Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Utah's Most Influential Political blogs

2JM Bell - Militant Progressive2
3Mark Towner's Political Spyglass4
4The SideTrack5
5The Senate Site10
6KVNU's For The People3
7Pursuit of Liberty8
8SLCSpin - :: Utah Politics - Front Page -
10Part of the Plan11
11Weber County Forum14
12The World, According To Me -
13Simple Utah Mormon Politics -
14The Third Avenue7
15Green Jello9
16Reach Upward20
17Out of Context (Utah Politics)12
19GenRolly Speaking (Paul Rolly)16
20Voice of Utah -

Put your BNN blog rank on your blog.
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BlogNetNews' Blogosphere Influence Rating combines a variety of data sets to determine which blogs are most powerfully influencing the direction of the Utah political blogosphere. The exact method BNN uses to calculate influence scores must remain proprietary in order to prevent attempts to game the system. BNN's methodology takes into account the fact that all Internet data is profoundly limited in its reliability by using multiple data sets that, when combined, reveal a fair picture of activity in the blogosphere.

Going for broke in New Hampshire

Scot Lehigh

Going for broke in New Hampshire


ing to be a duel to the death between John McCain and Mitt Romney. But now, Rudy Giuliani is about to attempt a campaign coup: Dealing a stunning setback to both those rivals by winning the nation's first primary himself.

From today's vantage point, you can divide the top four Republican contenders into two categories: Those who have to win New Hampshire and those who can survive without a victory here. Put Romney and McCain in the first group, Giuliani and Fred Thompson in the second.

New Hampshire is absolutely vital to Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is not just a Granite State neighbor, but a vacation homeowner. And, as Romney senior adviser Tom Rath notes, Romney's strategy is "premised on doing as well as we can as early as we can to build momentum," then riding that momentum as the process unfolds.

That's why Romney has invested so heavily here. When he officially filed for the primary Monday, Romney unveiled an endorsement he hopes will help cement a win: that of Judd Gregg, the state's senior senator.

New Hampshire is also a must-win state for McCain, however. The Arizona senator won convincingly here against George W. Bush in 2000. This time around, with his fund-raising flagging, McCain has been reduced to running an early-state effort. With little going in Iowa, New Hampshire is his best chance to launch his formerly front-running campaign back into national orbit.

But in addition to Romney, the two top-tier candidates who don't need a New Hampshire victory were both here Monday - and both sense opportunity.

It's Giuliani who smells it most keenly. Until recently, the former New York City mayor has been focused more on the big states that hold contests on Feb. 5.

That's why one couldn't help but notice that, after spending Sunday and Monday in the state, Giuliani plans to return today - and then again on Friday. Why? Sources in his camp confirm that he now believes he can win here.

Part of it is a sense that Romney has reached a saturation point, and may just prove too slick to stick in New Hampshire. Although he has spent heavily on television advertising, polls show Romney is not that far ahead of Giuliani, who has yet to take to the tube. And though McCain has stabilized his standing, doubts remain about whether he can really regain enough ground to prevail.

Thus the opportunity Giuliani will seek to seize.

"The goal is to be competitive in New Hampshire, but if in fact Rudy could win, that would be a bonus," says former Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci, a senior Giuliani adviser. "It would really upset the Romney strategy - and it would not be helpful to McCain, either."

What a bit of understatement that is. If Giuliani could make primary day Rudy Tuesday, it would deal a devastating blow to both Romney and McCain.

And then there's Thompson. He has visited New Hampshire only four times so far, but on Monday he was pledging to be back often.

So far, Thompson's strength lies in southern states like South Carolina, where several polls have shown him with a small lead, and Florida, where he's second.

The former Tennessee senator has had little going here, however.

Still, his campaign is hoping for a showing that could provide a bridge to South Carolina on Jan. 19. Finishing, say, second in Iowa and third here would do that, his team thinks.

Judging from Thompson's events on Monday, he has a long way to go. The low-key candidate deals mostly in folksy platitudes, with little by way of specifics or applause lines. An underwhelming example: Speaking of the need to "re-emphasize management," he told a crowd of Northeast Delta Dental employees in Concord: "We've got to . . . put the M back in OMB." Now there's a slogan to make the Republican heart race!

Still, the campaign thinks it has found an issue to use against both Romney and McCain: illegal immigration. Unlikely as it might seem, that has emerged as a charged concern among Republicans here. Look for Thompson to hit it harder in the weeks ahead.

So despite New Hampshire's perpetual worry about its influence being encroached upon, the Republican contest here is shaping up to be more than just an important contest. It may well be the defining event.

Scot Lehigh's e-mail address is

Electing a president: A question of experience

Electing a president: A question of experience

by Mark Silva

Rudy Giuliani, the front-running Republican candidate for president, had questioned what credentials Hillary Clinton, the front-running Democrat, has to serve as president in the last debate of the Republican candidates.

Tonight, in a Democratic debate, it was not Clinton, but rather one of her rivals, arguing -- forcefully -- that Giuliani is the one who is "genuinely not qualified to be president.''


At a Fox News-sponsored debate earlier this month, Giuliani, the former mayor of New York (pictured right), had said: "I don't know Hillary's experience. She's never run a city. She's never run a state. She's never run a business. She's never met a payroll. She's never been responsible for the safety and security of millions of people, much less even hundreds of people.''

"The irony is Rudy,'' Democratic Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware (pictured below) said in tonight's debate. "Rudy Giuliani, probably the most underqualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency (and this stirred laughter and applause) is here talking about any of the people here.


"Rudy Giuliani. I mean, think about it. Rudy Giuliani,'' Biden said. "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11.

"I mean, there's nothing else.

"There's nothing else,'' Biden said. "And I mean it sincerely. He is genuinely not qualified to be president.''

Easy for Biden to say, the Giuliani camp said tonight -- "Sen. Biden has never run anything but his mouth.''

"The good senator is quite correct that there are many differences between Rudy and him,'' Giuliani spokeswoman Katie Levinson said tonight. "For starters, Rudy rarely reads prepared speeches and when he does he isn’t prone to ripping off the text from others. And, Sen. Biden certainly falls in to the bucket of those on the stage tonight who have never had executive experience and have never run anything. Wait, I take that back, Senator Biden has never run anything but his mouth.

“Such a desperate attack from Sen. Biden is to be expected considering I – Katie Levinson – have a better chance of becoming president than he does.”

Clinton was asked tonight how she responds to Giuiliani's criticism.

"Well, I think the kind of experience that the Republican nominees are exhibiting is the kind of experience we don't need,'' she said.

