Thursday, 16 August 2007

SO MUCH TO DEBUNK, SO LITTLE TIME.......

Ken Berwitz

Earlier today I put the lie to the lie that O'Reilly lied.  You can read it by scrolling back a bit, and I urge you to do just that.

Now let's put the lie to the claim that the re-authorization of the Patriot Act will.... "give the U.S.. Attorney General the sole power to decide whether individual states are providing adequate counsel for defendants in death penalty cases."..

Simply stated, it won't.  That is untrue.

Here is an explanation (a bit lengthy, but I can't help that) of the reality of the situation, from www.volokh.com, complete with a link to the Los Angeles Times article - both of which you should read, so you know for sure what's what.  The bold print is mine.:

.AG Involvement in Capital Appeals:

The Los Angeles Times reports today that the Justice Department is preparing to issue regulations that will authorize the Attorney General to determine whether capital defendants received adequate legal representation at trial in state court proceedings.

The Justice Department is putting the final touches on regulations that could give Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales important new sway over death penalty cases in California and other states, including the power to shorten the time that death row inmates have to appeal convictions to federal courts.

The rules implement a little-noticed provision in last year's reauthorization of the Patriot Act that gives the attorney general the power to decide whether individual states are providing adequate counsel for defendants in death penalty cases. The authority has been held by federal judges.

Under the rules now being prepared, if a state requested it and Gonzales agreed, prosecutors could use "fast track" procedures that could shave years off the time that a death row inmate has to appeal to the federal courts after conviction in a state court. . . .

The idea behind the new rules has been years in the making. The federal Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 set up a system in which states could take advantage of faster procedures so long as they could prove they had made sure defendants had had adequate counsel in state courts. California and several other states applied to the program starting in the late 1990s. But federal courts ruled that they were not doing enough to provide defendants with competent attorneys.

Frustrated with the pace of changes and believing that judges were part of the problem death penalty advocates Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) led a successful effort to include language in the Patriot Act last year that let the attorney general, rather than judges, decide whether states were ensuring death row inmates had adequate legal representation.

Under the law, the attorney general's decision could be challenged before the federal appeals court in Washington.

Justice Department officials are seeking public comment on the rules until Sept. 23, after which they will be finalized "as quickly as circumstances allow," said department spokesman Erik Ablin.

I am no expert on AEDPA or capital appeals, but this all seems somewhat bizarre to me. I recognize that the purpose here is to accelerate death penalty appeals which can drag on for years and years but it still seems like an odd (and potentially troubling) way to do it. Are there any VC readers that care to shed light on this reform and the proposed regulations?

UPDATE: Reader Mark Arnold, a civil attorney who received a court appointment to handle a habeas case, writes:

You'll find the statutes in chapter 154 of 28 U.S.C., 2261 thru 2266. The Sixth Amendment does not require counsel in state habeas cases and, for many years, the quality of such representation was extremely uneven in many states. The idea behind chapter 154 was to give the states an incentive to provide better quality state habeas representation, by establishing strict time limits for federal habeas review for states that met the standard. The state has every incentive, of course, to do the minimum necessary to qualify for fast track. The new statutory provisions take the responsibility for determining compliance from the courts and vest it in the AG.

There's no doubt that AEDPA addressed a legitimate concern. Granting the legitimacy of capital punishment, which is settled law, the states have a perfectly legitimate interest in carrying out their sentences within a reasonable time. Decades-long delays in executions are inconsistent with that interest and horribly unfair to the victim's family. AEDPA just found the wrong solution. The right answer is to skip the state habeas.

The way it's done today, the capital prisoner has a right of direct appeal from his trial. If he wants to raise collateral issues, such as ineffective assistance of counsel, he has to file a state habeas claim in state trial court. He gets discovery, a hearing and an order from which he can appeal. Then and only then can he go to federal court where he gets a third level of review, though usually only on the record made in state court. If he gets a certificate of appealability, he can appeal that too.

This triple review is wasteful and unnecessary and it creates enormous opportunities for waiver. If a capital defendant has an incompetent trial counsel and a good habeas counsel, he likely gets a new sentencing hearing. If he has an incompetent habeas lawyer, he's a dead man..

Now THAT is the real story. 

