Friday, December 21, 2012

14 Heroes Who Died November 16 to December 14, 2012

November 16 - They died in Paktika province, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. Killed were:
- Sgt. Channing B. Hicks, 24, of Greer, S.C., and
- Spc. Joseph A. Richardson, 23, of Booneville, Ark.

November 18 - Lance Cpl. Dale W. Means, 23, of Jordan, Minn., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

November 24 - Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin R. Ebbert, 32, of Arcata, Calif., died while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.

November 26 - Cpl. Christopher M. Monahan Jr., 25, of Island Heights, N.J., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

December 2 - Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Denier, 26, of Mechanicville, N.Y., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

December 3 - They died in Lashkar Gah City, Helmand province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
- Sgt. 1st Class. Darren M. Linde, 41, of Sidney, Mont., and
- Spc. Tyler J. Orgaard, 20, of Bismarck, N.D.

December 8 - Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28<, of Monroeville, Pa., died of combat related injuries suffered while supporting operations near Kabul, Afghanistan

December 10 - Staff Sgt. Wesley R. Williams, 25, of New Carlisle, Ohio, died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

December 13 - Staff Sgt. Nelson D. Trent, 37, of Austin, Texas, died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
- Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Reid, 26, of Rochester, N.Y., died in Landstuhl, Germany from wounds suffered on Dec. 9, in Sperwan Village, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

December 14 - Sgt. Michael J. Guillory, 28, of Pearl River, La., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. This incident is under investigation.
- Sgt. 1st Class Kevin E. Lipari, 39, of Baldwin, N.Y., died in Logar province, Afghanistan.

Loving a Child on the Fringe

Cristina Nehring:
Cristina Nehring and her daughter Eurydice
If you’d told me five years ago that I was soon to bear a disabled child with blood cancer—for whom I’d have to surrender, possibly forever, career and love life—I’d have contemplated suicide. Moreover, I would have thought this a level-headed response: not an act of despair but a lucid sort of Swiss-style euthanasia.
. . .
Am I “cheerily generalizing” as Solomon says of other Down syndrome parents, “from a few accomplishments” of my child? Perhaps I am. But one thing I’ve learned these last four years that possibly Solomon has not: All of our accomplishments are few. All of our accomplishments are minor: my scribblings, his book, the best lines of the best living poets. We embroider away at our tiny tatters of insight as though the world hung on them, when it is chiefly we ourselves who hang on them. Often a dog or cat with none of our advanced skills can offer more comfort to our neighbor than we can. (Think: Would you rather live with Shakespeare or a cute puppy?) Each of us has the ability to give only a little bit of joy to those around us. I would wager Eurydice gives as much as any person alive.
[emphasis added]

. . .
I, too, am a slow learner. Every day, Eurydice has a thousand things to teach, and every day I assimilate precious few. One thing I have grasped though is that the more I do, the more I can do. Raising my girl taps resources that did not exist five years ago. In many ways, she’s still a baby—not yet continent, not yet talking. Some days I fear she will go from being a baby to being an invalid. Medical risks are legion with Down syndrome, and they come on quickly.
There are reasons to think the future could be harder—not easier—than the present. But while certain experts (repeatedly quoted by Solomon) have suggested that this leads to “chronic sadness” in parents of children with Down syndrome, I find it leads to “chronic carpe diem”—a chronic desire to seize the day and wring the best possible from every moment—and from myself.
[emphasis added]
. . .
The joy Eurydice takes in each detail of life is the most infectious quality I’ve ever known. When she flings her arms around my neck as she does every day, every night, my most recurrent fear is no longer relapsing cancer, no longer early dementia or heart disease or hearing loss—or even the fact that Eurydice is growing up too slowly. It is a testament to how radically this child has transformed me that my most recurrent fear may be that she’s growing up too fast—that one day she could be too mature to give me those massive, resplendent, full-body hugs.
The wise learn from experience, especially tragic experience, what is truly valuable in life, and their own and humanity's limitations and glories. The ability to laugh at one's own presumptions--especially those of us who have been coddled from youth with "what a bright little boy" or "what an intelligent little girl" and teachers enjoying our "brilliance". The most important thing in life is not intellectual excellence, but the ability to give love and receive love. She's exactly right that in day-to-day life and especially in tough times, I'd rather have a spouse, brother, good friend, or even my dog than the brightest, most talented person in the world at my side.

In her parental and personal crisis, Cristina Nehring has found a major key to happiness. I say "a" major key because as a Christian, I would be dissembling if I did not attest that "the" key is God's love and blessing.

Friday, November 16, 2012

9 Heroes Who Died November 3 to November 13, 2012

November 3 - They died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device in Paktia province, Afghanistan. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Dain T. Venne, 29, of Port Henry, N.Y.;
- Spc. Ryan P. Jayne, 22, of Campbell, N.Y.; and
- Spc. Brett E. Gornewicz, 27, of Alden, N.Y.

November 5 - Pfc. Brandon L. Buttry, 19, of Shenandoah, Iowa, died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

November 9 - Spc. Daniel L. Carlson, 21, of Running Springs, Calif., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

Capt. James D. Nehl, 37, of Gardiner, Ore., died in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations. KCBY news:
Capt. James Nehl, 37, graduated from Reedsport High School. His former classmate and teachers say he made the perfect soldier.

According to his high school teacher, Jim Wells, it's what Nehl wanted to do all along.

"Quiet guy, sincere, not a typical teenager, what you would say, very disciplined. I think he was living his dream and unfortunately died his dream. He wanted to be an army ranger,” Wells said.

Nehl liked to hunt and fish. He was on the football, track and swimming teams, and in the National Honor Society.

Keith Tymchuk, another of Nehl’s former teachers, said he didn't stand out from other students, but that's what made him such a perfect soldier.

"It speaks about James in that he was quiet and didn't call attention to himself and was just one of those people who wanted to do what was right,” said Tymchuk.

Capt. Nehl was killed while fighting for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Wells said he was the "perfect fit for the military. Athletic, disciplined, he's the kind of guy you want on your side.”

While he didn't stand out at school, a classmate said he stood out among his friends.

"Quiet confidence, that's the best way to describe him. An enemy of no one and a friend of everybody. He was a good man and even back then I knew he would do good things,” said Ron Dukovich.
November 10 - Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Bennett, 26, of Glendora, Calif., died in Sperwan Gar, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when he encountered an improvised explosive device during combat operations.

November 12 - Sgt. Matthew H. Stiltz, 26, of Spokane, Wash., died at Zerok, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with indirect fire.

November 13 - Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle Jr., 25, of Rocky Mount, N.C., died in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Will the 30 Republican Governors Give Obamacare a Headache?

