Republican Candidate For Governor May Have Never Voted…EVER!

Put this story on the ‘there is no way in hell I could have made this up’ pile.  I am shaking my head as I type this.  There are days I wonder if I have stepped into an alter-universe.

Meg Whitman, the conservative billionaire businesswoman now running for governor in California has lived a number of  places in her 53 years.  But no one has a record of her ever voting for anything on Election Day.  Please take a moment to read this and then ask yourself if you would have the guts to ask your fellow citizens for their vote when you were too stinking lazy and apathetic to cast one yourself?

The review covered six states and a dozen counties, including towns and counties in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Rhode Island and California where public records indicated that Whitman lived, worked or attended college.

Mark Petracca, a UC Irvine political science professor, said Whitman’s voting record is nothing anyone would brag about – unless you’re one of her opponents.

The Bee found that the two candidates battling Whitman for the Republican gubernatorial nomination – Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and ex-congressman and state Sen. Tom Campbell – regularly participated in local, state and federal elections for decades.

“It’s a dereliction of our first duty as American citizens,” Petracca said. “We’re talking about someone who has practically not voted her entire adulthood.

“This is embarrassing.”

Whitman, now 53, turned 18 and voting age in Suffolk County, N.Y., in 1974. Officials say they have no record of her registering or voting there.

She lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1979 to 1981 after completing a master’s degree in business administration at Harvard.

Neither Ohio state elections officials nor Hamilton County Board of Elections officials found a record of Whitman registering or voting there.

For much of the 1980s, she lived in San Francisco as a management consultant at an investment firm, Bain & Co.

The San Francisco County elections office no longer retains records prior to 1992, but said that had she been registered and voting, her registration information would have been transferred to the current system. They have no record of her registration.

Similarly, Los Angeles County has no record that she registered or voted between 1989 and 1992, when she worked for Walt Disney Corp. as a senior executive.

Whitman and her husband, Griffith Harsh, a neurologist, lived in Brookline, Mass., a suburb just outside Boston, for several years in the 1990s. She worked for Stride-Rite, FTD and Hasbro until 1997.

“We had her as a resident for a while, and she was captured by the census, but she was never registered and she never voted,” said Patrick Ard, town clerk in Brookline.

Whitman returned to the Bay Area in 1998, when she was hired to be eBay’s first chief executive officer and take the company public.

She told delegates at the convention that she had “been a registered ‘decline-to-state’ voter since 1998.” The Bee was unable to find any public record of that registration.

The first registration record The Bee found, in San Mateo County, was dated Sept. 12, 2002.

At that time, she told San Mateo elections officials that she had been registered in San Francisco County, a county official said, after reviewing electronic records.

Yet San Francisco County officials, whose database records active registrations as far back as 1992, said they had no record of voter registration for Whitman at either of her two San Francisco addresses during the period.

President Obama Should Woo IOC For Chicago Olympic Games

No one ever really thought that President Obama would not travel at the last moment to Denmark for some high style diplomacy to insure that Chicago might have the Olympic Games in 2016.  The President has every right, and I think a duty, to work tirelessly for an Olympic bid.  In addition for the national gain comes the fact that Chicago is his home, and the pride inherit in that alone is more than enough reason to work for this prize.  I have not yet heard any carping about this trip.  I hope I have not missed something, but instead just trust that it is not ‘out there’.  This is an American moment that can be won, and President Obama is the man to bring this victory our way.  His personality and skill with people make this trip a must-do’, and all of us wish him well. 

And let us not forget…….

If Chicago wins, so does Wisconsin.

Madison is due to become a cycling hub of the 2016 Games, with the time trial, road cycling and mountain biking events held in and around the capital, and the city serving as a base for the cycling competitors.

So this is important for President Obama to travel to Denmark.

He will join his wife, Michelle, and other administration members at the International Olympic Committee meeting in the Danish capital on Thursday.

Chicago faces opposition from Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo in the vote.

Brazilian, Spanish and Japanese leaders are also expected to lobby IOC delegates at the meeting.

He will be joined on Friday by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who are both from Illinois.

