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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's quote - and it is a doozy - comes to us from Dannel Malloy, Governor of Connecticut.

Speaking of Indiana's newly-enacted Religious Freedom Reform Act (RFRA) legislation, Mr. Malloy had this to say about Indiana Governor Mike Pence:

"The governor's not a stupid man, but he's done stupid things.  And signing this law, and, quite frankly, promoting this law, knowing exactly what it was going to do, was an incredibly stupid thing for him to do....(he) knew exactly what he was doing, and when you see a bigot, you have to call them on it.  We cannot sit idly by and do nothing while laws are enacted that will turn back the clock.  (I) won't allow any of our citizens in Connecticut to face discrimination in other states, at least without a fight."

Those are extremely harsh words from one politician to another.  But, if overly insulting, I would nevertheless credit Dannel Malloy for his blunt, plain-spoken stand....were it not for one teeny weeny little fact.

Not only does Connecticut have a virtually identical law on the books, but its version is even more restrictive than Indiana's.

From Sean Davis's funny-if-it-weren't-so-pathetic revelation at thefederalist.com:

If you dislike Indiana's RFRA, then you should loathe Connecticut's. The difference comes down to a single phrase: "substantially burden."

Both the Indiana law and the federal law declare that the respective governments may not "substantially burden a person's exercise of religion[.]"  In other words, the laws require the courts to analyze cases brought under these laws using the strict scrutiny standard. Under the Indiana and federal religious liberty laws, government can burden religious exercise, but it cannot substantially burden it. That's a key distinction.

Connecticut's law, however, is far more restrictive of government action and far more protective of religious freedoms. How? Because the Connecticut RFRA law states that government shall not "burden a person's exercise of religion[.]" Note that the word "substantially" is not included in Connecticut's law.

The effect of the absence of that single word is enormous. It states that Connecticut government may not burden the free exercise of religion in any way. That makes it far more protective of religious liberty than the Indiana law that has so outraged Connecticut's governor.

If Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy wants to blatantly discriminate against states with religious liberty laws on the books, that's his prerogative. But if he doesn't want to look like a completely ignorant hypocrite who has no idea what he's talking about, he should probably examine his own state's laws first.

Hooboy.

I award Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy Quote Of The Day honors, because it is rare to find someone making as complete an asshat of himself as Malloy has done.  When it happens, it should be recognized - if, for nothing else, its humor value. 

Congratulations, Dannel.  Now tell us:  since you have banned state-funded travel to Indiana because of its RFRA legislation, and Connecticut's is even more restrictive, would you blame Indiana Governor Mike Pence for banning state-funded travel from Indiana to Connecticut?

Just asking.......

Hopelessly Partisan @ 16:06 PM   Add Comment

HILLARY CLINTON'S LATEST LIE EXPOSED

Ken Berwitz

From Jack Gillum's article for the Associated Press:

The State Department says it can find only four emails sent between former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and her staff concerning drone strikes and certain U.S. surveillance programs, and those notes have little to do with either subject.

The messages also reveal Clinton used an iPad to email while secretary of state in addition to her BlackBerry, despite her explanation she set up a private email account and homebrew server while she was the nation's top diplomat so that she could carry a single device.

The four emails were obtained by The Associated Press under a 2013 Freedom of Information Act...It is the first time it has provided Clinton-related documents in response to several outstanding FOIA requests, the first of which AP filed in 2010...The response also came about three weeks after AP filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department, seeking to force the release of materials during Clinton's tenure.

She ignored the requests, then demands, for information.  Then, finally, when she goes as far as she can to avoid providing anything, we finally get this....the week after her mouthpiece lawyer tells us that, oh, by the way, all the information on all those emails on her server are removed and scrubbed so no one can get them anymore. 

Anyone who believes a word Hillary Clinton says is beyond hope.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 14:50 PM   Add Comment

THE NUCLEAR "DEAL": POLL DATA & SKEPTICISM

Ken Berwitz

In case you're wondering how the public is reacting to President Obama and John Kerry's nuclear deal - and why I am so skeptical of political polling - please read the following data, drawn from a just released Washington Post/ABC News poll:

wapo-poll-chart

Let's start with the Washington Post's write-up.  Can you see what is wrong about it?  I'll give you a few seconds.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.  Ok, time's up.

The write-up says that, by nearly 2 -1 the public supports a deal that would "prevent the production of nuclear weapons".  But that is NOT what the question asks.  The question asks if they support a deal that "makes it harder" for Iran to do so;  i.e. Iran can produce them, it just has to work harder to do so.  Unbelievable mistake. 