Byron York points out that since the November 6th election, Republican governors now control 30 states. This is up from 29 Republican governors in 2010. That control over 60% of the states may mean a headache for the roll out of Obamacare.
The flash point, at least right now, is Obamacare. People might assume the health care plan, passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court, will now simply go into effect. It won't be that simple.

Obamacare directs states to establish exchanges through which uninsured people can purchase coverage. If the states don't do it, the law says the federal government will step in and set up an exchange itself. The Obama administration has been trying to push the governors to say whether they will set up exchanges in their states. So far, most of the Republican governors seem inclined to say no.

They have several reasons. One, they believe the exchanges will cost their states a lot of money. Two, they believe the federal government will exercise ultimate control, meaning there will be little benefit for a state to do the heavy lifting to get the exchanges started. And three, some suspect the exchanges will be a disorganized and troubled enterprise, and when the implementation of Obamacare comes under criticism, the blame will lie with the administration, and not the states.

Some conservatives are urging the governors not only to stay out of the exchanges but also to reject Obamacare's planned expansion of Medicaid. That could be a crippling blow to the health care law. "If enough states do so, Congress will have no choice but to reopen Obamacare," Cato Institute health care scholar Michael Cannon wrote in National Review Online recently. "With a GOP-controlled House, opponents will be in a much stronger position than they were when this harmful law was enacted."
[emphasis added]
If the Federal Government has to set up exchanges in more than half the states, that will take some big bucks. With the House of Representatives (where "all bills for raising revenue" must originate according to Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution) in Republican hands, lots of new funding for implementing Obamacare is not likely to happen.

A non-smooth roll out of Obamacare will be another indicator to the electorate already against it, that Obamacare is a legislative and medical fiasco.

Not only presidential but gubernatorial and legislative elections have consequences.

You can read Michael Cannon's article at National Review here. One very interesting point:
. . . [D]efaulting to a federal exchange exempts a state’s employers from the employer mandate — a tax of $2,000 per worker per year (the tax applies to companies with more than 50 employees, but for such companies that tax applies after the 30th employee, not the 50th). If all states did so, that would also exempt 18 million Americans from the individual mandate’s tax of $2,085 per family of four. Avoiding those taxes improves a state’s prospects for job creation, and protects the conscience rights of employers and individuals whom the Obama administration is forcing to purchase contraceptives coverage.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Byron York: Key to Winning 2016--Candidate Who Can Inspire, Not Message Change

Byron York in the Washington Examiner puts together the pieces about Obama's win and Romney's loss.

First he notes the question about what the Obama campaign will do with the amazing infrastructure they have built. Pass it on to another candidate? No.
". . . [T]he three top officials in Obama's re-election effort -- David Axelrod, Jim Messina and David Plouffe -- were asked what will happen to the mighty Obama campaign now. What next for the enormous campaign infrastructure, with its massive databases and voter profiles? Will it go to a new candidate?

"You can't just transfer this," said senior adviser Plouffe. "People are not going to spend hours away from their families, and their jobs, contributing financially when it's hard for them to do it, unless they believe in the candidate."

"All of this, the door knocks ... the contributions made, the phone calls made, were because these people believed in Barack Obama," Plouffe continued. "And so for candidates who want to try and build a grassroots campaign, it's not going to happen because there's a list or because you have the best technology. That's not how this works. They have to build up that kind of emotional appeal so that people are willing to go out and spend the time and their resources and provide their talents because they believe in someone. ... The reason those people got involved was because they believed in Barack Obama. It was a relationship between them and our candidate."
[emphasis added]
Barack Obama won because he inspired people, especially the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Mitt Romney did not excite any group. Not even Mormons. In 2004 George W. Bush gained more Mormons (80%) than Mitt Romney (78%) in 2012.

York mentions the fact pointed out on this blog previously that McCain (actually McCain-Palin) running in the face of a massive financial meltdown in 2008, gained more votes than Romney against the same candidate who was much stronger then because not shackled with a poor economy and poor presidential record.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, appears not to have excited any big group. Yes, he won the support of 59 percent of white voters, but there are indications that whites actually stayed away from the polls in large numbers. Overall, Romney won fewer votes than John McCain's doomed 2008 campaign.

"The 2012 elections actually weren't about a demographic explosion with nonwhite voters," writes analyst Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics. "Instead, they were about a large group of white voters not showing up. ... The reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home."
[emphasis added]
Romney's problem was clear in the primaries.
That's where finding a great candidate comes in. Romney is an able, accomplished, intelligent and hard-working man, but Republicans knew from the start he was an imperfect candidate. During the primaries, GOP voters tried every alternative possible before finally settling on Romney. He remained a flawed candidate in the general election.
[emphasis added]
In the primaries, Romney was sold not as having the best ideas, being the best campaigner or best anything. Like Democrats voting for John Kerry in 2004, 2012 Republican voters thought Romney had the best chance of beating the incumbent. Both Kerry's and Romney's role was to not stumble and win by attrition. It showed in the presidential vote even though both Kerry and Romney had massive get out the vote efforts.

York concludes that it wasn't Obama's positions that won the election, but the fact that more of his voters believed in Obama as a leader than Romney's voters believed in Romney as a leader.
Now, because of Romney's loss, some are urging that the Republican Party completely remake itself. Some argue that GOP lawmakers must support comprehensive immigration reform and change positions on other issues. The answer, they say, is broad, across-the-board change.

But listen to the Obama team. There is a less complicated lesson to this election. Voters want to believe in a candidate. If Republicans find that candidate, they will win.
[emphasis added]

Friday, November 09, 2012

Kudlow: 63% of Voters Say No to Increasing Taxes to Reduce Deficit

From Lawrence Kudlow writing for the New York Sun:
In the fierce headline debate over the so-called fiscal cliff, our newly reelected president argues that “a majority of Americans agree with [his] approach.” That approach, according to the president, is “to combine spending cuts with revenue — and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes.”
Well, that’s not exactly what the exit polls said.

To the question “Should taxes be raised to help cut the budget deficit?” only 33% answered “yes” while 63% responded “no.” Isn’t that interesting? Nobody’s talking about this exit-poll nugget.
[emphasis added]

Liberal Turnout Was the Difference in 2012

The 2012 presidential election was won on the basis of appealing to and turning out the candidate's political/ideological base. Independents and moderates were not the key. Romney actually won independents. And Obama received a lower percentage of moderates than John Kerry did in his 2004 loss. The uptick in voting from the left wing of Obama's base won the election.


To the left is a chart of conservative, moderate and liberal voters as a percent of the total vote in 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.

The only category in which 2012 out performed the previous two elections is in the liberal vote for the Democratic candidate.