“President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama symbolise the hope, opportunity and inspiration that make Chicago great, and we are honoured to have two of our city’s most accomplished residents leading our delegation in Copenhagen,” Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley said on Monday.

“Who better to share with members of the International Olympic Committee the commitment and enthusiasm Chicago has for the Olympic and Paralympic Movement,” he added.

William Safire Dies, “Freedom” A Favorite Book On My Special Shelf


There are two shelves I have at home where I place only special books.  One is in the headboard near the bed where I keep such books as those from Grandma , and the other is on a shelf  over my desk.  It is in that latter space that I have housed William Safire’s “Freedom” for as long as I can recall.  It is a most remarkable read, with the afterbook as essential as the rest.  Safire’s historical novel of the Civil War is breathtaking for its illuminating quality into the nuances and fabric of one our nation’s most contentious and bloody periods.  As I noted on this blog “the paperback version in my office shows years of use.”

Behind my desk on the shelves devoted to Richard Nixon is another amazing and insightful read penned by William Safire, “Before The Fall”.  In each case the books are packed with information in such a way that it makes one mindful of the style of writing as much as the content of the books.  Safire packed so many thoughts and nuggets into each paragraph that it seems at time the mind will be over-loaded.  But the topics he writes about are so grand that the reader plows onward with little notice of the number of pages that are turned.

Sadly today that writer and thinker has died.  William Safire passed away of cancer at the age of 79.

For me one of the pure pleasures was when William Safire would pen a column in The New York Times where he ‘talk’ with  the ghost of Richard Nixon.  He did this on a number of occasions, and there was no greater read of Safire’s than when we would ‘channel’ the former President.

I am going to close this post with one such read that made me smile at the time it was published, and again as I pulled it from the archives this afternoon.  There will be many fond words and memories about this man who witnessed so much history, and had a comment and opinion on all of it.  It is those minds that we miss so much when the final page is turned.

Q: Did it warm your heart out there in Purgatory, President Nixon, to see the friendly banter at the White House unveiling of the Clinton portraits?

RN: Same as at my funeral; everybody was forced to be gracious. Nobody would say what everybody thought: that Hillary’s portrait is fine but Bill’s is awful. Now ask me about Karzai.

Q: President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan spoke to a joint session of Congress yesterday—-

RN: It was a joint meeting, you know — joint sessions are only to hear the U.S. president. But wasn’t Karzai terrific? He was grateful for America’s liberation of his country, and you don’t hear a lot of that these days. He asked NATO to put its troops where its mouth is, which it won’t. That’s why we need a new Mansfield Amendment — to threaten the French and Germans with an American pullout from Europe.

Q: But hasn’t Bush begun to do that already?

RN: Not fast enough. You saw the results of the European Parliament elections? Schröder is finished. Chirac has had it. Next year they’ll be begging Bush for support. And that’s when we should crack ’em hard to bolster our friends in Afghanistan. This Karzai fellow should make a deal with his warlords to get some breathing room this fall for his election. Then he can attack his real problem, which is not so much the Taliban terrorists as it is the damned poppies. We have to help him eradicate the huge opium trade before that place becomes a criminal state. Only then can we have a Muslim model for democracy in Iraq.

Q: Do you think the handover of sovereignty in Baghdad this month will make a big difference?

RN: It’ll get the Iraqis into their own war, ready or not. If the Shiite majority has the guts to use our help in putting down Saddam’s killers, they deserve their freedom. But it’s time for them to stop whining about us and start fighting the bombers.

Q: But what of our prison abuse—-

RN: Look, when the Iraqis in the street get sore, not at us but at the bombers not only blowing up their oil wells but also killing their wives and children, any terrorist suspects the new government rounds up will wish the Americans were back in charge. That prison story and the C.I.A. recriminations will drag on and on in the media here because it helps the doves make a necessary war look bad.

Q: Now you’re into politics, how do you see the campaign dynamic?

RN: Let me say this about that: Bush went into a slump because of war casualties, and as we come out of the war, Bush comes out of his slump. Now he has to stop responding to Kerry’s demands — all that U.N. kissy-face — and start talking about exciting plans for the economic boom in his second term.

Q: And what should Kerry be doing as his Boston convention approaches?

