying to do damage control afterwards. It would make a lot more sense.

Hawkins has much more worth pondering about how the left and right sides of the blogosphere compare in presence and enthusiasm -- and how the left has overtaken the right over the last few years -- why conservative bloggers are bad at fundraising and generating online activity, and how conservative old media institutions and donors could help grow a conservative blogosphere.

It just hit me tonight.

If the Democratic nominee were Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, Charles Rangel, or any other left-wing congressman from a left-leaning part of the country, he or she wouldn't stand a chance, not even in a bad year for Republicans. These politicians have never had to moderate their views to win election, the way their brethren in the rural south or west have. However freaky-left they want to be, their constituencies are just as far out there.

Obama_RedArmy.gifBarack Obama is cut from the same cloth. All of his close friends and mentors have been far-left radicals. He won a state senate seat in a heavily Democratic area (eliminating his opponents from the ballot), then swept to a U. S. Senate victory after his primary and general election opponents were driven out of the race by embarrassing and appalling revelations about their private lives. Obama has never before had to compete for the votes of moderate to conservative voters.

Obama is farther left than George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, John Kerry, and Al Gore, all of whom were too far left for a majority of the national electorate.

So why is Obama succeeding where Pelosi et al. would have failed? Let's assume that the media would have been just as in the tank for another Democratic nominee. Where's the difference?

(1) No paper trail. His lack of legislative accomplishments works to his advantage here, as any substantive legislative achievement would almost certainly have been abhorrent in the eyes of middle America.

(2) His cool demeanor and professorial tone of voice doesn't set off alarm bells the way the shrill and strident tones of a typical left-wing moonbat does. The ideas are the same, but the delivery is smoother.

The poster above, and the skinny piggy bank poster below are from The People's Cube, a website that had its origins in the Communists for Kerry movement of 2004, a satirical look at the similarities between left-wing American policies and those of the former Soviet Union.

Google loves me, which is nice, but sometimes Google loves me too much.

I received word from the Tulsa County Election Board that voters were finding (via Google) my 2004 pre-election entry about early voting. Some of these voters didn't notice the date on the entry and came to the conclusion that early voting was possible today. Not so.

(These must be the same folks who forward e-mails which warn of something bad happening "tomorrow" or "next Monday," and they never look for a date when the original message was sent.)

Here's a repeat of that entry, but updated for 2008:

You can go here to look at a sample ballot for your precinct. Each ballot will be double-sided. The front will vary based on the which legislative and county commission district a precinct is in. The back of the ballot will have the state questions and judicial retention questions and will be the same in every precinct statewide. A separate ballot will be given to residents in the City of Tulsa, containing the two street funding propositions, one for a sales tax and one for a

Don't know your precinct? Go to the precinct locator, enter your address, and you'll be shown the precinct number, all the applicable district numbers, a picture of the polling place, a link to a MapQuest map of the polling place's location, and a number to call if you run into problems.

You can vote "absentee in person" at the County Election Board HQ at 555 N. Denver, this Friday, October 31, 2008, from 8 am to 6 pm, Saturday, November 1, 2008, from 8 am to 1 pm, and Monday, November 3, 2008, 8 am to 6 pm. (Every county election board in Oklahoma offers the same early voting hours.)

(Now if we could just have past election results online, I'd be thrilled.)

You may have already heard the promos, but in case you haven't:

I'll be part of News Talk 740 KRMG's election night coverage, keeping an eye on local races and on listener comments submitted via Internet chat on KRMG.com. Joe Kelley will anchor the coverage, Elaine Dodd and Don Burdick will provide updates from the watch parties, and I'll be in studio monitoring precinct-by-precinct results as they come in, looking for an early read on the trends.

KRMG's coverage begins at 6 pm. I'll miss being at the GOP watch party, but I'm excited to be a part of KRMG's election night team.

Obama's answer to Joe Wurzelbacher was no fluke. He's been talking about "spread[ing] the wealth around" for a long time.

On January 18, 2001, then Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama participated in a panel discussion on civil rights and constitutional law on Odyssey, a public affairs program on Chicago public radio station WBEZ.

The discussion deals with Supreme Court intervention in legislative acts. Obama had some interesting things to say about the court and redistribution of wealth. The Power Line news forum has the transcript and the link to a YouTube video embedding the key quotes.

OBAMA: If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it I'd be okay.

But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent as radical as people tried to characterize the Warren court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren court interpreted it in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can't do to you, it says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn't shifted. One of the I think tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributed change and in some ways we still suffer from that.

Support Class Envy!It's clear that in Obama's mind, the civil rights movement was right to work to "bring about redistributed change"; their mistake was to expect the court to do that, rather than pursuing "political and community organizing and activities on the ground" to accomplish it through the legislative branch.

He's not explicit about it, but it appears he thinks it's a deficiency that the Warren court didn't interpret the Constitution as saying "what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf."

The lead-in to that quote was another panelist talking about using the "due process" clause to pursue redistribution of wealth through the courts. It comes at about 39 minutes into the program.

Later in the program, a caller asks Obama to expand on his point about the Warren court and "redistributive change":

MODERATOR: Let's talk with Karen. Good morning, Karen, you're on Chicago Public Radio.

KAREN: Hi. The gentleman made the point that the Warren court wasn't terribly radical with economic changes. My question is, is it too late for that kind of reparative work economically and is that that the appropriate place for reparative economic work to take place - the court - or would it be legislation at this point?

OBAMA: Maybe I'm showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn't structured that way.

You just look at very rare examples during the desegregation era the court was willing to for example order changes that cost money to a local school district. The court was very uncomfortable with it. It was very hard to manage, it was hard to figure out. You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time.

The court's just not very good at it and politically it's very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard. So I think that although you can craft theoretical justifications for it legally. Any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts.

Obama's comments on the Bush v. Gore case are interesting, too. He suggests, admiringly, that the Florida court acted in that case much like the Warren court had in the 1960s in the way they interpreted the state's election laws.

