Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ben Stein Politico: Post story bolsters Cheney

Ben Stein Politico: Post story bolsters Cheney

August 29, 2009 Categories:

The Washington Post leads today with an extraordinary story cutting against the conclusions of a series of recent government and media reports to cast as straight news — with a few hedges and qualifications — that waterboarding and sleep deprivation worked like a charm to turn Kalid Sheik Mohammed from an enemy into an "asset."


Torture foes have
argued that Mohammed was eager to tell his story and had, in fact, revealed many of his "secrets" in an Al Jazeera interview before his capture. This story seems to channel the CIA's pushback against, particularly, Attorney General Eric Holder.

Cheney biographer Stephen Hayes noted the story this morning on the blog of The Weekly Standard.

"Is the mainstream media coming around?" he asked.

By Ben Smith 01:06 PM

'Wellstone effect' for Kennedy? Aug 27 2009 - 4:32 PM EST

Kennedy legacy shapes Obama path Aug 27 2009 - 4:49 AM EST

Groups target GOP on cap-and-trade Aug 25 2009 - 5:06 AM EST

The summer of Astroturf Aug 21 2009 - 5:00 AM EST

Obama's poll numbers return to earth Jul 30 2009 - 9:24 PM EST


20090829 Ben Stein Politico Post story bolsters Cheney

RAW DATA: Transcript of Cheney on 'FOX News Sunday'

RAW DATA: Transcript of Cheney on 'FOX News Sunday'

August 30, 2009

The following is a transcript of former Vice President Dick Cheney on "FOX News Sunday." Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cheney Slams Obama's 'Politicized' Probe of CIA Interrogations 27428478

Publisher Accuses Reid of 'Bullying' Nevada Newspaper 27431038

Cheney: Enhanced Interrogations 'Essential' in Saving American Lives 27428688

Exclusive Preview: Cheney on FNS 27407860

Frank Says House Will Likely Approve Audit of Federal Reserve

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: Mr. Vice President, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday."


WALLACE: This is your first interview since Attorney General Holder named a prosecutor to investigate possible CIA abuses of terror detainees.

What do you think of that decision?

CHENEY: I think it's a terrible decision. President Obama made the announcement some weeks ago that this would not happen, that his administration would not go back and look at or try to prosecute CIA personnel. And the effort now is based upon the inspector general's report that was sent to the Justice Department five years ago, was completely reviewed by the Justice Department in years past.

They made decisions about whether or not there was any prosecutable offense there. They found one. It did not involve CIA personnel, it involved contract personnel. That individual was sentenced and is doing time. The matter's been dealt with the way you would expect it to be dealt with by professionals.

Now we've got a political appointee coming back, and supposedly without the approval of the president, going to do a complete review, or another complete investigation, possible prosecution of CIA personnel. We could talk the whole program about the negative consequences of that, about the terrible precedent it sets, to have agents involved, CIA personnel involved, in a difficult program that's approved by the Justice Department, approved by the National Security Council, and the Bush administration, and then when a new administration comes in, it becomes political.

They may find themselves dragged up before a grand jury, have to hire attorneys on their own because the Justice Department won't provide them with counsel.

It's a terrible, terrible precedent.

WALLACE: There are a lot of aspects that you just raised. Let me review some of them.
Why are you so concerned about the idea of one administration reviewing, investigating the actions of another one?

CHENEY: Well, you think, for example, in the intelligence arena. We ask those people to do some very difficult things. Sometimes, that put their own lives at risk. They do so at the direction of the president, and they do so with the -- in this case, we had specific legal authority from the Justice Department. And if they are now going to be subject to being investigated and prosecuted by the next administration, nobody's going to sign up for those kinds of missions.

It's a very, very devastating, I think, effect that it has on morale inside the intelligence community. If they assume that they're going to have to be dealing with the political consequences -- and it's clearly a political move. I mean, there's no other rationale for why they're doing this -- then they'll be very reluctant in the future to do that.

WALLACE: Do you think this was a political move not a law enforcement move?

CHENEY: Absolutely. I think the fact is, the Justice Department has already reviewed the inspector general's report five years ago. And now they're dragging it back up again, and Holder is going to go back and review it again, supposedly, to try to find some evidence of wrongdoing by CIA personnel.

In other words, you know, a review is never going to be final anymore now. We can have somebody, some future administration, come along 10 years from now, 15 years from now, and go back and rehash all of these decisions by an earlier administration.

WALLACE: Let me follow up on that. The attorney general says this is a preliminary review, not a criminal investigation. It is just about CIA officers who went beyond their legal authorization.
Why don't you think it's going to stop there?

CHENEY: I don't believe it. We had the president of the United States, President Obama, tell us a few months ago there wouldn't be any investigation like this, that there would not be any look back at CIA personnel who were carrying out the policies of the prior administration. Now they get a little heat from the left wing of the Democratic Party, and they're reversing course on that.

The president is the chief law enforcement officer in the administration. He's now saying, well, this isn't anything that he's got anything to do with. He's up on vacation on Martha's Vineyard and his attorney general is going back and doing something that the president said some months ago he wouldn't do.

WALLACE: But when you say it's not going to stop there, you don't believe it's going to stop there, do you think this will become an investigation into the Bush lawyers who authorized the activity into the top policymakers who were involved in the decision to happen, an enhanced interrogation program?

CHENEY: Well, I have no idea whether it will or not, but it shouldn't.

The fact of the matter is the lawyers in the Justice Department who gave us those opinions had every right to give us the opinions they did. Now you get a new administration and they say, well, we didn't like those opinions, we're going to go investigate those lawyers and perhaps have them disbarred. I just think it's an outrageous precedent to set, to have this kind of, I think, intensely partisan, politicized look back at the prior administration.

I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaeda. The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, how did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?

Instead, they're out there now threatening to disbar the lawyers who gave us the legal opinions, threatening contrary to what the president originally said. They're going to go out and investigate the CIA personnel who carried out those investigations. I just think it's an outrageous political act that will do great damage long term to our capacity to be able to have people take on difficult jobs, make difficult decisions, without having to worry about what the next administration is going to say.

WALLACE: If the prosecutor asks to speak to you, will you speak to him?

CHENEY: It will depend on the circumstances and what I think their activities are really involved in. I've been very outspoken in my views on this matter. I've been very forthright publicly in talking about my involvement in these policies.

I'm very proud of what we did in terms of defending the nation for the last eight years successfully. And, you know, it won't take a prosecutor to find out what I think. I've already expressed those views rather forthrightly.

WALLACE: Let me ask you -- you say you're proud of what we did. The inspector general's report which was just released from 2004 details some specific interrogations -- mock executions, one of the detainees threatened with a handgun and with an electric drill, waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times.