"And I think my experience of 35 years as an advocate for children and families, as a citizen activist, as someone who helped to ring educational reform and health care reform to Arkansas, bringing the Children's Health Insurance Program to fruition during the years in the White House, my time in the Senate, I think my experience on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue -- but it's really about what's at stake in this election and who can deliver the change that we all know this country desperately needs.

"And in a perverse way,'' she said, "I think that, you know, the Republicans and their constant obsession with me demonstrates clearly that they obviously think that I am communicating effectively about what I will do as president.''

Sen. Barack Obama was asked, "What specifically is your relevant experience for being president?''

"The experience I have in politics is primarily legislative, but here's the experience that I think the next president needs,'' Obama said. "I think the next president has to be able to get people to work together to get things done even when they disagree, and I've done that.

"You know, when I was in Illinois we brought police officers and civil rights advocates together to reform a death penalty system that had sent 13 innocent men to death row, and we ended up passing it unanimously, even though originally people had said it couldn't be done,'' the Illinois senator and former state legislator said.

"I also think it is critical for the next president to be experienced to stand up to special interests. I'm glad Hillary's talking about it, but I'm the only person on this stage who has worked actively just last year passing -- along with Russ Feingold -- some of the toughest ethics reforms since Watergate -- making sure that lobbyists could not provide gifts and meals to congressman, making sure the bundling of monies by lobbyists was disclosed.''

Monday, October 29, 2007

NEA chief Eskelsen hits school vouchers bill in UEA address

Posted: 12:49 PM- Hundreds of Utah teachers gathered today to share strategies, learn skills and, largely, to protest school vouchers.
National Education Association secretary-treasurer and former Utah Education Association (UEA) President Lily Eskelsen focused her opening remarks on the joy of teaching and Utah's Referendum 1 at the UEA's annual convention, which started this morning at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
"Just when you thought politicians couldn't pass something dumber than No Child Left [Behind], along came Utah politicians proving them wrong," Eskelsen told a crowd of hundreds during her opening remarks in reference to bills Utah legislators passed that would give families voucher money to send their children to private schools.
The UEA followed her opening remarks with a media event where teachers, education union leaders and educators from across the state spoke against vouchers. UEA President Kim Campbell then encouraged teachers to pull out their cell phones to call legislators who voted against vouchers in order to thank them. Hundreds of teachers pulled out their cell phones to make the calls during the event. They then marched along West Temple Street carrying green Utahns for Public Schools signs proclaiming, "STOP VOUCHERS/ Vote AGAINST Referendum 1."

New Posting Policy at Spyglass, and Subscription Service

I received a nice email from my writer friends at one of the publications I follow and post many of their articles. They commented on how many direct links to their publications come from the Spyglass, and how happy they were that I posted their news stories.

They suggested however that instead of just posting a article, that I should post the first comment about the article itself to give my perspective and hopefully get others to comment as well.

Also I'm on the final stages of my newsletter that will be kicking off on November 1, 2007.


McCain takes fifth place in Iowa poll

The Business Journal of Phoenix - by Mike Sunnucks Phoenix Business Journal

Arizona Sen. John McCain sits in fifth place among Republican presidential contenders in the early battleground state of Iowa, according to a new poll.

The University of Iowa poll released Monday gives McCain 6 percent in the 2008 GOP presidential field. That is behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 36 percent, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (13 percent each) and actor Fred Thompson (11 percent).

One of McCain's U.S. Senate colleagues, U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH., also announced Monday he was backing Romney's White House run.

On the Democratic side, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton was favored by 29 percent of those polled, leading Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at 27 percent and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at 20 percent.

The Iowa poll interviewed 689 voters between Oct. 17 and 24 with a margin of error of 4 percent.

Immunity deal hampers Blackwater inquiry, Spyglass Heads Back East for Training

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer 20 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The State Department promised Blackwater USA bodyguards immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month's deadly shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians, The Associated Press has learned. The immunity deal has delayed a criminal inquiry into the Sept. 16 killings and could undermine any effort to prosecute security contractors for their role in the incident that has infuriated the Iraqi government. "Once you give immunity, you can't take it away," said a senior law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.

State Department officials declined to confirm or deny that immunity had been granted. One official — who refused to be quoted by name_ said: "If, in fact, such a decision was made, it was done without any input or authorization from any senior State Department official in Washington."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Giuliani, in West Texas, gets backing from Clayton Williams

Texas — Oilman and failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams said Friday that he supports GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani.

Williams, who said he was influenced by Gov. Rick Perry's recent endorsement of the former New York mayor, said Giuliani is the GOP's best hope to defeat Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

"I'm here because Giuliani fairly thoroughly represents the conservative Republican principles most Texans believe in," Williams said after a Friday fundraiser for Giuliani at Midland's Petroleum Club. "He is for limiting government, limiting taxes, more parental controls of schools, competitive schools and energy independence.

"I didn't find a single thing I disagreed with him on," he said, according to a report for Saturday editions of the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Giuliani supports legalized abortion, embryonic stem cell research and gun control.

Williams, a rancher and West Texas businessman, lost the 1990 governor's race in a campaign sunk by his gaffes. The Republican's outrageous remarks and multiple missteps propelled liberal Democrat Ann Richards to the state's top spot.

During his appearance in Midland, Giuliani called for a long-term commitment to giving Iraq a stable government, warned of military action if Iran does not relinquish nuclear ambitions and promised to cut taxes.

Giuliani was accompanied by Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Michael Williams, another state official who is supporting his candidacy.

Williams said Giuliani's positions on gun control and abortion are not as extreme as Clinton's.

"I would like it to be a little stronger, but what it boils down to is that Hillary is 100 percent on the other side," he said. "When he said 'no new taxes,' that was a step forward. He is for more clean coal, nuclear power, more domestic oil and more availability to offshore oil deposits.

"I like (Mitt) Romney and (John) McCain, too. It wasn't an easy choice."

McCain Meets With Fellow POW Bud Day While in Siouxland

Forty years ago Senator John McCain was shot down over Vietnam. For the next 6 years he was a prisoner of war, tortured while being held captive.

That turning point in his life, and his time as a POW, was recalled at an event in Sioux City Friday along with a fellow POW, Air Force Colonel Bud Day.

"Many years ago on this day, I was able to intercept a surfaced air missle with my own airplane, which was no mean feat to say the least," says McCain.

"He also had a great attribute, that a senior officer looks for and that's followership, John was smarter then me, he was obviously tougher than me, but he could also follow," says Col. Day.