(Via Ace of Spades HQ, where you can watch a YouTube video with the key excerpts.)

MORE: The Daily Telegraph has an apt summary: "Although his remarks were heavily analytical and academic, he spoke warmly of the notion of redistributing wealth, suggesting that there were other vehicles than the courts to achieve it."

According to an interview in the Alva Review-Courier, Sen. Jim Inhofe had a run-in 25 years ago with the organization at the center of a nationwide voter fraud scandal.

It was 25 years ago, and there were ACORN protesters on then-Mayor Jim Inhofe's front lawn. The protest had to do with housing for Cuban refugees. The protesters were threatening his wife and children.

He told them, "Get off my property or I'll kill you all." They split.

Clarity of intention, clarity of expression: More reasons why Oklahomans love Jim Inhofe.

Via Ace, whose commenters are appreciative:

"I already sent him campaign money. Looks like I'll need to check the deep recesses of the couch again."

"I think most of us Oklahomans might wonder why he warned them first."

"Elegant in its simplicity and clarity."

"We are going to need a bunch of guys like this, guys with a lot of intestinal fortitude, in the next session of Congress."

"Inhofe knows global warming is b---s---. Not afraid to cap a few ACORN a--h---s. Why isn't this man running for President with Sarah?"

"I have 'Inhofe' and 'Coburn' tattooed on my knuckles, right and left, respectively. Scares the bejeezus out of
potential attackers."

"Eloquent and to the point. He would make a great Secretary of State in a McCain administration. That could be his first speech to the United Nations. 'Get off my property or I'll kill you all.'"

"Sometime in the 90's... Inhofe dead-sticked a landing in his private plane after, get this... prop fell off."

See-Dubya wrote:

"When I was still in diapers, I was out campaigning for that man. Umm, I mean before 2002. He ran for governor once, or maybe state Senate, long time ago." (Inhofe was the Republican nominee for governor in 1974, his first statewide race. He was a State Senator before that.)

This is not an original thought. I know I've seen a form of this question asked, more than once, on some blog somewhere.

We know that Barack Obama has had among his close associates and mentors a number of radical leftists: His father, his stepfather, his father-figure mentor "Frank" in Hawaii, his roommate at Columbia, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers (who babysat his children, arranged for his job with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and very possibly ghost-wrote his first memoir) -- the list goes on and on.

So here's my question: Is there any conservative close friend or mentor or teacher in Barack Obama's history to act as a counterweight, to temper the influence of all these socialist father figures? Any influence in the direction of the benefits of capitalism, the disasters wrought by central control, the importance of the liberties that evolved through the English common law and became our founding principles?

We know he can discuss Niebuhr at the drop of a hat. Is he conversant with Adam Smith? Milton Friedman? Friederich Hayek? Has he read de Tocqueville?

Much has been written about presumed lack of intellectual curiosity on the part of Sarah Palin. Has Obama had the intellectual curiosity to explore conservative thought? Has he been open to understanding the equally authentically African-American but very different experiences of Clarence Thomas?

Leaving aside the realm of the intellect, what about experience that might temper his redistributionist proclivities? Obama has spent his entire professional life as a community agitator, an attorney, or a politician. Has he ever been closely connected with someone who owned and operated a small business or a farm? Is there a "Joe the Plumber" anywhere in his experience? Has he been close to anyone who has built a business from scratch, using hard work, ingenuity, and ambition to grow it and become successful? Has he been close to someone whose ambitions have been stymied by burdensome government?

Finally, is there anything or anyone in Obama's experience that attaches him emotionally to this country? All of his close associates are disaffected, alienated, even hostile to America as it is. He chose to detach himself from the "middleclassness" of his "typical white" grandparents and to attach himself to the grievance industry. Is there any heretofore unknown mentor or close friend whose influence on Obama would temper or moderate the influence of his known associates?

Christopher Buckley has written glowingly about Obama's intellect. Intellect by itself is nothing without the raw materials of facts and ideas and first principles which intellect processes to come to conclusions. Is there anything of a conservative or traditionalist nature in Obama's inner repository?

Is there anything in his formative influences, anything ingrained into his temperament, that would act as an internal brake against radical policies?

"When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." - Barack Obama

Congressional Democrats agree:

Powerful House Democrats are eyeing proposals to overhaul the nation's $3 trillion 401(k) system, including the elimination of most of the $80 billion in annual tax breaks that 401(k) investors receive.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-California, and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, are looking at redirecting those tax breaks to a new system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute.

A plan by Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, contains elements that are being considered. She testified last week before Miller's Education and Labor Committee on her proposal....

Under Ghilarducci's plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration. The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation.

So, while the Republicans proposed allowing workers to invest a portion of their Social Security contributions in the market, with the potential of higher returns on investment over the long haul, the Democrats want to force workers to invest a portion of their 401(k)s into government accounts with no potential for higher returns.

I found this via James Taranto's Best of the Web. (Taranto was on the Pat Campbell Show this morning).

Ghilarducci outlined her plan last year in a paper for the left-liberal Economic Policy Institute, in which she acknowledges that her plan would amount to a tax increase on workers making more than $75,000--considerably less than the $250,000 Barack Obama has said would be his tax-hike cutoff. In addition, workers would be able to pass on only half of their account balances to their heirs; presumably the government would seize the remaining half. (Under current law, 401(k) balances are fully heritable, although they are subject to the income tax.)

Do you really want to turn this sort of thinking loose on Washington with no check, no balance?

RELATED: A friend sends along a "friend of a friend" anecdote:

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient needed money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

Steve Roemerman has a detailed report from Tuesday night's debate between Tulsa County Commission District 2 candidates Sally Bell (R) and Karen Keith (D).