Under these regulations, the Attorney General can only have involvement if the state requests it.  He/she has no authority whatsoever to come into a death penalty case without that request.  What's more, the AG's decision is not final.  It can be challenged before the federal appeals court.

So we see again - and again and again and again - that the lunatic left websites often post absolute BS, or - as in this case - claims that have a grain of truth, but which are then distorted to create a BS conclusion.  And people who take them seriously, and repeat their claims, are being made fools of.  Which is terribly sad.

Are there lunatic-rightwing sites that do the same thing?  There probably are.  And if/when I am shown credible examples I will be just as quick to condemn them as I am the left.  That's a promise and a guarantee. But I have to see them first.  The BS I'm seeing right now is from the left.


MORE MEDIA 'NEUTRALITY'

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged about the "neutral" reporters at the Seattle Times, who cheered the resignation of Karl Rove.  Today, courtesy of Mark Finkelstein at www.newsbusters.org,  we have this:.

MSNBC Newsroom Booed Bush State of the Union

By Mark Finkelstein | August 16, 2007 - 06:36 ET

UPDATE: Joe and Mika discuss this NB item. See below.

Joe Scarborough has pulled back the curtain on the liberal bias at MSNBC, describing an incident in which people in its newsroom ceaselessly booed President Bush during a State of the Union address.

The revelation came on "Morning Joe" today at 6:02 A.M. EDT. Joe was discussing a recent episode at the Seattle Times in which reporters and editors cheered the news that Karl Rove had resigned. Scarborough applauded Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman for issuing a memorandum reproving his colleagues. For more, read NB items by Brent Baker and Ken Shepherd.

Joe went on to describe a similar incident at MSNBC.

View video here. Note: that's newsreader Mika Brzezinksi heard murmuring in assent, though one has to wonder just how thrilled she was by Joe's candor in outing her fellow MSNBC liberals.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: There was a story out of Seattle, and the reason I love it is that it's transparency in the news. You have an editor who was actually outing his own people. The Seattle Times newsroom broke into applause when Karl Rove resigned. And of course that's bad. What I like about it is that the editor actually wrote about it and went in and told the people in the newsroom that was unacceptable.

And I've got to say, my first night here at MSNBC was the President's State of the Union address in 2003, and I was shocked because there were actually people in the newsroom that were booing the president actually from the beginning to the end. And I actually talked to [NBC/MSNBC executive] Phil Griffin about it, and he said "how was it last night?" Because he was the one that called me out of the Ace Hardware store, got my vest on. He said "how was it last night?" I said "well, it's OK, I understand it's a little bit different up here than it is down in northwest Florida, but you had people in the newsroom actively booing the President of the United States. Phil turned red very quickly. That didn't happen again.

Great news: the MSNBC newsroom no longer actively boos the President! But did Griffin replace any of the offenders and bring in professionals, or is MSNBC still staffed by people who simply do their booing on the inside -- and in the news choices they make?

UPDATE, 8-16: At 6:48 A.M. EDT Joe and Mika discussed this item.

SCARBOROUGH: Chris [MJ producer Chris Licht] told me something in my ear during break, that we talked at 6:02 about the Seattle Times and back in 2003, back in 2003, the newsroom at MSNBC booing George Bush . . .

BRZEZINKSI: Some people, yeah [Mika wanting to make clear it wasn't unanimous.]

SCARBOROUGH: A lot of the people that were actually charged with the coverage.

BRZEZINKSI: Oh dear!

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, that's bad. And I talked about how Phil Griffin found out, got very angry,

BRZEZINKSI: Right, as he should.

SCARBOROUGH: And cleaned that up. That never happened again.

BRZEZINKSI: N-o-o-o.

SCARBOROUGH: And this whole place has changed an awful lot since then. But NewsBusters, already has a story at like 6:30.

BRZEZINKSI: Oh my God!

SCARBOROUGH: Ruthless efficiency!

BRZEZINKSI: I try not to look there. They don't like me.

SCARBOROUGH: They said I pulled back the curtain. You know what? Sunlight's the best disinfectant.

BRZEZINKSI: Darn right.

