Tuesday, 03 November 2009

DID THE GOVERNATOR ACTUALLY DO IT??

Ken Berwitz

By now you may have heard that scurrilous report about California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's two-paragraph, seven-line letter of explanation for vetoing a bill. 

You may have heard that if you read the first letters of  each line vertically, they spell out a profane two-word expression.

Well, I think this is outrageous, so I have decided to show you how unfairly Governor Schwarzenegger is being maligned.  Here is the letter! 

 

Uhhhh...errrrrr.......

Never mind.


LIEBERMAN AND OBAMACARE

Ken Berwitz

Will he or won't he?

From Alexander Bolton, writing for www.thehill.com:

Reid reassures the left Lieberman is on board

By Alexander Bolton - 11/02/09 08:15 PM ET

Sen. Joe Lieberman has reached a private understanding with Majority Leader Harry Reid that he will not block a final vote on healthcare reform, according to two sources briefed on the matter.

The unpredictable Democrat-turned-Independent last week publicly stated he would join Republicans in filibustering the Democratic legislation after Reid (D-Nev.) announced he had included a government-run health insurance plan in the bill.

 

But sources said Reids staff is telling liberal interest groups that Lieberman (Conn.) has assured Reid he will vote with Democrats in the necessary procedural vote to end debate, perhaps with intentions to change the bill.

Lieberman keeps assuring Reid that hes OK, said one source. But hes one of those characters you never know with Joe.

Maybe hes talking tough to get the public option watered down or hes trying to get some stuff for himself on other topics or on other sections of the legislation, the source added. Hes basically trying to be a senator.

Liebermans spokesman said Monday that nothing has changed from last week, when the senator said he would support calling up the bill but would block a final vote.

Sen. Lieberman has made it clear that he will vote for the motion to proceed to the healthcare bill but will oppose cloture on a final bill if it contains a public option because he believes that it would worsen our national debt problem, said Lieberman aide Marshall Wittmann.

A spokesman for Reid declined to comment.

Liebermans vote is crucial because he likely represents the 60th vote needed to end debate in the Senate. Without him, Reid would be forced to fish on the other side of the aisle for a vote, something that has not come easily this Congress.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), the only Republican to vote for any healthcare reform bill in this Congress, has signaled she will likely join Republicans in filibustering the bill because Reid included a public option.

Reids staff has told anxious liberals that Lieberman has given the Democratic leader assurances that he will not wreck the reform bill because of Reids decision to include the public option, according to two sources briefed on the issue.

As a result, well-connected liberals inside the Beltway who are in touch with Reids office have taken a more optimistic view of Liebermans position, while activists and bloggers outside the loop have seethed over his statements from last week.

Would you bet money on what Lieberman will do?  I know I wouldn't.

If Joe Lieberman has shown us anything in the past few years, it is that he is perfectly willing to be a maverick.  And, while the politically astute move would be to say no to a filibuster but then vote against the bill when it comes to a (no-doubter) vote in our Democrate-dominated senate, this is still Lieberman. 

-Will he go back on what he has been saying and climb on board with Harry Reid (whom I doubt that he's particularly fond of)?  If so, he will almost certainly retain his chairmanship of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs - a position many partisan Democrats deeply resent him having. 

-Will he stick to what he has been saying and vote on the Republican side?  If so, he might lose his chairmanship, along with any good will that he still has with the Democratic hierarchy (at least until the next close vote).

The key ingredient is Lieberman's power as Democratic vote #60 -- the number of senators they need to avoid filibuster.  If Democrats strip him of his chairmanship they risk that Lieberman will retaliate by aligning with the Republican minority on the next major piece of legislation.  And the one after that and the one after that, etc.

Bottom line:  I don't care what Harry Reid or "sources" say, Lieberman is the guy holding all the cards.  And he will do whatever he wants to. 

So, remember that bet I talked about before?  Do yourself a favor and don't make it.


UNMESMERIZING

Ken Berwitz

It took some time but, if the latest Rasmussen research data are correct, unmesmerization is finally taking place and reality is taking hold in a big way:

49% Blame Bush for Economy, 45% Blame Obama

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Voters for the first time are blaming President Obama nearly as much as President Bush for the countrys continuing economic problems.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% still blame the economic situation on the recession that began under Bush. But 45% now say the nations economic problems are caused more by Obamas policies.