The Obama campaign beat the drum that this was a liberal vs. conservative election. Did the electorate want to go back to the failed policies of the past and let the rich off from paying "their fair share"? The Democrats also added the "social" issue of abortion and forcing all employers to provide free contraceptives. In other words, the Obama campaign used the dog whistles that political pundits for years have been saying would lose a presidential campaign. The key, experts assured us, is appealing to moderates and independents. Not this election.

The Romney campaign followed "expert" advice and did not emphasize the conservative/liberal divide. They emphasized managerial competence. Romney could create more jobs. They stayed away from social issues and even constitutional 1st and 2nd amendment rights issues. They banked on the "It's the economy, stupid" theme of 1992.

But, for the electorate, the economy did not trump ideology and social issues. Romney actually lost in moderate vote percentage compared with George W. Bush in 2004 (16.8% vs. Bush's 20.3%) and McCain in 2008 (16.8% vs. McCain's 17.2%). And Obama did too (22.96% vs. his 2008 26.4% and Kerry's 2004 24.3%). But, it didn't sink Obama's campaign because he made up for the loss of moderates with increased liberal support.

Romney lost this election because he did not excite his conservative base by pounding conservative issues as Obama pounded liberal issues.

Had Romney been able to equal the Gallup poll percentage with conservative voters (let alone over-perform as Obama did with liberal voters), he would have won the election with an additional 5 million votes.

The big vote addition is due to the fact that even though enthusiastic liberals were 25% of this election's voters, conservatives still made up 35% of voters--a 10% difference.

It turns out running on ideology and principle really can win elections. Ronald Reagan proved that in 1980. And, this election proved it again.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ann Coulter and Dick Morris: No One Could Have Won

Self-serving political analysis was on view yesterday.

Ann Coulter on Hannity last night:
"There was one rule of elections that I had forgotten and I shouldn't have and that is it's very hard to take out an incumbent. That was, as many, many people remember why I abandoned Romney and ran off with Chris Christie in the middle of Obama's term because I just thought -- he's likable, Obama is likable. He's an incumbent, it's going to be very hard to take him out. We are going to need some star power street fighter like Chris Christie. I was wrong about that. I absolutely think that Mitt Romney was the right candidate, the strongest candidate. But it remains true that it's very hard to take out an incumbent. In the last hundred years, Republicans have taken out a sitting president one time and that was Ronald Reagan in 1980." [emphasis added]
Uh, but just 20 years ago Democrats took out George H. W. Bush despite an economy that was better than the present one. Coulter chose her analogy field slyly by narrowing it to Republican politics and ignoring 1992.

There's more:
"I would distinguish between helpful criticism, so we don't make the same mistakes and fighting the last war," Coulter said. "And I think it's preposterous to be nitpicking Mitt Romney as if he's John McCain or Bob Dole. He was no (sic). We saw those debates, that is counterfactual. He was a magnificent candidate and nearly beat an incumbent president." [emphasis added]
Dick Morris said he underestimated the new political realities. But, he agrees with Coulter: "If Romney couldn’t manage this trick against Obama in the current economy, no Republican could."

Though I agree with Coulter that Romney was a better candidate than McCain, why did Romney got less votes than McCain? Or should we say, less votes than McCain-Palin?

Neither Coulter nor Morris deal with the Republican vote total. Because the elephant in the room is how much stronger Palin made McCain's much more difficult race with the financial meltdown of September, 2008, than Romney's race this year was.

It's astonishing to hear the "no one could have won" philosophy from someone who encourages conservatives on college campuses where conservatives are the utter underdog and a political expert who knows the history of how Bill Clinton unseated incumbent George H. W. Bush just 20 years ago (though Dick Morris didn't have a part in that win). Lord forbid that either would look at McCain-Palin's 2 million vote gain over Romney's and draw the conclusion that they are wrong about Sarah Palin, the most attractive, smart, charismatic conservative woman in American history.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Portland: Millionaires Pay Same Tax as Low-Income

UPDATE: The City Club of Portland has removed their Arts Tax study from their site. Here's a link to find it.

Portland has become the super-flat tax capital of the region--maybe even the country.

Portland has passed a measure 26-146 (Multnomah County vote tally shows a whopping 60% approval rate) that charges the same tax ($35 per income earner) whether the income earned is bare minimum or millions of dollars. None of this same percentage stuff. The exact same amount.

It is probably not because the area, though voting strongly for President Obama, does not share the Obama enthusiasm for the rich paying their "fair share". Rather it is due to knee-jerk, unthinking voting. It is for the arts and a tax. So, it must be good. Portland voters did not even think about the extremely regressive nature of this tax. Which begs the question of how much thought goes into the area's voting on any issue.

Measure 26-146:
. . . would assess an annual income tax of $35 on all income-earning Portland residents ages 18 and older unless they live in a household making less than the federal poverty level. The money would be used to hire arts and music teachers in public schools serving K-5 students in six Portland school districts. Money also would provide grants to nonprofit arts organizations, other nonprofits and schools to provide arts access to K-12 students, and to make arts and culture available to underserved communities. The tax, expected to raise $12 million a year, would begin with the 2012 tax year.
The City Club did a study of the measure. The majority report favored passage even after explaining how regressive and burdensome the tax would be "on many low-income families."
The tax is imposed on any income-earning adult above the federal poverty level. Using this poverty level sets a low threshold for tax liability. For example, a family of four with annual household income of $25,000 would most likely be required to pay $70 in tax. A single person earning $12,000 would be required to pay $35. We believe a $35 tax is not overly burdensome for a majority of prospective taxpayers; however, your committee believes that it will be a burden on many low-income families. [emphasis added]
The majority further saw the double whammy even if one adult in the household was "non-working".
The actual amount of the tax in this scenario would depend on how many adult income earners there are in the household. However, even a non-working adult is likely to be an income earner, since any amount of income qualifies, thus a minimal amount from casual employment, gifts, or interest on a joint savings account, would qualify an adult resident as “income earning” for purposes of the tax. Therefore, it is likely that most above-poverty households with two adult residents would pay $70, even if one of the adults is not employed full time. [emphasis added]
The minority report, which opposed passage of the measure, noted that even the Internal Revenue Service does not use "coercive collection actions" on individuals earning less than $29,000 or families earning less than $55,000. But, Portland voters are okay with sending a private collection agency after individuals earning less than $11,200 and families earning less than $23,100 (the Federal Poverty Guideline threshold).

Further, everyone earning under that amount will have to file annual proof of income to avoid collection agency visits. Having to file proof of income every year should be fun for those living under poverty level. But, they are probably sitting around eating chocolates and reading True Confessions anyway, so what is a little extra time and paperwork to them?

What are Portland voters thinking? It seems not much is going on in those pretty little heads. Certainly nothing to do with easing the life of low-income families or the unemployed in the city.

Let the poor eat cake. We want publicly funded art access, and we want it now.

Try a Clear Conservative Message Next Time?

