Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


This one could get interesting. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (R) took conservative heat in 2004 when he endorsed Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in the primary. Now he seems to be taking heat from Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) who is actually running against Specter in this year's Democratic primary. Sestak appears eager to find in others that which has been dogging him - a scandal involving trades for political favor.

This tack Sestak is taking really couldn't be more transparent and odds are the White House isn't the least bit happy about his latest comments. They could - and should - spur the White House press corps. to question Robert Gibbs about the whole "Jobsgate" scandal.

Sestak has found himself mired in a percolating scandal after admitting to a talk show host in February that the Obama administration offered him a job if he dropped out of the primary against Specter. Whether demonstrating hyper-sensitivity or having a valid point, Sestak has apparently decided to go after Santorum for comments he made in reference to the latter's endorsement of Specter in 2004.

POLITICO quotes Santorum, who responded to a question about why he supported Specter over Toomey in 2004:
"The reason I endorsed Arlen Specter is because we were going to have two Supreme Court nominees coming up," said Santorum, responding to a question at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. "I got a commitment from Arlen Specter that no matter who George W. Bush would nominate, he would support that nominee," he added.
This has the ring of misery wanting company. If this is a battle Sestak is going to pick, he's going to lose. Offering one's endorsement to the head of the Senate Judiciary committee in return for fast tracking the president's judicial nominees doesn't quite rise to the level of being offered a cushy job by the White House in return for dropping out of a Senate primary race.

After all, the senate's job is to offer advice and consent when it comes to judicial nominees. Specter understandably denied Santorum's claim but Sestak, in making this an issue, comes across as being overly concerned about being alienated by attempting to get others to join him in the frying pan. He's comparing what the White House offered him with what Santorum alleges was agreed on between he and Specter. It doesn't measure up and this speaks to how much this scandal is inside Sestak's head.

Santorum was wrong in endorsing Specter in 2004. He obviously did so because Specter would yield more power than would a freshman Senator in Toomey. Now Specter is no longer a RINO - he's a Democrat.

This may be a sign that Sestak is really getting uncomfortable with Jobsgate. Jeffrey Lord at American Spectator has been following this story quite closely and his most recent article goes right for the jugular - Sestak's honor relative to the oath he took as a Midshipman. Could it be that Sestak's conscience is beginning to hound him a bit more loudly lately?

More on Lord's work here.


The Ombudsman at the Washington Post, Andrew Alexander actually does a decent job of encapsulating the controversy over the alleged racial slurs and spit hurled at members of the Congressional Black Congress who intentionally did NOT use the tunnel on their trips to and from the Capitol on March 20th. It was the day prior to the health care vote on Sunday, March 21st.

Alexander references the alleged spitting incident, which took place as the congressmen walked up the steps not of the Capitol as Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's (D-MO) statement claims but the Cannon House Office Building.
YouTube videos show the spitting incident took place as Cleaver and other black lawmakers passed through a gantlet of rowdy protesters on the steps outside the Cannon House Office Building.
I noted the discrepancy between that video and Cleaver's claim here.

Also very much to Alexander's credit, he assumes responsibility for the Post not doing its due diligence.
With videos of the incident so prevalent on liberal and conservative Web sites, and with the question being so widely raised in the blogosphere and on cable channels, The Post was remiss in not providing clarity by quickly dissecting what happened. (Cleaver's office did not return repeated calls seeking comment for this column.)
This is HUGE. I am absolutely willing to put down the gloves - not throw them down - when someone like Alexander admits to this kind of error. Playing "gotcha" only serves to help the opposition build a thicker wall next time. Hats off to Alexander for going this route.

As for the slurs, Alexander doesn't take a side - that's what ombudsmen do, right - but instead paints a "he said, she said" picture of conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart pitting his $100,000 reward for anyone producing video evidence of the "N" word being hurled against a gaggle of Congressional BlacK Caucus members who gave passionate and believable accounts that no one should doubt.
Through spokesman Justin Ohlemiller, Carson stands by his assertion. The spokeswoman for Lewis, Brenda Jones, insists he and his chief of staff heard repeated uses of the N-word. They are declining interviews, she said, because they don't want to "fan the flames of destructive language."