McCain was a 31-year-old navy pilot when his plane was hit.

He's John McCain and He Approves This Message

tgitlin's picture

Senator Straight Talk is getting a lot of mileage out of a campaign ad trashing Hillary Clinton for supporting a $1 million expenditure for a Woodstock Museum. As you may have heard, it recycles McCain's laugh line from last week's debate event:

Now my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time--

"referring," in the words of an AP reporter, "to being held prisoner in North Vietnam" at the time of the Woodstock festival of 1969.

Behind McCain's last-minute bid for attention in his not-good-enough campaign is, of course, the enduring stab-in-the-back theme on which I wrote in The New Republic (Oct. 8). Expect to hear more, a lot more, about stabs in the back in the coming months. I guess we'll have to wait till the next century for a presidential campaign (or am I optimistic?)

Obama continues to invoke 'cousin' Dick Cheney

by John McCormick

ANKENY, Iowa – Sen. Barack Obama continues to use one of his distant relatives as a punchline on the presidential campaign trail.

Talking about the nation's addiction to oil, the Illinois Democrat told several hundred gathered at a community college this morning that part of the blame falls on Vice President Dick Cheney.

"It doesn't help when you put my cousin, Dick Cheney, in charge of energy policy," Obama said. "We've been trying to hide this for a long time, by the way. Everybody's got a black sheep in the family."

Earlier this month, Lynne Cheney, the vice president's wife, made news when she talked about the relationship with Obama, who is an eighth or ninth cousin of Cheney's.

And in an interview with CNBC this week, Cheney called the senator "Cousin Barack.''

Obama first discussed the distant relationship at length during an appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

Rudy strikes out with a bad pitch

The US presidential frontrunner's have lost points after blundering into the baseball world

Paul Harris in New York
Sunday October 28, 2007
The Observer

It was hailed as a great betrayal that could hamper a powerful bid for the White House. It was a policy flip-flop that alienated supporters and created enough negative headlines to make a political strategist weep.

Was it a spat about the Iraq war? Abortion? The growing crisis with Iran? No, some say it is more important than that. It was about baseball.

The biggest political shock in the 2008 race for the White House has centred on the Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani's unexpected confession that he is supporting the Boston Red Sox in the World Series against the Colorado Rockies.

There’s been head-spinning changes on the hustings

The political world is spinning so fast these days, you’ve got to time your jump to get aboard.

I just made it.


The word out of Washington on Friday was that Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas was on the verge of endorsing former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for president.

Now I see why that would be a boon for Giuliani, who supports abortion rights and gay rights. He needs backing from a movement conservative such as Brownback to smooth over cracks in his relations with the right, where Giuliani is most vulnerable.

But what’s in it for Brownback? Backing Giuliani would set the conservative wolves a-howling back home.

Roll back the tape from just one week ago, and there’s the Kansan bowing out of the presidential race at the statehouse and telling reporters that the party won’t nominate a pro-choice Republican.

“I don’t see him winning the nomination,” Brownback said of Giuliani.

That sentiment hasn’t changed already, has it?


Stick this one in your bonnet: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will win either the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary.

Whaaaat? You’ve never heard of Huck?

Get him on your radar screen. Huckabee has supplanted John McCain as the hot GOP contender on the circuit these days.

With the Republican field remaining a jumble, look for the unexpected to trump the expected.

Now, whether Huckabee can translate an upset win in either state to the nomination is an entirely different question.


You may be one of the legions of Americans who believe that Election ’08 will produce nothing but more of the same.

If Hillary Clinton wins, Republicans will demonize her with all the old stories about Whitewater and Monica, and Rush Limbaugh will run amok.

If a Republican wins, little will be accomplished with a Congress that may well remain Democratic.

A group called Unity08 ( is billing itself as your political antidote. The group’s aim is to shake things up and use the Internet to nominate a centrist presidential ticket that will include a presidential nominee from one major party and a vice president from the other.

That may sound a little dreamy, but the movement is headed by a couple of well-respected politicos, Gerald Rafshoon, who once worked for Jimmy Carter, and GOP operative Doug Bailey, who helped found The Political Hotline.

Unity08 already has raised $1 million to begin the laborious process of getting on ballots in all 50 states.

“Basically what we’re saying is the system is broken because Republicans and Democrats don’t talk to each other, much less agree on anything,” Bailey said.

Political insiders, such as Joe Trippi — who was the brains behind Howard Dean’s innovative Internet-driven campaign in 2004 and now is working for John Edwards — already have acknowledged Unity08’s potential. Trippi has said enough money and volunteer energy exists to overcome either party establishment.

“Alarm bells should ring loud at both party headquarters” if the new online movement begins to draw a crowd, Trippi wrote in a column in London’s Guardian newspaper.

One key is making an online vote secure and accurate. Bailey said he thinks the technology exists to ensure just that.

Bipartisanship is the basis for every major advancement in American politics, Bailey said.

These days, the search for a bipartisan solution is on.


What’s up with Freedom Inc., the African-American political club in Kansas City?

First, the group signals that it will oppose the 1-cent sales-tax renewal for capital improvements. Then it reverses course.

Now, the group has yet to take a stand on the big question of whether public schools in Independence can pull out of the Kansas City School District.

At some point, the question for Freedom becomes: What is the point?

To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or send e-mail to

Friday, October 26, 2007

If Not Obama, Buffett?

Warren Buffett for President? That's Barack Obama's favorite non-candidate. Over the last few months in interviews at its offices, the Des Moines Register has asked the 2008 candidates from both parties a series of the same questions, including such off-beat inquires as what contemporary person, other than themselves, they think would be a good president and what country they would live in if not America.

Obama said Buffett, who has raised money for both the Illinois Senator and Hillary Clinton but not chosen which one he will back, "has a wonderful gift of analyzing a lot of complex information." Other candidates made even more surprising choices, naming some of their campaign rivals. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani named Colin Powell, but said if he were not running, he would back John McCain. Sen. Joe Biden praised Sen. Chris Dodd and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, two of his rivals, along with former Senator and 2000 Democratic candidate Bill Bradley.

The man famous for "straight-talk," McCain, wouldn't name anyone (though he did express admiration for Ronald Reagan), nor would Clinton or former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Dodd didn't return the favor to Biden, instead going with an answer that sounded like a pander to Iowa voters, the state's long-time Sen. Tom Harkin. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney all but admitted he would not be his party's first choice if another man had a different last name, Jeb Bush, who Romney called a "fabulous governor."