I don't dislike Mika. I just wish she would admit the obvious: that she is a liberal Democrat who occasionally lets her bias show, and stop hiding behind the flimsy cover, as proof of her objectivity, of having a Republican brother. .

MSNBC, of course, is the same "news" venue that provides us with chris mouthews and keith olbermann, who are to neutrality what Lindsay Lohan is to abstinence.

These are the same people who whine that FOX is biased?  Oh, brother.


JOSE PADILLA GUILTY ON ALL THREE COUNTS

Ken Berwitz

Remember Jose Padilla?  The LAMB *** poster boy for terrorist rights? 

It was just announced that he, and his equally depraved co-defendents, were found guilty on all three counts, which make him a convicted terrorist.

Get ready for the outrage at the ACLU, selected college campuses and the LAMB websites.  They don't ever seem to like it when people like this get nailed.

 

*** Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade


MORE MEDIA 'NEUTRALITY'

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged about the "neutral" reporters at the Seattle Times, who cheered the resignation of Karl Rove.  Today, courtesy of Mark Finkelstein at www.newsbusters.org,  we have this:.

MSNBC Newsroom Booed Bush State of the Union

By Mark Finkelstein | August 16, 2007 - 06:36 ET

UPDATE: Joe and Mika discuss this NB item. See below.

Joe Scarborough has pulled back the curtain on the liberal bias at MSNBC, describing an incident in which people in its newsroom ceaselessly booed President Bush during a State of the Union address.

The revelation came on "Morning Joe" today at 6:02 A.M. EDT. Joe was discussing a recent episode at the Seattle Times in which reporters and editors cheered the news that Karl Rove had resigned. Scarborough applauded Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman for issuing a memorandum reproving his colleagues. For more, read NB items by Brent Baker and Ken Shepherd.

Joe went on to describe a similar incident at MSNBC.

View video here. Note: that's newsreader Mika Brzezinksi heard murmuring in assent, though one has to wonder just how thrilled she was by Joe's candor in outing her fellow MSNBC liberals.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: There was a story out of Seattle, and the reason I love it is that it's transparency in the news. You have an editor who was actually outing his own people. The Seattle Times newsroom broke into applause when Karl Rove resigned. And of course that's bad. What I like about it is that the editor actually wrote about it and went in and told the people in the newsroom that was unacceptable.

And I've got to say, my first night here at MSNBC was the President's State of the Union address in 2003, and I was shocked because there were actually people in the newsroom that were booing the president actually from the beginning to the end. And I actually talked to [NBC/MSNBC executive] Phil Griffin about it, and he said "how was it last night?" Because he was the one that called me out of the Ace Hardware store, got my vest on. He said "how was it last night?" I said "well, it's OK, I understand it's a little bit different up here than it is down in northwest Florida, but you had people in the newsroom actively booing the President of the United States. Phil turned red very quickly. That didn't happen again.

Great news: the MSNBC newsroom no longer actively boos the President! But did Griffin replace any of the offenders and bring in professionals, or is MSNBC still staffed by people who simply do their booing on the inside -- and in the news choices they make?

UPDATE, 8-16: At 6:48 A.M. EDT Joe and Mika discussed this item.

SCARBOROUGH: Chris [MJ producer Chris Licht] told me something in my ear during break, that we talked at 6:02 about the Seattle Times and back in 2003, back in 2003, the newsroom at MSNBC booing George Bush . . .

BRZEZINKSI: Some people, yeah [Mika wanting to make clear it wasn't unanimous.]

SCARBOROUGH: A lot of the people that were actually charged with the coverage.

BRZEZINKSI: Oh dear!

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, that's bad. And I talked about how Phil Griffin found out, got very angry,

BRZEZINKSI: Right, as he should.

SCARBOROUGH: And cleaned that up. That never happened again.

BRZEZINKSI: N-o-o-o.

SCARBOROUGH: And this whole place has changed an awful lot since then. But NewsBusters, already has a story at like 6:30.

BRZEZINKSI: Oh my God!

SCARBOROUGH: Ruthless efficiency!

BRZEZINKSI: I try not to look there. They don't like me.

SCARBOROUGH: They said I pulled back the curtain. You know what? Sunlight's the best disinfectant.

BRZEZINKSI: Darn right.

