September Surprise: Meg Whitman's Illegal Alien Maid

Meg Whitman's campaign came under its first sustained media/political (but I repeat myself) attack yesterday, as Gloria Allred produced an illegal immigrant who said she had worked for Whitman for years before being abruptly fired. A wealthy Californian hiring undocumented household help?? Say it ain't so!

The latest chapter in California's gubernatorial race unfolded live on, just hours after Whitman finished her first televised debate with her November opponent, Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown, a debate in which she argued that California employers must be held accountable for hiring undocumented workers.

It starred Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, a Democratic donor who is a controversial veteran of many highly publicized cases, surrounded by a battery of cameras in her office.

Seated beside her was Mexican-born Nicandra Diaz Santillan - Whitman's nanny and housekeeper from 2000 to 2009 - who charged that Whitman had mistreated her and failed to pay her for all the hours she worked.

Allred alleged that Whitman "never asked if Nicky were here legally" when she hired her to work 15 hours a week as a $23-an-hour housekeeper in Whitman's 15,000-square-foot home, then upped her workload and responsibilities. The attorney said she would file a lawsuit demanding back wages for hours she said Diaz worked and for which she was never paid, and for years of unspecified "abuse" she took at her employer's hands.

But Whitman said she had no way of knowing Diaz was in the country illegally because the housekeeper had provided her with a phony Social Security number and signed a required statement stating that she was a legal resident of the country.

Allred charged that Whitman ignored a 2003 letter the Social Security Administration sent to her home, informing her that Diaz's Social Security number did not match her name - a red flag for an undocumented worker. She said the agency asked Whitman to provide proper documentation, and Whitman never responded. But Allred did not show such a document Wednesday to back up that claim.

The Whitman campaign's story is that the maid provided fake documentation and a false social security number at the time she applied for work. As soon as Whitman found out about Diaz's true status, she fired the lady. Sounds good, but I'm still willing to bet that Whitman learned the truth about Diaz only after someone took a second look at Diaz's papers while Whitman was preparing to run for governor. Still, Whitman was in a damned if you do, damned if you don't position here. If she fires the maid, she could end up with a Gloria Allred-fueled media frenzy. Retain the maid, and God knows when the bubble might burst.

As for Allred, she took time out to go on Hugh Hewitt's show yesterday, where legal eagle Allred failed to cite the law - immigration or employment - that Whitman had broken. In fact, Allred admitted to not knowing the relevant immigration law (!), but also claimed that Whitman's real scandal lay in her acts as Diaz's employer. Wake me up when this starts to make sense:

GA: This is not about whether she should have terminated the housekeeper or not terminated the housekeeper.

HH: Well, what should she have done?

GA: This is about her treatment of the housekeeper.

HH: I know that, but I’m asking what you would do if you had a housekeeper who had defrauded you and then came forward and said I’m not in the country legally, Gloria. Would you keep them? Would you keep employing them?

GA: This isn’t about what I would do. It’s about what Meg Whitman would, and did do.

HH: But I know, but my audience…

GA: …and what those facts are. And apparently, you want to talk about everything except the facts of what Meg Whitman did.

HH: No, I think this is what everyone would like to know, is what to do in that situation.

GA: Okay, well I’m not here to give you legal advice.

HH: What would you advise your clients?

GA: Okay, Hugh, I’m not, nor do I pretend to be, although maybe you feel that you are, an expert on immigration law. That’s not my area. I am, what we do, our main focus, is employment, plaintiffs employment cases. And you know, the Daily Journal, which is a legal newspaper, had selected us a few years ago as the number one plaintiffs employment law firm in Southern California. So I need to talk about the employment issues…

HH: Gloria, I gave you your plug. I just let you get the publicity that you crave, and that you die for, and for which reason you bring stunts like this every time a campaign comes up. But just for the benefit of the audience, is it wrong to fire someone who has defrauded you under the law? Do you have a choice? Because I don’t think you have a choice. I think you have to fire them.