First of all, did you know that was going on?

CHENEY: I knew about the waterboarding. Not specifically in any one particular case, but as a general policy that we had approved.

The fact of the matter is, the Justice Department reviewed all of those allegations several years ago. They looked at this question of whether or not somebody had an electric drill in an interrogation session. It was never used on the individual, or that they had brought in a weapon, never used on the individual. The judgment was made then that there wasn't anything there that was improper or illegal with respect to conduct in question...


WALLACE: Do you think what they did, now that you've heard about it, do you think what they did was wrong?

CHENEY: Chris, my sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks against the United States, and giving us the intelligence we needed to go find Al Qaeda, to find their camps, to find out how they were being financed. Those interrogations were involved in the arrest of nearly all the Al Qaeda members that we were able to bring to justice. I think they were directly responsible for the fact that for eight years, we had no further mass casualty attacks against the United States.

It was good policy. It was properly carried out. It worked very, very well.

WALLACE: So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you're OK with it?


WALLACE: One specific question about Holder, the Obama administration -- you put out the statement saying that you were upset that President Obama allowed the attorney general to bring these cases. A top Obama official says, hey, maybe in the Bush White House they told the attorney general what to do, but Eric Holder makes independent decisions.

CHENEY: Well, I think if you look at the Constitution, the president of the United States is the chief law enforcement officer in the land. The attorney general's a statutory officer. He's a member of the cabinet.

The president's the one who bears this responsibility. And for him to say, gee, I didn't have anything to do with it, especially after he sat in the Oval Office and said this wouldn't happen, then Holder decides he's going to do it. So now he's backed off and is claiming he's not responsible.

I just, I think he's trying to duck the responsibility for what's going on here. And I think it's wrong.
WALLACE: President Obama has also decided to move interrogations from the CIA to the FBI that's under the supervision of the National Security Council, and the FBI will have to act within the boundaries of the Army Field Manual.

What do you think that does for the nation's security? And will we now have the tools if we catch another high-value target?

CHENEY: I think the move to set up this -- what is it called, the HIG Group?


CHENEY: It's not even clear who's responsible. The Justice Department is, then they claim they aren't. The FBI is responsible and they claim they aren't. It's some kind of interagency process by which they're going to be responsible for interrogating high-value detainees.

If we had tried to do that back in the aftermath of 9/11, when we captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, we'd have gotten no place. I think it moves very much in the direction of going back to the old way of looking at these terrorist attacks -- that these are law enforcement problems, that this isn't a strategic threat to the United States.

I think it's a direct slap at the CIA. I don't think it will work.

I think that if they were faced with the kind of situation we were faced with in the aftermath of 9/11, suddenly capturing people that may have knowledge about imminent attacks, and they're going to have to have meetings and decide who gets to ask what question and who's going to Mirandize the witness, I think it's silly. It makes no sense. It doesn't appear to be a serious move in terms of being able to deal with the nation's security.

WALLACE: Well, on another issue, the CIA has stopped a program to kill or capture top al Qaeda leaders, top al Qaeda terrorists. And CIA Director Panetta told lawmakers that you told the CIA not to inform Congress.

Is that true?

CHENEY: As I recall -- and frankly, this is many years ago -- but my recollection of it is, in the reporting I've seen, is that the direction was for them not to tell Congress until certain lines were passed, until the program became operational, and that it was handled appropriately.

And other directors of the CIA, including people like Mike Hayden, who was Leon Panetta's immediate predecessor, has talked about it and said that it's all you know a very shaky proposition. That it was well handled, that he was not directed not to deal with the Congress on this issue, that it's just not true.

WALLACE: The CIA released two other documents this week -- "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Preeminent Source on Al Qaeda"...

CHENEY: Right.

WALLACE: "Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al Qaeda."

While they say that the overall program got absolutely crucial information, they do not conclude whether the enhanced interrogation programs worked. They just are kind of agnostic on the issue. And then there's what President Obama calls the core issue -


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Could we have gotten that same information without resorting to these techniques? And it doesn't answer the broader question, are we safer as a consequence of having used these techniques?


CHENEY: Well, these two reports are versions of the ones I asked for previously. There's actually one, "Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al Qaeda," there's another version of this that's more detailed that's not been released.

But the interesting thing about these is it shows that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah provided the overwhelming majority of reports on Al Qaeda. That they were, as it says, pivotal in the war against Al Qaeda. That both of them were uncooperative at first, that the application of enhanced interrogation techniques, specifically waterboarding, especially in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is what really persuaded him. He needed to cooperate.
I think the evidence is overwhelming that the EITs were crucial in getting them to cooperate, and that the information they provided did in fact save thousands of lives and let us defeat all further attacks against the United States.

The thing I keep coming back to time and time again, Chris, is the fact that we've gone for eight years without another attack. Now, how do you explain that?

The critics don't have any solution for that. They can criticize our policies, our way of doing business, but the results speak for themselves. And, as well as the efforts that we went to with the Justice Department and so forth to make certain what we were doing was legal, was consistent with our international treaty obligations.

WALLACE: At one point the Vice President showed us the view of majestic mountains from his back yard. I asked about the Democrats running battle with the CIA including Nancy Pelosi's charge the agency once lied to her.

Republicans have made the charge before, do you think Democrats are soft on National Security?

CHENEY: I do, I've always had the view that in recent years anyway that they didn't have as strong of advocates on National Defense or National Security as they used to have, and I worry about that, I think that things have gotten so partisan that the sort of the pro defense hawkish wing of the Democratic party has faded and isn't as strong as it once was.

WALLACE: Now that he has been in office for seven months, what do you think of Barack Obama?

CHENEY: Well, I was not a fan of his when he got elected, and my views have not changed any. I have serious doubts about his policies, serious doubts especially about the extent to which he understands and is prepared to do what needs to be done to defend the nation.

WALLACE: Now, he has stepped up the use of the Predator drones against Al Qaeda. He has continued rendition. Aren't there some things you support that he has done?

CHENEY: Sure, some of those things have been -- the use of the Predator drone, something we started very aggressively in the Bush Administration, marrying up the intelligence platform with weapons is something we started in August of 2001. It has been enormously successful. And they were successful the other day in killing Batula Masood, which I think all of those are pluses.

But my concern is that the damage that will be done by the President of the United States going back on his word, his promise about investigations of CIA personnel who have carried those policies, is seriously going to undermine the moral, if you will, of our folks out at the agency. Just today, for example, the courts in Pakistan have ruled that A. Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistan nuclear weapon man who provided assistance to the Iranians, the North Koreans, the Libyans, has now been released from custody.

