Alaska Senate race: Murkowski files motion to counter Miller

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) - Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) has filed a motion to intervene in Republican candidate Joe Miller’s lawsuit challenging the method by which the state’s Division of Elections counted write-in votes in the Nov. 2 general election.

Murkowski, who has already claimed victory in the race, also asked for an expedited decision.

“Joe’s reluctance to accept the will of the voters remains discouraging. We are certain the state courts can act on this baseless lawsuit in a timely manner,” Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney said in a statement.

“By intervening in the case, Senator Murkowski seeks to protect the thousands of voters that Mr. Miller seeks to disenfranchise.”

The country’s last undecided Senate election arrived in state court Monday when Miller sued the state over how write-in ballots for his Republican rival, write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski have been counted.

Miller’s lawsuit was originally filed in federal court, but a judge ruled Friday that it was instead a matter for the state court to decide. However, he did grant a temporary injunction halting certification of the Senate election. The incumbent Murkowski launched a write-in bid for the Senate seat after she lost the Republican primary to Tea Party-backed Miller.

The Miller campaign is now challenging the Division of Election’s decision to ensure the state law is followed, which calls for write-in votes to match the name of the candidate. He has argued that Alaska law does not allow the counting of misspelled names on write-in ballots. The Division of Elections set guidelines before counting began that allowed for a voter’s intent to be considered when determining whether to count a ballot for a write-in candidate.

After the court rules, the campaign has said it wants a hand count of the ballots.

The Associated Press called the race for Murkowski last week when she had a 10,328-vote lead over Miller, a figure that includes the 8,159 ballots contested by Miller observers. Not including those ballots, she has a 2,169-vote lead.

But Miller has not conceded despite the projections of Murkowski’s win and calls from Republican leaders asking him to end his bid.

In an interview with CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux in the Situation Room on Tuesday, Miller said that there is a chance he could still win because “nobody really knows what the count is.”

He also defended his campaign’s challenge of the write-in ballots and the request for a hand count.

“I think Alaskans deserve to have a clear process, one that they can rely on in the future, and one that’s not gamed at the end.” Miller said.

- CNN”s Steve Brusk and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


CNN Political Ticker

How to beat the media in the climate street fight - Forest scientist Simon Lewis in Nature: “Researchers must take a more aggressive approach to counter shoddy journalism and set the scientific record straight”

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

What lessons are there for scientists in politically charged areas who find themselves in a similar position? Do your research. What is the reporter’s track record? Anticipate that every sentence you say or write may be dissected and interpreted in the least charitable manner possible. And if things go wrong, seek advice from public-relations experts, and where necessary, media lawyers. In my experience, science-media professionals are almost as lost as scientists themselves, when dealing with topics as emotive as climate change.

That’s tropical forest researcher and Royal Society research fellow Simon Lewis in a column in the journal Nature this week, “How to beat the media in the climate street fight.”  Lewis’s headline refers to the early editorial in Nature“Scientists must now emphasize the science, while acknowledging that they are in a street fight.”

Here’s the full column:

When science hits the news, researchers often moan about the quality of the coverage. A sharp reminder of the issue rolls round this month — the anniversary of the global media frenzy over the release of e-mails from climate researchers at the University of East Anglia, UK. So what should scientists do when reporting quality falls off a cliff? Earlier this year, I was seriously misrepresented by a newspaper and thrown into a political storm. Rather than take it lying down, I set the record straight. It has been an odd journey, and I think there are lessons for how we scientists should deal with the media.

In January, the absurd claim from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 launched a hunt to find other exaggerated risks of climate change. A British blogger, Richard North, found an IPCC statement that part of the Amazon rainforest may be at risk from droughts, referenced to an environment group’s report, not the scientific literature. North dubbed it Amazongate, and told the world that the IPCC view “seems to be a complete fabrication”.

As a tropical-forest expert, I found my telephone ringing for three days. Journalists asked me to comment on the IPCC line that “up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”. My short answer was that in context, the statement was broadly correct; but the wording was not careful, and the IPCC should have cited the primary literature. My comments were broadcast across the BBC, but for most news outlets it was a non-story.

