Thursday, 11 October 2007

MATTHEW HAY BROWN UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I challenged Matthew Hay Brown, a reporter on the Baltimore Sun, reagarding his article about the Frost family.  My points were very specific, as you will see below.  The letter was sent via e-mail to Mr. Brown tl the address provided at the end of Mr. Brown's article, so there is no doubt that responses were both acceptable and anticipated.

You can scroll back to yesterday's blog to see the article I took exception to.  But here is what I wrote to Mr. Brown:.

For god sake, read your own article.

These people are telling you that their combined income - of a skilled tradesman and clerical worker - is $45-50,000.  But they won't show you their tax return.  Do you believe that?

The head of household is telling you that he makes a minimal income and has no employees.  But he purchased a warehouse in 1999 and owns it to this day. 

What the hell is he warehousing?  The tax returns he wont show you?

The Frosts own a house that apparently is worth almost half a million dollars, their four children all go to private school, but they dont have insurance?  He needs S-CHIP just like someone out of work living in a tenement?

When do you suspend disbelief?  What does it take to get you to see this was a maudlin, cynical tear-jerking political routine? 

Would you believe this if the Frosts were Republicans?. .

 

It is now 24 hours later.  I have had no response from Mr. Brown.  Maybe I'll get one at a later time (and if I do it will be posted here verbatim).  But I'm starting to get the sense that there won't be any response at all. 

 

Now why do you suppose?


HILLARY RULES

Ken Berwitz

I pulled this from the Ace Of Spades website.  It says volumes about hillary clinton -- and about the mainstream media which, as usual, can be counted on not to report things like this to you:.

Senator Clinton, who is using images from ground zero in a new television ad for her presidential campaign, sharply criticized President Bush when he put pictures from the World Trade Center site in his campaign advertising.

"The President has said in the past that he would do nothing that would politicize this terrible tragedy," Mrs. Clinton was quoted as saying in the Daily News on March 6, 2004, shortly after Mr. Bush's ads were released. "I hope that they would be more sensitive going forward."

Mrs. Clinton's new 30-second ad, which is running in Iowa and New Hampshire, includes a black-and-white still photograph of firefighters walking through the rubble and another of Mrs. Clinton wearing a dust mask as she met with rescue personnel.

"She stood by ground zero workers who sacrificed their health after so many sacrificed their lives, and kept standing until this administration took action," an announcer says over the post-attack images, which are the first to appear in television advertising from a 2008 presidential candidate. .

If you're waiting for Ms. Clinton to be villified over this by an outraged print and broadcast media, you're kidding yourself.   It ain't gonna happen.

So, again, we see mainstream media treating heroine hillary with a deference that no Republican - and most Democrats - would never get in a million years.

How many FBI files did she get her hands on anyway?


ANGRY COMICS

Ken Berwitz

This has absolutely nothing to do with politics.  But I found it so interesting that I thought you might too.

It is a piece from the New York Post's "Page Six" (which, by the way, never appears on page 6 of the newspaper), which talks about the angry underbelly of comedy. 

Take it for what it's worth:.

October 11, 2007 -- SURE, they're funny, but the world's top comedians are also full of anger and rage - toward each other.

In the upcoming book "Comedy at the Edge," which chronicles the rise of stand-up in the 1970s, David Brenner tells author Richard Zoglin he once threatened to attack Robin Williams for stealing his material and using it on HBO. Calling up Williams' agent, Brenner warned, "Tell Robin if he ever takes one more line from me, I'll rip his leg off and shove it up his [bleep]!" Williams tells Zoglin he was simply "sampling" material from others.

Richard Belzer, who plays Det. John Munch on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," was perceived as lazy and full of himself by other comics when he would play at Catch a Rising Star. Paul Reiser told the author, "There were nights people would feel very entitled - I'm a big shot and [bleep] you. A lot of near-fistfights. Belzer was one of those guys who was very indulged. He was given the run of the house, whether high or drunk." Added Bill Maher: "I never once saw [Belzer] do a set sober."

Pioneering female comic Elaine Boosler "could have been a major star. But she was too difficult to work with," says Carolines owner Caroline Hirsch, adding that Boosler once walked out of a show because she didn't like her opening act, Emo Phillips.

