Friday, November 6, 2009

A Message From Phil Kerpen, Americans for Prosperity

Dear Voters

I'm writing to you this morning for two reasons:
1. Yesterday's "Congressional House Calls" were a great success, and

2. You must call your member of Congress before tomorrow's House vote on a Washington takeover of health care

Yesterday, I stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol looking out at more than 20,000 Americans - people from all across the nation who traveled to Washington to say "Hands Off Our Health Care!" and demand real reform that expands choice and puts patients first.

Over 20,000 Americans at the National Congressional House Call

The atmosphere was electric. It's clear that the energy of this summer's protests has only grown as Congress tries to rush us towards a reckless multi-trillion-dollar health care takeover.

And the action wasn't just in Washington. Tens of thousands of Americans made "Emergency House Calls" yesterday to their Representatives' local offices. We saw huge crowds in Missouri, Arizona, Wisconsin, Colorado, North Carolina, Arkansas, and other key states.

AFP activists telling Congress "Hands Off Our Health Care"

Our message and our enthusiasm have clearly resonated with Republican legislators. Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican Whip, told the crowd in Washington that not a single Republican will vote for Nancy Pelosi's Washington takeover of health care, scheduled for this Saturday.

You and I must hold the Republican legislators to this commitment. But we must also, right now, break through to wavering Democratic legislators and demand that they vote "No" this Saturday.

Please help by calling your member of Congress today. Then, encourage everyone you know to contact their member of Congress by forwarding this email to them by clicking here
Saturday's vote will be the first real test of this grassroots campaign to protect our families' health care. We must do all we can to stop this Washington takeover from passing the House of Representatives.

You've done so much, and we've come so far in this battle. Let's make sure it counts when Congress votes tomorrow.

Thanks for all you do.
Phil Kerpen
Director of Policy

Orlando office building gunman on the loose

ORLANDO, Fla. — Police are searching for a gunman who injured at least eight people at a downtown Orlando, Fla., office building.

People are streaming out of the building and some say they have barricaded themselves inside their offices.

Orange County Sheriff's Spokesman Jim Solomons says his department is backing up Orlando police and they're still looking for an armed man wearing a light blue polo shirt and jeans.

Orlando Police Sgt. Barbara Jones confirms there has been a shooting at a high-rise and multiple people have been hurt but she can't say how many. She says there is only one shooter.

The Orlando Fire Department tells WESH-TV that at least eight people are injured. Interstate 4 is closed in both directions through downtown and a nearby school is locked down.

Long-Anticipated Sundance Winner Lives up to Buzz

By Kam Williams

November 3, 2009) - Precious is finally arriving in theaters after being the beneficiary of practically a year’s worth of buzz since winning a trio of trophies at Sundance, including that prestigious film festival’s equivalent of Best Picture. I’m happy to be the bearer of the good news that the movie more than lives up to the critical acclaim.

Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, that relentlessly-raw best seller has been faithfully adapted by Lee Daniels, the producer of Monster’s Ball, the flick for which Halle Berry won her Academy Award in 2002. There’s a good chance Daniels is about to repeat that historic feat, for he has coaxed an Oscar-quality performance out of comedienne-turned-actress Mo’Nique, who is riveting here as one of the most monstrous screen villains in memory.

Set in Harlem in 1987, this remarkably realistic tale of woe is narrated by Clareece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), an overweight and illiterate, 16 year-old still in junior high. She claims to enjoy math class because, instead of opening her textbook, she simply sits there fantasizing about sleeping with her teacher, Mr. Wicher (Ean Sheehy). However, as the film further unfolds, being behind a few grades turns out to be the least of the portly teen’s problems.

The Full Story

Low Black Turnout Key in Deeds Defeat

James Hendricks Sr., 63, a food stocker from Alexandria, Va., stands outside his voting precinct. Like many African Americans, he said he voted for gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds because he was Democrat. (AFRO Photo/Zenitha Prince)
(November 5, 2009) - ARLINGTON, VA—For many Black voters in Virginia, there seemed to be only two options in this week’s statewide elections—vote Democrat or avoid the polls. Too many chose the latter, political analysts say, and may have played a big role in a GOP sweep on Nov. 3.