It is very, very important we find out and know long term what he is up to. He is, so far, the worst proliferator of nuclear technology in recent history. Now we have got agents and people out at the agency who ought to be on that case and worried about it, but they are going to have to spend time hiring lawyers at their own expense in order to defend themselves against the possibility of charges.

WALLACE: Actually, the CIA has now said that they are going to pay for the lawyers.

CHENEY: Well, that will be a new proposition. Always before, when we have had these criminal investigations, the fact is that the employees themselves had to pay for it.

WALLACE: What do you think of the debate over healthcare reform and these raucous town halls?

CHENEY: I think it is basically healthy.

WALLACE: And what do you think of the healthcare reform issue?

CHENEY: I don't -- well, it is an important issue, but I think the proposals the Administration has made are -- do not deserve to be passed. I think the fact that there is a lot of unrest out there in the country that gets expressed in these town hall meetings with folks coming and speaking out very loudly about their concerns indicates that there are major, major problems of what the administration is proposing.

WALLACE: There was a story in the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago that in the process of writing your memoir, you have told colleagues about your frustration with President Bush, especially in his, your second term. Is that true?


WALLACE: That story was wrong.

CHENEY: Right.

WALLACE: The report says that you disagreed with the President's decision to halt water boarding, you agreed with his decision to close the secret prisons, you disagreed with his decision to reach out to Iran and North Korea. Is that true?

CHENEY: Well, we had policy differences, no question about that, but to say that I was disappointed with the President is not the way it ought to be phrased. The fact of the matter is, he encouraged me to give him my view on a whole range of issues. I did.

Sometimes he agreed. Sometimes he did not. That was true from the very beginning of the Administration.

WALLACE: Did you feel that he went soft in the second term?

CHENEY: I wouldn't say that. I think you are going to have wait and read my book, Chris, for the definitive view.

WALLACE: It sounds like you are going to say something close to that?

CHENEY: I am not going to speculate on it. I am going to write a book that lays out my view of what we did. It will also cover a lot of years before I ever went to work for George Bush.

WALLACE: Will you open up in the book about areas where you disagreed --


WALLACE: -- with the president?


WALLACE: There is a question I have wanted to ask you for some period of time. Why didn't your Administration take out the Iranian nuclear program, given what a threat I know you believe it was, given the fact that you knew that Barack Obama favored, not only diplomatic engagement, but actually sitting down with the Iranians, why would you leave it to him to make this decision?

CHENEY: It was not my decision to make.

WALLACE: Would you have favored military action?

CHENEY: I was probably a bigger advocate of military action than any of my colleagues.

WALLACE: Do you think that it was a mistake, while you were in power, while your administration was in power, not to go after the nuclear infrastructure of Iran?

CHENEY: I can't say that yet. We do not know how it is ultimately going to come out.

WALLACE: But you don't get the choice to make it 20/20 hindsight.

CHENEY: Well, I --

WALLACE: In 2007, 2008, was it a mistake not to take out their program?

CHENEY: I think it was very important that the military option be on the table. I thought that negotiations could not possibly succeed unless the Iranians really believed we were prepared to use military force. And to date, of course, they are still proceeding with their nuclear program and the matter has not yet been resolved.

We can speculate about what might have happened if we had followed a different course of action. As I say I was an advocate of a more robust policy than any of my colleagues, but I didn't make the decision.

WALLACE: Including the president?

CHENEY: The president made the decision and, obviously, we pursued the diplomatic avenues.

WALLACE: Do you think it was a mistake to let the opportunity when you guys were in power, go, knowing that here was Barack Obama and he was going to take a much different --

CHENEY: I am going to -- if I address that, I will address it in my book, Chris.

WALLACE: It is going to be a hell of a book.

CHENEY: It is going to be a great book.

WALLACE: Was it a mistake for Bill Clinton, with the blessing of the Administration, to go to North Korea to bring back those two reporters?

CHENEY: Well, obviously, you are concerned for the reporters and their circumstances, but I think if we look at it from a policy standpoint, it is a big reward for bad behavior on the part of the North Korean leadership. They are testing nuclear weapons.

They have been major proliferators of nuclear weapons technology. They built a reactor in the Syrian Desert very much like their own reactor for producing plutonium for nuclear weapons.They probably are the worst proliferators of nuclear technology any place in the world today.
And there ought to be a price for that. Instead, I think when the former President of the United States goes, meets with the leader and so forth, that we are rewarding their bad behavior. And I think it is a mistake.

WALLACE: You would not have done it.


WALLACE: How concerned are you about the increase in violence in Iraq since we pulled out of the major population areas and also what do you make of the fact that the top Shiite parties have formed an alliance tilting towards Iran and leaving out Prime Minister Maliki?

CHENEY: Well, I am concerned about Iraq, obviously. I have been a strong supporter of our policies there from the very beginning. I think we made major, major efforts to take down Saddam Hussein's regime, establish a viable democracy in the heart of the Middle East. I think especially going through the surge strategy in '07 and '08, we achieved very significant results.

It is important that we not let that slip away. And we need to be concerned, I think, in these days now in the beginning of the new Administration, I would like to see them focus just as much on victory as they are focused on getting out. And I hope that they don't rush to the exit so fast, that we end up in a situation where all of those gains that were so hard won are lost.

WALLACE: Given the increase in violence, given some of these new issues, in terms of the political lay of the land, given President Obama's plan to pull all combat troops out by a year from now, the summer of 2010, how confidant are you that -- that Iraq, as a stable, moderate country, is going to make it?

CHENEY: I don't know. I don't know that anybody knows. I think it is very important that they have success from a political stand point. I think the Maliki government is doing better than it was at some points in the past. I hope that we see continued improvement in the Iraqi armed forces, security services.

But I think to have an absolute deadline by which you're going to withdraw, that's totally unconditioned to developments on the ground -- I think there's a danger there that you're going to let the drive to get out overwhelm the good sense of staying long enough to make certain the outcome is what we want.

WALLACE: Obviously, this weekend, the country is focused on the death of Ted Kennedy. What did you think of him?

CHENEY: Well, I -- personally, I liked him. In terms of policy, there's very little we agreed on. He was a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts. I was a conservative Republican from Wyoming. So there wasn't much that we had to work together on.

On the other hand, I admired the fact that he got into the arena as much as he did for most of his professional life, and was obviously a very active participant.

WALLACE: How are you adjusting to life out of power?

CHENEY: Well, this is the fourth time I've done it, Chris. So it's not my first rodeo, as we say. I'm enjoying private life. I just -- excuse me -- took my family on an Alaskan cruise for a week, all the kids and the grandkids. We've gotten to spend a great deal of time in Wyoming, which, as you can tell her in Jackson Hole, is one of the world's finer garden spots.

