Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another narrative bites the dust

We are certainly in favor of breaking apart the MSM narratives that dominate the news, such as the global warming stampede.

An issue the news media doesn't care about because Democrats don't care about it is school choice. An interesting report was released today by the Washington-based Center for Education Reform that throws cold water on the notion that Oakland is the showcase for school reform. A combination of tons of private donations, charter schools and determined leadership helped the schools system there recover from the economic and performance abyss.

However, as the report indicates, some may be misinterpreting the results to suggest that money was the driving force behind the change. Far from it. The thorough report shows that the fundamentals of competition, political will and perseverance are more important than money. And it points out that even with the gains, test scores in Oakland still have a long way to go, compared to other California schools.

But holding up Oakland as a national model for its inputs alone, even though it is still not clear those inputs are capable of leading to the kind of academic outputs for students that one might expect for $500-plus per student, is potentially damaging to districts that decide to emulate that model. What the nation needs right now are education models with proven success, not good ideas that come accompanied by loud (even if well-intentioned) cheerleaders alone.
The report ought to be a big boost for the charter school movement. Now, back to presidential campaign and discussions about Obama girls, $300 hair cuts and fired fundraisers.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Soros+Gore=A New World odor

A monster tax increase based on George Soros-inspired propaganda-science? Guess again, Democrats.

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Bloggers top media in trustworthiness

5.8 percent--bloggers
4.4 percent--media
2.6 percent--members of Congress

That is the trustworthiness quotient the public has for the above groups, according to a new poll. The "victory" for bloggers rivals the NL Central MLB title in cache value.

As a public relations professional, I hereby advise reporters and congresspeople who have blogs to front the information to the public for an immediate boost in perceived trustworthiness.

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Hillary's swiss cheese "vetting"

On Meet the Press last Sunday, Hillary Clinton proclaimed that new vetting procedures had been been put in place to prevent her from taking money from sleaze merchants like Norman Hsu.

If you think you've heard that line before, you are right.

The spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton, Ann Lewis, said Mrs. Clinton was not aware of Mr. Burgess's background when he held fund-raising affairs for her in 2000 and 2003, nor did she know whether other prominent Democrats had rejected contributions. She said that Mrs. Clinton's vetting procedures have been strengthened since the senator's appearance at I.P.A.
That paragraph appeared in a May 2006 article in the New York Times focusing on questionable contributions to Clinton from Illinois-based International Profit Associates, a business consulting company run by a convicted criminal that is beset by fraud allegations and a massive federal sexual harassment lawsuit.

Small business owners across the country, frustrated by Hillary's continued refusal to turn away IPA funds, have written her this letter today. The small business owners were victimized by IPA's fraud and are suing IPA in a federal racketeering lawsuit pending in Chicago.
Hillary Clinton for President
4420 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA. 22203

Dear Senator Clinton:
We, the undersigned small business owners from across the country are deeply offended that you continue to accept campaign contributions from top officials of a business consulting company, International Profit Associates (IPA), Buffalo Grove, IL., that defrauded us. As we struggle in federal court via a civil racketeering lawsuit to recover the thousands of dollars this company took from us illegally, you continue to use political donations that might have come directly from our pockets.

We also are appalled because you accepted the money amid dark clouds of fraud allegations, a criminal past by the company's founder, and one of the largest sexual harassment lawsuits ever filed by the federal government.

We are trying to fight back against this company and you, Senator Clinton, are enabling it. We ask that you immediately donate to charity the more than $150,000 the New York Times says you've accepted from IPA's top officials, a figure that includes a ride on IPA's corporate jet and a donation from a high school age son of an IPA official.

Surely, now, in the wake of the Norman Hsu scandal, your political staff will turn up the background we've known about for some time, including:

 IPA is being sued by the federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for widespread sexual harassment. In a New York Times article May 7, 2006 titled, "Rubbing Shoulders with Trouble, and Presidents," EEOC lawyer Diane Smason called the allegations "probably the most egregious" ever filed by the agency's Chicago office. She said the investigation found that "sex harassment is the standard operating procedure for this company." That case is pending in U.S. District Court.

 The Illinois Attorney General's office has acknowledged publicly that it is investigating IPA for alleged fraud.

 The Better Business Bureau says IPA has an "unsatisfactory record" based on reoccurring complaints that total 427 in the last three years. The BBB has issued "alerts" in various states to warn businesses that IPA was soliciting work there.

