links for 2009-09-29

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  • In the ongoing uproar over her scant voting record, GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has offered the latest in a string of explanations her campaign has been giving since the Bee reported last week that it couldn't find any record Whitman had registered to vote before 2002.

    Whitman told reporters today she "was not as engaged as I should have been over the last 20 or 30 years" because she "was focused on raising a family, on my husband's career, we moved many, many times."

    She made her remarks after addressing the Republican Women Federated groups of Yolo, Sacramento and Solano counties.

    (tags: Meg_Whitman)
  • Monica Lewinsky may not always have been the intern most likely to succeed when it came to catching Bubba's wandering eye in the White House.

    So says former political staffer Stacy Parker Aab, who claims she had her own close call, sexually, with the President in the new HarperCollins book "Government Girl: Young and Female in the White House," slated for a January release
    Another Bimbo Eruption

    (tags: bill_clinton)
  • Abortion opponents in both the House and the Senate are seeking to block the millions of middle- and lower-income people who might receive federal insurance subsidies to help them buy health coverage from using the money on plans that cover abortion. And the abortion opponents are getting enough support from moderate Democrats that both sides say the outcome is too close to call. Opponents of abortion cite as precedent a 30-year-old ban on the use of taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions.

    Abortion-rights supporters say such a restriction would all but eliminate from the marketplace private plans that cover the procedure, pushing women who have such coverage to give it up. Nearly half of those with employer-sponsored health plans now have policies that cover abortion, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • Two members of the Senate Finance Committee plan to put their Democratic colleagues on the spot on Tuesday by offering amendments on whether to give uninsured Americans the opportunity to join a government insurance program.
    While health care reform legislation in the House and an alternate plan in the Senate have included a so-called "public option," the Finance Committee's version, which Republicans haven't rejected completely, has not included a government-sponsored provision.

    Sens. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Chuck Schumer of New York planned to offer the amendments last week before the action was delayed.

    It's not clear whether the two Democrats have the votes on the committee to get their amendments passed. But it is clear that the debate could be contentious, if last week's discussion was any indication, with Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona banging his fist on the table in an effort to be heard.

    (tags: Obamacare)
  • But, if we're talking about letting the left "set the rules", Mr Marcus' column reminded me of a larger point: Don't take your opponents at face value; listen to what they're really saying. What does the frenzy unleashed on Sarah Palin last fall tell us? What does Newsweek's "Mad Man" cover on Glenn Beck mean? Why have "civility" drones like Joe Klein so eagerly adopted Anderson Cooper's scrotal "teabagging" slur and characterized as "racists" and "terrorists" what are (certainly by comparison with the anti-G20 crowd) the best behaved and tidiest street agitators in modern history?

    They're telling you who they really fear. Whom the media gods would destroy they first make into "mad men". Liz Cheney should be due for the treatment any day now.

    (tags: mark_steyn)
  • As California grapples with an aging water-delivery network, growing population, worsening water quality, a drought and the potentially far-reaching effects of global climate change, dams are again on the table.

    Last month Schwarzenegger insisted he would not sign off on any major overhaul of the water system without money for new dams and reservoirs.

    The governor has the support of conservatives and the vast Central Valley, where many farmers are convinced that new, man-made lakes will help offset dry spells and ease the federal rulings that have cut water pumped through the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

  • In fact, as The Bee revealed and she finally acknowledged at the GOP convention, she didn't register to vote in California until 2002 and didn't declare her Republicanism until two years ago. "She misspoke, and it was wrong," her spokeswoman said.

    Whitman herself did what she usually does when faced with tough questions from reporters � she clammed up. "I've said what I'm going to say about it, so thanks for that," she responded as reporters tried to question her about why she failed to vote.

    Business moguls are often surrounded by sycophantic aides who shield them from critical questioning. Politicians can't hide, and if they try, they come across as cowardly and not ready for prime time.

    (tags: Meg_Whitman)
  • The public option limped out of August, battered and left to die in the Senate.

    But its supporters are working hard this week to bring it back, against the odds, with a series of high-profile votes in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.

    Supporters don’t expect any of versions of the public option to survive the Finance Committee votes. But the exposure is a welcome breakthrough, supporters say, after critics impugned optional, government-run health care plans all summer.

    The key now is momentum, and backers are doing everything they can to convey confidence that President Barack Obama will eventually sign a health care bill into law that includes some sort of government coverage to compete with private insurers.

    (tags: Obamacare)
Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton Fundraiser Norman Hsu Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison on Federal Fraud and Campaign Finance Charges

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captdea8864012e3454191fnm8 Norman Hsu Watch: INDICTED on 15 Counts

Norman Hsu, 56, is escorted into a Redwood City, Calif., courtorom, Friday, Sept. 21, 2007. Hsu on Tuesday was charged with fraud and campaign finance violations in a case that prompted Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton to return hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions

Former Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton fundraiser has been sentenced to 24 years in prison today on federal charges – separate from his earlier California convictions.
Former Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison Tuesday by a judge who accused him of funding his fraud with a “conniving use of the political process.”

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero sentenced Hsu to 20 years in prison for his guilty plea to fraud charges and another four years and four months in prison for his conviction at trial for breaking campaign finance laws.