RN: First, stop the daily grousing, which turns people off after a while. Stay the hell away from job creation, which has backfired on him. Claim credit for straightening Bush out on Iraq and move on to the great dream. Pick one powerful domestic issue — old folks’ health or college education, whatever — hit it hard and make it his own. Kerry’s been all over the lot so far.

Q: Where will the campaign be four months from now?

RN: That’s Oct. 16, with jobs and the market rising, casualties contained, at least one terrorist attack in the U.S. Debates are over, with Kerry winning on points and Bush on personality. First, half of the swing vote, larger than expected, moves toward the incumbent, which puts Bush a couple of points ahead. Q: That energizes the Democrats—-

RN: Not all of them. The prospect of a Bush win would help Democrats in Congressional races because people who prefer Bush may not trust him, and will split their tickets. And the Hillary crowd, having done their bit for Kerry, won’t cry at his potential defeat because it would open the way to the Clinton restoration in 2008.

Q: (Gasp!) That’s absolutely Machiavellian.

RN: Thank you. And with Coach Joe Gibbs back, keep your eye on those Redskins.

Badger Guns In West Milwaukee Should Be Forced Out Of Business

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a shocker of a statement as a lead-in to their story on guns.  “Sales often tied to crime.”  Who would ever have thought that possible from a store that sells guns?  I am not chiding the newspaper, as the story they write is accurate, and timely.  The idea however that we are still needing to have these type of stories reported is what I find disturbing.  The gun culture is very much alive and deadly as ever in Wisconsin, and part of the reason for that are those who make blood money by selling weapons. 

When you read the following I am confident that will feel some anger.  Be mindful that there is nothing wrong with righteous anger. 

What is allowed to happen with Badger Guns impacts our society as a whole.  If there was raw sewage being thrown into the streets by this business steps would be taken to remedy the matter.  If an outbreak of a deadly communicable disease occurred within their doors the city would step in and act immediately.  Therefore there is no reason that the public should need to endure the blood and pain that is caused by this business through their gun sales anymore.  Enough is enough!

Badger Guns, and its predecessor, Badger Outdoors, have accounted for roughly one-third of all crime guns traced by Milwaukee police in the past four years, the data shows. No other store in the state comes close to that figure. The next closest, The Shooters Shop in West Allis, accounted for less than 3% of guns traced by Milwaukee police during the same period.

A total of 1,880 crime guns recovered in Milwaukee were linked to Badger between January 2006 and Sept. 1 – or more than one a day, according to a Journal Sentinel analysis.

Badger isn’t just the biggest seller of crime guns in Milwaukee, but among the biggest in the nation. Badger Outdoors was one of the top sellers a decade ago and was No. 1 as of 2005, according to federal data. Congress has since forbidden the release of such rankings.

Badger Outdoors went out of business in 2007 but was reopened as Badger Guns in August of that year by a longtime employee of Badger Outdoors. Besides the name change, the operation remains largely the same at the gun shop on S. 43rd St.

The department’s operation at Badger kicked off two days after Milwaukee police Officers Graham Kunisch and Bryan Norberg were shot in June. The gun used to shoot the officers was purchased at Badger Guns a month earlier by a straw buyer, according to prosecutors. That shooting came less than two years after a different pair of officers were shot in November 2007 with a gun from Badger Outdoors.

During the 11-week operation, Milwaukee police:

• Discovered felons use Badger’s shooting range for target practice. In one case, store employees rented a gun to a felon to shoot. Another felon had a shooting “range pass card” in his pocket showing he had shot at Badger previously. Store employees check driver’s licenses but not criminal histories of shooters.

• Seized 12 guns from felons and others leaving the store. They arrested nine felons for possessing guns, seven for carrying a concealed weapon and four on drug charges. Eight people have been charged so far as a result of the sweep.

• Spotted felons frequently going in the store or waiting outside. Felons are banned from possessing guns, but probation agents do not routinely require felons to stay out of gun stores such as Badger. Police and prosecutors say that should change.

Police Chief Edward Flynn said he learned how many guns from Badger were ending up in violent crimes when he became chief nearly two years ago. After the officers were shot, Flynn ordered up a plan to target illegal gun buys at Badger.

“I had an enough-is-enough moment,” Flynn said. “They know to whom they are selling, they know what is happening with their product, they know citizens in Milwaukee are dying, and they don’t care.”


Josh Thompson, Cedarburg Wisconsin Man, Makes Grand Ole Opry Debut

Last evening on SIRIUS Radio, during their two-hour rebroadcast of the previous weekend’s Grand Ole Opry Show, I was drawn to the first time appearance of a new singer on the world famous stage.  To stand on the Opry stage is not like any other venue, of course, and so one can feel the tension and emotion of the moment wherever the radio signal can be found at these moments.  But not only was the singer knew to the Opry, but he was also from Wisconsin.


Josh Thompson, a native of Cedarburg, Wisconsin opened by singing “Sinner” and his tone conveyed complete control of the moment.  I remarked to James in the car that he seemed so relaxed.  I also commented that if it were me at that moment I would have needed 30 seconds to pay homage to those Opry legends who had paved my way for the opportunity to stand there before the WSM microphones.  James just smiled as he had heard this stuff so many times.  Thompson’s first song was very well done and hit the mark as his opening number on the Opry.  I am glad he chose that one  to sing instead of his current single.

On Thompson’s Myspace website he does mention the moment in advance of his September 19th performance when he found out he would sing at the Opry.

Today I got the phone call that I would be making my Grand Ole Opry Debut performance on Saturday September 19th at 8PM. It is a dream come true. I can’t believe I will be standing on the stage where all the great country singers have stood. It’s amazing and I am so humbled to get this opportunity. If you are in Nashville come out and see us.

I can not even imagine a phone call like that, but am sure there were tears and smiles shared with many.  Congratulations, Josh!!


New Threat Emerges From Those Who Want To Blow You Up

Hat tip to Rolf.

This is something that I had not even read about with some of my favorite writers who often seem to venture out ‘of the box’ as they create stories.

Security and intelligence experts are deeply worried by a new development in suicide bombing, the BBC has learned.

It has emerged that an al-Qaeda bomber who died last month while trying to blow up a Saudi prince in Jeddah had hidden the explosives inside his body.

Only the attacker died, but it is feared that the new development could be copied by others.

Experts say it could have implications for airport security, rendering traditional metal detectors “useless”.

Last month’s bombing left people wondering how one of the most wanted al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia could get so close to the prince in charge of counter-terrorism that he was able to blow himself up in the same room.

Western forensic investigators think they have the answer, and it is worrying them profoundly.

The explosives, they believe, were detonated by mobile phone.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (l) and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 28 August 2009
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (r) was slightly injured in the attack

Peter Neuman of Kings College London says the case will be studied intensively, and that there are “tremendous implications for airport security with the potential of making it even more complicated to get on to your plane”.

“If it really is true that the metal detectors couldn’t detect this person’s hidden explosive device, that would mean that the metal detectors as they currently exist in airports are pretty much useless,” he said.

The bomber was a Saudi al-Qaeda fugitive who said he wanted to give himself up to the prince in person.

The prince took him at his word and gave him safe passage to his palace.

But there, once he got next to his target, the bomb inside him was detonated.

Miraculously the prince survived with minor injuries, but footage emerging this week shows a sizeable crater in the concrete floor and the bomber’s body blown in half.

It is believed the force of the blast went downwards which is why only the bomber died.


Sunday Echoes: Carol Burnett Show-No Frills Airline

With reality television shows that seem to now dominate network programming, some might have forgotten there was once something called ‘a variety show.’  Each week comedy sketches, along with song and dance numbers all combined to attract large viewing audiences.  One of the classics of that genre of  TV was “The Carol Burnett Show”  that aired on CBS each Saturday night.  Before Carol took the stage  CBS offered  “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Bob Newhart Show” to get the laughing started.  But as the whole nation knew once Tim Conway and Harvey Korman took center stage there was nothing to do but sit back and howl.

Saturday Song: Nazareth “Love Hurts”

Beware of watching infomercials, even in small doses.   One song has stayed plugged into my head all week as a result of not switching the channel soon enough…..and as such winds up as this week’s “Saturday Song”