Steve reports that Keith claimed the sad state of Tulsa streets was because of "failed tax initiatives." I challenge Karen Keith to name one street-related tax initiative (general obligation bond issue or sales tax) that has failed in the last quarter-century in Tulsa.

My column in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly further explores the contrasting political philosophies of Karen Keith and Sally Bell.

The County Commission race was also a topic of conversation in my debate with former Tulsa County Democratic Party chairman Elaine Dodd, the cover story in this week's UTW. We also chatted about the presidential, U. S. Senate, and U. S. House races, and the State Senate District 37 race between incumbent Republican-turned-Democrat Nancy Riley and Republican challenger Dan Newberry.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission Republican nominee Dana Murphy responded today to attack ads from her Democratic opponent, appointed incumbent Jim Roth. Murphy reminded voters about Roth's cozy relationship with the head of a major energy company regulated by the OCC.

Jim Roth is a desperate, frightened man. As almost half of Oklahomans know, divorce is an ugly, horrible thing and sadly, it brings out the absolute worst in people. My opponent is bringing up allegations against me from a 15 year old divorce case because he cannot match my qualifications for this job.

Let's set the record straight once and for all. I have never been charged with or convicted of forgery or any other crime. Period.

These last minute smear tactics are reminiscent of the schoolyard bully ambushing kids on the playground.

The people of Oklahoma deserve better.

This smear campaign is costing big bucks.

The real question here is where are the hundreds of thousands of dollars coming from that are being used to smear me? From campaign contributions by powerful special interest groups outside and inside the State who want their lapdog at the Commission looking out for their interests, not the interests of all Oklahomans.

Roth has proven to be that lap dog.

Roth is panicked because this is the best job that he has ever had. He has no place else to go. When he loses this election, it will only be a matter of time before he has a job with one of those special interest groups contributing the big bucks to support his campaign.

It is not a coincidence that Jim Roth has as his campaign chair, a man who received amazing benefits as a result of his contributions.

First, the Red Rock Power Plant decision. That was a done deal as soon as Roth was appointed to the OCC.

Second, when a tree farm (owned by Aubrey McClendon in Arcadia) needed a road and a bridge, it was Roth who made sure it was paid for by taxpayers.

The list of favors for special interests goes on and on.

I have the education, the experience and the qualifications earned during a 15-year career in the oil and gas industry and almost six years as a Law Judge at the Corporation Commission. I have forgotten more about the oil and gas industry than he will ever know and Jim Roth knows it. His special interest supporters know it too and they are scared to death.

My only special interest group is everyday Oklahomans who need a watchdog on the Commission, not a lapdog.

There are 12 days left in this election, I have run a clean campaign focused on the issues and my qualifications for office.

I see no reason to change that strategy.

If Mr. Roth wants to run a dirty campaign, wallow in the mud and sling it - that's his choice.

Mr. Roth's mudslinging has given Oklahomans a clearcut choice as to who they want for Corporation Commissioner.

They can have someone like him, a mudslinging bureaucratic lapdog or they can have me, someone who shares their conservative Oklahoma values and has the experience and qualifications to do the best job for all Oklahomans at the Corporation Commission."

(Via McCarville.)

MORE: Jenn of Green Country Values analyzes Roth's out-of-state political contributions and has the latest on the billions of dollars that Roth's decisions have cost Oklahoma utility ratepayers.

Sen. Joe Biden has predicted that the callow youth at the top of his ticket would be tested by a "generated" international crisis, which, just as John F. Kennedy, whose obvious weakness gave Khrushchev the all-clear to wall off Berlin and plant missiles in Cuba, did, Obama will royally screw up.

(As Rush Limbaugh was saying today, isn't the whole world supposed to love us again if we elect Obama? Why should anyone expect him to be challenged by the bad guys, since there aren't any bad guys in the world, just people who are understandably enraged that America has yet to overthrow Chimpy McBushitler?)

Biden mentioned four or five scenarios, which inspired Gov. Sarah Palin to imagine what those five crises might be:

(Video after the jump.)

This week in Urban Tulsa Weekly, I return to the topic of the November 4 City of Tulsa street sales tax and bond issue vote, raising some questions I hope can be convincingly answered between now and election day.

In an extra op-ed, I explain why voters of all political orientations should choose the eminently qualified Dana Murphy for the two-year term seat on the Corporation Commission over appointed incumbent Jim Roth, whose personal connections and campaign finances indicate a far-too-cozy relationship with Chesapeake Energy, one of the businesses he regulates. For good measure, here's my editorial endorsing Dana Murphy in the Republican primary.


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Until recently, Democratic 1st District Congressional nominee Georgianna Oliver proudly boasted the endorsement of ACORN, the left-wing organization in the news recently in connection with fraudulent voter registration activities in numerous swing states. It was the top of her "professional endorsements" page. Mad Okie noticed that that endorsement had vanished for some reason, but he was able to capture a screenshot from Google's cache. He was also able to capture the PDF directly from the website before it was removed from the oliverforcongress.com website, a brief, unsigned and undated memo on ACORN VOTES letterhead from Patricia Walker, "North Tulsa Chapter Chairperson, ACORN Votes." The PDF file has a creation date of September 16.

The Red Dirt Report recently received an exclusive peek at an abandoned ACORN office in southern Oklahoma City:

Left hurriedly and in a shambles, the small office, coated in a layer of plaster dust, still housed computers, documents, registration forms, I-9 employment info and boxes with an IRS return address and others with a return address for an ACORN office in New Orleans.

The person working at this office, Adam Carter, had reportedly skipped town in June, according to the landlord. and in August, an ACORN representative from Tulsa came down and took more items, leaving behind what was found by Red Dirt Report. ACORN never fulfilled it's year lease for the property and never paid a dime in rent. The landlord told Red Dirt Report that the ACORN workers seemed to attract trouble and that there was something not quite right about what they were doing. The landlord also said that the aforementioned Tulsa ACORN worker, named "Brittany," said ACORN didn't have any money to pay for the rent and that Carter had depleted the South Oklahoma City ACORN account....