Clinton, who in recent weeks has deemed even questions about federal policy as too "hypothetical" for her to answer, wouldn't budge on which foreign country she would live in. She said all her life she had been "obsessed" with American and wouldn't do well in another country. Obama, McCain and Giuliani all named Great Britain, although the latter also named the homeland of his ancestors, Italy. If Giuliani does indeed set sail for England, he must have a plan to get his health care elsewhere--he has called Britain's system "socialized medicine" and promised to stop anything similar from coming to the United States.

--Perry Bacon Jr.

’80s Plot to Hit Giuliani? Mob Experts Doubt It

Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: October 26, 2007

For reasons that ought to be obvious, the leaders of the city’s organized crime families have never shown much fondness for federal prosecutors. And with a crime-fighter like Rudolph W. Giuliani — who boasts of applying particular zeal to organized crime cases while winning more than 4,000 convictions as the United States attorney in Manhattan from 1983 to 1989 — the Mafia might not even mind seeing him dead.

But while a discussion along those lines was revealed during testimony in the trial of a retired F.B.I. supervisor this week, the proposition might not have been as simple as gathering the five family bosses for a show of hands on that ballot measure.

“The Sicilian Mafia killed Italian judicial magistrates and police officers, and the American Mafia didn’t do that,” Andrew McCarthy, an organized crime prosecutor who worked with Mr. Giuliani, said in a telephone interview. “In the United States, their general M.O. was that killing prosecutors and cops could do nothing but bring harm.”

To be sure, law enforcement was and is a dangerous vocation. In a 2006 report, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 40 percent of state prosecutors had received threats in the previous year. Three percent had been assaulted, as had 6 percent of their assistants. In cities with more than a million people, 84 percent of state prosecutors had received threats. The report did not address threats to federal prosecutors.

McCain Hits Clinton in 2nd Woodstock Ad

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful John McCain criticized Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's proposal for a Woodstock museum as wasteful spending in a new television ad that started on Friday.

In the ad — McCain's second new one in a week — the Arizona senator touts his record fighting such spending and repeats his mocking of the Clinton's failed effort to spend $1 million for a museum in Bethel, N.Y., site of the August 1969 rock festival.

"John McCain says if you want to relive Woodstock, buy the record," an announcer says in the 30-second spot.

The ad also hits Clinton, a New York senator, as a product of the 1960s culture, while McCain spent time as a Vietnam prisoner of war.

"It was a cultural event that defined a generation, worthy of fond memories," an announcer says. "But worthy of a million of your tax dollars to build a museum? Hillary Clinton thinks so."

McCain's campaign has focused its criticism on spending run amok as what is wrong in Washington. The ad also points to McCain's record fighting such spending.

"He's been cutting wasteful spending for more than 20 years," the announcer says. "That's why Citizens Against Government Waste calls John McCain a taxpayer hero."

The theme echoes one McCain started airing on Thursday, contrasting images of Woodstock with his years as a Vietnam POW. It included McCain's first punch line based on the Woodstock museum, spoken during Sunday's Fox News Channel debate.

"Now my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time," he said, referring to being held prisoner in North Vietnam.

That ad, however, prompted a request from Fox News Channel to stop airing it because the cable network bars candidates from using debate clips in ads. The network filed a cease and desist letter to McCain, who rejected their request.

A McCain aide said the new ad has nothing to do with a Fox News Channel request. Both ads will continue in New Hampshire.

Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand offered the same response she had to the first ad.

"Again, Senator McCain should focus more on explaining to New Hampshire voters why he supported the fiscally irresponsible Bush policies that squandered a federal surplus and left us with the largest deficit in American history," Strand said.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Analysis: It's Clinton's race to lose...

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer Thu Oct 25, 6:38 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Memo to the Democratic presidential candidates: You can still beat Hillary Rodham Clinton, but you better act fast.

The former first lady looks more likely to win the nomination every day, showing strength in polling, fundraising and setting the campaign agenda.

She's so strong, in fact, that the race has become about her. And Democratic operatives from presidential campaigns past and present say the only way for any other candidate to win the nomination is to make an even stronger case against her.

"If this were a wedding, we'd be at the 'speak now or forever hold your peace' part," said Steve McMahon, who advised Howard Dean in 2004. "If you're a candidate hoping to get past her, the time for nuance and veiled references has passed."

There is always the chance that Clinton could make an error in the next couple of months that would hurt her chances. Some argue that her vote against Iran at a time when anti-war Democrats are concerned about war there has the potential to damage her standing.

But Democratic insiders, including some working on various 2008 campaigns who spoke on condition of anonymity, agree that barring a major stumble, Clinton is all but sure to win the nomination if she wins the opening contest in Iowa. She is polling well in the states that follow, and no one else would be able to challenge her unless an Iowa loss made her look vulnerable.

"If Hillary wins Iowa, she can practically start shopping for a running mate," said California-based Democratic strategist Dan Newman.

But that's a big if. Clinton has called Iowa her "hardest state," and it's the best — some say only — chance her opponents have to get past her.

"At this point the trailing candidates need to not only catch a huge wave, they also need one to crash on top of Hillary," Newman said. "They need to upend the conventional wisdom that is gelling among donors and others that she can't be stopped, and they need to prove it in Iowa."

The most recent polls in the state show a close race among Clinton and fellow Sens. John Edwards and Barack Obama.

Edwards has been making a more vigorous case recently against Clinton's ability to win a general election. He's also led criticisms of her that have been picked up by other candidates — that she's too connected to lobbyists and that her vote to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization could be a repeat of her mistake in voting for the Iraq war.

Those criticisms haven't hurt her yet, but they could as more people begin to pay closer attention in the closing days of the race. Some advise that the Clinton campaign should consider fighting back against Edwards or anyone else who takes her on so directly.

"While Edwards is attacking her as being unelectable, the GOP is also saying she is polarizing and out of the mainstream," said Donna Brazile, who ran Al Gore's campaign in 2000. "Time to deck them or push back."

Joe Biden and Chris Dodd have been more aggressively criticizing her on foreign policy. Obama says there needs to be a change away from Washington insiders while generally avoiding mention of her name.

And at a time when Obama needs to be winning voters away from Clinton, instead he's been playing defense. Just this week he's been under fire from gay activists who objected to a participant in his gospel concert series, and his campaign agreed to return some donations after The Washington Post reported that they came from children.

Most of those interviewed say Obama needs to get tougher on Clinton.

"I don't buy this `Politics of Hope' means you can't engage the next candidate," said strategist Jamal Simmons. "People want to be hopeful, but people want to know you are tough enough to win and you are tough enough to lead the country."