“Unfortunately, I think a lot of our people just stayed home,” said Stephanie Myers, national co-chair of Black Women for Obama for Change, a political interest group that campaigned for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, who lost 41 percent to 59 percent to his rival, Robert F. McDonnell.

That was true for Virginia’s entire electorate. This year saw the lowest turnout in a gubernatorial race in four decades, according to statistics from the Virginia State Board of Elections.

Not only did voter registration decrease, but also a mere 39 percent (1,914, 289) of the state’s near-5 million voters showed up at the polls. That was almost half the percentage of people (75 percent) who voted in last year’s presidential election.

Democrats suffered most from this voter malaise, said political analyst Larry Sabato, since the coalition that made President Barack Obama the first Democrat to win Virginia since 1964 did not wield their power on behalf of Deeds, 51, and other Democratic candidates. “There was low turnout among African Americans; there was low turnout among young voters; there was low turnout among Obama suburbanites—Democrats just didn’t show up and the Republicans did,” said Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Last year, African Americans accounted for 20 percent of the electorate. But, in Tuesday’s race, they accounted for 15 percent. And, according to an Oct. 27 Washington Post poll, only 12 percent planned to cast their ballots—91 percent voted for Deeds—on Nov. 3.

The outcome, political experts said, was partly the product of a longtime phenomenon in Virginia, whose voters tend to offer up the governor’s mansion as a consolation prize to the party that lost the presidential election.

However, the absence of Black voters—who tend to be the most loyal voters—reflect the lack of two factors: urgency around issues and a strong identification with candidates.

The Full Story

Family of Slain Spelman Student Sues CAU

Spelman student Jasmine Lynn, 19, was slain in September as she walked on the campus of neighboring Clark Atlanta University.

The parents of a Spelman College student slain in September as she walked on the campus of neighboring Clark Atlanta University filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday and said their daughter’s shooting could have been avoided if the institution had adequate security.

Jasmine Lynn, a 19-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri, was killed by stray gunfire as she walked with friends on Sept. 3.

“The most basic duty that a school has is to keep students safe. Despite numerous instances of violent crimes being committed against student on CAU’s campus, CAU failed to provide adequate security. If they had simply done this, my child would be alive today,” said Jasmine Lynn’s mother, Constance Franklin.

Rod Edmond, an Atlanta attorney representing Clint Lynn and Franklin, said Clark had been on notice of incidents of violent crime on campus.
“We understand they were aware of a criminal element on campus,” Edmond told

Read More

Climate change deal must be global priority, says Darling

World leaders have been urged not to let money stand in the way of a global deal on climate change.

The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December has been billed as humanity’s last chance to stop global warming by reducing greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

But negotiators meeting in Barcelona this week for the latest round of negotiations have admitted that any meaningful deal is unlikely until the end of next year because the US and other rich nations will not commit to cutting carbon emissions.

Finance ministers meeting in St Andrews Scotland for the G20 Summit this weekend now represent new hope for any progress on a deal by promising money to help the poorer nations adapt to climate change and cut their own emissions.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said countries must come together to protect “the common good”.

"We either take action and stop those problems happening or we fail to take action and we face bigger costs down the line,” he said.

"My message to my fellow finance ministers is there's a job of work to be done here. I don't think anyone seriously denies there's a problem here. Let's get on with it."

It was hoped any deal from Copenhagen at the end of the year would commit the globe to cutting carbon, but until the US signs up to targets the rest of the world will be unwilling to follow.

However climate finance, a key part of the deal could be worked out in time for December.

Developing countries, that will be the biggest emitters in the future, want around £250 billion per annum to help them cut emissions by switching from fossil fuels to clean development like wind and solar. The money will also help vulnerable countries like small island states adapt to climate change.