Mike Binder, creator of TV's "The Mind of the Married Man," recalls how Mitzy Shore, the mother of Paulie Shore who co-founded L.A.'s Comedy Store, chewed him out. When Binder, a stand-up vet, produced his first HBO special, Shore called. Binder recalled, "I was expecting congratulations. But she was furious. She starts screaming, 'You stole that from me! I'm the one that produces specials - you do comedy!' "

Shore could be prickly, for sure. She told Zoglin that when a hot comic named Jerry Seinfeld came to her club in 1980, she practically turned him away at the door. "I didn't like his attitude. He didn't fit in," she said. For his part, Seinfeld recalled, "Mitzi Shore didn't like me . . . She told me to my face. She felt so many people liked me, that's not good for a comedian. She wanted me to seek her counsel. She was like the kid with drugs at the school - if you want to be my friend, you'll buy drugs from me."

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BEND OVER AND GET READY.....

Ken Berwitz

When you elect a Democratic congress, and Democrats are owned and operated by the Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade, featuring all things george soros, what do you think is going to happen to the tax structure?

Or, more particularly, what do you think will happen to the tax structure if you have the temerity to be successful in any way?  A producer?  Someone who earns rather than takes?

Well, this article, from www.politico.com, should give you a bit of insight.  Read it well:.

The trillion dollar tax fight

By: Lisa Lerer
Oct 9, 2007 06:05 AM EST

By now, everyone knows Rep. Charles B. Rangel is poised to introduce the mother of all tax reforms, the biggest and most expensive tax code overhaul since 1986. But what they dont know is how the New York Democrat plans to pay the more than $1 trillion price tag and that uncertainty is fueling rampant speculation from Capitol Hill to K Street. 

The classic Washington guessing game is frustrating anxious corporate lobbyists but amusing others, including the House Ways and Means Committee chairman who started it all. It is surprising how nervous people get when I use the words fairness and equity to describe our efforts to simplify the tax code and encourage economic investment, the New York Democrat told Politico. 

The fiscal fortunetellers fall into four categories: Robin Hoods, Goldilockses, Chicken Littles and Scarecrows. 

The Robin Hoods predict Rangel will increase taxes on the very rich and expand breaks for the poor. Rangels most talked-about goal is to eradicate the alternative minimum tax, expected to hit 23 million high- and middle-income families this year. 

Repealing the AMT would reduce federal tax revenue by more than $800 billion over the next 10 years and thats assuming the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010. With the tax cuts in place, the costs would near $1 trillion. 

Robin Hoods expect Rangel to swap the AMT for a new tax targeted exclusively at the highest-income payers. One often-mentioned idea, proposed by Leonard Burman, director of the Urban Institutes Tax Policy Center, would impose a 4 percent surcharge on unmarried taxpayers making more than $100,000 a year and couples making more than $200,000. 

The 4 percent tax proposal is more progressive than the AMT, Burman said, as it would place more of the tax burden on the wealthy. Almost 58 percent of the tax would be paid by taxpayers with incomes over $1 million. Under the current AMT law, the same group will pay only 8 percent of the AMT in 2010 again, assuming the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. 

Burmans idea carries more than a whiff of irony. The AMT was originally designed to increase taxes on high-income individuals. When it was first passed in 1969 a year before Rangel came to Congress it targeted 155 high-income taxpayers. 

Over the past 38 years, the AMT spiraled far beyond its initial targets. By 2017, it is estimated that the tax would hit at least one-third of all taxpayers. 

Burman says his proposal would raise enough money to finance a complete repeal of the AMT, but, he cautions, it is not without political peril. The advantage is that only high-income people pay the tax, he said. The disadvantage is that some people are going to be paying more taxes and arent going to be very happy about it. 

Thats the reason another group the Goldilockses anticipates a slightly different landscape. This group predicts that Rangel will cobble funding together through a set of tax code tweaks. The Goldilockses say hell try closing different variations of the so-called tax loopholes until he finds the politically palatable mix thats just right, as Goldilocks once said. 

There are a lot of problems with the code, so theres a lot that would have to get moved around to make it work, says Cristina Begona Martin Firvida, director of government affairs for the National Womens Law Center. Were assuming that theyre thinking of moving a lot of pieces. 