I don't dislike Mika. I just wish she would admit the obvious: that she is a liberal Democrat who occasionally lets her bias show, and stop hiding behind the flimsy cover, as proof of her objectivity, of having a Republican brother. .

MSNBC, of course, is the same "news" venue that provides us with chris mouthews and keith olbermann, who are to neutrality what Lindsay Lohan is to abstinence.

These are the same people who whine that FOX is biased?  Oh, brother.


DID O'REILLY LIE?

Ken Berwitz

Tiresome though it is to debunk this stuff over and over again, here's the latest installment:

Assuming O'Reilly is quoted correctly (and, given that the source is Media Matters, we're dealing with a big "if"), let's see if he lied:

-O'Reilly cited the source as coming from "Pew Research or something like that".  The clear communication is that he did not remember the specific source.  That's why he said "or something like that" at the end.  No lie there.

-O'Reilly is then quoted as saying  "OK, but say a gay -- the question posed, "If a gay rights organization endorses you, would that make you more or less likely to vote' [sic] And most Americans said less likely."  The apparent source, according to Media Matters, is a Quinnipiac poll conducted in three major states, each in a different part of the country.  That may not be a classically national poll, but it certainly is no lie to call it national in scope. 

In my business, qualitative research, it is common and ordinary for people to conduct focus groups in "three geographically dispersed markets to make it more national".  I've heard that, sometimes verbatim, for over 35 years. Are all the professional researchers who said those words liars too?

-Finally, we have the actual poll results, which are shown below:.

2
  FL OH PA
More likely
10%
10%
11%
Less likely
28
34
28
Doesn't make a diff
60
54
59
DK/NA
2
2

In every case, a majority of the people who say it makes a difference to them are less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by a gay rights organization.  If O'Reilly said "...most Americans said less likely" he is misreading the poll.  The majority is only among Americans who say it makes a difference. 

Wow, woowoo, hooboy.  That's some "lie"  At worse, O'Reilly was correct about the people who said it made a difference, and partially wrong about the total sample - i.e. the total sample is less likely to vote for the candidate, but the majority is only of the people it makes a difference to.

Did O'Reilly show these data on the screen, the way I just showed them to you?  If so, anyone who was watching could see the exact results for themselves and would know O'Reilly was directionally, but not completely, correct.  If he was lying, would he show his audience the actual data which prove it?  Of course not. 

That is some slender thread to call O'Reilly a liar, but there it is. 

Then again, that's what Media Matters does.  Let's remember that the guy running media matters, David Brock, is a former conservative who wrote a lot of material - including a hit-piece book on Hillary Clinton - that he now has backtracked on.  Does that make HIM a liar?   There is a far better case to call Brock a liar than there is to call O'Reilly one on the basis of this BS.


JOSE PADILLA GUILTY ON ALL THREE COUNTS

Ken Berwitz

Remember Jose Padilla?  The LAMB *** poster boy for terrorist rights? 

It was just announced that he, and his equally depraved co-defendents, were found guilty on all three counts, which make him a convicted terrorist.

Get ready for the outrage at the ACLU, selected college campuses and the LAMB websites.  They don't ever seem to like it when people like this get nailed.

 

*** Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade


ARE FAMILIES FAIR GAME?

Ken Berwitz

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Rudy Giuliani was asked about his family, in the context of the presidential race.  Here, courtesty of www.breitbart.com and the Associated Press, is what was asked and how he answered:.

Giuliani: 'Leave My Family Alone'
Aug 16 11:46 AM US/Eastern
By LIBBY QUAID
Associated Press Writer
DERRY, N.H. (AP) - Republican Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that people should "leave my family alone" when asked by a New Hampshire woman why the presidential candidate should expect loyalty from voters when he doesn't get it from his children.

Giuliani has a daughter who has indicated support for Democrat Barack Obama and a son who said they didn't speak for some time. His ugly divorce from their mother, Donna Hanover, was waged publicly while Giuliani was mayor of New York. Giuliani has since remarried.

Answering questions at a town-hall meeting, Giuliani was asked why he should expect loyalty from GOP voters when his children aren't backing him.

"I love my family very, very much and will do anything for them. There are complexities in every family in America," Giuliani said calmly and quietly. "The best thing I can say is kind of, 'leave my family alone, just like I'll leave your family alone.'"