In fact, the evidence discovered in the abandoned office on South Robinson revealed maps of Oklahoma City broken down in House districts. Districts where a Republican won, but just barely, were highlighted. Papers related to the 2006 election results for Oklahoma were also noted.

Oklahoma City radio station KTOK reported Thursday on ACORN's brief tenure in Oklahoma City, where they attempted to get taxpayer funding for their activities:

The city received a request for the HUD money from a Matthew Eaton who represented ACORN. Internet searches reveal a Matt Eaton is the South West Development Coordinator for ACORN who described himself as an experienced grant writer and resource development coordinator. He also claimed to be 'well versed in various forms of fund raising. "I aspire to help raise enough money so ACORN offices in the Southwest will be able to establish Tax Access and Benefit Centers in each of its neighborhood locations and to register 300,000 new voters," wrote Eaton in a website description of himself and his goals.

But less than a year after asking for the HUD money,Eaton and the ACORN office in Oklahoma City were history. The city denied the funding request and other neighborhood agencies indicated they too had similar 'empty' relationships with ACORN. A spokeswoman of one such group said when they asked an ACORN official about the group's funding, they were told it could not be discussed.

(Via Green Country Values.)

MORE: In 2007, ACORN was found to have submitted more than 1,700 fraudulent voter registrations in King Co., Washington.

RottenACORN.com has a list and map of fraud prosecutions involving ACORN. They seem to be fond of swing states.

Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit provides a "complete guide to ACORN voter fraud" on Pajamas Media.

At a campaign stop in Ohio, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called for the Obama-Biden campaign to disclose all communications between that campaign and ACORN. Hoft notes:

Barack Obama worked as a former trainer with the scandal-plagued ACORN organization. He also has a long history with the Far Left group and the group has canvassed for him this year. He represented ACORN in court. And, Obama donated $800,000 to the radical group just this year for their get out the vote efforts.

Earlier this week Palin told Obama to rein in this group of radical supporters.

In response, the Obama campaign is trying to pressure the FBI into dropping its investigation into voter fraud. The McCain campaign has fired back:

After a week of shifting stories and clumsy corrections regarding Barack Obama's connections to ACORN, the Obama campaign resorted to their now-customary heavy handed tactic of attempting to criminalize political discourse. Today's outrageous letter to Attorney General Mukasey and Special Prosecutor Dannehy at the Justice Department asking for a special prosecutor to investigate Senator McCain and Governor Palin's public statements about ACORN's record of fraudulent voter registrations (including in this week's Presidential debate) is absurd. It is a typical time-worn Washington attempt to criminalize political differences. For someone who promises 'change,' it is certainly only more of the same.

The letter's request that the Department of Justice investigate 'recent partisan Republican activities throughout the country' is almost a parody of the Obama campaign's attempt to intimidate their political opponents. In case Sen. Obama's lawyer did not notice, we are in the midst of a political campaign, not a coronation, and the alleged criminal activity he calls 'recent partisan Republican activities' are what the rest of us call campaign speeches and debates. All of this is unfortunately reminiscent of the Obama campaign's recent creation of a 'truth squad' of Missouri prosecutors and sheriffs to 'target' people who criticize Sen. Obama. Rest assured that, despite these threats, the McCain-Palin campaign will continue to address the serious issue of voter registration fraud by ACORN and other partisan groups, and compliance by states with the Help America Vote Act's requirement of matching new voter registrations with state data bases to prevent voter fraud.

If you'd like to help the rest of America see this ad -- on TV, not just the Internet -- so they can understand the role that Barack Obama and congressional Democrats played in the mortgage meltdown, please contribute to the American Issues Project

Hat tip to Ace, who urges conservatives to give to 527s who will spotlight the financial crisis.

McCain has been too gentlemanly to lay the blame for the crisis where it belongs. He was right on this issue, and he deserves credit for sounding the alarm when it mattered. Obama put a (metaphorical) pillow over his head to muffle the alarm (stuffed with all the -- metaphorical -- Benjamins he got from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), then rolled over and went back to sleep, only to call attention to the smoky smell when the roof was fully engulfed in flames. (Via Ace, again.)

If McCain and the RNC won't make the case, we should be giving money to organizations that will.

Over at Tyson Wynn's place. I'm working, but I'll chime in as I'm able.

The downtown Tulsa Kiwanis Club is hosting a debate between the candidates for District 2 Tulsa County Commissioner today beginning at 12:15. Republican Sally Bell will face Democrat Karen Keith. KRMG's Joe Kelley will moderate the debate, and it will be cybercast live online at krmg.com. It will also be broadcast over the airwaves tonight at 6:00 on 740 KRMG.

(Post time tweaked to keep this at the top of the blog until this evening.)

UPDATE: KRMG has posted audio of the debate in four segments.

A Photoshopped image purporting to be Sarah Palin's SAT report is circulating amongst the moonbats tonight. It was posted on Gawker, but Rick Paulas, Gawker's art director, has spotted several telltale signs of fakery, including the impossible variations in baselines and too-perfect kerning for the impact printers that generated SAT reports back in the early '80s.

One glaring indication of forgery: SAT scores all ended in zero in the early '80s. Scores like 416 and 425 were impossible.

The template for the forgery? Conservative, pro-life blogger Dawn Eden's SAT report, which she posted online four years ago. The faked Palin report cuts off at exactly the same vertical point, and the same scanning artifacts can be seen around the pre-printed letters and shading on both images. "Max Torque," on the Straight Dope message board has the... straight dope:

Now, compare that picture with the supposed "Palin results". Interesting, eh? First, the scanned copies are at exactly the same angle, not perfectly square with the scanner's edge. The "blocked out" bits for both copies are identical: look at the "telephone number" space, for example. The remaining dot clutter is absolutely identical in both images. The dates are identical, except that "85" was changed to "82". Interesting that the "report date" of both tests would be March 23rd; in 1985, the date on the real results form, that was a Saturday, which is a typical day for SAT testing. In 1982, the date on Palin's photoshopped form, March 23rd was a Tuesday. And the real form has the same 5-3-3-1-2-3 that appears on the altered form, in precisely the same spots in the boxes.

