Monday, February 27, 2012

Attention HBO: John McCain, Not Sarah Palin, Lost the 2008 Election

                                                photo credit: sskennel via photopin cc

The smug  chorus on the left (and the right, in some cases) seem to take comfort in the urban myth that Sarah Palin,the VP candidate, cost Sen. John McCain the 2008 presidential election.

Forget the so-called experts. For those who might still be wondering "who is Sarah Palin?," she is the former governor of Alaska and not the media caricature who nearly pulled the Arizona senator across the finish line in November 2008.

McCain surged ahead in the polls after he named Palin to the ticket, only to be undone by the Wall Street meltdown.

Big Hollywood's Joel B. Pollak presents a fine refutation of the conventional wisdom:
But here’s the truth about the McCain-Palin campaign, which HBO’s upcoming “Game Change” film attempts to shroud in fanciful anti-Palin fiction: Palin carried the campaign. She would have led the Republicans to victory had it not been for the September financial collapse and McCain’s disastrous decision to suspend his campaign so that he could vote for the TARP bailout in Washington...
On the ground in New Hampshire, where I volunteered after classes and on weekends, Palin’s nomination had led to a sudden groundswell of support. Where McCain had struggled to fill an arena, lines outside events featuring Palin seemed miles long. She had awakened and rallied the conservative base.
And then, just as quickly, after the bailout vote, support for the Republican ticket collapsed
By the way, how edgy and bold for Hollywood liberals to be coming out with an apparent Palin-bashing movie on HBO. Pollak adds that a Sarah Palin biography that shows how she helped galvanize the Tea Party movement would instead make a worthy film.

We disagree with Pollak on one point. In the economic emergency, putting the campaign on hold with the possibility of cancelling the debate enabled McCain to control the entire news cycle.

As we wrote back in October 2009 about the aftermath of the bailout...
The debate ultimately went forward on schedule, and there the Senator blew a golden opportunity before an estimated 52.4 million viewers to recapture his lead in the polls. First, he failed to explain to the American public why he suspended his campaign in the first place...His second mistake was pledging on national TV to vote in favor the Paulson bill when it reached the Senate chamber.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Visit to Red Sox Favorite Popeyes Chicken

Do the Boston Red Sox know that Popeyes Chicken is celebrating its 40th anniversary?

We found that out (it's printed on the box) when we visited a local Popeyes franchise for the first time in honor of MLB pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training this week.

It came out afterwards that Red Sox starting pitchers spent a lot time chowing down on Popeyes fried chicken, swilling beer, and playing video games in the clubhouse while the team imploded on the field last September.

Okay, the Louisiana-style chicken wasn't bad (and the cole slaw was tasty), but everyone knows that fried food should only be an occasional thing.

At the time, we wondered why no "journalist" who followed the team every day ever wrote about clubhouse gluttony until after the fact:
Who is more lazy--those Boston Red Sox players responsible for the team's historic implosion or the sports "reporters" who only got around to writing about clubhouse dysfunction (including in-game boozing) after the season ended?
In a separate but related issue, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas recently caught hell for declining to go to the White House ceremony honoring the team for winning the Stanley Cup. Yet Bush-bashing former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein never got any grief for no-showing at the presidential residence after the team won the World Series twice.

Here's what Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr said about this double standard:
Hey Tim, if you want to be left alone by the PC Posse, next time you have a hankering to express your opinion, just bring a bucket of Popeye’s fried chicken and a six-pack of Bud Light onto the bench. The Knights of the Keyboard won’t even notice it until the season’s over.

There's also been no reporting about whether the Sox pitchers, when placing their Popeyes chicken order, prefer spicy or mild.

Addendum: New manager Bobby Valentine just announced a ban on beer in the clubhouse and on plane flights home after a road trip. Chicken is still probably okay, but team nutritionists would likely frown on the fried variety.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Disputed People's Court Episode that You Almost Didn't See

Unsuccessful People's Court plaintiff Claudia Evart went to New York Supreme Court to try to stop this episode of the popular television show from making it to air.  A New York judge declined to stop the broadcast of the small claims court arbitration, however, and it was shown last Friday (we will replace the video below with a more complete and/or better quality version as soon as it becomes available).

If you watched the trial, which concerned a dispute over a custom-made Murphy bed, in real time on Friday or later on your DVR, it does seem like the defendant made out a strong case that he tried to accommodate the customer.

The problem apparently occurred when Evart was prevented from fully testifying that a salesperson said the bed was sold rather than ruined in Hurricane-Irene-related flooding as the defendant maintained.

