- Gallup shows adults find Obama an obvious failure:
- from 62 percent to 53 percent."...Washington Examiner, "Devastating Drop in job approval numbers for Obama in new Gallup survey," via Lucianne.com
New York ACORN and a tangled web of affiliates own or manage nearly 1,500 housing units across three boroughs and draw in an estimated $5.7 million in rents, fees and profits from sales.
Many have generic names, like the 385 Palmetto Street Housing Development Fund or the Mutual Housing Association of New York,
Founded in 1987, MHANY now owns more than 80 homes and apartment houses across Brooklyn and brought in some $2.5 million in revenue in 2007, according to a Post review of state and federal filings.
Such income helps support at least 18 local ACORN affiliates largely based at the 2-4 Nevins St., Brooklyn, address
Among them is New York ACORN Housing Company, which was thrust into a political firestorm last week after two of its employees were caught in a national hidden-camera sting giving shady financial advice to two conservative activists posing as a pimp and prostitute.
ACORN reports no compensation for the board members, although it disclosed that 10 directors -- all save Desant -- hold leases in ACORN-owned buildings ranging in value from $5,900 to $11,000 annually.
Six of the directors owed a total of $8,700 in rent as of June 2008, according to the agency's most recent filing. Speliotis reported an annual salary of $60,773 in 2007.
"New York ACORN Housing is one of the top providers of managers of affordable housing in this city or anywhere in the United States," spokesman Jonathan Rosen said.
"The Bloomberg administration has turned to New York ACORN housing again and again to help realize the city's vision of developing more affordable housing for New York's working families."
Since 2000, ACORN has managed an 85-unit housing complex in the Mott Haven section of The Bronx. " 9/21/09, NY Post by Brendan Scott, "'Nut' House Empire"
at the combat outposts near Kamdesh in Nuristan province by the Pakistan border, the officials said."...
THANKS AGAIN TO JOHN McCAIN AND THE BELTWAY GOP FOR GIVING US OBAMA,
In upstate New York, Dede Scozzafava, 49 years old, is the choice of local party leaders to defend a Republican seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, an abortion-rights candidate who could appeal to independents.
Mr. Hoffman has siphoned so much support from Ms. Scozzafava that their Democratic rival has vaulted into the lead, according to a poll released Thursday. The election is Nov. 3.
"I am not your run-of-the-mill politician, and maybe that's
sponsored by the Upstate New York Tea Party. In an interview, Ms. Scozzafava acknowledged her discomfort at the event. "I knew it wasn't going to be an easy audience for me," she said.
But these newly energized conservatives present GOP leaders with a potential problem: The party's strategy for attracting moderate voters risks alienating activists who are demanding ideological purity,"....
(Wall St. Journal continuing): "who may then gravitate to other candidates or stay at home. It's a classic dilemma faced by parties in the minority -- tension between those who want a return to the party's ideological roots and those who want candidates most likely to win in their districts.
The race in upstate New York is a somewhat extreme example of this phenomenon. No one is suggesting the tea-party movement will cause the GOP to lose seats overall next year. As the only congressional election this fall, the race stands an early test of the party's ability to navigate these conflicting impulses.
In Florida, Republican leaders were elated when popular Florida Gov. Charlie Crist agreed to run for the Senate. He has adopted policies such as an aggressive approach to global warming that appeal even to Democrats.
"He was Judas to the Republican Party in the state of Florida and across the country," says Robin Stublen, 53, of Punta Gorda, co-state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, a loose national coalition. "He sold us out for 13 pieces of gold."
A spokesman for Mr. Crist said the governor made sure stimulus dollars went to items important to Florida voters.
The GOP scored another potential coup when Republican Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk decided to seek Mr. Obama's former Senate seat, now held by Democratic Sen. Roland Burris. Mr. Kirk, however, voted for a Democratic climate-change bill in the House, prompting about 30 people to hold a tea-party protest at his office. Many activists vow never to support him." (McCain supports him).
"Personally, I'm just as fed up with the Republican Party as the Democratic Party," says Catherina Wojtowicz, coordinator of the Chicago tea-party group. "The Republican Party looks great on paper.
Republican leaders in Washington, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, are trying to align the GOP with the protesters' frustrations, praising their actions and echoing their arguments.
But the tea-party movement appears aggressively nonpartisan, much like Ross Perot's supporters in 1992. "The tea-party movement, in my judgment, has proven to be very real, but it's precisely the fact that it's real that makes it difficult to take advantage of," says Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman and now a top Republican strategist.
