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Archive for July, 2008

Yesterday, ethically challenged challenger El Tinklenberg toured the Sixth District’s alternative energy companies. After finishing the tour, here’s what he had to say:

“Domestic drilling is at best a partial solution to America’s energy crisis,” Tinklenberg stated. “We can drill the south lawn of the White House and we will still only have 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, yet we are using 25% of the world’s daily oil supply.

“We are not victims in this energy crisis. We have some control over the situation. We need to agree on a comprehensive plan that moves us toward energy independence through responsible drilling, increasing efficiency, investing in renewables, and decreasing consumption. That’s what it will take to bring down fuel costs, steward our resources, and ensure America’s long term energy security.”

It appears that Mr. Tinklenberg doesn’t think that increasing domestic oil production by 1.5-2.5 million bbls/day, roughly 10-15 percent of our oil usage is a significant portion of the gas crisis solution.

While I agree that thinking of oil as the silver bullet fix to our longterm energy needs is foolish, I’m equally certain that it’s a significant part of the solution for the next decade or possibly more.
I also find it troubling that Mr. Tinklenberg says that he’s for “responsible drilling” instead of just saying he’s for drilling. Does Mr. Tinklenberg think that Big Oil will pillage the lands they lease? Does Mr. Tinklenberg think that Big Oil is irresponsible environmentally? I’m wary anytime a politician uses a qualifier in a sentence because it’s usually meant to give them enough wiggle room to explain why they voted against something that they said they’d vote for.

It’s also worth noting that Rep. Bachmann supports the vast majority of the alternative energy sources that Mr. Tinklenberg is talking about. That leads to this question:

Why should I vote for a ‘Me Too’ candidate?

For the life of me, I don’t see a compelling reason.

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Speaker Pelosi is making the rounds of the talk shows to promote her new book. According to Drudge’s headline, it debuted at #869. Considering that she’s the first female Speaker of the House, you’d think that it would start in the top 10 bestseller list. That’s pathetic for a history-making figure.

To put things in perspective, I don’t recall a Dick Morris book starting outside the Top 10. Ditto with Newt’s books. Ditto with O’Reilly’s books.

UPDATE: Rush just updated the story, saying that it’s now #899, dropping 30 places since Drudge posted the story.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Yesterday, Barack Obama issued a challenge to Sen. McCain. That doesn’t mean he’ll accept the opportunity to debate Sen. McCain on taxes, though. Here’s what he said yesterday:

“I want to cut taxes for middle-class families, ordinary folks who are working hard and playing by the rules,” he said. “I’m ready to duel John McCain on taxes right here, quick draw.”

Sen. McCain quickly responded:

“If Barack Obama wants this so-called duel then why did he and his entourage run for the hills when John McCain challenged him to 10 town halls,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

The truth is that the Obama people want nothing to do with a debate. They’ve seen the Obamessiah away from the teleprompter. He’s a disaster. The gravitas gap would be substantial, noticeable and embarassing.

That’s why he can’t afford to do anything more than be lippy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again: Sen. Obama is a gifted orator in an empty suit. That won’t change anytime soon.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this article, US combat deaths will show a massive decline from the 66 combat deaths from July, 2007. This month’s combat death toll currently sits at 5. To be fair, though, it should be noted that last July, US troops were just getting started with the Surge’s offensive.

With those statistics in mind, we should ask Sen. Obama some questions. Here’s the first question I’d want answered:

Q1: How flexible would your 16 month plan be if Gen. Petraeus said that he didn’t want to lose the gains that the Surge has produced?

Q2: Do you think the Iraq war is winnable? If you don’t think it’s winnable, why not?

Q3: Are you committed to winning in Iraq so that we’ll have a strong, stabilized ally in the heart of the Middle East? If you aren’t committed to winning there, why aren’t you?

Q4: Why is winning in Afghanistan more important than crushing Iran, the Mahdi Army and AQI in Iraq?