The Goldilocks path wouldnt be easy for Rangel. After all, the more industries you tax, the more enemies you make in the process.

The current debate over the so-called carried interest bill, argue the Goldilockses, is a preview of the kinds of fights to come. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Rangel, would more than double the taxes paid by investment managers, and it has drawn the vocal opposition of much of the business community. 

Academics estimate the bill would raise anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion. (The Joint Tax Committee has yet to release a calculation.)

Another, albeit unlikely, tweak would involve reducing or even eliminating deductions for state and local taxes. The idea was proposed in the final report of President Bushs Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, put out in November 2005. 

This change most likely would benefit rich taxpayers who are more likely to itemize deductions, Burman said. But those in lower income brackets would be loath to lose any type of deduction, as well a feeling theyd certainly share with their congressmen.

Firvida and others mention an economic substance law, an idea proposed by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas). The law would crack down on companies using shelters solely to avoid taxes. A similar idea is under consideration by the Senate Finance Committee, which estimates the law would raise roughly $10 billion.

Above all, Republicans fear that Rangel will drum up dollars by raising the 15 percent capital gains tax rate. The 1986 tax reform package raised the rate to 28 percent, the highest in more than 50 years. Since then, the rate has been lowered during both the Clinton and the current Bush administrations.

Democrats in Congress have been relatively quiet on the issue, but Democratic presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) have supported the increase on the campaign trail.

A small but growing group of Chicken Little-style predictors are churning fears with cataclysmic claims about Rangels intentions. We are looking at the remainder of the year to be ground zero for the tax fight of all tax fights, said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.). This tax hike is going to hit the American people, businesses and investors who are, quite frankly, relying on this Congress to be fiscally prudent.

Finally, there are the world-weary voices of the Scarecrows, who offer the sort of thoughtful analysis of perilous predicaments that calmed the characters fellow travelers in Oz. The tax sky isnt really falling, they say, and its highly unlikely Rangel will get much done before the end of the session. Rather, hes simply setting the stage for a longer battle.

What can I do? asked R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of government affairs at the Chamber of Commerce. I cant flail around town at every little comment or breath or utterance he makes.

Both the administration and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) support a one-year fix of the AMT. What we need to get done and can get done is a patch that can fix the AMT, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in a private meeting with reporters last month.

In the House, Rangel would be waging an uphill fight to win over both Republicans and fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats. And next year, of course, the elections will steal the stage.

A lot of time was involved in the 1986 effort, Burman said. It took a couple years of work and required strong support from the president. You really need bipartisan support.

With a veto-loving president and a stymied Congress, that sounds about as likely to happen as a fairy tale.
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I read this and I can't help thinking of that riotously funny lyric from Mel Brooks' The Producers:  "Springtime, for hitler, and Germany....winter, for Poland and France..."   Except the version that comes to my mind is "Springtime, for people, whose hands are out, Winter, for people who earn"

Personally, I do not believe entirely in either side's hardline positions.  I agree that there must be a significant social safety net for people at the bottom of the economic ladder and that the burden necessarily has to be shouldered more by those at the top. 

But when this logical, compassionate position is pushed too far, you get people at the bottom who have no incentive to move upward (they lose too much by becoming productive) and people at the top who are incented to hide and shelter their money because so much is being taken away and handed to those who didn't work for or earn it.

As a vote-getter, this is a natural.  Robin Hood is great political theater.  There are a lot more downscale voters than upscale ones. But as economic or social policy?  It is a demonstrated failure. 

Look at the welfare reform act of 1996 - which Bill Clinton vetoed twice, but then grudgingly passed in an election year**.  I challenge you to find one piece of legislation that has done more for getting people out of dependency and into productivity than that. 

Do we really want to push them backwards again?

**No, this does not contradict my point that Robin Hood legislation woks because there are more downscale voters than upscale.  Downscale does NOT equate to welfare recipient.  And there are a great many "downscale" voters who resent the fact that they work hard to not be on welfare, while others siphon money from them by not working at all.


NORMAN HSU (REMEMBER HIM?)

Ken Berwitz

Remember Norman Hsu? 

