Category Archives: Lawsuits

Are Murtha’s days numbered? Polls say maybe.

Rep. John Murtha, whose claims to fame include Abscam conspiracy, slandering Marines, smearing half his own state as racist, and serving up enough pork in Congress to supply Oktoberfest, may be watching his custom-gerrymandered seat slip away.

One poll recently released has Murtha’s Republican opponent, Bill Russell, pulling within the margin of error in the upcoming election, while another poll leaked to Miz Michelle by her Pennsylvania source shows Russell with a comfortable lead.

No need to remind me that I just tossed up the world’s longest freakin’ post on how I think the polls this year are about as useful for toilet paper as they are for predicting elections. However, given that Murtha is a guy who has held this seat since 1974, who typically considers a 2-to-1 victory margin on Election Night a squeaker, who lives in a district with a 63% Democratic registration roll, and who is running in a “we all hate Republicans worse than liver worse than root canals” year, it is absolutely unheard of that Russell, a Republican Iraq hawk who won a spot on the ballot with a write-in campaign, could be giving Murtha the race of his life.

I don’t think it’s petty of me to note how anxiously I am looking forward to seeing Murtha assuming long overdue civilian status, bringing with him little but his shredded dignity, his Abscam souvenirs, his various coffee mugs from his favorite defense contractors, and his pending slander suits.

UPDATE: Commenter MommaMT (see below) is kind enough to alert me that the “worse than liver” expression is not quite apt in significant parts of Pennsylvania. I hope my substitution is satisfactory.

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The Fairness Doctrine, resurrected from the Pit

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has finally made public intentions toward a plan whose existence many Democrats have been trying to deny for years: bringing back that speech-suppressing abomination, the Fairness Doctrine. (Links here and here, and with audio here and here).

More on the Doctrine’s history, why it’s a dangerous assault on the Constitution, and why Democrats like Bingaman love it so much and want it back so badly, below the break.

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Could the polls be wrong? It’s happened, but…

A bunch of people, both live and over email, have asked me why I don’t blog more on poll results, especially given that I worked in the business for a number of years.

Admittedly, I’m blogging a lot less on poll-related topics than I did, say, a month or more ago, which is a bit counterintuitive in light of the avalanche of poll results that comes in the last couple of months before an approaching presidential Election Day.  Since mid-September, pollblogging on WitSnapper has been especially rare, and even then I’ve typically done so only to comment on the misuse or shoddy execution of polls.

There’s a pretty simple reason: taken as a whole, the polls for this race have been entirely unreliable, and my estimation is that it’s because of pollster panic.

In addition, if McCain were to overtake Obama in the last couple of weeks in defiance of the polls, it wouldn’t be the first (or even second) time in modern election history.

Details and further links below the break.

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SCOTUS hoses Ohio

Justice John Paul Stevens took Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s case to the full Supreme Court.  The Court sided with Brunner.  The temporary restraining order on the early-voting program has been overturned, and Sec. Brunner is not required to check hundreds of thousands of questionable registration forms against state motor vehicle or Social Security databases.

No word as to the Court’s reasoning yet; I’m guessing it’s because they thought there wasn’t time, and the complainants took too long to file their grievance.  Sec. Brunner still has yet to explain why she initiated a program that’s a magnet for fraud, and barred election observers from monitoring the registration.  Peter Bronson said three weeks ago, “If Ohio polling looks like Chicago, thank Brunner.”  The article details Brunner’s long history of stacking the deck of Ohio elections in favor of Democrats since taking office.

No link yet…will update as they trickle in.

UPDATE: Here’s the basic AP wire dispatch; more details likely later.

UPDATE II: Allahpundit is on it.  So is Miz Michelle. Bloomberg.com has a more in-depth news report on top of the wire dispatch.

Brunner to SCOTUS: My 200,000 forms! MINE!!

A number of developments in quick succession out of Ohio regarding Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D-OH) and the questionable registration forms arising from her questionable early-voting program:

  • After saying initially that she would not appeal the Sixth Circuit’s upholding of the District Court’s temporary restraining order demanding that she allow tighter oversight of the program before continuing it, she has swept into the U.S. Supreme Court alleging a “veiled attempt at disenfranchising voters” (not quite clear if she’s talking about the Appeals Court).
  • The number of suspect forms Brunner is protecting is now known:  She’s sitting on a whopping 200,000 forms that warrant investigation.  Brunner is refusing to allow county boards of elections to match registration forms against state resources such as state motor vehicle and Social Security databases.  As Ace of Spades mentions (Ace has been awesome covering this, by the way), Bush’s margin of victory in Ohio four years ago was 118,457 votes.
  • It is already known that Obama activists from out-of-state, falsely registered as Ohio residents, have indeed received absentee ballots, as part of a larger effort to get thousands of others registered and furnished with similar ballots.  One of Sec. Brunner’s most frequent refrains (echoed constantly by ACORN) is that there is no evidence that fake registrations translate directly to fake ballots cast.