Q5: In your opinion, did the Surge put in place the conditions needed for the Anbar Awakening? Did it put in place the conditions needed for political reconciliation? Did it put in place the conditions needed for improved security for the average Iraqi? Did it put in place the conditions needed for economic recovery? If you think that the Surge had nothing to do with any or all of these things, explain why it didn’t have that effect?

Q6: Isn’t it true that you were wrong when predicting that the Surge not only wouldn’t improve conditions in Iraq but that it would make things worse?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This post on El Tinklenberg’s blog suggests that true energy independence is only found in the Sixth District. I’m not suggesting that Mr. Tinklenberg believes that. I’m merely pointing out that Mr. Tinklenberg’s blogger has suggested it. Here’s the opening paragraph of the post:

While Rep. Michele Bachmann tours the nation for photo opportunities, El Tinklenberg will tour the 6th District today to visit sites that promote true energy independence, lower fuel costs for suffering consumers, and create jobs in our local economy.

Is Mr. Tinklenberg’s blogger suggesting that the Sixth District is where we’ll find the answers to our gas crisis? While I’d agree that there’s enough brainpower in the Sixth District, there’s one item that isn’t found in sufficient supplies to solve the crisis. That item is oil. Without that “item”, we won’t have “true energy independence.”

Why does Mr. Tinklenberg oppose opening ANWR and the OCS? I’m not buying the “The oil companies already have 68 million acres to explore” excuse. I don’t see a need for having a single acre offlimits but I’m a reasonable man. I’d settle for half of the federal lands containing oil and natural gas being available for leasing. That’d be a huge improvement over the 85 percent that’s currently offlimits.

There’s nothing wrong with Mr. Tinklenberg taking this tour. It’s a nice first step.

If Mr. Tinklenberg is interested in supporting a true ‘all-of-the-above’ energy package, though, he’ll need to widen his horizons. Alot. Instead of just focusing on energy products found here in teh Sixth District, he’ll need to make the tour that Rep. Bachmann already has made.

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As you know, I wrote about Susan Gaertner’s LTE in the St. Cloud Times in harsh terms. The more I think about it, the more upset I get with the whole situation. I’m not the only person who’s written about this incident. King also referenced it in passing here. Despite those posts, it’s time that we scrutinized the connections and implications more.

What We Know About Ms. Gaertner

We know that Susan Gaertner isn’t just the Ramsey county attorney.
We know that she’s announce that she’s running for the DFL endorsement for governor in 2010. We also know that she’s Mrs. John Wodele.

What We Know About Mr. Wodele

According to this TPT post, we know that Mr. Wodele is Jesse Ventura’s spokesman.

According to that TPT post, we know that Mr. Wodele is working for the Tinklenberg campaign. Though I haven’t confirmed this yet, it isn’t a stretch to think that he’s a paid Tinklenberg campaign staffer. People like Mr. Wodele aren’t the volunteer type, if you know what I mean.

Next, let’s look at the content of Mrs. Wodele’s LTE. It wasn’t until the fortieth word before Mrs. Wodele made a misinformed statement about Rep. Bachmann’s energy policy. (That’s remarkable restraint these days for liberals.) Here’s what Mrs. Wodele said:

The congresswomen’s plan, announced a couple weeks ago, was simple: Drill.

That’s just plain inaccurate. Ms. Gaertner knows that Rep. Bachmann is supporting the American Energy Act. Here are some provisions in the American Energy Act:

To improve energy conservation and efficiency, the legislation will:

  • Provide tax incentives for businesses and families that purchase more fuel efficient vehicles, as proposed in H.R. 1618 and H.R. 765 by Reps. Dave Camp (R-MI) and Jerry Weller (R-IL);
  • Provide a monetary prize for developing the first economically feasible, super-fuel-efficient vehicle reaching 100 miles-per-gallon, as proposed in H.R. 6384 by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT); and
  • Provide tax incentives for businesses and homeowners who improve their energy efficiency, as proposed in H.R. 5984 by Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Phil English (R-PA), and Zach Wamp (R-TN), and in H.R. 778 by Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL).