Given the fact that his name has been out of the news for a month now it may be fading from your memory, so let me give you a quick refresher course:  Norman Hsu is the guy who gave tons of dirty money to Democrats - $850,000 to Hillary Clinton alone either directly or through intermediaries. 

Unlike Jack Abramoff, who gave most, but not all, of his dirty money to Republicans (Democrats got about one third), Norman Hsu gave ALL his money to Democrats.

And unlike Jack Abramoff, who was front page news for weeks because most (again, not all) of his money went to Republicans, Norman Hsu was given the two-day-and-out treatment. 

Hsu is a major scandal for Democrats in general and a huge scandal for Hillary Clinton in particular.  So......no need to cover it at all.  Move along sheeple, nothing to see here.

Today, however, the Los Angeles Times has found a reason to put him back in the news. Here is the article:.

Hsu's love of wine and Clinton on display

More than 180 pricey bottles and a saxophone believed to have been signed by the former president were seized from his home, documents show.
By Robin Fields and Chuck Neubauer, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
October 11, 2007
Disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu had a well-known affection for fine living and all things Clinton. And his collector's taste and eye were on display Wednesday, when federal authorities unsealed documents showing they had seized more than 180 bottles of pricey wine from Hsu's New York apartment, as well as a saxophone believed to have been autographed by President Clinton.

Experts valued the wine collection -- which includes dozens of bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild and vintage Cristal champagne, as well as California wines such as Opus One -- at up to $100,000.
 
I  wish I had this collection," said Robert Yetman, a wine-industry consultant and professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. "It's a little showy, but nice."

Per Holmberg, director of acquisitions for Vinfolio, a San Francisco company that sells fine wine to collectors, called Hsu's selections classic -- the choices of "a true bon vivant."

Until recently, Hsu, 56, traveled in glittering circles as one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's most prolific supporters, raising more than $1.2 million for the New York Democrat and other Democratic candidates in the last three years.

In August, however, The Times revealed he was a fugitive, wanted in connection with a 1991 theft case. Since then, federal prosecutors have accused the Hong Kong native of masterminding a $60-million Ponzi scheme and breaking election laws by reimbursing associates for political donations made in their names.

Hsu also has been sued by investors in Southern California and New York who say he defrauded them and, in some cases, pressured them to make campaign contributions.

Hsu is being held without bail in San Mateo County jail, where he is likely finding the beverages below his usual standards, judging by his wine collection.

Beyond the 11 bottles of 1982 Lafite Rothschild, which could be worth $2,000 to $3,500 apiece, experts cited Hsu's other French Bordeaux and several bottles of Penfolds Shiraz, an Australian wine, as the best and most expensive in his collection.

It was unclear how Hsu acquired the saxophone. Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Sen. Clinton's campaign, said Bill Clinton had signed many instruments that have been sold to benefit charities or party organizations.

Saxophones signed by the former president have brought as much as $64,000 at recent charity auctions. 
I commend the Times for mentioning Hsu and the lifestyle his dirty money fueled.  Because something is better than nothing.
 
But I also condemn them, and the other major print and broadcast venues, for burying the Hsu scandal all this time and therefore giving media's apparent favorite, heroine Hillary, a free pass on this scandal. 
 
If it were, say, Rudy Giuliani getting almost a million dollars from a dirtbag through nefarious means, would they have been so kind?


POLLING UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

I periodically blog about how President Bush is doing in the polls, versus the Democratic congress.  Well, today's the day.

I have gone to www.pollingreport.com (you can too, it's as easy as pie), taken the last half dozen polls on President Bush and congress, and averaged them.

As of today, President Bush has an average approval rating of 32%

Congress has an average approval rating of 25%.

Make of it what you will.


THE NOOSE TIGHTENS AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Ken Berwitz

For two days now the lead story on New York's local news has been the noose that was found in front of a Black professor's office at Columbia University.  There have been "protest marches", statements from every politician who can scrounge up air time, and the media frenzy has been dizzying.

But wait.

Give the outrage a rest for a minute or two and read this, with special emphasis on the parts I've put in bold print:.

