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Archive for April, 2008

This afternoon, I paid King a hospital visit. Two of his colleagues, Masoud (I hope I’m spelling that right) & Melanie, were already there. King sounded significantly stronger this afternoon than he did last night. Not surprisingly, King was trying to find out everything that was happening at the office when he should’ve been focusing solely on recovering from surgery.

The good news is that Melanie wasn’t having anything of that. She was making sure that King didn’t have to owrry about putting together any tests, that he’d only have to review the tests that she’s putting together for him.

When Masoud and Melanie left, I stayed to visit with King a little while longer. I’m confident of King’s recovery because the minute it was just the two of us, he was asking what type of effect Jeremiah Wright was having on Barack Obama. I detected an immediate and positive change in King’s disposition. I told him that Wright was killing Obama and that Obama only had himself to blame for it. I said that Obama could say whatever he wanted but he wouldn’t get a second ‘Sister Souljah’ moment.

He was running a bit of a fever at 3:45 (99.9) but that had disappeared this evening when I called again. It’s now at a conventional 98.2 now. He’s getting out for his walks, which is important in his recovery. He did 3 “laps” today, which the doctor and nurses were very pleased with.

Shortly after King’s wife Barb arrived, I left, mostly because I’d already been there almost 2 hours. (That isn’t good when you’re parked in a 90 minute maximum parking spot.)

Lord willing, I’m planning on going back up there Thursday sometime. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more. One last thing: Barb and King both wanted to tell everyone that they really appreciate the outpourring of support for their family from the MOBsters.

If I were running Sen. Obama’s campaign, I’d be running for the door after today’s presser on Jeremiah Wright. (On a sidenote, I can’t call Wright Pastor or Reverend anymore because the beliefs he’s espousing aren’t Christian.) Sen. Obama’s opening statement is so filled with laughable statements that it requires its own post. The opening paragraph is questionable at best:

Before I start taking questions I want to open it up with a couple of comments about what we saw and heard yesterday. I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That’s who I am. That’s what I believe. That’s what this campaign has been about.

Considering the fact that Sen. Obama’s wife has talked in extremely divisive tones and considering the fact that Sen. Obama chose to attend a church with an extremist divisive pastor, I’m not convinced that it’s in Sen. Obama’s DNA to “bridge the gap between different kinds of people.” The best I can do is say he hasn’t proven that yet.

Granted, he talks a good game but that’s meaningless. The main thing that I pay attention to are his actions. He wasn’t part of the Gang of 14. He didn’t contribute to the Grand Bargain. He certainly didn’t seek middle ground on troop withdrawal. After weighing those things against his claims, I’m left wondering where the proof is of his being a uniter. At this point, I can’t even prove that he made an effort on the important issues of the day.

Yesterday we saw a very different vision of America. I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday. You know, I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992. I have known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church. They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs. And if Reverend Wright thinks that that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well. And based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought either.

How are Wright’s beliefs differ from Michelle Obama’s? I don’t think she’s disturbed enough to think that the US government invented AIDS to kill African Americans. However, it’s obvious that she’s as bitter towards America as Jeremiah Wright.

I’m not buying into his faked outrage, either. The things that Wright said this weekend are just repetitions of the things he said on the YouTube videos? Why shouldn’t we think that he’s finally upset because Wright is damaging his political career, not because he’s upset with Wright’s hatred?

We’ve heard Sen. Obama state that he wasn’t in the church for any of those sermons. Let’s accept that as fact for this discussion. You’ll notice that Sen. Obama hasn’t said that he didn’t hear about those sermons. Let’s take it a step further. If Sen. Obama said that he didn’t hear Wright preach those sermons and that he didn’t know that Wright had preached those messages, why should we believe that? as Mort Kondacke said tonight, he’d have to be awfully naive or awfully inobservant to not notice. I heartily concur.

Some people are saying that his press conference finally puts this issue behind Sen. Obama. They’re sadly mistaken. This isn’t over by a long shot.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Tuesday night, Barbara called me from King’s hospital room. About a minute into the call, King asked to speak with me. It felt good to talk with King even though it was obvious that he was tired.

