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Where’s the IRS When You Need Them?

Pretty sure even Christian Schneider didn’t know what he had here when he raised this as his #4 point in his blog post today on the 1-year anniversary of the Walker Recall.

At the heart, is a May 30, 2012 report from the liberal news site “Talking Points Memo,” in an article written by former 2002 Barrett gubernatorial campaign staffer Eric Kleefeld.

As for the complaints about the Marquette poll itself, Tate took issue with the poll’s demographic sampling, contending that conservative Milwaukee suburbs were over-represented and the Madison media market was under-represented, and with too few young voters.

Tate and state party spokesman Scot Ross also raised suspicions about who might be paying for the poll, and whether the state’s conservative think tanks were involved. They also sharply criticized professor Charles Franklin, who led the poll.

“It’s unfortunate that Marquette University associates itself with professor Franklin,” said Tate, “and as well puts this poll out there as if it’s an accurate reading of the electorate when clearly it’s not.”

Are the Democrats saying that Franklin is a dishonest man?

“No. I’m not saying that,” Tate told TPM. “I also had professor Franklin at the University of Wisconsin, and he was pretty clear with my class that he was a conservative. But I don’t think he’s a dishonest man.

Where to start with this treasure trove of insights…

1) He hasn’t been a “state party spokesman” for a number of years (he’s a past Communications Director), but why the hell was Scot Ross on a Democratic Party of Wisconsin conference call with the press?  Let alone allowed to speak on the party’s behalf?

2) While it is entirely possible that Kleefeld meant former DPW Comms Director Graeme Zielinski, only Ross and OWN have a well-known history of targeting pollsters they believe have ties to conservative organizations.  In 2010, it was One Wisconsin Now and Ross who led the charge against UW professor Ken Goldstein simply because he was doing work for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.

DPW tried (and failed) in early 2012 to try to smear Prof. Franklin’s polling which was showing the recall not going their way by once again bringing up Goldstein’s name.  It’s a trick they still get many of the more liberal columnists to bite on, like Bruce Murphy did in October of 2012.

3)  If Franklin’s a conservative, I must be listening to the wrong stories from all my old colleagues who had him as a professor themselves at UW-Madison.  Then again, anyone to the right of Trotsky could be a conservative in Mike Tate’s eyes.

(Though one now wonders if Franklin on occasion looks at his old grade books from UW-Madison, stare at Tate’s name and go “Punk.”)

Finally…If this article is wrong, why has OWN let it stand for over a year without demanding a correction?

So, I guess the only thing to now ask is who at the IRS — I know they’re busy, but this is a redemption case if I ever saw one — do I call to ask about One Wisconsin Now’s 501C4.  I’ve been hearing they’re supposed to look into violations of known coordination and the like.

(I’d go ask the GAB or Dan Bice to do it, but the GAB is worthless and Dan’s so in the pocket of OWN it’s not even worth mocking anymore.  It’s sad.)

UPDATE: Scot Ross says in the comments that he was on leave from OWN from January 2012 until June 2012, first serving as a spokesman for Kathleen Falk (I knew this.) and then for DPW (I did not do this, I presumed he was back at OWN.).  Perhaps I would have known the latter if say…Graeme Zielinski didn’t have a giant hissy fit and take the Wisconsin Reporter off the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s press release list, threaten our credentials in the state capitol and treat us like a real news organization instead of trying to bully us into covering news the way he demanded.

I apologize for the error.

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Illinois Cream Puffs, A Feingold Legacy

A couple of the usual suspects on the Port side of the Cheddarsphere are doing there best to make this news sound like it’s all the work of Scott Walker to build a hopeless case for 2014.  It isn’t.

Illinois-based Prairie Farms is the new official cream supplier of the Wisconsin State Fair cream puffs.

The fair needed a new supplier after Golden Guernsey went out of business in January.

It’s Russ Feingold’s.

Just to prove I’m not going to go to something like Media Trackers or MacIver, I’ll go to the Hoard’s Dairyman with the story.  They’ve only been in the business of Agricultural journalist since 1885.  They’re located in Fort Akinson, hardly an echo chamber of right-wing thought last time I was there.