At the moment this amount of money is unlikely but developed countries could commit to a substantial sum in order to keep the talks on track.

The European Union has suggested the world pays £90 billion per annum from 2020, with around half coming from public funds.

Mr Darling said the UK would contribute its “fair share” by contributing around £1 billion per annum to the fund.

"People, not just in governments throughout the world but, more importantly, people in countries around the world, want us to be actually taking action now to deal with a present problem - that's the damaging effects of climate change,” he said.

"So there's a lot of work to be done still, a lot of heavy lifting, a lot of arguments still to be won but that's an important part of this weekend."

Agnes Kithikii, a climate risk reduction officer for aid agency CAFOD, said any money from rich countries must be separate to aid or the talks are in danger of collapsing once again.

“People are dying right now due to climate change and more people will die because of the delay in reaching a legally binding agreement this December in Copenhagen," she said. "The US, EU, Australia and Canada and other rich countries are denying the poorest and most vulnerable people the right to a future.”

Lost Charlie Chaplin Film Pops Up on eBay

One day, a man named Morace Park is surfing around eBay, looking for antiques, when he's intrigued by an item listed as an "old film." Housed in a funky antique tin, the man bids and wins it for the super-reasonable price of £3.20. He buys and sells antiques, so when the package arrives, it sits around for a bit. When he finally gets around to opening it, he unfurls some of the film to see what it is. The title reads: Charlie Chaplin in Zepped.

Yes, folks, as a story in the Guardian attests, this is a forgotten film that there's no record of. Almost seven minutes long, the short "is a mixture of footage of Chaplin and exuberant animation that reminded Park of Monty Python sequences." Park's neighbor John Dyer says: "It starts with live shots of Chaplin. It then turns into a dreamscape. We see a Zeppelin bombing attack. And then we see Chaplin taking the mickey out of the Zeppelin, at the time a powerful instrument of terror." They deduce that the film is a propaganda piece from the first World War. Park and Dyer have traveled to Los Angeles to learn more about the short, with filmmaker Hammad Khan recording their journey for a documentary.

One has got to assume that whoever sold it never bothered to open the film and see what this "old film" was. Just goes to show you -- old cinematic junk on eBay can lead to stunning discoveries, and never be so lazy as to not see what a film is before selling it.

In Exhibition Game, Marcus Jordan Scores One Point, Costs School Several Million Dollars

Michael's son wore a pair of Air Jordans in Central Florida's exhibition opener yesterday, and now adidas has petulantly ended its relationship with the school. Marcus went 0-for-3 in 23 minutes against something called St. Leo.

Report: Iran Tests Advanced Nuclear Warhead

According to the UK Guardian, Iran continues to move ahead in its mission to achieve nuclear independence. The report states that the International Atomic Energy Agency contacted Iranian officials to explain documentation that points to testing of advanced nuclear warhead design.

The IAEA statement in September followed reports from the Associated Press quoting what it called a classified IAEA document saying agency experts agreed Iran now had the means to build atomic bombs and was heading towards developing a missile system able to carry a nuclear warhead.

The Guardian report said that even the existence of two-point implosion nuclear warhead technology is officially secret in both the United States and Britain.

The technology allows for the production of smaller and simpler warheads, making it easier to put a warhead on a missile, the newspaper said.

The exclusive report continues “The very existence of the technology, known as a ‘two-point implosion’ device, is officially secret in both the US and Britain, but according to previously unpublished documentation in a dossier compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iranian scientists may have tested high-explosive components of the design. The development was today described by nuclear experts as ‘breathtaking’ and has added urgency to the effort to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

“The sophisticated technology, once mastered, allows for the production of smaller and simpler warheads than older models. It reduces the diameter of a warhead and makes it easier to put a nuclear warhead on a missile.”

FBI Has More than 3,000 Files on Sen. Ted Kennedy

Ulrich Boser, editor of the website The Open Case, could be in for some interesting reading if the FBI doesn’t redact too much.