I’m happy to report that King is in good spirits. King said to thank his loyal friends across the blogosphere for their support & their prayers.

Sometime Wednesday, possibly early afternoon, I’ll be going up to the hospital to visit King. I’ll post another update when I get home.

UPDATE: I just talked with King. I’ll be visiting him this afternoon about 2:00. During our brief chat, he told me that he’s feeling better and that “there’s nowhere but up from here.”

I post an update after this afternoon’s visit.

The Coleman for Senate Campaign just released this statement pertaining to Franken’s failure to file his taxes. Here’s the text of that statement:

“These are troubling admissions by Al Franken. Clearly, with self-professed violations in 17 different states, there will be many, many questions about this matter. On behalf of the tens of thousands of small businesses in my state, and on behalf of the millions of taxpayers of Minnesota who work hard, obey the rules and follow the laws, I believe this is a serious, and troublesome situation that must be addressed.”

It’s become extremely clear that Al Franken’s behavior has been extremely irresponsible in dealing with his financial matters. He wants to become a lawmaker even though he’s ignored the laws of 17 different states. It’s impossible to take this man seriously. He’s either a willful lawbreaker or he’s the most incompetent money manager that’s ever sought elective office.

Either way, he’s someone that should be rejected by voters this November.

As usual, Michael’s all over this story. Should we expect anything less?

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Wow!!! Greta van Susteren just posted something on the Pastor J-Wright-Obama controversy. To say that it was a blistering attack on Sen. Obama’s observational skills is understatement. First, here’s what the AP is reporting on Sen. Obama’s statement:

Democrat Barack Obama says he was outraged by the comments of his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and saddened by the spectacle of his appearance on Monday. Wright said Monday that criticism surrounding his fiery sermons is an attack on the black church.

Obama told reporters Tuesday that Wright’s comments do not accurately portray the perspective of the black church. Obama said, “I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday.”

Wright’s incendiary comments have dogged Obama’s presidential campaign.

Let’s give Greta credit for asking the most pertinent questions in this paragraph:

Reverend Wright is not the man he thought he was…..so naturally people will ask: what took you so long to figure it out? 20 years and only yesterday? are you that oblivious or is this statement political and calculating? and others will applaud him…saying what courage to address the issue…that he is standing up for what he believes even if it means denouncing someone you had admired..and that he is showing candor…

It wouldn’t take the world’s greatest salesman to make the case that Sen. Obama is a typical calculating politician. If it was polled, I’d bet that the overwhelming majority of voters would say that they didn’t buy into Obama’s line that he hadn’t heard any of these disgusting, incendiary remarks.

Let’s pose this hypothetical question: If Sen. Obama truly didn’t notice Pastor J-Wright’s disgusting statements over a 20 year period, why should we think that he’s qualified to be the leader of the free world?

I don’t doubt that people will defend Sen. Obama. I don’t doubt that some will praise Sen. Obama for distancing himself from Pastor J-Wright. To those Obama apologists, I’ll simply ask one question: Why didn’t Sen. Obama distance himself from Pastor J-Wright faster?

In fact, I’ve thought of another question: Considering Michelle Obama’s statements that America “is a downright mean country” and that she was finally proud to call herself an American after people started voting for her husband, why should we believe that Sen. Obama doesn’t believe in much of what Pastor J-Wright preaches?

For that matter, why did Sen. Obama stay on the board with William Ayers? Why didn’t he utterly renounce Ayers’ terroristic attacks in the harshest language possible? After all, the things Ayers did and the things that Pastor Wright said weren’t just mildly controversial. Ayers killed people but didn’t think he’d done enough. Wright said that white people had invented the AIDS virus to commit genocide on the black race. Wright also told the audience at the National Press Club yesterday that America is a terrorist nation.

Greta, thanks for saying on a large stage what many of us on smaller stages have been thinking for quite some time.