GA: Okay, Hugh, you, just like Meg Whitman, you, just like the rich and the powerful person that you are defending, can only engage in personal attacks. And the reason is you cannot defend against the facts which we set forth in six pages at our statement at the news conference today. You cannot defend her conduct…

HH: Actually, I’m not trying to defend anything.

GA: …that we laid out. Instead…

HH: …I’m asking you as a lawyer who brought these allegations to just state the law.

GA: …I’m telling, no, I’m telling you…

HH: Can you state the law, Gloria?

GA: Now for example, let me just tell you this.

HH: I mean, just state the law, then I’ll give you the rest of the time.

GA: No, I’m not. I’m not. No, if you want to go state the law, you can feel free to contact an immigration lawyer to do that.

At this point, we can only hope that Whitman didn't hire Simon LeGree to supervise the cleaning staff, and that everything Whitman has said is the truth.

But, the bigger problem is this: we all know of some (admittedly minor) political careers that were derailed by these sorts of "nanny problems" as the elites like to delicately put it. But, that was back in the days when there was still a recognizable federal enforcement of the immigration laws. Now? Give me a break. There are millions of illegal immigrants, hundreds of thousands of whom live in California alone. They are all working for somebody, but it only becomes a problem when a Republican runs a competitive race for governor. This makes a mockery of the law that Gloria Allred is pompously "enforcing."

Whitman is caught in the crosshairs of two mutually exclusive legal regimes. On the one hand, it is theoretically illegal to hire undocumented employees, yet these laws are selectively enforced, mostly to satisfy election year whims. On the other hand, there is a very real sense out there that - if someone of Mexican descent presents you with seemingly proper documents - that your verification work is done, and to question that person's legality further is to invite a civil rights claim from the Gloria Allred's of the world.

I know that the Left thinks a billionaire Republican like Whitman is inherently dumb and evil; but, still, if you have situation where a person like her cannot comply with the law, then the law is no longer working.

Holy Roller: Obama Teaches Sunday School On Tuesday

President Obama went to a backyard in New Mexico where he had to answer someone's question about whether he is a Christian. He responded by mentioning that he "came to" Christianity (thanks to Rev. Wright! Anyone want to ask about that?!), and then discussed his two favorite precepts: the "Golden Rule" and the idea that "we are our brother's keeper."
“I’m a Christian by choice,” the president answered. “My family didn’t — frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week. And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me in the church. So I came to my Christian faith later in life. And it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead: being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me.”
Note how Obama rewrites the Bible to include our "sister's keeper." Just the sort of modesty you would expect from a committed Christian who has also rewritten the Declaration of Independence to remove references to our Creator.

Careful readers of this blog will remember that Obama has discussed the Bible's teachings, such as they are, regarding our supposed status as our brother's keepers. He brought this up during an ecumenical dialogue with lefty ministers where he urged them to help pass Obamacare. (Render unto Caesar, right?).
My favorite: he said - in making the moral case for progressive health care reform - "Doesn't the Bible say 'we are our brothers' and sisters' keeper?'" It sure does, in a way. But Cain, the "brother's keeper" guy, is not someone who is often quoted approvingly by most Christians. Also, he was responding sarcastically to God's query as to whether Cain knew where Abel was, not providing a ready quote for the moral urgency of providing, say, health insurance to illegal aliens. I would note that the "brother's keeper" verse comes on, like page 2 of the Bible. I'll be impressed when Obama starts quoting from Leviticus.
Obama, in other words, is misquoting one of the most familiar parts of the Bible in order to show what a gosh-darn committed Christian he is, and the toadies around him who chuckle over Sarah Palin's not having a favorite Supreme Court ruling are clueless about their guy's own cluelessness.

I don't even know why we have to go through this dance. Obama says he's a Christian, and I'm willing to take him at his word, but I think it's also clear that he is as much a devout Christian as, say, Bill Clinton is a loyal husband. Obama's spiritual and philosophical commitment is to political leftism. Any religious leaning he may have is purely secondary, and purely for show.