Just a month ago, 55% pointed the finger at Bush, while only 37% said the policies Obama has put in place since taking office were at fault. These findings had remained largely unchanged since May.

Sixty-two percent (62%) now trust their own judgment more than the presidents when it comes to the economic issues facing the nation, up three points from a month ago and up 13 points from early February. Twenty-seven percent (27%) trust Obamas economic judgment more, and 11% are not sure.

People are unmesmerizing.  They are coming to grips with the fact that it is no longer President Bush's economy, it is President Obama's. 

Mr. Obama  took ownership of this baby when the so-called "stimulus package" passed through his Democrat-majority congress and he signed it into law.  He assured us that, because of the package, unemployment would cap at 8% and 3.5 - 4.0 million more jobs would be created by the end of 2010.

If the "stimulus package" doesn't deliver on those promises -- and, to say the least, it is not delivering on them so far -- it won't be Bush whose promises turned out to be a hot steamy load.  It will be Obama.  And now more and more people are realizing as much.

Expect the unmesmerization process to continue.  As it should.


EIGHT YEARS? WHAT EIGHT YEARS?

Ken Berwitz

A quote from Robert Kennedy Jr., who presumably knows something about the recent gubernatorial history of New Jersey:

We cannot reward Republicans for what they did to this country during the eight years prior to Barack Obama," said the son of the late Attorney General and 1968 candidate for president. "How can Chris Christie come over and seriously run for governor? It's time for them (Republicans) to sit down and let someone else run the state."

It's time for them to sit down and let someone else run the state??????

Who does this genius think has been running the state for the last 8 years? 

For the non-Jersey folks in the house: 

-Eight years ago Jim McGreevey, the Democratic mayor of Woodbridge NJ, became Governor of New Jersey;

-In August, 2004, McGreevey resigned in disgrace, claiming that he was an aggrieved party because he was an oppressed gay man.  That was a lie - McGreevey resigned because half his administration was under indictment and the other half was either headed to jail or plea-bargaining (but he did do a great job streamlining the DMV, I'll give him that much - just as Mussolini made the trains run on time.  Mussolino didn't resign, he was killed and his body was hung by the feet, beaten and spat upon in Milan.  I am unaware of whether his last words were that he was an oppressed gay man);

-Richard Codey, the Democratic President of the senate, succeeded McGreevey and finished out his term;

-Codey (who I liked, by the way) ran for the Democratic nomination four years ago, but was up against Jon "moneybags" Corzine, who has spent the last decade or so buying elections to the senate and then the governorship.  Corzine spent his way to the nomination;

-Corzine ran against a perfectly awful candidate - Douglas Forrester.  Forrester was fabulously wealthy, but a pauper compared to Corzine.  Corzine beat him and has been Governor ever since.

Well, there are the last 8 years. 

And, as you can see, the only way for someone to "sit down and let someone else run the state" would be for Kennedy's guy to lose, not win.

Y'know what?  There is a real possibility Mr. Kennedy will get his wish today....though not the way he meant it.

=============================================================================

UPDATE:  Commenter Zeke is telling me that Governor Christy Whitman, who preceded Jim McGreevey, was responsible for upgrading and streamlining the DMV.  Zeke seems pretty positive, so I'll defer to his apparently more accurate knowledge of how it happened.  But the comparative to Mussolini still holds; I'm sure Ms. Whitman didn't claim that she was an oppressed gay male.

Zeke .... here's the URL: www,nytimes,com/1997/02/28/nyregion/court-allows-lawsuit-over-dmv-changes,html .... substitute . for , (11/03/09)

Zeke ... uhhh, Ken .... IIRC, it was Gov. Christie Whitman who privatized the DMV ... lotsa criticism for that from the unions ... ... Every time I go to the DMV now, people are muttering the same thing as they leave, "I put too much money in the parking meter ... it took no time to get things done." (11/03/09)


HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

Ken Berwitz

Now here's a story you don't come across every day:  two writers at a major newspaper getting into a fistfight. 

Well, it happened at the Washington Post, as reported by Michael Calderone at www.politico.com:

Fists Fly at Washington Post

Punches thrown in The Washington Post's newsroom?

 

AP - Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli found himself in the middle of an altercation Friday evening between Style reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia and editor Henry Allen, but will not say whether the two have been reprimanded by the paper.