The Sunday Times saw it differently. Its reporter, Jonathan Leake, asked both leading and genuinely inquisitive questions. I sent him scientific papers, and we discussed them. He agreed to read the finished piece to me over the telephone before publication. It stated, correctly, that the future of the Amazon is very uncertain, because the available data are limited. I was quietly pleased that I had ’spun’ what I saw as a blogger’s anti-IPCC tirade into a story about the science. Yet I was wrong. The newspaper headline was “UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim”, and worse, I was the expert quoted to support it. The article had been completely rewritten, essentially parroting North’s blog, to include new quotes from me (genuine, but heavily edited and misleadingly taken out of context), and fabricated assertions about my views. An accompanying editorial called for the IPCC chairman to resign.

I was furious. Worse, the two conflicting versions of my views — on the BBC and in The Sunday Times — constituted a serious affront to my professional credibility. But what could I do? I added a comment under the online version of the article that my views were not accurately reported, and sent a letter for publication to The Sunday Times.

Weeks later the misleading article had been reproduced over 20,000 times on the Internet. My letter had been ignored and website comment deleted. Furthermore, my words and standing as an expert were being used by other newspapers to allege widespread corruption by IPCC scientists. As an Editorial on climate disinformation in this journal said at the time: “Scientists must now emphasize the science, while acknowledging that they are in a street fight.” I needed to fight back.

After advice from a friend in public relations and press officers at scientific organizations, I filed an official complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, the UK media watchdog. The commission could order the newspaper to print a correction, but would that happen and was it enough? I needed to make the complaint itself a story.

I contacted The Guardian newspaper, which published an article about my complaint. To reach the US audience, I handed the full complaint as an exclusive to perhaps the world’s most influential political climate-change blog, Joe Romm’s http://climateprogress.org.

JR:  See Exclusive: Forest scientist fights back against ‘distorted’ UK article on Amazon and IPCC and Exclusive audio: Sunday Times tells Simon Lewis, “it has been recognised that the story was flawed.”

For a scientist to take such an active media role was unorthodox, but it felt good. And it worked. It was widely recognized that the story was wrong and I had been badly treated. The New York Times featured me in a front-page article.

The Sunday Times offered to publish a single-line apology. I knew others had extracted greater concessions and kicked harder. It eventually agreed to remove the article from its website, and replace it with a formal correction and apology, also printed prominently in the newspaper. The retraction was reported around the world.

Environmental commentators hailed the apology as vindication for the IPCC (which it wasn’t quite, as its statements were not faultless). Climate sceptics launched a counter-attack by claiming that no apology was due because the IPCC statement was not perfect. But for me the storm had passed.

What lessons are there for scientists in politically charged areas who find themselves in a similar position? Do your research. What is the reporter’s track record? Anticipate that every sentence you say or write may be dissected and interpreted in the least charitable manner possible. And if things go wrong, seek advice from public-relations experts, and where necessary, media lawyers. In my experience, science-media professionals are almost as lost as scientists themselves, when dealing with topics as emotive as climate change.

The media dictate what most people know about contemporary scientific debates. Given the need for informed policy, scientists need to learn to better read and engage with this media landscape. Closing the newspaper with a sigh is not enough.

Hear!  Hear!

Or, as conservation ecologist CJA Bradshaw put it in on his blog, ConservationBytes, when he reprinted the column in a piece titled, Appalling behaviour of even the most influential journalists:

Amen, brother.

I’ll say it again – scientists now have the power to fight back directly – you have access to free social media like blogging, Twitter, Facebook and many others. Use them to your advantage and get the CORRECT word out there about the great science you’re doing.

Related Posts:

Climate Progress

300 Economists Counter White House Claim on Taxes

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

According to a recent White House title="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma5np8PcaY8" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma5np8PcaY8">video explaining the administration’s opposition to extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee claims:

“If you ask objective economists and analysts around the country about what is effective you will find that everyone agrees that these giant tax cuts for very high income people are the least effective thing that we can do to get the economy growing.”

Everyone agrees?

If your definition of objective economists is limited to the White House’s economic team, then perhaps this statement could be true. Unless you also count Obama’s former Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, who title="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/opinion/07orszag.html?_r=1&hp" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/opinion/07orszag.html?_r=1&hp">suggested extending what many refer to as the Bush tax cuts for the next two years.

