Archive for July, 2008

6-Term Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) May Not Make It Out of Her Primary

July 31, 2008

Kwame’s mommy could be in trouble!  A poll came out earlier this week, sponsored by WXYZ-TV and the Detroit News, showing 6-term Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick(D-MI-13) beating her 2 opponents with 33%.  29% said they’ll support former state Representative Mary Waters, and 24% plan on supporting state Senator Martha Scott.  The poll was made up of 400 people who said they are  likely to vote in the August 5th Democratic primary.  The margin of error is +/- 5%.

I think Kilpatrick will win it, because those who oppose her, which is quite a few, especially with everything that’s happening with her son, are splitting up instead of  uniting.  If either Scott or Waters endorsed the other, they’d have  a chance of ousting Cheeky K.

Kilpatrick herself, last week, told reporters, “I’m winning, but my numbers aren’t as high as I want them to be.”

Personally I can’t stand her – she’s rude and mean.  She relentlessly defends her son when we all know he’s corrupt.  Her office is TERRIBLY disorganized.  I went down to D.C., and when I tried to get a gallery pass, they opened drawers that were just cluttered with junk.  After waiting 10 minutes for them to try to find a pass, I left and got one from another office.

Plus, one of Kilpatrick’s major campaign platforms is her amount of earmarks she’s secured for Michigan (over $500 million).  And sure, she’s my Congresswoman, so it’s good for my district, but it means higher taxes for everybody.  Earmarks and pork barrel spending is wrong, even if it benefits me, so I’m ashamed of her when it comes to the amount of taxpayer money she’s wasted.

Kilpatrick told the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit, “I need your help.  I want your prayers.  I want to continue to serve.  So I ask you to send me back when you go to vote.”

Waters told reporters, “I take issue with the fact that Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick continues to inject herself into the City of Detroit and what’s going on there.  Character and trust clearly are an issue in this race.  We deserve better. … Right now, people are feeling the trust in government is at an all-time low.  Will the real Carolyn Kilpatrick stand up?  I don’t believe that she’s being honest with the people.”  That comment was made in regards to questions about Kilpatrick’s connection with her son, the Mayor of Detroit, Kwame.

A Waters’ supporter, Deputy Fire Department Chief Reginald Amos, told reporters, “If we get her out of here, that will be setting the tone to get Kwame Kilpatrick out, too.  That’s part of my motivation, but I just don’t think she’s done the job.  When you look at her, you can see why her son has an aura of entitlement.  The arrogance that she’s shown has shaped him.”

Meanwhile, Harry Kalogerakos, told reporters, “We all have family members who we might not be too proud of, but we should all be judged on what we do.  When you’re talking about your children, that’s a sensitive area.  I’ve got kids, they’re grown.  But if somebody wants to call them out about something, it still rankles me.”

Scott, the other candidate, told reporters, “No one has run against her [Kilpatrick] who has any record of service or credibility.  I serve on the Senate Appropriations committee, and I have served the community well.  I keep people informed, and I deal with their issues.  That’s what people deserve.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has come to Kilpatrick’s rescue, endorsing her, and even coming to Wyandotte (the city next to me, and a few suburbs south of Detroit) to campaign for her.  She told a crowd there, “When she speaks, our colleagues listen.  I’m dazzled by her knowledge of the policy.”

Pelosi did briefly comment on the issues with Kilpatrick’s son, saying, “I admire her [Kilpatrick] being a good and loyal mom.”

She went on to address various issues, such as health care and the Iraq war, saying, “She still comes to Washington every day as an outsider, asking what does this mean for my district. … We’re going in to January with great optimism and hope.  We need a bigger vision for health care. … We want to send our dollars to the Midwest, not the Middle East.”

So, overall, Kilpatrick could face some problems come next Tuesday.  Personally, I think she’ll pull off the win, unless her opponents wise up and stop splitting up the opposition to Kilpatrick.

Now, considering the fact that I can’t stand Kilpatrick, I’m going to leave you with an attack ad against Kilpatrick, showing a video of Kilpatrick crazily defending her criminal son.  ENJOY!

She’s a pretty scary woman – I wouldn’t want to make her angry.  You never know, one of her son’s goons might bump you off!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Thoughts on the N-Word, The View, and Jesse Jackson

July 31, 2008
Alright, first I’ll let you watch a YouTube video of The View from July 17th (sorry this is a bit late – this was one of those vacation news stories that I REALLY wanted to do when I got back):

Alright, so first thing’s first: my opinion of the n-word: It should never be used by anybody who’s name is not Noah Webster or George or Charles Merriam (Merriam-Webster dictionary for those of you who didn’t catch the really lame joke).  But seriously, it’s a word that I don’t think should be used in public or private, by a white person or a black person, nor by a comic or a rapper.

Now, on to Jesse Jackson.  Well, I did a post about (most of) what he said (at the time, it hadn’t been revealed that he used the n-word).  My opinion, he had the RIGHT to use it (as does anybody), but shouldn’t have used it, and in my opinion, was pretty stupid to use it in a television studio.  Never assume the microphones are off – it’ll only get you in trouble.

Now, on to The View, Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd argued that black people CAN use the n-word, while Elisabeth Hasselbeck (I LOVE HER!!!  Anybody who stood up against Rosie O’Donnelland her comments against the troops is awesome) argued that nobody should use it.  Barbara Walters desperately tried to keep order, but pretty much failed until the end, and Joy Behar was virtually silent.  One quick point, Hasselbeck didn’t exactly break down as much as I expected her to – the way the news stories portrayed it, it sounded like she was in tears (she got a little shaky in her voice, and teared up, but didn’t really cry).

And for those of you who aren’t sure exactly who’s who:

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Joy Behar

Joy Behar

Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters

Sherri Shepherd

Sherri Shepherd

Here’s my reaction: It’s not ok for blacks to use, at least not for the reason Whoopi and Shepherd gave.  They argued that white people used it as a derogatory term, which is correct, so then blacks turned it into a term that lost its derogatory meaning to them.  The problem in excluding all whites and including all blacks in using the word is that NOT all whites used the word.  There are many whites who never used the word and never had an ounce of racist thinking in their head.  If these white people are close friends to a black person, should they be able to use it as a term of endearment, like blacks can use it?  In my opinion, by Whoopi and Shepherd’s arguments, yes.

And what about blacks who treated blacks unfairly?  The way that most blacks got put into slavery was by other BLACK tribes in Africa.  So, should somebody descended from an enslaving African tribe not be allowed to use the word.  They were part of the black oppression, so by Whoopi and Shepherd’s argument, I would say no.

Whoopi stated that her mother wasn’t allowed to vote.  Well, that was YEARS ago.  How are we supposed to get past this sense of a divide if we continue to stress the divide.

And what about the word “cracker”?  You don’t hear it called the c-word.  And black people use that against whites like its no problem (although many whites use the n-word like its no problem too).

In my opinion, both of these words need to stop being used.  The blame needs to stop being placed on white people as a whole.  Not all white people are racist, and many black people are descended from people who are responsible for other blacks being put into slavery.

The double standards and racism needs to be stopped on BOTH sides.  We’re not there yet, but one day we will live in a place that’s close to harmony.  We’ll never fully achieve it, but we can try.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Alaska Senator Ted Stevens Indicted; Department of Justice Makes a Statement

July 31, 2008

So, on Tuesday night, news broke that Ted Stevens (or “Uncle Ted” as he’s sometimes referred to in Alaska) (R-AK), who I love for his firey personality, but strong disagree with on many issues (pork barrel spending, his stances on abortion, to name a couple), was indicted for seven felony counts of making false statements on Senate financial disclosure reports between 1999 and 2006.  He is accused of concealing over $250,000 worth of house renovations and gifts from VECO Corp.  A copy of the indictment can be found here.

If convicted Stevens could face up to 5 years in prison for each count, but I doubt that a man of his importance would actually get that sentence (even his age could play a factor).

Representative Don Young (R-AK), is also taking some heat for fundraising involving VECO.

The founder and former CEO of VECO, Bill Allen, took a plea deal on his charges of bribing state lawmakers, and has cooperated with the FBI, which prompted the Stevens investigation.

Here are some quotes:

  • Stevens is “one of the most effective and honest legislators I have ever worked with.  He has worked diligently to serve Alaska and has fought to make life better for people in every region of our state.  I hope people will not rush to judgment and will let the judicial process work.  The process is based on being innocent until proven guilty.”  Representative Don Young (R-AK)
  • “It’s a sad day for him, us, but you know I believe in the American system of justice, and he’s presumed innocent.”  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
  • “The president has been working with Senator Stevens for many years, and he appreciates his strong leadership on key issues.  This is a legal matter that the Department of Justice is handling, and so we will not comment further on it.”  Dana Perino, White House press secretary
  • “All of us have times that we have to deal with that are tough.  I wish him the best.”  Senator John Warner (R-VA)
  • “I’ve known Ted Stevens for 28 years, and have always known him to be impeccably honest.”  Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)

And here we have some longer statements.  First is the statement from Senator Ted Stevens:

Statement from Alaska Senator Ted Stevens
 

I have proudly served this nation and Alaska for over 50 years. My public service began when I served in World War II. It saddens me to learn that these charges have been brought against me. I have never knowingly submitted a false disclosure form required by law as a U.S. Senator.
 
In accordance with Senate Republican Conference rules, I have temporarily relinquished my vice-chairmanship and ranking positions until I am absolved of these charges.
 
The impact of these charges on my family disturbs me greatly.
 
I am innocent of these charges and intend to prove that.

And here is the statement from Department of Justice, given by Matt Friedrich, acting attorney general of the Criminal Division:

Good afternoon. My name is Matt Friedrich, and I am the acting assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division. With me here today is Steve Tidwell, who is an executive assistant director at the Federal Bureau of Investigations [sic]. Also with me is Victor Song, who is the deputy chief of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

Earlier today, a federal grand jury here in the District of Columbia returned an indictment charging United States Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska with seven felony counts of making false statements.

The charges relate to false statements that Senator Stevens is alleged to have made on his mandatory financial disclosure forms filed for calendar years 1999 through 2006.

According to the indictment, as a member of the United States Senate, Senator Stevens was required to file financial disclosure forms with the secretary of the Senate. A primary purpose of such forms is to disclose, monitor and deter conflicts of interest and maintain public confidence in the United States Senate and its membership.

These forms, which are publicly available, require the person filing them to disclose, among other things, whether or not the filer had received any gifts, or had any liabilities or debts.

As to gifts, the filer was required to disclose gifts from any single source over a particular threshold amount that varied year by year. For example, between 2003 and 2006, that threshold amount was $305, such that anything over that amount was required to be disclosed.

As to liabilities, the filer was to — was required to disclose any liability or debt owed by the filer or his spouse or dependent children in an amount greater than $10,000, as well as the identity of the individual or entity to whom each debt was owed.

The indictment charges that while he was sitting as a United States senator between 1999 and 2006, Senator Stevens accepted gifts from a privately held company, known as VECO, its chief executive officer and others.

VECO was a [sic] oil field services company and operated on an international basis. VECO was one of the largest private employers in the state of Alaska.

The gifts Senator Stevens is alleged to have received include substantial amounts of material and labor, used in the renovation of a private residence which Senator Stevens and his wife own, located in the town of Girdwood, Alaska.

These renovations are alleged to include the addition of a new first floor with multiple bedrooms and a bathroom, as well as a finished full basement.

VECO contractors and employees performed a significant portion of these renovations. For example, VECO and its employees and contractors are alleged to have provided architectural designs for the renovation; assisted in lifting up the residence and installing a new first floor; installed electrical, plumbing, framing, heating and flooring materials; installed a first-floor wrap-around deck; installed a plastic roof between the first and second floor decks; installed a heat-tape system on the roof; and performed gutter repair and electrical work.

The indictment also alleges that Senator Stevens received other gifts from VECO and its CEO, including household goods, furniture, a new Viking gas range, a tool storage cabinet and an automobile exchange, in which Senator Stevens received a new vehicle worth far more than what he provided in exchange.

According to the indictment, the total amount of gifts that Senator Stevens is alleged to have received over the duration of the offense is greater than $250,000. Also according to the indictment, these items were not disclosed on Senator Stevens’ financial disclosure forms, which he filed under penalties of perjury, either as gifts or as liabilities, and further, that Senator Stevens did not reimburse or repay VECO or its chief executive officer for these items.

I would ask you to keep in mind a few final points before I close. First, let me remind you again that what I have described today are allegations which have been made in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury.

In terms of where we are now, procedurally, in this case, we are at the very beginning of the criminal process because an indictment has just been returned.

Like any other criminal defendant, Senator Stevens is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty in a court of law.

Second, in terms of answering any questions that you may have about the indictment, I’m going to need to stick to the four corners of the indictment, and I will not be able to go beyond what the indictment alleges, in answering questions that you may have about the specifics of the charges announced today.

As you may know, in about 2004, federal law enforcement agencies began an investigation into public corruption in the state of Alaska.

The fact of this investigation became publicly known with the execution of search warrants at VECO and other locations in Alaska, in August of 2006.

To date, that investigation has resulted in seven convictions. Among those who have been convicted are Pete Kott, the former speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives; Bill Allen, the former CEO of VECO; and Richard Smith, a former vice president at VECO; William Babrick (ph), a former lobbyist in Anchorage; and Thomas Anderson, a former lobbyist — excuse me — and Thomas Anderson, a former Alaska state representative.

That investigation is continuing.

Finally, I would like to thank the team assigned to this investigation, which includes prosecutors from the public integrity section of the criminal division, as well as AUSAs, assistant United States attorneys from the Alaska U.S. attorney’s office.

It also includes from the FBI agents from the Anchorage field office and from IRS CID agents from their Seattle field office.

With that, I’m happy to take some questions.

QUESTION: Matt, if Senator Stevens is convicted, what’s the maximum penalty that he would face?

FRIEDRICH: You know, I know a lot of times when a department issues releases, they will issue a statutory maximum, which is taken by the statutory max per count and multiplying it by the number of counts. That is usually something grossly in excess of whatever any sentences that ultimately comes down. So I don’t — you can look that up, I don’t want to start trumpeting what the statutory max — max would be.  [It's 5 years per count.  7 x 5 would be 35 years.]

QUESTION: Why did the Justice Department go after disclosures as opposed to other statutes — the tax statute or gift ban statute? Why did you all go after disclosures?

FRIEDRICH: You know, in terms — I guess the best way to answer that, in terms of woulda, shoulda, coulda on other charges, again, as I alluded to, I really need to stick to what’s charged here in terms of the indictment.

The indictment is pretty detailed. I think if you take a look at it, it lays out pretty clearly what our basis is for what we brought.

QUESTION: A follow on that: Is there any kind of statute of limitation issue that dealt with what statutes you all went after in charging?

FRIEDRICH: We always need to pay attention to statute of limitations. Beyond that I’m not going to count it.

QUESTION: To put it another way, you could charge false statements. But in your press release, you alleged that he used his position on behalf of VECO, suggesting a quid pro quo. Can you help us square that?

FRIEDRICH: Let me refer you to paragraph 17 of the indictment, which alleges that at the same time that Senator Stevens was receiving these things of value — over that same time — he was also being solicited by VECO to do certain things, which he on occasion — which he or his staff on occasion did.

FRIEDRICH: The indictment does not allege a quid pro quo.

In the back. I’m sorry. In the red.

QUESTION: This is a sitting senator, and obviously it’s unprecedented to have a raid on his home. How far up the chain did you have in terms of the politics of indicting someone of this stature?

FRIEDRICH: I guess what I would say is, we followed the course that we follow internally in terms of getting indictments approved. Beyond that — beyond that, I’m not going to comment.

In the back. Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Can I ask a question, follow up (inaudible)? I know you have an IRS guy here. Why didn’t (ph) Stevens report these gifts as income. Since he wasn’t disclosing them on his financial disclosure form, why wouldn’t that be a tax violation if he didn’t do that?

FRIEDRICH: Let me answer that question this way. Without reference to this case, my understanding, as a general matter, gifts are not reportable — are not required to be reported as income on tax forms. Income and other things are, but not gifts.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) as gifts, he wasn’t disclosing these.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDRICH: On his ethics — on his — according to the indictment, on his ethics forms, yes.

QUESTION: Did he report these on his tax returns? Like improvements to a house would be income, wouldn’t it?

FRIEDRICH: I’m not going to comment on the senator’s tax returns.

Yes?

QUESTION: Can you explain the difference between a quid pro quo and what’s alleged in the indictment?

FRIEDRICH: This indictment charges violations of the false statement statute, which 18 USC 1001. The bribery statute is found at 18 USC 201. And without, you know — again, bribery is not charged in this case, as I mentioned earlier. Bribery requires proof of a specific agreement of a quid pro quo of this for that. This indictment does not allege such an agreement.

QUESTION: Were there any discussions with Stevens or his lawyers about a possible plea deal?

FRIEDRICH: I’m not going to discuss — as a matter of policy, we wouldn’t discuss any such potential discussions. I wouldn’t read into that whether they have occurred or not. I simply can’t comment — can’t comment on it.

QUESTION: Matt, following that…

FRIEDRICH: Yes?

QUESTION: … has he made arrangements to turn himself in? What’s next?

FRIEDRICH: My understanding is he will be allowed to turn himself in. He will not be arrested.

QUESTION: Have arrangements been made for a court appearance at this point, do you know?

FRIEDRICH: That’ll be coming shortly.

QUESTION: Is he turning himself in, in D.C. or in Alaska?

FRIEDRICH: I’ll defer to the bureau on that.

TIDWELL: A summons will be issued, and it’ll be worked out, what is most convenient for everyone regarding that and regarding the initial court appearance.

QUESTION: Is he in D.C. now?

TIDWELL: I do not know if he is in D.C. now.

QUESTION: Do you know when and how he was informed by the government of the grand jury indictment?

TIDWELL: Yes. His attorney received a call earlier today. And I’ll leave it at that.

Any other questions? Yes?

QUESTION: Just, with the guidelines and the sentencing structure with someone of the senator’s age, if you could talk about how that works, if someone becomes, you know, too old to have to serve that kind of time, if he’s looking at five years under false statements?

TIDWELL: Ultimately, we are — you know, again, we are at the very beginning phase of the process to talk about sentencing. It isn’t something I really am really comfortable with.

I will say, generically, you know, ultimately that’s something that would be up to a sentencing court.

QUESTION: Can you say anything about whether the senator cooperated at all with this investigation?

TIDWELL: Again, I have no comment on that, one way or another. I would urge you not to read anything into that, one way or another. I simply can’t confirm or deny that either way.

QUESTION: Can you elaborate on what sort of cooperation of Bill Allen provided?

TIDWELL: Bill Allen — Bill Allen entered into a plea agreement. That plea agreement is publicly available to you. It’s a public record in Alaska. You can go and look at it and see for yourself what the terms of that plea agreement are. He is cooperating with the United States.

QUESTION: How long is the investigation going on?

TIDWELL: Is that — speaking of the global investigation, the federal agencies have been conducting in Alaska since about 2004, roughly.

QUESTION: Can I ask just one thing? In an election year, I wonder if you might address, just generally, whether or not the department takes special care or follows other particular procedures, in order to influence (ph) the outcome of an election, you know, given the public corruption (inaudible) in a presidential election year, just speaking generally?

TIDWELL: Let me say a few things in response to that.

One, when we bring cases as prosecutors, we bring cases based upon our evaluation of the facts and the law. And we bring cases when they are ready to be charged, and that’s what has happened here.

I would refer you, as a general matter, if you recall, Judge Mukasey issued guidance to federal prosecutors earlier this year in the form of a memo dealing with election year sensitivities.

And while I’m paraphrasing what the memo says, the gist of it is that politics should play no part — partisan politics should play no part either in what charges we bring or in things like, you know, the timing of an indictment or that type of thing.

That policy has been followed to the letter, in this case.

I really don’t have much to say at this point.  I think anybody who has this much pork barrel spending and this many pet projects on their record is asking for legal trouble.  When you try to give money to your district and companies in your district, bad things happen – intentionally or unintentionally.  Innocent until proven guilty, but the voters may not be saying this in the primary.  For now, I’ll hold off on commenting on the primary until some more details come out.

I hope the allegations are false (I never like seeing people commit crimes), but if they’re true, he has to be punished.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Dennis Kucinich: To Impeach, or Not to Impeach? That Is the Question

July 30, 2008

Alright – here’s another one of my stories that I’m posting as a catch-up from vacation.

Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) testified before the House Judiciary Committee (chaired by John Conyers [D-MI]), saying, “The decision before us is whether to demand accountability for one of the gravest injustices imaginable.”

Conyers reminded everybody that House rules specifically prohibit “personal abuse, innuendo or ridicule of the president,” so no direct accusations at the president were really supposed to be made, but that was largely ignored.  In fact, the hearing wasn’t an impeachment hearing, but actually was entitled, “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.”

I’ll briefly sum up the witnesses:

  • Former Los Angeles County Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi (he tried Charles Manson), author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, was obviously in favor of impeachment.
  • Bruce Fein, a Deputy Attorney General in the Reagan administration – one of the smartest men I’ve ever seen.  He’s a Constitutional Law attorney and was just BRILLIANT about anything legal or historic.  The man was like an encyclopedia.  He was also in favor of impeachment, but didn’t let that bias his testimony.  He seemed to be the fairest and the most unbiased of them all.
  • Former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY) – she was strongly for impeachment, but didn’t testify much.
  • Former Representative Bob Barr (R-GA), turned Libertarian.  Now their party’s Presidential nominee – for impeachment, but he had to leave early, and didn’t testify much.
  • Ross “Rocky” Anderson, founder of High Roads for Human Rights and former mayor of Salt Lake City – he, didn’t testify much, and had to leave early, also for impeachment.
  • Stephen Presser, from the the Northwestern University School of Law – very smart.  He said that if the allegations are true (that Bush lied to get us deliberately into a war), he should be impeached, but he says he doesn’t interpret the evidence the way that the pro-impeachment people do.  A VERY smart man, but I think his bias stood in the way some.  Overall, I probably agreed with him the most (a cross between him and Fein).
  • Jeremy Rabkin, from the George Mason University School of Law – you could tell he was VERY biased, but he shared the argument that Presser had, regarding the evidence.
  • Elliot Adams, President of Veterans for Peace – pro-impeachment.  I think he left early as well – I didn’t hear much from him. from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law – He also sat on the Church Committee, and was pro-impeachment, but not the the bias of Bugliosi.
  • Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr.,

Kucinich’s articles of impeachment have yet to reach the full House, but the impeachment is not expected to go anywhere, and would probably fail in the House.  I’m not sure if the Committee voted on it at all, or not.

Overall, it was a VERY interesting hearing (I saw most of it [about the last 4 hours] the first time, and then the beginning 2 hours when I watched the re-run).  Of course, my sister mocked me for watching C-SPAN on our vacation, but I loved it.  I even had my father watching it.

Here’s my opinion: I don’t think that Bush intentionally lied to get us into Iraq.  On that note, I can’t see us impeaching him.

One of the things that Fein brought up a lot was his refusal to obey Congress and send people to testify (which I think they SHOULD do, as I indicated about Karl Rove).  He brought up some of the wiretapping and surveillance stuff.  And honestly, those are the areas that I could see a real impeachment case come up, NOT over Iraq.

But here’s the problem – we’ve only got 6 more months of Bush in office.  The amount of time and money that would go into an investigation would not make it worth it, because the Republicans in Congress would never vote to impeach Bush.  The Democrats don’t have enough support (just like the Republicans didn’t with Clinton), and I don’t see this to be a wise decision.

If Congress wants to investigate Bush after he leaves office, I say, sure, go ahead!  But I just cannot justify an investigation when we know the outcome of the impeachment.  I’m not taking a side on the impeachment.  I think a LOT of what Bush has done has gone WAY over the limits of the Constitution, but many war-time Presidents have done the same.  I would not be opposed to an investigation into this Administration, but I see an impeachment more of a way to make the Republicans look bad in an election year, than an actual attempt to remove Bush from office.

I know I’m going to take some heat from Republicans for saying this stuff, but I’m tired of partisan wars.  If Bush has done nothing wrong, an investigation will show that, but I think that, considering the severity of the accusations, for the good of the country, we do need an investigation.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Noose Student at Central Michigan University Will Not Be Charged With Ethnic Intimidation

July 30, 2008

This is breaking news - I just heard about it from the CM-Life.

Isabella County Prosecutor Larry Burdick has said that he will not be pressing charges against the 28-year-old male engineering student who hung a noose in the Industrial Educational Technology Building back in November.  (My previous posts on this subject can be found here, here, here, here, and here).

Burdick released a press release, saying, “I am confident of the work performed by the CMU police, in conjunction with the FBI.  The facts determined due to the joint investigation does not support a charge of ethnic intimidation, and the intent needed for that crime cannot be proven.”  And that’s basically what I said in my retraction to my original statementssaying that he should be charged.  The fact is, even IF he did it in an intimidating way, without a verification for that, Burdick can’t win the case, and if he tried, he’d be a bad prosecutor, in my opinion.

Burdick goes on to say, “The student’s e-mail to the campus newspaper was, in my opinion, both insensitive and demonstrative of a complete lack of knowledge and understanding about the historical significance of the hanging of nooses.  His explanation, however, as to the reason he constructed and hung four nooses last November was corroborated by two of his classmates, which I found to be very credible and forthright concerning the incident.”

Again – that shows that although the student made a very poor/stupid decision, it wasn’t intended to be a threat of force (and even if the student is lying, 2 witnesses would be hard for Burdick to argue against).

Burdick continues, “Because intent lies at the heart of the charge that was under consideration, both we and the FBI felt it important to fully and carefully examine the individual’s personal computer to see if there was anything to suggest his actions were racially motivated. … What happened on campus should not just serve as a badly needed educational experience for one college student, but enlighten all of us as to the detrimental effect of this symbol.”

Again – this was a good call by Burdick.

But now that Burdick has said all of this, this means that CMU cannot release the student’s name (under FERPA, only a person who commits a violent or sexual crime can have his/her name released).  As I said before, if Burdick doesn’t prosecute, as he now has decided not to, I’d wonder what rule CMU used to suspend the student.  The fact that no crime was committed gives the student a possible case against the university to overturn his suspension.  I really can’t give my opinion on this, since I don’t know what the university charged him with.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite the student to do an interview with me.  I have a few questions, some about the incident, but mostly about the aftermath and what will happen here.  So, to the student who hung the noose, if you’re out there reading this, and wouldn’t mind answering a few questions, e-mail me at n.d.inks@gmail.com.

I’ll keep you all updated as this story keeps on developing.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Shoves a Cop Off a Porch, Faces Assault Charges

July 29, 2008

Well, the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal continues.  Early last week, sheriff’s deputy Brian White was serving a subpoena to Bobby Ferguson, a friend of Kilpatrick’s.  Kilpatrick threw White into his partner, Joann Kinney, and made a comment shaming her (a black woman) for working with a white man.

Personally, I am appalled that he wasn’t arrested.  If he weren’t a corrupt mayor with a corrupt mother as a Congresswoman, he’d be in JAIL right now.  Although, Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Moran did not request that Kilpatrick be taken into custody for the assault.

Instead, 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles changed Kilpatrick’s $75,000 bond from a personal bond in the perjury case (which he was not required to pay – I don’t know why) to requiring him to post $7,500 cash to stay out of jail.  He also revoked Kilpatrick’s privileges to travel without a court hearing, except for already-scheduled travels.  He also ordered periodic and random drug test on Kilpatrick.

Judge Giles said, it doesn’t “matter whether investigator White was pushed or thrown … the fact that defendant Kilpatrick decided to inject himself into this situation where the officers were attempting to lawfully serve a subpoena … defendant Kilpatrick had no right … to come into contact with investigator White or say anything to investigator White. … I  see the behavior as totally irrational.  I don’t know what was going on in defendant Kilpatrick’s life that he exploded, for want of a better term.  This is ridiculous. … I have locked up defendants for approaching or saying things to witnesses for a lot less, let alone touching them. I’m at a loss to defendant Kilpatrick’s behavior here. It’s irrational.”

He made a statement directly to Kilpatrick in the court, saying, “You’re a licensed attorney.  You’re a public official.  Everything you do, every step you take, every word you say is somewhere recorded for everyone to hear.  You need to keep that in mind.”

Robert Moran told reporters, “This underscores a problem that perhaps he’s not taking this as seriously as he should … you can’t bully police officers.”

Here’s what White testified to the court:

He was on his way to serve a subpoena to city employee Brenda Braceful when he saw a Ferguson Enterprises truck in the neighborhood and stopped because he had a subpoena for Ferguson.  He checked the address, and the house was Ayanna Kilpatrick’s, the mayor’s sister.

He approached the mayor’s bodyguard standing outside.  “I identified myself immediately as a police officer, I raised my ID and said I needed to speak to Bobby Ferguson.  He made a sweeping motion with his right arm to the house … he accompanied us to the front door.”

After meeting someone who called himself Derrick Ferguson, White heard shouting from inside.

“‘Don’t tell those f******* anything … Get the f*** out of here.’  At that point Kilpatrickcomes storming out through the door, grabbed me with both of my hands behind me and throws me into investigator Kinney.”

White testified that Kilpatrick then said: “Get the f*** out of here.  Leave my f****** family alone.  Get off my f****** porch.”

White testified Kilpatrick continued accusing him of harassing his family.

Kinney later testified: “It happened so fast … I was like, I couldn’t believe this was happening.”

Kinney said the Mayor told her: “You, a black woman being with a man with the last name White, you should be ashamed of yourself.  Why are you a part of this?”

Now, the issue is a State Police issue, since the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office handed it over to the state to investigate, so that there would be no appearance of a conflict of interest.  Attorney General Mike Cox was happy to take the case, and he has previously expressed his opinion that Kilpatrick should resign.

I trust that Cox will do a good job, and hopefully we can get Kilpatrick out of office and into a prison cell!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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I Think Congressional Candidate Gary Peters Needs Some New Staff

July 28, 2008

This is the next segment in my Race for Michigan’s 9th District series, also being posted on RightMichigan.com:

Back in June, I sent 2 e-mails to the Gary Peters for Congress campaign, asking 3 questions about the polo shirt ad “scandal”:

I am the administrator of the blog Republican Ranting, and I have been following the race for the 9th District.  I am interested in hearing a response from Mr. Peters on the issue of possibly photoshopping a picture that was used on campaign literature (http://www.oaklandpolitics.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=5D880FB79AD9E84B58AC4A66C6F38C01?diaryId=200).
My goal in blogging about this is not to criticize Mr. Peters, but to just give the facts to the voters of the district.  I have stood up for Peters in the past … and I simply want the truth.

Mr. Peters’ answers to the following questions would be greatly appreciated:
1. Are the allegations of editing the picture(s) true?
2. If so, did you add in or remove the polo logo?
3. If so, why did you do it?

Thank you for your cooperation,
Nathan Inks

On June 17th, I called Peters’ office and spoke to a young woman about who to talk to to get a quote about the “scandal.”  She told me that one of their “communications people” would get back to me” and took down my number.

I waited and never heard back.  So I called again on June 19th, and spoke with Bob, another receptionist.  I told him I had called before and told him my story about doing a blog post.  He went to go look for the communications director.  He came back, and told me that ***** [I promised him that he could remain anonymous] was in a meeting.  So I assumed that ***** was the communications director.  Bob took down my phone number.

Well, ***** never called me back, so I sent an e-mail and he told me that I had contacted the wrong person, and that I wanted to speak with Anna.  So I sent her an e-mail.  No response.  I called, and she told me that I wanted to speak with Clark Petting (who is now listed on the website as the Media Contact, but back in June it was Julie, or somebody like that).  So I sen him an e-mail.  When I got no response from him, and was unable to call the office (due to my work schedule), I gave up.  I fail to see how a Congressional candidate’s campaign staff can send me around to that many people and have them not respond to me or not be the person I’m looking for.

So, Clark, or anybody in the Peters campaign, if you’d like to answer my questions, because I really DO want to do the story in a fair and balanced way, e-mail me at n.d.inks@gmail.com.  I hate to bring attention to it like this, but I’ve run out of ideas on how to get a quote from the campaign.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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49% Think the Media Will Try to Help Obama Win

July 28, 2008

Here’s another story I heard about when I was on vacation: A recent Rasmussen Reports poll came out about media bias in the 2008 Presidential election.  I’ll post the results and then analyze them:

National Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters
Conducted July 19, 2008
By Rasmussen Reports

1* When covering a political campaign, do most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage or do they try to help the candidate they want to win?

16% Offer unbiased coverage
71% Try to help the candidate they want to win
13% Not sure

Those 16% must be FOX viewers.  But seriously, FOX, CNN, ABC, NBC, NPR, EVERYBODY does it.  I think the word reporter might be a bad word to use in the question, since most people think of reporter as the guy with the microphone covering the story, when in actuality, the person who mostly shapes and directs the story is the anchor.  They’re the ones doing the analysis and either highlighting or suppressing certain parts of the story.

2* Think for a moment about the three major presidential candidates this year. Which candidate received the best treatment from the media so far—Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or John McCain?

57% Barack Obama
11% Hillary Clinton
21% John McCain
10% Not sure

Again, somewhat of a bad question.  In 2007, you know who got a lot of press, after a couple of polls came out in New Hampshire?  John McCain.  And it was that press, I believe, that gave him the momentum to go on to Michigan, and place well there, to win South Carolina, etc….  After McCain won the nomination, his press died down, understandably.  So, the question is somewhat a bad question, but there is a point that Obama has been getting a LOT more press lately (especially with his trip to Iraq, where THREE major news anchors went with him.  When did they ever do that for McCain, or even Bush?)

3* Looking ahead to the campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain, will most reporters try to help Barack Obama, offer unbiased coverage, or try to help John McCain?

49% Try to help Barack Obama
24% Offer unbiased coverage
14% Try to help John McCain
13% Not sure

Alright – I’ll agree with that.  But what I find interesting here is the bias in the people taking the poll.  Nobody wants to admit that their candidate is being unfairly helped by media bias, so notice the 8% jump from question 1 to question 3 saying that the media will be unbiased.  Now that’s ironic!

4* Suppose a reporter learned some news that might politically hurt a candidate they wanted to win. Would most reporters hide that information to help the candidate?

45% Yes
30% No
25% Not sure

Again, “reporter” here is a bad word to use.  Reporters really don’t have a say in what’s run on the news or edited in or out – that’s more the producers and the anchors.  But if you asked that question with “news station” in the place of “reporter,” I could agree with the answers to that poll.  I’d say yes, but you can’t do it too often, or people do see a bias.

5* When it comes to information about the Presidential campaign, who do you trust more—news reporters or family and friends?