In comparison to Obama, Simmons said, "people are very clear what John Edwards is running for. He's there fighting for the working man and woman, and he's taking his shots. Even at some times he may seem to the outside world to be too strident and hitting it too hard. But he's hitting, and people respect that."

But some inside the Clinton and Obama camps think it would be a mistake for Obama to go on the attack in a multi-candidate race. They ask: Why not sit back and let Edwards and others try to take her down, while he tries to rise above?

"I think with name ID as high as Senator Clinton's, there is little new information about her that would change voter's minds," said Erik Smith, who worked for Dick Gephardt in 2004. "A candidate can move late in Iowa if making a strong case for themselves as the best candidate to win the general."

That happened in the last Iowa presidential primary. In 2004, Dean was the front-runner, and Gephardt went after him hard. Dean and Gephardt fell into third and fourth place respectively in the caucus, behind John Kerry and Edwards.

"Her opponents will have opportunities to slow her down, but the risks of doing what that will take come at a considerable risk," said Democratic consultant Michael Feldman, who works for Gore. He is not aligned with any campaign this election cycle, but has donated to Clinton. "Take Senator Obama, for example. It's hard to slash and burn when you have said that you want to move beyond negative campaigning. He runs a serious risk of undermining his brand."

And there's no indication it would work since she's done well with what's come at her so far. "There is no doubt that she will be tested, but she is running the kind of campaign that indicates her ability to roll through those inevitable challenges," Feldman said.


EDITOR'S NOTE — Nedra Pickler covers the Democratic presidential race for The Associated Press.

McCain Rejects Fox Request to Cease Ad

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican John McCain on Thursday rejected a Fox News Channel request to stop airing a television ad that includes footage of the presidential candidate at a debate sponsored by the cable network.

In the ad, McCain is shown at the debate saying: "A few days ago, Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock concert museum."

"Now my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event," he says. "I was tied up at the time." It was a reference to the 5 1/2 years McCain spent in a North Vietnamese prison.

The Fox News logo is in the corner of the ad.

But Fox News bars candidates from using debate clips in ads, and officials there sent a cease and desist letter to McCain. McCain rejected the request, arguing that he is within the law's "fair use" rights to use an 18-second clip of a 90-minute debate.

The ad began running Thursday in New Hampshire and is slated to air during the pre-game of the World Series Game 2 between the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies. The dispute isn't likely to be resolved before then.

Giuliani Now Leads Clinton in Florida, Poll Finds (Update1)

Giuliani Now Leads Clinton in Florida, Poll Finds (Update1)

By Nadine Elsibai

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has taken the lead over Senator Hillary Clinton among Florida voters in a head-to-head match-up of the 2008 presidential candidates, a Quinnipiac University poll found.

Giuliani received 46 percent support compared with 43 percent for the New York senator, the exact reverse of the results in a similar poll two weeks ago. The gap is within the poll's 3.1 percentage point margin of error.

Giuliani, a Republican, and Clinton, a Democrat, are the respective frontrunners in surveys measuring their support in the race for each party's presidential nomination.

``Florida has swung back to give Mayor Giuliani a slight edge over Senator Clinton,'' said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. ``This has gone back and forth since the campaign began this year and reflects just how up for grabs Florida's electoral votes will be.''

Florida ranks fourth in the nation in electoral votes with 27, behind California, Texas and New York. George W. Bush defeated former Vice President Al Gore by 527 votes in Florida in 2000, giving him the presidency while losing the national popular vote.

The poll of 1,025 Florida voters by Hamden, Connecticut- based Quinnipiac University was conducted Oct. 17-22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadine Elsibai in Washington at .

Last Updated: October 25, 2007 12:14 EDT

Crime Bosses Considered Hit on Giuliani

Crime Bosses Considered Hit on GiulianiU.S. Attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani in 1987, with his prosecutors, John Savarese, Michael Chertoff and Gil Childers. (Photo: Mario Suriani/Associated Press)

In 1987, when Rudolph Giuliani was still the aggressive United States attorney in Manhattan, he came within single vote of having a contract put on his head by the leaders of the five New York organized crime families, according to an F.B.I. memo read in a Brooklyn courtroom yesterday.

“That was one vote I won I guess,” Mr. Giuliani said this morning on Mike Gallagher’s syndicated radio show.

The vote was taken during the famous “commission case” in which Mr. Giuliani and Michael Chertoff, who is now homeland security chief, prosecuted the five families as a single criminal enterprise.

The memo’s author, Roy Lindley DeVecchio, is a former F.B.I. supervisor now standing trial on charges that he helped his prize informant, Gregory Scarpa Sr., commit four murders in the 1980s and 1990s. Brooklyn prosecutors have accused Mr. DeVecchio of tipping Mr. Scarpa to arrests and to other F.B.I. cooperators. Mr. DeVecchio’s lawyers have entered the memo into evidence.

“On Sept. 17, 1987, source advised that recent information disclosed that approximately a year ago all five New York LCN families discussed the idea of killing USA Rudy Giuliani, and John Gotti and Carmine Persico were in favor of the hit. The bosses of the Luchese and Bonnano and Genovese families rejected the idea, despite strong efforts to convince them otherwise by Gotti and Persico,” the memo states, according to the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.

On the radio this morning, Mr. Giuliani said he received a number of similar warnings over the years from the F.B.I.

“You get used to living with it,” he said, according to a transcript provided by his campaign. “You say to yourself ‘It’s worth doing what you are doing and it’s always a remote possibility.’”

Mr. Giuliani joked that when he was first United States attorney, a crime group put out a contract on his life for $800,000, but five years later another group set the price at $400,000.

“If I were a company, my market cap would have been cut in half,” he said.

It looks like the last laugh goes to Mr. Giuliani. Carmine Persico is serving life in federal prison, and John Gotti died in prison in 2002.

Teacher jailed, suspected of sex with teen student

Teacher jailed, suspected of sex with teen student
The Salt Lake Tribune

A Hurricane High School teacher was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of rape for allegedly having sex with one of her students. Hurricane police have accused 29-year-old Cris Lynn Morris of having sex with a male juvenile at least five times. Police did not say when or where the alleged encounters occurred, but said the student was too young to consent to the alleged sexual contact.
Morris was booked into the Washington County jail Wednesday. She was also placed on administrative leave, according to Washington County School District officials. - Jason Bergreen

Thompson Plays Down Staff Loss

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) — Republican Fred Thompson played down a staff member's departure and a New Hampshire supporter's defection Wednesday, saying it's not up to him to know what's going on at every level of his presidential campaign.