Then there is the 362,000-member title="http://www.ntu.org/" href="http://www.ntu.org/">National Taxpayers Union, which sent a title="http://www.ntu.org/news-and-issues/taxes/tax-reform/economists-support-lower-rates.html" href="http://www.ntu.org/news-and-issues/taxes/tax-reform/economists-support-lower-rates.html">letter to Congress on last month signed by 313 economists, including a Nobel laureate, in support of extending all of the 2001 and 2003 the tax cuts. As Pete Sepp, NTU’s executive vice president, explained at title="http://www.thebloggersbriefing.com/" href="http://www.thebloggersbriefing.com/">The Bloggers Briefing:

“The issue of extending taxpayer relief laws is not a fringe issue. … There is a large body of the economic community saying this is your only option right now. This is by far your best option. Not doing it, even for some individuals, is what these economists would call an anti-stimulus.”

Economists at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis estimated the title="http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/09/Obama-Tax-Hikes-The-Economic-and-Fiscal-Effects" href="http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/09/Obama-Tax-Hikes-The-Economic-and-Fiscal-Effects">effects of the Obama tax hikes and reached a similar conclusion that employment and growth of the economy cannot be made through higher taxes.

The reality for Goolsbee is that seldom, if ever, does everyone agree about anything, especially when it comes to governing. There isn’t unanimous agreement on the Bush tax cuts among economists, nor is there likely to be.

Before members of Congress returned to their districts to campaign for re-election, there was enough support from objective economists and analysts to convince a number of title="http://thehill.com/homenews/news/119293-whip-count-democrats-in-favor-of-extending-all-of-the-bush-tax-cuts" href="http://thehill.com/homenews/news/119293-whip-count-democrats-in-favor-of-extending-all-of-the-bush-tax-cuts">Democrats to break ranks with the White House and come out in support of extending all the Bush tax cuts. For all his discussion about widespread agreement, that’s a point Goolsbee failed to appreciate: The only bipartisan agreement that does exist is actually in disagreement with him.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Freedom’s superheroes counter Sharia superheroes: The counter-jihad Dynamic Duo!

October 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

I can’t stop laughing. Working from this story about Sharia-compliant Muslim superhero comics, the nonpareil Big Fur Hat has created a story about some arch-villains who counter those Sharia supremacist superheroes — arch-villains, that is, who are on the side of freedom:

the99small.jpg

You can see it larger here.

Jihad Watch

Communist, Pro-Terrorist, Anti-Israel Groups Sponsor NAACP’s ‘One Nation’ Counter Rally

September 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

one nation C

The NAACP-led ‘One Nation Working Together’ rally coming up in Washington, D.C. on October 2nd to counter the Tea Party movement’s success is being sponsored by pro-terrorist and communist groups. Many of their logos are proudly and prominently displayed on the rally’s promotional website.  One sponsor’s leader was fired this summer by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for his ties to Hamas.

The rally’s sponsor list demonstrates how the Democrat party’s liberal establishment has mainstreamed treason and anti-semitism.

One nationA

Included among large, traditional labor organizations sponsoring the rally:  AFL-CIO;  National Education Association; the union of federal government workers’  American Federation of Government Employees; United Auto Workers; and United Mine Workers .

Joining them are anti-American, anti-Israel groups: Stalinist ANSWER Coalition; and the terrorist supporting Obama funders Code Pink and United for Peace and Justice, which since its inception and until recently was led by noted communist Leslie Cagan.  Listed on the sidebar as sponsors are anti-American groups Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

All have supported terrorists in Iraq who were killing American troops and liberated Iraqis.

Also listed as partners of the One Nation rally are the Communist Party USA; the Democratic Socialists of America; the International Socialist Organization; and the War Resisters League.

One Nation Working Together also lists as a partner the American Muslim Association of North America, whose leader Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout was fired this summer by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for his ties to Hamas and David Duke.

one nation B

The NAACP has hammered the Tea Party movement with nebulous accusations of racism based on hearsay and staged visuals by leftists.  Despite efforts to paint lone oddballs as examplars of the Tea Party movement, the movement has made it clear that extremists are not welcome.   The Tea party movement has also made it clear it is open to all who share its vision of fiscally responsible Constitutional government.

Will the same liberal politicians and reporters who express such heartfelt concern about the make-up of the Tea Party now stand up and demand the One Nation Working Together rally cleanse itself of the anti-Israel, pro-terrorist groups in its coalition?

Will conservative politicians and media — or the Tea Party itself — have the fortitude to call to account the One Nation Working Together rally?

The mainstreaming of treason and anti-semitism represented by the One Nation Working Together rally is yet another example of the radical left’s permeation throughout the Democratic party and the Obama administration.

