Archive for July 25th, 2009

Editorial: Fallout from DA Steve Howe’s activism just beginning, and it will hit Brownback hard

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Steve Howe is Sam Brownback’s David Souter.

Over the coming days and weeks, Republican voters not just in Johnson County but in the entire state of Kansas will gradually learn about District Attorney Steve Howe’s recent laughable decision involving the adherance of Johnson County Community College’s elected board members to the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA).  To briefly review:

  • Howe said that unlimited serial meetings may take place, regarding any topic, and involving any number of elected officials, provided that the politicians never explicitly state, “This is how we’re going to vote in the future.”
  • Howe said that it’s acceptable to discuss (or distribute typed information about) the budget — in great length and in great detail — during a closed meeting involving the local government’s entire elected membership, provided that at least part of the closed meeting involves the “job performance evaluation” of a city manager or somebody else who plays a role in developing the budget.

District Attorney Howe is either unwilling or unable to provide substantive answers to the following questions:

  • Why, in the formal written statement of findings, he failed to mention the great length — 64 specific items — of the budget list distributed in executive session;
  • Whether he talked with any respected experts on open meetings laws outside of his office, such as Kansas Press Association counsel Mike Merriam, who has no doubt that JCCC violated the law (the unwillingness to comment can be interpreted here as a likely “no”);
  • Why his written findings rely significantly on statements similar to “JCCC President Calaway said…” when Calaway has clearly and repeatedly engaged in unethical, dishonest behaviors.

Howe says that his office did a thorough investigation — but that’s not true.  Not only does it appear unlikely that the DA spoke with any KOMA experts, but Howe also refused to make simple requests for Email communications from JCCC, under the Kansas Open Records Act.

In a short time, conservative voters state-wide will learn of these unprofessional actions by DA Howe.  Some voters will assume incompetence, but most will likely assume corruption manifesting itself through legal activism and through the selective enforcement of the law.

At the center of this is Sam Brownback, who provided Howe with a crucial endorsement over former Attorney General Phill Kline in the 2008 Republican primary for District Attorney.  Granted, if Kline had won the primary, he probably would not have won the general election in Johnson County, which voted for John McCain by a much smaller margin than any recent Republican presidential nominee.  But it’s now clear that Howe is unacceptable.

Brownback chose politics over principle, rolling the dice and losing.  In one of the few examples yet where Brownback unilaterally played a role in a law-enforcement appointment, we now know that Brownback didn’t do enough research.  Just as President George H.W. Bush unintentionally chose activist David Souter for the Supreme Court, Howe is a dud who brings more harm than good to his office.

In Steve Howe, Johnson County has an unqualified activist as its chief law enforcement official, and Brownback put him there.

July is deadliest for US-led forces in Afghanistan: AP

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


KABUL – July is shaping up as the deadliest month of the Afghan war for U.S.-led international forces, with the number killed already matching the highest full-month toll of the nearly eight-year conflict, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press.

As of Wednesday, at least 46 international troops, including 24 Americans, had been killed in Afghanistan this month, according to statements by the U.S. military and the NATO command. That matches the tolls for the two previous deadliest months – June and August of 2008.

44% of Baseball Fans Give Commissioner Bud Selig Positive Marks

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


As the 2009 Major League Baseball season enters its second half, the chief executive of the league earns positive reviews from the plurality of fans.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of baseball fans say MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is doing a good or excellent job. Only 14% give the commissioner a poor rating.

The commissioner earns slightly higher ratings from fans who watch the game at least once a week than those who say they watch occasionally.

Selig, who has been the acting commissioner since 1994 and official commissioner since 1998, is credited with several major changes to the game, including revenue sharing and a strict crackdown on steroid use by players. He is held largely responsible for a financial turnaround in baseball through increased revenue and fan attendance.

Hodge comments on DC Police Chief’s remarks toward anti-red-light camera iPhone and GPS applications

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Benjamin Hodge at

We learn from Drudge today of a Washington Examiner article about Washington, DC, Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who is no fan of “an iPhone application and other global positioning system devices that pinpoint the location of the cameras.”

The new technology streams to iPhones and global positioning system devices, sounding off an alarm as drivers approach speed or red-light cameras.

Lanier said the technology is a “cowardly tactic” and “people who overly rely on those and break the law anyway are going to get caught” in one way or another.

DC uses 290 traffic cameras, an estimated TEN PERCENT of all traffic cameras in the entire country!

This is my favorite part of the article:  Chief Lanier “promised her officers would pick up their game to counteract the devices, which can also help drivers dodge sobriety checkpoints.”

So tax money is going toward paying DC police offers to use iPhones, in order to keep up to date with what an application is telling its users?  Is this an elite unit of the police force?  Maybe this will develop into an early “crime”-fighting internship for teenagers, where they work part-time to monitor the applications during their study hall.

Lanier says about the technology, “It’s designed to circumvent law enforcement – law enforcement that is designed specifically to save lives.”

And it is all about safety, right?  Well, no.  The Examiner reports, “Photo radar tickets generated nearly $1 billion in revenues for D.C. during fiscal years 2005 to 2008.”

Opinion — Jack Cashill column: Did Gorelick Ride TWA 800 To Fannie Mae Millions?

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


Bloggers have taken to calling Jamie Gorelick “The Mistress of Disaster” and with good reason.

As Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, she penned the infamous “wall” memo that prevented intelligence agencies from sharing information in the run-up to September 11.

After leaving the Justice Department, she headed over to Fannie Mae, where as vice-chair she helped wreck the American economy.

From Fannie Mae, Gorelick careened back to the less than useless 9-11 Commission, whose mission she did her best to subvert.

Few bloggers, however, have asked why Fannie Mae handed a middling bureaucrat with no financial or housing experience a sinecure that the Washington Monthly called “the equivalent of winning the lottery.”

Or why House Democrats invested one of their five 9-11 Commission slots in a mortgage executive with little or no intelligence experience.

Or why Gorelick gave up a $4 million a year on-average gig to join the 9-11 commission? (more…)

Boston Globe: Rice’s case for enshrinement was enhanced by steroid era

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


As best we know, Jim Rice never took banned substances, never secretly used a syringe, and never relied on performance-enhancers. Yet, when the definitive account of the steroids era is written, there may be no one remembered as a greater beneficiary.

James Edward Rice is making his official journey into Cooperstown this weekend, immortalizing a career that took far too long validate. As it turned out, the voters are the ones who needed the help of steroids this time. Rice was the most dominating hitter in baseball during the majority of a career that lasted 2,089 games and covered at least parts of 16 seasons, and we didn’t understand how good he was, how truly worthy of enshrinement, until his numbers were crystallized by those greedy, self-promoting body builders who all but engineered their careers in a test tube.

Oakland Tribune: Word play for A’s Henderson

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


Speech students at Laney Junior College received a rare experience the past two weeks. Not only have they been listening to the Hall of Fame induction speech Rickey Henderson will make on Sunday, but they also have been critiquing it.

Henderson essentially has gone back to school for much of this month to craft and polish the address he will give at Cooperstown, N.Y., when he is inducted.

This speech is much-anticipated by those who have become familiar with Henderson’s use of the language, which has affectionately come to be known as “Rickey-speak.” Henderson acknowledged this past week that formal public speaking frightens him.

“Speech and me don’t get along sometimes,” he said. “I’m not a doctor or professor, so for me to go and write a speech or read a speech, it’s kind of like putting a tie too tight around my neck.”

South Korean police: Hackers extracted data in attacks

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Hackers extracted lists of files from computers that they contaminated with the virus that triggered cyberattacks last week in the United States and South Korea, police in Seoul said Tuesday.

The attacks, in which floods of computers tried to connect to a single Web site at the same time to overwhelm the server, caused outages on prominent government-run sites in both countries.

The finding means that hackers not only used affected computers for Web attacks, but also attempted to steal information from them. That adds to concern that contaminated computers were ordered to damage their own hard disks or files after the Web assaults.

Chicago Tribune: Re-signing Mark Buehrle sure looks good now

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


He continues to be the Chicago White Sox version of Greg Maddux — except he isn’t one who got away

ESPN Rarely Exercises Caution, Why Now? — Art Spander

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Real clear Sports:

So the world leader in avoiding stories it alone determines not to be true has had a change of opinion. Covering the civil case involving Ben Roethlisberger is, according to the announcement by ESPN, “the right thing to do.”

After, in tactics that would have impressed the old Soviet Union bosses, ESPN attempted to avoid all mention of the situation.

USA Today: ESPN says relationships with leagues don’t affect news coverage

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

USA Today:

Imagine how TV news coverage of politics might be perceived if networks paid millions – even billions – for TV rights to, say, the White House or Congress.

That, essentially, is ESPN‘s situation. It began with lots of news shows – cheaper than buying TV rights to events – then raised its profile by adding live action such as NFL games, for which it now pays $1.1 billion annually. Now, the biggest year-round topic on ESPN’s highly profitable news shows and its radio network and, which draws about 1.1 billion page views annually, is also the source its highest-rated shows – the NFL.

Yahoo Sports: Wing man role not suitable for Armstrong

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


The role of the domestique is one of those puzzling time-honored vagaries which run through the seam of professional cycling. The concept of sporting self-sacrifice is one that is either resoundingly noble or mildly unsavory, depending on your view of the ideal of athletic competition.

The life of a domestique can be thankless, an existence out of the spotlight, carrying water bottles for, operating subserviently to and shielding the wind from a colleague who will claim all the glory.

WS Journal: The Tour Becomes a Race for Second

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


ANNECY, France-Welcome to the magnificent race for second place.

If it was in question heading into this year’s Tour de France-and it probably shouldn’t have been, as much as we enjoyed whipping ourselves up-it is no longer really in doubt: Alberto Contador is Earth’s supreme rider. After Thursday’s dazzling performance winning the individual time trial in picturesque, lakeside Annecy, Mr. Contador continues to wear the Tour leader’s yellow jersey and, with a four-minute lead, appears all but certain to rock it into Paris on Sunday. Yes, surprises can always happen at the Tour-an untimely crash, a forgotten water bottle that provokes a leg-cramping “bonk,” a Ben Stiller sighting-but even a designed-to-be-epic penultimate stage on Mont Ventoux on Saturday shouldn’t threaten the Spanish climber’s position. After what we’ve witnessed at this 2009 Tour, is anyone really going to bet against Mr. Contador on a mountain? (Of course, his performance has also provoked the sadly predictable doping questions, which Mr. Contador brushed off at his post-race news conference Thursday).

Times Online: Manchester United refuse to join rivals’ transfer spree

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


David Gill, the Manchester United chief executive, launched an impassioned defence of the club’s transfer policy last night, suggesting that other clubs’ fortunes depend on the whims of their fabulously wealthy owners.

Despite receiving a world-record fee of £80 million after selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid last month, Gill said that United cannot – and will not – compete with the money-no-object sprees of the Spanish club and, closer to home, Manchester City.

Real, who rely largely on sympathetic banks that dare not default on a Spanish institution, have spent almost £200 million this summer already, adding the undoubted talents of Kaká (£56 million), Karim Benzema (£35 million) and Raúl Albiol (£12 million) to those of Ronaldo.

Bruce Jenkins: Rickey Henderson Hall of Fame Induction — Nobody was like Rickey

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


Imagine being the manager of the greatest American baseball team ever assembled. It’s a mythical setting, a tree-lined ballpark in the realm of fantasy, and as you prepare to face the best players from the rest of the world, you’re choosing from more than a century’s worth of talent in its prime.

Boston Herald: Jim Rice’s Hall journey a measure of the man himself

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Boston Herald:

Jim Rice often gets written up as this aloof, hard-to-get-to-know tough guy, and rightly so. He was, after all, known to be short and abrupt with some of the sportswriters during his playing days, and, yes, there was a memorable runway confrontation with then-Red Sox [team stats] manager Joe Morgan when Walpole Joe sent Spike Owen to pinch-hit for the Red Sox slugger.

And this: From the first day Jim Rice arrived in the major leagues, he wore a decidedly don’t-mess-with-me look when he was standing at home plate, a Louisville Slugger in his hands, waiting to see what Jim Palmer or Ron Guidry or Catfish Hunter was going to throw his way.

CBS: Lance’s team change pure power play

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


With two days left in the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong announced he will enter the 2010 race for Radio Shack rather than Astana. Radio Shack being an American company, can safely give zero percent of a damn about Alberto Contador and build a team around Armstrong, which is the only way he would have wanted it. That he did it before this race was over tells you how desperate he was to let everyone who cares know that he would have done things differently in ’09 race — namely, been the star.

Now the press release announcing Armstrong’s repatriation to money made in America also said he would be a runner and triathlete for Radio Shack as well, and sell batteries on Monday and Tuesday at a strip mall near you, but this is really only about reclarifying his position viz. the rest of the cycling world, namely:

My team. My rules. My trophy.

Kaw and Border: Jerry Moran Picks His Friends (poorly)

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Kaw and Border:

given the conservative nature of primaries, even in Johnson County, what the seven mayoral endorsements — and it’s implied association on policy — risks is turning off conservative voters who were looking for a horse to ride and now have motivation to pick a candidate. It also risks possibly alienating others outside of Johnson County who don’t have a favorable opinion of our county and “Johnson County economic development” anyway. Todd Tiahrt can now justifiably claim that Jerry Moran is aligning himself with a set of people who have been part of the very problems we are looking to fix. Being “better for Johnson County” is in the eye of the beholder, and many conservative Johnson County residents may react negatively to Moran and the mayors being public allies.

In summary, these mayoral endorsements are troubling from both a policy/prncipled perspective and may not have even been wise from a political one either. In essence, Jerry Moran picked his Johnson County friends yesterday, and those people are not part of the solution — nor have they, historically, been part of electoral victories in August Primaries in Johnson County.

AP goes to war with search engines and blogs

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Hot Air:

At times, it’s amazing how badly the traditional media understand the age in which they live.  The New York Times reports on the new effort by the Associated Press to build more revenue for their product – by attacking search engines, aggregators, and blogs that link to their articles and deliver readers to them.  The AP says that even a link doesn’t represent fair use in the Internet age:

Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used.

Tom Curley, The A.P.’s president and chief executive, said the company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs.

Asked if that stance went further than The A.P. had gone before, he said, “That’s right.” The company envisions a campaign that goes far beyond The A.P., a nonprofit corporation. It wants the 1,400 American newspapers that own the company to join the effort and use its software.

“If someone can build multibillion-dollar businesses out of keywords, we can build multihundred-million businesses out of headlines, and we’re going to do that,” Mr. Curley said. The goal, he said, was

Boston Herald: 911, police tapes key in Gates case

Saturday, July 25th, 2009


Mounting pressure to get to the bottom of the controversial arrest of black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. is centering on recorded police tapes that may offer a dose of reality amid all the media and political noise.

Cambridge police brass and lawyers are weighing making the tapes public, which could include the 911 call reporting a break-in at Gates’ home and radio transmissions by the cop who busted him July 16 for disorderly conduct.

“It’s powerful evidence because the (people involved) have not had a chance to reflect and you are getting their state of mind captured on tape,” said former prosecutor and New York City police officer Eugene O’Donnell, who is now a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.