"This is a campaign with a lot of different moving parts and a lot of things going on simultaneously," Thompson said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The campaign recently lost Nelson Warfield, a political media strategist, and New Hampshire Republican Dan Hughes said he had switched to John McCain's team.

"You know, the campaign can address that. I can't really address who's doing — and who was doing — exactly what at every level of this campaign," Thompson said after speaking to about 300 people at a restaurant in South Carolina. "They're the ones who know what's going on on a daily basis. ... I'll let the experts speak on that."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Left Wing Blogger "Jason The" Thinks it was funny my airplane crashed

I stumbled across this post by "Jason The" and was totally shocked that anybody would make fun of an airplane crash. I tried to post this comment on his site, but he has me blocked. Free speech?

Totally Sick Dude

10/10/2007 2:46 PM

Jason The said...

Sting operation, huh?

Like this one?

10/10/2007 8:04 PM

The Spyglass said...


Would you have felt better if I was killed?

What a terrible thing to post.

I joke around a lot about internet stuff, but this was no joking matter. I could have easily been killed had a fire started.

I feel terrible for you if you dislike someone who posts on a blog that you don't agree with that you would like to see them die.

Mark Towner

10/24/2007 10:16 AM

This picture was taken during my wifes congressional campaign in 2002. This was an early am departure to one of the county conventions. This is a Beech B-55 Baron High Performance Twin, and was my baby.


Buy Home Depot Stock Quick

The southern California wildfires are shown in this satellite image provided by NASA on October 23, 2007. Wildfires burned unchecked today in southern California with hundreds of thousands of people forced to evacuate, and at least 700 homes destroyed. REUTERS/NASA/Handout (UNITED STATES)


Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Poll Watch: Looking at Rasmussen's Numbers In Ohio and Michigan

A fan of Fred notices that not only is Thompson starting to creep up on Giuliani as being seen by Republican voters as "the most electable" candidate, that phenomenon can be seen in a key state.

Rasmussen's latest numbers in Ohio have some bright spots for Thompson, and generally a better outlook for the GOP than one might expect:

Forty-eight percent (48%) of Ohio voters have a favorable opinion of Clinton while 50% have a negative view.

On the Republican side, McCain is viewed favorably by 54%. Favorables for both Giuliani and Thompson total 53% while Romney earns positive reviews from 43%. Just 38% have an unfavorable view of Thompson while negative ratings for the other GOP candidates are in the low-to-mid forties...

Rudy Giuliani and John McCain both “lead” Clinton in Ohio by a statistically insignificant two percentage point margin. Fred Thompson is tied with the Democratic frontrunner while Clinton leads Mitt Romney by eight points.

In Michigan, however, Rasmussen has blah news for all the candidates:

Clinton leads Rudy Giuliani in Michigan by nine points (47% to 38%) and holds a thirteen point margin over Thompson (50% to 37%). Those margins are unchanged since August. Two other Republicans, John McCain and Mitt Romney, have gained a bit of ground but still trail Clinton by seven.

Clinton is viewed favorably by 54%, a figure none of the Republicans can match in Michigan. Giuliani and McCain each get positive reviews from 49% of the state’s voters, Romney from 46%, and Thompson from 42%. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Michigan voters know that Romney’s father was once Governor of their state. Only 16%, however, say that’s more likely to make them vote for the younger Romney.

Wasn't Michigan supposed to be Romney's second home state?

RCP Poll Averages

New Romney Ad

New Romney Ad

Here's Mitt Romney's new ad, "Business World," highlighting the candidate's business experience:

Smart. Romney should be doing this more often. He gets battered by conservatives rightly suspicious of his ideological credentials. He should be reminding them that he's also a guy who's seen results in the real world.

More videos in the Vlog.

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GOP Narrows Its Scope

GOP Narrows Its Scope

Back to something we touched on briefly in Morning Thoughts: How are campaigns deciding where to put their resources? Recent trends and FEC filings show a pretty clear-cut picture, and while no campaign will admit to pulling out of an important primary state, some candidates are barely investing in what they think would be a lost cause for them.

The Des Moines Register has an important breakdown of how campaigns are spending their time and money in Iowa these days. Mitt Romney, polling first with 26.3% in the latest RCP Iowa Average, 11 points higher than Fred Thompson and 12.5 points higher than Mike Huckabee, has clearly invested the most in the state. He has by far the most staff, 67 (next highest number: Thompson and Rudy Giuliani, with 12 each) has run the only television ads, and has won the most state legislator endorsements, at 15.

Continue reading "GOP Narrows Its Scope" »

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Huckabee outrunning his GOP companions

Scot Lehigh
Huckabee outrunning his GOP companions
By Scot Lehigh, Globe Columnist October 24, 2007
Concord, N.H.

THE BEST description of what's happening with Mike Huckabee may just be the old joke about the two lawyers who are out on a hike when they startle a large bear. The first lawyer whips open his briefcase, removes a pair of running shoes, and puts them on.
"Do you really think you can outrun the bear?" the second asks.
His companion offers this, ah, grizzly reply: "I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you."
Outrunning one's companions has long been the challenge for the second-tier presidential candidates in this large Republican field. It's a challenge Huckabee has steadily met. Consider the way things are breaking for this latest aspirant from Hope, Ark.
Last week, the campaign bear, having already devoured Jim Gilmore and Tommy Thompson, pounced upon Sam Brownback.
The departure of the conservative Kansan gives Huckabee, a Baptist minister by training, a clearer path to court religious voters.
On Friday, the former Arkansas governor got a favorable column from David Brooks, the New York Times's influential conservative. On Saturday, Huckabee finished close behind Mitt Romney in a straw poll of the Values Voter Summit, a group of Christian conservatives.
Meanwhile, a recent Rasmussen survey has him tied for second with Fred Thompson in Iowa, with neither far behind Romney.
Watching him on the stump, it's easy to see why Huckabee is winning notice. Down to earth and likable, he's also an engaging speaker, both smart and funny. And he seems more aware than his Republican rivals that the economy isn't working for everyone.
As a man who dropped more than 100 pounds after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2003, he incorporates an unusual pitch into his speech: Americans need more exercise and better health habits.
But beneath his folksy veneer is the rhetorical ability, and the carefully honed arguments, of a trained seminarian.
To my eye, both he and Ron Paul, the Texas congressman, have the potential to surprise in the Granite State.
Paul's appeal is that he's a different kind of Republican, one willing to break with party orthodoxy and declare the Iraq war a mistake.
Huckabee, who says we must persevere in Iraq, resists saying the same.
"Just because we didn't find them [weapons of mass destruction] doesn't mean they're not there," he said in an interview, speculating, among other things, that they might have been secreted away to Syria. (The Iraq Survey Group found no evidence of that.)
As a candidate, he's feuded with the antitax zealots at the Club for Growth over his fiscal record in Arkansas, which included higher taxes. "Governors have to govern," he tells me. "You don't get the luxury of being a pure ideologue."
So why has he signed a pledge never to raise the income tax? Because he supports a consumption tax - the so-called Fair Tax - to replace the income tax altogether, he explains. It's a big idea, and one that will come under scrutiny if his candidacy grows.
And well it may: Follow Huckabee for a morning and you quickly conclude that, lackluster fund-raising notwithstanding, his stock has been badly undervalued.
But what does he say to voters who, after suffering through George W. Bush, a president whose stubborn certitude seems rooted in part in his religious beliefs, have grown wary of religion in politics?
"I don't think they're electing me to be their pastor," he says, "but I don't think they're offended by the fact that I have deep convictions." He continues: "What I find about New Hampshire people is, what they want is authenticity. If they don't agree with me, they at least want to know that I'm going to stand flat-footed and say, OK, don't agree with me, but here I am. They like that."
Do they really? One might well respect Huckabee's sincerity, but if you are a moderate Republican or an independent who, say, favors a change of course in Iraq or abortion rights or gun control or fair treatment for gays and lesbians, Huckabee is unlikely to become your candidate.
Still, the other side of that non-equivocation equation should help him. In a field where the leading candidates have thus far proved unpalatable or unconvincing to the Republican base, Huckabee is a true believer, a committed, consistent conservative.
Now that he's outrun his second-tier rivals, don't be surprised to see his candidacy take off.
Scot Lehigh's e-mail address is