Here’s another set of provisions from the bill:

To promote renewable and alternative energy technologies, the legislation will:

  • Spur the development of alternative fuels through government contracting by repealing the “Section 526” prohibition on government purchasing of alternative energy and promoting coal-to-liquids technology, as proposed in H.R. 5656 by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), in H.R. 6384 by Rob Bishop (R-UT), and in H.R. 2208 by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL);
  • Establish a renewable energy trust fund using revenues generated by exploration in the deep ocean and on the Arctic coastal plain, as proposed by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA);
  • Permanently extend the tax credit for alternative energy production, including wind, solar and hydrogen, as proposed in H.R. 2652 by Rep. Phil English (R-PA) and in H.R. 5984 by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD); and
  • Eliminate barriers to the expansion of emission-free nuclear power production, as proposed in H.R. 6384 by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT).

Ms. Gaertner knows that this isn’t a drill only plan. Ms. Gaertner knows that it’s a comprehensive energy package. She just can’t admit that in public.

Let this be a lesson across the state and across the nation: Facts don’t matter in this type of storyline. I’ll bet that Democrats, whether we’re talking in MN-6 or AZ-1, aren’t hindered by verifiable facts. Because they’re getting hurt so badly, their last, desperate tactic is to attack with unsubstantiated accusations.

Here’s another bit of misinformation from Ms. Gaertner’s LTE:

In addition, the EIA report said the projected amounts of oil produced from ANWR at peak would only reduce United States imports of oil by 4 percent and have little impact on the price of a barrel of oil.

Right now, the United States uses 20,000,000 bbl./day. Four percent of 20 million is 800,000 bbls./day. There’s no reason to think that we can’t get close to double that from ANWR. That’s before we factor in the oil off the OCS.

Here’s another section of the LTE that’s worth highlighting:

I take offense when a politician proposes a solution that is essentially a cruel hoax perpetrated on a constituency that is experiencing the agony of $4 gas and soon expecting further anguish when they have to turn on the heat this winter.

Mrs. Wodele hasn’t provided a bit of verifiable proof that Rep. Bachmann’s plan is “a cruel hoax.” All she’s done is spew Mr. Tinklenberg’s talking points, which isn’t the same thing.

The big picture point I’m making is that Ms. Gaertner’s sloppily researched LTE is a poorly disguised hit piece for her hubby’s boss. That certainly isn’t Minnesota Nice. In fact, it’s downright sleazy. If Mr. Tinklenberg suggested that this be written, then the Tinklenberg campaign should apologize for suggesting it. If Ms. Gaertner’s LTE was suggested by her husband, then it’s something that the Tinklenberg campaign should distance itself from ASAP.

In either case, the Tinklenberg campaign’s behavior has been shameful.

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Lord knows that Freedom’s Watch is doing alot of good things. Between supporting the troops to ridiculing Democrats on high gas prices, they’re generally moving the ball down the field. I say generally because Carl Forti, in talking about the Democrats planning on running ads tying Republicans to Big Oil, gave this quote to the LA Times:

So what’s a Republican candidate to do?

“You hunker down and ride it out,” said Carl Forti, a former congressional GOP strategist and now executive vice president for issue advocacy at Freedom’s Watch, a conservative organization.

Mr. Forti couldn’t be more wrong. You don’t hunker down. You go on the offensive. Instead of hunkering down, you highlight this quote from the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope:

Our own folly is cheap fuel. The United States once had large oil reserves, and they made us rich and powerful. Ergo, cheap fuel, oil, coal, nuclear, or whatever, is seen as being key to our continued prosperity and future security. This gusher mentality deforms our society and economy. It leads the United States to sabotage international efforts to combat global warming, tolerate a huge trade deficit that has destroyed millions of manufacturing jobs, and keep military bases in the Middle East, where they serve as rallying points for terrorists. And it’s why the U.S. auto industry continues to promote size and performance over safety and efficiency.