The judge said Hsu stole more than $50 million from hundreds of investors in a 10-year fraud by winning their confidence with a pristine reputation, even as he ripped them off in a complex Ponzi scheme, a recipe that the judge noted fits many white collar crimes.

He called Hsu a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

He said his “conniving use of the political process to fund his fraud” made his crimes “much more sinister and reprehensible.”

Before he was sentenced, Hsu apologized.

His donations became an embarrassment for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign. His arrest led Clinton to return more than $800,000 to donors linked to Hsu.

Wonder if his hard-won Democrat friends, like Bill and Hillary will send him a cake while he is sitting in Club Fed?

Norman who?


Former Democratic Party Fundraiser Norman Hsu Pleads Guilty in Federal Fraud Case

Hillary Clinton Fundraiser Norman Hsu Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Norman Hsu Watch: INDICTED on 15 Counts

Hillary Clinton Watch: Norman Hsu Case Postponed Amid Rumors of a Plea Deal

Hillary Clinton Watch: Unlikely Chinatown Campaign Contributions Raise More Questions

Bill and Hillary Clinton: Double Trouble

Hillary Clinton Watch: Norman Hsu Wants Plea Deal Withdrawn

Hillary Clinton Watch: Hsu Contributions Help Hillary Supporters

Michael Ramirez on Hillary Clinton and Norman Hsu

Hillary Clinton Watch: Will Return $850,000 in Norman Hsu Contributions? Maybe

Hillary Clinton Watch: Will Return $850,000 in Hsu Contributions?

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Barbara Boxer

Are the United States Senate Democrats With 60 Members At Their High-Water Mark?

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The composition of the United States Senate, September 2009

Apparently so, according to Charlie Cook.

One of Vice President Joe Biden‘s long-standing and endearing qualities is his gift of hyperbole. The Washington Post recently quoted Biden as saying at a Democratic fundraiser that, of the 54 House seats Democrats have flipped in the last two elections cycles, “If [Republicans] take them back, this is the end of the road for what [President Obama] and I are trying to do.”

While he overstates the case, Biden’s worry applies at least as much in the Senate. The Democrats’ majority status next year is not in doubt, but their 60-seat majority is in grave danger and the odds of their maintaining control after 2012 and 2014 are increasingly remote.

The Senate seats up in next year’s midterm elections are evenly split, with 19 on each side. But in 2012, Democrats have 23 seats at risk (counting Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.) compared to only nine for the GOP. In 2014, it’s 20 Democrats up, to only 13 for Republicans.

Good news for the GOP.


In California, it’s unclear how tough the re-election challenge will be for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. The biggest question there is whether Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is ready for prime time politics.

Note: there is NO mention of Carly Fiorina’s GOP challenger Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.

New York:

New York is also very murky. Former Republican Gov. George Pataki might run. Remember that he knocked off Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1994, the last really bad year for Democrats. There are other first-tier Republicans — former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Rep. Rick Lazio — who are looking at the gubernatorial race but might be enticed to take on Gillibrand.

Probably Rudy for Governor against Paterson and Pataki against Gillibrand. Then, a likely dual pick-up for the GOP.

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Carly Fiorina

What’s the Big Deal With the BOGUS California GOP Straw Poll FLAP between Chuck DeVore and Carly Fiorina?

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California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) talks about Carly Fiorina’s campaign slogan

Probably NOT much but Hot Air which each campaign will try to spin to their advantage.

You might have seen some buzz on Twitter or in your e-mail inbox about Senate wannabee Chuck DeVore and GOP guv-hopeful Steve Poizner crushing respective rivals Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in the state party convention straw poll.

But as CNN’s Peter Hamby points out: “One problem: There was no official straw poll at the California Republican Party Convention.”

“We did not conduct a straw poll at this convention whatsoever,” California GOP chairman Ron Nehring said in an e-mail.

So who did? An aide to DeVore — a state Assemblyman who has actively courted the party’s conservative wing as he prepares to battle Fiorina for the Republican Senate nomination — acknowledged that Sunday’s poll was engineered by the DeVore campaign, even though it was described as a “CRP straw poll” in an e-mail to supporters.

“It was not connected to the party,” said DeVore spokesman Joshua Trevino. “We printed up the ballots, and they were distributed on Saturday night.”

Jon Fleischman, blogger and Vice Chairman, South of the California Republican Party weighed into the fray yesterday.

The reality, having observed the process is that this “straw poll” was nothing more than an orchestrated campaign event by the DeVore campaign to garner some earned media.  Good for them.  I’m all for creative thinking.

The questionable part of the process was in releasing the “results” in a way that made it non-obvious to the reader that this entire straw poll was conceived, executed, counted and released by the DeVore for Senate campaign.

This severely impeaches the credibility of the results because of the obvious conflict of interest that exists.

The Carly Fiorina United States Senate exploratory campaign had this response:

Fiorina spokeswoman Beth Miller was even more dismissive.

“Let me get this straight, you want me to comment on a Chuck DeVore straw poll that was conducted in the DeVore hospitality suite on Saturday night with a bunch of college Republicans and a lot of free beer flowing?,” Miller asked.

So, the long and short of this flap is that this DeVore vs. Fiorina California GOP Straw poll was not an officially sanctioned poll, not scientific in its methodology and the Chuck DeVore campaign unsuccessfully tried to ascribe some meaning to its results.

Sounds like no harm, no foul to me.

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