New York's 23rd Congressional District, which borders Canada, comprises roughly one-quarter of New York State. Sparsely populated, it is dotted by small towns and dairy farms and stretches across much of the Adirondack Mountains. The district leans conservative, with some 46,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats. Mr. Obama, however, captured it with 52% of the vote.
The special election was prompted by the president's June appointment of the district's Republican Rep. John McHugh as Army secretary.
Ms. Scozzafava spent 20 years as a stockbroker. Her family has owned the same auto-parts store in Gouverneur, N.Y., for decades. In March 2008, upset at the sex scandals surrounding former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his successor, David Paterson, Ms. Scozzafava sent a letter to her colleagues blasting an Albany social life "that is somewhere between 'Girls & Boys Gone Wild' and a sorority-fraternity style mixer."
Mr. Hoffman, who'd been passed over, was rankled by his rival's ascent. He teamed up with the Conservative Party, which has a long history in New York. After growing up in Plattsburgh, he had parlayed an accountant's degree into a flourishing financial firm and branched out into other businesses. He opened a campaign headquarters on the site of a former gas station where he'd pumped gas as a 14-year-old.
"I really felt that the Republican bosses who selected her were misrepresenting her as a Republican," said Mr. Hoffman in an interview.
GOP leaders were outraged, especially since Mr. Hoffman, like other congressional hopefuls, had pledged to support the nominee. "He did say it repeatedly," said Sandra Corey, the former GOP chairwoman of Jefferson County. "And then all of a sudden, it's a no-go, like he hadn't understood her background, which is a falsehood. I would never, ever trust him."
The contest, the only congressional race to be held this Election Day, is attracting attention from the national parties. Democrats have spent $130,200 to run ads blasting Ms. Scozzafava for voting for "more taxes" 190 times. The Scozzafava campaign dismisses that claim, saying it includes routine sales-tax rate extensions requested by counties.
The Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative group, has announced it's spending $250,000 -- and may spend more -- in support of Mr. Hoffman, depicting Mr. Owens and Ms. Scozzafava as equally contemptible liberals. Mr. Hoffman has attracted the endorsements of several conservative and antiabortion groups.
A poll released Thursday by the Siena Research Institute showed Mr. Owens leading Ms. Scozzafava 33% to 29%, with Mr. Hoffman at 23%. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. In a poll released by the same organization on Oct. 1, Ms. Scozzafava had led her Democratic opponent 35% to 28%, with Mr. Hoffman garnering 16%.
The Scozzafava campaign issued a flier headlined: "What conservatives need to know about Dede," including such points as "Dede believes government spending is out of control." She's touted her conservative credentials, including an endorsement by the National Rifle Association.
Mr. Owens, the Democrat who would benefit if his rivals split the Republican vote, has largely stayed out of the fray. He didn't appear at the candidates' forum sponsored by the Upstate New York Tea Party.
Even before the forum began, it was clear which candidate had the audience's heart. "I've never met the man, and he's got my vote," Gary Barber, 69, a retired schoolteacher from nearby Au Sable Forks, said of Mr. Hoffman. "He's conservative and he's not a lawyer.""
The video that captured the children is another matter.
Burlington Township Superintendent Christopher Manno today discussed the results of an internal investigation concerning the controversial songs. He and Denise King, principal of B. Bernice Young Elementary School, were "deeply disturbed" by the YouTube.com posting of a video that featured second-graders at the school, he said. He added that he had apologized to the students' parents at a recent meeting.
The video was taken on March 23 during an "impromptu" performance of two tunes the youngsters learned in honor of Black History Month for a school assembly in February, Manno said. The lyrics, which describe Obama's accomplishments and his views on equality, are punctuated with the recitation of the president's name, Barack Hussein Obama.
The school had sent the songs' lyrics to parents in advance and received no complaints before or after the assembly, which family members attended, Manno said.
Charisse Carney-Nunes, author of I Am Barack Obama, a biography for young readers, was visiting the school and the
video was taken by her sister in violation district policy, Manno said. The district forbids a student from being photographed or videotaped without parental permission, he said.
Manno said today that he has sent a reminder to staff members that
visitors are not to record students' images on school property.
He said that teachers and administrators did not realize that the video was being taken at the time.
Manno said he was "not exactly sure" if the district would take action against the videographer. The administration has been in talks with its attorney, he said.
A memo also had been sent to teachers reminding them to be "extra vigilant . . . so as not to give the impression of promoting" a political ideology in their lessons, he said.
Manno said that teacher Elvira James, whose students are seen in the video, had "no intent whatsoever" to take a political stand with the songs. James' recent retirement, after a 33-year career, was not related to publicity surrounding the video, he said.
