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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years From The Holiday Inn

A little blast from the past to launch us into the new year!

The Year Ahead

Political Cartoons by Ed Gamble

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Obama Citizenship Update

(Barack Obama is shown circled in yellow in a group photo during a graduation ceremony at the SDN Menteng 1 school in Jakarta, Indonesia.)

Here is an overview of where the Obama Citizenship lawsuits stand.

For those who are interested in the Certificate conspiracy, here is a detailed overview offered by Ron Polarik, PhD. I don't know if I buy into this aspect of the concerns, but you can review the information and decide for yourselves I suppose.

Justice Kennedy denied the application for an Injunction to Stay Electoral Vote Count by Congress on January 8, 2009. However, the Writ of Certiorari is still pending and is now scheduled for Conference before U.S. Supreme Court on January 9, 2009. The other conference concerning the Application to Justice Antonin Scalia for an immediate injunction to Stay the Joint Session of Congress from Counting the Electoral College Votes is scheduled for January 16, 2009. Both of these can be verified on the supreme court's website:]

I'm still put off by this whole situation. What floors me about all of this is that American citizens simply do NOT understand or even care about this issue. We have a President Elect who may or may not be Constitutionally qualified to be the POTUS. To prove his qualifications, all he has to do is release his birth, adoption, travel, and school records. Obama has overtly refused to do so and the American people haven't batted an eye. THAT'S what bothers me. We have a clear subsuming of our Constitutional republic, an elected leader who has show us by his actions with this issue that only HE can decide to what issues he will be held accountable.

Look, I don't think it's world ending that Obama may or may not technically qualify to be President. It's important, but it's not the world's biggest issue. What gets me riled up is that this man was even put in the position to be elected BEFORE he released his records. Since when, in a democracy, is it not acceptable to ask our representatives to prove their qualifications?

Obama is not God. The President of the United States is NOT God. He is a representative of the people, for the people, and elected by the people. He is restricted and governed by the Constitution regardless of how "cool" people think he is.

I understand he's the first black president, and that's nifty. But black, white, yellow, orange, tan, green... whatever, he is to be held to the same standards as every other president of the US of A. So far, that has not happened. He has given our Constitution and our people the middle finger by refusing to make his records (birth, adoption, travel, and school) public and he's on the cusp of getting away with it.

In the very, very, very least, EVERY American citizen should want Obama to release his records so that we can be assured he is qualified to serve as our president. I want this conspiracy to go away, don't you? Only one man on the planet can make this all go away - Barack Obama.

If you'd like this matter to be laid to rest, sign THIS petition if you'd like to see Obama release his records.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Political Experience

A Republican Stimulus Plan

This article was written by Mitt Romney and published in the National Review Online

A Republican Stimulus Plan
Act now.

By Mitt Romney

What is Washington waiting for? The inauguration is less than five weeks away: At the rate we’ve been going, another 500,000 jobs will be lost by then. The downward spiral is deepening and accelerating: Congress and the president must act now.

American families have lost about $11 trillion in net worth as securities and home values have plummeted. This translates into about $400 billion less annual consumer spending, net of government safety-net funding. Exports won’t grow to make this up, as the dollar has strengthened with investors worldwide clamoring for its relative security. Investments won’t make up the gap either, as bank loans and secondary-market financing have shrunk and as fresh equity is virtually non-existent.

So this is surely the time for economic stimulus. But — and this is the crucial point — the government can’t just make itself bigger and more oppressive in the guise of stimulating the economy. That would make matters worse. Nor should we forget that fiscal stimulus is but one part of the solution. As Christina Romer, Barack Obama’s designee as chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisors concluded from her study of the Great Depression, bad monetary policy was its greatest cause and good monetary policy was its most effective cure. The Fed should continue to expand the money supply. And, it should confirm that it will not tolerate deflation — the pain of inflation pales in comparison.

That being said, a stimulus plan is needed without further delay, and there are some things that Republicans should insist on.

The first is that tax cuts are part of the solution. Harvard professor and economist Greg Mankiw points out that recent research confirms that tax cuts have a greater multiplier effect than new spending — more economic bang for the federal buck. We should lower tax rates for middle-income families and eliminate their tax on savings altogether — no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. Let’s also align our corporate tax rate with those of competing nations. These actions will rapidly expand consumption and investment, and right now, time is of the essence.

On the spending front, infrastructure projects should be a high priority. But because infrastructure projects involve engineering, environmental studies, permitting and contracting, they can take a long time to actually boost the economy. Spending to refurbish and modernize our military equipment is urgently needed, and it has a more immediate impact on the economy. A great deal of our armament was damaged or lost in the Middle East, and the rest is long overdue for maintenance.

We should also invest to free us from our dependence on foreign oil, not by playing venture capitalist, but by funding basic research in renewables, material science, combustion, nuclear reprocessing, and the like. During the 2008 campaign, virtually every candidate agreed on the need for an “Apollo-like mission” to achieve energy independence. Now is the time to start.

Cities and states will clamor for government dollars. Like the Big Three automakers, states should first take advantage of the downturn to do some needed cost cutting and restructuring. State employee numbers, pensions, and health-insurance premium sharing — as well as duplicate and ineffective agencies and programs — should be high on the hit list. State budgets should be brought in line with those of the most efficient of their comparables. And the federal government should look to ease the burden of mandates on states, like Medicaid.

Republicans should also lay down a gauntlet: All new spending projects should be selected by the responsible federal agency according to published criteria, not by congresspersons and senators based upon favors and politics. Republicans should commit to vote no on any stimulus bill with earmarks that have not been voted upon by their entire body.

There is a danger that new spending and deficits will lead to runaway inflation, flight from the dollar, and another economic crisis. It is essential, therefore, that Congress and the president commit to reform entitlement spending as soon as the economy recovers. With the footing of our long term economy at risk, with entitlements already reaching 60 percent of federal spending and with baby boomers nearing retirement, this can be delayed no longer.

We must also be careful to avoid burdening the economy with excessive regulation in response to the need to reform regulatory oversight of the financial sector. Going too far could cripple the entire industry, further tightening the credit markets. And we should make it clear that Washington will not act to virtually impose unions on small business by eliminating the right of workers to vote by secret ballot in the workplace. This “card check” payback for the AFL-CIO’s support of the Democrats would devastate business formation and employment.

The Democrats may want to wait for Obama, but the country needs action now. Republicans can — and must — play an important role in shaping a stimulus bill that makes sense for America and lays a foundation for future prosperity and growth.

— Mitt Romney is the former Republican governor of Massachusetts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Quantifiable Media Factors that Attributed to Barack Obama’s Victory in the 2008 Presidential Election

I have been very critical of both Barack Obama’s record and his policies. I’d like to take a moment to step back and look at the things he did right during the election. There’s simply no denying that Barack Obama ran a masterful campaign. Allow me to take an academic approach to breaking down the quantifiable media factors which led to his victory.


In all, Mr. Obama invested approximately $340 million (over 57% of his total budget) into media expenditures (The Center for Responsive Politics). Entailed within his media expenses was roughly $309 million for broadcast media, $15.35 million for print media, and $14 million for internet media (The Center for Responsive Politics). Conversely, Mr. McCain invested just 38.2% ($118.8 million) on media expenditures; which equates to about 1/3 of Obama’s overall media expenses (The Center for Responsive Politics). Mr. McCain spent roughly five times less on broadcast media ($63.5 million), three times less on internet media ($4.65 million) and around three thousand times less on print media ($5,117) (The Center for Responsive Politics). Within his media spending, Mr. McCain classified many of his expenses as “miscellaneous media” ($50 million), which might explain the dramatic disproportion in print media expenditures.

Other major campaign expenditures for the two candidates included polling, surveys, research, travel, campaign events (such as rallies), postage/ shipping, direct mail, rent/ utilities for campaign buildings and functions, food, political consultants and materials. Mr. Obama out-spent Mr. McCain in each of these categories (usually by a margin of at least two to one), but the most notable of these was his cost of traveling ($44.65 million) as compared to Mr. McCain’s ($26.76 million) (The Center for Responsive Politics). This suggests that, not only was Mr. Obama out-spending Mr. McCain in all areas of advertising, but he was also getting more face time with the voters.

Charitable donations provided another expense for the two campaigns. Mr. McCain spent more in charitable donations ($19.4 million) than he did on his print and online media initiatives combined. He also donated about 158 times as much as Mr. Obama, who gave just $122,455 to charities (The Center for Responsive Politics).