Excuse me? Keeping inflation low lets people keep more of their hard-earned money, which is a positive thing, right? Not according to Mr. Pope. That’s because he’d rather save the world, along with Ms. Pelosi, from global warming than let people keep more of their money.

Envionutters are saying outrageous things like this but we’re suppposed to “hunker down and ride it out”? I think not, Mr. Forti. Mr. Forti would be wise to heed Dick Wadhams:

Dick Wadhams, campaign manager for Colorado Senate candidate Schaffer, said that Democrats’ attacks on the oil industry could backfire against growing public support for expanded domestic energy exploration.

BINGO!!! That’s the fact we must remind ourselves of. You can’t want lower gas prices while wishing Big Oil ill. People want cheap gas. They aren’t that fussy about how that happens. People will whine about Big Oil making profits. The minute that they’re done with that, though, they’re hoping that Big Oil increases the supply of oil.

I love this ad:

“Chris Carney voted five times against environmentally safe domestic energy production, voted against American energy independence,” says a radio ad scheduled to run in the Pennsylvania Democrat’s House district. “But Chris Carney stands in the way while we cut back on gas and groceries, family outings and summer vacations.”

That’s an effective response to Democrats screaming “Big Oil, Big Oil.” Like the term liberal, Big Oil just doesn’t have the impact that it did a decade ago.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The NY Post’s Amir Taheri questions the purpose of Sen. Obama’s trip in his latest column. Consider it today’s must reading. Let Mr. Taheri’s excoriation begin:

TERMED a “learning” trip, Sen. Barack Obama’s eight- day tour of eight nations in the Middle East and Europe turned out to be little more than a series of photo ops to enhance his international credentials.

“He looked like a man in a hurry,” a source close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said last week. “He was not interested in what we had to say.”

Why am I not surprised to find out that Sen. Obama didn’t bother listening to the Iraqis? In fact, the better question might be this:

Shouldn’t we expect a man of Obama’s arrogance to be indifferent to listening?

Notice this exchange with Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press:

MR. BROKAW: When you get home and Michelle says to you, “Barack, what did you learn that surprised you? And did you change your mind about anything based on this entire trip?”

SEN. OBAMA: Well, I, I, I didn’t see a huge shift in the strategic policies that I’ve laid out throughout this campaign. It was clear to me that Afghanistan is the central front on terror, that the Taliban and al-Qaeda have reconstituted themselves.

Granted, this is only the first part of his answer but it’s verification of what Mr. Taheri is saying. He learned nothing. The trip was just verification that he was right all along. Stop after stop, Obama’s policies were verified in his mind. Why didn’t Sen. Obama ask Gen. Petraeus his opinion on his 16-month plan? Was he afraid he might get this response?

Petraeus said any timetable must have “a heck of a lot more granularity than the kind of very short-hand statements that have been put out. We occasionally have commanders who have so many good weeks, (they think) it’s won. We’ve got this thing. Well we don’t. We’ve had so many good weeks. Right now, for example we’ve had two-and-a-half months of levels of violence not since March 2004,” he said from his office at Camp Victory. Well that’s encouraging. It’s heartening. It’s very welcome. But let’s keep our powder dry…Let’s not let our guard down.”

TRANSLATION: Not so fast. There’s some serious questions that need answering before we start setting a timetable to leave.

It’s possible that Sen. Obama worried that Gen. Petraeus might say this to him:

“We know where we are trying to go. We know how we think we need to try to get there with our Iraqi partners and increasingly with them in the lead and shouldering more of the burden as they are,” Petraeus said.

“But there are a lot of storm clouds out there, there are lots of these possible lightning bolts. You just don’t know what it could be. You try to anticipate them and you try to react very quickly…It’s all there, but it’s not something you want to lay out publicly.”

Hearing that firsthand might force Sen. Obama to rethink things through, something that worldly messiahs aren’t comfortable with.

Considering the fact that Sen. Obama tried preventing the Surge from happening, why shouldn’t we expect him to think of his Iraq visit as nothing more than a photo op? Why should we think that he was serious about learning things that might challenge his opinion?

