Archive | December 2010

Baseball Slugger Killebrew Has Cancer


MLB.com:

Hall of Famer and Twins legend Harmon Killebrew has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Killebrew, 74, revealed the news in a statement on Thursday morning. He said that he was recently diagnosed and is being treated by a team of medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic.

While acknowledging that his condition is very serious, Killebrew said that he has confidence in his doctors and medical staff.

“I anticipate a full recovery,” Killebrew said in the statement.

The legendary slugger, who ranks 11th on the all-time home run list with 573, called the journey he now faces “perhaps the most difficult battle of my life.”

My prayers are with Mr. Killebrew and his family.

Juxtaposition Time!


Taking a page out of Ed Driscoll‘s book, let’s juxtapose some news stories, past and present. Ed has posted on a couple of these, but not a couple more, so I’ll take it upon myself to do it.

On the one hand, we have this headline from 2000: Snowfalls Are Now Just A Thing Of The Past.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

And then, there’s the recent lefty letter to Santa Claus, warning him that he might have to move:

Dear Santa Claus,

I am writing out of concern, because you may have to move from the North Pole due to the dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice. The Navy’s chief oceanographer says that by the summer of 2020 the North Pole may not have summer ice and other scientists project that an ice-free Arctic is possible as soon as 2012!

Scientists overwhelmingly agree that polar ice is melting because of greenhouse gas pollution and I am working hard to reduce these emissions. But there is probably nothing we can do in time to save the North Pole. I am worried about your safety and your ability to deliver billions of Christmas gifts if the ice cap on the North Pole no longer stays frozen all year. What will happen to your house, your workshop, the elves’ houses and your reindeer barns?

On the other hand, we have Atlanta’s first snowfall since 1882 (that’s over 100 years ago, for the math-challenged), and Columbia, SC having their first snowfall since at least 1887, which is when they started keeping records.

The white Christmas in the South was one for the record books. Columbia,S.C., had its first significant Christmas snow since weather records were first kept in 1887. Atlanta had just over an inch of snow—the first measurable accumulation on Christmas Day since the 1880s.

Snowfalls a thing of the past? Oh, really?

Iraqi Christians Return to Massacred Church to Celebrate Christmas


AFP:

BAGHDAD — Hundreds of Christians packed Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation church for Christmas on Saturday, defying threats of attacks less than two months after militants massacred worshippers and priests there.

Security was extremely tight, with forces armed with pistols and assault rifles guarding the area and a 10-foot high (three-metre) concrete wall topped with gleaming razor wire surrounding the church.

All cars entering the area were searched, and worshippers were patted down twice before being allowed into the church.

The mood was sombre after an October 31 attack claimed by Al-Qaeda affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq in which gunmen stormed the church, leaving two priests, 44 worshippers and seven security personnel dead.

The church, which was filled with more than 300 worshippers, still bears signs of the attack, its walls pockmarked from bullets and the destroyed wooden pews replaced with plastic and metal chairs.

Not much to say about this, except, God bless them, every one.

Merry Christmas!


We Win.


Breitbart:

Democrats controlling the Senate have abandoned a 1,924-page catchall spending measure that’s laced with homestate pet projects known as earmarks and that would have provided another $158 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nevada Democrat Harry Reid gave up on the nearly $1.3 trillion bill after several Republicans who had been thinking of voting for the bill pulled back their support.

GOP leader Mitch McConnell threw his weight against the bill in recent days, saying it was in his words “unbelievable” that Democrats would try to muscle through in just a few days legislation that usually takes months to debate.

Reid said he would work with McConnell to produce a short-term funding bill to keep the government running into early next year.

Once in a while, the good guys win one.

A Good Question From Two Democrats


Before I post a link to the article, and excerpts, allow me to introduce the two authors, just to get it right out front that these are really two Democrats, not straw men:

Attorneys Jay Eisenhofer and Richard Schiffrin are both active Democrats. Eisenhofer is a member of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Majority Trust, and Schiffrin was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Pennsylvania finance chairman.

Now that we have that out of the way, here’s Jay and Richard’s article on AOL Opinions (sheesh, I remember when AOL was QuantumLink, a service for Commodore computers).

With President Barack Obama facing an outpouring of criticism from his party base following the tax-and-spending deal cut with congressional Republicans, it is time for the base to face reality: The Democrats’ message on the economy is not working.