Romney Slip: Another Osama-Obama Mix-Up

Romney Slip: Another Osama-Obama Mix-Up
By GLEN JOHNSON – 6 hours ago
GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) — In a slip of the tongue, Republican Mitt Romney accused Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama of urging terrorists to congregate in Iraq.
In the midst of criticizing Obama and other Democrats on foreign and economic policy Tuesday, the GOP presidential hopeful said:
"Actually, just look at what Osam — Barack Obama — said just yesterday. Barack Obama, calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield. ... It's almost as if the Democratic contenders for president are living in fantasyland. Their idea for jihad is to retreat, and their idea for the economy is to also retreat. And in my view, both efforts are wrongheaded."
Romney apparently was referring to an audiotape aired Monday in which a speaker believed to be terrorist Osama bin Laden called for insurgents in Iraq to unite and avoid divisions. The authenticity of the tape aired on Al-Jazeera television could not be immediately confirmed.
Romney was addressing a Chamber of Commerce meeting. Spokesman Kevin Madden said: "He misspoke. He was referring to the audiotape of Osama bin Laden and misspoke. It was just a mix-up."
Romney's campaign refused to make him available later at either of his final two stops to discuss the matter.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "Apparently, Mitt Romney can switch names just as casually as he switches positions, but what's wrongheaded is continuing a misguided war in Iraq that has left America less safe."

Presidential Hopefuls Wives Trade Tales

Presidential Hopefuls Wives Trade Tales
By BETH FOUHY – 5 hours ago
NEW YORK (AP) — The wives of five 2008 presidential hopefuls on Tuesday traded tales of juggling their kids, marriages and self-esteem in the maelstrom of a national campaign.
Republicans Cindy McCain, Jeri Thompson and Ann Romney joined Democrats Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards at the California Women's Conference, an annual gathering in Long Beach hosted by Maria Shriver, the state's first lady. Shriver, a former television news anchor, moderated the panel.
Political differences scarcely were mentioned during the hourlong discussion as they described how they keep up a grueling schedule of campaign appearances while trying to preserve time with their children and protect their husbands from overzealous handlers.
They held hands and exchanged hugs as the panel concluded.
All said they had little input on policy matters. And they largely rejected the notion made famous by Bill Clinton in the 1992 campaign when he described his partnership with his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as "Buy one, get one free."
Hillary Clinton, now the Democratic front-runner and only woman in the presidential contest, was never mentioned. Her husband, the former president, did not attend the spouses' panel, but Shriver joked that she had invited him to serve coffee. Also absent was Republican Rudy Giuliani's wife, Judith.
Thompson, a former Republican party strategist and wife of GOP contender Fred Thompson, dismissed widely reported accounts of her heavy involvement in his campaign.
"I have a 1-year-old ... I also have a 4-year-old. That's my main role," Thompson said. "Other than that, I do what I can to help. But I'm not even qualified enough to do any of the other stuff."
Obama, a lawyer and vice president of the University of Chicago hospital system, said she often discusses policy issues with her husband, Democrat Barack Obama. But she said he ultimately keeps his own counsel on such matters.
"In the end, I go to my job and I make decisions on my job and those are my decisions. He goes to his job and makes the decisions on his job. And I would like to think that he had the good sense to understand that usually I am correct," she said to laughs and applause.
Edwards and McCain were the panel's campaign veterans, having been at their husbands' side in previous presidential efforts. Republican John McCain lost George W. Bush in the 2000 GOP primaries, while John Edwards lost the Democratic nomination to John Kerry in 2004 before becoming Kerry's running mate.
McCain, for her part, marveled at the "absolute wonder and beauty" of the campaign experience and how much it had helped her relationship with her husband.
"It's just the two of us," McCain said. "We're close friends, we are our worst critics and our best friends. He advises me on everything, I advise him on everything ... You need a friend, a booster, and he is definitely there."
Edwards, who has incurable breast cancer, was asked what dreams she had been forced to put on hold for the campaign.
She described how she had looked forward to walking with her husband through the woods near their North Carolina home once the campaign was over. Her illness had caused her to rethink those plans, she said.
"John didn't take it away from me. Fate took it away from me," she said.
Romney, the wife of GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, said the life of a campaign spouse is simply a magnified version of what many women struggle with each day. She acknowledged Edwards' breast cancer and noted that she suffers from multiple sclerosis.
"At some point, our bodies, as women, finally say 'Uncle,'" Romney said. I truly believe because we are juggling so many balls all the time, and trying to keep it together, we forget to take care of ourselves."
On the Net:

McCain says he wants to shoot Osama

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
McCain says he wants to shoot Osama
ROCHESTER, N.H. -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain told workers of small weapons factory that he not only wants to catch Osama Bin Laden if elected, but said he "will shoot him with your products".
"I will follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell and I will shoot him with your products," McCain said.
McCain told reporters afterward he was joking when he made the comment at Thompson Center Arms in Rochester.
"I certainly didn't mean I would actually shoot him. I am certainly angry at him, but I was only speaking in a way that was trying to emphasize my point," McCain said. "I would not shoot him myself."
Posted by James Pindell at 03:44 PM

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Associated Press series on teacher sex abuse

Hidden Violations

Before being swamped by the Associated Press series on teacher sex abuse (click the related stories links for other episodes in the series), Scott Reeder of Small Newspaper Group had his own devastating series on teacher misconduct.