We take this incident seriously and will address it appropriately, Brauchli told POLITICO, declining to comment further.

Reports that Allen punched Roig-Franzia surfaced Monday morning on FishbowlDC, Washingtonian and City Paper (which reported Brauchli was traveling).

Multiple Post sources independently confirmed to POLITICO that Roig-Franzia got hit while defending colleague Monica Hesse from harsh criticism leveled by her editor, Allen. 

Allen, according to the Washingtonian, had told Hesse that a piece she had written was the second worst story I have seen in Style in 43 years."

Roig-Franzia, also working a story with Hesse that ran Saturday, told Allen not to be such a csucker."

Allen swung twice, with one punch hitting Roig-Franzi, according to sources. Next, staffers on the 4th floor including Brauchli, whose office is temporarily across from the Style section jumped in to break up the altercation.

Allen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor who already took a buyout, has just three weeks left on his contract, and was not in the office Monday. Roig-Franzia is in the office.

A Post spokesperson declined to discuss private personnel matters.

I guess with three weeks left before he leaves anyway, there isn't much the Post can do about Allen.  Besides, who's to say What he is wrong?

But since he said this was the second worst story he'd seen in 43 years, wouldn't you love to know what the first was? 

I wonder what happened when he said that story was even worse than this one?  Did it stop at fisticuffs, or was there gunplay?


OBAMACARE'S AFFECT ON MEDICAL R & D

Ken Berwitz

Excerpted from Mona Charen's latest column -- please pay special attention to the paragraphs I've put in bold print:

My 16-year-old son, who has had Type I diabetes (an autoimmune disease distinct from Type II) since the age of nine, depends on a pump to live a reasonably normal life. If he didnt have an insulin pump a device the size of a cell phone that delivers insulin through a tube directly under his skin he would be required to give himself as many as four injections a day, as he did before he got the pump. And his life expectancy would be shorter.

In just the six years since David began using the pump, the technology has improved markedly. Whereas he used to have to insert the catheter (which must be changed every three days) with a two-inch needle, he now uses a much less painful spring-operated inserter. The programming has become more sophisticated as well. The pump can now deliver carefully calibrated doses for high-carb foods like pizza and ice cream foods that are otherwise parlous for
diabetics to enjoy and the pump is preset with carb counts for many common foods.

Insulin pumps provide better blood-sugar control than other diabetes treatments. But they are far from perfect. Even careful users will frequently experience highs (which increase the likelihood of long-term complications like heart disease and blindness) and lows (which can be immediately life-threatening).

Yes, we families with Type I pray for a cure. But the recent progress in technology has offered really tantalizing possibilities. Medical-device manufacturers have recently debuted a new technology that is key to the health of Type I diabetics continuous glucose monitors. These provide 24/7 data on the patients blood sugar to supplement the six daily finger sticks. Eventually, the combination of these two technologies the insulin pump and the continuous glucose monitor could provide the Holy Grail for Type I diabetics: an artificial pancreas. The AP would keep blood glucose at normal or near-normal levels and thus prevent the worst
effects of diabetes. Weve heard estimates that the technology may become available within five years.

Unless the medical-device industry is hit with a major tax.

While the U.S. leads the world in medical technology, most device makers are not huge conglomerates, but smaller companies already hurting in this recession. According to the Advanced Medical Technology Association, the industry consists of about 6,000 companies, most of which earn less than $100 million annually. The chief executive of B. Braun Medical, which makes pain-control devices, told the Washington Post that paying his share of the new tax would exceed my research and development budget. The $4 billion annual tax would represent about 40 percent of the industrys outlay for research and development ($9.6 billion).

If this tax is enacted, medical-device manufacturers will cut back drastically on R&D, and may have to lay off employees. In addition, they will charge higher prices for their products to compensate for the money confiscated by Washington. Since health-insurance plans frequently cover half or more of the cost of these already-expensive products, health-insurance rates would have to rise as well. This is just one more example of the ways health-care costs would be driven up, not down, by the Democrats reforms.

As for David, he will see the prospect of an artificial pancreas his greatest hope for a healthier and longer life recede over the horizon.

What will happen to Research & Development if "ObamaCare" is implemented? 

Do you have one or more members of your own family who would be affected?  How about you personally.

That's something worth thinking about.