By Ulrich Boser
The Open Case
What does the FBI have on Ted Kennedy? A lot, apparently. I filed a FOIA to get any documents related to the lion of the Senate shortly after the Senator’s death. I received a letter late last week, and the FBI told me that they had over 3,000 files on Kennedy.
To put that in context, Michael Jackson’s FOIA turned out to be only 600 pages.

To Read More

Ex-NYPD Chief Bernie Kerik Falls; Pleads to 8 Felony Counts

By Allan Lengel
For Sphere (a new AOL News Site)
Bernard Kerik, the former police commissioner of New York City whose meteoric rise to the national spotlight was matched only by his even faster fall, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to eight felony counts that included lying to the White House and tax crimes. The plea agreement calls for a sentence of up to nearly three years.

“It is a sad day when the former chief law enforcement officer of New York City pleads guilty to eight federal felonies,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a prepared statement.

Lawrence Kobilinsky, an acquaintance of Kerik and a forensics professor and chairman of the Department of Sciences at John Jay College in New York , was trying on Thursday to grasp the idea of the tainted American icon going off to prison for a while.

“That is just amazing,” Kobilinsky said. “It’s ironic to see him behind bars right now. It’s kind of shocking in a way. It’s sad, especially since he was the commissioner of corrections. This is astonishing.”

For Full Story

"10 Bodies in Sex Offender's Home: Is System Broken?"

The title of this post is the headline of this new ABC News piece which seeks to reflect on what the horrific Anthony Sowell case might tell us about modern sex offender regulation efforts. Here are snippets from the piece:

As the count of bodies found at the Cleveland, Ohio, home of a registered sex offender, more and more people are wondering how they could have gotten there without anyone knowing?

Now that Anthony Sowell has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder, the question is, why weren't the police and parole officers who were keeping tabs on him aware of what was going on?

Sowell, 50, today was ordered held without bail on five counts of aggravated murder, while police investigators confirmed they had found 10 bodies in and around his home, and a skull in his basement. "In 28 years of being on this bench, this is without question the most serious set of allegations that I have ever faced," Judge Ronald B. Adrine said during Sowell's court appearance today....

If it turns out that Sowell is responsible for the deaths of the people whose bodies have been found at his home, it could because he was able to exploit a broken parole and sex offender registry system. Sowell was a registered sex offender, but authorities failed to enlist the community's help to be on the lookout for signs of trouble....

Experts say sex offender lists are not only long, but fail to distinguish between minor offenders and the most dangerous predators. "The system that we have to do monitoring and supervision follow-up once they return to the community is just overwhelmed," said Ernie Allen of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Indicators, Pundits, And The New York Times Would Say So -- And Have

"I am blind; I am not oblivious. . .I am running for Governor in 2010."-- Gov. David A. Paterson

A tumbling local economy. Massive layoffs. Skyrocketing property taxes -- in fact, the highest in the land. Cuts, cuts, and more cuts. Increasing fees and decreasing services. Low voter turnout, especially among Democrats. An enormously unpopular Democratic Governor in a traditionally "blue" State.

New Jersey? New York? Corzine? Paterson?

Could we be talking about an interchangeable mindset in the two neighboring states, at least among likely voters?

If fate is the hunter, Jon Corzine having been shot down in the Garden State last Tuesday like a wayward deer lost on the Parkway, then Governor David Paterson, perhaps soon to be late (politically) of the Empire State, is surely the hunted.

Paterson may well have done, and be doing, all that is necessary and prudent to keep New York afloat, attempting to prevent its coffers from further sinking into the mire of indebtedness, contrarians and the GOP talking heads notwithstanding.

That won't change the perception of the voters.

It didn't in Jersey, where few, intellectually speaking, could truly fault Corzine for having his tenure as Governor fall squarely in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

The party in power -- in both New Jersey and New York, the Democrats -- will take the blame, whether deserved or not, and the wrath of the voters will come down hard on the incumbents.