At this point, you may be forgiven for thinking, “oh, another ‘the policies are right, it’s just the way we sell them that’s wrong’ message.” However, that’s not what these two loyal Democrats have in mind:

Voters are not misguided or confused or too angry and upset to think clearly. And if Democrats persist in telling themselves that this is the message of 2010, their long-term viability will suffer no matter what happens in 2012.

Instead, the electorate has shown that it will listen to a party that presents a vision for growth, greatness and fairness. An agenda that is limited to fairness is doomed to failure.

This represents a radical shift from “the voters are stupid,” which is a message that lots of Democrats, from former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to Barack Obama himself, even to bigmouth Al Sharpton.

This leads to their good question:

But where is the [Democratic Party's] vision for future growth and prosperity? So far there has been none.

No, the only message we’re seeing from the current Democratic Party is “spend, regulate, take over industries, repeat as long as possible.”

The electorate knows the difference between policies that promote public investment — rebuilding bridges, highways, ports and water systems, modernizing the electricity grid, expanding educational access — versus policies that are simply transfers via tax payments to favored constituencies.

Improvements in education cannot mean only increased payments to teachers. Physical improvements and sound educational policies cannot take a back seat to increases in public-sector salaries and pensions. Our corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world. Tax reductions should promote competitiveness and corporate investment.

Actually, there’s a better way to work education, that’s with vouchers… but as far as these two Democrats go, they’re right… they just haven’t taken that last step yet.

Democrats must fight for these policies so that they don’t become a party only of people dependent on the government. That’s not healthy for the party, and it’s not healthy for the country.

Indeed. However, with their insistence on adding more people to the government benefit rolls, most recently with ObamaCare (which the authors laud earlier in the article), it seems that the modern Democratic party is headed away from these two gentlemen.

It is time for Democrats to present a pro-growth story that speaks to the hopes and aspirations of the country. Currently, voters perceive the Democratic message as pain in the name of building a fairer society. That is not going to sell and it is not going to build a great nation for the 21st century.

Also very true.

As I mentioned before, they are still loyal Democrats, and they laud many big-government projects, including ObamaCare… but they are also right that the current set of policies don’t bode well for the Democratic Party. Perhaps someday we’ll see these two joining no less a conservative than Ronald Reagan in saying, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”

Republicans At The Pork Trough Again


Forgive the mixed metaphor in the headline, but I’m too incensed to think up a cuter one.

The new omnibus spending bill has been introduced in the Senate, and guess which party the top two earmarkers belong to?

It ain’t the Party of Obama, more’s the shame to the Party of Reagan.

Here’s the list of earmarks by Senator, in descending order of the number of earmarks, courtesy Jamie Dupree:

Cochran (R-MS) 230
Wicker (R-MS) 199
Murray (D-WA) 172
Harkin (D-IA) 152
Reid (D-NV) 129
Menendez (D-NJ) 123
Feinstein (D-CA) 121
Lautenberg (D-NJ) 120
Lincoln (D-AR) 114
Inouye (D-HI) 113
Schumer (D-NY) 106
Johnson (D-SD) 105
Landrieu (D-LA) 104
Specter (D-PA) 103
Pryor (D-AR) 96
Levin (D-MI) 93
Stabenow (D-MI) 91
Boxer (D-CA) 90
Brown (D-OH) 87
Grassley (R-IA) 86
Bingaman (D-NM) 86
Durbin (D-IL) 86
Akaka (D-HI) 83
Wyden (D-OR) 83
Cardin (D-MD) 79
Merkley (D-OR) 79
Gillibrand (D-NY) 79
Bond (R-MO) 78
Bennett (R-UT) 76
Casey (D-PA) 76
Udall (D-NM) 73
Reed (D-RI) 70
Kerry (D-MA) 69
Cantwell (D-WA) 69
Hagan (D-NC) 69
Voinovich (R-OH) 68
Klobuchar (D-MN) 68
Rockefeller (D-WV) 67
Dodd (D-CT) 66
Mikulski (D-MD) 65
Tester (D-MT) 65
Lieberman (ID-CT) 64
Hutchison (R-TX) 63
Baucus (D-MT) 62
Dorgan (D-ND) 60
Warner (D-VA) 60
Webb (D-VA) 58
Franken (D-MN) 58
Collins (R-ME) 57
Leahy (D-VT) 56
Murkowski (R-AK) 55
Whitehouse (D-RI) 55
Kohl (D-WI) 54
Conrad (D-ND) 52
Vitter (R-LA) 48
Cornyn (R-TX) 45
Snowe (R-ME) 44
Nelson (D-FL) 43
Chambliss (R-GA) 42
Crapo (R-ID) 41
Risch (R-ID) 41
Bennet (D-CO) 40
Brownback (R-KS) 39
Carper (D-DE) 39
Burr (R-NC) 38
Begich (D-AK) 37
McConnell (R-KY) 35
Roberts (R-KS) 35
Sanders (I-VT) 33
Shelby (R-AL) 32
Inhofe (R-OK) 32
Shaheen (D-NH) 32
Alexander (R-TN) 30
Udall (D-CO) 30
Lugar (R-IN) 29
Graham (R-SC) 27
Thune (R-SD) 26
Isakson (R-GA) 24
Nelson (D-NE) 23
Sessions (R-AL) 21
Bunning (R-KY) 21
Ensign (R-NV) 20
Gregg (R-NH) 13
Barrasso (R-WY) 4
Enzi (R-WY) 3
Hatch (R-UT) 1
Bayh (D-IN) 1
Corker (R-TN) 1
Brown (R-MA) 1
McCain (R-AZ) 0
Feingold (D-WI) 0
Kyl (R-AZ) 0
DeMint (R-SC) 0
Coburn (R-OK) 0
McCaskill (D-MO) 0
Johanns (R-NE) 0
LeMieux (R-FL) 0
Manchin (D-WV) 0
Coons (D-DE) 0
Kirk (R-IL) 0

Yes, you read that right. There’s lots and lots of Republican earmarks in this bill. At least McCain has the smarts to keep his hands off earmarks this time, but there’s lots of stupid Republicans who are ignoring the mounting debt in order to get some moolah from the taxpayers and send it to their pet projects.

Did these nitwits completely miss the results of the election just over a month ago? The American people resoundingly said, “stop spending us and our children into debt!” and these politicians just ignore it and go on with business as usual.

Enough is too much. Every single Republican with an earmark in this bill–even if this bill is never passed–needs to be soundly defeated the next time they stand for re-election. PERIOD. I’ve had it with coddling big spenders because they do what people consider “good things.” This country is in danger of going the way of Greece, and these people are adding to the problem.

Time to defeat a lot more incumbents, it seems.

House Democrats To Wage-Earners: We Want You To Get Smaller Paychecks In January


That’s basically the message that the House Democratic Caucus is sending with their rejection of the tax-cut compromise worked out between the GOP and Obama.

This is pure political posturing. If the Pelosi-led House doesn’t pass this now, then the Boehner-led House will do it first thing in January, and it will give the GOP a great 2012 campaign slogan was well… “The Democrats didn’t want to let you keep the Bush tax cuts… we do!”

Even if Pelosi manages to wrangle her lefties in line and passes the bill now, the stories have already hit the news wires, so they’ve essentially given the GOP a lot of help.

Thanks, lefties!

ObamaCare Kills Drug Discounts for Children’s Hospitals


Another example of “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it” from ObamaCare:

In an unintended consequence of the new health care law, drug companies have begun notifying children’s hospitals around the country that they no longer qualify for large discounts on drugs used to treat rare medical conditions.

As a result, prices are going up for these specialized “orphan drugs,” some of which are also used to treat more common conditions.

Over the last 18 years, Congress has required drug manufacturers to provide discounts to a variety of health care providers, including community health centers, AIDS clinics and hospitals that care for large numbers of low-income people.

Several years ago, Congress broadened the program to include children’s hospitals. But this year Congress, in revising the drug discount program as part of the new health care law, blocked these hospitals from continuing to receive price cuts on orphan drugs intended for treatment of diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.

The reason behind the change is murky, though some drug makers had opposed expansion of the drug discount program. The discounts typically range from 30 percent to 50 percent, and children’s hospitals say the change is costing them hundreds of millions of dollars.

This is what happens when elected dimwits try to control an entire industry from Capitol Hill, and then don’t even bother to read the cobbled-together bill that they are voting on.

Molecule Sized Processor?