Now let's move on from the misbegotten analysis, and look at the data.

The first question, by itself, would probably warm the heart of President Obama and Secretary Kerry.  After all, about 6 in ten respondents support their deal, right?  But why were respondents given only a choice of "makes it harder" to produce nuclear weapons, rather than, say, "makes it extremely difficult" or "prevents" Iran from doing so? 

What does "makes it harder" even mean?  From very easy to easy?  From very hard to nearly impossible?  Something in between?  Without context, it is a meaningless question.  But that's what was asked.

Then, in the second question, respondents indicate how confident they are that the Obama/Kerry deal would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  PREVENT.  Not "makes it harder". 

So these two questions, which are supposed to tie together and tell a story, do not even coincide with each other. 

Between this and the analytical gaffe we previously discussed, I have to wonder who is doing research for the Washington Post/ABC News these days.  As someone with many, many years in both quantitative and qualitative marketing research, including the writing of countless questionnaires, be assured that neither the analysis nor the questions you just read would ever have gotten past my desk.

But, plodding onward, let's look at the second question's results.  A grand total of 4% is "very confident" the deal would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  The other 96% has at least some level of doubt - with about 2/3 of them "not so" or "not at all" confident Iran would be deterred.

You'd think this renders the first question irrelevant, wouldn't you?  After all, what does it mean to support the goals of a deal if you do not believe the deal will result in those goals being met? 

Yet the data show that 67% of people who are "not so" confident Iran would be prevented from producing nuclear weapons and 31% of the "not at all" confident people, support the deal anyway -- which should send a chill up the back of anyone who believes in logic and common sense.

So there you have it.  A poor analysis, badly written questions, and screwy responses.

If you ever wondered why I am skeptical about political polling, this should give you an answer.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 13:47 PM   Add Comment

THE PARAGRAPH OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's Paragraph Of The Day comes to us from Ed Lasky, whose web site, americanthinker.com, has been very useful and informative to me over the years.

Mr. Lasky has written a commentary titled "Obama wants to turn America against Israel."  It is very detailed, very factual, and, therefore, very worth your while to read - which you can do by clicking here.

But, though there certainly was competition, I thought one paragraph was especially salient.  Here it is:

The Democratic Party has been moving away from support for Israel for years. This has been proven by poll after poll regarding the party affiliation of those who sympathize and support Israel. There was a visual manifestation of this reality three years ago. During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama had maneuvered through his minions to remove from the plank longstanding support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Reacting to criticism from the Republican Party, efforts were made to restore the language. Pandemonium ensued, since many delegates objected to the restoration, and made their anger known. Other changes were made that escaped the radar screen but signaled diminished support for Israel by Democrats. However, Obama is acting as an accelerant; as president he has demanded all Democrats support his anti-Israel policies, pulling them farther away from supporting America's one true ally in the region as he has led the liberal breakup with Israel. Will Democrats continue to be AWOL when it comes to defending Israel from their president?

That is a very accurate premise - one I have written about many times, complete with the polling data to back it up. 

It is why I so often blog, with increasing wonderment, about the "Lost Tribe" - i.e. supporters of Israel, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who still support Barack Obama anyway. While their numbers have dwindled over the years, there remains a core group, who are determined never to deviate from their commitment to Mr. Obama, no matter what he does - right up to and including the soon-to-be-consummated "deal" with Iran which will severely compromise Israel's security (as well as its Arab neighbors, most notably Saudi Arabia, which is why Israel suddenly finds itself in an improbable alliance of circumstance with them).

I award Ed Lasky Paragraph Of The Day honors, for laying it out so bluntly and so well.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 11:45 AM   Add Comment

WILCO, AND OUT

Ken Berwitz

Have you ever heard of a band called "Wilco"?

Until yesterday I didn't know it existed.  But now I do.  The reason is that Wilco has proudly announced it has cancelled the Indianapolis stop on this year's national tour - a fact which has been excitedly reported by numerous media venues.

The reason for Wilco's cancellation is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed by the Indiana legislature and signed into law by Governor Mike Pence last week.  Wilco joins many other venues in dumping Indiana because this law, in their opinions, discriminates against gay and lesbian people. 

Is this because they have read the law and come to their conclusion, or because they don't know squat about it but are reacting to the howls from activist groups and want to maintain their PC cred?  I don't know.  All I know is they've cancelled Indianapolis.

With this in mind, I thought I would help these principled young men out, and point out the other stops on their national tour that are in one or another of the 19 states with RFRA legisation on the books:

-April 22 - Dallas, Texas

-April 23 - Houston, Texas

-April 24 - New Orleans, Louisiana (8PM)

-April 24 - New Orleans, Louisiana (midnight)

-April 26 - Orlando Florida

-April 28 - West Palm Beach, Florida

-Wednesday, April 29 - Memphis, Tennessee

-Friday, May 1 - St. Augustine, Florida (midnight)

-Friday, May 1 - St. Louis, Missouri (7PM)

-Friday, May 8 - Louisville, Kentucky (midnight)

-Friday, May 8 - Scottsdale, Arizona (7PM)

-Tuesday, July 14 - Kansas City, Missouri

-Wednesday, July 15 - Bridgeport, Connecticut

For the statisticians in the house, Wilco has a total of 19 tour dates....and, as you can see, 13 of them are in states with laws just like Indiana's.

I guess, for those dates, Wilco will just have to go back to its home base of Chicag....oh, wait.  Illinois has RFRA legislation on the books too.  

If the above information makes Wilco's gesture look pretty ridiculous, then you understand perfectly.  And the members of this band are far from alone in looking that way.

Incidentally, if you want to read a really good commentary on RFRA, click here for David Brooks' op-ed in today's New York Times.  He makes all the sense in the world.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 09:06 AM   4 comments

Monday, 30 March 2015

A MESSAGE TO MANALAPAN, NEW JERSEY

Ken Berwitz

Has Manalapan New Jersey gone broke? I have to wonder, given that the United States flag it flies at the recreation center on Rte. 522 at Taylors Mills Road is so tattered that it looks like someone took a scissors and intentionally cut it to ribbons.

Flying the flag in that condition is disgraceful and disrespectful.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 19:15 PM   Add Comment

THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR BDS BS

Ken Berwitz

As pointed out in two previous blogs over the weekend, the Virginia State Bar Association, headed by Ken Martingayle, first issued a letter telling members it had succombed to what appears to be a small number of BDS members who objected to the organization holding a conference in Jerusalem, and then put out a second letter which appears to be a wholly BS "explanation" for doing so claiming that BDS and anti-Semitism has nothing to do with its decision - which flies in the face of the initial letter's tonality.

Paul Mirengoff, at powerlineblog.com, has an excellent piece today which outlines what happened and shows how full of it Martingayle comes across as being. 

You can read it all by clicking here....but I'd like to show you the last few paragraphs...paying special attention to the passage I've put in bold print, which rings so true:

Israel strongly encourages tourism from Muslim countries, to the point that Hamas attacked an Israeli efforts to encourage tourism to Jerusalem from Islamic countries. It called this a "dangerous Zionist plot."

Hamas would have nothing to fear if Israel were persecuting Arabs who want to visit.

It's unfortunate that Martingayle has made the VSB an instrument of the boycott Israel movement. I doubt that Martingayle and other VSB leaders are anti-Israel in any strong sense. After all, they initially set the seminar in Jerusalem.

Instead, Martingayle appears mindlessly to have subscribed to trumped up grievances cast in the kind of politically correct language that causes a certain type of person to respond like Pavlov's dogs. It's through such disgraceful knee-jerk reactions that the leftist, anti-West rot spreads.

Exactly, Paul.

Again, please read the entire piece.  Then, even if you don't have a law degree, you can be the judge.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 17:57 PM   Add Comment

JOHN KERRY'S LIES - GLOBAL WARMING DIVISION

Ken Berwitz

You want to count the lies John Kerry tells? It probably would help to bring a calculator.

Glenn Kessler, the lifelong Democrat who fact-checks for the Washington Post, found this out (as if he didn't already know) when he did a little digging into Mr. Kerry's claims about his early-on involvement in the global warming windfall for grant money, er, indisputable reality.

You can read his entire piece by clicking here.  But let me show you a few salient excerpts:

The Fact Checker recently gave Four Pinocchios to Secretary of State John F. Kerry for repeatedly making the false claim that he organized the first Senate hearing on climate change. In the article, we recounted an often-told anecdote about the most famous climate-change hearing - the June 23, 1988 hearing at which James E. Hansen, then head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, declared it was 99 percent certain that a global warming trend was the result of human activity.

As shown in the quote above, we said the hearing was amplified for "stage effect" - a sweltering day made worse by leaving the hearing room windows open. The anecdote has been repeated in books and news articles, and Kerry often mentioned it in his remarks as if he had personally witnessed it.

For skeptics of climate change, the story has become an example of how left-leaning politicians have manipulated public perceptions on the issue.

But after the March 15 article was published, we received information suggesting that the stage-effect anecdote is simply not true.

Frankly, this now puts Kerry's statements in an even a worse light. Not only did he place himself at a hearing he did not organize and attend, but he described witnessing events that did not happen.

This, of  course, is the same John Kerry who also spent years suggesting (without exactly saying it) that he was Irish to get votes in Irish-heavy Massachusetts, despite the fact that he has not one drop of Irish blood in him (the name Kerry was anglicized from Kohn when his paternal grandfather, a Czechoslovakian Jew named Fritz Kohn, changed his name to Frederick Kerry and converted to Catholicism). 

With the above in mind, I would like to close by making a retraction. 

For years I have blogged that John Kerry, in his 30-plus years as a Senator and now Secretary Of State, has managed to produce virtually no accomplishments. 

That is untrue.  He is an accomplished liar.

For years, I have blogged that John Kerry

Hopelessly Partisan @ 15:23 PM   1 comment

APRIL RYAN ON THE SPOT

Ken Berwitz

On one level my heart goes out to April Ryan, a commentator for American Urban Radio Networks.  Ms. Ryan was on "Morning Joe" today, and was asked a very simple question:  other than Iran and Cuba - both enemies of the USA and the free world in general - is there any other country in the world that we have better relations with now than we did when Barack Obama became President.

Her answer?  No answer.  She couldn't come up with even one - as you can see on the video tape I pulled from Mark Finkelstein's blog at newsbusters.org:

 

The reason April Ryan can't name one is very basic.  It is because there isn't one. 

The clip ends with Ms. Ryan in the process of trying to divert away from the question - which is understandable given the support her network shows President Obama.  Not especially honest or forthcoming, but understandable.

It would be nice if some of the mainstream media venues which have buried the Obama administration's unbroken string of foreign policy disconnects, failures and outright disasters, would try acting like journalists and discuss this reality. 

But, after over 6 years of running cover for Obama & Co., I'm not expecting it.  Why should I?

Hopelessly Partisan @ 10:19 AM   Add Comment

BARACK OBAMA'S SUPPORT OF RFRA

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) Which Indiana Governor Mike Pence just signed into law, and which has generated a huge, entirely orchestrated howl of outrage from the Politically Correct crowd, along with its Accomplice Media.

At that time I pointed out that Indiana's RFRA legislation was not substantively different from the federal version of this same law, which was sponsored by Democrat Chuck Schumer, sailed through the U.S. Senate with a 97-3 vote, and was signed into law by Democrat President Bill Clinton.  I also pointed out that 19 states had similar laws on the books and, in  11 more, the state courts held that existing laws guaranteed essentially the same religious freedom.

The reason I am blogging about it again today is that I have found out two additional piece of information:

1) Not at all surprisingly, President Barack Obama has come out strongly against RFRA

2) Not at all surprisingly, Mr. Obama supported it as a State Senator when it went through, and was passed by, the Illinois State legislature - in other words, when it was politically opportune he took both sides of this issue.

Mr. Obama's current DL (Designated Liar), Josh Earnest, was asked about this yesterday morning on ABC News's "This Week" program.  His answer:

 "If you have to go back two decades to justify something that you're doing today, it may raise some questions about what you're doing."

Can someone tell me what that means?

Using Earnest's "logic", an argument could be made for repealing the 19th amendment and preventing women from voting.  Hey, if you have to go back 95 years to justify something that you're doing today, it may raise some questions about what you're doing.  Right, Josh?

To me, the real story here is not this ridiculous concocted hullabaloo over legislation reaffirming that, within reasonable boundaries, people have a right to incorporate their religious beliefs into how they conduct their affairs.  To me, the real story is how, at will, the alliance between Democrats and mainstream media can magically take nothing, and make it into a "something" important enough so that, in many people's minds, it will become a major issue; one that will almost ertainly carry over to the 2016 election.

Yesterday I pointed out that media did the same thing with President Bush and WMD's - i.e. they blithely ignored the fact that just about every significant Democrat agreed with Bush, which allowed those Democrats to disconnect themselves from this fact and pretend that he was a liar who singlehandedly concocted the WMD story out of thin air.

Well, now they're doing the same thing with RFRA.  Enjoy the show.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 08:43 AM   Add Comment

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