A few things are covered over and the form in general is blurred up some to make it look "authentic" or something, but seriously, I think this is the original scan that someone altered. Take a closer look, see if you agree. And I say all of this as someone who couldn't possibly dislike Sarah Palin any more than I already do.

(Via Ace of Spades HQ.)

Today at 5 p.m. is the deadline for Oklahoma residents to register to vote for the November 4 general election. While the election board will accept registration forms by mail that have been postmarked by today, the safest way to be sure that you will get to vote on November 4 is to go to your county election board and register in person before 5 p.m.

The Tulsa County Election Board is located at 555 N. Denver Ave., Tulsa, OK 74103. The phone number is 918-596-5780.

The Oklahoma State Election Board website has a complete list of county election boards, with the phone number, address, and hours of operation for each. Please note that election boards in some rural counties close as early as 1:30 p.m.

UPDATE: Tulsa County Election Board will stay open until midnight tonight to accept last-minute registrations.

Here's the video of KJRH's debate between U. S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and his challenger State Sen. Andrew Rice, from last night. Russ McCaskey moderated with Joe Kelley of KRMG, Wayne Greene of the Tulsa World, and Karen Larsen of KJRH on the panel.

Family therapist Bowden McElroy brings his professional perspective to the bailout:

Think of our Representatives and Senators as parents and the executives of AIG as errant children. Years of poor decision-making calls for a natural and logical consequence. Instead we reward poor behavior. This article (AIG Executives Blow $440,000 After Getting Bailout) shows how little the men and women on Capitol Hill understand about motivating people to change. All we've taught the movers and shakers of our economy is that lousy business practices carry no consequences to them. Assuming legislation is passed to prevent these kind of problems from happening again, this country's top financial executives will simply find new ways to make poor decisions: what do they have to lose? We've just told them if you're big enough, the politicians will make sure nothing bad ever happens to you.

Read the whole thing.

I'm over at Tyson Wynn's place liveblogging the presidential debate with Tyson Wynn and Jenn Sierra.

This CNN investigative report shows that Barack Obama has had a long and close political relationship with unrepentant former domestic terrorist and ongoing radical William Ayres, much closer than the Obama campaign spin will acknowledge.

Ayres was responsible for bringing the Annenberg Challenge grant for schools to Chicago; Obama was made chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which steered money to organizations run by Ayres and his wife Bernardine Dohrn. In 1995, Ayers organized and hosted Obama's first political fundraiser at his home. Contrary to Obama campaign claims, it was Ayers who organized the event, not State Sen. Alice Palmer, Obama's predecessor.

This comment at Hot AIr by rvastar proposes the sort of speech John McCain might give to explain the relevance of Obama's ties to Ayers and other radicals to the present economic mess. It's a good summary of what has been uncovered about the Ayers/Obama relationship:

My friends, as we try to provide you with more information about Sen. Obama's dubious ties to the likes of unrepentent domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, and radical Leftist groups like ACORN, it is inevitable that his defenders will attempt to deflect your attention away from these relationships by stating that these are just smears, an attempt to distract you from the overwhelming issue that is front and center in the minds of all Americans - the economy. But this is most certainly not the case, since we believe that that these relationships - along with many others - provide clear examples of the dangers an Obama presidency poses to this country's future economic well-being.

The overall health of the US economy is a complicated balancing act between private-sector freedom and govt oversight. As our nation's current financial crisis is clearly illustrating, govt policies can - for good or for bad - have enormous effects on our financial markets. With this in mind, we need elected officials who have a clear understanding of how their political ideology and policies will interact with and effect our financial system; and not just in the short term of a year...or two years...or 10 year, but as regards the long-term effects that their ideology and policies will have on our country. We need officials with a keen respect for using the power of govt, as well as taxpayers' money, in responsible and beneficial ways that will promote our economic well-being for generations to come.

Which brings us to the topic of Sen. Obama's long relationship with Bill Ayers. Now, let me be absolutely clear about something before the media spin even begins - no one is claiming that Sen. Obama is a terrorist. And no one is claiming that Sen. Obama condones or is an apologist for terrorism, whether it be domestic or international, past or present. But what we are claiming is that Sen. Obama shares certain radically Leftist views with Bill Ayers and that those shared radical views found the two of them affiliated with and working with one another for the better part of ten years.

In 1995, Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn - herself, a convicted terrorist - hosted Sen. Obama's political "coming out" party in their own living room. Also, Bill Ayers was a co-founder of an organization called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a foundation whose primary goal was the advancement and promotion of a radically Leftist educational agenda in the Chicago school system. Ayers was instrumental in getting Sen. Obama appointed as the Chairman of the CAC in 1995, despite the fact that corporate presidents were sitting board members of the CAC and Sen. Obama was a relatively young, inexperienced associate lawyer in Chicago.

So, what was it - exactly - that the CAC did? It provided funds to Chicago-area schools under the stipulation that said schools partner with CAC-approved "community organizations" like ACORN and the Developing Communities Project, both radical Leftist groups who were determined to push a radical educational agenda on both students and teachers. so in the end, what were the final results of Sen. Obama's 5-year tenure as Chairman of the CAC? According to the CAC's own report before the organization disbanded: "There were no statistically significant differences in student achievement between Annenberg schools and demographically similar non-Annenberg schools. This indicates that there was no Annenberg effect on achievement." In other words, the result was nothing - nothing at all; unless you count the more than $100+ million in taxpayer money that was spent in funding the CAC's efforts at indoctrinating children and teachers into a radical political ideology.