Many prominent Democrats, from President Obama to Senators like Barbara Boxer, Congressmen like John Conyers (and the late John Murtha), to presidential candidates Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have in recent years knowingly worked with one or more of these anti-American, pro-terrorist groups.

The national media has given them a pass, naturally.

These groups’ treasonous actions and ties to the Democratic party have been primarily documented at Big Government, Front Page Mag, Discover the Networks, WorldNetDaily and Free Republic.

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement announcing the rally:

“One Nation Working Together is a movement of everyday people who are marching on 10-2-10 along with human and civil rights organizations, unions and trade associations, youth and student groups, faith, educational, environmental, peace, gender and identity rights groups, and hundreds of other groups. We are making a direct demand – to reclaim our fundamental right to the American Dream. We are holding our representatives in Washington accountable for re-focusing national priorities on what is important – the people.”

It appears Ben Jealous believes the priority of everyday people is the killing by terrorists of Americans, Israelis and liberated Iraqis. One wonders if he would change his tune if he knew these groups were helping to also get African-Americans killed?

Probably not because as the Marxist slogan goes, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette…or ‘one nation.’


Big Government

Communist, Pro-Terrorist, Anti-Israel Groups Sponsor NAACP’s ‘One Nation’ Counter Rally

September 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

one nation C

The NAACP-led ‘One Nation Working Together’ rally coming up in Washington, D.C. on October 2nd to counter the Tea Party movement’s success is being sponsored by pro-terrorist and communist groups. Many of their logos are proudly and prominently displayed on the rally’s promotional website.  One sponsor’s leader was fired this summer by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for his ties to Hamas.

The rally’s sponsor list demonstrates how the Democrat party’s liberal establishment has mainstreamed treason and anti-semitism.

One nationA

Included among large, traditional labor organizations sponsoring the rally:  AFL-CIO;  National Education Association; the union of federal government workers’  American Federation of Government Employees; United Auto Workers; and United Mine Workers .

Joining them are anti-American, anti-Israel groups: Stalinist ANSWER Coalition; and the terrorist supporting Obama funders Code Pink and United for Peace and Justice, which since its inception and until recently was led by noted communist Leslie Cagan.  Listed on the sidebar as sponsors are anti-American groups Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

All have supported terrorists in Iraq who were killing American troops and liberated Iraqis.

Also listed as partners of the One Nation rally are the Communist Party USA; the Democratic Socialists of America; the International Socialist Organization; and the War Resisters League.

One Nation Working Together also lists as a partner the American Muslim Association of North America, whose leader Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout was fired this summer by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for his ties to Hamas and David Duke.

one nation B

The NAACP has hammered the Tea Party movement with nebulous accusations of racism based on hearsay and staged visuals by leftists.  Despite efforts to paint lone oddballs as examplars of the Tea Party movement, the movement has made it clear that extremists are not welcome.   The Tea party movement has also made it clear it is open to all who share its vision of fiscally responsible Constitutional government.

Will the same liberal politicians and reporters who express such heartfelt concern about the make-up of the Tea Party now stand up and demand the One Nation Working Together rally cleanse itself of the anti-Israel, pro-terrorist groups in its coalition?

Will conservative politicians and media — or the Tea Party itself — have the fortitude to call to account the One Nation Working Together rally?

The mainstreaming of treason and anti-semitism represented by the One Nation Working Together rally is yet another example of the radical left’s permeation throughout the Democratic party and the Obama administration.

Many prominent Democrats, from President Obama to Senators like Barbara Boxer, Congressmen like John Conyers (and the late John Murtha), to presidential candidates Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have in recent years knowingly worked with one or more of these anti-American, pro-terrorist groups.

The national media has given them a pass, naturally.

These groups’ treasonous actions and ties to the Democratic party have been primarily documented at Big Government, Front Page Mag, Discover the Networks, WorldNetDaily and Free Republic.

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement announcing the rally:

“One Nation Working Together is a movement of everyday people who are marching on 10-2-10 along with human and civil rights organizations, unions and trade associations, youth and student groups, faith, educational, environmental, peace, gender and identity rights groups, and hundreds of other groups. We are making a direct demand – to reclaim our fundamental right to the American Dream. We are holding our representatives in Washington accountable for re-focusing national priorities on what is important – the people.”