 The company founder, John Burgess, is a convicted criminal, according to numerous published reports. He was convicted of attempted grand larceny and of soliciting a 16-year-old prostitute, those reports state. He was disbarred as a lawyer in New York state in July 1987 for "failing to answer charges which involved perjury, larceny, a conviction for patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute, possession of drugs and engaging in a pattern over a six-year period of lies and deceit," according to The Lawyers Fund for Client Protection of New York state. Burgess also is named as a key defendant in the sexual harassment lawsuit.

 The company's attorney, Myron "Mike" Cherry, also a contributor of yours, has been identified in published reports as "Individual H" in the Illinois criminal indictment of businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko. Cherry has acknowledged in published reports that he was the conduit for some of the IPA campaign contributions.

 Already, politicians across the country have returned donations from IPA because of the company's checkered past. Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager are among those who have returned contributions from IPA.

We have made our fraud allegations in a federal racketeering lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Mrs. Clinton, we see from published reports that you have identified yourself as a champion for women's rights and an advocate for small business owners. We cannot fathom, in light of those self-labels, how you could possibly accept campaign contributions from a company accused by the federal government of sexually harassing scores of women and one that has left behind a long trail of fraud complaints from small business owners. Do you believe the 114 women who were allegedly sexually harassed at IPA are not telling the truth about that harassment? Do you believe the Better Business Bureau is wrong? Do you think the state Attorney General is unjustified in her investigation of IPA?

We believe this is our concern because the campaign contributions you continue to accept came from the money that we believe was taken from us illegally. We do not believe you should continue to further your political career with such tainted cash.

We are not singling you out in this request. We plan to make the same request to other public officials who continue to accept and hold IPA-related campaign contributions. We wrote you first because you are running for President and certainly should be setting an example for other politicians.

Amari Company, Inc., Amherst, NH.
Amazing Productions, Inc., Tamarac, FL.
Precision Painting and Decorating, Inc., Elmhurst, IL.
All About Construction, Inc., Fort Myers, FL.
Capital Removal, Gold River, CA.
BBQ Island, LLC., Gilbert, AZ.
Compsolution VA, Inc., Richmond, VA.
JRP Construction, LLC., Yuma, AZ.
Evco Commercial Construction, Corp., Lake Elsinore, CA.
Gunnison Metal Shop, Inc., Gunnison, CA.
Captains Select Seafood, Minneapolis, MN.
MSI Redimix Inc., Mesquite, CA.
Joseph E. Clouse, Inc., Lehigh Acres, FL.
Kyles Discount Stuff, McPherson, KS.
Dames Air, LLC., Warrenton, MO.
Home Theater Design Group, Carrollton, TX.
Gigs Inc., Tewksbury, MA.
Cool Access LLC., Mesquite, TX.
Philipsburg Electric & Supply, Inc., Philipsburg, PA.
Gilbert-American Companies, Rockwall, TX.
Hinsdale Sales and Rental, Inc., Hinsdale, NH.
Hitech Fire Detection, Inc., Houston, TX.
Tonight, the Democratic candidates for President are debating in New Hampshire. Considering that some of IPA's victims are from that state, it would be the perfect time for somebody to ask Hillary about how IPA has escaped her vaunted vetting procedures.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Paralysis in the AG's office

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, it was revealed today, is expecting her second child. We wonder how big her family will be when she finally concludes her investigation of a campaign contributor.

Small business owners across the country, who I'm assisting, wonder too.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Twin Towers of Babble

Amid all the media clucking about Rudy Giuliani and other Republicans "politicizing" 9-11, here in Illinois our two Democratic senators couldn't put out a simple 9-11 statement without injecting their partisan bile.

Barack Obama is running for president as a person who wants to tone down the partisanship in Washington. His good buddy is Dick Durbin, the most partisan man in Congress.

Neither one had the class to leave the cheap shots at home for a day. Neither acknowledged America has not been attacked since. To do that would be to commit the highest sin of all: praising the Bush administration.

Here's Obama's statement:

Six years ago, on a bright and beautiful Tuesday morning, a new kind of enemy came to America's shores. Americans will never forget the images of that terrible day – the planes vanishing into buildings, the thick black clouds of smoke, the haunting images of the missing.

On this anniversary, we pause to remember each and every victim of those attacks. We celebrate the lives that were tragically cut short. We grieve with the families and friends who lost loved ones. We honor the service and sacrifice of the emergency responders who set an example to the whole world that in America we are our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper. And we pause to honor the brave men and women of the United States military – and their families – who have borne such a heavy burden for the last six years.