Judge Marilyn Milian, however, banged her gavel before Evart could offer evidence, if any, of that conversation.

The plaintiff may well have lost the trial anyway, but it would have only taken an additional minute or two more to give the plaintiff a chance to provide corroboration, so what was the rush?

Judge Milian's rejoinders that the plaintiff "always gets what she wants" (how would she know this?) and that plaintiff was "dead" (rather than "out of gas," or "done," etc, as the she usually says) also seem over the top.

The Myth of Moral Justice contends in part that the court system fails to take into consideration the emotional component of a lawsuit. As we wrote in a previous blog posting that reviewed the book, "the litigants simply never receive an opportunity to vent in a public setting. Since many if not all lawsuits contain a strong emotional component, even the winner doesn't 'believe the case is all over and the issues are all settled' is fair to say that many litigants often find themselves figuratively (or sometimes literally) gaveled out of order before they get a full chance to express themselves."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Abe the Vampire Slayer

In honor of Presidents' Day, here is the trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, coming to a screen near you this summer.

Sign Petition to Save Nutritional Supplements

                                       photo credit: Clean Wal-Mart via photopin cc
Washington bureaucrats (i.e., the real extremists) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have yet to withdraw the controversial "draft guidance" that threatens access to dietary supplements.

Citizens for Health is continuing to collect signatures for an online petition opposing the proposed regs even though the official FDA comment period is over. Some 19,000 health-oriented consumers already signed, and the goal is to hit 25,000 signatures by February 25 ("25 by 25") that will be presented to Congress and the FDA.

If you care about health freedom, and have yet to sign the Citizens for Health petition, please do so here.

Update: The goal of 25,000 signatures has been met. Citizens for Health is now shooting for 30,000 signatures by midnight, February 29.

Underwear Bomber Gets Life Sentence

Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Christmas Day 2009 underwear bomber, will spend the rest of his life behind bars after being sentenced by a federal judge in Detroit on Thursday:

 And on Friday, the FBI preempted an illegal alien from an alleged suicide bomb attack on Capitol Hill:


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Study: Nearly Two Million Dead Voters Still on Rolls

Leftists (including seemingly corrupt U.S. Justice Department officials) who claim that vote fraud isn't a problem act like isolated soldiers who many years later still haven't heard that the conflict has been settled.

The Pew Center on the States found in a new report (titled "Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient,") that nearly two million dead people are still registered to vote, about 24 million registrations are either "invalid or inaccurate," and 2.75 million persons who are improperly registered to vote in more than one state.

Our lax voter registration procedures are obsolete. The report maintains that "Voter registration in the United States largely reflects its 19th-century origins and has not kept pace with advancing technology and a mobile society. States’ systems must be brought into the 21st century to be more accurate, cost-effective, and efficient."
How about as a start deploying similar technology to that implemented by MasterCard or Visa?

The study also provides more common sense justification for photo ID in all states, as Investor's Business Daily explains:
Yet Democrats are pummeling states trying to impose picture ID laws to protect against this kind of fraud. They vetoed such laws in Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire and North Carolina.
The Justice Department blocked South Carolina's new photo ID law...
Democrats make two bogus arguments. First, that ballot fraud isn't "widespread" enough to merit the new requirement, as though there's such a thing as a tolerable level of fraud. Second, that picture ID laws would suppress voter turnout among minorities.
In fact, states with picture ID laws go out of their way to make sure everyone who needs an ID can get one. Plus, turnout in Indiana and Georgia swelled after their laws went into effect, and  the Supreme Court already ruled that picture ID laws don't infringe on anyone's right to vote.
Given this, it's hard to escape the conclusion that Democrats count on exploiting an inept and tattered registration system to help them win close elections. If that isn't the case, they should prove it by backing a reform that would do much to protect the sanctity of the ballot box.
Addendum: In a column about the Pew study, National Review's Deroy Murdock writes:
 For its part, President Obama’s Justice Department exacerbates these problems.
As former federal prosecutor J. Christian Adams explains in his superb book Injustice, Section 8 of the Motor Voter Act “requires voter rolls to be kept free of dead and ineligible voters.” As Justice attorneys were poised to investigate eight states rife with non-living and otherwise unqualified voters, top Obama appointees balked.
Adams heard Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes tell headquarters staffers in November 2009: “We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.”

The Real Unemployment Rate is...

                              photo credit: Lester Public Library via photopin cc

Three years later and billions spent on a failed stimulus, is it still Bush's fault?

To put it another way, does anyone with any connection to the real world accept the cooked Labor Department statistics that national unemployment is only 8%?