Golden Guernsey had a long and storied past. It was founded in 1930 as a farmer-owned cooperative. By 1935, it had grown from a single service route with 85 customers to an organization with 20,000 customers. In 1955, the co-op began construction of the current plant which was still located in Waukesha. At one time, the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm’s milk was processed at the plant.

Over the years, Golden Guernsey changed hands through co-op consolidation and mergers. The last cooperative to own the plant was Foremost Farms USA based out of Baraboo, Wis. In 2008, the Foremost Farms Consumer Products Division had net sales of $233.7 million according to a Wisconsin Department of Justice press release. In 2009, Dean Foods acquired Foremost’s Consumer Products Division which included plants in Waukesha and DePere, Wis., for a reported $35 million.

After a very public hearing process in 2010 where the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated competition in agriculture, it became quite clear that the consolidation of fluid or beverage markets within Wisconsin were among the areas that DOJ was honing in on. One such hearing held in Madison, Wis., was headed up by then Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and called into question the 2009 Dean Foods buyout.

Following the investigation, U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Stadtmueller ordered that Dean Foods divest of the Waukesha plant due to antitrust concerns that could adversely affect the price of milk for retailers, school districts and other purchasers throughout Wisconsin, stated Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. In the court agreement, Dean Foods was able to retain its DePere plant which it acquired from Foremost Farms. The final judgment also required Dean Foods to notify the U.S. Department of Justice and the Wisconsin Attorney General 30 days before Dean Foods acquires any plant within 150 miles of Wisconsin’s border if it is valued at more than $3 million.

Thanks Rusty.

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“John Doe” Ends with a Whimper, Not Charges

Someone go check on “capper,” he might have to go on the suicide watch.

The nearly three-year-old John Doe investigation into aides and associates of Gov. Scott Walker is closed, the judge who is overseeing that probe said Friday.

Neal Nettesheim, a retired state appeals court judge, said he entered an order Feb. 21 concluding the probe. The decision was made public after Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm concluded paperwork in the case.

No new charges will come from the John Doe investigation, Nettesheim said.

Chisholm confirmed the end of the investigation in a statement. “After a review of the John Doe evidence, I am satisfied that all charges that are supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt have now been brought and concluded. As a consequence, last week my office petitioned for, and Judge Nettesheim has granted, the closure of the John Doe investigation.”

Milwaukee prosecutors launched a secret John Doe investigation into aides and associates of Walker nearly three years ago. Walker’s chief of staff contacted prosecutors over suspicions that more than the $11,000 was missing from Operation Freedom, a fund used to pay for an annual event to honor veterans and their families.

The investigation later was broadened into other areas, including another embezzlement case involving Operation Freedom money and two county employees in Walker’s office doing campaign work while at their taxpayer-paid county jobs.

Longtime Walker aide Timothy D. Russell pleaded guilty Nov. 29 to stealing more than $21,000 in Operation Freedom money. He was sentenced to two years in prison in January. Kelly Rindfleisch, who worked for Walker in the county executive’s office in 2010, was sentenced Nov. 19 to six months in jail for campaign fundraising at the courthouse using a secret email system installed there.

Darlene Wink, Walker’s constituent services coordinator at the county, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for doing campaign work while on the county clock.

Nettesheim noted that no new testimony had been taken in the investigation in months. The case had been kept open as a way to release documents tied to the criminal charges that already had been filed.

“No new testimony had been taken in the investigation in months…”  Hey, remember when our side was saying this thing was pretty much over around Labor Day last year and the Left went nuts about it?

Guess who was right?

Oh, I full expect “WalkerGate” updates to continue.  Why?  Because the Left in this state has nothing else.

They are obsessed about this, so they have to hang onto it.  They also have NOTHING BUT LOSERS when it comes to potential candidates for 2014 that they have to keep projecting that Russ Feingold can come to their rescue as some sort of white knight.

My advice to them regarding Feingold — Move on, and buy his book.  He’ll be selling it more than himself for the next few months, if not years.