Voting results in the last few presidential elections (2012 figures as of the writing of the post):

Obama 2012 - 60,173,541 - - Romney 2012 - 57,449,374
Obama 2008 - 69,498,516 - - McCain 2008 - 59,948,323
Kerry 2004 - 59,028,444 - - - Bush 2004 - 62,040,610

Though the 2012 totals are not final, in terms of the current count Romney not only lost 7% of George Bush's vote in 2004, but surprisingly got 4% less than McCain's in 2008.

Though Romney did better than McCain on moderates (41% to McCain's 39%) and actually won independents (50% to Obama's 45%), enough liberals turned out that he lost the election.  In fact, liberals way over-performed.

Gallup finds that in 2012 40% of Americans self-identify as conservative, 35% as moderate and only 21% as liberal. The exit polling yesterday shows that those who voted self-identified as 35% conservative, 41% moderate and 25% liberal. Conservative voters were down 5% from the national average, moderate voters up 6% and liberal voters up 4%. That points to a significant number of conservatives staying home and liberals turning out. In fact in 2012 liberals outperformed their turnout in 2008! So, even though Romney did better with voting liberals (11% vs. 10%), moderates (41% vs. 39%) and conservatives (82% vs 78%) than McCain, Romney as of now has fewer votes.*

President Obama played to his hard base, and they turned out even though his total vote was down 13% from 2008 (see chart above). Still, liberal enthusiasm was enough to pull him over the line (see Vote Lib vs. Gallup Lib in the chart at left) because they out performed their actual population percentage.

Romney did not garner even the mediocre voter support McCain, hobbled by the economic meltdown of September 2008, drew.  McCain's reasonable showing was due largely to Sarah Palin who attracted huge, enthusiastic crowds in 2008 equaled only by Obama's 2008 crowds.

In contrast, Romney played to independents, and both independent and conservative turnout was basically static in 2012 compared with 2008.  Moderate turnout was actually down 3 points.

My family and I voted because we always do. But lots of other folks stayed home (among Democrats too) because no candidate presented a vision worth following. President Obama's "I inherited a mess and am doing the best I can" and hard turn to left issues (abortion, contraception, tax the rich-share the wealth) kept enough of his base to overcome Governor Romney's failure to increase his base turnout with "I can create jobs".

In back to back presidential elections two articulate Republican vice presidential candidates have not been enough to overcome the presidential candidates' lack of ability to make a convincing case for their view of how to govern.

A clear call to conservative, constitutional values such as Governor Palin, Senator Rand Paul and Senator-elect Ted Cruz have shown may be enough to win in 2016.

An uptick in conservative voters equaling the uptick in liberal voters yesterday, would mean a 9% increase (5% to equal their 40% share and 4% to catch up with the liberal increase).  That would be a swing of about 3.7 million votes making Romney winner in popular vote by almost a million votes, slightly less than Obama is currently winning by.

Most conservative pundits bought into this year's the "we've-got-the-conservatives-the-important-thing-is-to-win-the-moderates" strategy. There was no real push to focus on on important economic and societal truths. Maybe defeat will help conservative political leadership rethink that strategy. The "boring but competent" candidate model did not work even though he won a majority of independent voters.
____
*In 2004 George W. Bush did better with voting conservatives (84% vs. McCain 78% vs. Romney 82%), moderates (45% vs. 39% vs. 41%) and liberals (13% vs. 10% vs. 11%) than either McCain or Romney.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Verify That Your Vote Has Been Counted in Oregon

The Oregon Secretary of State's office will verify if your vote has been counted here.

Just enter your name, date of birth, and zipcode.

NY Sun: Election Spending Plunges Along With Value of Dollar

Again, the New York Sun gives a perspective worth thinking about:
While we’re waiting for the polls to close let us just reflect on an astonishing fact that is emerging as the newspapers and other analysts tot up the amount of money spent on the election. The figures from which we are doing our calculations are from Advertising Age. It turns out that the value of the outlays in the election that is ending today is estimated to have plunged to only 5.7 million ounces of gold from the value of 8.2 million ounces of gold that was sunk into the contest four years earlier. It’s not just the turnout that seems to be dropping. Its the value that people are placing on the whole process.

Oh, we understand that in terms of United States Federal Reserve notes, the spending on this election has soared, to what Ad Age estimates at $9.840 billion. There may be other estimates around; that is AdAges's. It is way up from the $6.981 billion that was spent four years earlier. The dollars that were sunk into the Obama-McCain contest, however, had a value of roughly twice the number of grains of gold as the dollars being lathered around in respect of the contest between President Obama and Governor Romney. One always has to keep this in mind. It’s not the spending on the election that is going up. It is the value of the dollar that is going down.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Anchorage Daily News Continues Circulation Bleed

The Anchorage Daily News again saw a decline it its daily circulation (-4.82%) and its Sunday edition (-6.48%) from a year ago.

Audit Bureau of Circulations notes that in the same period there was a 0.2% average circulation decrease for other daily newspapers and a 0.6% gain in Sunday circulation.
"Daily circulation for the 613 U.S. newspapers reporting comparable multiday averages decreased 0.2 percent. Circulation for the 528 newspapers reporting comparable Sunday data increased 0.6 percent."

This means that in the last year the McClatchy owned Anchorage newspaper lost about 5% more in its daily circulation than the average newspaper and 6.5% more in its Sunday circulation.

Over four years (September 2008 to September 2012) the Anchorage Daily News has lost about a third of its circulation (-32.64% daily; -33.08% Sunday). Coincidentally at the beginning of this same four year period the Anchorage Daily News turned from running neutral or positive news stories on then Governor Sarah Palin to running mostly negative articles on Palin after her pick as McCain's vice presidential candidate.

Anchorage Daily News circulation numbers:
. . . . . . . . . . . . .daily . . . .Sunday
Sept. 2008 . . 61,882 . . . 70,272
Sept. 2009 . . 50,935 . . . 57,655
Sept. 2010 . . 46,783 . . . 52,960
Sept. 2011 . . 43,794 . . . 50,287
Sept. 2012 . . 41,684 . . . 47,028

Palin: Tuesday Is Our Chance; Please Vote for Romney and Commonsense Conservatives

Sarah Palin today:

This Tuesday our country's future is in our hands.

What's past is prologue. We know what we will get from a second Obama term because we've all endured his first term. We know how well he kept his 2008 campaign promises. Do we really believe he'll keep his 2012 promises?

Do we believe the word of a man who promised he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class, but then slammed the middle class with a massive tax hike in the form of Obamacare (and don’t forget that his own lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that the individual mandate is a tax)?

Do we really believe he won't raise taxes even more on every American in order to pay for his wasteful spending and his crony capitalism?

Do we believe that the same president who increased the debt in his first term by more than all the first 41 presidents combined will suddenly decide to cut the deficit in his second term?

Do we believe that the president whose reckless spending led us to the first credit rating downgrade in our nation's history will suddenly become a responsible fiscal manager if we reelect him?

Do we really believe that a president who promised us that job creation was his number one priority despite month after month of dismal job numbers now has a credible "plan" for the job growth that eluded him for the past four years?

Do we believe that the same president who shut down the Keystone Pipeline and blocks domestic oil and natural gas development at every turn is somehow going to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and lead us to energy independence?

Do we really believe that our country's national security is safe in the hands of a president whose administration denied security and assistance to our consulate under attack on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on America, and then blamed that consulate attack and the death of our ambassador on a "spontaneous" protest over an obscure YouTube video despite all the real time evidence to the contrary?

Do we believe that a president who was caught on a hot mic telling the Russian president that he would have "more flexibility" after his reelection is being honest about his plans for a second term?

We know what we will get from a second Obama term. We will get the same failed policies. We will get Obamacare locked into law without any chance of undoing this dangerous legislation and any chance to seek real patient-centered health care reform. We will get a debt crisis. We will get more inflation and higher gas prices. We will get tax increases. We will get fewer jobs. We will get more small businesses collapsing under the weight of higher taxes and unfair regulation. We will get more corruption and crony capitalism favoring the Obama administration's friends. We will get less domestic energy development and increased dependence on terrorist sponsoring foreign regimes for our energy needs. We will get a "blame America first" foreign policy that bows to our enemies and snubs our friends like Israel and leaves America and the world less safe. We will get less opportunity and security for ourselves and for our children.

In 2008, Barack Obama promised to fundamentally transform America. And for all his failures and broken promises, that's the one thing he has delivered on. He's transformed us from a nation of hope to one of anxiety. It doesn't have to be this way.

Tuesday is our chance to turn things around.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have offered a credible alternative to Barack Obama's failed policies. Governor Romney understands how the free market works. His pro-growth economic policies will benefit all Americans. He has promised to move us toward energy independence, deficit reduction, and responsible entitlement reform that honors our commitment to our seniors and keeps faith with future generations. Governor Romney deserves a chance to lead. President Obama had his chance. He's failed, and we can't afford to go backwards.

We must also remember the many good Republican candidates who are running for the House and Senate this year. They deserve our support as well. If you are like me, you have watched these campaigns, learned about the candidates, and know where they stand despite the skewed lens of a partisan media bent on keeping liberal leadership in power. We saw the destruction a Democrat controlled White House, House, and Senate brought us after the 2008 election. Our country can't afford that again. Your vote is the only safeguard against that happening.

On Tuesday, please vote for Governor Mitt Romney and the commonsense conservatives running for office in your states.

Voting is our duty and our right. We must never forget the immense sacrifices generations of Americans, including our brave men and women in uniform today, have made to give us this right. And we must never forget the duty we owe to generations of Americans yet to be born to exercise our right to vote prudently. The White House and control of the Senate is in the balance in this election, and every vote will count.

I firmly believe it is our responsibility to restore this country and secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity for our children, just as it was secured for us. This is our sacred duty to the past and to the future. We will succeed in this so help us God.

God bless you and God bless America.

With an Alaskan heart,

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Romney's Good Judgement in VP Pick

Governor Mitt Romney showed first class sense when he picked serious, knowledgeable, measured, upright Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential candidate.

That good judgement is underlined if the Politico story is true that Governor Chris Christie was Romney's first choice.
Now, campaign insiders tell POLITICO that Christie was Mitt Romney’s first choice for the Republican ticket, lending an intriguing new context to the continuing drama around the Garden State governor.

The strong internal push for Christie, and Romney’s initial instinct to pick him as his running mate, reflects how conflicted the nominee remained about choosing a running mate until the very end of the process. At least on the surface, Christie and Paul Ryan are about as opposite as two Republicans could be: a brash outsider from the Northeast versus a bookish insider from the heartland.

And yet Romney switched from Christie to Ryan in a span of about two weeks, according to a detailed inside account provided to POLITICO.

Romney was so close to picking Christie that some top advisers at the campaign’s Boston headquarters believed the governor had been offered the job. The campaign made tentative plans to announce a pick in late July, just before Romney headed off on his overseas trip, starting with a stop at the London Olympics.
Christie's pluses are ability to connect with the Republican base and working class men and straight talk.
Romney liked Christie’s fearless advice — unvarnished talk that he wasn’t used to hearing from his cocoon of Boston advisers, many of whom had been with him since he was Massachusetts governor.
 His weaknesses are lack of dependability, self-centeredness,  and impulsive nature.
Some aides around Romney began to sour on Christie when he was late to a couple of events where they were appearing together. “Chris is a sort of cavalier New York, New Jersey guy: ‘If I’m a few minutes behind, I’ll blame it on traffic,’” said a person who knows him well. “That’s just who he is.”

The tardiness rankled the by-the-book folks around Romney. As the vice-presidential selection ramped up, Christie was always at the top of the list, but always with an asterisk.

Some Romney loyalists thought he was too much about himself.

“He wouldn’t make a good Number Two,” one adviser said. That is a point that Christie often made himself, when brushing off talk that he would be chosen.

Advisers also fretted about the raw emotion that makes Christie so popular on TV and on the trail, fearing it might be a liability in the West Wing. In blunt language that Christie can appreciate, another official said: “The explosiveness had some risk.”
Christie has a Bidenesque, impulsive streak in him which sometimes leads him to say and do things in a way which do not help his team or, even worse, which set a bad precedent. Most recently there is his effusive praise of President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy which could have been said just as honestly but less effusively days before a close presidential election. Not smart. But an actual bad decision for his state and its future is his decision to allow fax and e-mail voting in New Jersey. As Max points out tongue in cheek, "This Should End Well".

Mitt Romney's ability to assess and choose the man better suited to both the vice presidency and possible heart beat away rise to the presidency bodes well for all the picks a President Romney will have to make. The more I learn about the VP pick, the more I'm impressed by Governor Romney's leadership insight.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

6 Heroes Who Died October 18 to November 3, 2012

October 18 - Pfc. Shane G. Wilson, 20, of Kuna, Idaho, died in Khost, Afghanistan.

October 23 - Chief Warrant Officer Michael S. Duskin, 42, of Orange Park, Fla., died in Chak District, Wardak Province, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on dismounted patrol during combat operations.

October 25 - They died of wounds suffered when their unit was attacked by small arms fire in Khas Uruzgan, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Kashif M. Memon, 31, of Houston, Texas.
- Sgt. Clinton K. Ruiz, 22, of Murrieta, Calif.

October 31 - Cpl. Alex F. Domion, 21, of Richfield Springs, N.Y., died as a result of a non-combat related incident in Helmand province, Afghanistan. This incident is under investigation.

No death date given.  Published November 3 - Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Kantor, 22, of Gillette, N.J., died supporting stability operations in Zabul, Afghanistan.

Michael Barone Thinks Romney Will Win Handily

Michael Barone
The consummate professional, Michael Barone, presents a clearly reasoned analysis of why he thinks Romney will win.

The analysis is interesting just in underlining major factors in predicting voter response.

Generically:

1. "[V]oters oppose Obama's major policies and consider unsatisfactory the very sluggish economic recovery -- Friday's jobs report showed an unemployment uptick."

2. Independents. "[B]oth national and target state polls show that independents, voters who don't identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans, break for Romney."

3. Early Voting ". . . [I]n early or absentee voting, . . . Democrats trail their 2008 numbers in target states Virginia, Ohio, Iowa and Nevada."

Barone then does specific state analysis on 16 states. Some examples where he goes into some detail:

4. "Ohio (18). The anti-Romney auto bailout ads have Obama running well enough among blue-collar voters for him to lead most polls. But many polls anticipate a more Democratic electorate than in 2008. Early voting tells another story, and so does the registration decline in Cleveland's Cuyahoga County. In 2004, intensity among rural, small-town and evangelical voters, undetected by political reporters who don't mix in such circles, produced a narrow Bush victory. I see that happening again. Romney."

5. "Pennsylvania (20). Everyone would have picked Obama two weeks ago. I think higher turnout in pro-coal Western Pennsylvania and higher Republican percentages in the Philadelphia suburbs could produce a surprise. The Romney team evidently thinks so too. Their investment in TV time is too expensive to be a mere feint, and, as this is written, Romney is planning a Sunday event in Bucks County outside Philly. Wobbling on my limb, Romney."

6. "Wisconsin (10). Recent polling is discouraging for Republicans. But Gov. Scott Walker handily survived the recall effort in June with a great organizational push. Democrats depend heavily on margins in inner-city Milwaukee (population down) and the Madison university community. But early voting is down in university towns in other states. The Obama campaign is prepared to turn out a big student vote, but you don't see many Obama signs on campuses. Romney."

Michael Barone's conclusion: "Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals."

Fundamentals. Barone stands head and shoulders above the rest. Of course, all predictions can go south, but analysis like Barone's that teaches as well as predicts is priceless because it is so rare.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oregonian Circulation Falls 5.8%

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) report for September 30, 2012  brings more bad news for the Oregonian.  With the exception of a slight gain (1.55%) in circulation in September, 2011, the Oregonian has now seen a drop in circulation in every report since March of 2005.  This year the 228,599 circulation is a decline of 5.8% from a year ago.  This compares with a mild 0.2% drop in circulation among the 613 dailies ABC tracks.

The Oregonian's decrease is despite marketing efforts that have included a Tuesday/Sunday delivery package for only $19.99 a year offered last March.

Such efforts have not staunched losses which have amounted to a drop of 1/3rd in the Oregonian's circulation in ten years (342,789 in September 2002) and 1/4th in the last five years (309,467 in September 2007).

The New York Times (NYT), which saw a 40% increase in circulation in the last year, has actually lost print circulation. (down from 770,586 in September 2011 to 717,513 in 2012)  However, digital circulation rocketed from 380,003 in 2011 to 896,352 this year.

In terms of digital circulation rate, NYT's growth rate has slowed in the last six months to 11% while the Wall Street Journal's (WSJ) digital circulation rate has grown almost 44% since March.  In September 2011 NYT was playing catch up to WSJ's digital circulation dominance. (WSJ 537,469 vs NYT 380,003)  Now WSJ is the one trying to close the gap. (NYT 896,352 vs WSJ 794,594)  Still, WSJ's print dominance (more than double NYT's print circulation) keeps it almost 680,000 in the lead for total daily circulation.

Here are ABC's stats for the daily circulation of the top 25 U.S. newspapers:

                               Total Average Circulation    Total Average Circulation   
Newspaper Name                as of 9/30/12                 as of 9/30/11          % Change
WALL STREET JOURNAL      2,293,798                     2,096,169                   9.4%
USA TODAY                       1,713,833                     1,784,242                  -3.9%
NEW YORK TIMES               1,613,865                    1,150,589                  40.3%
LOS ANGELES TIMES             641,369                       572,998                  11.9%
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS        535,875                       605,677                 -11.5%
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS    529,999                       527,568                    0.5%
NEW YORK POST                  522,868                        512,067                   2.1%
WASHINGTON POST              462,228                        507,465                  -8.9%
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES            432,455                        389,352                  11.1%
DENVER POST                      412,669                        353,115                  16.9%
CHICAGO TRIBUNE                411,960                        425,370                  -3.2%
DALLAS MORNING NEWS       410,130                        409,642                    0.1%
NEWSDAY                            392,989                        404,542                  -2.9%
HOUSTON CHRONICLE           325,814                        369,710                 -11.9%
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES        313,003                        240,024                  30.4%
NEWARK STAR-LEDGER        311,904                        210,586                  48.1%
MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE 300,277                        298,147                   0.7%
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER       296,427                        331,132                 -10.5%
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER    293,139                        243,299                  20.5%
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER  285,088                        270,809                    5.3%
ARIZONA REPUBLIC              275,622                        292,838                   -5.9%
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL  252,174                     213,078                  18.3%
BOSTON GLOBE                   230,351                        205,939                   11.9%
OREGONIAN                         228,599                        242,784                   -5.8%
HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER 224,973                    178,082                   26.3%

Thursday, October 18, 2012

17 Heroes Who Died August 4 and September 26 to October 13, 2012

August 4 - Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Milton W. Brown, 28, of Dallas, Texas, died Aug. 4, from a non-combat related incident in Rota, Spain.

September 26 - They died in Pul-E Alam, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent wearing a suicide vest detonated the device near their patrol. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Orion N. Sparks, 29, of Tucson, Ariz., and
- Sgt. Jonathan A. Gollnitz, 28, of Lakehurst, N.J.

September 28 - Sgt. 1st Class Riley G. Stephens, 39, of Tolar, Texas, died in Wardak, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire.

September 29 - Sgt. 1st Class Daniel T. Metcalfe, 29, of Liverpool, N.Y., died in Sayyid Abad, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his unit was attacked with small arms fire. The incident is under investigation.

October 1 - They died in Khost, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while they were on dismounted patrol. Killed were:
- Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, 25, of Wilmington, N.C.;
- Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, 23, of Maysville, N.C. and
- Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, 29, of Raeford, N.C.

October 2 - Sgt. 1st Class Aaron A. Henderson, 33, of Houlton, Maine, died at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit on Sept. 30 with an improvised explosive device in Zombalay Village, Afghanistan.

October 3 - Sgt. Camella M. Steedley, 31, of San Diego, Calif., died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The cause of death is under investigation.

October 6 - They died in Chak district, Wardak Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds suffered while on dismounted patrol. Killed were:
- Warrant Officer Joseph L. Schiro, 27, of Coral Springs, Fla., and
- Staff Sgt. Justin C. Marquez, 25, of Aberdeen, N.C.

October 12 - Sgt. Thomas R. Macpherson, 26, of Long Beach, Calif., died in Andar District, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations.
- Cmdr. Joel Del Mundo Tiu, 49, of Manila, Philippines died as a result of non-combat related injuries.

October 13 - Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard, 29, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., died in Khanabad District, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations
- Spc. Brittany B. Gordon, 24, of St. Petersburg, Fla., died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked her unit with an improvised explosive device.
- Sgt. Robert J. Billings, 30, of Clarksville, Va., died in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Newspaper Readership Dips Below Book Readership

Only 23% of Americans now read a print newspaper on any given day even though 51% of Americans "enjoy reading a lot" and on any given day 30% of Americans read a book in print.*

What a difference from 2002 when 41% of Americans read a print newspaper--a loss of 18% as the chart to the side shows.

By contrast print books lost only 4% in the past decade and daily book reading actually gained 2%* if you include digital book reading. Combing print and digital newspaper reading only raises the newspaper total to 29% in 2012 (still down 12% from 2002).

Why have newspapers suffered such a dramatic loss when magazines and books have not?

One reason might be that newspapers have lost credibility as a news source. Take, for example, the singular role that Nigel Jaquiss and Willamette Week have as an Oregon major print news breaking source despite competing with giants like the Oregonian (one of the top 25 U.S. newspapers in circulation).

The implosion of the Jefferson Smith mayoral campaign makes the point. It was Jaquiss who broke the story that Rep. Smith was cited in 1993 for assaulting a woman. The Oregonian's coverage had to admit the Jaquiss reporting as the key mover of this story:
Jefferson Smith's mayoral campaign called a news conference Monday afternoon, just hours after Willamette Week reported that Smith, 39, had been cited on an accusation of misdemeanor assault involving a woman in 1993 when he was a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
One would think with the leg up of having Jaquiss uncover the story that the Oregonian would use its vastly superior numbers in reporters and funding to to be in the lead in following this up.

But, no. Again Nigel Jaquiss was the first to find the woman involved who agreed to release the police report of the incident (a report Eugene police said no longer existed in its records). In a Monday, October 8th, story (posted before 7:30 pm) Jaquiss wrote:
WW obtained the police report Monday from the woman's lawyer, John Bassett, after she spoke to the newspaper.
By contrast the Oregonian's story was posted 2-1/2 hours later (October 8th at 10 pm), but did not mention Willamette Week's key role in obtaining the police report.

In two recent posts Max Redline has pointed to the credibility problem of news media and to the Oregonian's credibility problem in particular. Failure to uncover Jefferson Smith's violent past and present lies without the help of reporters like Jaquiss underlines the point.

Jaquiss and Willamette Week have beaten the Oregonian on huge Oregon political stories before (the Neil Goldschmidt scandal for which Jaquiss won a Pulitzer and the Sam Adams/Beau Breedlove affair and cover up). Again, with Jefferson Smith, a small newspaper shows the emperor has no clothes when it comes to blue blood newspapers like the Oregonian. It becomes easier to understand why more people would reach for a book than a newspaper.
_____
*The current Pew Research Center report does note that 29% of Americans read a newspaper if you include digital version, but does not give a similar percentage if digital books are included in the book figure. However, an earlier Pew report indicates that as of December 2011, 84% of those who read a book "yesterday" read a print book. That would pencil out to about a 36% rate for daily book reading combining print, digital and audio.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

NY Sun: Inflating Money Unconstitutional?

Another thought provoking editorial by the New York Sun (in part):
It’s going to be illuminating to see whether the government appeals the big ruling on judges’ pay that was handed down last week at Washington. The case is called Beer v. United States. The Sun has written about it here and the editor of the Sun here. The plaintiffs are Judge Peter Beer and a rainbow coalition of some of the most distinguished judges on the federal bench. They have just won a ruling that prohibits Congress from suspending a system of automatic pay increases designed to protect their honors from inflation.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, handed down the ruling on Friday. The ruling . . . [is] one of the most important cases of our time. The reason is that it has to do not only with the question of need for Congress to keep its promises and the need to attract a first class judiciary but also the question of constitutional money.
. . .
The idea that a dollar could be worth a different number of grains of silver or gold at the end of a contract than it meant at the beginning of a contract would have horrified George Washington and nearly all of the other Founders (Benjamin Franklin, a printer, had a vested interest in paper money). So would the idea that the dollar would be permitted to decline over a decade to but a sixth of the number of grains of gold at which it was valued at the start of a decade. That is what has just happened in America.

The court deciding Beer didn’t get into legal tender per se. But the legal tender question is the elephant in the courtroom, so to speak. If a dollar can’t be diminished for judges — that is, if the legal tender laws are not good enough for judges — why should they be good enough for the rest of us? If they are not good enough for the contract between the government and judges, why should they be good enough for contracts between private parties?
. . .
We don’t know whether the Supreme Court will be asked to hear an appeal of Beer. If it is asked, it may decline. But if the nine are asked to take a final look at the case, the question for them to start thinking about is less the promises of Congress — although breaking such a promise is enough of a diminishment for us — and more about the meaning of money. The fact is that Americans are just as upset about the harm being done to them by fiat money as the judges are.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

11 Heroes Who Died September 5 to September 22, 2012

September 5 - They died in Logar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when their aircraft crashed. Killed were:
- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jose L. Montenegro Jr., 31, of Houston, Texas, and
- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas.

September 13 - Sgt. Kyle B. Osborn, 26, of Lafayette, Ind., died in Muqer, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire.

September 15 - They died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Killed were:
- Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible, 40, of North Huntingdon, Pa.; and
- Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, 27, of Kokomo, Ind.
This incident is under investigation.

September 16 - They died in Zabul province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered when their position was attacked with small arms fire. Killed were:
- Sgt. Sapuro B. Nena, 25, of Honolulu,
- Spc. Joshua N. Nelson, 22, Greenville, N.C.,
- Pfc. Genaro Bedoy, 20, of Amarillo, Texas, and
- Pfc. Jon R. Townsend, 19, Claremore, Okla.

September 20 - Sgt. Jason M. Swindle, 24, of Cabot, Ark., died in Panjwa’l, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when he was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade while on mounted patrol.

September 22 - Gunners Mate 2nd Class Dion Rashun Roberts, 23, of North Chicago, Ill., died as a result of a single vehicle accident in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

20 Heroes Fighting in the Afghanistan War Who Died August 16 to September 3, 2012

August 16 - They died in a helicopter crash northeast of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Killed were:
- Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hornsby, 37, of Melbourne, Fla.;
- Chief Warrant Officer Suresh N. A. Krause, 29, of Cathedral City, Calif.;
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Petty Officer Technician 1st Class Sean P. Carson, 32, of Des Moines, Wash.;
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick D. Feeks, 28, of Edgewater, Md.;
- Sgt. Richard A. Essex, 23, of Kelseyville, Calif.;
- Sgt. Luis A. Oliver Galbreath, 41, of San Juan, Puerto Rico; and
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class David J. Warsen, 27, of Kentwood, Mich.

August 17 - They died while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Gregory T. Copes, 36, of Lynch Station, Va., and
- Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer 1st Class Darrel L. Enos, 36, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
This incident is under investigation.

August 18 - Sgt. David V. Williams, 24, of Frederick, Md., died in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The cause of death is under investigation.

August 19 - Sgt. 1st Class Coater B. Debose, 55, of State Line, Miss., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

August 24 - Pfc. Patricia L. Horne, 20, of Greenwood, Miss., died in Bagram, Afghanistan.

August 27 - They died in Kalagush, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered from enemy, small arms fire. [This error has not been corrected on the Department of Defense site. Sgt. Birdwell and Spc. Anders were killed by an Afghan National Army member.] Killed were:
- Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell, 25, of Windsor, Colo., and

Photo courtesy of Fort Carson
- Spc. Mabry J. Anders, 21, of Baker City, Ore. From the Baker City Herald:
It was 9:35 Monday morning in Laghman Province, Afghanistan, when Baker City’s Mabry J. Anders died.

The Department of Defense on Tuesday confirmed Anders, 21, a U.S. Army specialist, and Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell, 25, of Windsor, Colo., were killed.

Anders died “after the soldier’s convoy encountered an IED (roadside bomb); he dismounted to patrol the area for secondary devices. He was then engaged with small arms fire by an Afghanistan National Army member. He died of injuries,” according to an Oregon Military Department statement. Birdwell died in the same incident.

Gail Lemberger, Baker High School counselor, remembered Anders as a smart young man with a great sense of humor. He was also eager to join the military, she said. Anders graduated in 2009 from the Baker Alternative School at Haines, although he left many friends at Baker High.

“He already knew he wanted to be in the military, even as a sophomore,” Lemberger said. “He told me, ‘It will be good for me.’ ”
and:
An early statement released by the Department of Defense on Tuesday stated only that Anders was killed from “enemy, small arms fire.”

Yet late Wednesday evening, a statement released by the Oregon Military Department (OMD) amended that: “(Anders) died of multiple wounds received from an Afghanistan National Army soldier.”

Then, a further-revised OMD statement indicated that Anders had in fact been killed “after the soldier’s convoy encountered an IED (roadside bomb); he dismounted to patrol the area for secondary devices. He was then engaged with small arms fire by an Afghanistan National Army member. He died of injuries.”

U.S. Army deputy public affairs officer Martin L. O’Donnell confirmed that the Afghan soldier was killed in return fire.
. . .
Such insider incidents, so-called green-on-green killings, are on the rise.

Newsweek reported Monday that “members and civilian employees of Afghanistan’s security forces had killed no fewer than 40 coalition troops this year — at least 10 of the dead, all of them Americans, in the first three weeks of August alone.

“The count has already passed last year’s total of 35 dead, and it’s reached fully double the figure for all of 2010.”

This is an issue not lost on the troops themselves. Fletcher mentioned how her fiance had grown increasingly paranoid about such attacks; he’d told her about a deadly incident, during a similar patrol, that occurred weeks before his own death.

According to his fiance, Anders was especially concerned about former Taliban members being trained on the U.S. base — which he said could have led to information leaks facilitating attacks at vulnerable times and locations.
[emphasis added]
- The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Staff Sgt. Jessica M. Wing, 42, of Alexandria, Va., died Aug. 27, in Kuwait City, Kuwait in a non-combat related incident.

August 28 - Pfc. Shane W. Cantu, 20, of Corunna, Mich., died in Charkh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was hit by shrapnel.

September 1 - They died in Batur Village, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with small arms fire. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Jeremie S. Border, 28, of Mesquite, Texas; and
- Staff Sgt. Jonathan P. Schmidt, 28, of Petersburg, Va.

September 2 - Spc. Kyle R. Rookey, 23, of Oswego, N.Y., died in Jalalabad, Afghanistan from a non-combat related incident. 

September 3 - Lance Cpl. Alec R. Terwiske, 21, of Dubois, Ind., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Pastor Nadarkhani Freed!

ACLJ photo of Pastor Nadarkhani's release

From the ACLJ (The American Center for Law and Justice):
After languishing in prison for almost three years, under the threat of execution for his faith, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been released from prison and acquitted of his apostasy charge.

Pastor Youcef had been summoned to appear before the court this morning for the charges brought against him. His hearing lasted almost six hours. But in the end, he was released and able to return home to his family.

Some of our sources close to the case report that the court acquitted him of apostasy, but charged and convicted him of evangelizing to Muslims. According to these same sources, the court sentenced Pastor Youcef to three years in prison and granted him time served, which means his prison sentence already has been completed.

Nebraska Democrat Bob Kerrey Slams Obamacare Mandate

From the Omaha World-Herald:
[Former Senator Bob Kerrey and current senatorial candidate] singled out a portion of the plan that says if a company with more than 50 workers stopped offering health coverage it would face a fine of $2,000 per employee.

Questions have been raised about whether companies would stop paying for employees’ insurance and send them to obtain their own coverage from new insurance exchanges.

"I hate the employer mandate," Kerrey said. "I think it’s going to have a counterproductive impact. We don’t have any (insured employee) that costs us less than $7,000 (a year), and the fine’s $2,000. We’ll dump ’em off. We won’t call it dumping, we’ll say ... 'Go get it from the exchange.'"

He said the employer mandate "will accelerate an already breaking-down employer-based system." That portion of the law should be repealed, he said.
Kerrey is in a tough senate race against Republican Deb Fischer to fill Democrat Ben (of cornhusker kickback fame) Nelson's seat. Kerrey apparently wasn't so opposed to the Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) mandate in 2009:
Kerrey said that he told U.S. Senator Ben Nelson that "I would support him either way" when Nelson was making his decision on whether or not to vote for the bill in 2009.
Kerrey's harsh words for the Obamacare mandate could have something to do with polling showing him 20 points behind Republican opponent Deb Fischer. Fischer pulled off a surprise win in the primary after being endorsed by Sarah Palin.

H/T Byron York