We also remember how Americans were stirred to a common purpose. On the lines to donate blood or the candlelight vigils that stretched across our country, there was no red America and there was no blue America. We were united in our grief for our fellow citizens. We were united in our resolve to stand with one another and to stand up to terror. We were united as Americans.

What we saw that morning also forced us to recognize that in a new world of threats, we are no longer protected by our own power. The terrorists who plotted and carried out the 9/11 attacks killed man, woman and child indiscriminately. They distorted the great world religion of Islam. They came from no state or empire, but rather on behalf of a murderous ideology.

Six years later, the threat to America has only grown. Al Qaeda has reconstituted a new safe-haven where it trains recruits and plots attacks. Al Qaeda's top two leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, continue to disseminate their hate-filled propaganda and inspire legions of followers. Like-minded extremists have struck in scores of countries. The war in Iraq continues to fuel terror and extremism. A Taliban insurgency rages on in Afghanistan. In too many disconnected corners of the world, hate is casting a shadow over hope.

Our calling today remains the same as it was on 9/11. We must write a new chapter in American history. We must bring justice to the terrorists who killed on our shores. We must devise new strategies, develop new capabilities, and build new alliances to defeat the threats of the 21st century. We must extend hope to the hopeless corners of the world, and reaffirm our core values to counter the hateful message of the extremists. And we must secure a more resilient homeland.

To write that new American story, we must recapture that sense of common purpose that we had on September 11, 2001. America is bigger than the challenge that came to our shores. Let us honor the legacy of those we lost by coming together anew. Let us always mark this day by affirming that hope will triumph over fear, and that a new generation of Americans will seek a safer, freer, and more perfect union.
Here's Durbin's statement:

Today, on the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our nation, many Americans in Illinois and across our nation are searching for their own ways to rescue some lasting good out of the evil and heartbreak of 9/11," said Durbin.

We who are privileged to work in this building have a special obligation to work together to prevent the next attack. We need to listen, and heed, the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission to make America safer. We passed important legislation that moves us in that direction this year, but we need to do more.

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Illinois Personal PAC took Hsu money


Haven't seen it reported that Illinois Personal PAC, the Democratic hit group, took $10,000 from just nabbed fugitive Norman Hsu. Will the group follow the example of others and donate the money to charity? Will the media ask about it? The 25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization and Democratic Party of Illinois took lesser amounts.

A full list of Hsu contributions can be found here.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hsu, Hillary and IPA

It's self-evident that Hillary Clinton will take political money from anyone and will only return it if she's caught. The national publicity over her relationship with felon-on-the-run Norman Hsu should be the clincher for anyone who doubts the premise.

There's another example of Hillary's sticky fingers right here in Illinois that I've written about several times before. Strangely, the issue is being given scant coverage by the news media. Maybe the Hsu case will spark more interest.

I'm talking about the high-pressure consulting business named International Profit Associates in suburban Buffalo Grove. IPA's founder and top man, John Burgess, is a convicted criminal and disbarred lawyer. The company is under fraud investigation by the Illinois Attorney General and has been sued more than 100 times by small businesses across the country, including a large civil RICO suit pending in U.S. District Court in Chicago. IPA also is the target of the most expansive and "egregious" sexual harassment lawsuit ever filed by the Chicago office of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. IPA's lawyer, Myron "Mike" Cherry has been implicated but not charged in the Tony Rezko indictment, according to press reports. Cherry is representing IPA in the sexual harassment suit, where the feds allege:

IPA's management, led by John Burgess, created a culture at IPA where sexual harassment flourished. IPA's senior managers harassed women with impunity, sending a signal to lower-level managers and employees that they could do the same. Given the tone set by IPA's senior management, it is not surprising that sexual harassment at IPA was rampant in all departments and at all levels of the company. Women at IPA routinely had to endure a gauntlet of abuse, ranging from sexual solicitations and physical harassment, to sexual comments and offensive sexual materials.
Yet Hillary Clinton, despite this and all the other smoke at IPA, refuses to give back IPA money. As the New York Times noted last year, IPA's executives have given Hillary more than $150,000 in campaign contributions. She's accepted a ride on the corporate IPA jet. And she's even accepted money from a high school student whose mother worked at IPA. A full background of IPA and campaign money can be found at my previous posts, here.

When the NY Times asked Hillary's campaign last year about IPA money, she said she is reviewing the matter. She said the same thing earlier this year. In other words, "I ain't giving it back until the press coverage gets intense enough that I have to."

Considering that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and other politicians have given back IPA money, it's a puzzlement why the news media doesn't press the point with Hillary's campaign more forcefully.

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