My other advice to those who have nothing better to do but continue to make an ass out of themselves over the John Doe, may best be shown visually.



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This One’s for Jeff Simpson

From Matt Yglesias, who like Simpson, jumped on some unknown piece from Virginia claiming Paul Ryan is guilty of insider trading.

Let me apologize. I originally had a too-credulous item here linking to a piece at The Richmonder alleging that Paul Ryan has sold bank shares after a closed door meeting with Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke on the financial crisis in 2008. As Eric Platt explains he certainly seems to have sold the shares on the same day as the meeting, but the meeting happened in the evening by which time the markets would have been closed. One can perhaps construct a scenario by which the Richmonder’s theory of the case holds up, but they don’t have the goods and I shouldn’t have passed their analysis on with no qualification and so little scrutiny of my own.

As Brad DeLong writes, for one reason or another Ryan did quite a lot of trading of individual bank stocks in 2008 so the timing of this particularly transaction isn’t particularly noteworthy when put in that context.

Yglesias then goes on to strikethrough (like this) the rest of his blog post.

To the blogging community, that’s about akin to a retraction as you’re going to get.

Jeff on the other hand, still has it up, hasn’t retracted it, and goes on to criticize me in the comments over at “good ole’ Cog Dis” when I tried to point out with a link at Business Insider which quotes the original “Richlander” story acknowledging the story is false.

Some people will go to whatever deranged lengths they need to make a story fit their world view.

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Walter Russell Mead Destroys NYT Magazine Piece on Wisconsin Recall

Just so we have a refresher on some of the players on this.  The NYT magazine piece — done by a part-time writer for The Nation magazine — was called by a partisan hack attorney with a suspended law license as being done by “an actual reporter.”

Walter Russell Mead is a Democrat, who supported the Iraq War in 2003, voted for Barack Obama in 2008, says the Tea Party is bad for American foreign policy, serves on the editorial board of the American Interest magazine and is a book reviewer for Foreign Policy magazine.

(Both of which, are nowhere close to being card-carrying members of the vast right-wing conspiracy.)  Here’s the meat of Mead’s take-down of the piece:

So far, so good. Let us stipulate that in the view of the Times, Scott Walker is a skunk and a cad. And let us stipulate that everything bad in Wisconsin, all the ill feeling and all the turmoil is entirely because this sinister enemy of all that is noble and good has been riding roughshod over every decent principle in public life.

But what Times readers will not learn from this piece is that the skunk is winning.  Walker is overwhelmingly favored to win on June 5, with polls consistently giving him a significant lead over his opponent. In seven pages of focused, detailed coverage of the politics of the Wisconsin race, the piece has no room for this simple yet somehow telling detail.

The Times knows very well that Walker is kicking butt in Wisconsin. Blogger Nate Silver tells readers exactly this at his NYT blog 538.  (Gibbon buried the more salacious details about the scandalous lives of the Roman emperors in untranslated Latin footnotes; the Times puts unpalatable facts in blogs where the more sensitive readers seldom look.)

It isn’t just that recent Times articles about Wisconsin have studiously tiptoed around the opinion polls that point to a solid Walker lead. Dan Kaufman’s weeper doesn’t give readers any idea why anybody in Wisconsin supports Walker or why even the Democrats now accept that the public supports Walker’s union legislation and aren’t making an issue of it in the campaign.

The bruised feelings, the sadness and the anger of Walker’s opponents are given plenty of air time, and we learn much from Mr. Kaufman about why the governor’s opponents think he deserves to be recalled. But we don’t learn anything at all, really, about why people support him — or why so many of them are furious with the unions and their supporters. In an article about the bitter political divisiveness consuming Wisconsin, we learn nothing about the actual nature of the divide.

Again, the Times doesn’t need to treat the two sides as equal. It can sneer at what it considers to be the fallacies and inconsistencies of Walker’s opponents all it wants. But if it wants to tell readers why Wisconsin is divided, it needs to at least refer to the ideas and the perceptions, foolish and mistaken though they may be, of those who passionately support the governor.