If there is a lesson to be learned from Jon Corzine's defeat at the hands of Chris Christie (who, truth be told, really hasn't a clue as to what he's getting into, or an inkling as to what it will take to get NJ out of its fiscal bind), it is that it is sometimes better to save face -- not to mention the prospects of the Party -- and simply walk away.

Face it, Jon Corzine had President Obama, Vice President Biden, and every other popular Democrat in his corner, parading through the cranberry bogs and past the refineries, up and down the New Jersey Turnpike.

It didn't turn the tide. Not even close.

David Paterson, already saddled with the lowest approval rating of any sitting New York Governor -- even lower than Eliot Spitzer, on the ex-Gov's worst day -- won't have the President at his side along the campaign trail. Indeed, Mr. Obama, as has been widely reported, asked Governor Paterson to bow out of the 2010 gubernatorial race.

No dice, says Paterson, the writing jumping off the wall notwithstanding. [There'd be a "none so blind" comment waiting in the wings here, were it not so politically incorrect.]

Everyone, it seems, but for Mr. Paterson, understands, implicitly, that, absent pulling fifteen billion dollars or so out of a hat (and even then), the Governor is not electable. One has to wonder what his friends and close advisers are telling him. [Akin to the Emperor's new clothes?] Or have even the Governor's closest allies jumped ship, intellectually, if not physically.

The folks we confer with, on a regular basis, almost to a person, say that Paterson cannot win election in 2010. In fact, most say they would not vote for him. And these are Democrats.

Paterson has lost the Independents and the confidence once held in him by the Democratic base, who fear, perhaps more so than losing the Governor's office, returning the NYS Senate to the Republicans, who will then have the redrawing of district lines -- the once per decade redistricting -- in their pockets.

Most telling, in our opinion, is not what the average Joe or Jane on the street thinks. [No one cares about them except on Election Day -- if then.] It's The New York Times editorial page, that last bastion of left-wing liberal thought, opining that a liberal Democratic Governor in New York should forgo the 2010 race.

As suggested by The Times, the best thing David Paterson can do for New York -- not to mention the State's Democratic Party -- is to announce that he will not seek a full term next year.

Avoid both a primary challenge from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, which would prove both humiliating and divisive, and a fate at the polls next November (should he somehow make it that far) akin to that of New Jersey's now lame duck Governor, Jon Corzine.

The bell tolls for thee, Governor, loud and clear. We hope, for your sake, as well as that of your Party, and that of the good people of the great State of New York, that you hear and heed their warning.

And to NYS Democratic Party Chair, Jay Jacobs (also the Nassau County Democratic Committee Chair), if you're reading this blogpost, consider, on the heels of the near wipe out by a GOP Tsunami in Nassau County on November 3, having Governor Paterson bow out sooner (as in, by year's end) rather than later.

Let those who have a shot at actually winning -- and that would be, on the Democratic side, Andrew Cuomo -- have a clear and unobstructed path to the nomination.

As for David Paterson, a nice guy but ineffective leader, the foretelling of the future is, in this instance, not mystical, but a matter of simple deductive reasoning. The numbers just aren't there for Governor Paterson.

If, defying logic, the pollsters, the pundits, and the will of the people (not to mention The New York Times), Paterson does seek election to a full term as New York's Governor, well, to paraphrase Leo Durocher, David Paterson, nice guy, will likely finish last, and New York, with its State Legislature a dysfunctional (at best) embarrassment, may well be plunged into the abyss of oblivion along with him.

Unemployment Rate Jumps to 10.2%; AP Reports 'Economy Is Rebounding'

The October unemployment rate has just been released and it has jumped to double digits at 10.2%, the worst rate since 1983. Just a little over half a point higher would make this the worst recession since the Great Depression. So how is the Associated Press reporting the growing unemployment numbers? "The economy is rebounding." I kid you not.

This AP report by Christopher S. Rugaber was published earlier this morning before the official unemployment rate was released. Notice how AP tries to cushion the blow by speculating that it would probably just rise to 9.9% for October:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The economy is rebounding from its deepest slump since the 1930s, but it probably won't seem that way when the government releases its monthly employment report on Friday.