Even the supposedly non-partisan Congressional Budget Office indicates that joblessness is more like 15% in what it calls "the worst period of unemployment in the United States" since the Depression era of the 1930s.

In a report to Congress released on Thursday about "persistently high unemployment," the CBO summarizes its findings as follows:
The rate of unemployment in the United States has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, making the past three years the longest stretch of high unemployment in this country since the Great Depression. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the unemployment rate will remain above 8 percent until 2014. The official unemployment rate excludes those individuals who would like to work but have not searched for a job in the past four weeks as well as those who are working part-time but would prefer full-time work; if those people were counted among the unemployed, the unemployment rate in January 2012 would have been about 15 percent. Compounding the problem of high unemployment, the share of unemployed people looking for work for more than six months—referred to as the long-term unemployed—topped 40 percent in December 2009 for the first time since 1948, when such data began to be collected; it has remained above that level ever since.
Read the full CBO report here.


TSA Scanning: A High-Tech Peep Show?

TSA agents are at it again:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Self-Described Manhattan Conservative vs. the Liberals

It's all Bush's fault--depending on what the definition of the word "it's" is...

Many urban Bush-bashing "sophisticates" like to consider themselves edgy, but is there anything more out there than navigating the ultra-liberal Manhattan enclave wearing a "Palin power" button?

That's what gutsy columnist and FNC talking head Jedediah Bila did during the 2008 presidential campaign, as she recounts in her short book/diary Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. The engaging publication describes her various encounters with tolerant (is there any other kind?) leftists in the city, including in the private school where she used to teach.

Despite a non-adversarial, understated approach, Bila found herself on the outs with friends, colleagues, and students because her sincerely held views--on those occasions when she expressed them--differed from theirs. Politics should be irrelevant to relationships, but then again things have a way of working out, though; these same personal experiences compelled Bila to reinvent herself as a successful political commentator.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Birth Control Mandate is Just the Beginning

You could be a stone-cold atheist or a fervent pro-choice secularist with low opinion of organized religion and still be outraged about the Obama administration's latest effort to trample on religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment. Now comes reports that the administration may revamp its birth control mandate policy after the uproar.

In an excellent editorial Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal warns Americans to get used to such  ObamaCare dictates that will be imposed by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services bureaucrats:
The country is being exposed to the raw political control that is the core of the Obama health-care plan, and Americans are seeing clearly for the first time how this will violate pluralism and liberty....
Practicing this kind of compulsion is routine and noncontroversial within [HHS Secretary] Sebelius's ministry. That may explain why her staff didn't notice that the birth-control rule abridges the First Amendment's protections for religious freedom. Then again, maybe HHS thought the public had become inured to such edicts, which have arrived every few weeks since the Affordable Care Act passed...
HS tried to sell it as a compromise when it was announced, and in any case HHS would revive this coercion whenever it is politically convenient some time in Mr. Obama's second term. Religious liberty won't be protected from the entitlement state until ObamaCare is repealed.
 The Journal also notes that "The Catholic left was one of ObamaCare's great enablers."

Here is Next Media Animation's take on the controversy:

Regardless of your opinion of sometimes erratic Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, the former GOP presidential candidate, she was right on target when she said that government control of healthcare is the crown jewel of socialism.

Added: Heritage Foundation video "Religious Liberty: Obamacare's First Casualty."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Help Wanted: The TSA is Looking for a Few Good Gropers

The spring/summer travel season is right around the corner, and the TSA--the U.S. Transportation Security Administration--has a new recruitment video for airport security officers.

Actually this video is satire by "Health Ranger" Mike Adams and

According to many passengers, TSA also stands for "thousands standing around" or "total sexual assault" among other nicknames.

Update--Grope tax: So-called passenger security fees will be doubled under the administration's budget proposal: "Obama’s budget plan as reported yesterday calls for hiking the ticket fees for passenger and bag security from $2.50 to $5 next year, while cutting federal subsidies to airports. By 2018, the fee would jump to $7.50, raising billions of dollars for the government."


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Did Tim Tebow and Tom Brady Vote for Rick Santorum in Minnesota?

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum won last night's Minnesota caucus. A caucus requires people to show up in person in contrast to an actual primary or general election.

Coincidentally, James O'Keefe's lastest video on vote fraud shows how Tim Tebow and Tom Brady and anyone else can register to vote absentee in Minnesota with no verification.

Minnesota is, of course, the state that narrowly "elected" Stuart Smalley to the U.S. Senate after a shady recount.