Kaufman’s agitprop misses much of the rest of the “divisiveness” in Wisconsin. There’s nothing about the allegations of violence, intimidation and lawlessness that Walker supporters have made against his opponents. There’s nothing about the controversies over state workers getting phony doctors’ notes to take ‘sick’ days rather than personal or vacation days to protest against the Walker law. Again, he is free to excuse this conduct as justified or raise doubts that it happened — but you can’t write about divisiveness while ignoring the controversies that have made people so angry.

Read the piece and see for yourself.  It is long, exhaustive and deeply misleading. This goes beyond bias; it is the most foolish and self-defeating propaganda. If you want to know why liberals are so frequently surprised by events that other people saw coming, why so many well educated and well meaning people are so pathetically clueless about American politics and American culture — read this piece.

If there were an anti-Pulitzer Prize for the worst journalism of the year — this would be a contender.

In a word: OUCH.

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Hey, Another Post “Capper” Got Wrong

That retraction must be coming any minute now…

(Oh, who the hell am I kidding?)

COLUMBIA – The Internal Revenue Service determined last fall that an investigation of the Sikh Religious Society where Gov. Nikki Haley’s parents are leaders was not warranted, according to a letter the IRS provided the Governor’s Office Friday.

“After further consideration of your organization, we have determined that an investigation is not warranted at this time for the above tax period,” the letter states.

“We did not conduct an examination for the above period.”

The tax year the letter refers to is 2009.

“It’s incredibly frustrating when unaccountable bloggers will take money to smear trash about somebody and the mainstream media will pick it up and run with it,” Haley said Friday, alluding to the coverage that followed an initial post by a South Carolina political blogger this week claiming the IRS had been investigating the temple since March 2011.

A spokesman for the governor said Friday’s letter represented the closure of the case that the blogger posted initial documents about.

So, to recap, Gov. Nikki Haley is not going to be indicted anytime soon, and the mea culpa from the left-wing blog — which has lost any and all creditability — can be read here.

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Since its Being Politicized…

My take on the “popular” theory on liberal blogs run by unions (Cog Dis, DPW…) that “Collective Bargaining” saved Ryan Braun:

Actually, it is Braun’s and the MLBPA’s own collective bargaining agreement which pretty much states he was “Guilty until proven innocent” according to the drug-testing policy.

Depending on what you read, the man was saved by a courier who couldn’t find a Fed Ex, not his union or collective bargaining.  The only thing the MLBPA should be commended for is standing by their man.

Not all unions do that.

If you want to read the entire “Joint Drug Agreement” between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, you can go here.

Or maybe “capper” missed those Steroid Hearings in Congress a few years back where the MLBPA was pretty much brow-beaten into accepting the drug testing policy as it is today?

Here’s two hours of the Mitchell Report hearing in 2008 where the committee as whole brow beats former MLBPA chief Donald Fehr like a drum.

 One can have their own opinions, but not their own facts.  Especially since it’s readily accessible via C-SPAN or YouTube.


Great transcript I found at the New York Times from the Mitchell Report hearings.

2:10 | What Took So Long? Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, was quite direct in putting to Fehr and Selig the question that no doubt is on many fans’ minds: Why was baseball so slow to develop an effective drug-testing program to combat this problem? The responses were notable in their contrast, between Fehr’s clearness and brevity and Selig’s greater equivocation.

Fehr’s answer:

“Did we or did I appreciate the depth of the problem prior to the time that we began to work on it hard? The answer is no. If the question is, “Should we have?” — perhaps we should have. It’s a failure that we didn’t, and it’s a failure that I didn’t.

Then, Selig’s answer:

“As I said in my statement, I’ve thought about this thousands of times. I’ve been in this sport all my adult life. I agonize over that, because I consider myself, at the end, a baseball man. In the ’90s — you know, hindsight is always very beneficial. I watched things. I re-read all the articles that Senator Mitchell had. I take responsibiility for everything, let’s understand that. I take it –- for all the good things that have happened to make the sport as popular as it is today, and when we talk about something negative, there’s no question about that. I’ve agonized.