Employers aren't expected to start adding jobs for several more months. Many are skeptical about the strength and sustainability of the recovery,

The nation's economy probably lost a net total of 175,000 jobs in October, pushing the unemployment rate to 9.9 percent, according to a survey of Wall Street economists by Thomson Reuters. The Labor Department report is scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. EST.

Most economists think the rate will eventually surpass 10 percent, a level last seen in June 1983.

The AP couldn't wait a few hours before filing this embarrassing egg-on-the face unemployment report? Were they that anxious to promote fictitious happy news on the economic front? Most economists think the rate will "eventually" surpass 10 percent? "Eventually" lasted only a few hours after the report was filed with the immediate jump to 10.2 percent, not sometime in the vague future.

AP continues to laughably divorce itself from reality in the rest of the report:

On Wall Street, a better-than-expected jobless claims report and an upbeat forecast from Cisco Systems Inc. buoyed investors Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average added nearly 204 points to 10,005.96, and broader indexes also gained.

...Many companies also are squeezing more production from their existing work forces. Productivity, the amount of output per hour worked, jumped 9.5 percent in the third quarter, the Labor Department said Thursday.

That's the sharpest increase in six years and followed a 6.6 percent rise in the second quarter. The increases enable companies to produce more without hiring extra workers.

Still, many economists saw a bright side: companies can only drive their existing workers so far. Eventually, they will have to hire more people as the economy improves.

...The central bank said economic activity has "continued to pick up," but Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues warned that rising joblessness and tight credit could restrain the rebound in the months ahead.

There actually is one green shoot in the economy. The employment prospects at the Associated Press for Baghdad Bob have gotten much brighter.

Update: The original "happy face" AP unemployment rate report link at Yahoo! Finance has been replaced with this report reflecting the latest stats. You can run, AP, but you can't hide. Your original embarrassing report still exists on the Web.

Fort Hood Jihadi, a devout Muslim, had "Palestinian" Parents, Admired Homicide Bombers

What we know:

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is a U.S. citizen whose parents are Palestinians from the West Bank, according to the Washington Post.

He wrote Allah on his door, according to a neighbor, in Arabic. Allah on the door.

Hasan was put on probation early in his postgraduate work at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. He was disciplined for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues, according to the source, who worked with him at the time. NPR

Federal law enforcement officials say the suspected Fort Hood, Texas, shooter had come to their attention at least six months ago because of Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

One of the Web postings that authorities reviewed is a blog that equates suicide bombers with a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades. (more here)

On his blog is a link to an article "Martyrdom in Islam vs Suicide Bombing"

He was happy about the Muslim solider who shot and killed a soldier and wounded another at a Little Rock Military recruiting station. Hasan said Muslims should rise up against the aggressors. Maybe we should have more of these.....strapping bombs on and going into Times Square".

The officials had access to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's military record. They said he received a poor performance evaluation while at Walter Reed.
They promoted him to major. Jihadi Malik should have been removed from military service. Yes, the lawsuits would have been flying, but so what? Those great Americans would still be alive.

This was "not the act of a crazy". This was not the random act of a nutcase. It was execution style, close range. He shot 44 - 50 rounds - that's a lot of ammunition to come out of those two guns in such a short period of time. This was premeditated. "A deliberate act of execution of the largest army base in America".

Neighbors say he was giving away his possessions this morning and PASSING OUT QURANS. Newscaster: "he was proud of his religion".

UPDATE: Jihadi blog posting: (hat tip Rick)

NidalHasan scribbled: There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that "IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE" and Allah (SWT) knows best.

Their blood is on the hands of Islamic apologists, dhimmis, media, the weak, and lily livered politicians. The media spin on this massacre is another form of attack on America.

UPDATE: CAIR is spinning like a washing machine on steroids. At their press conference this evening they spun the post traumatic syndrome (even though Hasan was never in Iraq - helloooo). The media is eating this nonsensical cud right up. This is jihad.