And there, in that last point, is the relevant truth. The primary purpose of this money wasn't to improve students reading comprehension or math scores; it wasn't meant to provide them with occupational training or more individualized attention; in other words, the money wasn't meant to prepare students with the type of solid, fact-based educational experience that the future health of our country's economy is dependent on. The primary purpose of the over $100 million of taxpayer money that was spent was to support an effort at indoctrinating Chicago's children into the same far-left political ideology that Bill Ayers espouses - namely, that US is an evil country, with an evil history, and that it needs to be torn-apart at the seams so that it can be reorganized into a socialist paradise.

And Sen. Barack Obama worked with this man and the CAC in order to achieve this goal in the Chicago school system.

Now, does $100 million spent on this sort of nonsense bring to mind the phrase "sound economic principles"? Do Sen. Obama's radical attempts at turning our nation's school systems into political indoctrination centers sound like the activities of a man who has this country's economic best interest at heart? It most certainly does not, as it sounds to me like Sen. Obama is man who cares more about spreading his radical political views to our nation's children than he does about preparing them for their future roles as the stewards of our economic future.

But if that doesn't convince you, let's talk about another - more direct - example of Sen. Obama's lack of judgement when it comes to the stability and prosperity of our nation's economy. Let's talk about his role as a "leadership trainer" with ACORN, and how the very "training" he provided this group is directly tied to the current financial meltdown that our country is enduring...

MORE: Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, fought for and ultimately gained access to the records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and he has written several articles on what he learned about Barack Obama and his radical friends.

STILL MORE: ACORN's Las Vegas office raided in voter fraud investigation:

Bob Walsh, spokesman for the Nevada secretary of state's office, told FOXNews.com the raid was prompted by ongoing complaints about "erroneous" registration information being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also called ACORN.

The group was submitting the information through a voter sign-up drive known as Project Vote.

"Some of them used nonexistent names, some of them used false addresses and some of them were duplicates of previously filed applications," Walsh said, describing the complaints, which largely came from the registrar in Clark County, Nev.

Secretary of State Ross Miller said the fraudulent registrations included forms for the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys football team.

"Tony Romo is not registered to vote in the state of Nevada, and anybody trying to pose as Terrell Owens won't be able to cast a ballot on Nov. 4," Miller said....

But it's not the first time ACORN's been under investigation for registration irregularities. The raid is the latest of at least nine investigations into possible fraudulent voter registration forms submitted by ACORN -- the probes have involved ACORN workers in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Indiana and other states.

In 2006, ACORN also committed what Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed called the "worse case of election fraud" in the state's history.

In the case, ACORN submitted just over 1,800 new voter registration forms, and all but six of the 1,800 names were fake.

More recently, 27,000 registrations handled by the group from January to July 2008 "went into limbo because they were incomplete, inaccurate, or fraudulent," said James Terry, chief public advocate at the Consumers Rights League.

Why are Asian investors keeping their money in America? According to Asia Times columnist Spengler, it's because of Sarah Palin.

Or rather, it's because of a political culture that allows concerned citizens like Palin to emerge to challenge and expose corruption.

You need to read the whole thing. There are too many quotes worth requoting here. There is so much more to the success of America and the rest of the Anglosphere than the governmental structures that are common to democracies. There are legal and cultural traditions that create a level of trust and self-determination.

A selection of the best quotes:

What does America have that Asia doesn't have? The answer is, Sarah Palin - not Sarah Palin the vice presidential candidate, but Sarah Palin the "hockey mom" turned small-town mayor and reforming Alaska governor. All the PhDs and MBAs in the world can't make a capital market work, but ordinary people like Sarah Palin can. Laws depend on the will of the people to enforce them. It is the initiative of ordinary people that makes America's political system the world's most reliable.

America is the heir to a long tradition of Anglo-Saxon law that began with jury trial and the Magna Carta and continued through the English Revolution of the 17th century and the American Revolution of the 18th. Ordinary people like Palin are the bearers of this tradition....

Palin really did take on the American oil companies and turn the scoundrels out of office. Her predecessor, Frank Murkowski, appointed her to the state oil and gas commission in the apparent belief that a small-town mayor and former beauty queen would rubber-stamp corrupt deals between the state and the Big Oil companies.

Shades of Jimmy Stewart in Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Palin ran against Murkowski and took his job. That does not qualify her to be president, to be sure, but it does show cunning and strength of character. Palin is qualified for high office by temperament if not by education, and is preferable to candidates whose education has made no improvement on their characters....

One doesn't see demonstrations by wronged peasants in the small towns of America. There never were peasants - American farmers always were entrepreneurs - and the locals avenge injury by taking over their local governments, which have sufficient authority to make a difference. At the capillary level, school boards, the Parent Teachers' Association, self-administered religious organizations and volunteer organizations incubate a political class entirely different from anything to be found in Asia. There are tens of thousands of Sarah Palins lurking in the minor leagues of American politics, and they are the guarantors of market probity....

It is true that Asian economies depend on American consumers and an American recession is bad for Asian currencies. But why don't Asians consume what they produce at home? The trouble is that rich Asians don't lend to poor Asians in their own countries. Capital markets don't work in the developing world because it is too easy to steal money. Subprime mortgages in the US have suffered from poor documentation. What kind of documentation does one encounter in countries where everyone from the clerk at the records office to the secretary who hands you a form requires a small bribe? America is litigious to a fault, but its courts are fair and hard to corrupt.

Asians are reluctant to lend money to each other under the circumstances; they would rather lend money in places where a hockey mom can get involved in local politics and, on encountering graft and corruption, run a successful campaign to turn the scoundrels out. You do not need PhDs and MBAs for that. You need ordinary people who care sufficiently about the places in which they live to take control of their own towns and states when required. And, yes, it doesn't hurt if they own guns.