Advertising and Campaign Finance:

In the wake of a 2008 presidential election in which one of the candidates spent more in advertising than any politician in American history, it is prudent to see what effect, if any, political advertising has had (Rutjim & Rutenber). By the end of October, 2008, Senator Barack Obama surpassed the $188 million advertising record set by George W. Bush in the 2004 campaign (International Reporter). With advertisements which ran repeatedly day and night, on local stations and on the major broadcast networks, on niche cable networks and even on video games and his own dedicated satellite channels, Mr. Obama out spent Senator John McCain in advertising nationwide by a ratio of at least four to one (Rutjim & Rutenber).

The huge gap between the two candidates’ spending was the result of Mr. Obama’s decision to opt out of the federal campaign finance system 4 and 1/2 months before the election. Earlier in the election, both candidates agreed to participate in this system which gave presidential nominees $84.1 million in public money but prohibited them from spending any more than that amount from the day of their party convention to Election Day (Jensen & Salant). In this system, candidates are still able to solicit private donations, but the money can only be used toward legal and accounting expenses (Kolawole).
“After initially vowing to take public funds if McCain did, Obama became the first presidential candidate since the campaign finance reforms of the 1970s to raise private donations during the general election” (Overby & Montagne).
When the campaign finance system was created after the Watergate scandal in 1974, it had two goals: reduce the influence of money in politics and level the playing field for candidates (Rove).

When asked if he would agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign and participate in the presidential public financing system, in a questionnaire issued by the Midwest Democracy Network in October, 2007, Mr. Obama responded:
“Yes. In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election...”
Seven months later, Bloomberg news reported a retraction on Obama’s part:
“Obama pledged in March 2007 to pursue an agreement with the Republicans to participate in the public-financing system, which is designed to limit the influence of big money. That was before he began shattering private-fundraising records.”
Mr. Obama ultimately opted out of the federal campaign finance system in mid June 2008, saying:
“It's not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections. But the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who've become masters at gaming this broken system" (BBC).
From the beginning of his campaign to the end, Mr. Obama raised nearly $750 million in private funding, exceeding the amount raised by George Bush and John Kerry combined ($653 million) in 2004 (Overby & Montagne). It’s no surprise, with such a record-breaking capacity for fund raising, that Mr. Obama opted out of his public financing promise.

Conversely, Mr. McCain stuck to his promise to use the campaign finance system. Mr. McCain’s reasoning is perhaps best highlighted by a statement made several years before the 2008 election when speaking to the University of Oklahoma in 2001 as a co-sponsor of the “McCain- Feingold” legislation (which sought to reform campaign finance such that lobbyist and special interests would be detached from the election process), where he said, "Throughout history America has gone through cycles. We go from clean to corrupt and back to clean again. Right now (campaign finance) is corrupt and it's time to clean it up” (McNeill).

When asked about his pledge to the federal campaign finance system in April 2008, Mr. McCain reiterated, “I’m committed to it… I am the presumptive Republican nominee; I will take public financing” (Cooper).

After Mr. Obama made the decision to use private funding, he reported that nearly four million donors contributed to his campaign (Overby & Montagne). The nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute found that Mr. Obama collected about 26% of his donations from people who gave less than $200 — about the same as President George W. Bush did in his 2004 campaign (Overby & Montagne). Approximately 74% of Mr. Obama’s funds came from large donors (those who donated more than $200), and nearly half from people who gave $1,000 or more (Rove).

And so it went that Mr. McCain’s advertising budget was limited to an $84.1 million pool of public finance from the day of the Republican National Convention until the fourth of November, and Mr. Obama raised over $100 million in private funds in the month of September alone (Brown). Due to this inequity, Mr. McCain turned in vain to the Republican Party to help level the difference.
“McCain relied heavily on the Republican National Committee to help narrow the financial discrepancy. But even with the party resources Obama had a vast money advantage… The RNC reported raising $75 million during the latest reporting period. Overall this year, the party committee raised $322 million. It ended with $13.5 million cash on hand. The Democratic National Committee reported raising $36.5 million (for Mr. Obama) in its latest filing, for a total of $186 million for the year. The party had $8.7 million cash on hand, but it also reported owing $5 million on a line of credit” (Overby & Montagne).
From the first of January to the first of November, Mr. Obama spent an estimated $280 million on television advertising, while Mr. McCain spent less than half as much (just under $134 million) (Kolawole).

In the final week before the election, Mr. Obama spent $23.6 million to Mr. McCain's $4.8 million in television advertising, a difference of about five to one (Kolawole). Also, in television advertising, Mr. Obama outspent Mr. McCain in Indiana by a range of nearly seven to one, in Virginia by more than four to one, in Ohio by almost two to one and in North Carolina by nearly three to two (Rove). Mr. Obama won all four of these states, which had favored George Bush just four years prior. During the final weekend preceding the presidential election, Barack Obama ran 77% more TV ads than John McCain (5,947 vs. 3,358) in seven key swing states: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (Nielson Wire, Oct. 30, 2008). Mr. Obama applied a similar spending philosophy in the once “red state” of Florida and garnered similar results.
“In mid-September the Obama campaign said its budget for Florida was $39 million. The actual number was probably larger. But in any case, Mr. McCain spent a mere $13.1 million in the state. Mr. Obama won Florida by 2.81 percentage points. Mr. McCain was outspent by wide margins in every battleground state.” (Rove).
Similar to a maneuver used by Ross Perot in 1992 (and JFK before that), Barack Obama purchased 30 minutes of uninterrupted airtime with several television networks and cable stations at the rate of about $1 million per network (Burkeman). An online opinion poll done by MSNBC asked, “Will Barack Obama's 30-minute infomercial influence your vote?” Out of 76,085 votes, 56.4% said “No.” Even still, the infomercial reached 33.5 million viewers (Nielson Wire, Nov. 3, 2008). The broadcast aired on CBS, NBC, FOX, UNIVISION, MSNBC, and NY1 between 8pm and 8:30pm EST and, in the top 56 local television markets where Nielsen maintains electronic TV meters, 21.7% of all households watched Obama’s telecast (Nielson Wire, Oct. 30, 2008).

Mr. Obama even went so far as to purchase advertising space within 18 different video games (FOX News). The ads targeted 10 states that allowed early voting (Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, and Colorado) and were designed to appeal to males from ages 18-34 (a notoriously difficult demographic for advertisers to reach) (FOX News).

The “Ground Game”:

Mr. McCain wasn’t just out-spent in television advertising; Mr. Obama also used his monetary advantage to outmuscleMcCain on the ground, with more staff, headquarters, mail and a larger get-out-the-vote effort (Rove).
“His (Mr. Obama’s) campaign started pouring millions of dollars into opening scores of campaign offices in all 50 states, many in areas that Democrats hadn't contested in decades. In the traditionally GOP-favoring Colorado, Obama set up 59 campaign offices to McCain's 13” (Snyder).
This is perhaps best explained by the disproportion in salary expenditures between the two candidates. Mr. McCain was able to afford just $20.22 million in salary and benefit payments, while Mr. Obama managed to provide over twice that amount (~$50 million) (The Center for Responsive Politics). However, according to exit polls, it was McCain’s lack of a ground game (rather than Obama’s extremely well-organized initiative) which created the biggest difference in the Republican/ Democratic vote from 2004 to 2008.
“Throughout the campaign, much was made of the tremendous ground organization that Obama had built. Yet, according to the exit polls, Obama's organization did not contact a higher percentage of voters than Kerry's did in 2004. In both 2004 and 2008, voters were asked ‘Did anyone call you or talk to you in person on behalf of either major presidential campaign about coming out to vote?’ In 2008, 13% said that the Obama campaign had contacted them while 13% reported that both campaigns had done so.

That means that 26% of voters nationwide had been contacted by the Obama campaign. This figure is the same as Kerry's contact rate among 2004 voters. In fact, nationally, the major difference between 2004 and 2008 was that the Republican contact rate dropped. In 2004, 24% of voters reported that they were contacted by the Bush campaign but in 2008, just 19% were contacted by McCain” (Schaffner).
However, on a state level, voters in highly contested states like Nevada, Colorado, and Indiana, indicated a far greater Obama contact rate than the national average, indicating that the states Mr. Obama flipped from red to blue were the states where he had larger ground initiatives than John Kerry did four years prior (Schaffner). Ohio and Florida likely had more similar contact rates to those of 2004 because Republicans had previously-established infrastructure in place to contest those states from the 2000 and 2004 elections, but lacked such an edge in the other battleground states (Schaffner). With over 770 field offices and a reported 1.5 million “active volunteers,” it’s no small wonder that Mr. McCain was outgunned on the ground (Silva).