In fact, why shouldn’t we think that Sen. Obama is utterly incompetent with national security matters? Here’s what Sen. Obama said in 2006:

Dreams of democracy and hopes for a perfect government are now just that – dreams and hopes. We must instead turn our focus to those concrete objectives that are possible to attain – namely, preventing Iraq from becoming what Afghanistan once was, maintaining our influence in the Middle East, and forging a political settlement to stop the sectarian violence so that our troops can come home.
There is no reason to believe that more of the same will achieve these objectives in Iraq. And, while some have proposed escalating this war by adding thousands of more troops, there is little reason to believe that this will achieve these results either. It’s not clear that these troop levels are sustainable for a significant period of time, and according to our commanders on the ground, adding American forces will only relieve the Iraqis from doing more on their own. Moreover, without a coherent strategy or better cooperation from the Iraqis, we would only be putting more of our soldiers in the crossfire of a civil war.
Let me underscore this point. The American soldiers I met when I traveled to Iraq this year were performing their duties with bravery, with brilliance, and without question. They are doing so today. They have battled insurgents, secured cities, and maintained some semblance of order in Iraq. But even as they have carried out their responsibilities with excellence and valor, they have also told me that there is no military solution to this war. Our troops can help suppress the violence, but they cannot solve its root causes. And all the troops in the world won’t be able to force Shia, Sunni, and Kurd to sit down at a table, resolve their differences, and forge a lasting peace.
I have long said that the only solution in Iraq is a political one. To reach such a solution, we must communicate clearly and effectively to the factions in Iraq that the days of asking, urging, and waiting for them to take control of their own country are coming to an end.

This paragraph is one that Sen. Obama doesn’t want people to hear:

Iraqis were most surprised by Obama’s apparent readiness to throw away all the gains made in Iraq simply to prove that he’d been right in opposing the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. “He gave us the impression that the last thing he wanted was for Iraq to look anything like a success for the United States,” a senior Iraqi official told me. “As far as he is concerned, this is Bush’s war and must end in lack of success, if not actual defeat.”

That a “senior Iraqi official” would make such a statement is stunning. What type of man would rather have America lose a war than admit that his opposition to that war was wrong?

Let’s remember that Sen. Obama claimed to be this great post-racial, post-partisan politician. He’s nothing of the sort. If this Iraqi official is right, then he’s the exact opposite of a post-partisan politician. If this quote is accurate, that means that Sen. Obama is the most bitter of partisans in American politics.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Believe it or not, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t just see herself as a history-making person by becoming the first female Speaker of the House. She’s also given to the belief that it’s her role to save the entire planet:

With fewer than 20 legislative days before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, the entire appropriations process has largely ground to a halt because of the ham-handed fighting that followed Republican attempts to lift the moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. And after promising fairness and open debate, Pelosi has resorted to hard-nosed parliamentary devices that effectively bar any chance for Republicans to offer policy alternatives.

“I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” she says impatiently when questioned. “I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy.”

“I respect the office that I hold,” she says. “And when you win the election, you win the majority, and what is the power of the speaker? To set the agenda, the power of recognition, and I am not giving the gavel away to anyone.”

What Ms. Pelosi is saying when she says that she won’t give the gavel away to anyone, what she’s really saying is that she won’t let the representatives vote on drilling in ANWR and on the OCS, something that the vast majority of the people of the United States of America want. In other words, Nancy Pelosi is telling America’s voters that she’ll stand with K Street environmental lobbyists instead of with those that make Main Street work.

That isn’t the only message she’s sending. As usual, Captain Ed captures it perfectly here:

If they can’t even go as far as Reid went in reaching a compromise, the Republicans will have a field day in November.

Though she doesn’t know it, Ms. Pelosi is doing to vulnerable freshmen in swing districts what the DFL did this spring in forcing freshmen legislators from rural district to vote for tax increases that won’t sell in their districts. That message is simple:

We’re throwing you under the bus because ideology (and our lunatic donors) demands it.