I was also intrigued by this aside (emphasis added):

China's 30 million students of classical piano are one of the two great popular movements in the world today: the other is the House Church movement in Chinese Christianity. Children who play hockey will grow up to get coffee for children who study piano. As a pool of talent, nothing compares with the educated segment of the East Asian population that has embraced and mastered Western culture.

It's a bit startling to these American eyes to see two Chinese trends described as "the two great popular movements in the world today," but as a Christian, I'm gladdened to read that the Chinese House Church is one of those two movements.

(Via Crunchy Con.)

Oklahomans for Life, the organization that advocates at the State Capitol for the sanctity of human life, has published the responses to its survey of candidates for the November 4 general election in the October 2008 issue of its newsletter. There are separate surveys for federal and state candidates; both surveys ask about concrete policies and bills that are likely to come before Congress and the Oklahoma Legislature. Topics include abortion and abortion funding, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia. The federal survey includes a couple of questions about rationing of federally-funded medical care:

10) Some hospitals have implemented formal policies authorizing denial of lifesaving medical treatment against the will of a patient or the patient's family if an ethics committee thinks the patient's quality of life is unacceptable, even though the patient and family disagree. The federal Patient Self-Determination Act currently requires health care facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid to ask patients on admission whether they have an advance directive indicating their desire to receive or refuse lifesaving treatment under certain circumstances. Would you support preventing involuntary denial of lifesaving medical treatment by amending the Patient Self-Determination Act to provide that if failure to comply with a patient's or surrogate's choice for life-saving treatment would in reasonable medical judgment be likely to result in or hasten the patient's death, a health care provider unwilling to respect the choice for life-saving treatment must allow the patient to be transferred to a willing provider and must provide the treatment pending transfer?

11) Would you vote against any bill that imposes price controls or otherwise limits the right of older Americans who choose to do so to add their own funds on top of the government contribution in order to obtain Medicare health insurance that is less likely to ration medical treatment and prescription drugs?

The same issue of the newsletter includes a response by OfL director Tony Lauinger to Jerry Riley, husband of State Sen. Nancy Riley (D-SD37), who took exception to OfL's characterization of Sen. Riley's voting record. Lauinger points out that the votes a legislator casts trumps the position a legislator claims, and Nancy Riley's two no votes on SB 714 in 2007 made the difference in the legislature's attempt to override Gov . Brad Henry's veto. Lauinger reminds that Sen. Riley's votes on SB 714 contradicted her responses to the Oklahomans for Life survey in 2000 and 2004 (as a Republican candidate for State Senate) and in 2006 (as a Republican candidate for Lt. Governor).

Lauinger's letter addresses the matter of the rape and incest exception, and why the consistent pro-life position permits abortion only when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. (Riley cited the lack of a rape and incest exception as the reason for her opposition to SB 714, but she failed to offer such an exception as an amendment, either in her committee or in the Senate as a whole.)

Ethel Waters, the revered African-American vocalist of blues and spirituals, had occasion near the end of her life to recount its beginning: "My father raped my mother when she was twelve years old, and today they've named a park for me in Chester, Pennsylvania." Recounted in her autobiography, His Eye is on the Sparrow, her life is but one of many of children conceived in rape who went on to make great contributions to this world.

She might wonder how it makes sense, in logic or in law, to execute a child for the crime of his or her father? Abortion does not erase the trauma of a rape. Abortion compounds the first tragedy with a second tragedy - one for which the woman herself is responsible.

It is not valid to assume the best thing for a victim of rape or incest is to abort her baby. For society, abortion might seem to "solve the problem." But for the woman herself, it does not. Abortion often leads to psychological anguish and emotional devastation. Britain's Royal College of Psychiatry issued a warning in March that women may be at risk of mental health breakdowns if they have abortions. They advised that women should not have an abortion until they are counseled about the possible risk to their mental health.

There are more than one million unborn babies being killed by abortion in our country every year. One could rely on the absence of a rape exception as an excuse for opposing all manner of bills that seek to reduce abortions and save the babies we can. Or one could support these reasonable, modest regulations which, while not making abortion illegal, at least give some unborn children - and their mothers - a chance to avoid catastrophe.

That's why Nancy's votes against SB 714 were so disappointing. When the opportunity to help these babies came, she didn't give the benefit of the doubt to life.

Earlier this evening, Tyson Wynn interviewed me and Jason Carini of Oklahomans for Responsible Government about tonight's vice presidential debate between Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware). Click that link to listen and download the podcast.

I thought Palin did a wonderful job and clearly came out the winner. She was effective at explaining John McCain's platform, defending her own record, and going on the attack against the policies and experience of the Obama-Biden ticket. Biden made some statements tonight that are going to require some explaining and backtracking from Barack Obama's campaign.

Good blog commentary elsewhere:

Here are Michelle Malkin's live blogging and post debate recap entries.

John Mark Reynolds has been doing a fine job of rebutting the panicky anti-Palinites on the right. Here's his live-blog of the debate and his wrapup post.

Punchy cons

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I've been following the anti-Sarah Palin tirades coming from a handful of conservative pundits who are embarrassed by her interview with Katie Couric. One of those is Rod Dreher, whose string of anti-Palin posts has won him interviews on Good Morning America and Larry King Live. In a recent entry Dreher blasts Palin for failing to come up with a response to Couric's question about Supreme Court decisions other than Roe that she didn't like.

I posted the following comment (slightly amplified for clarity):

When I heard the interview clip, I was annoyed that Palin couldn't come up with the name of another case that she didn't like.

Then I asked myself the same question. I drew a blank. And even though I've blogged about Kelo extensively, and even though I write a weekly column that deals with urban development, I didn't think of it until about 10 minutes later. Had I been the subject of the interview, 10 minutes later would have been too late. "Oh, by the way, Katie, I just thought of another court case I don't like." Katie would have already been through three more subjects by then. Once you're off-balance in that way, you're not going to get back in the groove. At least in Jeopardy, you get several questions in the same category and a chance to get your memory going in that direction.