His comments were greeted with a smattering of applause from the audience of about 120 people. Giuliani urged them to judge him based on his performance as mayor and a federal prosecutor, and he launched into a list of his successes such as reducing crime and welfare and prosecuting organized crime figures and drug dealers.

The questioner, Derry mother Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien, opened by thanking Giuliani for how he handled the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and introduced him to her 5-year-old daughter, Abby, who was playing on the floor next to the platform where Giuliani stood.

Prudhomme-O'Brien, 36, wasn't certain about Giuliani's answer.

"If a person is running for president, I would assume their children would be behind them." she said. "If they're not, you've got to wonder."

She said the issue is a question mark that is "going to stay there for a lot of people."

Giuliani mentioned his wife, Judith, when he answered a question about Alzheimer's disease, saying she had helped raise money to fight the disease.

"We've been touched by it very close to our family, too," he said.

Giuliani focussed on health care during the hour-long forum, saying that buying health insurance ought to be like buying insurance for cars or a home, with people buying their own policies with different deductibles and types of coverage.

Employers and the government "never buy precisely what you want: they buy what they think is generally good," he said.

Giuliani wants to give families a 15,000 tax credit to buy insurance privately rather than through employers and he proposes that any money left over from the credit be kept in tax-free health savings accounts. 

.

Personally, my opinion is that if a question like that is asked sincerely (i.e. not in a way that is meant as a nasty personal attack), it is entirely fair game.

Rudy Giuliani has been married three times, he has at least one very embittered ex-wife (maybe both for all I know) and children who seem to have a distant relationship with him. 

I don't know why two of his marriages failed or his children feel this way.  It may have nothing, something or everything to do with Mr. Giuliani.  But, to the extent that the reasons could bear on his overall demeanor, how he would handle complex or unpleasant relationships, etc., the public has a right to know.

That said, isn't this Prudhomme-O'Brien woman someone who is also dogging Hillary Clinton with uncomfortable questions?  If I'm remembering correctly and she is the same person, maybe she's one of the hit-squad type people I referenced in the previous paragraph.  

At least she seems to be non-partisan...............


SO MUCH TO DEBUNK, SO LITTLE TIME.......

Ken Berwitz

Earlier today I put the lie to the lie that O'Reilly lied.  You can read it by scrolling back a bit, and I urge you to do just that.

Now let's put the lie to the claim that the re-authorization of the Patriot Act will.... "give the U.S.. Attorney General the sole power to decide whether individual states are providing adequate counsel for defendants in death penalty cases."..

Simply stated, it won't.  That is untrue.

Here is an explanation (a bit lengthy, but I can't help that) of the reality of the situation, from www.volokh.com, complete with a link to the Los Angeles Times article - both of which you should read, so you know for sure what's what.  The bold print is mine.:

.AG Involvement in Capital Appeals:

The Los Angeles Times reports today that the Justice Department is preparing to issue regulations that will authorize the Attorney General to determine whether capital defendants received adequate legal representation at trial in state court proceedings.

The Justice Department is putting the final touches on regulations that could give Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales important new sway over death penalty cases in California and other states, including the power to shorten the time that death row inmates have to appeal convictions to federal courts.

The rules implement a little-noticed provision in last year's reauthorization of the Patriot Act that gives the attorney general the power to decide whether individual states are providing adequate counsel for defendants in death penalty cases. The authority has been held by federal judges.

Under the rules now being prepared, if a state requested it and Gonzales agreed, prosecutors could use "fast track" procedures that could shave years off the time that a death row inmate has to appeal to the federal courts after conviction in a state court. . . .

The idea behind the new rules has been years in the making. The federal Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 set up a system in which states could take advantage of faster procedures so long as they could prove they had made sure defendants had had adequate counsel in state courts. California and several other states applied to the program starting in the late 1990s. But federal courts ruled that they were not doing enough to provide defendants with competent attorneys.

Frustrated with the pace of changes and believing that judges were part of the problem death penalty advocates Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) led a successful effort to include language in the Patriot Act last year that let the attorney general, rather than judges, decide whether states were ensuring death row inmates had adequate legal representation.

