Tennessee

Who Guards the Guardians?

One of my favorite Latin phrases is translated as the title of this post. "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" It is an age old question; often asked in sincerity and seldom answered in sufficiency. H/T to Michael Silence for directing me to another instance of needing to ask.

It seems Memphians need to be asking it anew. And anyone who, like me, enters the bloodsport known as blogging. Because the Memphis, TN Police Department is getting a lil' sporty.

Anonymous blogger Dirk Diggler, MPD at Memphis' 'MPD Enforcer 2.0' blog has had to take the unusual step of hiring an attorney to protect and to serve him since Memphis Police officials don't seem inclined to take up that role.

Rustmeister at Rustmeister's Alehouse posts ''Those Damn Bloggers!'
and refers us to the details at The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin has filed suit with AOL asking that the Internet giant divulge Dirk Diggler's true identity. What I find dangerous and outrageous is that I can't find where Diggler has been charged with any crime. Godwin is suing to have private information made public for the purpose of what?

The blog is highly critical of the Memphis PD, popular with Memphis police officers and seems to get regular tips and information from sources inside the department. If there is a legal problem there, it would seem to be on the part of the leakers, not the blogger. If officers sign documents to the effect they will not divulge department documents, there's an issue. If, however, those leaks don't hinder ongoing investigations then there may be some room to apply Sunshine principles and note that the MPD works for Memphians, not the other way around. Obstruction of Justice is one thing. Abuse of power is another. I can't find an application of the catchall "national security reasons" which would apply to the quashing of publishing material from a metropolitan source.

I just found out about this so I'll be watching to see what issues unfold. At a minimum there are 1st Amendment implications here for bloggers and other authors and journalists. If Godwin and the MPD get away with this, what do we do with our local TV and print investigative reporters, for example? And how will knowing who Dirk Diggler is make a difference other than to expose Diggler to potential punitive actions based more in snark than statue?

Sound off in comments and click through to the stories. I'm sure there'll be more ahead in the days to come, too. Stay tuned.

Blue Collar Muse

Vertical Day Highlights

Mike Huckabee has been hosting vertical day on the HuckPAC blog where candidates for office, distinguished guest and ideas talk about how to move our country forward vertically: upward, that is. Huckabee explains the concept of Vertical politics, taking America up and not down. The Governor explains in a brief You Tube video.

Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) explains why illegal immigration poses a threat to our nation's security.

A Candidate for the Texas House of Representatives Brian Walker talks about the preciousness of human life. Indiana Congressional Candidate Luke Puckett relates a personal story to explain his pro-life position.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) urges passage of the Child Custody Protection Act which protects children and parents from those who would abscond with minor children to take them across state lines to get abortions in contravention of their home state laws.

Want to talk tax reform? The original sponsor of the Fair Tax (H.R. 25) Rep. John Linder (R-GA) shows up with a post on his tax proposal.

Senator "Big" John Cornyn (R-TX) gives the answer to America's energy problems: All of the Above.

What makes this HuckPAC event interesting is that Huckabee sought posts from regular citizens. Eight were chosen. My favorite is from Brian Donegan who has a great post with some thoughtful ideas for education reform.

Mike Huckabee didn't get to be as active as he wanted in this Vertical Day due to being delayed in leaving Africa. His Daughter Sarah has a positive note on the folks behind HuckPAC, and they definitely deserve some praise.

They've managed to bring together a very distinguished guest list of posters with some fabulous posts on the issues. It represents a job well done by the Governor and all the folks at HuckPAC.

Is Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN5) Guilty of a Crime?