Police Taser Non-Compliant McDonald's Drive-Thru Customer

                                  photo credit: Manila Daily Photo via photopin cc

The lull in fast-food freakouts was only temporary. A North Carolina woman who cut in line at a McDonald's drive-thru last Friday apparently resisted arrest and was Tasered by police.

And in Pennsylvania, a man allegedly stabbed his brother with a steak knife in a dispute over a McDonald's brownie.

The Oscars Broadcast--Must Miss TV?

                                         photo credit: cliff1066™ via photopin cc

The Academy Awards ceremony is coming up later this month, but other than the fashion police who will be working an overtime detail, does anyone really take the Oscars seriously anymore?

For one thing, as is usually the case, hardly anyone went to see the films nominated for Best Picture. One could also argue that in general the content--as well as the box office--is also anemic. And many of today's actors seem to lack a commanding presence on the screen.

At PJMedia, author/screenwriter Andrew Klavan provides some perspective about how the Oscars are "sinking into irrelevance."
It’s also true that Hollywood’s left-wing and feminist agendas alienate the industry from the mainstream..But low-watt stars, dishonest leftism, and hectoring feminism may be the symptoms of the art form’s decay rather than the causes. Technology and time may have killed the business and leftists and feminists may be the maggots feeding on its corpse — all that remains after the best writers and actors have headed for television, and the brilliant visual guys go into video gaming and apps.
In an unrelated article on National Review Online, historian Victor Davis Hanson notes that Hollywood movers-and-shakers are among the biggest supporters of what he calls "Obamaism," despite the fact that "Hollywood predicates much of its production on the basis of non-union locations."

While dwindling, the Oscars still get decent TV ratings, but the trend is not their friend. Will you be watching this year?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy 101st Birthday, Mr. President

Ronald Reagan, the nation's 40th president, would be 101 years old today:

Watching Something Other Than The Super Bowl

                                                            photo credit: .criga. via photopin cc                                            
Last night's Super Bowl apparently got huge ratings, but unlike most Americans, we were watching something else: episodes of the TV series Breaking Bad on Netflix streaming.

We're late to the party since the series premiered in 2008, but the episodes are addicting--if that's okay to say for an edgy show about drug dealers.

Situational ethics gone wild, Breaking Bad has to be one of the best shows that has come along in a long time. The subject matter is not for everyone, but the writing, directing, acting, cinematography, editing, etc., are all first rate.

Bryan Cranston, the crazy dentist from Seinfeld (see below), plays Walter White, a straight-laced high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who jumps into meth manufacturing to create a nest egg for his family after he's gone. (The White character has lung cancer and also has a son with cerebral palsy). With one horrendous and dangerous escapade after another, the show is intense, but it also contains some very dark humor.

The actors, starting with Cranston as the show's top meth chef anti-hero, do a wonderful job, and the dialogue and the generally unpredictable plotting gives the characters a fuller dimension. This includes White's relationship with his wife (who he must constantly lie to to keep his meth moonlighting under wraps) played by Anna Gunn, and his contentious quasi-father-son relationship with his meth-lab partner Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). The sleazy criminal defense lawyer/money launderer played by Bob Odenkirk is another great character.

Perhaps one of the most interesting dynamics is supplied by White's brother-in-law, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) who just happens to be a DEA agent. The Schrader character comes across as an oaf, but he is also a solid, loyal friend as well as a crafty law enforcement operative (whose investigations, at least through the end of season two, have yet to make the connection between meth kingpin "Heisenberg" and a member of his own family).

Here's what some Netflix members posted about the series:
  • "The writing is fabulous, so ingenous, the characters so deeply drawn, I find myself facinated, repulsed, you name it."
  • "Excellent character development with constant plot twists. Leaves you in suspense after every episode."
  • "Entertaining, shocking, suspenseful, heart warming, scary, thought provoking."
  • "intelligent, artistic, white-knuckled intensity, with a little dark humor mixed in to boot."
Viewer advisory: You have to watch the show from the start; it's not the kind of series that you can pick up in the middle. But remember; it's easy to get "hooked."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

League of Legends Gamer Dies at Internet Cafe; No One Notices

                                    photo credit: Xensin via photopin cc
A year ago this month, an employee of the Los Angeles County government died at her desk and no one noticed until the next day.

A similar fate sadly befell a League of Legends player at an Internet cafe in Taiwan on Tuesday night as per this report from Sky News:
A Taiwanese man who died while playing video games at an internet cafe was left for hours after fellow gamers failed to notice his death...[His] body had apparently been sitting there for up to nine hours without any of the 30 other people in the cafe noticing.
The 23-year-old gamer who had a history of heart problems may have died of cardiac arrest according to an initial police investigation. The NY Daily News indicates that he had paid in advance for 23 hours of web access.