If Ms. Pelosi persists in staying the course with this policy position on energy, she’ll either force a revolt amongst rank-and-file House members or she’ll doom them to certain defeat this fall. I said before that I didn’t think that she was “in danger of losing her speakership…yet.” If Ms. Pelosi persists with her obstructionist ways, I don’t think it’ll take long for the people to turn on her and the Democrats either running for re-election or who are challenging GOP incumbents.

Let’s also examine the role money will play in those congressional elections. We’ve heard that the DCCC’s fundraising prowess is widening the playing field and giving them opportunities for additional pickups. I’m not buying that. I recall two elections in Oklahoma in 1992 and 1994 where the Democrat outspent his GOP opponent by a wide margin, something in the neighborhood of 7:1 or 8:1. While the Democrat incumbent won in 1992, it was only by a 52-48 like margin. The Democrat lost in 1994 even though he outspent his GOP challenger in a remath by an even wider margin.

In other words, there are exceptions to the rule that the one with more money wins. It’s my belief that this year’s elections will be decided by who’s on the right side of the energy issue, not who has the bigger bankroll.

In fact, I don’t think it’ll help this fall being linked to someone who’s “trying to save the planet.”

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The AP’s Beth Fouhy has written a particularly offensive hit piece against Sen. McCain. This shocks me not even a little, though it’s more than a little disappointing. Consider these paragraphs as why I think it’s a hit piece against Sen. McCain:

Just last month, McCain reversed himself after years of opposition and called for lifting the federal ban on oil drilling off the U.S. coast. The Arizona senator promotes energy development as a way to boost the economy, and a recent poll found many voters are open to offshore drilling as a way to ease gasoline prices.

But McCain’s views could be troublesome in California, which has seen its share of catastrophic offshore oil spills. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a McCain ally, opposes such drilling and in a television interview indicated he would be open one day to serving as the “energy czar” in an Obama administration.

It isn’t a stretch to think that Fouhy’s intent was to label McCain a flip-flopper without calling him that directly. It’s also not a stretch to think that mentioning girlie-man Gov. Schwarzenegger’s desire to be Obama’s energy czar is meant to imply that Republicans are split on drilling.

Then there’s this:

McCain also insisted the technology exists to quickly bring oil produced offshore to market, even as the federal government has estimated it would take years for new offshore oil exploration to yield results.

As I said here, Sen. McCain has talked with oil industry experts. They’ve told him that it’s possible to extract oil from rigs in shallow water within 2-3 years. Ms. Fouhy’s mention of the EIA’s ‘study’ is introduced to argue against Sen. McCain’s position, which is informed by industry experts.

That’s a time-tested tactic with liberals: reflexively agree government bureaucrats; reflexively argue with industry experts.

It seems to me that that’s a surefire recipe for getting things wrong.

Notice how things get conflated in this paragraph:

Last week, McCain’s campaign scrapped a visit to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Dolly bore down on Louisiana. The campaign cited weather for the cancellation, which also came after a Liberian tanker spilled 419,000 gallons of oil into the Mississippi River outside New Orleans.

It isn’t accidental that Ms. Fouhy talks about an oil spill in the same paragraph as she talks about oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. What does one have to do with the other? The Liberian tanker was hit by a barge.

What isn’t mentioned is whether there was any oil spilled in the Gulf as a result of Dolly. I don’t think Ms. Fouhy much cares about that, which should be a central issue of this article. Let’s remember that being unbiased isn’t part of the AP’s new style under Ron Fournier:

There’s more to her vinegary remark than just the aftertaste of a sour parting. Fournier is a main engine in a high-stakes experiment at the 162-year old wire to move from its signature neutral and detached tone to an aggressive, plain-spoken style of writing that Fournier often describes as “cutting through the clutter.”

I said then what I’ll repeat now: The AP will no longer pretend to be unbiased. The good news is that the New Media is there to expose hit pieces like the one Ms. Fouhy wrote.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative