Oct 30, 2008
with the cold weather coming, i don’t know what to do with my tobacco plants. they haven’t bloomed yet, so it is not recommended to “harvest” the leaves. the plants aren’t nearly as big as some of the others i’ve seen in online growers’ forums. but i don’t think the plants are going to like the cold weather yet to come. guess i’ve got nothing to lose by cutting the leaves and hanging them to dry. more experimenting.
oh, the messiah, the chosen one, the BO had his big 30 minute commercial last night. i thought my time was better used by playing a new video game and waiting for the punditry to clear the chaff later.
i did read some online comments...evidently this tv commerical had his followers in tears due to the material and lighting and music and transitions. i find it odd that a salesman has to spend so much money to sell a product so late in the buying season. i wonder what it would be like to be such an ardent follower of anything. is that how zealots of (insert cause of the day/week/month/decade here) felt? what’s worse were the threats made, some not so veiled, about the rioting/civil disobedience/anger that everyone should “express” if the BO is not elected.
i don’t know how the words of any POLITICIAN could possible move someone to tears. think about it...a politician’s words...and audiences crying. $400 million dollars and crying converts.
now think about this--$400 million dollars from unknown sources, civil disobedience, and rioting. i don’t think this is what the founding fathers had in mind when they came up with the idea of “free” elections.
Oct 26, 2008
Meanwhile, I watched with disbelief as the nation’s leading newspapers, many of whom I’d written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page. Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.Edgelings.com » Editing Their Way to Oblivion: Journalism Sacrificed For Power and Pensions
But what really shattered my faith - and I know the day and place where it happened - was the War in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia only carried CNN, a network I’d already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse. I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story . . .but it never happened.
But nothing, nothing I’ve seen has matched the media bias on display in the current Presidential campaign. Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass - no, make that shameless support - they’ve gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don’t have a free and fair press. I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather - not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake - but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.
Guess which journalist won't be given the keys to the executive MSM washroom anytime soon.
Oct 25, 2008
Thirteen campaign workers for Barack Obama yesterday yanked their voter registrations and ballots in Ohio after being warned by a prosecutor that temporary residents can't vote in the battleground state.BAM STAFFERS PULL THEIR BOGUS OHIO BALLOTS - New York Post
A dozen staffers - including Obama Ohio spokeswoman Olivia Alair and James Cadogan, who recently joined Team Obama - signed a form letter asking the Franklin County elections board to pull their names from the rolls.
The letter - a copy of which was obtained by palestra.net, a Fox News affiliate - came a day after prosecutor Ron O'Brien publicly urged out-of-state campaign workers for both Obama and John McCain to "examine your conscience" before the elections board beings begins opening absentee ballots today.
Earlier in the week, O'Brien spoke with lawyers for both camps and urged them to make sure their staffs met permanent-residency rules, or face possible felony charges.
Also pulling his ballot yesterday was Hofstra University grad Jake Smith, an Obama volunteer who had voted in Knox County, Ohio.
On Thursday, O'Brien cut a deal with 13 out-of-staters, including four from New York, who tossed out their already-cast ballots and admitted they didn't meet residency requirements.
I'm confused...what deal is there to make? they knowingly committed a crime, just like walking into a store and taking money, and they get to say "we're sorry"? where's the outrage from the typically outraged democrats always screaming "they stole the elections"? maybe they're too busy filling out false ballots to watch the news?
Oct 20, 2008
At this rate, obvious Hollywood and other media elite might be relegated to the back of the line when "donations" are repaid by an Obama administration. That's after Gadhafi, random Palestinians, and the hosts of "mysterious" $200 patrons get their special favors first.
Unlike the McCain campaign, which has made its complete donor
database available online, the Obama campaign has not identified donors
for nearly half the amount he has raised, according to the Center for
Responsive Politics (CRP).
Federal law does not require the campaigns to identify donors
who give less than $200 during the election cycle. However, it does
require that campaigns calculate running totals for each donor and
report them once they go beyond the $200 mark.
Surprisingly, the great majority of Obama donors never break the $200 threshold.
“We and seven other watchdog groups asked both campaigns for more
information on small donors,” he said. “The Obama campaign never
responded,” whereas the McCain campaign “makes all its donor
information, including the small donors, available online.”
A Newsmax analysis of the 1.4 million individual contributions in
the latest master file for the Obama campaign discovered 1,000 separate
entries for Mr. Good Will, most of them for $25.
In total, Mr. Good Will gave $17,375.(snip)
In June, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gave a public speech praising Obama, claiming foreign nationals were donating to his campaign.
A pair of Palestinian brothers named Hosam and Monir Edwan contributed
more than $31,300 to the Obama campaign in October and November 2007,
FEC records show.
Oct 15, 2008
on to tell his audience that the Kennedys -- Jack and Bobby -- decided
to do an airlift. They would bring some young Africans over so that
they could be educated and learn all about America.
His grandfather heard that call and sent his son, Barack Obama, Sr., to
America.The problem with that scenario is that, having been born in
August 1961, the future senator was not conceived until sometime in
November 1960. So, if his African grandfather heard words that "sent a
shout across oceans," inspiring him to send his goat-herder son to
America, it was not Democrat Jack Kennedy he heard, or his brother
Bobby, it was Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Actually, Senior was awarded an American sponsored scholarship in
economics to the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He was selected by a
former Kenyan cabinet minister, the late Tom Mboya, who was earmarked
as the successor to Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first prime minister.
The presumption was that Senior would return to Africa and use his "Western-honed skills in a new Kenya."
Too bad it didn't happen that way. And why would an African goat-herder find the US appealing? Wasn't Eisenhower-era US miserable for minorities and the poor? This was before civil rights, womans-lib, welfare for all...how would a goat-herder from Africa fare in that evil white man's world?
More of Obama's "white lies" at Barack Obama Lies.
hmmm...can I say "white lies" and not be considered racist?
There's a lot of chaff at that "Lies" website, but there is some pretty interesting stuff about BO's very expensive house at a cut rate price and bottom basement mortgage, his serendipitous neighbor, and the "hiding" of his grandparents....the white ones...who actually raised him, paid for his expensive school and but that story seems hidden from public view b/c their race might not appeal to BO's progressive audience. Can't bootstrap yourself from single-mom poverty to Havard Law School if you've got well to do white grandparents to pay for everything.
I also like the one about BO's mom being on food stamps/welfare while she's getting her PhD. Check out the math on that story!
This article does a run down of something I've been wondering for awhile: the claim of 20 years of public service does add up mathematically. Seven years as State Senator, mostly spent planning to be a US Senator, and now three years as a US Senator, mostly spent planning to be US President. So when has he actually done the job he was elected to do, and how does it add up to 20 years?
I like this summary the best:
Look at his record: he's now completed over half of a Senate term; yet, is there even one signature issue he has taken hold of, other than his own presidential run? Similarly, as the New York Times recently pointed out, Obama spent twelve years on the University of Chicago Law School faculty--singularly famous for its intellectual ferment and incubator of scholarship--and produced not even a single scholarly paper. He was President of Harvard Law Review, but wrote nothing himself. Even as a state legislator for seven years-or community organizer for three years, there is little that shows his imprint. OK, to be fair, he did write two books. About himself.
For all his glowing job titles, Obama has never gotten much done. Is it any wonder that his spokesmen respond with sweeping generalities when asked what Obama has actually accomplished relevant to the presidency?
There are also holes in his claim to being a "Constitutional Law Professor"...but that he was simply a lecturer at a Chicago area university.
Oct 14, 2008
From the WSJ:
One of Barack Obama's most potent campaign claims is that he'll cut
taxes for no less than 95% of "working families." He's even promising
to cut taxes enough that the government's tax share of GDP will be no
more than 18.2% -- which is lower than it is today.
It's a clever pitch, because it
lets him pose as a middle-class tax cutter while disguising that he's
also proposing one of the largest tax increases ever on the other 5%.
But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a
third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are
several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the
meaning of "tax cut."
For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep
more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of
billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the
phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or expand no
fewer than seven such credits for individuals:
- A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to "make
work pay" that phases out at income of $75,000 for individuals and
$150,000 per couple.
- A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.
- A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).
- A "savings" tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.
- An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow
single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and
give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support.
- A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.
- A "clean car" tax credit of up to $7,000 on the purchase of certain vehicles.
Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be
"refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can
receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other
words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers
to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in
George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to
call it a tax cut.
The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million
Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability
and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The
Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011,
under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero
taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.
The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise
over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to
the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state
would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such
income payments as "tax credits," the Obama campaign also redefines
them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks
much smaller than it really is.
The political left defends "refundability" on grounds that these
payments help to offset the payroll tax. And that was at least
plausible when the only major refundable credit was the earned-income
tax credit. Taken together, however, these tax credit payments would
exceed payroll levies for most low-income workers.
It is also true that John McCain proposes a refundable tax credit -- his $5,000 to help individuals buy health insurance. We've written before that we prefer a tax deduction for individual health care, rather than a credit.
But the big difference with Mr. Obama is that Mr. McCain's proposal
replaces the tax subsidy for employer-sponsored health insurance that
individuals don't now receive if they buy on their own. It merely
changes the nature of the tax subsidy; it doesn't create a new one.
There's another catch: Because Mr. Obama's tax credits are phased
out as incomes rise, they impose a huge "marginal" tax rate increase on
low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the
next dollar of income earned. As the nearby chart illustrates, the
marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would
spike as they earn more income.
Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in
vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working
overtime or taking a new job. As public policy, this is contradictory.
The tax credits are sold in the name of "making work pay," but in
practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if
you're a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year.
One mystery -- among many -- of the McCain campaign is why it has
allowed Mr. Obama's 95% illusion to go unanswered.
Oct 13, 2008
This is about all that remains from our mini-Oktoberfest, so if you didn't get what you wanted, you're too late!
The official menu included homemade pretzels, german potato salad, lots and lots of grilled sausages, spaeztle casserole, and lots of deserts brought over by guests. And Oktoberfest beer by Sam Adams, as well as real german mustard. There might have been some real pear flavored schnapps available too.
The pretzels were a big hit...so to satisfy the requests, here's the recipe I used from "Good Eats", a TV show on the food network. We watch all of the episodes we can of Good Eats...the host is kinda kooky, but we like the food science he brings to the show. And great recipes too. This one is really easy and makes great tasting pretzels.
Word of warning: don't use an expensive pan when you dip the pretzels in boiling water/baking soda mixture in the recipe. One of our expensive, Calphalon pans that originally had a dark finish on the aluminum now has a bright shiny finish where the boiling baking soda stripped away the coating. We used a stainless steel finished pan on the second batch, with no problems. Still waiting to hear from Calphalon on whether our ugly pan is still safe to use! Any chemistry majors out there care to explain the reaction?
Oct 10, 2008
What if Barack Obama's most important radical connection has been hiding
in plain sight all along? Obama has had an intimate and long-term
association with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform
Now (Acorn), the largest radical group in America. If I told you Obama
had close ties with MoveOn.org or Code Pink, you'd know what I was
talking about. Acorn is at least as radical as these better-known
groups, arguably more so. Yet because Acorn works locally, in carefully
selected urban areas, its national profile is lower. Acorn likes it that
way. And so, I'd wager, does Barack Obama.
This is a story we've largely missed. While Obama's Acorn connection has
not gone entirely unreported, its depth, extent, and significance have
been poorly understood. Typically, media background pieces note that, on
behalf of Acorn, Obama and a team of Chicago attorneys won a 1995 suit
forcing the state of Illinois to implement the federal "motor-voter"
bill. In fact, Obama's Acorn connection is far more extensive. In the
few stories where Obama's role as an Acorn "leadership trainer" is
noted, or his seats on the boards of foundations that may have supported
Acorn are discussed, there is little follow-up. Even these more
extensive reports miss many aspects of Obama's ties to Acorn.
An Anti-Capitalism Agenda
To understand the nature and extent of Acorn's radicalism, an excellent
place to begin is Sol Stern's 2003 City Journal article, "ACORN's Nutty
Regime for Cities." (For a shorter but helpful piece, try Steven
Malanga's "Acorn Squash.")
Sol Stern explains that Acorn is the key modern successor of the radical
1960's "New Left," with a "1960's-bred agenda of anti-capitalism" to
match. Acorn, says Stern, grew out of "one of the New Left's silliest
and most destructive groups, the National Welfare Rights Organization."
In the 1960's, NWRO launched a campaign of sit-ins and disruptions at
welfare offices. The goal was to remove eligibility restrictions, and
thus effectively flood welfare rolls with so many clients that the
system would burst. The theory, explains Stern, was that an impossibly
overburdened welfare system would force "a radical reconstruction of
America's unjust capitalist economy." Instead of a socialist utopia,
however, we got the culture of dependency and family breakdown that ate
away at America's inner cities - until welfare reform began to turn the
While Acorn holds to NWRO's radical economic framework and its
confrontational 1960's-style tactics, the targets and strategy have
changed. Acorn prefers to fly under the national radar, organizing
locally in liberal urban areas - where, Stern observes, local
legislators and reporters are often "slow to grasp how radical Acorn's
positions really are." Acorn's new goals are municipal "living wage"
laws targeting "big-box" stores like Wal-Mart, rolling back welfare
reform, and regulating banks - efforts styled as combating "predatory
lending." Unfortunately, instead of helping workers, Acorn's living-wage
campaigns drive businesses out of the very neighborhoods where jobs are
needed most. Acorn's opposition to welfare reform only threatens to
worsen the self-reinforcing cycle of urban poverty and family breakdown.
Perhaps most mischievously, says Stern, Acorn uses banking regulations
to pressure financial institutions into massive "donations" that it uses
to finance supposedly non-partisan voter turn-out drives.
According to Stern, Acorn's radical agenda sometimes shifts toward
"undisguised authoritarian socialism." Fully aware of its living-wage
campaign's tendency to drive businesses out of cities, Acorn hopes to
force companies that want to move to obtain "exit visas." "How much
longer before Acorn calls for exit visas for wealthy or middle-class
individuals before they can leave a city?" asks Stern, adding, "This is
the road to serfdom indeed."
In Your Face
Acorn's tactics are famously "in your face." Just think of Code Pink's
well-known operations (threatening to occupy congressional offices,
interrupting the testimony of General David Petraeus) and you'll get the
idea. Acorn protesters have disrupted Federal Reserve hearings, but
mostly deploy their aggressive tactics locally. Chicago is home to one
of its strongest chapters, and Acorn has burst into a closed city
council meeting there. Acorn protestors in Baltimore disrupted a
bankers' dinner and sent four busloads of profanity-screaming protestors
against the mayor's home, terrifying his wife and kids. Even a Baltimore
city council member who generally supports Acorn said their intimidation
tactics had crossed the line.
Acorn, however, defiantly touts its confrontational tactics. While Stern
himself notes this, the point is driven home sharper still in an
Acorn-friendly reply to Stern entitled "Enraging the Right." Written by
academic/activists John Atlas and Peter Dreier, the reply's avowed
intent is to convince Acorn-friendly politicians, journalists, and
funders not to desert the organization in the wake of Stern's powerful
critique. The stunning thing about this supposed rebuttal is that it
confirms nearly everything Stern says. Do Atlas and Dreier object to
Stern's characterizations of Acorn's radical plans - even his
slippery-slope warnings about Acorn's designs on basic freedom of
movement? Nope. "Stern accurately outlines Acorn's agenda," they say.
Do Atlas and Dreier dismiss Stern's catalogue of Acorn's disruptive and
intentionally intimidating tactics as a set of regrettable exceptions to
Acorn's rule of civility? Not a chance. Atlas and Dreier are at pains to
point out that intimidation works. They proudly reel off the increased
memberships that follow in the wake of high-profile disruptions, and
clearly imply that the same public officials who object most
vociferously to intimidation are the ones most likely to cave as a
result. What really upsets Atlas and Dreier is that Stern misses the
subtle national hand directing Acorn's various local campaigns. This is
But don't let the disruptive tactics fool you. Acorn is a savvy and
exceedingly effective political player. Stern says that Acorn's key
post-New Left innovation is its determination to take over the system
from within, rather than futilely try to overthrow it from without.
Stern calls this strategy a political version of Invasion of the Body
Snatchers. Take Atlas and Dreier at their word: Acorn has an openly
aggressive and intimidating side, but a sophisticated inside game, as
well. Chicago's Acorn leader, for example, won a seat on the Board of
Aldermen as the candidate of a leftist "New Party."
Obama Meets Acorn
What has Barack Obama got to do with all this? Plenty. Let's begin with
Obama's pre-law school days as a community organizer in Chicago. Few
people have a clear idea of just what a "community organizer" does. A
Los Angeles Times piece on Obama's early Chicago days opens with the
touching story of his efforts to build a partnership with Chicago's
"Friends of the Parks," so that parents in a blighted neighborhood could
have an inviting spot for their kids to play. This is the image of
Obama's organizing we're supposed to hold. It's far from the whole
story, however. As the L. A. Times puts it, "Obama's task was to help
far South Side residents press for improvement" in their communities.
Part of Obama's work, it would appear, was to organize demonstrations,
much in the mold of radical groups like Acorn.
Although the L. A. Times piece is generally positive, it does press
Obama's organizing tales on certain points. Some claim that Obama's
book, Dreams from My Father, exaggerates his accomplishments in
spearheading an asbestos cleanup at a low-income housing project. Obama,
these critics say, denies due credit to Hazel Johnson, an activist who
claims she was the one who actually discovered the asbestos problem and
led the efforts to resolve it. Read carefully, the L. A. Times story
leans toward confirming this complaint against Obama, yet the story's
emphasis is to affirm Obama's important role in the battle. Speaking up
in defense of Obama on the asbestos issue is Madeleine Talbot, who at
the time was a leader at Chicago Acorn. Talbot, we learn, was so
impressed by Obama's organizing skills that she invited him to help
train her own staff.
And what exactly was Talbot's work with Acorn? Talbot turns out to have
been a key leader of that attempt by Acorn to storm the Chicago City
Council (during a living-wage debate). While Sol Stern mentions this
story in passing, the details are worth a look: On July 31, 1997, six
people were arrested as 200 Acorn protesters tried to storm the Chicago
City Council session. According to the Chicago Daily Herald, Acorn
demonstrators pushed over the metal detector and table used to screen
visitors, backed police against the doors to the council chamber, and
blocked late-arriving aldermen and city staff from entering the session.
Reading the Herald article, you might think Acorn's demonstrators had
simply lost patience after being denied entry to the gallery at a packed
meeting. Yet the full story points in a different direction. This was
not an overreaction by frustrated followers who couldn't get into a
meeting (there were plenty of protestors already in the gallery), but
almost certainly a deliberate bit of what radicals call "direct action,"
orchestrated by Acorn's Madeleine Talbot. As Talbot was led away
handcuffed, charged with mob action and disorderly conduct, she
explicitly justified her actions in storming the meeting. This was the
woman who first drew Obama into his alliance with Acorn, and whose staff
Obama helped train.
Does that mean Obama himself schooled Acorn volunteers in disruptive
"direct action?" Not necessarily. The City Council storming took place
in 1997, years after Obama's early organizing days. And in general,
Obama seems to have been part of Acorn's "inside baseball" strategy. As
a national star from his law school days, Obama knew he had a political
future, and would surely have been reluctant to violate the law. In his
early organizing days, Obama used to tell the residents he organized
that they'd be more effective in their protests if they controlled their
anger. On the other hand, as he established and deepened his association
with Acorn through the years, Obama had to know what the organization
was all about. Moreover, in his early days, Obama was not exactly a
stranger to the "direct action" side of community organizing.
Consider the second charge against Obama raised by the L.A. Times
backgrounder. On the stump today, Obama often says he helped prevent
South Side Chicago blacks, Latinos, and whites from turning on each
other after losing their jobs, but many of the community organizers
interviewed by the L. A. Times say that Obama worked overwhelmingly with
To rebut this charge, Obama's organizer friends tell the story of how he
helped plan "actions" that included mixed white, black, and Latino
groups. For example, following Obama's plan, one such group paid a
"surprise visit" to a meeting between local officials considering a
landfill expansion. The protestors surrounded the meeting table while
one activist made a statement chiding the officials, after which the
protestors filed out. Presto! Obama is immunized from charges of having
worked exclusively with blacks - but at the cost of granting us a peek
at the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy side of his community organizing.
Intimidation tactics are revealed, and Obama's alliance with radical
Acorn activists like Madeleine Talbot begins to make sense.
The extent of Obama's ties to Acorn has not been recognized. We find
some important details in an article in the journal Social Policy
entitled, "Case Study: Chicago - The Barack Obama Campaign," by Toni
Foulkes, a Chicago Acorn leader and a member of Acorn's National
Association Board. The odd thing about this article is that Foulkes is
forced to protect the technically "non-partisan" status of Acorn's
get-out-the-vote campaigns, even as he does everything in his power to
give Acorn credit for helping its favorite son win the critical 2004
primary that secured Obama the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate.
Before giving us a tour of Acorn's pro-Obama but somehow "non-partisan"
election activities, Foulks treats us to a brief history of Obama's ties
to Acorn. While most press accounts imply that Obama just happened to be
at the sort of public-interest law firm that would take Acorn's "motor
voter" case, Foulkes claims that Acorn specifically sought out Obama's
representation in the motor voter case, remembering Obama from the days
when he worked with Talbot. And while many reports speak of Obama's
post-law school role organizing "Project VOTE" in 1992, Foulkes makes it
clear that this project was undertaken in direct partnership with Acorn.
Foulkes then stresses Obama's yearly service as a key figure in Acorn's
At least a few news reports have briefly mentioned Obama's role in
training Acorn's leaders, but none that I know of have said what Foulkes
reports next: that Obama's long service with Acorn led many members to
serve as the volunteer shock troops of Obama's early political campaigns
- his initial 1996 State Senate campaign, and his failed bid for
Congress in 2000 (Foulkes confuses the dates of these two campaigns.)
With Obama having personally helped train a new cadre of Chicago Acorn
leaders, by the time of Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, Obama and
Acorn were "old friends," says Foulkes.
So along with the reservoir of political support that came to Obama
through his close ties with Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, and
other Chicago black churches, Chicago Acorn appears to have played a
major role in Obama's political advance. Sure enough, a bit of digging
into Obama's years in the Illinois State Senate indicates strong concern
with Acorn's signature issues, as well as meetings with Acorn and the
introduction by Obama of Acorn-friendly legislation on the living wage
and banking practices. You begin to wonder whether, in his Springfield
days, Obama might have best been characterized as "the Senator from
Although it's been noted in an important story by John Fund, and in a
long Obama background piece in the New York Times, more attention needs
to be paid to possible links between Obama and Acorn during the period
of Obama's service on the boards of two charitable foundations, the
Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation.
According to the New York Times, Obama's memberships on those foundation
boards, "allowed him to help direct tens of millions of dollars in
grants" to various liberal organizations, including Chicago Acorn,
"whose endorsement Obama sought and won in his State Senate race." As
best as I can tell (and this needs to be checked out more fully), Acorn
maintains both political and "non-partisan" arms. Obama not only sought
and received the endorsement of Acorn's political arm in his local
campaigns, he recently accepted Acorn's endorsement for the presidency,
in pursuit of which he reminded Acorn officials of his long-standing
ties to the group.
Supposedly, Acorn's political arm is segregated from its "non-partisan"
registration and get-out-the-vote efforts, but after reading Foulkes'
case study, this non-partisanship is exceedingly difficult to discern.
As I understand, it would be illegal for Obama to sit on a foundation
board and direct money to an organization that openly served as his key
get-out-the-vote volunteers on Election Day. I'm not saying Obama
crossed a legal line here: Based on Foulkes' account, Acorn's
get-out-the-vote drive most likely observed the technicalities of
Nevertheless, the possibilities suggested by a combined reading of the
New York Times piece and the Foulkes article are disturbing. While
keeping within the technicalities of the law, Obama may have been able
to direct substantial foundation money to his organized political
supporters. I offer no settled conclusion, but the matter certainly
warrants further investigation and discussion. Obama is supposed to be
the man who transcends partisanship. Has he instead used his post at an
allegedly non-partisan foundation to direct money to a supposedly
non-partisan group, in pursuit of what are in fact nakedly partisan and
personal ends? I have no final answer, but the question needs to be
In fact, the broader set of practices by which activist groups pursue
intensely partisan ends under the guise of non-partisanship merits
further scrutiny. Consider the 2006 report by Jonathan Bechtle, "Voter
Turnout or Voter Fraud?" which includes a discussion of the nexus
between Project Vote and Acorn, a nexus where Obama himself once
resided. According to Bechtle, "It's clear that groups that claimed to
be nonpartisan wanted a partisan outcome," and reading Foulkes's case
study of Acorn's role in Obama's U.S. Senate campaign, one can't help
Important as these questions of funding and partisanship are, the larger
point is that Obama's ties to Acorn - arguably the most politically
radical large-scale activist group in the country - are wide, deep, and
longstanding. If Acorn is adept at creating a non-partisan, inside-game
veneer for what is in fact an intensely radical, leftist, and
politically partisan reality, so is Obama himself. This is hardly a
coincidence: Obama helped train Acorn's leaders in how to play this
game. For the most part, Obama seems to have favored the
political-insider strategy, yet it's clear that he knew how to play the
in-your-face "direct action" game as well. And surely during his many
years of close association with Acorn, Obama had to know what the group
was all about.
The shame of it is that when the L. A. Times returned to Obama's
stomping grounds, it found the park he'd helped renovate reclaimed by
drug dealers and thugs. The community organizer strategy may generate
feel-good moments and best-selling books, but I suspect a Wal-Mart as
the seed-bed of a larger shopping complex would have done far more to
save the neighborhood where Obama worked to organize in the
"progressive" fashion. Unfortunately, Obama's Acorn cronies have blocked
In any case, if you're looking for the piece of the puzzle that confirms
and explains Obama's network of radical ties, gather your Acorns this
spring. Or next winter, you may just be left watching the "President
from Acorn" at his feast.
Oct 5, 2008
Later, we walked to the picnic grounds and had a really fun day. Beautiful weather, that’s for sure.
Even later, we dashed off for the Kastner’s house and had cake for Niamh’s pre-birthday birthday party. Then we dashed off to Richmond to go to Niamh’s new favorite restaurant...Texas do Brazil Churrascaria. Funny thing that Sharon likes it “almost” as much as Niamh. Coincidence? hmmmm....? Good steaks and full tummies for all.