So I have, I think, adjusted with a minimal amount of conflict and difficulty. It's been pretty smooth.

WALLACE: What do you miss?

CHENEY: Oh, I'm a junky, I guess, all those years. I spent more than 40 years in Washington, and enjoyed, obviously, the people I worked with, wrestling with some of the problems we had to wrestle with. I enjoyed having the CIA show up on my doorstep every morning, six days a week, with the latest intelligence.

WALLACE: You miss that?



CHENEY: Because it was fascinating. It was important stuff. It kept me plugged in with what was going on around the world. And as I say, I'm a junky from a public policy stand point. I went to Washington to stay 12 months and stayed 41 years.

I liked it. I thought it was important. And I will always be pleased that I had the opportunity to serve.

WALLACE: Do you miss having your hands on the levers of power?

CHENEY: No, I don't think of it in those terms.

WALLACE: But I mean being able to affect things. You obviously feel strongly about these issues.

CHENEY: Right.

WALLACE: Do you miss the fact that now you're just another man watching cable news?

CHENEY: No, and as I say, I've been there before. I left government after the first Nixon term and went to the private sector. I left after the Ford administration and ran for Congress. Then left after the secretary of defense and went to the private sector. So these are normal kinds of transitions that you've got to make in this business.

What I've always found is that there are compensating factors to living a private life, to having more freedom and time to do what I want, and to spend more time with the family, which is very important. Over the years, you know, I've sacrificed a lot in order to be able to do those things I've done in the public sector.

WALLACE: Well, we want to thank you for talking with us and including in your private life putting up with an interview from the likes of me.

CHENEY: It's all right. I enjoy your show, Chris.

WALLACE: Thank you very much, and all the best sir.

CHENEY: Good luck.

20090830 sdosm RAW DATA Transcript of Cheney on FOX News Sunday


Police seek suspects in Virginia Tech students' deaths

Police seek suspects in Virginia Tech students' deaths

The bodies of two sophomores with bullet wounds were found in a campground area of the Jefferson National Forest.

Shawna Morrison

Follow updates as police continue their investigation

Statement from the Virginia State Police
Read a statement from the Virginia State Police headquarters [PDF]

Statement from Virginia Tech president Charles Steger
Read Steger's statement to the Virginia Tech community about the students' deaths [PDF]

Va. Tech Couple Shot Dead in Forest

Campground killing apparently random

Posted Aug 28, 09

Roanoke Times

Once again, this community is visited by senseless violence and tragedy upon aspiring young minds from our campus. - Virginia Tech President Charles Steger

(Newser Summary) – Two Virginia Tech students have been found murdered in a campground near the school, bringing fresh horror to a campus already rocked by tragedy, the Roanoke Times reports. Police have found no murder weapon, motive or suspect. They believe an attacker shot the sophomore couple in a "random act of brutal violence." Virginia Tech was the scene in 2007 of the massacre of 32 students and teachers. Earlier this year a student was beheaded by a male friend.

—Jane Yager

Other Newser articles:

Intuition Led Campus Cops to Jaycee's Captor Aug 29, 09

First Pics Reveal Jaycee's Trashy 'Prison Camp'

Jaycee Bonded With Kidnappers, Not Always Hidden

DJ AM 'Devastated' Over Recent Breakup

NYC Cops: DJ AM Death Looks Like Drug Overdose

20090828 sdsom Va Tech Couple Shot Dead in Forest

Sunday, August 30, 2009

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Westminster

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Westminster

Click here for a larger image:

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ at the corner of Bond and Green Streets in Westminster, MD; as photographed at night from the back parking lot of Harry’s Main Street at 7:57 in the evening Saturday, August 29, 2009.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dayhoff Daily Photograph

20090829 UCC 3

McDaniel celebration of Dr Zepp program

The program for the August 29, 2009 “Celebration of the life of Dr. Ira G. Zepp, Jr.,” at Big Baker Memorial Chapel on the college campus of McDaniel College:

Click here for a larger image:

Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes trough the tireless efforts of men and women willing to be co-workers with God.

Letter from the Birmingham Jail


"Sheep May Safely Graze" Johann Sebastian Bach Arranged by Virgil Fox
Donald C. Horneff

Reverend Carroll Yingling

* "Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above" Bohemian Brethren's Gesangbuch, Johann J. Schutz

Matthew 25:31-40 Melvin D. Palmer

REMARKS Reverend Harry Kiely

"How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place" Johannes Brahms, Adapted from Johann M. Haydn

McDaniel College Choir with Alumni and Community
Margie Boudreaux, Director

Psalm 116
Eugene Peterson’s The Message Charles E. Moore, Jr.

REMARKS Joan Develin Coley

Pastoral Prayer
The Lord's Prayer
Reverend Yingling and Congregation

"Dona Nobis Pacem" Wolfgang Amadous Mozart
McDaniel College Choir with Alumni and Community
Dr. Boudreaux, Director

Qur'an Sura 2:177 Mohamed Esa


“There is a Balm in Gilead” African American Spiritual
Sangmele: Lea Cilmore, Walt Michael, Henry Reiff

REMARKS William Tribby

Matthew 5:35-48
Eugene Peterson's The Message Pamela Zappardino and Charles Collyer

* "Love Divine All Loves Excelling" Charles Wesley

REMARKS David Carrasco

"Precious Lord" Thomas A. Dorsey

Muscogee [Creek] Blessing and Benediction Rosemary Maxey

"The Lord Bless Thee and Keep Thee" Peter Lutkin
McDaniel College Choir with Alumni and Community
Dr. Boudreaux, Director


"A Mighty Fortress is Our God" Martin Luther
Arranged by Thomas Chesterton

Recessional on "Nun Dankert" Johann Cruder
Arranged by Don Hustad
Mr. Horneff

* Please stand if you are able.

Interpreter for today’s service is Pam Kraemer.

Ushers: Dot and Bill Achor, Gladys and Roy Johnson, Doris Ann and Sam Pierce

Please join the family for a reception in McDaniel Lounge following the service.


Dr. Ira Zepp, 79, McDaniel College and Westminster civil rights leader, dies Published August 4, 2009 by Westminster Eagle
The Rev. Dr. Ira Gilbert Zepp Jr., professor emeritus of the religious studies department at McDaniel College, died peacefully at his home on Aug. 1. He was 79. In a memorial tribute by McDaniel College president Joan Develin Coley, she recalled that Dr. ... ...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
R.I.P. – Dr. Ira Zepp
Kevin E. DayhoffLast Saturday word spread quickly throughout the greater Carroll County community that Rev. Dr. Ira Gilbert Zepp, Jr., professor emeritus of the Religious Studies department at McDaniel College, had died peacefully at his home. He was 79 years old.