Mayor for Life: Rahmbo's Race for Chicago Mayor

Lots of inside the Beltway chatter over Rahm Emanual's imminent departure from the White House to run for mayor of Chicago. Is this really going to happen?
Although no final decision has been made because of family considerations, ABC News has learned that White House officials are preparing for Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to announce on Friday -- as Congress adjourns for recess -- that he is leaving his post to explore a run for mayor of Chicago.

White House officials expect that President Obama will also name an interim chief of staff, perhaps senior adviser Pete Rouse, at the announcement.

Sources close to Emanuel cautioned that he has yet to pull that last trigger on the decision.

Emanuel's likely departure is not a surprise; his mayoral aspirations are well known.

I can understand that being mayor of Chicago is a valuable f***ing thing and that you don't just walk into Chicago and announce that you are going to run for mayor, but Chicagoans really want to be lorded over by Rahm Emanuel? Are that many of them on the take?

No doubt the proverbial "moneymen and politicos" look at Emanuel and see a guy who will glide effortlessly into the Daley seat. But what does Emanuel have that can appeal to voters, assuming that Chicago voters actually have a say in this?

Fear Eats The Soul: Stevens Prosecutor Commits Suicide

The botched prosecution and conviction of Ted Stevens, which ended with the court throwing out Stevens' conviction on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, continues to take its grim toll. Now one of Stevens' prosecutors, who was himself under investigation for his actions during the Stevens case, has committed suicide

A federal prosecutor who was among those being investigated over the Justice Department's troubled pursuit of the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens committed suicide over the weekend, his attorney said Monday.

Nicholas Marsh was among several lawyers from the department's public integrity section who were under scrutiny for missteps in the prosecution of Mr. Stevens, including not turning over exculpatory evidence to the defense.

Robert Luskin, Mr. Marsh's lawyer, said the 37-year-old attorney's wife informed him Sunday of the death. Mr. Luskin said he didn't have details of how it occurred. The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington said it didn't have any information about the death. The District of Columbia medical examiner didn't respond to a call seeking comment.

A federal judge dismissed last year Mr. Stevens's conviction on corruption charges, at the request of Attorney General Eric Holder, and appointed a special investigator to probe the Justice Department's handling of the case.

Marsh's attorney says he's bewildered that Marsh would take this step, as he had "every reason to think he would have been exonerated." Of course!

The Stevens prosecution was one of the underreported outrages of the last few years. That is not to say that the story was underreported. The Stevens conviction was trumpeted from the rooftops. It was only the aftermath that has been relegated to briefs squibs on page A-15. Stevens' conviction was on his record for less than a year, yet that was enough for Stevens to lose a seat he would not have otherwise lost. And with that lost seat was also lost the 41st vote to filibuster health care reform, among other things.

Marsh was one of those supposedly "non-partisan" career prosecutors, rather than a political appointee. Yet, he participated in a political prosecution that had outsized political results.

Negative Trend: Non-endorsement In CA's Senate Race

Everybody - even Rush - has been marveling at the San Francisco Chronicle's non-endorsement in the CA Senate race, with the usually reliably liberal Chron setting out a good brief on why Barbara Boxer should not return to the Senate for a fourth term

Boxer, first elected in 1992, would not rate on anyone's list of most influential senators. Her most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots. Although she is chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, it is telling that leadership on the most pressing issue before it - climate change - was shifted to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., because the bill had become so polarized under her wing.

For some Californians, Boxer's reliably liberal voting record may be reason enough to give her another six years in office. But we believe Californians deserve more than a usually correct vote on issues they care about. They deserve a senator who is accessible, effective and willing and able to reach across party lines to achieve progress on the great issues of our times. Boxer falls short on those counts.

Hey, you'll get no argument from me there, although I'm surprised the Chron is being so catty about Boxer's tendency to grandstand more than legislate. For all her other faults, she is a master of the PC media assault, one which she has used to gain favorable "Year of the Woman"-style press coverage throughout her career.

Despite this, the Chron, like many hip Californians, can't quite bring itself to endorse a (shudder) Republican, even one who as obviously moderate as Carly Fiorina.

Unfortunately for Californians who are eager for change, Fiorina has firmly staked out positions that are outside of the state's mainstream values and even its economic interest. The list only begins with her openness to offshore oil drilling, her opposition to the Roe vs. Wade abortion rights ruling and her unwillingness to support even the most commonsense gun-control measures to keep assault weapons off the street or to deny guns to suspected terrorists on the federal "no fly list."

One might argue, as Fiorina does, that the latter are settled issues and thus should not be determinant in an election that should be laser-focused on jobs. But efforts to expand health care and take action against climate change - issues with both moral and economic consequences for future generations - are very much in play, especially if Republicans gain control of the Senate. Fiorina has said she would vote to repeal the landmark health care bill, and her support for a state initiative that would halt definitive action on climate change until unemployment reaches 5.5 percent shows a disdain for science and a disregard for this state's potential to take the lead in an emerging green economy. She is similarly unrealistic in her insistence that immigration reform must wait until the U.S.-Mexico border is absolutely secure.

Oh, come off it. While Boxer is one of the most left-wing members of the Senate, the views the Chron tries to ascribe to Fiorina are within the mainstream of the GOP. I would even question that, as she has no known political affiliations that pre-date 2008 when she was working for the campaign of moderate firebrand John McCain. Elsewhere in its endorsement, the Chron laments that La Box has not been willing to "work across the aisle," yet Fiorina is just the sort of moderate Republican whom one would expect to be part of the aisle-work caucus. Proof positive that it is virtually impossible for a Republican to obtain an MSM endorsement in California.

Trouble In The Water: SF Pols Slide in State Races

The California Lieutenant Governor's race has tightened unexpectedly with SF mayor Gavin Newsom leading by just 4 percentage points in the latest polling:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's lead over his Republican opponent in the race for lieutenant governor has shrunk to four percentage points, down from nine points two months ago, a Field Poll has found.

Newsom is far better known than Maldonado, but voters also tend to view the San Francisco mayor positively or negatively depending on their party affiliation. He leads among Democrats with 65 percent of the vote, but just 4 percent of likely GOP voters said they would support him. Maldonado only receives support from 11 percent of likely Democratic voters, but gets backing from 69 percent of Republicans. Nonpartisans also prefer Newsom to Maldonado - 41 to 28 percent - but nearly one-third are still undecided.

"In this race what you have are very different image ratings of the two candidates - Newsom is clearly better known ... and it's true in any contest that the better known candidate polls better," DiCamillo said. "The question is what will happen when Maldonado becomes almost universally known, which will happen before the election. I'm sure Newsom's campaign is trying to get the word out and define who Maldonado is before he defines himself."

Voter images of the two candidates are also telling: 41 percent have a negative image of Newsom, compared with 17 percent for Maldonado. But 47 percent have no opinion of Maldonado.

"Newsom will have a tough time winning any support among Republicans ... but he's doing so well with the other 65 percent (of likely voters) he may not need them," DiCamillo said.

That's a pretty surprising result, inasmuch as Newsom is the telegenic, nationally known "next Kennedy" while Maldonado was last seen enabling the sort of tax & debt budget deal that the voters have been revolting against.

I'm honestly torn about this election. On the one hand, Newsom is a SF Democrat. On the other, Maldonado is practically the poster boy for the sort of moderate Republican squishes who have enabled so much of the destructive policies wrought by the state's progressive politicians. In addition to providing the crucial third GOP vote for the "Debt & Taxes" budget deal that was rejected in last year's Special Election, he was also behind the open primaries initiative from last month. The man simply can't be trusted to stand firm for anything beyond his own re-election. At least I know where Newsom's coming from.