“But I would also remind you, and who knows how long this has gone on –- the Senator said over 20 years –- we have come a long way in a difficult environment. My minor league program is going into its eighth year. So all of the great players in this sport have been tested eight years.

Do I wish we had reacted quicker? Should we have? Yes, one can make a compelling case. And I do a lot of introspective thinking, and I’ll second-guess myself. As far as responsibility, all of us have to take responsibility.”

Who sounds like who’s got the public relations issue when it came to drug testing?  Sure isn’t Selig in my opinion.

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To Liberal Bloggers, One UW Prof’s as Good as the Next!

I’m not visiting Marquette Law School Professor Charles Franklin’s press guy, so it’s not my job to defend the guy full, or even part-time.  But I just wanted to point out a major league fallacy being pushed by a number of big-name liberal bloggers out there in the state trying to discredit his recent poll on potential recall match-ups against Gov. Scott Walker.

First, there’s former Feingold press flack Jud Lounsbury over at “Uppity Wisconsin.”

Charles Franklin, who was widely criticized in 2010 for tweeking his poll results to fit the wishes of the rightwing group WPRI, has released another stinker.

Then there’s “The Chief,” who is actually defending Franklin’s polling and methodology in his post.

Perhaps the silliest attack is that Franklin is himself a conservative, and thus has a motive to skew his polls as such, based solely on two pieces of evidence: he conducted the poll for Marquette Law School (an institution so conservative that it employs noted reactionary Russ Feingold) and that he once conducted a poll for WPRI. If this were true, then Franklin would also be a flaming liberal because he sold Pollster.com, of which he was a co-founder, to the Huffington Post. He can’t be both.

But perhaps the piece de resistance comes from failed Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and the man who gave us the 1982 NFL Players Strike, Ed Garvey over at “Fighting Bob.com.”

Whose poll is it if it is not Marquette’s? Did JS ask or are they part of the deal? Recall we have been flashing the yellow caution light about UW-Madison’s Pol Sci prof Charles Franklin. He was part of the UW-Madison partnership with extreme right-wing Bradley Foundation’s WPRI. Bradley would pay Franklin and his fellow poli sci profs and Franklin would lend the UW’s good name to polls. WPRI would give final approval to the wording, timing, subject matter and they agreed to spin results with MJS! In fact, MJS would get the information ahead of all other media. Tsk, tsk, and whoa Nelly. Who conducted this “new Marquette poll”? Why none other than Dr. Franklin: this is the first of a series being conducted by Charles Franklin, co-founder of pollster.com and a visiting professor at Marquette on leave from UW-Madison. Because he is on leave, he will argue that neither he nor Marquette are covered by the Open Records law that tripped him when the WPRI deal was exposed by FightingBob.com.

Ed, do yourself a favor and don’t trust your memory.  Trust your archives.

It wasn’t Charles Franklin who was on retainer with WPRI for “the failed polling” as they put it.  It was his colleague Prof. Ken Goldstein.

Here’s how Pollster.com’s co-founder and former Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal explained it in a posting on March 9, 2010:

The AP story — which is well worth reading in full — includes complete details plus a reaction from [UW Political Science Professor] Goldstein who says he is “stunned, flabbergasted, amazed — every single adjective you can come up with” as the criticism he has received.

Our own interests in this story are as follows: Pollster.com co-creator and contributor Charles Franklin is a member of the UW-Madison political science department and a friend and colleague of Goldstein but, he tells me, was not personally involved in the WPRI polling. Also, well before the WPRI polling project, my assistant Emily Swanson worked for Goldstein as an undergraduate at UW-Madison.

If nothing else, this episode demonstrates the increasing difficulty consumers of polling data have in identifying potential conflicts in the sponsorship and funding of public polling. Simply identifying polls sponsored by a political campaign or political action committee or conducted by a campaign pollster — something we try to do on Pollster.com — is obviously not enough. In this case, a University of Wisconsin news release billed WPRI as a “non-partisan, non-profit think tank [that] has been conducting independent, annual polls on politics and issues for more than 20 years.” Yet the Institute acknowledged to AP what their report characterized as a “free-market, limited government slant and receives funding from the Bradley Foundation, a Milwaukee group that supports numerous conservative causes.”