Drs. J. W. Hering and Ira Zepp, Sacred Places and Westminster City Hall
Pictured is Westminster City Hall MD around 1953. Click here for a larger image:
The death of Dr. Ira G. Zepp has reminded me of one of my columns which was published in on July 25, 2008. Find it here: or find the full story on here:

The Rev. Ira Zepp: Legacy of lessons

Westminster's sacred places are shrines of community life EAGLE ARCHIVE By Kevin Dayhoff Posted on on 7/25/08

20090829 sdsom Mem service to celebrate professors life Aug 29 2009

Memorial service McDaniel College Westminster MD to celebrate Dr Ira Zepp’s life Aug 29 2009

A Tribute to Dr. Zepp
Colleges McDaniel, Dayhoff writing essays, People Tributes, People Zepp-Dr Ira Zepp A Tribute to the life of Dr. Ira G. Zepp, McDaniel College Westminster MD

For more articles on Dr Zepp click here:

20090829 McDaniel celebration of Dr Zepp program
, McDaniel College celebration of Dr Ira Zepp program

A Tribute to Dr. Zepp

A Tribute to Dr. Zepp

August 29, 2009 by Kevin Dayhoff

Hundreds packed a “Celebration of the life of Dr. Ira G. Zepp, Jr., Saturday afternoon at Big Baker Memorial Chapel on the college campus of McDaniel College.

The celebration was led by Rev. Carroll Yingling. Folks from all over the country came early and stayed late at a reception at McDaniel Lounge after the ceremony.

Dr. Zepp graduated from McDaniel College in 1952 and later returned to serve for decades as a professor of Religious Studies at the four-year liberal arts college, founded in 1867 and situated on shining hill overlooking Westminster, Maryland.

He passed on to his next great adventure on August 1, 2009 after inspiring generations of students and community leaders to lead their lives committed to service, activism and peace.

Dr. Zepp truly touched many lives, including mine. He was many different things for many people. In addition to his many professional accomplishments, if you were fortunate enough to have crossed his path, he was a trusted friend and advisor, a college professor, a stalwart foot soldier in the civil rights movement, an author of twelve books, and certainly the conscience and soul of McDaniel College and Westminster.

He was a teacher like no other. In one of his most recent books, Dr. Zepp wrote:

“A teacher is someone who is willing and humble enough to drink from the instructional wells of those who have preceded us and continue to be nourished by them: the Hindu sages, the prophets' call for justice, the discipline of the shamans, the wisdom teachers of all traditions, the gifts and graces of the saints, plus every teacher we've ever had.

“A teacher is someone who is devoted to students and is willing to endure the vertigo of vulnerability which inevitably accompanies the intimacy of human relationships and unanswered questions. This is the pedagogy of the heart.”

Pasted below is the long version of a tribute I wrote shortly after Dr. Zepp died. A shorter version may be found in Explore here: Dr. Ira Zepp, 79, McDaniel College and Westminster civil rights leader, dies

A second tribute to Dr. Zepp, written by me, was publiched in The Tentacle. It may be found here: R.I.P. – Dr. Ira Zepp Wednesday, August 5, 2009 Kevin E. Dayhoff Rev. Dr. Ira Zepp prof emeritus at McDaniel has died

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Zepp, a McDaniel College and Westminster civil rights leader, has died

By Kevin Dayhoff, August 4, 2009

Westminster, MD - On Saturday, August 1, Rev. Dr. Ira Gilbert Zepp Jr., Professor Emeritus of the Religious Studies department at McDaniel College, died peacefully at his home. He was 79 years old.

In a memorial tribute by McDaniel College president Joan Develin Coley; she recalled that Dr. Zepp “joined the faculty in 1963, first as Dean of the Chapel, then as full-time Professor of Religious Studies, and taught full time until his retirement in 1994.

“His electrifying courses on taboo topics like human sexuality, death and racism, and his serious scholarship on a wide range of subjects, from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X to the culture and religion of Islam, earned him much popularity and esteem.”

After his retirement, he taught an occasional “honors” classes at McDaniel and he continued to teach at Carroll Community College until 2008.

Zepp was born November 15, 1929 in Madonna, MD; he was the son of the late Ira G. and Nellie Katheryn (Foard) Zepp, Sr.

He was the husband of 57 years to Mary Elizabeth (Dodd) Zepp. Surviving in addition to his wife are children, Alan P. Zepp and wife Noelle DeMars of Westminster, Karen P. Zepp of Columbia, MD, Paul H. Zepp and partner Vincent Sargent of Van Nuys, CA, and Jody K. Zepp of Owings Mills; a granddaughter, Rachael E. Carter; siblings, Murray Zepp of Rising Sun, MD, Patricia Mikkonan of Bel Air, MD, and Dale Zepp of Montana. He was predeceased by a sister, Elsie Hutchison.

Dr. Zepp graduated from McDaniel College, then-Western Maryland College, in 1952. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Drew Theological Seminary; after which he served a number of churches in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey before joining the faculty at McDaniel. He earned a Ph.D. in 1971 from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.

Zepp truly touched many lives. He was a profound man of enormous charisma, wisdom, and compassion. He returned to Westminster and McDaniel College, then-Western Maryland in the turbulent 1960s after the community and the college had begun wrestling, in the mid 1950s, with race relations and the civil rights movement.

The college has always been known as the first co-education college below the Mason-Dixon Line and according to 2001 interview with Dr. Jim Lightner, there has always been a strong heritage of foreign students at Western Maryland College. In his book on the history of the college, “Fearless and Bold,” Lightner refers to a Japanese student in the late 1880s, “in the person of Misao Tsune Hirata, the first foreign-born student at Western Maryland College.”

Lightner also shared in the interview that just after World War II, Western Maryland College pushed society's social envelope by welcoming a Jewish student named Alleck Resnick, who graduated around 1947.

However, integrating the college was a different story altogether. It was a struggle.

In an article by Dr. William David, entitled, “When the Wall Cracked,” published in “The Hill’” in February 1990; Dr. David writes, “The first and most courageous act leading to the integration of WMC was a statement by Dr. Charles Crain, professor of religion, in a faculty meeting in 1955… (He) wanted it known that he considered it his Christian duty to do what he could to bring about the admission to the college of black students.”

The Baltimore Colts began their summer practice at Western Maryland College in the late 1950s. Many local historians accept that it was the dynamic of having African-American athletes on the Baltimore Colts that provided a major impetus in the desegregation of Westminster – and the college.