Still, this year - of all years - demands a firm rejection of anything liberal, and Maldonado at least is nominally a Republican. Plus, Governor Whitman doesn't need some pretty boy lieutenant governor grandstanding every time she time she tries to reform the pension system. Not sure how hard Maldonado is willing to fight - the guy looks like one of those simps who doesn't like "negative" campaigning - but surely he recognizes he has a rare chance to bump off one of the Dems' stars of tomorrow, and will act accordingly.

Life Is The Only Thing Worth Living For

Your inspiring message of the day, from a very unlikely source:

Insane Clown Posse: Steven Colbert On Capitol Hill

I wasn't going to post on Steven Colbert's "testimony" at a House hearing on immigration, but the BREAKING NEWS graphic has informed me that his appearance descended into well-deserved chaos. Michelle Malkin has the dramatic play-by-play

Update: GOP Rep. Steve King delivers a scathing rebuke to Dems/Colbert — defending American workers who do the dirty jobs the Dems/Colbert say they don’t do. Lambastes illegal immigration’s effects on depressed wages, displacement.

Update: Democrat John Conyers wants Colbert to submit written testimony and then leave because he attracted enough attention. Lofgren says no. Dan Lungren takes mic.

Update 10:41am Eastern: Stephen Colbert delivers his comedic routine, mocking law-abiding American workers, cracking jokes about submitting a colonoscopy. Ends his testimony with “USA #1!”

Conyers observes that Colbert’s written testimony differed considerably from the “testimony” he delivered.

This is probably the only time you'll ever see these words at this blog, so feel free to write them down and pass them along: good for John Conyers.

Colbert was there to do one thing: mock American citizens for their very real concerns about the prevalence of illegal immigration (Americans don't object to "regular" legal immigration), despite the efforts of the political and business elite to reorder American labor markets and society through a combination of willful neglect and smug speechifying about this being a "nation of immigrants." Well, liberals and their Republican enablers need to do better than that because the available evidence shows that Americans have every right to be concerned without being labled racists and know-nothings.

One thing Colbert was there to do was repeat the demagogic claim that increased immigration is necessary to do the "jobs Americans won't do." Here's a reality check

  • Of the 465 civilian occupations, only four are majority immigrant. These four occupations account for less than 1 percent of the total U.S. workforce. Moreover, native-born Americans comprise 47 percent of workers in these occupations.

  • Many jobs often thought to be overwhelmingly immigrant are in fact majority native-born:
    • Maids and housekeepers: 55 percent native-born
    • Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 58 percent native-born
    • Butchers and meat processors: 63 percent native-born
    • Grounds maintenance workers: 65 percent native-born
    • Construction laborers: 65 percent native-born
    • Porters, bellhops, and concierges: 71 percent native-born
    • Janitors: 75 percent native-born

  • There are 93 occupations in which 20 percent or more of workers are immigrants. These high-immigrant occupations are primarily, but not exclusively, lower-wage jobs that require relatively little formal education.

  • There are 23.6 million natives in these high-immigrant occupations (20 percent or more immigrant). These occupations include 19 percent of all native workers.

  • Most natives do not face significant job competition from immigrants; however, those who do tend to be less-educated and poorer than those who face relatively little competition from immigrants.

I'm all for Tea Partying and voting idiots out of office. But, American politics won't be able to repair itself until stunts like this are verboten.

Sesame Street XXX: Katy Perry Video Too Racy

Via Tigerhawk, today's dumb media controversy is the "racy" Elmo-Katy Perry video that Sesame Street producers pulled on account, apparently, of Perry's outfit.

I don't know how you can watch that and not think that's the cutest thing you'll see all day. Perry isn't much of an actress, but she has a winning attitude, and a fantastic voice. She's practically tailor made for singing the sort of bouncy pop music that is her stock in trade (plus she comes from a Christian music background, although more from the Bristol Palin side of things, if you catch my drift). If you're tired of Lady Gaga's dark arts, Perry might be next in the queue.