League of Legends is said to have 32 million registered users around the world.

Indiana Becomes Right-to-Work State

All the media attention this week about Romney's idiotic gaffe concerning poor people obscured a far more significant political development: Indiana passed right-to-work legislation that will end the automatic payroll deduction for union dues. In so doing, it will make the money laundering between Democrats and unions harder. As the New York Times reports, the bill, which takes effect immediately, makes Indiana the country's 23rd right-to-work state.
The legislation, which bars union contracts from requiring non-union members to pay fees for representation, makes Indiana the first state in more than a decade to enact right to work legislation and the only one in the Midwestern manufacturing belt to have such a law.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels would hardly qualify as "most interesting man in the world" had he run for president, but in this video from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the site of tomorrow's Super Bowl, he talks about the reform measure that he signed into law.

Daniels' website adds that "Seven years of evidence and experience ultimately demonstrated that Indiana did need a right-to-work law to capture jobs for which, despite our highly rated business climate, we are not currently being considered."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Non-Citizens Voting in Lee County Florida

Right-of-center politicians have to overperform in elections because Democrats tend to feast on vote fraud, which was made easier by the so-called Motor-Voter law enacted during the Clinton administration (which does not require proof of citizenship).

Cape Coral, Fla., in the Ft. Myers area, is a beautiful place to live or visit. But like communities all across the U.S., the integrity of the ballot is at risk because of lax laws and poor oversight as revealed by this local TV investigation about non-citizen voting. In the meantime, head-in-the-sand (or worse) liberals insist vote fraud isn't a problem and fight tooth and nail against reasonable photo ID requirements.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Real Best People's Court Entrance Ever

Back around the holidays, a video circulated through the Internet that was touted as the best ever litigant entrance on TV's The People's Court. There was also a second-place finisher too.

At the time, we said that there was a much better one, in which a defendant did a pirouette as he entered the courtroom--and subsequently suffered the wrath of Judge Milian. Despite getting off "on the wrong foot" with the judge, the chastened defendant did win the case, suggesting that the judge didn't hold his initial misbehavior against him.

In response to our request, an In General Counsel reader was kind enough to provide a YouTube link to that bit of performance art. 

It can be found here (scroll down to the third video).

Ron Paul for Treasury Secretary

We were in the car earlier today and heard a radio talk show host float the idea of appointing Ron Paul as U.S. Treasury Secretary in a presumed Romney administration.

This idea apparently is not necessarily new, but it must be gaining some traction. Just for the record (whatever that means!), about a month ago we made this same suggestion to some friends during a casual restaurant conversation..

Ron Paul is retiring from Congress. Putting him in charge of the Treasury Department--if he is interested in the post--and vesting him with full authority to audit the Fed is in his wheelhouse. It would also serve to unify two disparate elements of right-leaning voters.

One the primary campaign is settled, will the Romney inner circle (assuming the former Massachusetts governor emerges as the nominee) be bold enough to reach out to the congressman.

Law School Applications in Downward Spiral

Blogs like Inside the Law School Scam launched by "LawProf" seem to be having an affect because law school applications are apparently down nearly 17% over last year.

Marketplace forces at work.

There is increasing evidence that law schools have gamed their placement statistics to hide an imploding legal job market. Meanwhile law school graduates on the hook for huge tuition bills are facing years of "debtor's prison."

LawProf's blog makes for compelling reading and repeated visits. LawProf is also reporting that today 12 law schools have been hit with a class-action lawsuit for misrepresentation.

We do respectfully disagree with one contention on the blog. LawProf and the many active posters vehemently reject the premise that a law degree can open doors to alternative careers.

For what it's worth, a law degree has been extremely helpful to us in the writing/editing field, but admittedly the degree may no longer be a viable credential in today's marketplace.

Unlike a lot of the folks on that blog, we have no regrets about obtaining a J.D. perhaps because we attended law school at night (thanks to employer-provided educational benefits) while working full time and had significantly different expectations than those going full time right out of undergraduate college.

The work/school schedule was a long slog. How did we get through it? During lectures we looked forward to attacking the refrigerator after getting home from class and watching reruns of Tom Baker (shown above) portraying Dr. Who in the British science fiction series.

In 2012, in general based on available data, is a law degree worth pursuing? In a word, no.

Most Viewed Posts in January 2012

Visitors to this blog in the month of January 2012 gravitated to these posts the most. Thank you for your continuing readership and best wishes for the new year.