From 1955 until the mid 1960s there were a series of false starts and trials and tribulations integrating both McDaniel College and Westminster. In a February 3, 2001 correspondence with Zepp, he reported that the “first African-Americans to graduate were Charles Victor McTeer … and Charles Smothers. They graduated in 1969.”

Dr. Charles Collyer remarked in a phone interview that he first met Dr. Zepp about twelve years ago. Collyer said that Dr. Zepp “participated in, and freed others to participate in, the American civil rights movement.”

Coley’s tribute noted that Zepp “participated in non-violent activism and marched in Selma, Alabama, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Collyer reiterated that Dr. Zepp “was one of the members of the clergy who went to Selma, Alabama, in 1965… These efforts resulted in the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 which made barriers to voter registration and voting illegal and Dr. Zepp was a part of that.”

It was not easy. In Coley’s tribute to Zepp, she wrote: “Daughter Jody Zepp said her parents’ advocacy of civil rights was unpopular in their Westminster neighborhood of the mid-1960s. The family received hate mail and dirty looks from neighbors who didn’t like the sight of black guests at their house.”

“‘By virtue of taking stands you will have some people who are on the other side. I’ve made enemies, but I never think of them as enemies,’ Ira said. ‘I will love the hell out of them, or better yet, heaven into them.’”

Dr. Pam Zappardino, who along with Dr. Collyer, were inspired and encouraged by Dr. Zepp to be co-founders of the Ira & Mary Zepp Center for Nonviolence and Peace Education, remembers:

"I was a student at McDaniel (then Western Maryland) College in the late sixties, when change was all around us. Ira freed us as students to stand up for what we believed and to stand strong in the face of criticism.

“He also taught us how to question and how to enter into real dialogue with folks with whom we disagreed. I learned from Ira, mostly by example, how to confront issues nonviolently. I came to understand by watching him that nonviolence is more than just a tactic, it is a way of life.”

Collyer and Zappardino recall that Zepp always stressed the need for students to get involved. He inspired generations of students to lead lives committed to service, activism, and peace.

The author of a dozen books, Zepp viewed language as a powerful tool for both shaping and expressing his ideas. In 1981, he wrote “Sacred Spaces of Westminster.” In part of his introduction, he wrote, “This study is an attempt to suggest the religious significance of the large number of ‘natural’ and ‘secular’ symbols and areas of Westminster and in so doing to observe how the city reflects archetypical … human consciousness.”

Zepp was many different things for many people. In addition to his many professional accomplishments; if you were fortunate enough to have crossed his path, he was a trusted friend and advisor, a college professor, a stalwart foot soldier in the civil rights movement, an author of twelve books, and certainly the conscience and soul of McDaniel College and Westminster.

Although, Westminster and McDaniel College are quick to claim Dr. Zepp, he was foremost, a true citizen of the world. In the biographical notes from the book, “Sacred Places,” it says that Dr. Zepp “also studied at the University of Edinburgh, Gottingen, Harvard, and at the Center for Intercultural Documentation in Cuernavaca, Mexico, as well as in India and Eastern Europe.”

In a tribute written by Collyer, he observed that Zepp, “carried out scholarly research on Martin Luther King, Jr., producing books such as ‘The Social Gospel of Martin Luther King, Jr.,’ ‘Search for the Beloved Community,’ with Kenneth L. Smith; and ‘Nonviolence: Origins and Outcomes’,” which Zepp wrote with Collyer.

Collyer further elaborates that Zepp’s “most recent book, on teaching, is ‘Pedagogy of the Heart,’” in which he explored diverse definitions of the art of teaching and examines the intimacy of human relationships in the pursuit of wisdom.

“He was a strong and rigorous defender of Dr. King against his critics,” said Collyer.

Since his death, many have observed that Zepp leaves a legacy with which it is our responsibility to continue to build upon. Fortunately, he laid a substantial foundation upon which we can work.

Zappardino notes that Zepp “was a critical partner with Walt Michael in the founding of Common Ground on the Hill, an organization in which the traditional music and art of many cultures brings people together in community.”

Collyer wrote that the Ira and Mary Zepp Center for Nonviolence and Peace Education, of which he and Zappardino are co-founders, is another legacy of Zepp. The Zepp Center “is a program of Common Ground that carries on Ira’s legacy by promoting greater knowledge of the civil rights movement and of the worldwide family of nonviolence traditions to which that movement belongs.”

Zappardino said that “Ira taught me that questions are much more important than answers. ‘Questions Unite. Answers Divide,’ he always said."

Many agree with Zappardino’s observation: “Ira was an optimist. In a very real way, I am who I am because I knew Ira...and we often laughed about some of the trouble that's gotten me into. I expect I'll get into more trouble as I go along. And that Ira will still be cheering me on.”

A memorial service celebrating Zepp’s life will be held at 2 o’clock on Saturday, August 29, 2009 at Big Baker Chapel on the campus of McDaniel College with Rev. Carroll Yingling officiating.

Arrangements are by the Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home in Westminster, MD. The family will receive friends immediately following the service at McDaniel Lounge on campus.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the “Ira & Mary Zepp Center for Nonviolence and Peace Education,” P.O. Box 552, Westminster, MD 21158.



Dr. Ira Zepp, 79, McDaniel College and Westminster civil rights leader, dies Published August 4, 2009 by Westminster Eagle
The Rev. Dr. Ira Gilbert Zepp Jr., professor emeritus of the religious studies department at McDaniel College, died peacefully at his home on Aug. 1. He was 79. In a memorial tribute by McDaniel College president Joan Develin Coley, she recalled that Dr. ... ...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
R.I.P. – Dr. Ira Zepp
Kevin E. DayhoffLast Saturday word spread quickly throughout the greater Carroll County community that Rev. Dr. Ira Gilbert Zepp, Jr., professor emeritus of the Religious Studies department at McDaniel College, had died peacefully at his home. He was 79 years old.

Drs. J. W. Hering and Ira Zepp, Sacred Places and Westminster City Hall
Pictured is Westminster City Hall MD around 1953. Click here for a larger image:
The death of Dr. Ira G. Zepp has reminded me of one of my columns which was published in on July 25, 2008. Find it here: or find the full story on here:

The Rev. Ira Zepp: Legacy of lessons

Westminster's sacred places are shrines of community life EAGLE ARCHIVE By Kevin Dayhoff Posted on on 7/25/08

20090829 sdsom Mem service to celebrate professors life Aug 29 2009

Memorial service McDaniel College Westminster MD to celebrate Dr Ira Zepp’s life Aug 29 2009

For more articles on Dr Zepp click here:

20090829 sdosmKED Zepp celebration w tribute
A Tribute to Dr. Zepp

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White House says no one "bemoaned" Bush vacations?