It appears Ben Jealous believes the priority of everyday people is the killing by terrorists of Americans, Israelis and liberated Iraqis. One wonders if he would change his tune if he knew these groups were helping to also get African-Americans killed?

Probably not because as the Marxist slogan goes, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette…or ‘one nation.’


Big Government

President Obama sends letter, top counter terror advisor, to Yemen

September 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

President Obama sent his top counter terror adviser, John Brennan, to Yemen this week, underscoring his administration’s concern about the rise Islamic militants there.



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Yemen - Barack Obama - United States - Counter-terrorism - Middle East
Political Punch

Muslim scholar offers lies about Muhammad to counter Spencer’s Truth About Muhammad

August 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

TruthorLies.jpgTake your pick: truth or lies

Sometimes it’s just too easy. This started coming into the office in emails yesterday: “Incensed by Rampant Islamophobia, Muslim American Scholar Strikes Back.”

Of course! The real problem Muslims have is not rampant jihad terrorism and Islamic supremacism, but “Islamophobia”! Pay no attention to all the jihad attacks committed in the name of Islam around the world, and the triumphalist actions and declarations of imminent Islamic conquest — the real problem is not with them, but with people like me who report on them and show their root causes in the Qur’an and Muhammad’s example (both copiously invoked by those same jihadists and Islamic supremacists)!

And so now to counter my bestselling 2006 book The Truth About Muhammad comes Moustafa Zayed’s The Lies About Muhammad — and I’m sure that that’s exactly what his book is full of. I haven’t read it yet (yes, Zayed, I’ve ordered it — you’re welcome — and expect to have a great deal of fun with it), but the press release announcing its publication contains one choice lie as a preview:

Zayed comments, “Today’s Islamophobia is not a misunderstanding, or a difference in beliefs or opinions, but a deliberate fabrication and misinformation of clear facts perpetrated upon the American people.” Zayed gave an example: In his book, Mr. Spencer brought a verse from the Quran, claiming that it proves that Islamic law mandates male witnesses of “sexual immortality” in order to support the male criminal! It appears that Mr. Spencer has intentionally omitted the first sentence of the verse that shows it is only related to recording debts!

Unfortunately for Zayed, we can actually go to the Qur’an and evaluate the truth of his claim. There are several verses in the Qur’an that mandate four witnesses to establish a crime of zina, or sexual immorality. Let’s look at each:

1. “As for those of your women who are guilty of lewdness, call to witness four of you against them. And if they testify (to the truth of the allegation) then confine them to the houses until death take them or (until) Allah appoint for them a way (through new legislation).” — Qur’an 4:15.

That’s the whole verse. Does the immediately preceding verse, 4:14, have anything to do with “recording debts”? No. It says this: “And whoso disobeyeth Allah and His messenger and transgresseth His limits, He will make him enter Fire, where he will dwell for ever; his will be a shameful doom.”

2. “And those who accuse honourable women but bring not four witnesses, scourge them (with) eighty stripes and never (afterward) accept their testimony. They indeed are evil-doers.” — Qur’an 24:4.

Again, that’s the whole verse. Anything in 24:3 about “recording debts”? Here it is: “The adulterer shall not marry save an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress none shall marry save an adulterer or an idolater. All that is forbidden unto believers.”

3. “Why did they not bring four witnesses to prove it? When they have not brought the witnesses, such men, in the sight of Allah, (stand forth) themselves as liars!” — Qur’an 24:13.

Whole verse, yes. Anything in 24:12 about recording debt? Strike three: “Why did not the believers — men and women — when ye heard of the affair, put the best construction on it in their own minds and say, ‘This (charge) is an obvious lie’?”

That last one is referring to the accusation of adultery against Aisha, Muhammad’s child bride and favorite wife. Muhammad exonerated her after receiving these revelations that four witnesses were required to establish the crime, and her accusers did not have four witnesses. I invoke 24:13 in discussing this and its implications for Islamic law on page 67 of The Truth About Muhammad. Do I leave out part of the verse? No, actually I don’t quote it at all, just refer to it by the number. Zayed is…lying.

And as for Islamic law: “When a person (who has reached puberty and is sane) voluntarily…accuses another person of adultery…then the accuser is subject to the penalty for accusing a person of adultery without four witnesses…” (‘Umdat al-Salik O13.1).

The Lies About Muhammad. That’s a good title, Mr. Zayed, because clearly your book is full of them.

Jihad Watch

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