VOTING IN NEW JERSEY

Ken Berwitz

Well, I just voted.  That should have been a simple enough job, since I knew who I was voting for and how I would vote on the one ballot initiative.

But it wasn't.

I came into the voting area for my district.  There was no line, just me and the three workers sitting at a desk, whose only function appeared to be finding voters' names from an alphabetized book and having them sign the book, and a voting slip.

My name is Berwitz.  B, E, R, W, I, T, Z.  It always has been.  It certainly was the last time I voted.  And I certainly was slotted into that alphabetical position within the book this time around, just like I was every other time.

Did you ever see the movie "Mother"?  Specifically, the scene when Debbie Reynolds (who played the title role) drove into a small shopping center, started looking for a parking space, and passed the same empty space three times before her son (played by Albert Brooks) went nuts on her?  I felt like the worker looking for my alphabetized name was auditioning for the sequel.

Not once.  Not twice.  But three times she thumbed through the B's, and passed it.   

After the second time she gave me a baleful look that, without a word being spoken, said "Nice try, bub, but you're not registered and you can't put one over on me". 

At that point I felt it was necessary to respell my name.  So I said "My name is Berwitz.  B, as in bell, E, R, W, I, T, Z"

She thumbed through a third time and, while doing so, said "B O?"

I said "No, B E, not B O.  I showered before I came here".  She didn't laugh, or even seem to understand I was trying to make a joke.

Now she was thumbing through the book with a farbissoner look on her face that indicated "I'm being embarrassed and it's this jerk's fault, not mine", I stopped her on the page with my name - believe me, she was about to pass it again - and got an even dirtier look for my trouble.

Ahhhh, The Garden State.  Home of carefree voting.

BOBW VERY SAD BUT TRUE- BUT I KNOW HOW TO SPELL CORZINE- IT IS SPELLED C-R-A-P (11/03/09)


GORE'S GLOBAL WARMING FORTUNE

Ken Berwitz

This excerpt, surprisingly, comes from an article in yesterday's New York Times:

Gores Dual Role in Spotlight: Advocate and Investor

By JOHN M. BRODER

Published: November 2, 2009

 

WASHINGTON Former Vice President Al Gore thought he had spotted a winner last year when a small California firm sought financing for an energy-saving technology from the venture capital firm where Mr. Gore is a partner.

 

Former Vice President Al Gore, who has become a major voice around the world on the issue of climate change, spoke last month at a forum in Dubai.

 

The company, Silver Spring Networks, produces hardware and software to make the electricity grid more efficient. It came to Mr. Gores firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valleys top venture capital providers, looking for $75 million to expand its partnerships with utilities seeking to install millions of so-called smart meters in homes and businesses.

 

Mr. Gore and his partners decided to back the company, and in gratitude Silver Spring retained him and John Doerr, another Kleiner Perkins partner, as unpaid corporate advisers.

 

The deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts. Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Mr. Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years.

 

Silver Spring Networks is a foot soldier in the global green energy revolution Mr. Gore hopes to lead. Few people have been as vocal about the urgency of global warming and the need to reinvent the way the world produces and consumes energy. And few have put as much money behind their advocacy as Mr. Gore and are as well positioned to profit from this green transformation, if and when it comes.

 

Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the worlds first carbon billionaire, profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.

 

Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asserted at a hearing this year that Mr. Gore stood to benefit personally from the energy and climate policies he was urging Congress to adopt.

 

Mr. Gore says that he is simply putting his money where his mouth is.

 

Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country? Mr. Gore said. I am proud of it. I am proud of it.

 What a great deal!

Many eminent scientists disagree that global warming is in any way man-made.  But most of our wonderful "neutral" media have made a point of suppressing their opinions and stereotyping them as a bunch of flat-earth kooks. 

And those same media have elevated Al Gore to demigod status -- which enables him to rake in untold sums of money by simultaneously using media's love affair to drive the global warming debate, and putting large sums of money into companies which then make huge profits from it.  And..."I am proud of it.  I am proud of it"

Lucky for Al that he didn't win the presidency in 2000***  Why, if that had happened, the man would be a veritable pauper today. 

====================================================================

***I know, I know, some of you still think he did win.  It's 2009 now.  Get over it.


LYING TO YOUR FACE ABOUT CREATING AND SAVING JOBS

Ken Berwitz

Want to see how blatantly the Obama administration is lying to our faces?