29% News reporters
43% Family and friends
28% Not sure

And where are these family and friends going to get their information?  Are they interviewing the candidates?  They’re probably getting it from news reporters.  So, family and friends will place their bias on information that is, apparently, already biased!

 

NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence

Alright, so there you have it – Most Americans think the media is biased, and we’ve shown that at least 8% of those polled, are afraid to admit that bias (at least which way the bias leans).

Interesting survey, although I do take issue with the word “reporter” being used, but overall, it’s a good indicator of how Americans feel about the media and its effects on the 2008 election.  As I’ve always said, sometimes the media needs to be put in its place!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Focus on the Family’s James Dobson Will Endorse John McCain

July 27, 2008

Early last week (while I was on vacation), I saw a news story about Dr. James Dobson, from Focus on the Family, saying that he might endorse McCain.  So, I dug around and found the whole quote, from Dr. Dobson’s July 21st podcast.  With him is Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  The podcast is originally available on the Focus on the Family website:

MOHLER: I have to tell you, I find Barack Obama to be a very attractive person, a very attractive candidate. I would want to vote for him. But the closer I look at his positions, the more alarmed I become. He is the candidate who bills himself as a candidate of change, and in an odd way he is, just not the kind of change that I think most Americans now understand. So, Doctor, when I look at this, I have to say we’re looking at the most liberal candidate, I think, to gain a party nomination probably in the history of this country. And on so many of the issues, far beyond even where a Bill Clinton was. That’s what I think most Americans don’t understand. Many evangelicals don’t understand, particularly younger evangelicals. This is a man who has staked out his positions for the last 20 years in a way that is markedly beyond where most Americans believe he is.

DOBSON: I think he’s more liberal and more extreme than most Democrats in the Senate.

[...]

DOBSON: That, and the fact that I’m so very concerned about Senator Obama and what he believes and stands for, as well as the need to rethink some of my views regarding Senator McCain, and that thinking has taken place and continues to do so. This is been the most difficult moral dilemma for me. It’s why you haven’t heard me say much about it, because I have struggled on this issue. And there’s some concerns here that matter to me more than my own life, and neither of the candidates is consistent with my views in that regard. But Senator McCain is certainly closer to them than Senator Obama by a wide margin, and there’s no doubt about — at least no doubt in my mind — about whose policies will result in more babies being killed or who will do the greatest damage to the institution of marriage and the family. I’m convinced that Senator McCain comes closer to what I believe.

So, I am not endorsing Senator McCain today. I don’t even know who his vice presidential candidate will be. You know, he could very well choose a pro-abortion candidate, and it would not be unlike him to do that because he seems to enjoy frustrating conservatives on occasions. But as of this moment, I have to take into account the fact that Senator John McCain has voted pro-life consistently, and that’s a fact. That he says he favors marriage between a man and a woman; I believe that. He opposes homosexual adoption. He favors smaller government and lower taxes, and he seems to understand the Muslim threat, which matters a lot to me. I’m very concerned about that. Therefore — therefore — I have considered the fact that elections always involved imperfect candidates. There are no perfect human beings, and you always have to choose between two flawed individuals. That’s the way we’re all made. So, it comes down to this, and I never thought I would hear myself saying this, but it’s where I am — that while I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might, and that’s all I can say at this time.

Transcript from Media Matters.

I’ve bolded the crucial part of that podcast.  And this is essentially Dr. Dobson saying that he’ll endorse McCain.  Unless McCain picks a liberal, pro-choice running mate (like Lieberman), he’ll get Dobson’s endorsement, which equates to at least 95% of the Religious Right vote.  And McCain won’t pick Lieberman or any pro-choice candidate.  He’ll have a hard enough time securing the party base (Religious Right and others) without picking some liberal.  He won’t pick Lieberman just because of his Iraq stance (as I’ve said before).

Dr. Dobson sent a written statement to the Associated Press, saying, “There’s nothing dishonorable in a person rethinking his or her positions, especially in a constantly changing political context.  Barack Obama contradicts and threatens everything I believe about the institution of the family and what is best for the nation.  His radical positions on life, marriage and national security force me to reevaluate the candidacy of our only other choice, John McCain. … If that is a flip-flop, then so be it.”  He did that to keep the AP from saying what I’m saying now – that his statements are essentially and endorsement.  I do see where he’s coming from – he doesn’t want to endorse him until he picks a VP, just in case, but that VP will be Mitt Romney, and Dobson will be fine with that, and endorse the Republican ticket.

McCain will get almost all of the Religious Right vote, as I’ve previously said, and ultimately, he’ll win the election.

I’ll keep you updated on the Dobson endorsement, as time goes on.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican
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OK, I’m Really Leaving Now

July 18, 2008

So, I know that I saidthat I’d be taking a break from blogging (I just started using my desktop, even though it takes 3 or 4 times as long to do a post), but now I’m leaving for South Carolina (we leave in 2 hours, so I really should’ve been sleeping by now.  I might have Internet access one day, so depending on what all happens news-wise, I may or may not post (don’t count on it though).

Until I get back, just have fun – go out and look up some stories.  Leave a comment here about anything that happens in the news, and I’ll comment on it when I get back.

Done Farewelling,

Ranting Republican


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