Under the law, the attorney general's decision could be challenged before the federal appeals court in Washington.

Justice Department officials are seeking public comment on the rules until Sept. 23, after which they will be finalized "as quickly as circumstances allow," said department spokesman Erik Ablin.

I am no expert on AEDPA or capital appeals, but this all seems somewhat bizarre to me. I recognize that the purpose here is to accelerate death penalty appeals which can drag on for years and years but it still seems like an odd (and potentially troubling) way to do it. Are there any VC readers that care to shed light on this reform and the proposed regulations?

UPDATE: Reader Mark Arnold, a civil attorney who received a court appointment to handle a habeas case, writes:

You'll find the statutes in chapter 154 of 28 U.S.C., 2261 thru 2266. The Sixth Amendment does not require counsel in state habeas cases and, for many years, the quality of such representation was extremely uneven in many states. The idea behind chapter 154 was to give the states an incentive to provide better quality state habeas representation, by establishing strict time limits for federal habeas review for states that met the standard. The state has every incentive, of course, to do the minimum necessary to qualify for fast track. The new statutory provisions take the responsibility for determining compliance from the courts and vest it in the AG.

There's no doubt that AEDPA addressed a legitimate concern. Granting the legitimacy of capital punishment, which is settled law, the states have a perfectly legitimate interest in carrying out their sentences within a reasonable time. Decades-long delays in executions are inconsistent with that interest and horribly unfair to the victim's family. AEDPA just found the wrong solution. The right answer is to skip the state habeas.

The way it's done today, the capital prisoner has a right of direct appeal from his trial. If he wants to raise collateral issues, such as ineffective assistance of counsel, he has to file a state habeas claim in state trial court. He gets discovery, a hearing and an order from which he can appeal. Then and only then can he go to federal court where he gets a third level of review, though usually only on the record made in state court. If he gets a certificate of appealability, he can appeal that too.

This triple review is wasteful and unnecessary and it creates enormous opportunities for waiver. If a capital defendant has an incompetent trial counsel and a good habeas counsel, he likely gets a new sentencing hearing. If he has an incompetent habeas lawyer, he's a dead man..

Now THAT is the real story. 

Under these regulations, the Attorney General can only have involvement if the state requests it.  He/she has no authority whatsoever to come into a death penalty case without that request.  What's more, the AG's decision is not final.  It can be challenged before the federal appeals court.

So we see again - and again and again and again - that the lunatic left websites often post absolute BS, or - as in this case - claims that have a grain of truth, but which are then distorted to create a BS conclusion.  And people who take them seriously, and repeat their claims, are being made fools of.  Which is terribly sad.

Are there lunatic-rightwing sites that do the same thing?  There probably are.  And if/when I am shown credible examples I will be just as quick to condemn them as I am the left.  That's a promise and a guarantee. But I have to see them first.  The BS I'm seeing right now is from the left.


ARE FAMILIES FAIR GAME?

Ken Berwitz

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Rudy Giuliani was asked about his family, in the context of the presidential race.  Here, courtesty of www.breitbart.com and the Associated Press, is what was asked and how he answered:.

Giuliani: 'Leave My Family Alone'
Aug 16 11:46 AM US/Eastern
By LIBBY QUAID
Associated Press Writer
DERRY, N.H. (AP) - Republican Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that people should "leave my family alone" when asked by a New Hampshire woman why the presidential candidate should expect loyalty from voters when he doesn't get it from his children.

Giuliani has a daughter who has indicated support for Democrat Barack Obama and a son who said they didn't speak for some time. His ugly divorce from their mother, Donna Hanover, was waged publicly while Giuliani was mayor of New York. Giuliani has since remarried.

Answering questions at a town-hall meeting, Giuliani was asked why he should expect loyalty from GOP voters when his children aren't backing him.

"I love my family very, very much and will do anything for them. There are complexities in every family in America," Giuliani said calmly and quietly. "The best thing I can say is kind of, 'leave my family alone, just like I'll leave your family alone.'"

His comments were greeted with a smattering of applause from the audience of about 120 people. Giuliani urged them to judge him based on his performance as mayor and a federal prosecutor, and he launched into a list of his successes such as reducing crime and welfare and prosecuting organized crime figures and drug dealers.