On the subject of the Couric interview, Rod reminds me of an armchair Jeopardy player. It's really easy, when you're in your La-Z-Boy eating cheese doodles, to get all the answers right and to belittle the contestant who is having a bad day and freezes up in front of all the world and Alex Trebek.

CBS is taking this one bad day and spreading it out over two weeks, making it look like a long series of bad days. Non-panicky bloggers should have realized that after the first segment was rough, the rest of them would have been, too. It's all part of the same interview, and if you'd seen it all on a single day, I think it would have created a different impression.

If you're not familiar with the magic of television, I suppose you might be surprised and outraged that, gee whiz, Palin's interview isn't going any better than the day before or last week.

Further thoughts: I have been interviewed hundreds of times, mostly early in the morning when I'm at my worst. The best interviews were when I knew in advance what topic was going to be discussed and had a chance to think about the key points I wanted to get across. The worst interviews involved a question out of left field, and I had to vamp while coming up with a reasonable sounding answer. I hated getting questions that begin with "What is your favorite..." or "Can you name two or three..." and the worst -- which Katie Couric has used repeatedly in her Palin interview -- is "Besides the thing you just mentioned, name another...." In other words, stop thinking about what you were just talking about and immediately start thinking about something else.

I thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed by G. W. Schulz, who profiled me for Urban Tulsa Weekly back in July 2005. But one question he asked threw me for a loop. It wasn't a gotcha question. It was quite reasonable:

But when asked in person what stories from the Bible influenced him at a young age, he seems at a loss--either because there's so much to consider, or because, like many bloggers, he better excels at writing fluid, delicately crafted sentences, taking time to insure proper diction, tense and grammar.

In retrospect, a good answer would have been, "I grew up in an environment saturated with Scripture, and asking which Bible stories influenced me is like asking a plant which drops of water were most helpful in its growth and development." Instead, I tried to answer the question exactly as posed.

Another question consistently sent me groping for words, even though I'd almost always get this question right at the end of my weekly updates on KFAQ: "What's on BatesLine today?" or some variation thereof. Almost invariably when I was prepared to plug the site, we'd run out of time before I had the chance.

Within the last year or so, I addressed the City Council on some topic. I delivered a fairly coherent argument and did so forcefully, I thought. As I started back to my seat, Councilor John Eagleton asked me to return to the microphone to answer a few questions. I don't remember the specifics, but one of the questions discombobulated me. We were on the same side of the issue at hand, and Eagleton wasn't trying to throw me off, but he managed to ask me a question which required me to shift mental gears faster than my brain wanted to do.

I am not a dunce or intellectually incurious, although if you judged me the way that Dreher and his fellow punchy cons are judging Palin, you might jump to that conclusion. Most of the time I manage to be articulate, even when speaking extemporaneously or when asked an unexpected question. But sometimes I have bad moments on good days, and sometimes I have completely bad days, when I can't shift gears as fast as I need to.

Sarah Palin, who defeated a sitting governor in her own party's primary and went on to beat a former governor in the general election, had a bad hour or so in an interview with Katie Couric, a bad hour that has been stretched out by CBS editing into a week or so. CBS has succeeded in inducing panic in a few conservative Chicken Littles. If I were one of them, I'd be embarrassed at being so easily manipulated by an organization with a clear agenda to defeat conservatism by any means necessary.

I don't expect these observations will win me a slot on Larry King Live.


Here's video of Palin's 2006 general election debate with former two-term Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles:

My wife, Mikki, wanted me to write something about why the mainstream media hates Sarah Palin. I thought what she wrote herself put it pretty well, so here it is:

Why does the MSM hate Palin?

She is the antithesis of "Sex in the City" and "Desperate Housewives." Our media lives with and idolizes the titillating adventure and mystery of glamour and pathos, mystery and deceit... revolving spouses - or "partners". The messages from this type of shows is - discard the old problem - person, job, house, and start over. Don't bother learning lessons from poor decision-making or childish behavior, just see if the same mistakes will work better on the next unsuspecting victim.

Sarah Palin comes from a culture foreign to the MSM. Her salary doesn't match Wall Street. She fired a cook, although a busy working mom might actually find one quite helpful in a family of that size. I suspect she and her husband want the kids to grow up learning to work and take responsibility for themselves as well. She is still married to her first husband and decided to continue a pregnancy with a special needs child. Apparently, Sarah Palin doesn't expect her life to be "a bowl of cherries." I am sure that their marriage hasn't been perfect, and they didn't expect it to be. That is probably why they are still married.

This is the difference between our candidates. Sarah Palin is NOT a whiner. She does not expect the "SUPER SANTA = BIG GOVERNMENT = WHITE KNIGHT" to ride in and save the day. She expects government to stop penalizing hard working people and allow us to get our work done! She is Main Street America. Why was the media so amazed at her popularity? They have never met her before. The rest of us live in her neighborhood, and consider her a good neighbor, with values that we can trust.

That last sentence in the second paragraph seems to be the same message we're getting from the bailout backers.

Yesterday with Hugh Hewitt, Gov. Palin did her first talk radio interview since her nomination. Here's a link to the podcast and transcript. This podcast of the full hour includes a segment with NRO's Campaign Spot blogger Jim Geraghty, who gives a point by point commentary on Palin's remarks.

MORE: Guess who wrote a book? Gwen Ifill of PBS, moderator of tomorrow night's vice presidential debate, has a book coming out on January 20, 2009 -- Inauguration Day. It's called Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. I'd say a book with the phrase "Age of Obama" in the title is headed to the bestseller list if Obama and Biden win. If McCain and Palin win it's going straight to the remainder bin, next to Dow 36,000. This goes beyond ideological bias to an actual conflict of interest between Ifill's responsibility to be impartial as moderator and the desire of her and her publisher to see her book sell well.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Election 2008 category from October 2008.

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