Online Media:

Compounding the effects of the Obama campaign’s superior ground game and advertising efforts, was an internet database which was unmatched by any political campaign in American history. The three to one advantage in online investments cost Mr. Obama $14 million, but it was an advantage which provided a distinct edge.
“The apparent backbone of Obama's innovative approach to motivating voters was his creative use of technology. More specifically, the campaign's incorporation of databases -- empowering targeted efforts from direct mailings, to providing canvassers with up-to-date information so they could knock on doors of millions of possible swing voters” (Wagner).
When you visited the official Obama campaign website, you were confronted by a "continue" button which prompted you to voluntarily offer your demographic information, including your zip code and e-mail address (Wagner). The Obama Campaign aggregated this information from millions of web visitors and formed databases which allowed the operation to enlist thousands of volunteers which had been previously untouched by the standard “field offices” (Wagner). These newfound volunteers were encouraged to make financial contributions to the campaign and to make campaign phone calls from the comfort and privacy of their homes – which utilized “call lists” that were also generated via the internet-fueled databases (Wagner). These databases would also generate targeted mailing, texting, robo-calling, and e-mailing lists (Wagner).

The Obama campaign sent out hundreds of thousands of e-mails a day which also included links to donate to the campaign (Wagner). Since winning the election, the Obama campaign has suggested it will continue to keep in touch with volunteers and supporters through text messaging, e-mails, and weekly youtube addresses reminiscent of FDR’s “fireside chats” (Wagner).

It would be difficult to quantify the relative worth of Mr. Obama’s internet endeavors, but one thing that is certain is that his efforts were matched, if not doubled, by the addition of over 300 celebrity endorsements (documented on Wikipedia), and over 1,300 songs and music videos mentioning Mr. Obama in a positive way (documented on a YouTube channel duly named “Obama Songs”). These songs include such celebrity productions as: Ludacris, "Politics as Usual;” Malik Yusef [FT. Kanye West and Adam Levine], "Promised Land;" Big Boi [FT. Mary J. Blige], "Something’s Gotta Give;" Young Jeezy [FT. Nas], "My President;" Jay-Z, "A Billi;" Nas, "Black President;" V.I.C., “Get Silly;” and Common, "The People."

Conversely, Mr. McCain’s Wikipedia list of total campaign endorsements was about 1/5 the size of Mr. Obama’s, with just about 1/6 the amount of celebrity entertainer endorsements. Whether these lists are accurate or not is debatable, but what is not debatable is the effects on perception each had the potential to create on web users – much like the potential effect of Mr. Obama’s four to one advertising advantage.

Mr. McCain had similar shortcomings with the music industry and its influence on the internet. Not only did Mr. McCain not have 1,300 songs created worldwide in his honor, he didn’t even have a YouTube channel for the songs that he did get; which included just two “mainstream” songs: John Rich, “Raising McCain” and Hank Williams Jr., “Family Tradition [Remake].” And, in a stark contrast to the music industry’s support for the Obama campaign, Chuck Berry, Abba, Orleans, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Heart, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, and Survivor all voiced public disapproval regarding the McCain campaign’s use of their music (Caballero).

Traditional Media:

Perhaps Mr. McCain’s reluctance to invest in print media stemmed from the fact that newspapers tend to favor the liberal candidate. This idea was certainly reinforced in this election when over 160 major newspapers openly endorsed Mr. Obama, and even college newspapers preferred the democratic candidate by a rate of 63 to 1 (McNeill).

These endorsements are not distinct from Mr. Obama’s advertising efforts, as Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, mentions in her 2000 book, Everything You Think You Know About Politics and Why You’re Wrong, “The effect of newspaper endorsements is largely created through advertising about them that is sponsored by the candidate.” This speaks to the idea that the endorsements don’t matter quite as much as a candidate’s ability to publicize them.

Even still, there was a quantifiable bias within the news media which favored Mr. Obama. In a 2007 Pew Research Center for the People and the Press study, four times as many journalists identified themselves as “liberal” than conservative. This study found:
“Only six percent (of journalists and news executives at national outlets) said they considered themselves conservatives and only two percent said they were very conservative. This compares with 36 percent of the overall population that describes itself as conservative. Most journalists, 53 percent, said they're moderate. 24 percent said they were liberal and eight percent very liberal. Only 19 percent of the public consider themselves liberal.” (
In a poll of voters conducted by Rasmussen Reports on Election Day, 51% said most reporters tried to help Barack Obama win the presidency and just seven percent thought they tried to help John McCain (Rasmussen Reports, Nov. 4, 2008).

A different PEW study found that just over a third of the news stories about Mr. Obama were clearly positive in tone (36%), while a similar number (35%) were neutral or mixed and a smaller number (29%) were negative (Project for Excellence in Journalism October 22, 2008). By comparison, for Mr. McCain, nearly six in ten of the stories studied were decidedly negative in nature (57%), while fewer than two in ten (14%) were positive (Project for Excellence in Journalism October 22, 2008).

In another telephone survey done by Rasmussen Reports, fifty-five percent of respondents said the media coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign was more biased than in previous election years (Rasmussen Reports, Oct. 16, 2008).

A joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, found that the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans (Investor’s Business Daily, Nov. 01, 2008). A 2004 study done by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press agreed with the idea of a liberal-leaning media, noting that a majority of journalists identified themselves as being liberal.
“The fact that journalists--especially national journalists--are more likely than in the past to describe themselves as liberal reinforces the findings of the major academic study on this question, namely that of David H. Weaver and G. Cleveland Wilhoit, in their series of books ‘The American Journalist’” (Pew Research Center, May 23 2004).
The lean of the media had an effect on voter perception as well. Media Tenor International ran content analyses on all of the election coverage and found that, not only did the media give more favorable coverage to Mr. Obama, but that the more the media favored him, the larger his lead grew in opinion polls (Media Tenor).

Some suggest that the political lean of the media is a reflection of public opinion, and not the primary influence of it (Riley). Yet, despite the far left lean of the media and the result of the election, CNN exit polls suggest that more Americans identify themselves as conservative (34%) than liberal (21%); these figures are identical to 2004 (CNN Exit Polls). These findings contradict the suggestion that media reflects rather than affects, for one would expect that a self-professed conservative population, if left to its own devices, would vote for the more conservative candidate. Clearly, that is not what happened.

Television News Media:

With the growing influence of the internet, traditional media have to go to increasingly greater lengths to get ratings. It’s important to note that the news media in America function within the same free-market capitalism faced by any other American business. This means that, above all else, a news organization must get ratings to exist (Garfield). Without ratings, there is no advertising, and without advertising, there is no news (Garfield). This means that a news organization’s “journalistic integrity” is subsumed by their bottom line.

In this way, many news organizations are anything but “news organizations.” In an age of niched instant gratification, every medium must offer something unique to their customers or risk being replaced. Typically, a business offers its customers what it thinks they want, or so says the principle of supply and demand. Conversely, according to the “uses and gratifications” theory, a customer watches the news media which reinforces their pre-existent beliefs and values. This, of course, creates a vicious cycle where it becomes impossible to tell where the wants and desires of the costumer begins and the influence of the media ends.

In many respects, the television news media reflected this premise. In the same Rasmussen Reports study which said that 55% of people felt that the media were more biased in this election than the one in 2004, 51% of people said MSNBC was biased for Mr. Obama, 46% said CNN was biased for Mr. Obama, and just 39% said FOX News was biased for Mr. McCain (Rasmussen Reports, Oct. 16, 2008). This is consistent with the viewer demographics of each of those networks, as indicated in a different Rasmussen Reports study which showed that 87% of Fox News viewers said they were likely to vote for McCain, while those who watch CNN and MSNBC planned to support Obama in November by more than two-to-one (Rasmussen Reports, Aug. 6, 2008).

This model of uses and gratifications goes far beyond mere perception. Statistically, these cable news networks reported stories in virtual lock step with their viewership preference. The Pew Research Center for Excellence in Journalism found that 40% of the. Obama stories FOX News did during the election were negative (Project for Excellence in Journalism, Oct. 29, 2008). FOX News also gave 40% of its McCain stories a negative spin (Project for Excellence in Journalism, Oct. 29, 2008). 25% of FOX News’ stories about Mr. Obama were positive, and just 22% of Mr. McCain were positive (Project for Excellence in Journalism, Oct. 29, 2008).

This information is a bit deceiving though, as it appears FOX News went against the uses and gratifications model by favoring Mr. Obama when their viewership clearly favored Mr. McCain. However, when one takes into context the other news network coverage of the election, it’s easy to see that FOX did in fact offer more favorable news/ less unfavorable for John McCain than did any other cable news network.

MSNBC stood out for having less negative coverage of Mr. Obama than any other network (Project for Excellence in Journalism, Oct. 29, 2008). 14% of their stories were negative for Mr. Obama, but for Mr. McCain, 73% of its coverage was negative (Project for Excellence in Journalism, Oct. 29, 2008). That's about 5:1 in favor of Mr. Obama. CNN was more balanced than MSNBC, but still showed a very markable liberal lean. 39% of its stories about Mr. Obama were negative, and 61% of its stories about McCain were negative (Project for Excellence in Journalism, Oct. 29, 2008). That's nearly 3:2 in favor of Obama.

These numbers correlate closely with the respective channel’s viewership’s candidate preference. So the question remains, does the media drive opinion or vice versa?

Again, Media Tenor International ran content analyses on all of the election coverage and found that, not only did the media give more favorable coverage to Mr. Obama, but that the more the media favored him, the larger his lead grew in opinion polls (Media Tenor). Significant in these findings is the fact that opinion followed coverage. Media Tenor used what they called a “slant-o-meter” to track the Gallop poll numbers relative to the television coverage of the two campaigns.

While looking at the yellow line (indicating TV tone) and the blue bars (indicating Mr. Obama’s poll leads), it’s clear to see that trends in tone preceded trends in opinion. This suggests that the media have a profound influence on perception and, moreover, that the media’s coverage of the election favored Mr. Obama and therefore influenced opinion in favor of Mr. Obama.


This literary review is not an analysis of the candidates’ policies. It is a look at the information which has been published regarding the quantifiable media factors which attributed to Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 Presidential Election. Of these factors, campaign finance and preferential treatment from the news media were the two broadest and most influential.

Barack Obama’s decision to opt out of his promise to use the federal campaign finance system, offered him a distinct and insurmountable financial advantage over John McCain which affected every aspect of their campaigns, from staff salaries to broadcast media investments. While Mr. Obama innovated several mass marketing techniques (such as his internet databases, YouTube fireside chats, and advertisements with Xbox), none of these would have been possible without the appropriate funding. Had John McCain possessed equal or greater funding, it’s likely that Barack Obama would have had a fiercer fight for the attention of the traditional media and would have therefore neglected some of the newer approaches used in this campaign. Even his purchase of 30 minutes of major network airtime was only possible because he had the money for it and knew the Mr. McCain did not.

Whether independent of or resulting from Obama’s incredible advertising spending, the favorable coverage from the news media played a major role in influencing public opinion about him. If one were to quantify Mr. Obama's media coverage in advertising worth, I have no doubt that the amount of time, space and quality of his media coverage far exceeded that of his paid advertisements. Considering the fact that Barack Obama spent more on advertising than any two candidates combined in the history of American politics, that’s saying something. Yet, this is the major point and purpose of the Public Relations field, is it not? -To influence public opinion through the news media.

Irrespective of the issues, Barack Obama ran a media-savvy campaign. He understood the roles of traditional and new media relative to his needs, and he utilized the means available to him, perhaps, better than any modern politician ever has.


Baker, Brent (March 19, 2008). Four Times More Journalists Identify as Liberal Than Conservative. NewsBusters.
Found in:

BBC News (June 19, 2008). Obama shuns public campaign funds.
Found in:

Burkeman, Oliver (October 30, 2008). Obama, the infomercial: A 30-minute pitch to America. The Guardian.
Found in:

Byline, Alison (November 3, 2008). College Newspapers Endorse Obama Over McCain, 63 to 1. U.S. News & World Report.
Found in: news/1G1-188388429/college-newspapers-endorse-obama-over-mccain-63-to-1barack-obama-john-mccain.html>

Caballero, Douglas (October 28, 2008). Musicians Love McCain.
Found in:

Campbell Brown (October 28, 2008). Commentary: Obama breaks promise on campaign finance. CNN.
Found in:

CNN Exit Polling, 2004:

CNN Exit Polling, 2008:

Cooper, Michael (April 11, 2008). McCain to Obama: ‘Keep Your Word.’ New York Times.
Found in:

FOX News (October 15, 2008). Obama Campaign Buys Ads in 18 Video Games.
Found in:,2933,438208,00.html

Garfield, Bob (April 4, 2005). The Chaos Scenario. Advertising Age.

Investor’s Business Daily (November 01, 2008). Even Harvard Finds The Media Biased.
Found in:

Jamieson, Kathleen Hall (2000) Everything You Think You Know About Politics and Why You’re Wrong.

Jensen, Kristin and Salant, Jonathan D. (June 13, 2008). Obama Risks `Pristine' Image in Question of Public Financing.
Found in:

Kolawole, Emi (November 3, 2008). Who spent more money on advertising, McCain or Obama?
Found in:

Kovach, Bill; Rosenstiel, Tom and Mitchell, Amy (May 23, 2008). Bottom-Line Pressures Now Hurting Coverage, Say Journalists. Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Found in:

McNeill, Ryan (February 27, 2001). McCain speaks at U. Oklahoma on campaign finance, stresses major reform. University Wire.
Found in:

Media Tenor (July 11, 2008). Campaign Watch: Image vs. Issues.
Found in:

Midwest Democracy Network Presidential Candidate Questionnaire:
Found in:

MSNBC Poll: Will Barack Obama's 30-minute infomercial influence your vote? October 29, 2008.
Found in:

Nielson Wire:

November 3, 2008. 33.5 Million Viewers Watched Obama’s Infomercial.
Found in:

October 30, 2008. In Philly and Tampa, Viewers Chose Baseball Over Obama.
Found in:

Overby, Peter & Montagne, Renee (December 5, 2008). Obama Campaign Shatters Fundraising Records. Associated Press. Found in:
Found in:

Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (October 22, 2008). Winning the Media Campaign.
Found in:

Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (October 29, 2008 ). The Color of the News.
Found in:

Rasmussen Reports (August 6, 2008). News You Watch Says a Lot About How You’ll Vote.
Found in:

Rasmussen Reports (October 16, 2008). 55% Say Media More Biased This Year in Campaign Coverage.
Found in:

Rasmussen Reports (November 04, 2008). Majority Say Reporters Tried To Help Obama.
Found in:

Riley, Duncan (October 26, 2008). Do Newspaper Endorsements Matter? The Inquisitr.
Found in:

Rove, Karl (December 3, 2008). McCain Couldn't Compete With Obama's Money. Wall Street Journal.
Found in:

Rutjim , Jim & Genberg, Rutenber (October 18, 2008). Barack Obama to Break Advertisement record of President Bush. International Reporter.
Found in:

Schaffner, Brian (December 8, 2008). Obama’s Ground Game Advantage in Key States.
Found in:

Silva, Mark (October 24, 2008). Obama's ground game: 770 field offices. Chicago
Found in:

Snyder, Pete (November 05, 2008). How Obama Killed ‘Election Day’ and Became President. Advertising Age.
Found in:

The Center for Responsive Politics (December 03, 2008). Expenditures Breakdown.

For Barack Obama:

For John McCain:

Wagner, Dan (November 7, 2008). Obama Ground Game: A Technology Machine.
Found in:


List of Barack Obama presidential campaign endorsements, 2008.,_2008#Entertainment

List of John McCain presidential campaign endorsements, 2008.,_2008



Only 17% of 8th Graders in Schools Overseen by Obama Education Secretary-Designee Can Read at Grade Level

Story Provided by CNS News
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
By Matt Cover

( – In 2007, only 17 percent of eighth graders tested at or above grade level in reading in Chicago Public Schools – the school system administered by Arne Duncan since 2001.

President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday tapped Duncan to become secretary of education in the upcoming administration.

Duncan, hailed by Obama as a reformer, said he would like to take the lessons he learned in Chicago with him when he moves to Washington. “I'm also eager to apply some of the lessons we have learned here in Chicago to help school districts all across our country," Duncan said after Obama formally named him to the job in Chicago.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report for 2007, Chicago public schools have consistently performed below the national average during Duncan’s tenure.

The report measures students at the fourth and eighth grade levels in the subjects of reading, math, science, and writing, and ranks them at below basic, basic, proficient, or advanced levels.

Students in eighth grade are those most likely to have been in the Chicago system for a majority of Duncan’s tenure. used the scores for these students to best determine the results of Duncan’s administration.

By 2007, only 17 percent of Chicago eighth graders were at or above grade level in reading. Thirteen percent scored at or above grade level in math. Twenty-three percent scored at or above grade level in writing.

By 2005, the only year Chicago participated in the NEAP assessment program, 16 percent of eighth grade students were at or above grade level in science.

Nationally, students did much better on average in reading, math, science, and writing.

In 2007, 29 percent of eighth grade students scored at or above grade-level in reading, 31 percent in math, and 31 percent in writing. In 2005, 27 percent of eighth grade students were at or above grade level in science.

Nationally, Chicago is the third largest school district with over 408,000 students. Its budget for 2007-2008 was $4.6 billion, according to information released by Chicago Public Schools. $862 million of that was supplied by the federal government.

Under Duncan, Chicago Public Schools spent $10,555 per pupil, with $9,488 going toward education-related expenses in 2007.

During Duncan’s tenure, the Chicago district did not significantly increase its scores in reading, rising only one point on average from 2002 to 2007 – from 249 of a possible 500 in 2002, to 250 in 2007. The national average in 2007 was 263. Seventy-five percent of Chicago students scored less than 273 on the reading assessment.

In math, Chicago Public Schools’ average score increased from 254 in 2003 to 260 in 2007. The national average for 2007 was 280. Seventy-five percent of Chicago students scored below 283 in the math assessment.

In writing, the average score for students in Chicago Public Schools increased from 136 out of 300 in 2002 to 146 in 2007. The national average in 2007 was 154. Approximately 50 percent of Chicago students scored below 148 in the writing assessment.

In science, the Chicago Public Schools average score was 124 out of 300; the national average was 147. Three-quarters of Chicago students scored below 146 on the science assessment.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Republicans Send 1st Ever Vietnamese-American to US Congress

Yet, according to the main stream media, the GOP fails to recruit minorities and there are few minorities on the GOP podium.

Allow me to provide you with a reality check.

Let’s forget for a moment that Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president and that Frederick Douglass served as his adviser. Let’s also overlook that segregation and Jim Crow laws were the result of Democratic legislation and that Martin Luther King registered as a Republican in 1956. Let’s not remember that it was Republican president Ronald Reagan who made MLK’s birthday a national holiday.

Let’s also ignore the fact that Colin Powell, a Republican, was the first African American to serve as Secretary of State (the Nation’s highest cabinet office). For that matter, let’s also not pay attention to the rest of George W. Bush’s other major appointments of Black Americans (such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson, Former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, and current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice). Let’s also close our eyes to the fact that Michael S. Steele will likely be the next chairman of the R.N.C.. While we’re at it, let’s just neglect to mention all African American Republicans and pretend like their ground breaking efforts somehow don’t matter because they registered with the red team instead of the blue one.

If you do all of this, then you’ll have some conception of how the main stream media portrays the GOP. After all, have you not heard the Republican Party referred to as the “Rich Old White Guy Party?”

Somehow, people fail to remember that it is the Republican Party which typically lowers taxes, it was the Republican Party which fought to abolish slavery and later give equal rights to women and minorities, and it is the Republican Party whose conservative stances on social issues most closely correlate to the stances of a mostly Christian population of black Americans. Suddenly, because the democrats were the first to get a black man elected president, the Republican Party is comprised entirely of bigots?

Isn’t it odd how a couple decades of mass media (aka: cable television and the internet) have managed to erase the inconvenient pages of history?

Beyond the large collection of stellar African American Republicans, the GOP has a whole host of other influential minority leaders. The Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal (the youngest current governor in America, the first non-white to serve as governor of Louisiana, and the first Indian American elected to state-wide office in U.S. history), the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger (Austrian-American), U.S. Congressman for the state of Ohio District 7 Steve Austria (Pilipino-American), Governor of the U.S. Territory of Guam Felix Perez Camacho, Governor Elect of the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuño, Member of the California State Assembly Van Tran (Vietnamese-American), Senator Mel Martinez (Cuban-American), Congressman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Cuban-American), Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Cuban-American), Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (Latin-American), Congressman Devin Nunes (Portuguese-American), former U.S. Senator from New Hampshire John Sununu (the only Arab-American member of Congress), and U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (the only Native American in congress) are just a few of the many high-ranking minority Republicans serving today.

Women too have a strong presence within the Republican Party. The first woman to ever get elected to congress was a Republican: Jeannette Rankin, Congresswoman from Montana. Six of the first seven women who served in the U.S. House of Representatives were also Republican. The first woman to chair a congressional committee was Republican (Mae Ella Nolan, California). In relation to the 19th amendment (which gave women the right to vote in America) 26 of the 36 states that ratified it had Republican-controlled legislatures. Of the nine states that voted against ratification, eight were controlled by Democrats. Twelve states, all Republican, had given women full suffrage before the federal amendment was even ratified. The proposal to give women the right to vote was defeated four times prior to 1919 by a Democratic-controlled Senate. When the Republican Party regained control of Congress, the Equal Suffrage Amendment finally passed (304-88).

Prominent female Republican senators and governors include first female Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell, Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle, U.S. Senator from Maine Susan Collins, first female U.S. senator from North Carolina and former chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Elizabeth Dole, first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate Kay Bailey Hutchison, United States Senator from Alaska Lisa Murkowski, and United States Senator from Maine Olympia Snowe (Snowe is also a member of the Greek Orthodox Church).

In the 110th Congress, there are 21 Republican women in the House of Representatives: Michele Bachmann (Minnesota), Judy Borg Biggert (Illinois), Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), Mary Bono Mack (California), Virginia (Ginny) Brown-Waite (Florida), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Barbara L. Cubin (Wyoming), Jo Ann Davis (Virginia), Thelma Drake (Virginia), Jo Ann Emerson (Missouri), Mary Fallin (Oklahoma), Virginia Foxx (North Carolina), Kay Granger (Texas), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington), Candice Miller (Michigan), Marilyn N. Musgrave (Colorado), Sue Myrick (North Carolina), Deborah Pryce (Ohio), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida), Jean Schmidt (Ohio), and Heather A. Wilson, (New Mexico).

Even the Log Cabin Republicans (the GOP’s gay and lesbian wing), got it’s kick start from Ronald Reagan’s opposition to the Briggs Initiative, which proposed a statewide ballot initiative to prevent gay and lesbian people from teaching in public schools and would have permitted the firing of any educator who was determined to be "advocating, imposing, encouraging or promoting" homosexuality.

In Anh "Joseph" Cao, America has its first ever Vietnamese-American congressman. But, sadly, this amazing story of human triumph barely creates a blip on the MSM radar. No, they’re too busy discussing what kind of “hypo-allergenic” dog President Elect Obama is going to get!

Certainly we can say that the Democratic Party has more minority leaders than the Republican Party. But to portray the Republican Party as a club of only rich, Christian, heterosexual white men is not only false, it's also ignorant.

So, I extend my heart-felt congratulations to Cao for his landmark election. In this victory, Republicans achieve yet another triumph for American diversity which will no doubt be widely ignored by the main stream media.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Road to Recovery

Supreme Court Delays Action on Obama Natural Born Status Suit

Decision on Obama citizenship pending
Court delays action on suit

Washington Times

Tom Ramstack
Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Supreme Court held off Friday on deciding whether to grant a hearing in a long-shot lawsuit that would decide whether Barack Obama can constitutionally become president as a "natural born" U.S. citizen.

The Friday list of court orders that denies or grants hearings did not mention the lawsuit, which says Mr. Obama should be disqualified from the presidency because he purportedly acquired the same British citizenship that his father had when he was born.

A spokesman for the court said the decision on whether to hear the suit brought by retired New Jersey lawyer Leo Donofrio is likely to be announced next week.

A decision not to grant a writ of certiorari -- the legal term for the declaration that the justices will hear the case -- would mean that a lower court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit can stand.

The Supreme Court's justices met in a private conference Friday morning to discuss the issue. At least four of the court's nine justices must approve before the case is heard.

Justice Clarence Thomas picked up the petition to hear the lawsuit after it was denied by Justice David H. Souter. Justice Thomas referred it to the full court, which decided to distribute the case for the justices' conference.

Mr. Obama demonstrated his citizenship during his campaign by circulating copies of his birth certificate, which showed he was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961. But unlike many of the lawsuits regarding Mr. Obama's citizenship -- which claim he really was born on foreign soil -- Mr. Donofrio's case concedes that Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii but says he still held foreign citizenship at birth.

"Since Barack Obama's father was a citizen of Kenya, and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of Senator Obama's birth, then Senator Obama was a British citizen 'at birth,' just like the framers of the Constitution, and therefore, even if he were to produce an original birth certificate proving he were born on U.S. soil, he still wouldn't be eligible to be president."

Kenya was British East Africa until it received its independence in 1963.

Legal scholars doubt the court will hear the case. The Supreme Court rarely grants the kind of court orders -- or stays -- sought by Mr. Donofrio. And doing so in this case would set up an unprecedented challenge to the presidency of a man who already has won the election and almost certainly will have taken office by the time any hearings or decisions could occur.

About a half-dozen people who say the court should stop Mr. Obama from becoming president protested in front of the Supreme Court on Friday morning.

"He does not meet the criteria of the Constitution that the Founding Fathers set out," said Roger Bredow, an Internet publisher from Bethlehem, Ga., who has tried to rally lawsuit supporters to block Mr. Obama's presidency.

Valerie Wohllheden, of Alexandria, said the danger is that in deciding the lawsuit, the Supreme Court might bend to "the will of the people" by allowing Mr. Obama to become president despite constitutional provisions.

"Then you've got mob rule," she said. "How can he uphold the Constitution if he's breaking it?"

The Supreme Court may hear a lawsuit that argues President-elect Barack Obama cannot become president as a "natural born" U.S. citizen. (Associated Press)

After the list of actions was released, Washington resident Theresa Cao said she took heart from the court's delaying its decision on whether to grant a hearing.

"They apparently need the time to deliberate," she said.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Prop 8 - The Musical"

Watch this video:
"Prop 8 - The Musical"

That's right, if you don't support gay marriage you're an ignorant bigot who spreads hate and deprives people of their basic human rights. If Jack Black and NPH sing it in a musical, it must be true!

*End of Sarcasm*

You have a right to be with whomever you want.
You have a right to love whomever you want.
You do not have a right to force people to accept your love.
You do not have a right to tax cuts and state funded benefits if the people paying for those tax cuts and benefits don't want to give them to you.
You do not have a right to change definitions of religious terms unless those who follow that religion consent.

Prop 8 is not hateful and those who supported it are not ignorant. Liberals just need people to believe otherwise. The citizens of each state get to vote on whether or not they want to include gay couples within their state's definition of "marriage" because being "married" entails state-funded benefits. These benefits are NOT rights, and they are divvied at the discretion of the people who fund them (ie. citizens) via a popular vote. That’s how taxation works folks.

This entire issue is NOT a gay "rights" issue. It's a pissing match over privileges and an attempt to strong arm our culture into a particular way of thinking. Gays aren't being denied any “rights” that are otherwise guaranteed them in the constitution, the bill of rights, or the rest of the constitutional amendments.

What people have to understand about these debates is that, as we've discussed on this blog before, liberals have a monopoly on academia. Therefore, they usually also have a monopoly on coining the terms of the debate which, in turn, frames the debate in their favor. Therefore, liberals refer to this debate as an issue of "gay rights." If everyone refers to this issue as the argument of "gay rights," liberals have already won the battle. It's a pretty straight forward method of manipulation.

There is no "right" which gays are being denied, and so calling this debate a debate over "gay rights" is nothing more than a liberal attempt to create a straw man argument.

The knee jerk emotional response to my stance is that I'm merely "spreading hate," like this video suggests. It’s odd how liberals support free speech unless it opposes them... then it's "hate speech". But just in case my motives get confused, here is my stance on what needs to be done with gay marriage:

The genetic difference between a female human and a male human is minuscule. When the human fetus is forming it develops in a variety of ways. Certainly we can point to some men who are "manlier" than others, and some women who are "more feminine." There's a wide spectrum of gender related characteristics, not exclusive from this spectrum is sexual preference. What I take from this is that there are men born with a sexual preference for men, and women for women, and men for women, and women for men. It's not hard to imagine that the genetic development of a person's brain, hormones, and/or DNA might deviate from the norm relative to their physical body. I mean, men are born with high voices all the time, why is it not then possible for a man to be born with a sexual preference for men?

Just as there are people who are born with their sexual preference, I think that because sexual preference does very on a spectrum, there most definitely ARE people who fall in the middle of that spectrum (they often call themselves bisexual). These people in the middle of the spectrum DO have a choice over with whom they have relations.

That said, I think that a divergence in sexual preference from the genetic norm should be addressed like any other “sin” which follows a defection from genetic norms. Our society has already decided that we will not issue capital punishment for the “criminally insane,” so why then would we punish the “sexually insane?”

It seems to me that homosexuality is an unnatural act but not one which directly affects others (if you exclude the role gays played in the spreading of HIV in America). Therefore, there appears to me to be no real reason to punish gays though it is entirely up to each state as to whether or not same relations couples will be included in the benefits wielded to state-recognized unions. It is also up to each religion as to whether or not homosexuality will be accepted within their ranks (the Bible suggests that all sins are equal and that homosexuality is a sin - but then again I don't take the Bible literally so take from that what you will).

I do think that the American government needs to do a few things:
1) Distinguish between couple's benefits and couple's rights. Those things that are rights ought to also be guaranteed to gay couples, those things which are benefits are subject to popular vote (regarding who receives said benefits [ie. taxes])

2) Cease the process by which churches are involved in the official civil union process. A "civil union" should be nothing more than a state-recognized union of a couple which entails all the benefits that come along with such a union. A "marriage" is a religious institution, and ought have no baring whatsoever on matters of the state. This means that straight couples would have to apply for a civil union license through the state (which they already do) and then have their union approved by a state official (and not a priest, preacher, or religious figure). This would make them a civil union. If they want to be "married" they would handle that exclusively through their respective church. "Civil unions" and their benefits would be defined by popular vote (keeping in mind that the public could not/ should not vote on those things previously determined to be couples' rights).

An example of a couples' right might be the right to be considered a spouse during hospital visitation hours.
An example of a benefit would be tax breaks given to state-recognized civil unions.

I generally distinguish a benefit from a right through the understanding that rights are those things which are guaranteed to all American citizens (which generally do not affect others) and benefits are those things which are not guaranteed and generally given through the permission of a third party (in this instance, the third party is the popular vote of the state concerned). You get the idea.

To me, this appears to be the fairest middle ground on the gay debate. But it's hard to believe that either political party truly wants the issue to be settled because both parties risk a reduction in voter base should they relinquish this major hot-button issue.

Many Christians, conservatives, and Republicans generally agree with my stance. Those who adhere to the reasoning I cited above would, should and did support proposition 8 - not because of “hate” as this video claims, but out of a utilitarian interest for their communities. Americans have that right you know – to vote their opinion on matters like this? Gays on the other hand, do not have the right to have their union called a “marriage." One's a right, one isn't. See the difference?

And if you want to talk about hate, here are two recent post-proposition 8 events that might get the hair on your neck to stand on end:

Notice the news anchor says there's a lot of anger and hate coming from "both sides." I didn't see the elderly woman pushing anyone, stomping on their property, screaming in their face, or sticking hands or objects in their face. Did you?

These attacks are examples of real hate. Voting for a proposition is not, unto itself, a hateful action. There's only one side of this debate which has been projecting hate and it isn't the conservatives - despite what Jack Black and his Hollywood buddies would have you believe.

Hollywood actors generally have no skill to speak of outside of acting. Most have no education beyond high school or any credible sense of the real world. They live in their rich, isolated Hollywood bubbles and think that because they have no worries in their wealthy secular universe, that the rest of the country should follow suit. And America listens to the opinions of these often drug addicted, rich, relatively uneducated, unilaterally-skilled, and secular buffoons simply because they’re entertaining. Meanwhile, anyone in Hollywood who shows a sliver of conservatism is blacklisted.

Now, I don’t feel that this Jack Black musical adequately accounted for conservative opinion; do you? On the contrary, conservatives were portrayed as ignorant, bible-thumping, hateful, slick and sheltered simpletons.

Videos like this are exactly how Hollywood, the mainstream news media and the music industry influence thought. They entertain you and then they subvert your logic by appealing to your emotional inclinations.

There’s an old adage in PR: “Every clip matters.” This sentiment suggests that every media mention matters because each one affects public opinion to some degree. Each clip (or mention) unto itself is relatively harmless, but when these mentions go unaddressed by opposing opinion, they create a cumulative influence of general social understanding which becomes virtually impossible to reverse.