From Brad Heath and Matt Kelley of USA Today:

WASHINGTON - The federal government sent Bob Bray $26,174 in stimulus aid to fix a fence and replace the roofs on public apartments in Blooming Grove, Texas, a town of fewer than 900 people outside Dallas. He hired five roofers and an inspector to do the job.

But the number of jobs he reported to the government looked very different - 450 jobs.

"Oh, no," said Bray, who runs the local public housing authority part-time with his wife, Linda, when asked about the discrepancy. He said that he told the government that he had created six jobs but that a federal official told him that wasn't right. So he reported the number of hours the roofers worked instead. The Department of Housing and Urban Development caught the mistake, but he couldn't fix it before the jobs figures were published. "The money was great, but the reports are really confusing," he said. "I've been fighting with it for over a month and a half."

The administration reported Friday that stimulus recipients reported having created or saved 640,329 jobs this year, a figure it said buttressed its contention that the $787 billion package has had a significant economic impact. The jobs total is based on reports of more than 130,000 recipients of stimulus grants and contracts filed with the federal government.

Obama's senior adviser for the stimulus, Ed DeSeve, said last week that officials had "scrubbed" those reports for three weeks before they were released Friday, though he said some would still have errors.

USA TODAY reviewed the reports to determine the number of jobs created or saved per stimulus dollar. The review found 14 recipients that reported saving or creating more than 100 jobs for less than $1,500 per job - suggesting they overreported the number of jobs. Those included:

  The police department in Plymouth, Conn., claimed in its report that a $15,355 grant used to buy new computers had created or saved 108 jobs. The department had 22 law enforcement officers last year, according to the FBI. Mayor Vincent Festa said that the town has resorted to "counting paper clips" to save money but that it had no plans to lay off any of its police officers, even without the stimulus. He said he could not explain the report, and the town's police chief did not return telephone calls Monday.

  The Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, which employs about 500 people in its Head Start preschool program, reported creating or saving 935 jobs with about $1.3 million in funding. Beverly Wise, the group's fiscal officer, said she followed the advice of federal officials to come up with the number. "I thought it was high," Wise said of the number she reported, adding that the process was confusing. The group is using its stimulus money to give a 1.84% pay raise to its employees and pay for other needs such as playground equipment and training for the teachers who serve 2,300 low-income children.

 

  Teach for America, which helps place recent graduates in teaching jobs in urban and rural districts, reported that a $2 million grant created or saved 1,425 jobs. Spokeswoman Kerci Marcello Stroud said officials used that money to pay part of the salaries of 125 employees; a separate $6 million allowed it to expand the training program to include 1,300 more graduates.

 Liz Oxhorn, a spokeswoman for the White House stimulus effort, said the reports give "the American people one of the best looks ever at real-time information about a major initiative" and the reporting "allows people to find any mistakes, as it should - which will help us correct them promptly."

If these were mistakes, then half of them would show fewer jobs, not more.  Mistakes that only go in one direction are not mistakes.  They are lies.

That's right.  Lies.  They are lying.  To your face.  In full view.  Right on the 50 yard line.

Just like they have lied about so many other things.

And, by so doing, they are telling you what they think of you.  They think you are a complete idiot who can't figure this out.

Don't let them be right.


HUSBAND TECH SUPPORT

Ken Berwitz

From West Coast Russ -- and guaranteed to make you laugh even if you don't know a thing about computer programming.



INSTALLING A HUSBAND 

Dear Tech Support: , 

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and 
noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance, 
particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, 
which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0 

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable 
programs, such as: Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, 
and then installed undesirable programs such as : 
NBA 5.0, 
NFL 3.0 and 
Golf Clubs 4.1. 

Also Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2. 6 
simply crashes the system. 

Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 
to fix these problems, but to no avail. 

What can I do? 

Signed, 
Desperate 



DEAR DESPERATE, , 

First, keep in mind, 
Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while 
Husband 1.0 is an operating system. 

Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme. Html and 
try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to 
install the Guilt 3.0 update.

If that application works as designed , 
Husband 1.0 should then automatically run 
the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5. 

However, remember, overuse of the above application 
can cause Husband 1.0 to default to 
Grumpy Silence 2.5 , Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1 .

Please note that Beer 6. 1 is a very bad program 
that will download the Farting and Snoring Loudly Beta. 

Whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances install 
Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will 
eventually seize control of all your system resources.) 

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the 
Boyfriend 5.0-program. These are unsupported 
applications and will crash Husband 1.0</ SPAN> 

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, 
but it does have limited memory and cannot learn 
new applications quickly. You might consider 
buying additional software to improve memory 
and performance. We recommend 
Cooking 3.0 and 
Hot Lingerie 7.7. 

Good Luck! 
Tech Support


AS OF 9:50PM....

Ken Berwitz

McDonnell blows Deeds away in Virginia, and his Lt. Governor and Atty General win in landslides as well.

Chris Christie holding a slight lead with 60% counted, but since I don't know what part of New Jersey the other 40% is in, no way to tell if he's a winner (however, Independent Daggett, running at 6% is a good sign for Christie -- maybe his ads tying Corzine and Daggett together as tax-and-spenders brought some Republican oriented Daggett support back into the fold).

Hoffman-Owens?  Only 1% counted.  Who knows.

Nighty Night.

We'll talk tomorrow.

BOBW THE TIDE HAS TURNED THE NO-BAMA LINE OF BULLSHIT IS OVER------- NEW JERSEY----THANK YOU- FAITH RESTORED- EVEN TREE VISITS BY MR. NOBEL PEACE PRIZE COULD NOT HELP CORZINE (11/04/09)


NEW JERSEY ABSENTEE VOTER FRAUD?

Ken Berwitz

Excerpted from John Fund's article in today's Wall Street Journal:

The state has received a flood of 180,000 absentee ballot requests. On some 3,000 forms the signature doesn't match the one on file with county clerks. Yet citing concerns that voters would be disenfranchised, Democratic Party lawyer Paul Josephson wrote New Jersey's secretary of state asking her "to instruct County Clerks not to deny applications on the basis of signature comparison alone." Mr. Josephson maintained that county clerks "may be overworked and are likely not trained in handwriting analysis" and insisted that voters with suspect applications should be allowed to cast provisional ballots. Those ballots, of course, would then provide a pool of votes that would be subject to litigation in any recount, with the occupant of New Jersey's highest office determined by Florida 2000-style scrutiny of ballot applications.

Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small and 13 campaign workers were indicted in September on charges of conspiring to commit election fraud using absentee ballots. One worker pleaded guilty last month. In Newark, five campaign workers were indicted in August on charges involving absentee ballot fraud.

Victor Negron, a campaign adviser for independent mayoral candidate Roberto Feliz, a former director of Camden's public works department, says he's shocked that more than fifteen times the normal number of voters are casting absentee ballots in Camden this year. In the 2005, when the city's voters voted for both governor and mayor on the same day, only 200 absentee ballots were cast. This year, some 3,700 have already been received.

There are additional reports from Camden that Hispanic voters have been misled into voting absentee ballots. So-called bearers who are allowed to collect and carry absentee ballots are said to have encouraged voters to fill out applications for absentee ballots. A few days later, the bearers reportedly return with the actual ballots, which they offer "assistance" in filling out.

Elsewhere, an investigation is being conducted into a report that people wearing Acorn T-shirts entered an East Orange hospital near Newark carrying blank absentee ballots and left with completed ballots. New Jersey law allows anyone to pick up an absentee ballot for someone else -- these are called messenger ballots.

After repeated election-related scandals, Acorn has become toxic for many candidates who once relied on the group. But Acorn's longtime allies, the Service Employee International Union and New York's Working Families Party, have both moved into New Jersey. Peter Colavito, Acorn's former political director in New York and a board member of the Working Families Party, is now the political director of SEIU Local 32BJ, which is heavily involved in New Jersey's election. Nationally, the SEIU is a political powerhouse with White House visitor's logs showing that Andrew Stern, its national head, visited 22 times in the first six months of the Obama White House -- more than any other person. "Andrew Stern practically lives at the White House," notes Politico.com.

The Working Families Party, which is co-chaired by Acorn head Bertha Lewis, is no stranger to absentee ballot fraud. A special prosecutor in Troy, N.Y. is investigating New York's September primary, in which at least 38 ballots cast for Working Families Party candidates were thrown out as forged or fraudulent. New York Judge Michael Lynch found "significant election law violations that have compromised the rights of numerous voters and the integrity of the ballot process."