Police: Columbia Won't Turn Over Video

Thursday, October 11, 2007

(10-11) 11:24 PDT NEW YORK, (AP) --

Columbia University has refused to turn over security videotape that could help identify who hung a noose on a black professor's office door, police said Thursday.

Investigators began asking on Wednesday for tapes from cameras in the building, but have been rebuffed by administrators, said Paul Browne, the New York Police Department's top spokesman.

He said police will have to get a court order to force the school to provide video they believe could crack the case.

"It's unfortunate because it adds a time-consuming step to the investigation," Browne said.

A Columbia spokesman did not return a request for comment.

Authorities were testing the 4-foot-long twine noose for DNA evidence, but had no suspects as of Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, the professor who was the target of the attack, Madonna Constantine, told hundreds of faculty and students at a rally on the Ivy League campus that the noose was a "blatant act of racism" that "reeks of cowardice and fear."

"I'm upset that our community has been exposed to such an unbelievably vile incident," she said.

Police believe the noose was placed on the doorknob of Constantine's office at Teachers College Columbia's graduate school of education Tuesday morning, when a colleague spotted it and notified authorities.

Police declined to discuss possible motives or suspects.

Constantine, 44, told police there was "ill will" between her and another professor who had replaced her while she was on an extended leave, a police official said.

But the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation had not been completed, stressed that the dispute was only one possible lead, and that police were also looking into whether "disgruntled students, anyone upset with grades" were involved.

Court records show Constantine filed a defamation lawsuit in May against another professor of psychology and education, Suniya S. Luthar.

The one-page filing in Manhattan's state Supreme Court also accuses Luthar of libel and slander and asks for $100,000 in damages. The single page was signed only by Constantine and does not indicate if she had a lawyer.

Luthar declined to discuss the lawsuit. She wouldn't say if she had spoken with police about the noose.

"I think it is an unspeakably ghastly, horrible incident," she said Thursday.

The state Attorney General's office also sent lawyers from its civil rights bureau and investigators to look into the case, said spokesman Jeffrey Lerner.

Constantine, a professor of psychology and education, has written about race, including a book entitled "Addressing Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings."

Nooses reviled as symbols of lynchings in the Old South have showed up in several places around the country.

Last year in Jena, La., three white students hung nooses from an oak tree outside the high school, inflaming racial tensions. Nooses also have turned up in a black Coast Guard cadet's bag, in a police station locker room on New York's Long Island, and on a Maryland college campus.

Teachers College held a community meeting Wednesday to discuss the case, which comes on the heels of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's inflammatory visit to the school and the recent discovery of racist graffiti in the bathroom of a campus building.

Teachers College, founded in 1887, describes itself as the nation's oldest and largest graduate school of education.

According to the university's Web site, the college brought black teachers from the South to New York for teacher training in the early part of the 20th century, when schools in the South were segregated.  .

Maybe this is exactly as reported; a flat-out racist attack on a Black professor.  If so, catch the one(s) who did it and prosecute as harshly as possible.

But after reading this article, are you still as sure?  I know I'm not.

What possible reason would Columbia University have for withholding this tape --- other than that it might show something other than a White racist placing the noose there?

Can you come up with one?  I can't.

I'm sorry to say so, but this is starting to have a very bad aroma to it.  Columbia has a security tape that would cover the time this noose was placed, but they will not allow authorities to see the tape and they won't tell anyone why.

Will media pressure them to release the tape?  And if they won't, why won't they?  Here's a possible reason:

-For two days media have inundated us with countless stories which presuppose that placing the noose in front of Professor Constantine's office was a racist act.  If this turns out not to be an act of racism, Columbia University and the quick-to-protest students aren't the only ones who look ridiculous;  the media which rushed to judgement without waiting to learn the facts will look at least as bad.

That, folks, is the recipe for a coverup.

Oh, by the way, since the article didn't mention the ethnicity of Suniya S. Luthar, the professor whom Ms. Constantine filed suit against, I will tell you that she is Indian...and clearly non-White.  I do NOT accuse her of placing the noose.  But I feel that, under the circumstances, she has to be a suspect. 

In my book, it is journalistic misfeasance to talk about this as a possible racist incident and not mention the race of a possible suspect.