People watch things like this Prop. 8 Music Video for its entertainment value, unaware that they are being manipulated. Don’t fall for it folks. Identify these manipulative efforts and confront them directly.

Iraq and U.S. Agree That U.S. Troops Will Leave Iraq by December 31, 2011

Iraq and U.S. Agree That U.S. Troops Will Leave Iraq by December 31, 2011
Friday, December 05, 2008
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer

White House ( - The Bush administration and the Iraqi government have agreed on a timeline to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq by December 31, 2011. Iraqi voters must approve the agreement in a referendum, however, and President-elect Obama has promised a quicker U.S. withdrawal.

After a month in which violence and U.S. casualties in Iraq were at a post-invasion low, Iraq’s presidential council on Thursday approved a Status of Forces Agreement, which sets a three-year timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Iraq’s parliament approved the deal last week.

The agreement puts Iraq's new democracy on a strong footing, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said.

“Today is a remarkable achievement for both of our countries,” Perino said. “We've been working on these negotiations for just about a year, and so we're glad to see it reach a positive conclusion.”

The agreement comes after immense security gains in Iraq resulting from the troop surge that started in early 2007. Casualties reached the lowest point in the entire war in November, dropping by 83 percent since March 2003.

But the warning by the Defense Department that the progress in Iraq is fragile was clear Thursday, when hours after the agreement was approved an al Qaeda front group called Islamic State of Iraq carried out two terror attacks. In Mosul, two U.S. soldiers were killed when a suicide driver blew up his car at an Iraqi check point. In Fallujah, truck bombers killed 15 people and wounded more than 100.

The timeline agreement calls for U.S. combat forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009. By Dec. 31, 2011, all U.S. troops will be gone. Voters in the democratic Iraq will make the final decision on the proposal in an election to be held no later than July 2009.

“If there is a national referendum, Iraq is a sovereign country and they could decide to do lots of different things with it,” Perino said. “But I think that the fact that their representative leadership has signed this agreement today, that they recognize that they are going to continue to need our help for the next little while. But we have a path now to help our troops get home.”

President-elect Barack Obama said earlier this week that his campaign promise of 16 months was still the “right time-frame” for withdrawal, meaning the troops would be out of Iraq by the summer of 2010, a year-and-a-half ahead of the U.S.-Iraq agreement. Also, the Obama transition Web site maintained that promise as of Thursday.

Nonetheless, Obama indicated support for the agreement, calling it a “glide path” for ending the war.

Responding to a question about whether Obama would honor the Status of Forces Agreement, Perino said, “I haven't heard anything different, but of course I can't speak for them. I think that they've welcomed it, as well, but this has been sort of a rolling approval of the -- by the Iraqis, because of the process that they have been going through the presidency council, their parliament, their cabinet of minister."

Fiscal Irresponsibility

Obama's Many Campaign Promises

Here are a few of the various campaign promises made by Barack Obama during his campaign. Let’s watch closely these next four years to see what promises he keeps and which ones he discards in favor of “pragmatism.”

• Give a tax break to 95% of Americans.
• Restore Clinton-era tax rates on top income earners.
• "If you make under $250,000, you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime. Not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes. Nothing."
• Dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes.
• Give American businesses a $3,000 tax credit for every job they create in the U.S.
• Eliminate capital gains taxes for small business and startup companies.
• Eliminate income taxes for seniors making under $50,000.
• Expand the child and dependent care tax credit.
• Expand the earned income tax credit.
• Create a universal mortgage credit.
• Create a small business health tax credit.
• Provide a $500 "make work pay" tax credit to small businesses.
• Provide a $1,000 emergency energy rebate to families.

• Spend $15 billion a year on renewable sources of energy.
• Eliminate oil imports from the Middle East in 10 years.
• Increase fuel economy standards by 4% a year.
• Weatherize 1 million homes annually.
• Ensure that 10% of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012.

• Create 5 million green jobs.
• Implement a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
• Get 1 million plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015.

• Sign a fair pay restoration act, which would overturn the Supreme Court's pay discrimination ruling.
• Sign into law an employee free choice act — aka card check — to make it easier for unions to organize.
• Make employers offer seven paid sick days per year.
• Increase the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2009.

National security
• Remove troops from Iraq by the summer of 2010.
• Cut spending on unproven missile defense systems.
• No more homeless veterans.
• Stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq.
• Finish the fight against Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida terrorists.

Social Security
• Work in a "bipartisan way to preserve Social Security for future generations."
• Impose a Social Security payroll tax on incomes above $250,000.
• Match 50% of retirement savings up to $1,000 for families earning less than $75,000

• Demand higher standards and more accountability from our teachers.

• Go through the budget, line by line, ending programs we don't need and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.
• Slash earmarks.

Health care
• Lower health care costs for the typical family by $2,500 a year.
• Let the uninsured get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress get.
• Stop insurance companies from discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.
• Spend $10 billion over five years on health care information technology.

Provided by Investor's Business Daily

Suicide of the West

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Obama's Natural-Born Status on Friday; MSM Silent

You'll recall that I reported on former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania (and longtime Democrat partisan) Philip J. Berg's lawsuit against Obama's constitutional eligibility to be POTUS in my post here, almost a month before the election. Well, the Supreme Court will hear the case this Friday and it looks as if the story has finally gone viral on the internet.

What is most disturbing about this issue, to me, is the media's complete failure to cover the story. Even if this is all just a conspiracy (and I hope to God - for the sake of this country - that it is), there are enough valid arguments to at least raise questions regarding Obama's natural-born status. How is it that lipstick on a pig, Palin's wardrobe and turkey pardon "gore" have gotten air time, but something substantial like this get ignored by the MSM?

Here is an excellent overview By Joan Swirsky, of Accuracy in media, regarding the media's "malpractice" (if I may be so bold as to borrow John Ziegler's documentary title) pertaining to this issue:

The Great Birth Certificate Scandal-Cover-Up of the 2008 Election

Look, I don't know if Obama qualifies as a natural born citizen. I'm not a Constitutional lawyer and I wasn't there when Obama was born. But what I do know is that there is more than enough substance to this issue to warrant media coverage, and Americans should be appalled at the blatant malpractice and malfeasance of the media on all matters relating to Obama. His free pass from the media has moved past mere blog fodder; the fanfare is borderline dangerous. Even now, one day before the Supreme Court hears Berg's case, the MSM are still silent.

Democracies were never intended to have leaders who function independent of the law. The entire point and purpose of a democracy is to hold its leaders accountable to the people. The role of news media is to serve as a medium through which news about our leaders travels. We rely on the media for the information necessary to hold our leaders accountable. When the media refuse to report substantial issues, we cease to have a functional democracy.

Because of the media's utter failure on this issue, this case will be decided and the vast majority of Americans won't even know it was ever even an issue. Imagine if the Supreme Court decides in favor of Berg and declares Obama unqualified to fill the POTUS position. This country would be turned on its head and the entire democratic process would be discredited world-wide. We might even find ourselves on the cusp of a new civil war - all because the media failed to properly vet Obama before the election.

Let us hope that Berg is dead wrong. Because if he isn't, we have just two options available to us: a constitutionally unqualified president or having the US turned on its head by virtue of the Supreme Court disqualifying him. Either would be disastrous, both could have been avoided if the mainstream media just would have done their job.

Clinton and the Emoluments Clause

(Click to enlarge)

There is an interesting article about the appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State located here:

The Volokh Conspiracy: Clinton and the Emoluments Clause

Apparently, if an executive branch job has had a salary or benefit increase during the time period in which a Senator or Representative was elected to serve, that Senator or Representative is not eligible to serve in that executive capacity within the same term (because it was Congress which voted to approve said pay raise or benefit).

Here is a link to the relevant part of the Constitution. The Law reads:

U.S. Constitution - Article 1 Section 6

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Because Congress approved a pay increase for the Secretary of State during Hillary's term, she is not eligible - under the Constitution - to be appointed to that position.

Let's be honest, Democrats will work in tandem with the liberal media to label this law as "obscure," say it doesn't matter, suggest that she can simply not take the pay increase and avoid legal concerns entirely, or just flat out ignore the concern and the law all together. Who's to stop them?

People closed their eyes to the various reasons Obama was ineligible to be elected, why wouldn't they do the same for his cabinet appointments?

Constitutional lawyer indeed!

The same exact sneaky, behind-closed-doors, misdirection tactics used regarding Obama’s natural born status and his violation of Illinois state law (when he accepted payment for his speeches while serving as a US Senator) are being used here. The natural born issue, the violation of state law issue and this issue all get swept under the rug and no one seems to care.