White House says no one "bemoaned" Bush vacations?

The Washington Examiner political editor, Chris Stirewalt, notes in a recent article, “White House says no one "bemoaned" Bush vacations?,” in “Beltway Confidential,” that White House Spokesman Bill Burton recently said: “As I recall, the previous president [took] quite a bit of vacation himself, and I don't think anyone bemoaned that…”

Is this another case of double standards, selective memory, or incompetence?

Mr. Burtons remarks are in reference to: “The president is going to add another min-vacation to his August break next week with a a four-day weekend at Camp David. No big deal.

“But the administration, ever sensitive to criticism, had to rationalize the time at the presidential retreat, with Spokesman Bill Burton saying that the vacation week has been newsier than expected considering the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy."

I certainly remember the Democrats complaining - long and loud - about the vacations of President George W. Bush.

I noted a very small amount of the criticism in my recent column, “The Obamas in paradise,” August 26, 2009 by Kevin Dayhoff - just enough to make my point, however, the criticism was voluminous, vitriolic, and invective.

Mr. Stirewalt calls to our attention material from Politico; and this:

“At the Daily Kos, even Obama getaways still provoke recriminations for Bush's time in Crawford, Texas and elsewhere -- Obama NYC Date Night Highlights Bush Vacation Record

“As Bush was leaving office, CBS had tired of the standard coverage of how much time Bush had spent in Crawford and raised the question of his use of Camp David, measuring the number of days in eight years that the 43rd president spent in the Catoctin Mountain getaway with: 487 Days At Camp David For Bush

Read Mr. Stirewalt’s article here: White House says no one "bemoaned" Bush vacations? By: Chris Stirewalt Political Editor 08/27/09 3:47 PM EDT

Sunday morning reading from the Washington Examiner

Stop embarrassing us, Mr. Rangel. Resign

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"The Government Can!”

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08/28/09 4:32 PM

This Tim Hawkins’ video (, set to the tune of “The Candy Man,” is hilarious. He starts out by saying, “ Hey everybody, gather around! I’m here to give you anything you like. You want free college, energy, mortgages? Whatever you like! You have come to the right place!” My favorite line: “Soon we’ll have to eat our...

Obama's labor secretary lets union officials off transparency hook

By: Kevin Mooney
08/28/09 2:49 PM

Never mind about those revised union financial disclosure requirements President Obama inherited from his predecessor. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis now says she won’t make union officials comply. Unions officials complained for eight years that regulations issued by Elaine Chao, President George W. Bush’s Labor Secretary, were more rigorous than required by the Labor Management and Reporting Disclosure Act (LMRDA), which calls for modestly detailed annual financial reports by unions with receipts of $250,000 or more. The Bush-Chao regulations require union officials to disclose financial information that could aid union members’ seeking information on how their union leaders are spending dues money, and to help expose “no show jobs” that put paychecks for ghost employees into union coffers. Before Bush took office, the reports were mostly ignored by the Labor Department. Now, it’s back to business-as-usual. A notice appeared this week on the department’s web site saying the Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS), whose main job is enforcing LMRDA requirements, won’t be doing its job under Solis: “Accordingly, OLMS will refrain from initiating enforcement actions against union officers and union employees based solely on the failure to file the report required by section 202 of the Labor-Management and...

The president can fire the attorney general

By: Michael Barone
08/28/09 2:47 PM

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Kennedy motorcade will pause at Capitol

By: Susan Ferrechio
08/28/09 2:42 PM

Sen. Edward Kennedy's funeral procession will stop at the U.S. Capitol tomorrow around 4:30 p.m. and pause briefly in front of the Senate, his family announced Friday. Kennedy, D-Ma., served 47 years in the chamber and employed hundreds of staffers during that time. Members of his staff past and present have been invited to pay their respects to Kennedy from the Senate steps. According to an announcement made by the family, Kennedy's motorcade will "stop at the Senate steps for a brief prayer so that Senate staff and members of the broader Senate community with whom the Senator worked can bid a final farewell." The motorcade will then travel to Arlington National Cemetery, where Kennedy will be buried near his two slain brothers at a private, 5:30 p.m....

Video: Chappaquiddick was one of Kennedy's favorite topics of humor

By: Charlie Spiering
08/28/09 1:20 PM

There is a lot of ruckus being raised in the blogosphere regarding Ed Klein's comments remembering that Ted Kennedy liked to joke about the horrific Chappaquiddick incident. The video is below: I don't know if you know this or not, but one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, "have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?" That is just the most amazing thing. It's not that he didn't feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, but that he still always saw the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too. H/T NRO's Mark Hemingway ] and Hot Air's Ed Morrissey...

Crist taps Senate placeholder for Martinez

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Liberal journalist shocked teacher unions shield incompetence

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Morning Must Reads -- Mr. Holder's Prerogative

By: Chris Stirewalt
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Washington Post -- Holder's Decision To Probe CIA Hints At a New Dynamic Attorney General Eric Holder has tremendous stroke inside the Obama administration. According to writers Carrie Johnson and Anne Kornblut, his decision to launch a criminal probe of the CIA was met with a presidential nod, even though the administration has publicly acknowledged that such a prosecution will make fighting Islamists harder and be a political liability. The story ends up being mostly treacle about how President Obama is both wise and good based on blind quotes from administration officials. But the nugget of news that Obama gave the tacit okay to Holder does have some consequence. First, it suggests that Obama does not want to say no to Holder, even when it’s in the administration’s best interest. Second, it suggests that Holder will be emboldened by his ability to push the president around. He’s expressed regret for having been an enabler of Bill Clinton’s excesses, so Holder would understandably resent presidential interference. But the story is mostly puffery like this: “‘Obama is approaching the issues as a game of ‘three-dimensional chess,’ said John O. Brennan, an assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. ‘It's not kinetic checkers. And I think the approach in the past was kinetic checkers....

We'll Read the Bill: Four reasons there's no level playing field for the public option

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Put up The Duke!

By: Julie Mason
08/27/09 4:56 PM

Baby, I'm back! If Newt Gingrich, Chuck Norris, Bill Clinton and very possibly Eliot Spitzer have taught us anything this past year, it's that there are second acts in American life. Michael Dukakis! Welcome back. Massachusetts state leaders are mulling a temp to fill Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat pending a special election. But Massachusetts is a small state, and apparently most Bay State Dems not currently serving in the U.S. Senate would like to do so. Who to get? Notes Sue Davis (honk) in the WSJ: The two names most frequently mentioned: Vicki Kennedy, who is well-liked, politically astute, and would be a reliable Senate vote if Congress succeeds in passing a health care overhaul, and former governor and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, who at 75 has no further political ambitions but remains in good standing in the state. Wow. Really? Rick Klein from ABC News quotes a former Dukakis cabinet member saying Dukakis passed health care reform as governor, and wouldn't it be nice if he could be a deciding vote for the reform bill Kennedy wanted to see passed in the Senate? This is mind-boggling. The Democrats have so many problems right now, the last thing they need is Dukakis, with his baggage and bad associations and let's face it, still-pungent whiff of electoral failure, padding around the Senate and reminding everyone of the bad old days...