THE REAL DEFINITION OF "SWIFTBOATING"

Ken Berwitz

I can't say it any better than this:

 



TIME MAGAZINE SHILLS FOR DEMOCRATS (AGAIN)

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged about Graeme Frost, the 12 year old boy Democrats used as a front, to gain sympathy for their ridiculous SCHIP (State Child Heath Insurance Program) legislation; legislation that would not - repeat, NOT - restrict coverage to poor children, but would provide it to children in families which are fully able to insure themselves.

It was cynical, maudlin and disgusting to trot a 12 year old out like that.  But hardly new to Democrats, who used an even younger child at their 2004 convention to lecture and insult Vice President Cheney.  Remember?

Anyway, there has been a lot of bad reaction to the Graeme Frost incident, in no small part because his family appears to be so far beyond the means that SCHIP legislation is supposed to be addressing. 

So Time Magazine, ever vigilant to protect their Party Of Choice, has put out a blatantly partisan article about the Frost family that goes 100 extra miles to defend its "need" for SCHIP, and excoriates people (like me) who think it is a scandal.  Here is what Time has to say:.

The Swift-Boating of Graeme Frost

If you listen closely to the two-minute radio address that 12-year-old Graeme Frost delivered last week for the Democrats, you can hear the lingering effects of the 2004 car crash that put him into a coma for a week and left one of his vocal chords paralyzed. "Most kids my age probably haven't heard of CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program," he says in a voice that sounds weak and stressed. "But I know all about it, because if it weren't for CHIP, I might not be here today."

Graeme, whose sister suffered worse brain injuries when their family SUV hit a patch of black ice, was making an appeal for President Bush to reconsider his veto of legislation that would have expanded the program designed to provide health coverage to children of the working poor those who are too rich to qualify for Medicaid, but unable to afford private insurance.

Since then, Frost and his family have been introduced first-hand to something else that most kids his age haven't: the reality of how brutal partisan politics can be in the Internet age. It started over the weekend, when a blogger calling himself Icwhatudo put up a post on the conservative website Freerepublic.com noting what he had found by scavenging around the internet: that Graeme attends a private school, lives in a remodeled house near one that had sold for $485,000 in March and is the child of parents whose wedding was announced in the New York Times. The post also noted that his father purchased a $160,000 commercial space in 1999.

"One has to wonder that if time and money can be found to remodel a home, send kids to exclusive private schools, purchase commercial property and run your own business... maybe money can be found for other things," the blogger wrote. "Maybe Dad should drop his woodworking hobby and get a real job that offers health insurance rather than making people like me (also with 4 kids in a 600sf smaller house and tuition $16,000 less per kid and no commercial property ownership) pay for it in my taxes."

That was just the beginning of what turned into a Category 5 hurricane on the blogosphere. Typical of the tone was what Mark Steyn wrote on National Review Online: "Bad things happen to good people, and they cause financial problems and tough choices. But, if this is the face of the 'needy' in America, then no one is not needy." Nameless commenters to conservative blogs were even harsher. "Let 'em twist in the wind and be eaten by ravens," wrote one one on Redstate.com, who was quoted in the Baltimore Sun. "Then maybe the bunch of socialist patsies will think twice."

It turns out, however, that not everything about the Frosts' life pops up on a Google search. While Graeme does attend a private school, he does so on scholarship. Halsey Frost is a self-employed woodworker; he and his wife say they earn between $45,000 and $50,000 a year to provide for their family of six. Their 1936 rowhouse was purchased in 1990 for $55,000. It was vacant and in a run-down neighborhood that has improved since then, in part because of people like themselves who took a chance. It is now assessed at $263,140, though under state law the value of that asset is not taken into account in determining their eligibility for SCHIP. And while they are still uninsured, they claim it is most certainly not by choice. Bonnie Frost says the last time she priced health coverage, she learned it would cost them $1,200 a month.

In short, just as the radio spot claimed, the Frosts are precisely the kind of people that the SCHIP program was intended to help.

While the family continues to support the vetoed bill that would expand the program to 4 million more children, they are hoping to remove themselves from the middle of the storm. After giving a few interviews, Halsey and Bonnie Frost now say they don't want to say anything more, though network camera crews have planted themselves in front of their house.