The questioner, Derry mother Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien, opened by thanking Giuliani for how he handled the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and introduced him to her 5-year-old daughter, Abby, who was playing on the floor next to the platform where Giuliani stood.

Prudhomme-O'Brien, 36, wasn't certain about Giuliani's answer.

"If a person is running for president, I would assume their children would be behind them." she said. "If they're not, you've got to wonder."

She said the issue is a question mark that is "going to stay there for a lot of people."

Giuliani mentioned his wife, Judith, when he answered a question about Alzheimer's disease, saying she had helped raise money to fight the disease.

"We've been touched by it very close to our family, too," he said.

Giuliani focussed on health care during the hour-long forum, saying that buying health insurance ought to be like buying insurance for cars or a home, with people buying their own policies with different deductibles and types of coverage.

Employers and the government "never buy precisely what you want: they buy what they think is generally good," he said.

Giuliani wants to give families a 15,000 tax credit to buy insurance privately rather than through employers and he proposes that any money left over from the credit be kept in tax-free health savings accounts. 

.

Personally, my opinion is that if a question like that is asked sincerely (i.e. not in a way that is meant as a nasty personal attack), it is entirely fair game.

Rudy Giuliani has been married three times, he has at least one very embittered ex-wife (maybe both for all I know) and children who seem to have a distant relationship with him. 

I don't know why two of his marriages failed or his children feel this way.  It may have nothing, something or everything to do with Mr. Giuliani.  But, to the extent that the reasons could bear on his overall demeanor, how he would handle complex or unpleasant relationships, etc., the public has a right to know.

That said, isn't this Prudhomme-O'Brien woman someone who is also dogging Hillary Clinton with uncomfortable questions?  If I'm remembering correctly and she is the same person, maybe she's one of the hit-squad type people I referenced in the previous paragraph.  

At least she seems to be non-partisan...............


DID O'REILLY LIE?

Ken Berwitz

Tiresome though it is to debunk this stuff over and over again, here's the latest installment:

Assuming O'Reilly is quoted correctly (and, given that the source is Media Matters, we're dealing with a big "if"), let's see if he lied:

-O'Reilly cited the source as coming from "Pew Research or something like that".  The clear communication is that he did not remember the specific source.  That's why he said "or something like that" at the end.  No lie there.

-O'Reilly is then quoted as saying  "OK, but say a gay -- the question posed, "If a gay rights organization endorses you, would that make you more or less likely to vote' [sic] And most Americans said less likely."  The apparent source, according to Media Matters, is a Quinnipiac poll conducted in three major states, each in a different part of the country.  That may not be a classically national poll, but it certainly is no lie to call it national in scope. 

In my business, qualitative research, it is common and ordinary for people to conduct focus groups in "three geographically dispersed markets to make it more national".  I've heard that, sometimes verbatim, for over 35 years. Are all the professional researchers who said those words liars too?

-Finally, we have the actual poll results, which are shown below:.

2
  FL OH PA
More likely
10%
10%
11%
Less likely
28
34
28
Doesn't make a diff
60
54
59
DK/NA
2
2

In every case, a majority of the people who say it makes a difference to them are less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by a gay rights organization.  If O'Reilly said "...most Americans said less likely" he is misreading the poll.  The majority is only among Americans who say it makes a difference. 

Wow, woowoo, hooboy.  That's some "lie"  At worse, O'Reilly was correct about the people who said it made a difference, and partially wrong about the total sample - i.e. the total sample is less likely to vote for the candidate, but the majority is only of the people it makes a difference to.

Did O'Reilly show these data on the screen, the way I just showed them to you?  If so, anyone who was watching could see the exact results for themselves and would know O'Reilly was directionally, but not completely, correct.  If he was lying, would he show his audience the actual data which prove it?  Of course not. 

That is some slender thread to call O'Reilly a liar, but there it is. 

Then again, that's what Media Matters does.  Let's remember that the guy running media matters, David Brock, is a former conservative who wrote a lot of material - including a hit-piece book on Hillary Clinton - that he now has backtracked on.  Does that make HIM a liar?   There is a far better case to call Brock a liar than there is to call O'Reilly one on the basis of this BS.


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