Although parents will find the numbers alarming, I think they are relatively small considering the incredible number of people working in public education. I suspect there are far fewer criminals working in our public schools than in most other professions. The real outrage lies in the cursory investigations, cover-ups, and failures to punish and decertify admitted offenders that often accompany these cases.

The fear of false accusations would be less of a problem if educators had confidence that the system would conduct a fair and thorough investigation and uncover the truth. Too often, both administration and union are more concerned with their own reputations and liability than with the facts of the case.

It would be unfortunate if these series left the impression that sexual predators are running rampant through our nation's schools. That is clearly not the case. But parents need assurance that the few existing predators are not being shuffled off to another district in the name of legal and public relations expediency. |

Utah Anti-Voucher Phone Calls May Be from Out-of-State.

Communiqué for the Week of October 22, 2007:
To subscribe to the e-mail version, simply send a request to It's all handled by human beings, not
e-mail autobots, so plain English works fine!

1) Utah Anti-Voucher Phone Calls May Be from Out-of-State. The Associated Press ran a story on Friday noting that the Arizona Education Association will be providing volunteers to help fight the Utah Education Association's battle against Referendum 1, which would establish school vouchers in the state. The AP quaintly calls the effort "a telephone tree" but in fact it is only part of a large-scale NEA effort to involve its members all over the country to answer automatically dialed calls to Utah voters.

Using standard telemarketing techniques, a computer will dial the phone numbers of Utah voters on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7 and 10 p.m. and Saturdays from 3 to 6 p.m. If a voter answers the phone, the call is routed to the NEA volunteer in Arizona, North Carolina, or any other state, because the call information and campaign script is available to anyone registered with the union as a volunteer and logged in to its password-protected account at

So if you get an anti-voucher campaign call in the next few weeks, you might want to ask the caller for the quickest way to get from Provo to Ogden.

2) Utah's $3 Million Question. On August 20, EIA published an exclusive report that the NEA Board of Directors had held an emergency telephone conference call to discuss and vote on the Utah Education Association's request for $3 million to defeat the ballot referendum on school vouchers. The board approved the request, though because I didn't have the vote totals, I used some qualifying language in the original report.

People who trust EIA's content, including the Wall Street Journal, picked up the story, and the $3 million figure has been widely disseminated. For two months, however, I have been baffled by the reluctance of the teachers' union and its allies to acknowledge the total. A sum of $1.5 million had already been sent (and mostly spent) by September 17, a full seven weeks before the election. Still, the UEA executive director called the $3 million figure "speculative," and NEA President Reg Weaver refused to even address the question, despite repeated prodding by Education Week.

I have since confirmed from other sources that my original reporting was accurate and correct, that UEA's request was for $3 million, that the money has and will come from the union's national ballot initiative fund, and I now have the additional information that the request was approved by the NEA board of directors via an Internet voting system by a count of 126 to 1. Given time and a break from other tasks, I'm sure I could eventually learn who the lone "nay" vote was.

I certainly understand, and encourage, caution before believing news from unidentified sources. But this secrecy over NEA's contribution to the Utah anti-voucher campaign (not to mention the union's connection to Communities for Quality Education) illustrates why those sources cannot be identified, and why the union's claims cannot be trusted to include the whole truth.

3) CTA Dealing With Some Internal Unrest. The California Teachers Association is devoting itself wholeheartedly to the No Child Left Behind Act reauthorization battle, but it has a couple of fights at home as well.

The bitter and embarrassing feuds within the Teachers Association of Long Beach finally prompted CTA to take drastic action. Last Thursday, the state union established a trusteeship over the local, placing former CTA President Barbara Kerr in charge.

Kerr told the Long Beach Press Telegram it was the first time CTA had taken such an action in 25 years.

Meanwhile, the faculty at Pasadena City College voted by a resounding 2-to-1 margin to disaffiliate from CTA and form an independent union, perhaps as a prelude to affiliating with the California Federation of Teachers.

Agency fee was a big issue in the disaffiliation vote, though there was also general discontent over the use of dues. "It felt like I was throwing money in the Mirror Pools," said one faculty member.

4) Three Quick Questions. A) If "The Simpsons Movie" had been rated G, instead of PG-13, would it be appropriate to show to at least four different sets of elementary school students in class?

B) Can your school district afford to hire a food critic?

C) Why is it pro-teacher to cite the tendency of female teachers to interrupt their careers for parenting in the context of pension benefits, but anti-teacher to cite it in the context of attrition claims (see Item #2 here)?

5) Another Blast from the Past. Remember Wayne Kruse (see Item #6 here)? The former president of the Lawrence Education Association in Kansas was convicted of embezzling more than $95,000 from the union and ordered to pay restitution. He's back in the news because now, two years later, he has only paid back $6,000.

6) NCLB May Leave You Limp. received a letter last week from an author that I can't even begin to describe. Here is the direct link to the letter. The book itself is listed on iUniverse. But I can't find any mention anywhere of the "California Research and Policy Institute," or its slogan "Working for Progressive Change Since 1980." There's the Research and Policy Institute of California, but I doesn't look like they have anything to do with Mr. Teasdale, who is also an Internet cipher except for his authorship of this tome.

7) Last Week's Intercepts. EIA's blog, Intercepts, covered these topics from October 15-22:

* Sorry, I Can't Join the Party. New York City's new performance pay program mistakes means for ends.

* Maine Learns a Lesson About District Consolidation. So much for economies of scale. And here's why.

* Hidden Violations. Teacher misconduct is rare. Cover-ups, however, are disproportionately high.

8) Quote of the Week #1. "Has anyone been fired because of this fiasco?" – United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy, referring not to the district's poor academic performance, but its ongoing payroll problems. (October 12 United Teacher)

Quote of the Week #2. "Nobody would want the government to run 90 percent of the nation's entertainment industry. Nobody thinks that 90 percent of all housing should be owned by the state. Yet the government's control of 90 percent of the nation's schools leaves most Americans strangely unconcerned." – Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby. (October 17 Boston Globe)