Breitbart's $100,000 challenge may be publicity-seeking theater. But it's part of widespread conservative claims that mainstream media, including The Post, swallowed a huge fabrication. The incidents are weeks old, but it's worth assigning Post reporters to find the truth. After all, a civil rights legend is being called a liar. That aside, there's serious money at stake.
I find it incredibly interesting that the reason given by these CBC members who intentionally didn't use the tunnel but instead walked through angry crowds - presumably to capture a reaction on video - are now claiming they don't want to speak further on the issue out of concern for "fanning the flames". If a video magically surfaces and Breitbart has to pay up, what are the odds Carson fans the flames with all that money?

h/t to Gateway Pundit


There is tacit sentiment out there that no one should jump to conclusions when it comes to what caused the Polish airliner carrying Polish president Lech Kaczynski and nearly one hundred top officials, to crash in Smolensk, Russia. I agree with that. That also should go for the conclusion that it was pilot error, weather, or anything else.

In reading a report from the Times Online, two new facts seem to jump out. The first is a report that the plane carrying Kacynski was dumping fuel prior to attempting to land. This almost necessarily indicates a mechanical problem:
Russia Today and other television stations reported that even before the first attempt to land, the pilot had been dumping fuel — indicating some form of mechanical problem — so by the fourth attempt there was no alternative but to put the aircraft down.
If true, this could likely mean that weather - heavy fog - was not the sole cause of the crash.

Another part of the report seems to provide a possible reason for why the pilot would ignore Air Traffic Control (ATC) after being repeatedly told to divert to Moscow or Minsk:
Kaczynski, whose body was also said to have been found, was a former anti-communist campaigner with a penchant for taunting the Kremlin. He had every reason to believe he was not welcome in Russia. Polish observers said he may have interpreted an order to divert to Moscow as an attempt to sabotage his big day in Katyn, where he was due to attend a mass and give a speech.

Russian media reports said he had once become angry with a pilot who refused to land in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, on the grounds that it was unsafe. The same thing may have happened at Smolensk, aviation experts claimed. They suggested he may have pressed the pilot to make at least two attempts to land.
There is every reason to believe that relations between Putin and Kacynski were tense and strained before the crash:
Kaczynski was not invited to Putin’s event and there was no promise of a warm welcome at the Smolensk airfield yesterday. He was determined to attend the commemoration, though — not, as he put it, “to inflame relations with Russia”, but to support 400 relatives of the victims who were expected to be there. “I hope I get a visa,” he had joked.
Kacynski also backed Georgia in 2008 when Russia invaded:
Kaczynski had angered the Kremlin by siding with Georgia in its brief war with Russia in 2008. Tensions between the two countries grew when Poland agreed to host an American missile defence system. Relations have remained frosty despite Obama’s decision to opt for a simpler version of the system.
Think of the odds. In 1940, over 20,000 Polish officials were gunned down by Stalin's Secret Police (early KGB). Then, in 2010 - 70 years later - the Polish president and several top officials go down in a plane crash en route to commemorating the atrocity. As if that weren't enough to raise skepticism, this isn't the first time a plane carrying people headed to Russia for the purpose of the Katyn massacres went down:
Some Poles saw a connection between Kaczynski’s death and that of Wladyslaw Sikorski, a leader killed in a mysterious plane crash in Gibraltar in 1943 just as he had started delving into events at Katyn.
As I posted more extensively here, Andrew Osborn wrote in the Independent that there are 20 journalists who have mysteriously lost their lives under Putin's reign. One of them - Artyom Borovik - died in a plane crash:
Senior executive at investigative magazine 'Completely Secret' that exposed the misdeeds of the rich and powerful. Died on 3 March 2000 in a plane crash that the authorities believe may not have been accidental.
For the record, I am 100% on board with not jumping to conclusions. The same should go for those who are already willing to disregard foul play.

Link to Times Online piece.
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