Now this news has my inner geek excited:

A*STAR’s IMRE and 10 EU research organisations are working together to build what is essentially a single molecule processor chip. As a comparison, a thousand of such molecular chips could fit into one of today’s microchips, the core device that determines computational speed. The ambitious project, termed Atomic Scale and Single Molecule Logic Gate Technologies (ATMOL), will establish a new process for making a complete molecular chip. This means that computing power can be increased significantly but take up only a small fraction of the space that is required by today’s standards.

The fabrication process involves the use of three unique ultra high vacuum (UHV) atomic scale interconnection machines which build the chip atom-by-atom. These machines physically move atoms into place one at a time at cryogenic temperatures. One of these machines is located in A*STAR’s IMRE.

As the one-and-only Instapundit says, faster, please!

Texas Rep Pushes Back Against FCC Attempt To Regulate News


TheHill.com:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) pushed back on Monday against a contention by a Democratic FCC commissioner that the government should create new regulations to promote diversity in news programming.

Barton was reacting to a proposal made last week by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who in a speech suggested that broadcasters be subject to a new “public values test” every four years.

“I hope … that you do not mean to suggest that it is the job of the federal government, through the [FCC], to determine the content that is available for Americans to consume,” Barton wrote Monday in a letter to Copps.

With the availability of satellite radio and TV (I have XM in my car), along with digital compression capabilities, it seems that a large part of the reason the FCC was formed really doesn’t exist any more. Simply put, if Sirius/XM can put hundreds of radio channels on a satellite signal, and Dish and DirecTV can do the same thing with TV channels, do we really need a government entity telling broadcasters what they have to broadcast? It made sense when technology only allowed a few channels that were picked up by rabbit ear, but today? Not so much.

Senate Impeaches Clinton-Appointed Judge


AP via Google:

The Senate on Wednesday convicted U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Louisiana on four articles of impeachment, making him just the eighth federal judge in history to be removed by Congress.

Porteous, who sat before senators in the well of the chamber as they voted separately on each count, declined to comment as he left the chamber. Attorney Daniel Schwartz said, “We’re obviously disappointed with the result.”

House prosecutors laid out a damaging case against Porteous, 63, a New Orleans native who was a state judge before winning appointment to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The prosecutors said gambling and drinking problems led him to begin accepting cash and other favors from attorneys and bail bondsmen with business before his court.

He also was accused of lying to Congress during his judicial confirmation and filing for bankruptcy under a false name.

The Senate voted unanimously to convict on the first article involving cash from attorneys, and with strong majorities on the other three. They also approved a motion barring him from holding future federal office.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who managed the case, said the bipartisan process worked as intended and “should be reassuring to every American.”

“There are times this place is pretty dysfunctional,” she said, “but … I think the responsibility was handled just as the founders would have wanted us to handle it.”

Many of the facts in the case weren’t disputed. Porteous’ lead attorney, Jonathan Turley, acknowledged that the judge made mistakes but argued that they were mostly personal failings that didn’t meet the “high crimes and misdemeanor” standard for impeachment. Turley also argued that many of the practices — such as accepting favors and expensive meals — were common in the Louisiana legal community.

But House prosecutors said the evidence showed a decades-long pattern of corruption. They told senators that allowing Porteous to remain on the bench would erode public confidence in the courts and make a mockery of the federal judiciary.

Accepting cash from attorneys and bail bondsmen is common in the Louisiana legal community? Sounds to me like someone needs to clean that sewer out!

A Date Which Will Live In Infamy


Let us remember a black day in American history:

Jim Morgan was sleeping a little late on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

His mother, Beryl, had tried to wake him up at about 7:30, but the 9-year-old, whose family lived at the Navy base at Pearl Harbor, didn’t stir until she came back about 25 minutes later.

He got up just in time to witness history out his bedroom window.

“I said, ‘Look, Ma! There’s a fire at the submarine base.’ “

At that same moment, Russell Meyne was sitting down to a plate of pancakes, bacon and eggs in the mess hall at Pearl Harbor’s Hickam Air Base, 2 miles away. He was hoping to revitalize himself after a night of drinking beer with his buddies, celebrating their selection to a group that would be heading to the mainland for flight training.

Suddenly, everything changed.

“The table almost bounced up and down, and all the pots and pans in the kitchen started falling on the floor,” said Meyne, an Army private at the time, now 91 and treasurer of the South Carolina branch of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

“Then the bombing got really exciting.”

To those survivors still with us: You are not forgotten around my home.