But you have to hand it to them, the Islamic spin machine is da bomb.

On Thursday night, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad told a news conference the alleged Fort Hood attacker's motive remained unknown.

"We urge all Americans to remain calm in reaction to this tragic event and to demonstrate once again what is best about America -- our nation's ability to remain unified even in times of crisis," Awad said. "We urge national political and religious leaders and media professionals to set a tone of calm and unity.

"Unfortunately, based on past experience, we also urge American Muslims, and those who may be perceived to be Muslim, to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves, their families and their religious institutions from possible backlash." (Rantburg)

A Ray of Sunshine After a Dark Campaign

By Richard A. Lee

As soon as the outcome of Tuesday’s election was apparent, the speculation began:

• Was the election a referendum on President Obama?

• How could a pro-life Republican win in a blue state such as New Jersey?

• Why did the Democratic base fail to deliver the votes needed to re-elect the incumbent Governor?

Although these and other questions make for the type of healthy debate that is likely to continue long into the future, there is one topic that has largely been absent from the discussion to date: Regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, Tuesday’s voting patterns did reveal some positive trends that could bode well for future campaigns here in New Jersey.

For starters, let’s look at negative ads. No one likes them, but they have become campaign mainstays not just in New Jersey, but all over the nation. Political consultants say they negative ads are the best way to move undecided voters, but they were not so effective in this year’s race for Governor. Although both sides engaged in negative advertising, the Corzine campaign outspent its main rival and advertised more heavily, yet one of the factors that led to the Governor’s defeat was his inability to gain support from a significant percentage of New Jersey’s independent voters.

As exit polls by the National Election Pool/Edison Research revealed, 73 percent of those polled said Corzine had attacked Christie unfairly. There were, however, some mixed signals. Sixty-two percent of the participants felt Christie attacked Corzine unfairly; and, among Corzine supporters, 78 percent said their candidate’s attacks were unfair, but still voted for him.

Hopefully, the numbers – and the results – will make candidates and campaigns at least think twice before launching into negative strategies in the future. The Mayoral election across the river lends additional support to this theory. Incumbent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent heavily on negative ads against an opponent who was considered a long-shot at best. Although Bloomberg prevailed, the election turned out to be much closer than expected.

Speaking of Bloomberg, there is something else that he and Governor Corzine have in common. Both are men who earned millions in the private sector and then used their own money to launch successful electoral bids. They are not alone. Over the past decade, with the cost of running for office rising astronomically, both parties have courted candidates who have the fiscal resources to self-finance expensive campaigns. There is nothing wrong with this practice. We live in a democracy and anyone -- rich or poor -- willing to devote his or her time and money to running for office deserves some admiration. But when individuals spend tens of millions of dollars of their own money to get elected, it can turn voters off by suggesting that political offices come with price tags and can be bought by the candidate with the most money. Following Bloomberg’s victory on Tuesday, The New York Daily News calculated that he spent more than $150 for each vote he received.

Bloomberg’s narrow victory, coupled with Corzine’s defeat, does not mean that we have seen the last of rich, self-financing candidates. But the results show that, regardless of how much a candidate spends, it’s not a given that he or she will win. Let’s give voters some credit. Sometimes we all underestimate the knowledge and intelligence of the public.

One other positive development emerged from Tuesday’s results: When Chris Christie takes office in January, it will mark the first time in over 15 years that the Governor and the Legislative leadership in New Jersey will be of different parties. For the past eight years, we have had Democratic Governors and a Democratic Legislature. During the preceding eight years, the situation was reversed with Republican Governors and a Republican Legislature. Regardless of who was in power, the minority party was marginalized.

With a Republican Governor and Democratic Legislature, there will have to be negotiation and compromise involving both parties in order to get legislation of any substance enacted. Let’s hope this happens because the only other scenario is that the two sides remain at odds and blame each other for Trenton’s failure to get the job done. We’ve had too much of that scenario already; I think that’s what voters told us on Tuesday.

# # #

Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey. A former journalist and Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies.