Democrats Want To Fund ACORN, La Raza With Stimulus Bill

The Democrats reacted in anger when Senate Republicans blocked their latest economic stimulus bill. Harry Reid said that bankers and lenders were high-fiving each other in hallways after the GOP torpedoed the bill, but perhaps a better explanation of Reid’s disappointment comes from Bob Casey (D-PA). The beneficiaries of the bill turns out to be somewhat different than advertised:

Here’s the transcript:

Mr. CASEY: “We want to do a couple of things with this legislation, which we know is the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008. Our Majority Leader, Senator Reid, and our leadership and the members of the Democratic Caucus set it out fairly specifically. A couple of basic things this legislation would have done: first of all, it would have continued what we started in the end of last year, foreclosure prevention counseling dollars, to give money to organizations around the country that are certifiably expert at this, organizations like La Raza. I know the presiding officer knows that group. We know also the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now, known by the acronym ‘ACORN.’ They’re headquartered in Philadelphia. These are organizations which understand what a lender has to deal with but more importantly deal with borrowers when they’re borrowing money, when they’re dealing with the difficulty and complexity of borrowing money. These organizations would have helped even more so than they’re helping now with $200 million more of counseling money. That’s not going to happen right now because of what the other side did; they blocked that money by blocking this legislation.”

ACORN? Would this be the same ACORN that conducted voter fraud in Washington, resulting in felony charges against its officers there in 2007? Isn’t this the same organization that generated complaints and questions about their practices in several other jurisdictions during the 2006 election? How does shoving money into the pockets of ACORN provide an economic stimulus?
This doesn’t look like a stimulus package. It looks more like an investment in further voter fraud.

Once More, With Feeling: Registration Open at Hot Air

In case anyone lost their sanity in the Byzantine series of updates on my earlier post, comments registration has been open all day at Hot Air, with a few glitches. The link to the registration page is here. It will remain open until later tonight.
However, I can also add people myself to the user database, if commenters are having problems registering. Send an e-mail to “register” at “” (without the quotes), and be sure to include your preferred username and password, as well as the e-mail address you want to use for your account. I can add people manually or fix earlier registrations at any time, so keep that e-mail address handy.
Some have asked whether I will be cross-posting most of my material at Hot Air for the remainder of the time left at CapQ. I believe I will. With Bryan already hard at work at his great new job as Laura Ingraham’s producer, he hasn’t had an opportunity to post at Hot Air. It gives me an opportunity to learn the ropes there as well. Starting on Saturday, I’ll post all of my new material there exclusively anyway.
One last note: Several people have asked me whether I plan to post less now that I’m going to Hot Air. Not at all! In fact, I may post more, now that other responsibilities have been removed. This week, though, has been insane — so that’s why the output seems a little low.
Thanks for all of your patience and understanding.

Geldof: The Unexpected Bush

Bob Geldof pens an unusual article for Time Magazine today, extolling the intellect and virtues of President George Bush. He starts off by noting — as have we conservatives since early in the administration — that Bush has no talent for marketing. Geldof instead assigns himself that task and reminds people that Bush may be the most significant President in modern times for the lives he has saved:

The Most Powerful Man in the World studied the front cover. Geldof in Africa — ” ‘The international best seller.’ You write that bit yourself?”
“That’s right. It’s called marketing. Something you obviously have no clue about or else I wouldn’t have to be here telling people your Africa story.”
It is some story. And I have always wondered why it was never told properly to the American people, who were paying for it. It was, for example, Bush who initiated the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were on HIV antiretroviral drugs — and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, 1.3 million are receiving medicines free of charge. The U.S. also contributes one-third of the money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — which treats another 1.5 million. It contributes 50% of all food aid (though some critics find the mechanism of contribution controversial). On a seven-day trip through Africa, Bush announced a fantastic new $350 million fund for other neglected tropical diseases that can be easily eradicated; a program to distribute 5.2 million mosquito nets to Tanzanian kids; and contracts worth around $1.2 billion in Tanzania and Ghana from the Millennium Challenge Account, another initiative of the Bush Administration.
So why doesn’t America know about this? “I tried to tell them. But the press weren’t much interested,” says Bush. It’s half true. There are always a couple of lines in the State of the Union, but not enough so that anyone noticed, and the press really isn’t interested. For them, like America itself, Africa is a continent of which little is known save the odd horror.

Geldof doesn’t pull punches where he disagrees with Bush. In fact, he spends most of the article outlining his disagreements. However, he also paints a picture of a man of intellect and deep belief, and one who has been shortchanged by the media, at least on Africa. He also understands that while he disagrees with Bush on many policies, Bush is motivated by his own sense of what is right.
The Anchoress notes:

But I do like that he gives the president serious credit not just for his humanitarian aid to Africa, but for his smarts in general. The press narrative since 1999, has been that Bush is “incurious and slow.” Geldof writes precisely the opposite, noting after a discussion of Africa and trade tariffs, “he’s curious and quick.”
And while in not engaging the president on is a bit unfair because does not allow rebuttal to Geldof’s own meme’d musings, the Irish rocker does allow Bush to make his case as to the steadiness of his interest in Africa, going back to his debates w/ Gore.

Indeed. Rather than the two-dimensional caricature that so many pundits and journalists have created, Geldof gets much closer to describing Bush as he is — intelligent, emotional, combative, and unusually open. In the end, Geldof and Bush have to agree to disagree on Iraq, but Geldof obviously has some affection for Bush despite the media-driven cardboard cutout most people choose to see.
This does not surprise me much. I have had the pleasure of participating in two round-table conference calls with Geldof, and he surprised me with his openness to all points of view. Like Bush, he has grown a thick skin through years of political combat. His last project, a series of concerts intended to produce pressure on the G-8 nations to forgive African debt and pledge more assistance, drew a lot of naysayers — and Geldof almost seemed to relish engagement with them, in order to change minds.
In some ways, Geldof appears to recognize a bit of that in Bush, and has a difficult time not liking it.

Heading Right Radio: International Property Rights Index; Movie Day!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below.
Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Americans for Tax Relief affiliate group Property Rights Index released the second annual International Property Rights Index. PRA’s Executive Director Kelsey Zahourek talks about it, and Betty Jo Tucker, movie critic and host of Movie Addict Headquarters, joins us for another Top 5 movie list!
Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don’t forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock — and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services.
Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:
Add to iTunes

Open Comment Registration At Hot Air Today! (Update)

UPDATE IV: Some commenters are continuing to have issues with creating a login. If for some reason you just can’t get it done through the system, e-mail me your preferred user name and password to this account: “register” at “” (without the quotes). I will manually add you to the system — but give me some time to get it done.
BUMP: Registration is now open. It will remain open until later tonight. Link to register is here.
UPDATE III, 9:30 am CT: Had a glitch with registration this morning, but it’s fixed now.
Earlier this week, we held a comment registration event at Hot Air to try to get as many CapQ commenters into the system as possible. Some missed the window, however, and I have received many requests to hold another open-registration event. As I reported yesterday, we have scheduled another period of open registration today, February 28th, between 9 am CT and 9 pm CT.
Why does Hot Air limit registration to certain periods? They have had many more problems with abuse than we have had at CapQ, and they have had to build their community in a different way as a result. Any site with the level of traffic that Hot Air generates becomes a target for trolls and spammers, and the management issues increase accordingly. This method has succeeded at Hot Air in keeping trolls and spammers to a minimum while allowing for dissent and debate in the comment threads.
When the registration period opens, those wishing to register will need to post a comment on a Hot Air post, which will go into moderation. I’ll approve it, and that will register the commenter. It would be helpful if CapQ commenters keep their current names so I can recognize them in the comments.
I look forward to getting everyone into the system. In the meantime, I hope you have been enjoying my cross-posts at Hot Air, and jumping into the commentary.
NOTE: This is an update and bump from yesterday’s announcement.
UPDATE: For those who may have lost their passwords — please e-mail Hot Air with your info, and we will get your account reset.
UPDATE II: I will be crossposting most of my material today and tomorrow at Hot Air, but not all of it.

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

Listen to AOL Hot Seat on internet talk radio
AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We’ll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day’s poll — including today’s:
[Poll expired.]
Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio — and don’t forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555.