Halsey did have this to say in an e-mail to me:

"My son Graeme has helped put on a human face, that of a young boy, representing the needs of children and families across this nation. We are a hard working family that has stepped forward to support SCHIP. Mudslinging from the fringe has now been directed at the messenger. To be smeared all over the Internet and receive nasty e-mail my family does not deserve this retribution. It is both shameful and pathetic.

"Driven by a most dubious agenda, shortsighted cut-and-paste bloggers, lacking all the facts, have made a feeble attempt at being crack reporters. This is an aberrant attempt to distract the American people from what the real issues are. Hard working American families need affordable health insurance.

"I find it morally reprehensible, and the act of a true coward, to publicly (world wide) smear a man and his family and not sign one's own real name to what they have written. I sign my name to what I write.

-Halsey Frost"

He also passed along a letter from a friend, Andrew Gray, who wrote: "Chances are, Bonnie, Halsey and their kids will survive this. The sad reality is that they've already been through much worse. But what does it say about us as a nation that we seek to destroy the reputations of those we should honor? Have we become so cynical and nasty that we no longer can recognize simple courage and decency?"

Politics has never been a gentle game. As far back as 1895, satirist Finley Peter Dunne's fictional saloonkeeper Martin Dooley observed that women, children and prohibitionists would do well to stay out of it, because "politics ain't beanbag." But surely, even Mr. Dooley could never have imagined a day would come when a mere seventh grader could be swift-boated. .

I feel like a flea in a dog pound.  I don't know where to begin:

Let's just bullet out some of the key points (there are more, but how many do you need?):

-The term "swiftboating", which again, as per usual in mainstream media, is used to convey unfair or untrue criticism, is itself unfair and untrue.  The Swiftboat Veterans For Truth were not the ones lying, john kerry was the one lying.  That is why HE, rather than THEY had to change the stories about, among other things, being in Cambodia during Christmas, 1968 and getting his first purple heart via enemy combat.  Both were BS stories that kerry had to back away from.  So even Time's headline is fraudulent;

-Republicans and bloggers did not subject Graeme Frost to "brutal partisan politics":  DEMOCRATS did.  Democrats put this 12 year old child out to read a script on their behalf.  What did they think was going to happen?  Did they think the opposition would say "well, he's only a kid so we can't dispute anything he says against our position on SCHIP"?   Does Karen Tumulty think that's what should happen? 

-Graeme Frost may attend private school on a scholarship. But there are reports that the Frosts have three OTHER children and THEY are in private school too.  Ms. Tumulty doesn't get around to mentioning that or explaining it.  How come?

-Also unexplained is the warehouse that this "self-employed woodworker" bought in 1999.  What did he buy it for?  Where the HELL did he get $160,000 to buy it?  Why does he still own it?  What does he need a warehouse for in the first place, since he's just a "self employed woodworker"?  When questions like this are ignored, they leave a smell.  And this one reeks to the high heavens.

-While the Frosts certainly were fortunate to have made out like bandits on the gentrification of their neighborhood, it still is true that they live in a house worth nearly a half million dollars.  That is an asset, just like when someone buys stocks and they sharply rise in value.  Why does this somehow not count?  Even if it isn't used in SCHIP computations, they still own the house, don't they?  It still indicates their financial status, doesn't it?

-And while we're on the subject of that house, while $55,000 may not seem like much now, the house was purchased in 1990.  Do yourself a favor and check where housing costs were then versus today.   You'll find that $55,000 then would be the equivalent of hundreds of thousands for the same house today. 

If Mr. Frost is,a self employed woodworker who, in 2007, makes under $40,000 (his wife contributes to the total income of $45,000-$50,000...can we assume she makes $10,000 a year?) what was he earning in 1990?  How could he possibly have afforded a $55,000 house then?

Anyone who takes even a cursory look at this story should be alternately laughing up their sleeve and holding their nose.  What a three dollar bill it is! 

And the funniest line of all?  .

"In short, just as the radio spot claimed, the Frosts are precisely the kind of people that the SCHIP program was intended to help."  .

If you believe that, you are a potato, a world-class spud. Or.....a partisan Democrat who writes for a "neutral" newsmagazine.


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