It’s time to start questioning everything that Sen. Obama says. We really don’t know who he is or what his beliefs are. Based on the information available, America should be worried about him getting elected in November.

UPDATE: According to this article, Sen. Obama is planning a “big press conference” on Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary statements.

I’m not buying into this because I question his sincerity. Last night on Hannity & Colmes, Dick Morris said that the best way for Sen. Obama to distance himself was to chastize Jeremiah Wright in the strongest terms possible, then to call a press conference that would deal once and for all with that issue. It sounds like Sen. Obama is following that advice to the letter.

Morris said that that would essentially lay the issue to rest. I don’t agree with that. He can have his press conference but unless he’s completely straightforward and credible on all the questions asked, people will still have their doubts. It’s not like we can’t do our own digging into Pastor J-Wright.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Barb, aka Mrs. Scholar, just sent me an email update with the latest on King. Here’s the content of that email:

King had his gall bladder removed but needed the major incision for which his hospitalization will be prolonged until Thursday or Friday.

Apparently, it was very infected.

Barring complications, he will recuperate on the 4th floor of the hospital.

I’ll continue to keep you posted; meantime, what a blessing the Blogosphere has been. I can’t thank you enough,

Barbara

I just replied to Barb’s email, wishing King a speedy & full recovery, combined with a return to the airwaves after getting a sufficient amount of rest.

George Will has written another masterpiece, this time asking Sen. Obama a set of rather difficult questions, questions that actually require intellectual heft. Here’s the easiest question in the bunch:

You say, “The insurance companies, the drug companies, they’re not going to give up their profits easily when it comes to health care.” Why should they? Who will profit from making those industries unprofitable? When pharmaceutical companies have given up their profits, who will fund pharmaceutical innovations, without which there will be much preventable suffering and death? What other industries should “give up their profits”?

Sen. Obama can’t answer that question because it requires a capitalist answer, something that’d infuriate Sen. Obama’s ardent socialist supporters. This is the only time it’s difficult being a liberal. It’s easy being a liberal if you’re never asked thoughtful questions. It’s immensely difficult when they’re asked why questions. Liberals are used to giving answers to ‘what’ type questions. It’s difficult for liberals to answer ‘why’ questions because that requires logic.

If I’ve learned anything about politicking, it’s that most liberals can’t handle answering why questions because they’re so used to not having to defend their principles and policies. Altogether too often, liberals are asked a what question, which often gets accepted without further questioning.

Here’s a most difficult question for Sen. Obama to answer:

Voting against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts, you said: Deciding “truly difficult cases” should involve “one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.” Is that not essentially how Chief Justice Roger Taney decided the Dred Scott case? Should other factors—say, the language of the constitutional or statutory provision at issue—matter?

Sen. Obama can’t answer that question. If he gave a response, it’d be all nice sounding soundbites which meant nothing.

The more intense the glare of the spotlights shine on Sen. Obama, the more likely it is that he’ll get exposed as a lightweight who isn’t qualified to be president.

I strongly recommend that you read the entire column because it’s one of Mr. Will’s finest works.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Anyone that thinks that Sen. Obama has North Carolina wrapped up better rethink their thinking because of this news:

Gov. Mike Easley will endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, The Associated Press has learned.

Easley was expected to announce the endorsement Tuesday morning in Raleigh, the state capital, one week before North Carolina’s primary on May 6, according to persons close to the governor and to Clinton. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement had not yet been made.

Easley is a Democratic superdelegate who has served two terms as governor. His decision comes despite several recent polls showing Clinton trailing rival Barack Obama ahead of the state’s May 6 primary.

The endorsement is a major boost for the former first lady. Besides being a respected figure among Democrats in the state, Easley is one of the all-important superdelegates likely to choose the party’s presidential nominee.

I didn’t buy into the punditry’s thinking that North Carolina would be a big Obama blowout. Beasley’s endorsement of Sen. Clinton a week before the primary is a momentum-changing event. Sen. Obama still might well win North Arolina but I’m betting that it won’t be a blowout.