Nor is in-person fraud at the polls unknown in New Jersey. In 2007, a former Hoboken zoning board president noticed a group of men outside a polling place being given index cards by two people. One of the loiterers later tried to vote in the name of a voter who had moved out of the area. When challenged by the former zoning board president, he ran out of the building and was caught. He later admitted to police he was part of a group from a homeless shelter who had been paid $10 each to vote using the names of other people.

Right under our noses.  Right in our faces.  Right on the 50 yard line.

If Republican Chris Christie wins today, he better win by 5% or more.  Otherwise I have a feeling his victory is going to be a second term for John "look ma, I bought myself another election" Corzine.


THE NEW YORK TIMES: IS IT ANTI-CATHOLIC

Ken Berwitz

Over recent years, some people - especially those involved with the church - have accused The New York Times of being anti-Catholic.  The charge is not without evidence either;  these folks feel that there are specific examples of the Times' anti-Catholicism.

For this reason, the New York Archbishop (and, I would expect, soon to be Cardinal) Timothy Dolan, decided to write a commentary which detailed these examples.  He did so, and submitted it to the Times for publication on the paper's op-ed page.

The Times declined to publish Archbishop Dolan's commentary, rejecting it with the blow-off that it was more suitable as a letter to the editor than an op-ed piece.

Is the Times right or wrong? 

Tell you what:  I'll post what Archbishop Dolan submitted, almost word for word, and let you decide.  Here it is:

Anti-Catholicism

October 29, 2009

The following article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed article. The Times declined to publish it. I thought you might be interested in reading it.


FOUL BALL!
By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York

 
October is the month we relish the highpoint of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series!
 
Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-catholicism. 
          
It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as the deepest bias in the history of the American people, while John Higham described it as the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history. The anti-semitism of the left, is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic the last acceptable prejudice.
          
If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:
 

  • On October 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyns Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were forty cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone. Yet the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize religious sensitivities, and no criticism was offered of the DAs office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases internally. Given the Catholic Churchs own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so . . . but I can criticize this kind of selective outrage.

Of course, this selective outrage probably should not surprise us at all, as we have seen many other examples of the phenomenon in recent years when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse. To cite but two: In 2004, Professor Carol Shakeshaft documented the wide-spread problem of sexual abuse of minors in our nations public schools (the study can be found here). In 2007, the Associated Press issued a series of investigative reports that also showed the numerous examples of sexual abuse by educators against public school students. Both the Shakeshaft study and the AP reports were essentially ignored, as papers such as the New York Times only seem to have priests in their crosshairs.  

  • On October 16, Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priests responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous, and indefensible. However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvationgenocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention.
  • Five days later, October 21, the Times gave its major headline to the decision by the Vatican to welcome Anglicans who had requested union with Rome. Fair enough. Unfair, though, was the articles observation that the Holy See lured and bid for the Anglicans. Of course, the reality is simply that for years thousands of Anglicans have been asking Rome to be accepted into the Catholic Church with a special sensitivity for their own tradition. As Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vaticans chief ecumenist, observed, We are not fishing in the Anglican pond. Not enough for the Times; for them, this was another case of the conniving Vatican luring and bidding unsuspecting, good people, greedily capitalizing on the current internal tensions in Anglicanism.
  • Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.

True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm -- the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives -- is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today.

 

I do not mean to suggest that anti-catholicism is confined to the pages New York Times. Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues. I will not even begin to try and list the many cases of anti-catholicism in the so-called entertainment media, as they are so prevalent they sometimes seem almost routine and obligatory. Elsewhere, last week, Representative Patrick Kennedy made some incredibly inaccurate and uncalled-for remarks concerning the Catholic bishops, as mentioned in this blog on Monday.   Also, the New York State Legislature has levied a special payroll tax to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fund its deficit. This legislation calls for the public schools to be reimbursed the cost of the tax; Catholic schools, and other private schools, will not receive the reimbursement, costing each of the schools thousands in some cases tens of thousands of dollars, money that the parents and schools can hardly afford. (Nor can the archdiocese, which already underwrites the schools by $30 million annually.) Is it not an issue of basic fairness for ALL school-children and their parents to be treated equally? 
 
The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be rained out for good.
 
I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath.

Then again, yesterday was the Feast of Saint Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes.

There it is.  You decide.


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