Promoted and bumped. -Patrick

Jim Cooper, Democrat from Tennessee's 5th District, recently got his ears pinned back in a formal committee hearing. Cooper held up a sheaf of papers and went for the kill while questioning Glenn English, CEO of the NRECA, a national coalition of electricity providing cooperatives. Cooper stated the material he was talking about came from the NRECA's private, password protected site which he had accessed. At that point, English said he regretted Cooper's introduction of the topic and noted that NRECA counsel had advised him Cooper was under investigation for criminal violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

As expected, Cooper denies any wrongdoing. He first asked the NRECA for the information and was refused. He later obtained the username and password from an NRECA employee which he used to access the site and get the information he was previously denied access to. In a Clintonesque distortion of language, Cooper now equates using the login information of another with being personally authorized to view the site. Would Jim object if someone with a key to his office, say the cleaning woman, gave her key to someone who used it to enter his office and rifle his files? Exactly! But one man's authorized entry is another man's breaking and entering. Cooper further justified his actions by saying NRECA's customers had the right to know what was going on. While opinions vary as to the law in these cases, the statute mentioned seems pretty straightforward. It appears there are a couple of places which may provide Cooper some legal problems. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act states in part,

Will the Circle be Unbroken, Part II

Last week I wrote about the plight of Nashville's Joy Ford, the country's latest victim of Eminent Domain abuse by government. Nashville's Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) has begun legal proceedings under Eminent Domain to condemn and seize Joy's business. It has prospered at the head of Music Row for almost 30 years. Now it is "blighted" and must be bulldozed to make room for $100 million dollars worth of development by a private firm in Houston, TX. I said last week, this case is every bit as bad as Kelo vs New London in 2005.

Possibly anticipating the nation's outrage over Kelo, Justice John Paul Stevens, writing in his Kelo opinon, said, "... nothing in our opinion precludes any state from placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power." In the aftermath of Kelo, according to Property Fairness, 27 states, including Tennessee, took Justice Stevens' encouragement and attempted to do exactly that in 2006.

The problem, of course, is not in the attempt but in the accomplishment. The Tennessee Bar Association published an excellent analysis of Tennessee's new law. The short version is that, in Tennessee, little was accomplished beyond political posturing. It is Tennessee's 2006 failure to further restrict its takings power which leads directly to MDHA's 2008 actions against Joy Ford. Speaking of the effectiveness of Tennessee's legislation, Drew Johnson, President of The Tennessee Center for Policy Research noted,

“Tennessee’s new eminent domain law is a joke—and the joke is on property owners across the state,” ... Tennesseans aren’t any more secure from having their property taken than before the law was passed.”

In particular, Johnson says that the law’s failure to more clearly define blight and its outright encouragement of eminent domain use to acquire land for industrial parks makes it particularly threatening to property owners.

Three months earlier, State Rep. Susan Lynn (TN-57), offered this evaluation of the law,

... after being worked through committee, this bill essentially guarantees very little protection for Tennesseans when it comes to eminent domain. To quote Sandra Day O'Connor in her dissent of the Kelo decision, the "specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

The bill states that 'public use' shall not include either private use or direct public benefits deriving from private economic development or private commercial enterprise, including the benefit of increased tax revenue and increased employment opportunities - except in the case where eminent domain is used for; roads, public utilities, private utilities, housing authorities, community development agencies for urban renewal or redevelopment plans; or for industrial parks. Looking at that list, I really can't think of any exception for private economic development by eminent domain that the bill leaves out.

These 2006 comments by Lynn and Johnson are prescient. Joy Ford's property is being seized because it is deemed "blighted". Drew Johnson noted the law's poor definition of blight. According to Ms. Ford, her property is ruled "blighted" because, among other things, it is surrounded by a chain link, barbed-wire topped security fence and is the only building left on the development property. Yet someone, perhaps the developer, has erected a shabbier looking fence around the development site. It goes unreported that both a hotel and Ford's building abut the same parking lot. I assume the hotel property is not part of the development and so escapes urban "blight" despite also standing alone. Either that or Ford's building is not the only one left on the property. Further, the reason Ford's building is the only one left is the Shoney's and other buildings standing on the site were demolished in anticipation of the development.

I'm trying to determine if these truly are factors in the classification of the Ford's property as "blighted". If so, how unfair. MDHA and LionStone Group want to buy her property but Ford won't sell. They move ahead with development plans and clear the land. This has, for them, the pleasant side effect of creating the situation needed to force Ford from her property. Had LionStone and MDHA been required to wait until the property was free and clear before proceeding, a major element of the case against Ms. Ford, that of her "blighted" property, would not exist. How does creating "blight" for personal gain become working for the good of the public?

However, it is Rep. Lynn's comments which make me wonder if government has not stacked the deck against the citizens they are to represent. A quick read of the bill would lead one to believe Tennessee was seeking to protect Tennesseans from the exact abuse Connecticut forced on her citizens. As Rep. Lynn observes, the bill starts well, noting "'public use' shall not include either private use or direct public benefits deriving from private economic development or private commercial enterprise, including the benefit of increased tax revenue and increased employment opportunities ..." Unfortunately, the Tennessee Legislature left a loophole in the law. While making an acceptable exemption for traditional uses of Eminent Domain such as "... roads, public utilities, private utilities ..." the bill then opens the door to all manner of Eminent Domain abuse by also exempting cases "... where eminent domain is used for; ... housing authorities, community development agencies for urban renewal or redevelopment plans; or for industrial parks."

The very issue which enraged the public in the Kelo decision, taking private property for private economic development to increase the city's tax revenue, is not forbidden to government. In fact, the mechanism for government to do precisely that is written into the law. Government is forbidden from directly taking your property to develop to improve tax revenues. But agencies created by government whose purpose is development can do so. How did such disregard for citizen's rights become law and an example of preserving the rights of citizens?

I'd like an answer to that from the Legislature. I'm sure Ms. Ford would, too. But for her, time is running out. The Legislature ran out of town at the end of the session. Too bad MDHA is still here and they've given Ford until just the middle of September to vacate the premises. After that, the wrecking balls start swinging. That's long before the politicians responsible for this mess swing back through town. Stay tuned for more on this here ...

Blue Collar Muse

Leftists Blame W for Gas Prices or Look for the Union Libel

hermitage-union-office.jpgOn a recent Sunday morning drive to church, I saw this sign. I was immediately struck by two things.

First, it hasn't taken long for players on the Left to start marching to the beat of misinformation, deception and lies that must be part of Obama's campaign if he is to win. He cannot be seen for who he really is or he will lose. Second, this is the Union's marquis, not just Greg Stallings'. How many members believe gas prices are Bush's fault?

Lies and deception? Those are harsh words. However, the question is, are they justified? An objective consideration of facts says they are. The sign's point is the price of gas has increased from $1.46 p/gal to over $4.00 p/gal since 01/01. It was Bush's watch so it must be Bush's fault. Voters should, therefore, punish Bush and the GOP for their mismanagement and vote Democrat this Fall.

However, questions must be asked. Can only politicians impact price or might other factors explain the increase? If politicians are to blame, might a politician other than Bush be responsible?<!--more-->

Market forces and events impact price. 9/11 happened on W's watch and had such an impact. But unless W generated more US hatred in 8 months than Clinton did in 8 years, you cannot conclude price changes after 9/11 were Bush's fault. They may not be Clinton's but they sure aren't Bush's. Yet for Leftist coalition members like Unions, there are no market explanations. It's all political! Where is the Union's objective consideration of the impact of market forces? They offer only political solutions. It doesn't have to be true, just effective. How does misrepresenting the issue serve their members?

If, however, we assume politicians can impact the market, why assume only the Executive branch can? According to Energy Information Administration data, graphing gas's price over time yields interesting results. From 01/01 when Bush took office to 01/06, when Democrats took back Congress, the price of a gallon of gas went from $1.49 to just $2.29. That's just an $0.80 p/gal increase over 5 years! This time frame includes 9/11 ($1.56 in 09/01), the Gulf War ($1.73 in 03/03) and Hurricane Katrina ($2.95 in 09/05)! There were several drops in price during that time. Once the price actually fell below the $1.49 starting price! However, from 01/06 to today the price rose from $2.29 per gallon to $4.11! Almost a $2 per gallon increases in 18 months! 150% worse performance in 33% of the time! There was one dip in price which never neared the starting price! What event marks this time period? Democrats regained control of Congress. So why doesn't the sign read “When Democrats took office gas was $2.29”?

Leftists cannot have it both ways. In 2000 they charged Bush was in bed with Big Oil. During the '06 elections, Democrats again blamed Bush for high gas prices and vowed to fix it if only we'd elect them. Americans fell for the lie and Democrats were voted in. How have they performed?

It's actually worse since Congress could reduce the cost of gas tomorrow if they'd rescind the federal tax on gas. All Americans would benefit, including Union members. But it isn't about helping Americans, unionized or not. It's about power for Democrats and their Union allies. If access to tax dollars to dole out is reduced, the Left loses power. It's unlikely Democrats would permit that to happen.

But the real tragedy is not that Unions and Democrats are selling out the country for personal gain. It is that misdirecting the people's attention away from the real reasons for high fuel prices guarantees the problem will not be fixed. Is this really the sort of representation Americans need in Union halls and legislatures? It cannot be said too many times. The Left says they are for the common man. But their actions say different. Despite deceptive signs, it's actions, not words, which mean the most.

Perhaps Americans will reconsider voting for the Left in November. They may want to reconsider union management votes as well. Gas may not cost less in the short run but there will be people interested in fixing the problem in office. Elected officials, union and governmental, who care enough to tell you the truth.

Thinking that's a good sign, both for unions and for government ...

Blue Collar Muse

Will the Circle be Unbroken, Part I - Eminent Domain Comes to TN

What Circle? 23 Music Circle East - Nashville, TN to be precise. And broken may be the kindest way to describe what the owner of the business at that address faces. Shattered, decimated, mercilessly hounded into oblivion all come to mind to describe what Joy Ford, owner of Country International Records (CIR), is facing at the hands of Nashville's Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA).

For almost 30 years, Ford and her late husband Sherman, have operated one of the first studios on what would become Music Row at that address. While much of the rest of the Row has gone corporate with multi-million dollar facilities, CIR remains privately owned. This earns CIR the classification of an Independent label or "Indie" as it's known in the trade. Usually reserved for recent entries into the field who don't have the juice to or don't want to compete with the big boys, in the case of CIR, it's deceptive. Joy and Sherman Ford were making music, writing songs, developing artists and cutting tracks at Country International Records long before many of the current Music Row elite were born. The walls of Ford's business are filled with pictures of the legends she's personally worked with. Stars like George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Tracy Lawrence, Tim McGraw and more.

If government has anything to say about it, that won't be true much longer. Chas Sisk at The Tennessean, who has covered the story since March, reports,

The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency filed papers in a Nashville court Friday to start a process that would take the offices of Country International Records at 23 Music Circle East. The action, the city's first test of eminent domain since the state legislature tightened condemnation laws two years ago, was taken after the agency determined that negotiations with building owner Joy Ford would not work, said Joe Cain, the agency's development director. "We're not having any conversation," Cain said. "We're hopeful that now she will meet with us."

The government is filing papers to take Ford's property. When they asked her to sell she said, "No". Problem was, Joe Cain and MDHA didn't like that answer. Having determined "negotiations with the building owner Joy Ford would not work" (read: this woman doesn't want to sell her property at any price) they are having her property condemned as "blighted". If she will not sell, they'll force her out. With the pressure on, they're "hopeful that now she will meet with" them. Mr. Cain and the MDHA seem to be confusing conversation with coercion.

A casual read of the issue sounds like a business deal moving along, working out small contractual differences as it goes. A "win-win" in the buzzword parlance of business. Except Joy doesn't want that sort of victory. Her idea of winning is Joe Cain and MDHA leave her alone to continue the dream she and her late husband pursued for years, making music. This being America, she should be able to do exactly that. The property is hers. She owns it free and clear. She pays all her taxes. To most Americans that means that she can do what she wants with her land as long as it's legal.

Welcome to the real blight in this story. Just a week after Kelo v New London's 3rd anniversary and in a week celebrating the quintessential remembrance of American freedom from governmental tyranny, the spreading blight of governmental abuse of Eminent Domain has arrived in Nashville. The arrogance and hubris of Joe Cain and MDHA reminds one of the royalty we opposed for our freedom over 230 years ago. If Joe Cain has his way, Joy Ford's dreams and right to do what she pleases with her own property will be bulldozed to make room for a $100 million dollar development deal with a private company in Texas.

At it's heart, this is the real issue. True Eminent Domain is about the government requisitioning property for Public Use for the good of all the citizens. This is just a business deal. And it's the stuff of Hollywood, not Music City. It reads like a boilerplate movie script, not a hot Billboard single. The widow v the conglomerate. MDHA signed a deal with Houston based Lionstone Group, a private developer, to sell them the property they wanted at cost. They inked this Music Row deal in March of this year. At the time, Ford's property was not theirs to sell yet they sold it anyway! Now, they are using strongarm tactics to keep a promise they had no right to make. In doing so, they are not simply trampling on the rights and dreams of one woman. They are making a mockery of our Constitution and rights and values paid for with the blood of tens of thousands. The question is, will this movie script, as yet unfinished, have a happy ending? How will this sad country song finish after the bridge?

I met Joy Ford just this afternoon. But three weeks ago I wrote 'Eminent Domain, the other ED' in which I said,

New ED will be eradicated when Americans choose to reclaim their constitutional rights and responsibilities. We must trust ourselves and our neighbors more than those in government when making decisions about our property. We must reject the idea government is our source and reclaim the notion we are responsible for ourselves and have specific rights, including to own property. And we must be willing to defend our Right to private property ownership by exercising our other Rights as needed. The Right to Free Speech, to Assemble, of the Press and perhaps even to Keep and Bear Arms will be needed to stem the encroachment of government on our Rights.

Joy Ford is going to fight. She's going to need some help. I'll stand with her. This is just the first of several posts I have planned. Phil Valentine will stand with her. Metro Councilman Mike Craddock will fight for Joy. There are some country music legends chiming in, too.

I'm inviting you to stand with her as well. I'm asking you to be like Bill R. from Washington, DC. He read Joy's story in the Tennessean and walked from downtown's Renaissance Hotel to Joy's part of Music Circle. Having seen her place and her plight, he wrote her a check and an encouraging note. His actions said he believed this is a fight Joy can win but it will take more than just her. Watch this space, tune in to Phil and other talk radio shows for more information. Call Mayor Dean and your Council member. Put the pressure on and keep it on. The MDHA is saying they are doing this to benefit all the people, not just one developer. Tell them there are limits to how far you want them going in your name.

Blue Collar Muse

TN Democrat, Jim Cooper, Alleged to be Under FBI Investigation

Remember Nancy Pelosi's comments as the Democrats took back the House in 2006? She said,

'"The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history."

The emphasis needs to be placed on the word "intend". At the time, the ability of the Democratic party to keep that promise was shown to be questionable by their handling of their own in the high profile cases of men like William Jefferson, Alcee Hastings and John Murtha.

There may be another stain to the Democrat's reputation in yesterday's allegations Tennessee's 5th District Representative, Jim Cooper, is under investigation by the FBI. For the moment, the matter is in "He said, she said" mode. The allegations of an FBI investigation have been made, Rep. Cooper's office has denied any knowledge of an investigation and an FBI spokesman said, "The FBI does not comment on statements or accusations made by others concerning its investigative activity."

What we do know is this. The charges came up in the course of Cooper's investigation into the practices of a Texas electric co-op. The Tennessean's Bill Theobald reports,

Thursday's hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee focused on salaries paid to leaders of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative Inc. in Texas and to spending by the cooperative. Cooper used the Texas case as a stepping-off point for his longstanding contention that some cooperatives are mismanaged and that they fail to return excess revenue to their members.

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative is a member of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). NRECA's CEO, Glenn English, was testifying before the committee and made his allegation during his testimony as Cooper sought to expand his probe from Pedernales in particular to coops in general. MSNBC reports English charged:

The reference that he made was with regard to a private Web site and gave even a Web site that provides access to members' 401ks and also their retirement benefits. NRECA's counsel has advised me that Mr. Cooper is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his unauthorized access and downloading of information from NRECA's password-protected Web site, and that is in violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Mr. English's allegation came after Rep. Cooper displayed a report and asked English to comment on the information it contained. Some of that information came from the NRECA's site. Cooper also published information from the site in an article in the Harvard Legislative Review and sourced the password protected site in a footnote. WSMV-Channel 4's Cara Kumari has excellent video, here.

At issue will be Cooper's right to access the material in question. Cooper admitted in the committee meeting that he viewed the site and obtained information from it. He did so using someone else's password and username. Cooper claims a person authorized to access the site provided him with his login codes after NRECA denied Cooper's request for access to confidential NRECA material. Cooper claims the NRECA material should be public, in his opinion, and maintains he did no wrong in accessing the private site, downloading and making the NRECA's private material public. Channel 4's Kumari notes the station asked an attorney whether Cooper's behavior is illegal and was told the law was constantly changing in this area. What Cooper did may or may not be a violation of the law.

Which brings us back to the question of Democrats and integrity, honesty and ethics. It is not required that one commit a crime to demonstrate a lack of character. If there are criminal charges filed in this case, it simply makes it worse than it already is. But Cooper's behavior fails all three tests even if he doesn't face criminal charges.

His admission to personally using material he knew he was denied access to may not be the evidence of a crime it appears to be. But neither is it evidence of integrity. Claiming the use of someone else's access codes is the same as having authorization to access the material himself may not be the laughable attempt at CYA it looks like, but that doesn't make it ethical. Justifying his actions by applying an issue which impacts government to a private entity may not be an ignorant application of the question of Open Records, but it cannot be classified as honest.

Regardless of how the criminal aspect of the matter plays out, Jim Cooper's arrogance has revealed he believes his opinions are a better gauge of conduct than the law or common sense, that he is unwilling to be bound by respect for the rights of others if he can score political points by behaving otherwise and, that one of his prime guiding principles is that the end justifies the means.

Those characteristics are horrible in an elected representative at any level of government! They do, however, work well for defense attorneys. I wish Rep. Cooper the best of luck in finding one that well qualified to represent him in the event he goes to trial.

Blue Collar Muse

State Think Tanks Serve as Online Labs

Promoted and bumped. -Patrick

Check out the Drudge Report tonight and you'll see a photo of Al Gore and a link to "REPORT: Gore's personal electricity consumption 'up 10%'..." Look a little closer and you'll notice the source isn't a mainstream news organization or even a blog. It's the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

This isn't the first time Drew Johnson's state-based think tank has hit the jackpot with a Drudge link. The organization broke news in February 2007 about Al Gore's enormous energy bill. That story, too, was picked up by Drudge, sending a slew of hate mail to Johnson in the process.

Gore-ging on Energy, 1 Year Later Gore's Home Energy Use Climbs 10%

In February of 2007 a small group named the Tennessee Center for Policy Research published an interesting little story that made Al Gore, the king of global warming alarmism, look a tad foolish. The report that TCPR sent out showed that Al Gore's own home was an energy hog. The TCPR report revealed that Al Gore's Tennessee mansion used more energy each month than the average American household uses in an entire year. In a response to this report, Gore claimed that he was diligently working to make his home more green, but now it looks like Gore is being gored again because a year down the line his energy use hasn't gone down. It hasn't even stayed level. It actually increased by 10%. How will the media handle this bloated increase despite Gore's claims of trying to improve?

In 2007, to a sensational reception the TCPR noted that the Gore family burned through energy at an amazing rate saying, "Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh -- guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359."

Not long after, Gore answered his critics on the website of Think Progress, an extreme website run by the Center for American Progress and funded by left-winger George Soros.

Vice President Gore’s office told ThinkProgress:

1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint -- a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:

What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero.

The most telling aspect of the 2007 report about Gore's energy use is that he never disputed the facts. He admitted that he used that much energy, but claimed that he was trying to bring that usage down.

Well, we have waited a year to see the evidence of the Gore family's efforts to bring that carbon footprint down to zero. And, with a follow up report, the TCPR decided to look into Al Gore's usage of energy to see how well he did in improving his high energy use.

Unfortunately for the king of global warming, he didn't do so well.

The new report shows Gore actually increased his energy use despite all the supposed efforts to make that ol' carbon footprint equal "zero."

In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

Since taking steps to make his home more environmentally-friendly last June, Gore devours an average of 17,768 kWh per month –1,638 kWh more energy per month than before the renovations – at a cost of $16,533. By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Ooopsie.

So, from the man telling you to reverse your standard of living to the dark ages, the Gore household continues to gobble up more and more energy every month than you would in a year.

As TCPR says, actions speak louder than words. I'd dare say with all the hot air emanating from the expanding girth of the former VP about global warming, with all the many private jet flights across the world, and with his constant scolding of the rest of us to stop using so much energy, this news once again makes Gore look the hypocrite.

Last time this news was a Drudge bombshell. The MSM reluctantly picked up on it after it became the talk of the blogs and talk radio. Will this newest report revealing Gore's continued hypocrisy also become big news, even if only briefly?

I guess, we'll see.

Be sure and Visit my Home blog Publius' Forum. It's what's happening NOW!

Could Obama Really Win a State in the South?

(promoted by Soren)

If Barack Obama wins any of the states in the former Confederacy, it’ll probably be Virginia or North Carolina. But a few analysts have suggested that he could boost African-African turnout across the rest of the south — the Deep South, mind you — to the point where he makes some really red states competitive. Chuck Todd and Marc Ambinder, who were both my editors at The Hotline and who are two of brightest political minds I know, have hinted that Obama could make Georgia and Mississippi interesting.

Chuck wrote in March that “Mississippi's one of those rare Southern states that might be in play in the general election if Obama becomes the nominee. One Dem statistician tells First Read that there are three red states that could swing if African-American turnout was ever maximized (both in registration and in actual turnout): Georgia, Louisiana and, yes, Mississippi. So don’t assume this is just one of those untouchable red states.”

Marc took it a step further in May and broke down the actual numbers, asking, “Did you know that a half a million African Americans in Georgia are eligible to vote but haven’t registered? The Obama campaign knows this. And they plan to register these voters by November, campaign folks say.”  And the Southern Political Report noted on Tuesday that the DCCC and DSCC have already registered 70,000 new voters in some Louisiana parishes.

Stateline also took a look at it on Tuesday and noted that “Some Democrats hold out hope that Obama could actually win one of the six Southern states that he won so convincingly during the primary season — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina — all of which have voted strongly Republican in recent presidential elections.” But the key phrase from that observation might have been that Dems are “holding out hope,” because after all, it’ll be a long shot.

Tom Schaller, another superb political analyst, actually crunched the numbers (something that no one else has done), and found that Obama is facing steep odds. In a conversation about white voters posted on Salon, Schaller presented his data: 

“I did a correlation between the black share of statewide population in the 11 Confederate states and the share of Bush’s support among white voters, and it correlates at .76 with all 11 confederate states and if you take Texas out, which Bush obviously did well in, though it has a relatively low black population, with a data set of just 10 data points, it correlates at .9. Human height and weight doesn’t correlate at .9. With 10 data points, it’s ridiculous. I don’t even think this is an empirical matter of dispute.”

 Schaller has a point and his numbers are tough to argue with.  But if Obama’s campaign is really about redrawing the electoral map and scrapping the old Clinton-Bush model, then he should leave no stone unturned and leave no county uncontested.

 

Cross-posted at TheElectoralMap.com

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