Sec. Brunner has asked Associate Justice John Paul Stevens to take her appeal.  He may decide it himself; he may take it to the full Court; he may decline to hear the appeal altogether (in which case Brunner could see if she can persuade another Justice to take her appeal.  Or she can just see if she can run out the clock while she continues to deny the county boards permission to access state databases to screen out at least some of the 200,000 registration forms she sitting on, while absentee ballots continue to go out.  Anyone taking odds?

Murtha grasps at petty little straws UPDATE: “Oh, hey, sorry, just kidding. But not about the murder.”

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), America’s newest “ex-Marine,” is still living in his own big fat bloated bubble of denial.

The congressman accused eight Marines in 2006 of the murder of Iraqi civilians after a firefight in Haditha, without any evidence to back it up except a sensational story in TIME Magazine.  Today, now that six of the eight have had their charges dropped, one other acquitted of all charges, the last still awaiting court-martial on reduced charges, and two of the Marines filing or preparing to file lawsuits against him for slander and defamation, he is repeating his smear to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

U.S. Rep. John Murtha stands by a controversial remark he made previously that U.S. Marines killed women and children “in cold blood” in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005.

The blunt description changed how American troops engaged Iraqis and improved overall conditions in the war, Murtha, an 18-term Democrat from Johnstown, said today during a wide-ranging interview with Tribune-Review reporters and editors.

“There are all kinds of things that have happened that have made a difference, but one of the big differences is that we are not bullying our way through like we used to,” said Murtha, a former Marine and decorated Vietnam combat veteran. “The rules of engagement are clear — and it’s changed. One of the things that has made it better in Iraq is we are no longer just breaking down doors.”

“It’s my obligation to speak out. I try everything I can to get things done,” Murtha said.

Right.  He’s a real prince, that Jack Murtha.  See you in court, pal.  Here’s hoping you graduate to Citizen Murtha real quick, courtesy of the targets of your other bizarre smear:  your own constituents, whom you tarred today as racists for not uniformly supporting Barack Obama (Allahpundit and Miz Michelle have more).

Tool.

UPDATE: Murtha apologizes a day later in a media release for calling Western Pennsylvanians racists.  No apology to be found about sliming the Haditha Marines (twice now).  And Murtha’s Iraq vet opponent Bill Russell gets a neat new campaign ad out of it.

Too bad he can’t get in Murtha’s face about it now, because Murtha has suddenly cancelled their debate tonight. Reminds me of that video of Murtha running for the elevator, no?  Hopefully Russell can put together a nice little ad slamming him for that.

6th Circuit cracks down on Ohio SecState

Ohio’s early voting program is shut down again, in another blow to Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.  Unless she takes the matter to the Supreme Court, she will need to stop stonewalling the Ohio GOP in their efforts to screen out fake voters.

Last week a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking Ohio’s early-voting program spearheaded by Sec. Brunner.  The program allowed people to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day; Ohio Republicans (Brunner is a Democrat) complained that the program did not allow for sufficient oversight to prevent fraudulent registrations and votes, and the federal judge agreed.

Brunner appealed to the Sixth Circuit, where a three-judge panel called for the TRO to be reversed (and strangely broke with protocol by releasing their ruling before the full court heard the case, to which at least one judge took vocal exception).  The full court overruled the panel and upheld the order yesterday, ordering the SecState to implement tighter controls on the program before reinstating it, including providing access to motor vehicle databases to match against new registrants.

Election Law Blog (via Allahpundit) gives an excellent summary of the ruling and its implications.

ELB mentions that there is still time for Sec. Brunner to appeal to SCOTUS, and that Justice Stevens has rejected such an appeal before but that came on the eve of the election in 2004 and there simply was not time to hear it.  With three weeks left, Brunner could still ask the court to reverse the TRO.  However, existing case law (ELB cites Purcell) leans in the direction of deference to the federal court on these matters, and there are many underlying issues in this particular case that complicate matters considerably, so the odds that SCOTUS would hear such an appeal are not exactly bankable.

Miz Michelle has more.