When does American discontent with George Bush cease to be the sufficient and solitary reason for giving Obama a free pass? When will America hold Obama to the same standards of law, conduct, and ethics as every other politician? I'd like to hear your opinions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

McCain Voters Less Affected by Media Malpractice

Recently, filmmaker John Ziegler made waves with his website "" The website is the precursor to Ziegler’s soon to be released documentary, “Media Malpractice.” In early November, Ziegler randomly selected and interviewed 12 Obama voters as they left the polls to see how the news media had impacted their knowledge of the 2008 presidential election campaigns.

This video went viral and has received more than 1.6 million views worldwide. In tandem with the dozen entertaining (albeit far from scientific) interviews, Ziegler also commissioned a Zogby International telephone poll which used the same exact questions. The poll tapped over 500 Obama voters and the trends in Zogby's poll results were almost identical to the trends found in Ziegler's interviews. The full results of Zogby’s polling can be found here. These results are accurate within +/- 4.4 % points and, as cited on "", some were quite disturbing:

512 Obama Voters
MOE +/- 4.4 points

97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates
Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)

71.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)

82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)

88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)

56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

And yet.....
Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes

Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter

And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her "house," even though that was Tina Fey who said that!!

Only 2.4% got at least 11 correct.

Only .5% got all of them correct. (And we "gave" one answer that was technically not Palin, but actually Tina Fey)

Ziegler then ventured onto FOX News’ Hannity and Colmes and explained his project.

As Colmes suggested, Ziegler/ Zogby’s findings would have had more scientific weight had both Obama and McCain voters been tapped. It's hard to digest the figures for Obama voters if there is no basis for comparison. Ziegler’s response to this criticism was that he wanted to show how those who voted for Obama consumed information from only pro-Obama news sources, and, as a result, were poorly informed. He told that the purpose of his work was "to determine the extent of media coverage (influence) on Obama voters,” and so it seemed irrelevant at the time to poll McCain voters.

Yet objectors insisted the findings of Zogby’s poll and Ziegler’s interviews could easily be duplicated with a select group of McCain voters and that Zogby’s poll was a push poll. John Zogby responded to the criticism on his organization's website:

"We stand by the results our survey work on behalf of John Ziegler, as we stand by all of our work. We reject the notion that this was a push poll because it very simply wasn't. It was a legitimate effort to test the knowledge of voters who cast ballots for Barack Obama in the Nov. 4 election. Push polls are a malicious effort to sway public opinion one way or the other, while message and knowledge testing is quite another effort of public opinion research that is legitimate inquiry and has value in the public square. In this case, the respondents were given a full range of responses and were not pressured or influenced to respond in one way or another. This poll was not designed to hurt anyone, which is obvious as it was conducted after the election. The client is free to draw his own conclusions about the research, as are bloggers and other members of society. But Zogby International is a neutral party in this matter. We were hired to test public opinion on a particular subject and with no ax to grind, that's exactly what we did. We don't have to agree or disagree with the questions, we simply ask them and provide the client with a fair and accurate set of data reflecting public opinion."

After several days of liberal backlash, Zogby tapered his response, telling, “I believe there was value in the poll we did. It was not our finest hour. This slipped through the cracks. It came out critical only of Obama voters.”

To which Ziegler replied, “Not their finest hour? This was a great poll. This didn't fall through any 'cracks,' they (Zogby) just got scared. ... The point of the poll was for my documentary on the media's impact on (Obama) voter knowledge."

Zogby also told that he would not repeat the poll with the inclusion of McCain voters unless he was allowed to formulate the questions.

“I am happy to do a poll of both Obama voters and McCain voters,” said Zogby, “with questions that I formulated and sponsored either by an objective third party or by someone on the left, in tandem with a John Ziegler on the right — but poll questions that have my signature.”

Ziegler replied, “I am shocked by John's statement that he would do another poll but not an exact duplication. What is the point of that?” Ziegler is alluding to the fact that reproducing a poll which includes McCain voters but asks different questions would not provide the standard for comparison for which his critics seems so desperate. also reported:

Ziegler had e-mailed Karen Scott, managing editor of Zogby International: “I am writing because there is great interest in commissioning the same poll of McCain voters, and I have obtained the money to do so. If done right I think this can be a win/win for everyone. Please advise me as to the company's thinking on this.”

Scott e-mailed Ziegler in response: “Thank you for being in touch with us; I am sorry no one got back to you yesterday. Your request has been reviewed here at all levels, and we are not interested in this project at this time.”

Ziegler then turned to Wilson Research Strategies, an opinion research firm which serves Republican candidates, conservative organizations, public affairs campaigns, and major corporations. After all the heat Zogby received for the part he played in Ziegler’s documentary, I suppose Ziegler had nowhere to turn but to a conservative polling firm.

Doing what Zogby International would not, Wilson Research polled BOTH Obama voters AND McCain voters with the SAME questions used in the first Zogby poll (with the addition of one question relating to the McCain/ Keating scandal). Obama voter responses were almost identical to those from the first poll, but McCain voters tended to be considerably more informed than their liberal counterparts. Here are the full results of the Wilson Research poll.

Ziegler went back onto Hannity and Colmes to report his findings:

As cited on, some of the significant findings of that poll are as follows:

The 12 "Zogby" questions were duplicated, one on the Keating scandal was added for extra balance. The results from Obama voters were virtually IDENTICAL in both polls.

Here are the highlights:

35 % of McCain voters got 10 or more of 13 questions correct.

18% of Obama voters got 10 or more of 13 questions correct.

McCain voters knew which party controls congress by a 63-27 margin.

Obama voters got the “congressional control” question wrong by 43-41.

Those that got "congressional control" correct voted 56-43 for McCain.

Those that got "congressional control" wrong voted 65-35 for Obama.

The poll also asked voters to name all the media sources from which they got information.

Those “exposed” to Fox News got "congressional control" correct 64-25 (+39)

Those “exposed” to CNN got “congressional control” correct 48-38 (+10)

Those “exposed” to Network news got “congressional control” correct 48-39 (+9)

Those “exposed” to print media got “congressional control” correct 52-37 (+15)

Those “exposed” to MSNBC got “congressional control” correct 55-35 (+20)

Those “exposed” to talk radio got “congressional control” correct 61-29 (+32)

Voters in the "South" had the best response rate on “congressional control” (+22)

Voters in the "Northeast" had the worst response rate on “congressional control” (+9)

Those “exposed” to Fox News voted 70-29 for McCain.

Those “exposed” to CNN voted 63-37 for Obama.

Those “exposed” to MSNBC voted 73-26 for Obama.

Those “exposed” to network newscasts voted 62-37 for Obama.

Those “exposed” to national newspapers voted 64-36 for Obama.

Those “exposed” to talk radio voted 61-38 for McCain.

Those that could associate Bill Ayers' name/story with Obama voted 52-48 for McCain (We added Ayers name to the "Zogby" question and it significantly increased the rate of correct response, indicating a very superficial grasp of the overall story).

Those that knew Obama had made negative comments about “coal power plants" voted 76-24 for McCain.

Those that knew Obama had his opponents knocked off the ballot in his first campaign voted 66-34 for McCain.

McCain voters did poorly (only 42% correct) on the Keating question and,in general, the voters did universally worse on questions where the negative information was about their candidate

Women under 55 did worse than they might have by guessing on four of the thirteen questions, and yet 95% of them knew that Palin was the candidate with a pregnant teenage daughter. Even 95% of those in this demographic group who didn't know “congressional control” got this question correct.

Those “exposed” to MSNBC “scored” 90% correct on the three Palin questions (including an incredible 98% on the “pregnant teenage daughter” question), while

those not “exposed” to MSNBC averaged 84% correct on those three questions.

No doubt, these findings will be disregarded by MSM simply because it was a conservative organization which did the polling. Mr. Ziegler is up against a liberal media machine that has every intention of squashing dissent. I’ve discussed the dramatic left lean of the media at length here.

All conservatives can do is “fight the good fight” and hope that the snowball effect of common sense and logic catches on sooner rather than later. It’s an uphill battle against the left-leaning MSM and liberal indoctrination of schools, but it is a winnable fight. Victory can only be achieved, however, if and when conservative citizens begin to arm themselves with the necessary information to debunk liberal propaganda. Did you know all the answers to Ziegler’s poll questions? If not, perhaps figuring those out would be a good place to start.

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