Bob Beckel has often said that “Superdelegates aren’t profiles in courage”, something that I agree with. If we accept that as fact, then it isn’t a stretch to think that Hillary showed Gov. Beasley some polling that showed her running more competitively than is being reported in the press.

There’s two other considerations to think about in North Carolina:

  • There’s a ton of pressure on Obama. Expectations are high because of the high percentage of African American voters in the Democratic primary.
  • Would Sen. Obama be perceived as a weak candidate if he doesn’t win with a significant margin?

If Hillary wins Indiana, which I’m predicting, and gives Sen. Obama a run for his money in North Carolina, there’s gonna be alot of superdelegates rethinking their commitments to Sen. Obama. If these superdelegates start panicking, who knows what’ll happen? I still think that the delegates will hang with Sen. Obama even if they though he was going to lose because I’m not convinced that Hillary would run that good of a campaign and because they know pitching Sen. Obama overboard at this stage would alienate black voters.

Either way, North arolina just got alot more interesting.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The last thing Howard Dean wanted to do on Sunday’s Meet the Press was defend the process in the Democrats’ presidential nominating process. That’s what he was forced to do, though, thanks to this quote from Ed Rendell:

GOV. ED RENDELL (D-PA): The popular vote is, to me, a much fairer indicia than the pledged delegates because the pledged delegates are elected in a very undemocratic way.

Here’s Dean’s reply to Russert’s question:

MR. RUSSERT: Do you agree with that?

DR. DEAN: Well, no, I don’t. First of all, I don’t agree with it. And secondly, look, we have a set of rules. My job here is not to side with one candidate or the other and talk about pledged delegates or superdelegates or any of that stuff. My job is to take the rules that everybody started with and enforce the rules without fear or favor of any candidate. The–somebody’s going to lose this with 49 percent of the delegates in Denver, and that person has to believe that they were treated fairly if–otherwise, we can’t win. Look, John McCain is a weak candidate. He’s wrong on Iraq, as far as the American people are concerned. We don’t want to stay there for a hundred years. He’s wrong on the economy; it wasn’t the mortgage holders that, that, whose fault this was. He’s wrong on healthcare. We should have health insurance for all our kids. He is not a strong candidate.

The only thing that’s going to beat us is if we’re not unified. And my, in order to be unified, both the losing candidate and the winning candidate have to feel like the system was fair. So Senator Rendell may say–I mean, Governor Rendell may not like the rules, but the rules are what we started with. Most of them have been in place for the last 25 years. That’s what we’ve got to go by, whether you like the rules or you don’t like the rules.

Dean’s got a point that both sides knew the rules going in. That said, Gov. Rendell is justified because he’s saying that it goes against the Democrats’ own principles. How can Dean’s Democrats justify Hillary winning Texas by a healthy margin but Obama getting more delegates than Hillary? How can they call that proportional apportionment? That’s what Al Gore called fuzzy math throughout the 2000 campaign.

Dean’s answer isn’t pure spin but it’s close. Dean’s calling John McCain a weak candidate isn’t close to the truth. Though Dean will attempt to paint Sen. McCain as a George Bush double, the truth is that that’s an uphill fight for Democrats. They’d have better luck selling parkas in Miami than selling John McCain as a Bush clone.

I’m left questioning why he’s even attempting that tack, especially given all the articles that’ve been written about McCain the maverick, the biggeest thorn in President Bush’s side. Howard Fineman was on Chris Matthews’ show all the time talking about how much trouble Sen. McCain was supposedly causing him. I never bought into that meme, though the internet is littered with those types of stories. (For all the heartburn Sen. McCain was supposedly causing President Bush, the list of achievements on President Bush’s resume is rather lengthy.)

Here’s proof that Gov. Rendell is right about the undemocratic methods used by Democrats:

MR. RUSSERT: The candidate with the most elected delegates is not guaranteed the nomination?

DR. DEAN: The rules say that the candidate with the most delegates gets the nomination, and I support the rules.

MR. RUSSERT: So that the superdelegates could, in effect, overrule the elected delegates?

DR. DEAN: That, you know, you shouldn’t think of it that way. So-called “superdelegates” are, in fact, elected by exactly the same people who vote for the elected delegates. This is just–this is like an–a representative democracy. You elect a–80 percent of the delegates, and they have to do what you ask them to do. The others, the 20 percent you elect, essentially do what’s in their best judgment, just like the House and the Senate does. Sometimes you like it, and sometimes you don’t. But these folks are elected, all, all of them, almost all of them are elected. A tiny minority are not elected; they’re appointed. But most of them are elected. They’re elected by the same people who went to the–who go to the conventions and go to the–vote in the primaries. They’re governors, senators. A lot of them are, are, are DNC members. There’s 21-year-olds there, there’s–50 percent are women and so on, and on, on it goes. So this should not be looked at as some bunch of cigar-smoking folks in the back room slapping each other in the back and electing the next president. It doesn’t work that way.

Is it just me or is Gov. Dean doing an excessive amount of tapdancing around these questions? Personally, it sounds like Gov. Dean would rather be taunting a cobra than facing Mr. Russert. To be fair, he should be nervous. Both Democratic candidates have been exposed, one as a lightweight with questionable judgment, the other as someone who can’t give a straight answer if her life depended on it.

This exhange will give you mental whiplash if you think it through:

MR. RUSSERT: But the elected delegates were elected because they ran supporting the person that won the primary or the caucus. What should be the criteria of a superdelegate when they make their judgment as to who to vote for?

DR. DEAN: Well, I’m not going to say what their criteria should be because that’s not what the rule–the rules don’t give you a criteria. They’re supposed to vote their conscience. My personal belief is they’re going to vote for the person they think, think can beat John McCain, which is what I think a lot of these voters are voting for. I think a lot of these folks are going to the polls and are going to go the week after next in Indiana and North Carolina are saying, “Which one of our folks, of our folks, Senator Obama or Senator Clinton, can best beat John McCain?”

MR. RUSSERT: So your personal view is that even if someone has won more elected delegates, if you think the other person would be a stronger candidate against John McCain, you’d opt for the other person?

DR. DEAN: Tim, that is not my personal view. My personal view is, I am the chairman of this party, we have a set of rules that have been in place for a year and a half, and I am the person who’s in charge of upholding the rules whether I like them or not. Are there some rules I might change next time around? Yeah, maybe so. But right now we’re focusing on the rules we have. Look, that’s all we’ve got. No–I feel like I’m the referee here at the NCAA finals. You know, you make some calls, but if you stick to the rules and do the right thing according the rules, you’re going to end up with a decent process. And that’s what we have to do.

There you have it. Gov. Dean was for voting the superdelegates voting their conscience until he was against the superdelegates voting their conscience. That was Gov. Dean’s personal belief until it wasn’t his belief 20 seconds later. Was Gov. Dean lying the first time when he said that it was his personal belief that the superdelegates were “going to vote for the person they think, think can beat John McCain” or was he lying when he said that that wasn’t his personal belief? Or is it just that he’s tapdancing as frantically as any political party chairman has ever tapdanced?

Whether it’s A, B or C, it’s indisputable fact that Gov. Dean’s appearance hurt his party by sounding so incoherent.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I just got another update on King’s condition from his wife. Here’s the text of Barb’s email:

Thanks so much, Gary, for forwarding the emails and I can’t begin to tell you how moved and comforted I am by this outpouring of love and concern for King.

When I visited him tonight he was heavily sedated but resting more comfortably. I think the surgery will transpire at scheduled time (8:15 p.m. or so) but I’m not positive.

I’ll continue to keep you posted, and thanks again to the great blogging family for their love and support,

Barbara B.

Phil Miller has chimed in his support via this post. Speed has a great post on King’s condition here, as well as his story of being laid up with this painful affliction.