About 70 people gathered outside of the school this morning
to protest the children's performance, which conservative political commentators have said were an attempt to encourage idolatry of the president.
The rally was organized by Ocean County resident Fredy Lowe, a supporter of the anti-tax Tea Party political protest group, at the behest of Gina Pronchick, whose son was a member of the class that was videotaped.
The group defied a request by Manno not to demonstrate while school was in session, which the
superintendent said could intimidate the children.
Lowe carried a sign that read "We're Here for the Children" and
"Reassign Principal King" as
fellow protesters sang "America the Beautiful" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and chanted "Education not indoctrination" and "Free children, free minds."
There were also about 10 counter-protestors, including Andrea Ciemnolonski, whose daughter Kaitlin was in the class. Ciemnolonski said she was fine with the song and that her daughter doesn't even remember the words.
"They sang it twice, it's over," she said.
At the February assembly where Manno said the song was first performed, other classes sang songs honoring George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in honor of President's Day.
Protestor Jim Isaia, a member of the 9-12 Project founded by Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, said that the fact that Obama is the current president politicized the song.
"It shouldn't have been about a standing president," said Isaia, of Vincentown. "If it had been about Clinton it wouldn't have been objectionable.""NJ School Official: Obama Song Video Violated Students' Privacy" 10/12/09, Matthew Spolar
was a fresh reminder that much of
“From an early age I’ve identified him as a powerful person, because of his influence, his violence, his firearm, his friends and his ability to dominate us. His domineering power meant that my relationship with him was one of fear. He always frightened me. I never understood why he was touching me. I never wanted it, but I put up with it out of fear, out of subjection, until it became intolerable. When he penetrated me, my whole life collapsed around me. I decided to leave. I was frightened, but I left.”
That is the voice of the daughter of the chief propagandist of the Zelaya regime, whom
The same man who suggested that Hitler should have been allowed to finish off the Jews.
Only eight were actually arrested and charged Tuesday with defrauding the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. They include:
Everyone arrested was either a store owner or store employees at the six Utica convenience stores listed here:
"Those arrested today are some of the worst profiteers that we encounter, preying on government program that ensures a very basic need is met. Adequate food for those persons who cannot provide for themselves," said USDA Special Agent-in-Charge Brian Haaser."....
continuing: "These charges carry a maximum sentence of imprisonment of five years and a fine of not more than $20,000."
Where did the money come from to finance the stores? Did the cruel US taxpayer subsidize loans for the poor unfortunates? The investigators only took a year and a half to round up the poor souls. How mean.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "More than 35 million Americans received food stamps in June, up 22 percent from June 2008 and a new record as the country continued to grapple with the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The Labor Department will release August employment figures on Friday.
An FNC spokesperson tells POLITICO that Ailes and Axelrod had a “cordial conversation” over coffee while the president was in town.
White House officials have expressed pique with what they consider heavy coverage of Obama critics by opinion shows on the news channel.
EVERYONE, even the Taliban, gets a slice of the action when it comes to building roads in Afghanistan.
It is effectively the Taliban who decide which local contractors will work on a project - either by setting a level of protection money that the contractor can afford to pay, or
The Taliban also keep an eye on local individuals who get work on the project -
A key construction project in the volatile south-eastern border region is the Washington-funded K-G Road - a $US100 million ($A114 million), 100-kilometre blacktop through wild Taliban country between Khost, on the Pakistan border, and the hub city of Gardez, south of Kabul.
Overseeing the K-G Road is US engineer Steve Yahn, a 53-year-old Massachusetts father who has been building roads in Afghanistan since 2002 so that he can afford to send his children to college.
Since groundwork began on the K-G Road in May last year, Mr Yahn has lost 16 workers - 13 dead and three missing - and 19 have been wounded. The project has about 1000 workers: two security men for each construction worker. Most are Afghans hired by local sub-contractors. But the South-African-run security operation includes Romanians and Gurkhas.
Deals in which the Taliban top up their coffers by
As project manager for the US contractor Louis Berger Group, Mr Yahn is aware of the Taliban pressure on his local contractors - their staff get kidnapped and their vehicles burnt, they are harassed and threatened, and many of their workers fear for their lives.
As he speaks, one of his sub-contractors is in Uzbekistan attempting to buy 20 trucks. ''You could speculate,'' he says, ''that other truck owners have been intimidated into refusing to work for a project that had a big Indian firm working on it.''
The project tries to make itself as small a target as possible -
The Taliban rules insist on maximum local employment and, among other things, that
It is easy to be shocked by all this. But Mr Yahn says he has seen it all before - in another place, at another time.
"They're not all bad," he says of the Taliban, drawing a parallel with the
"They have their beliefs and maybe they don't want to send their children to school, but if they're not disrupting my project, they are moderate Talibs."
Depending on the terrain, the South African firm's objective is to create a security bubble in which work can proceed - anywhere between 500 metres and two kilometres either side of the road.
Traffic mostly comprises convoys of colourful trucks, crawling over bone-jarring rocky earth that bears little resemblance to a road. Most trucks lumbering down from the mountains are laden with firewood. The wood invariably is piled with near surgical precision - often causing the US forces to wonder about what might be buried under it.
US Army Colonel Robert Campbell says: ''Infiltration from Pakistan is a mafia-like operation - apart from fighters coming over, smugglers bring in weapons and cash that finds its way to Kabul and elsewhere.''
The business structure on the K-G project is of a kind seen around Afghanistan, much to the fury of some aid groups. Louis Berger Group is the principal contractor but has sub-contracted an Indian firm to build the road.
A US Government official, who asked not to be named, says that despite being a controversial choice, the Indian company was selected because it was one of only two companies prepared to do the job. Asked about the wisdom of the choice, given virulent anti-Indian sentiment among the local, pro-Pakistan Pashtun population, he says: ''The locals have some reservations about the Indians, but the company is doing its best to employ locals and to mitigate animosity.''
But at the same time, he says, the road is already over budget, mainly because of security. ''Insecurity has increased exponentially since the inception of the project,'' he says.
This road is vital. Long a garrison city, Khost sits strategically just kilometres from the border with Pakistan. But because the track that links it to the rest of Afghanistan is so appalling, the city, its farmers and traders have effectively been a part of the Pakistani economy. Their currency is the Pakistani rupee and much of their summer produce is trucked to Pakistan for cold storage and then hauled back for sale at twice the price in winter - because Khost does not have adequate storage facilities.
Originally, the road was to have metal guard rails, but once the Taliban found they could fix explosives to the metal to target convoys, the rails were scrapped in favour of stone walls with a reinforced slab-concrete core.
In winter, work at the higher altitudes grinds to a halt as freezing temperatures make building impossible and with the summer pasture fading already, the Kuchi are on the move. Like the Bedouin of the Middle East, thousands of these Kuchi nomads, with their herds and camels burdened with the tents that are their homes, are heading back to lower country near Khost. The know that they must stick to the narrow corridor in which Mr Yahn is trying to build the highway because white-painted rocks that speckle the shoulders of the road mark the extent to which Soviet and mujahideen explosive minefields have been cleared.
Already work is behind schedule. The road was to be completed before the coming winter, but the work gangs will be lucky to crest the Satukandav Pass before the winter shutdown. The new completion date is sometime next northern summer.
Mr Yahn talks about the 23-kilometre mark, just short of the Pass, as an ''imaginary barrier''. ''Heading out from Gardez, it's relatively safe up to that point, but from 23 to 70 we've had lots of hits - that's where the provincial governor was nearly killed."
THE military convoy on which we travelled returns to base without mishap. But less than 24 hous later, there is a mighty explosion up the road from where we had been - an IED (improvised explosive device) makes shrapnel of a lumbering truck and kills its driver, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as insurgents targeted a passing US convoy.
There had been a string of attacks in Khost and Gardez in an attempt to disrupt voting during the August 20 presidential election.
But the bomb that destroys the truck heralds a new burst of insurgency activity the length of the road - in the space of a couple of days, an Afghan National Police station at the 16-kilometre mark is attacked; massed Taliban fighters are reported on the move near Khost; and around Gerda Serai, a bazaar we visited, pro-Taliban commanders are issuing dire new threats to any locals who co-operate with the Americans or the Afghan Government.
Days later, the Afghan counterterrorism chief was gunned down in Khost and five Afghan soldiers died in an IED strike at Barmali in Paktika. The pro-Taliban network also took a severe hit - in adjoining Paktika province, what was described as a ''massive bunker complex used to store arms and shelter foreign fighters'', was destroyed.
The Taliban might be slowing progress on the K-G Road, but they have not forced the project to a halt.
Standing on flat ground outside Gardez, Steve Yahn gazes up to the heights of the Satukandav Pass. "We're marching up the hill," he says with determination.
Paul McGeough and David Brill's report Highway to Hell is on SBS TV's Dateline tonight at 8.30pm." 9/27/09,
TheAge.com.au (Australia), by Paul McGeough and David Brill