Not sure what I’m proud of in this blog post.  That I continued to prove Ed Garvey’s lost most of his marbles, or that there are at least two other liberal bloggers in Wisconsin still willing to take what he writes, run with it sight unseen and fail to fact-check it for themselves?

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Just What Americans Wanted on Their Plates: Horse Meat!


President Obama last month quietly signed into law a spending bill that restores the American horse-slaughter industry, just a few months after a government investigation said the ban on slaughtering was backfiring.

The domestic ban didn’t end horse slaughter but instead shifted the site of butchery to Mexico and Canada – which meant increased abuse or neglect as the horses were shipped out of the country and beyond the reach of U.S. law.

The ban had been imposed in 2006 when Congress defunded the government’s ability to inspect plants that butchered horses for consumption. Without inspections, the meat couldn’t be sold, and the industry withered.

But the Agriculture spending bill Mr. Obama signed the week before Thanksgiving dropped the prohibition on inspections, and the administration said it now stands ready to conduct them should anyone open a horse-slaughter plant.

Apparently the reason for the change is with the US closing its horse slaughterhouses, thousands of horses were being shipped to Mexico and Canada; then their meat shipped overseas where it’s a delicacy in Europe.

Eliminating the ban, will stop the exporting of horses, not their meat.  Stranger still, it got the approval of PETA.

The move got a tepid stamp of approval from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which said it had always been worried about the way Congress went about its initial ban. PETA said it predicted that horses would be shipped to foreign slaughterhouses.

“A law doesn’t change what’s in people’s hearts, and if business people view horses as commodities, ignoring their sensitive natures in favor of the few dollars that their flesh might bring, the horses were sunk from the start,” said David Perle, a spokesman for the group. “To reduce suffering, there should be a ban on the export of live horses, even if that means opening slaughterhouses in the U.S. again. But the better option is to ban slaughter in the U.S. and ban the export of live horses so that no one is slaughtering America’s horses.”

Most states have already banned horse slaughtering on their own.  Wisconsin is not one of them which prohibits horses from being slaughtered for meat for human consumption.  Current law only forbids horses from being processed at a typical slaughter house.  Horse-only slaughter houses are A-OK.

An attempt to ban the practice was introduced in 2007 by former State Senator Jeff Plale; who last I checked isn’t there anymore and one of the most hated men by liberals in greater Milwaukee.

UPDATE:  The more I think about this issue, but more I’m seeing different angles to it beyond “Killing Black Beauty Bad!!!”  Working on something which will probably go up later explaining why.

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Obama Golfs With Man Charged with Prostitution

What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander, right Zach?

And mine’s much more recent without having to waste time snooping around on CCAP.

Thanks ABC News!

HONOLULU, Hawaii — President Obama is golfing at Mamala Bay Golf Course at Hickam Air Force Base in a group that includes White House travel director Marvin Nicholson and Hawaiian pal Robert “Bobby” Titcomb, who was arrested in April on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.

In April, Titcomb was one of four men arrested in an undercover prostitution sting operation, according to Honolulu police.

Titcomb, an airline employee and commercial fisherman, has been friends with the president since they attended Honolulu’s elite Punahou School together in the 1970s. He visited the White House in August 2010 for Obama’s birthday, when he was included in a round of golf with Obama’s closest friends at the links of Andrews Air Force Base. Afterwards Titcomb, among other friends, joined the president for a barbeque at the White House.

When the Obama family vacations in Hawaii over the Christmas holiday each year, they traditionally spend a full day at Titcomb’s North Shore home, jet-skiing, grilling, and playing volleyball. In December the Obama family spent nearly the whole day at his home. Titcomb is also included in the golf and basketball outings of President Obama while in Hawaii.

 UPDATE:  And for another sign of selective amnesia of the Port Side of the Cheddarsphere, I let you recall Exhibit A – The “Heavenly Touch” of Gordon Hintz.

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