UPS Requires Photo ID To Ship Packages


AP via Yahoo:

UPS is now requiring photo identification from customers shipping packages at retail locations around the world, a month after explosives made it on to one of the company’s planes.

The Atlanta-based package courier said Tuesday the move is part of an ongoing review to enhance security. The directive will apply at The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc. locations and other authorized shipping outlets.

UPS customer centers have required government-issued photo identification since 2005.

In late October, a printer cartridge on a UPS cargo plane bound for Chicago was stopped in London after explosives were discovered. The package was later traced to a retail location in Yemen.

Bear with me while I think “out loud” for a bit…

On the one hand, anything that improves security is probably a good thing.

On the other, the package that started this all originated in Yemen… and it’s highly likely the guy that shipped it had a Yemeni-government-issued photo ID. The 9/11 hijackers also had state-issued photo IDs, though some of them used fraudulent means to obtain a legal ID.

Therefore, on balance, I really don’t think this move will do a heck of a lot to enhance security.

Elizabeth Edwards, RIP.


ABC:

Elizabeth Edwards has passed away after a long battle with cancer. The 61-year-old wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards died at home Tuesday afternoon with her family around her.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Edwards. And may God comfort her family and friends.

Mark Halperin And The Desire For A Catastrophe


Byron York has a piece up about Mark Halperin of Time wishing for a catastrophe to help boost Obama’s popularity:

What Obama really needs, Halperin says, is a stroke of good luck. “Busy as he’s been, he has not yet experienced a single major moment that has benefited him politically,” Halperin writes.  Events like the Gulf oil spill have been harmful, rather than helpful. So what would brighten Obama’s political prospects?  Here’s Halperin:

“No one wants the country to suffer another catastrophe. But when a struggling Bill Clinton was faced with the Oklahoma City bombing and a floundering George W. Bush was confronted by 9/11, they found their voices and a route to political revival.”

Of course, the Oklahoma City attack killed 168 people, and September 11 nearly 3,000.  So Halperin quickly adds: “Perhaps Obama’s crucible can be positive — the capture of Osama bin Laden, the fall of the Iranian regime, a dramatic technological innovation that revitalizes American manufacturing — something to reintroduce him to the American people and show the strengths he demonstrated as a presidential candidate.”

Maybe a bin Laden capture or Iranian revolution would help, although it seems highly unlikely that a dramatic technological innovation would revitalize American manufacturing in time for Obama to be re-elected in 2012.  But the fact is, presidents have often shown their true mettle in the face of tragic circumstances.  And Obama’s partisans appear to be coming very close to hoping for a tragedy to revive the president’s political fortunes.

I think Halperin has it wrong. Clinton and Bush gained the support of the people because they were the kind of men who could really connect with the American people after a tragedy, in an emotional way. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, he did have that capability, in spades.

However, Obama is definitely cut from a different cloth… even his supporters admit that his demeanor is more cool and detached.

The way Obama connects to people is the opposite of a Clinton, a Bush, or a Ronald Reagan. Those presidents were all relaters. They bonded with people based on common feelings, experiences, and interests. Reagan did this best through the medium of television. Bush did it best in person and not so well through television. Clinton could do it blindfolded and hanging upside down. But for all three, connecting emotionally was part and parcel of their political skill. As a result, people tended to love them or hate them, sometimes in succession, but without much neutral ground in between.

Obama’s coolness and detachment put him in a different category of president that includes Lincoln (on the positive side) and Jimmy Carter (on the negative). His relationship with the world is primarily rational and analytical rather than intuitive or emotional. As he acknowledged in his interview with George Stephanopoulos the day after Scott Brown’s victory, his tendency to focus on substance can make him seem remote and technocratic. So while many people continue to deeply admire him, few come away from any encounter feeling closer to him. He is not warm, he is not loyal, he is not deeply involved with others. His most fervent enthusiasts tend to express love for the ideas he embodies and represents—America transcending its racial history, a fairer and more unified society, rationality, wise decision-making, and so forth—as opposed to for the man himself.