White House says no one "bemoaned" Bush vacations?

By: Chris Stirewalt
08/27/09 3:47 PM

The president is going to add another min-vacation to his August break next week with a a four-day weekend at Camp David. No big deal. But the administration, ever sensitive to criticism, had to rationalize the time at the presidential retreat, with Spokesman Bill Burton saying that the vacation week has been newsier than expected considering the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. From Politico: "'When you're president, you've always got that job,' Burton said. On Monday, Burton pointed to former President George W. Bush's vacation habits to defends scattered criticism of Obama's August schedule 'As I recall, the previous president [took] quite a bit of vacation himself, and I don't think anyone bemoaned that,' Burton said."" I guess you have to say that perhaps no one bemoaned Bush's vacations -- attacked, lamented, scourged, bashed, snarled over etc. At the Daily Kos, even Obama getaways still provoke recriminations for Bush's time in Crawford, Texas and elsewhere -- Obama NYC Date Night Highlights Bush Vacation Record As Bush was leaving office, CBS had tired of the standard coverage of how much time Bush had spent in Crawford and raised the question of his use of Camp David, measuring the number of days in eight years that the 43rd president spent in the Catoctin Mountain getaway with: 487 Days At Camp David For Bush Bush did spend a lot of time away...

Upon return, Obama will be the same, and yet different: WH

By: Julie Mason
08/27/09 3:35 PM

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FEC okays 'friendly reminder' from Club for Growth about Specter

By: David Freddoso
08/27/09 2:14 PM

By a vote of four to two, the Federal Election Commission decided today that the Club for Growth is within its legal rights to contact Sen. Arlen Specter’s donors in an effort to have them request refunds. The draft advisory opinion of the FEC can be accessed here. The Club had asked for the advisory opinion because it wants to mail people who contributed to Specter's re-election campaign before his April party switch. The mailings will remind donors that Specter offered refunds to those who request them. “Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle," Specter said in a press release the day he switched from Republican to Democrat this spring. The Club's mailers will include handy pre-printed forms for donors to send to Specter's campaign requesting a refund, said the Club's David Keating. "We didn't think Specter was going to tell anyone, and we didn't think his policy got a lot of coverage," he told The Examiner. "In case people want their money back, we're going to make it as easy as possible." The legal question pertained to the use of donors' personal information culled from FEC documents -- a practice that is tightly regulated. The FEC ruling states that the Club may use the information to make this one mailing, provided that it does not request contributions, use the same list in the future,...

Sometimes you can't count on your uncle

By: Michael Barone
08/27/09 1:51 PM

Here’s an amusing item from the Weekly Standard: it seems that one of Barack Obama’s maternal great uncles is not quite on board on Democratic health care plans. Those of us who remember Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner table political debates between members of our extended families—between Aunt Lucille the socialist and Uncle Bob the paleoconservative—will have a certain sympathy for the president on this. His Kansas-bred grandparents and his free-spirited mother seem to have been well to the political left, but their relatives who never joined them in Hawaii seem to have quite different views. File under: American families....

Sen. Landrieu says she's likely to oppose 'public' option in health care bill

By: Mary Katharine Ham
08/27/09 12:28 PM

She was speaking at an open luncheon with limited seating (not a town hall), and was greeted by a small group of protesters. Her line on health care and cap and trade cannot be music to the administration's ears: Landrieu, D-La., who spoke during a chamber luncheon today, also met with local doctors earlier and briefly addressed about 15 demonstrators opposing a public insurance option and Cap and Trade. When asked after her speech if the senator would support a public option under any circumstances, she said, “Very few, if any. I’d prefer a private market-based approach to any health care reform that would extend coverage.” “I’d like to cover everyone — that would be the moral thing to do — but it would be immoral to bankrupt the country while doing so,” Landrieu said. That last sentence is where most of America stands these days, and a blue senator in a red state knows that full well....

Read the CRS report on ObamaCare's treatment of illegal immigrants

By: David Freddoso
08/27/09 11:04 AM

Mark Tapscott noted yesterday that a new Congressional Research Service report is being discussed by Republican members of Congress. It says essentially that notwithstanding all the rhetoric to the contrary (including, most recently, that of Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.), there is really nothing in the House health reform bill to prevent illegal immigrants from getting subsidies from the federal government for their insurance premiums under the plan. Because CRS reports are generally hard to come by, The Examiner has obtained a copy for your reading pleasure. In its subsection on health insurance subsidies (known as "affordability credits"), HR 3200 does state, "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States." That would seem to solve the problem, but it's more rhetoric than reality. The bill contains no verification requirement or enforcement process for citizenship or legal residency, as exists for other federal benefit programs. The only verification required for the subsidies pertains to family income. Beyond that, as the CRS report notes, everything is left in the hands of the Health Choices Commissioner. House Democrats defeated all attempts in committee to add an enforcement mechanism that would require proof of citizenship or legal...

Morning Must Reads -- No Grace Period on Health

By: Chris Stirewalt
08/27/09 7:45 AM

New York Times – Push Grows for Fast Choice on a Successor to Kennedy Many Democrats tried to suggest that Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death should cool passions on health care and make the passage of a bill more possible, but Kennedy hadn’t been part of the legislative process and embattled Sen. Chris Dodd is the custodian of the bill that bears Kennedy’s name, and Dodd is ill-equipped to revive the stalled legislation. President Obama may wrap himself in Kennedy’s legacy, but by Monday morning when Obama goes back to work, the over-the-top coverage of his death and funeral will already be fading from view. Plus, in the parts of the nation where the legislation is in trouble, Kennedy was a notable person, but not a hero. The real impact of Kennedy’s death on the health bill will be numerical. As Examiner colleague Susan Ferrechio tells us, dropping under 60 votes in the Senate – especially because of a death – gives Sen. Chuck Schumer and others militating for the nuclear option, a procedural end-run to pass a health plan with 51 votes, a stronger argument. But in Massachusetts, the factions are lining up behind switching the state law to allow Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint someone to the seat until a special election in January. Kennedy, who seemed to have a successor in mind, asked that the appointee not run for the seat in his...