As for the video, the reason to pull the video is that the song - especially Elmo's parts - is not easy for kids to sing. That's become a bit of a pet peeve of mine: contemporary kids songs where the lyrics are either too bland or too complicated to sing along with.

Ride The Lightning: CA's New "Death Chamber"

California may be living through a real economic depression. Its government may lurch from crisis to crisis. And, the state may be full of soft-on-crime progressives. But, that doesn't mean we can't have a comfortable (for the witnesses) death chamber at San Quentin. Who says the system doesn't work?

Prison officials offered the first glimpse of their new lethal injection center Tuesday - one week ahead of a planned execution few think will actually be carried out - and the differences between this stark-white place and the old apple-green gas chamber are marked.

The spacious $853,000 center has three brightly lit witness viewing rooms, and each gives a considerably better view than the cramped gas chamber's lone, poorly illuminated viewing room.

In particular, the main observation room for 12 state officials and 17 media witnesses offers four wide, flat windows looking straight into a roomy, open chamber where the lethal injection gurney sits. This makes every angle of the execution visible - unlike the truncated, partially blocked sightlines of the old center.

On the north side of this main witness room is a smaller, seven-seat room for survivors and friends of the condemned inmate's victims. On the south side is an identical room with seven chairs for relatives and friends of the prisoner. Each of those rooms has two wide windows providing unimpeded views.

Saying the system works is a bit of a joke, as the first guest in the new gas chamber was sentenced to death for a crime committed in 1980, and he hasn't even exhausted all of his appeals. Still, if there's one thing we're all about in California it's "unimpeded views."

What Liberal Media: the SF Chronicle Publishes Objective Hagiography For "Fighter" Barbara Boxer

The San Francisco Chronicle has published a re-written press release straight from Barbara Boxer's campaign files. She is (wait for it) a "fighter" who only wants to stand up to "special interests." Wow! Where'd they come up with that fresh angle?

Boxer, 69, has built a political persona as a crusader, a self-described fighter for liberal causes, beginning with her first election to the Marin County Board of Supervisors in 1976. She has taken lonely and unpopular stands, from voting against the invasion of Iraq to forcing former Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., to resign amid charges of sexual harassment.

She was one of only 14 senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

"You have to, at the end of the day, consider all the facts in front of you and vote your conscience on some of these questions, even if you're one of just a handful of people," Boxer said in an interview. "You remember those moments."

"I'm a fighter for the people I represent," Boxer said. "I have a very strong sense of when they're being hurt, and I'm not afraid to go up against the people that are trying to hurt my people. That's why I've got a lot of special interests that want me gone. Polluters want me gone. The far right, they want me gone."

That Progressive = Fighter trope is as much a part of the standard media template as the Conservative = Racist. What we never learn: what has all this "fighting" gotten us? Mostly, she's led the fight to use the power of government to take wealth, or at least impede its creation. Rah. Rah.

If anyone at the Chron or any other major California media outlet cares, Jim Geraghty has been detailing Boxer's many faults in a series of blog posts. Just today, Geraghty audited Boxer's very expensive habit of taking taxpayer junkets to only the most desirable/expensive destinations

Since 2000, Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, has taken 18 trips sponsored by outside organizations, at a value of $97,975.

Naturally, if you want to learn about the Islamic world, you go to . . . Paris, France. With your spouse. For a week. At a cost of $12,272, as Boxer did in 2008.

If you want to become more familiar with the impact of U.S. policy on Latin America, clearly, you go to . . . the Punta de Mita beach resort in Mexico. With your spouse. Three times, in 2006, 2005, and 2002, at a cost of roughly $6,000 per trip.

If you want to learn more about U.S.-Russia-European relations, you go to . . . Dublin, Ireland, for five days, at a cost of more than $6,000, as she did in 2005. (I salute her taste.) Or perhaps you go to London, at a cost of $8,260, as she did in 2002.

The Aspen Institute was most often underwriting the cost of Boxer’s trips; in addition to the destinations above, the group covered the costs of Boxer’s trips to the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, the outdoor-sports resort town of Banff, Alberta, and Barcelona, Spain.

I won’t begrudge a lawmaker for attending an AIPAC conference, but I’ll bet an invitation to one inHawaii must be more tempting than the usual annual meeting in Washington. Boxer found the time for that one in 2000.

Boxer is an old hand at this, as she was caught up in the House Bank scandal 20 years ago (not that interfered with her career in the slightest). She also knows that no one in the mainstream press would investigate this. Because she's a fighter. That's what all that fightings for, in a way. To protect her from the sort of unflattering investigations that would have sunk a conservative decades ago.

Turning Off The Charm: Obama Holds Another Town Hall

President Obama held a town hall meeting in DC today. Despite sitting in front of a friendly crowd of hand-picked DC area liberals, he endured some tough, critical questioning. This woman has been all over the 'net:
“I’m one of your middle-class Americans, and quite frankly I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I had been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I’m one of those people and I’m waiting, sir. I’m waiting. I don’t feel it yet, and I thought that — while it wouldn’t be in great measure — I would feel it in some small measure.”
That's one good reason to be a conservative, rather than an idealistic "movement" liberal, you don't sit around being disappointed by leftist politicians promising heaven on earth in exchange for your vote (it seems so easy!). Obama's response was essentially, hey, we've set up some programs that are helping you! (check it out if you don't believe me). Uh, I think she was just saying she doesn't feel like there's any help for her.

Obama's interlocutor also mentions that she has two kids in private school. So, you think, if you're struggling maybe you should take those kids out of private school and send them to the public school down the road. Ah, but she lives in DC, where the schools are a disaster, and the reform-minded mayor was just voted out of office in favor of a guy who explicitly promised to end the reforms. The teachers union, you see, was upset that teachers were losing their jobs and being held accountable. So, even though there are public schools available, they are not the sort of places that a respectable woman would willingly send her kids. And all the good liberals in DC (who knows, maybe even this woman) voted in favor of the union and against the kids. Again, if you are a conservative, you don't have to confront these sorts of internal contradictions, at least not on this level.

At another point in the town hall, the moderator asked Obama about "extending the Bush tax cuts." (actually what we are really talking about is maintaining the same tax rate after Jan. 1, when the tax rate is scheduled to rise). Obama was having none of that. You could hear the exasperation in his voice as he denounced the GOP "plan" (which has been gaining Democrat support) to "cut taxes" (maintain them at the same rate) to benefit "millionaires and billionaires" (an income of $250,000 makes you a millionaire??) who "don't spend that extra money anyway" (at least not in Obama's presence). You see, the GOP is saying to those millionaires and billionaires "we'll cut you a check for $100,000" (the government does this???) rather than give it to those more deserving. Also, (blush) Obama is one of those millionaires who would benefit (please, no applause) but he would rather argue against his own economic interests (you're welcome).

As God is my witness, that is what he said. I don't know whether Obama is stupid or if he thinks his supporters are stupid and that is the only way to motivate them. Either way, the political discourse went down a notch.

The Untold Stories

Try to guess the identity of this Republican office holder:

Yet Mr *******'s life story is the type of classic up-by-the-bootstraps tale of the American Dream that can put a tear in a voter's eye. As his story becomes better known, the Democrats could even be drawing favourable attention upon him. Right now, most Americans have never heard of Mr *******, and fewer still can pronounce his name, which rhymes with ******. The alleged elitist country club Republican is an **** Congressman who grew up in near poverty.

His sister Lynda Meineke, who is 51, is a waitress and bar tender at Andy's Cafe in Carthage, Ohio, a family business that was founded by their grandfather Andy Boehner in 1938. As a child, one of Mr *******'s jobs was to mop the floor.

Sitting outside the bar this week, sipping a bottle of Bud Light and smoking a cigarette, Mrs Meineke described her childhood as "cramped" but happy. "We learned how to share. If there was a toy, it wasn't just for you but for all the younger ones."

Mr *******, 61, is the second of 12 who grew up in a German-Irish family in Reading, Ohio, just outside Cincinnati. All but two of them still live within a few miles of each other. Two are unemployed and most of the others have blue-collar jobs.

The future Congressman started work as a janitor and took seven years to get his degree – the first in the family to do so – because he had several jobs to pay his way. He joined a plastics and packaging company, rising to president before entering local politics by being elected to the town board.

That is the biography of House Minority Leader, John Boehner; he of the "party of Big Business and lobbyist ties" whose tan, golfing and smoking habit - not to mention his likely ascent to the Speaker's dais - have marked him as the new conservative Darth Vadar. The profile is from the Telegraph, which is appropriate. An American media outlet would never allow the public to learn the biography of any conservative politician. Better to dehumanize them, and pretend that they are little more than corrupt pod people grown on a farm owned by the Koch brothers.

The article also notes that Boehner's prominent tan is the result, not of plutocratic sessions under a tanning bed, but genetics: Boehner's mother came from a family with a dark, olive complexion. Kinda puts President Obama's comments on the subject -"He is a person of colour, although not a colour that appears in the natural world" - into a whole new perspective, that perspective being that Obama is an a**hole.

Now, I am sure there are plenty of liberals who, in the unlikely event they were to read the Telegraph, would be incredulous that a man with Boehner's background could be a Republican. They should take a look at their own leaders sometime. Between the daughter of the mayor of Baltimore who married a wealthy financier (a limousine liberal from birth!) to the "blow jobs in the Oval Office" rock star former president to a smug lawyer who attended a racist "church" for 20 years and rewrites the Declaration of Independence to suit his own ideology, you could ask what other choice a regular guy like Boehner would have.

Symphony in D: Detroit's Troubled Orchestra

You might be surprised to learn that, for all its troubles, Detroit retains its old-line arts institutions, including a world-class symphony orchestra. You will not be surprised to learn that the orchestra is not long for this world, at least in its present form. Terry Teachout has the gory details:

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is staring into the abyss. In order to survive a fix-it-or-else financial crisis—the DSO is expected to run up a $9 million operating deficit by the end of 2010—the management wants to slash the pay of its musicians by nearly 30%. The musicians have responded by voting to authorize a strike, and it is widely feared that this may lead to the orchestra's demise.

Does anybody care? Yes—but probably not enough to do anything about it.

The numbers tell the tale: Nearly two million people lived in Detroit in 1950. The current population is 800,000. Forty of the city's 140 square miles are vacant. Downsizing is the name of the save-Detroit game, and Mayor Dave Bing, who is looking at an $85 million budget deficit, wants to slash civic services drastically and encourage Detroit's remaining residents to cluster in the healthiest of its surviving neighborhoods.

Can a once-great city that is now the size of Austin, Texas, afford a top-rank symphony orchestra with a 52-week season? Does it even want one? The DSO, after all, is not the only one of Detroit's old-line high-culture institutions that is sweating bullets. The Detroit Institute of Arts and the Michigan Opera Theater are also in trouble, and the editorial page of the Detroit News recently declared that Detroit is "no longer a top 10 city by any measure. The reality may be that this region can no longer support a world class orchestra, or art museum, or opera company. . . . They are remnants of an era when the city was awash in automotive cash."

The symphony's musicians - who are among the highest paid and well regarded classical musicians in the US - have reacted in the classic Detroit Way: they have authorized a strike should the orchestras trustees slash the payroll from $100,000+ down to $75,000. A brilliant maneuver sure to generate sympathy in a city that has no money, and has been destroyed by the sort leftist "solidarity" represented by strikes and unionism. (actually, Detroiters probably think their city was destroyed by the Japanese, Ronald Reagan and "them," but they still won't be sympathetic towards a bunch of long hairs).

The death of a great American city continues...

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