Most of us over a certain age can remember Carter’s “catastrophe,” and the aftermath thereof… Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days (that’s over a year for the mathematically challenged). Carter’s response to it, specifically “Operation Eagle Claw” which led to the loss of two American aircraft, eight American servicemen, and one Iranian civilian, is not quite so memorable, but undoubtedly was remembered when people went to the polls about 7 months later in November, 1980. It’s quite possible that had Carter handled the hostage crisis better, he might have fared better against Reagan and been granted a second term. As it was, however, it certainly seems that the failures that led to the hostage crisis and the inability to pull off a rescue helped doom Carter’s reelection bid.

So, Halperin’s error is in focusing on the catastrophe, and not the response to it. Both Clinton and Bush approached the problems in a presidential manner, and yes, they received a political benefit to it, as crass as that sounds. Obama, however, faced with a catastrophe, would probably react much more in the Carter mold, and therefore wouldn’t necessarily gain any benefit, and might even hurt his standing.

Mr. Halperin should be very careful what he wishes for.

The Internet, She Is Changing


CNBC:

AOL, undergoing a radical transformation into the king of content on the Internet, is actively exploring a breakup involving a complicated series of transactions that may lead to a merger with Yahoo, sources close to the plans told Reuters.

The plans are still in the exploratory stage and Yahoo has not been contacted, the sources said. The plans are also fraught with complications involving myriad moving pieces.

In many respects, the latest discussions are derivative of plans contemplated in 2008 and 2009 before Time Warner spun off AOL to Time Warner shareholders.

At the time, the media conglomerate had explored the option of breaking apart AOL’s two main businesses. Its legacy dial-up Internet service would have been sold to or spun off into EarthLink or United Online. Its display advertising business would have been merged into Yahoo, the sources said.

I can remember when AOL was the default choice for internet access for those who weren’t tech-savvy, when only geeks (like myself) would use another ISP to get to the internet. Now it’s gonna be broken up and sold off to other companies?

How the (formerly) mighty have fallen.

Obama’s ICE Changing The Rules To Break Deportation Record


WaPo:

But in reaching 392,862 deportations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement included more than 19,000 immigrants who had exited the previous fiscal year, according to agency statistics. ICE also ran a Mexican repatriation program five weeks longer than ever before, allowing the agency to count at least 6,500 exits that, without the program, would normally have been tallied by the U.S. Border Patrol.

When ICE officials realized in the final weeks of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, that the agency still was in jeopardy of falling short of last year’s mark, it scrambled to reach the goal. Officials quietly directed immigration officers to bypass backlogged immigration courts and time-consuming deportation hearings whenever possible, internal e-mails and interviews show.

Instead, officials told immigration officers to encourage eligible foreign nationals to accept a quick pass to their countries without a negative mark on their immigration record, ICE employees said.

The option, known as voluntary return, may have allowed hundreds of immigrants – who typically would have gone before an immigration judge to contest deportation for offenses such as drunken driving, domestic violence and misdemeanor assault – to leave the country. A voluntary return doesn’t bar a foreigner from applying for legal residence or traveling to the United States in the future.

Once the agency closed the books for fiscal 2010 and the record was broken, agents say they were told to stop widely offering the voluntary return option and revert to business as usual.

Without these efforts and the more than 25,000 deportations that came with them, the agency would not have topped last year’s record level of 389,834, current and former ICE employees and officials said.

In other words, that record number of deportations should have an asterisk after it, because the rules were changed right at the end to make it far easier to reach the record.

Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds calls it “cooking the books” and it looks like there was some of that… like counting people who’d left last year as leaving this year… at best, that’s a clerical error that should be corrected immediately (but probably won’t be), at worst, that’s double-counting the deportation, which is indeed cooking the books.

This Is Probably The End For Steele


Washington Times:

The Republican National Committee’s inability to reach its own fundraising goals for this year’s elections was more serious than its budget makers expected and the malaise has even spread to small-money donors, The Washington Times has learned.

As a result of poor fundraising compounded by controversial spending practices, the RNC will enter the 2012 presidential election cycle between $20 million and $25 million in debt — not the $15 million reported over the weekend.

“It’s the biggest debt the national committee ever had going into a presidential election cycle — at least in my memory,” said former RNC General Counsel David Norcross.

To be honest, since Michael Steele took the reins, the RNC has been involved in one scandal (or scandal-ette) after another, so it’s no wonder that people have decided to give to their preferred candidate directly… and thanks to the internet, it’s now easier than ever to do so!

I think this will be the last straw that makes The Powers That Be within the GOP decide they need someone other than Mr. Steele at the helm of the RNC.

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