Obama Getting Bad Military Advice

Jack Jacobs at MS-NBC wonders who Barack Obama has as his military advisers. Based on his answers at the debate, Jacobs suggests replacing them at the first opportunity. No one expects a presidential candidate to be an expert on ground combat, but at the very least candidates can hire a few:

But last week, during his debate with Clinton, Obama tried speaking about substance when he mentioned the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he displayed an astounding ignorance of the military instrument. He said that an anonymous U.S. Army captain told him that his infantry platoon was split and sent to different areas of operations; that they were lacking vehicles; and that they had insufficient ammunition to fight.
Although problems do occur in combat situations to be sure, none of what Obama related makes any sense and is, according to people with whom I spoke, untrue. Units the size of platoons are not sent to separate theaters, ammunition has been plentiful, and an investigation indicates that the unit in question was missing only one of its Humvees, all to no peril of the unit. ….
Politicians rely heavily, on almost every subject, on advisors to get them educated and keep them current. And nobody really expects Obama or Clinton or even McCain, who was a Navy aviator, to know anything about ground combat. But one does expect the candidate to employ advisors who know what they are talking about and to prevent their candidate from embarrassment.
While Obama has attracted money, notoriety and delegates, he has yet to attract military advisers who know what they are doing.

It helps to understand the macro concepts as well. When Obama talked about our military “air raiding villages and civilians” in Afghanistan, he showed a remarkable disengagement from the actual events in a theater even he calls critical to the war on terror. The use of close air support in fighting Taliban attacks derailed their last spring offensive, and it helped kill some of their highest-ranking leaders.
Obviously, his advisers either haven’t improved since then, or they haven’t been replaced with people who know what they’re doing. Democrats can be forgiven for their continued support of Obama, however, because the alternative doesn’t appear to be much of an improvement. Hillary Clinton has shown the same kind of diffidence to military strategy and policy as Obama, even though she has better sense about making sweeping pronouncements on the subject.
John McCain should focus on this gap, and based on his rapid-fire engagement with Obama on al-Qaeda in Iraq yesterday, he looks ready to do so. McCain may have served as a naval aviator, but he has also served on the Armed Services Committee for years. He knows a platoon from a battalion, and he knows the structure, purpose, and strategy for the American military better than most of the people in and out of Washington. Wartime is not the moment for apprenticeship at the highest level of command, and McCain needs to remind America of that truth.

The Times Raises Another McCain Non-Issue

The staff at the New York Times has burned the midnight oil trying to find ways to derail John McCain’s campaign. After endorsing him in the primary, the paper then ran an unsubstantiated smear against him as a philanderer. Now they ask whether he is eligible for the office, given his birth in the Panama Canal zone while his father served the country:

The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.
Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a “natural-born citizen” can hold the nation’s highest office.
Almost since those words were written in 1787 with scant explanation, their precise meaning has been the stuff of confusion, law school review articles, whisper campaigns and civics class debates over whether only those delivered on American soil can be truly natural born. To date, no American to take the presidential oath has had an official birthplace outside the 50 states.
“There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent,” said Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively. “It is not a slam-dunk situation.”

It’s a slam-dunk to the millions of military families whose service to this country should have left then with no doubts about their children being relegated to second-class citizenry. They sacrificed enough for their country without having to sacrifice the futures of their children. Any other conclusion would amount to a penalty for military service on those who did not volunteer.
The Founding Fathers recognized this. They passed a bill in 1790, three years after the adoption of the Constitution, which made clear that “natural born” applied to children born of American citizens “outside the limits of the United States”. That law remains in effect and has never been challenged. At the least, it speaks to the intent of the founders when they used the term “natural born” in the Constitution.
It’s beyond absurd to argue that John McCain doesn’t qualify to run as an American for the presidency. The candidate or party that files a lawsuit to challenge him on this point runs the risk of alienating a large swath of the public who have served this nation in uniform, in diplomacy, and in government.
Besides, if the Times thinks this to be an issue, then why did they endorse McCain in January? Didn’t they bother to do their research on him then?

German Unemployment Dips … To 8.6%

While Democrats fan out to talk about the misery of our economy and how the government has to do more to control it, the news out of Europe seems brighter. The Germans and their more-controlled economy has begun improving. In fact, their unemployment rate has dropped all the way to 8.6%:

Germany’s unemployment rate dipped to 8.6 percent in February as a relatively mild winter added to momentum from the country’s economic upswing, government figures showed Thursday.
The number of people without a job in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, fell 42,000 from January to 3.617 million, and 630,000 lower than in February last year, the Federal Labor Agency said.
The unadjusted jobless rate was down from 8.7 percent in January. Last February, that rate was 10.1 percent.
“Unemployment continues to fall,” Labor Agency chief Frank-Juergen Weise said. “Companies’ demand for labor remains at a very high level.”

The bad news? The improvement is likely overstated, according to a UniCredit economist in Munich. The German government’s short-term winter benefit for construction workers masked what will soon become a significant drop in work. Major companies plan cuts as they forsee a cooling economy, although the government insists that unemployment will continue to decline.
Europe, with its heavy-handed economic regulation, struggles to keep itself out of Jimmy Carter-era unemployment. They celebrate 8.6% unemployment. Meanwhile, the Democrats claim that 5% unemployment here requires the exact same kind of solutions that brought Germany their current economic “success”.
Lest anyone think that this problem is confined to Germany, take a look at this report from last February. The “Eurozone” celebrated its best unemployment rate ever — at 7.4%. Three weeks ago, they announced a further improvement — to 7.2%. Either of these numbers would have Americans screaming in the streets for new leadership, and yet those who claim to represent that new leadership want to take the US down the same statist path where 7.2% is a “record low”.
We need market solutions, not government-controlled economic plans that send capital to Capitol Hill instead of the engines of economic growth. We don’t need to duplicate the European debacle.

Novak: Pawlenty Not Popular Among GOP Governors

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has a high profile when it comes to potential running-mate options for John McCain. Pawlenty endorsed McCain early and stuck with him during hard times midway through 2007, and his center-right governance of blue-state Minnesota shows some real political talent. However, even Minnesotans question his conservative mien, and Robert Novak today reports that the unease extends to some of Pawlenty’s colleagues:

Minnesota’s Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, carefully prepared his plan for controlling greenhouse gas emissions to present it at the annual winter meeting of governors in Washington. That effort coincided with Pawlenty’s fast-rising prospects to become Sen. John McCain’s choice for vice president. But behind closed doors, governors from energy-producing states complained so vigorously that Pawlenty’s proposal was buried.
Pawlenty’s position as chairman of the National Governors Association may prove to be his undoing. While party insiders sing his praises as ideal to be McCain’s running mate, leading conservative Republican governors have been less than pleased with him. Pawlenty has collaborated with the association’s Democratic vice chairman, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, on a fat economic stimulus package as well as the energy proposal.
Hours after Pawlenty’s energy plan was derailed, McCain himself was privately urged by GOP governors not to appear to be anti-coal or anti-oil. The upshot of a busy Saturday at the J.W. Marriott Hotel downtown was that Pawlenty came across as somebody considerably different from what McCain needs to calm conservatives. He left the nation’s capital as a less attractive vice presidential possibility than he was when he arrived.

Pawlenty has a tough job here in Minnesota, and he has chosen his fights carefully — a little too carefully for some of the state’s conservatives. He has survived a Democratic upsurge in 2006, holding onto his office by 20,000 votes. That forced Pawlenty to work more with the political opposition, including a hike in cigarette taxes, supporting a smoking ban in restaurants and bars, public financing for the Twins baseball stadium, and repudiating his earlier no-taxes pledge with the Taxpayers League.
None of this has endeared him to the state’s conservatives, nor has his flirtation with global-warming activists. The latter has extended that unpopularity to other Republican governors, which creates a big problem for John McCain. He will need the strong and public support of the dwindling number of GOP governors if he expects to unify the party. They have strong influence in their own states and can transmit enthusiasm or apathy to the Republican establishments there — and McCain can’t exactly count on grassroots efforts to bolster him among conservatives.
If Novak reads the temperature correctly, McCain can’t afford Pawlenty as a running mate. That would tend to point towards Haley Barbour or Mark Sanford as alternate choices. Either would work, and both would substantially raise his stature among conservatives. Of the two, Sanford would be the wiser choice. He seems more temperamentally suited to McCain — a pork fighter who has an independent, libertarian streak. Sanford could present a winning profile to those who want a strong candidate for 2012 or 2016, and who could appeal to independents and moderates as well as conservatives.