Dem candidates funded by hedge fund firms

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Democrats will whine day in and day out about how evil “the rich” are, but they sure don’t mind taking campaign contributions from the very types of people they complain the most about (emphasis added):

WASHINGTON – Two years ago, former senator John Edwards of North Carolina, gearing up for his second run at the Democratic presidential nomination, gave a speech decrying the “two different economies in this country: one for wealthy insiders and then one for everybody else.”

Four months later, he began working for the kind of firm that to many Wall Street critics embodies the economy of wealthy insiders — a hedge fund.

Edwards became a consultant for Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based firm known mainly for its hedge funds, just as the funds were gaining prominence in the financial world — and in the public consciousness, where awe over their outsize returns has mixed with misgivings about a rarefied industry that is, on the whole, run by and for extremely wealthy people and operates largely in secrecy.

A midsize but growing player in the hedge fund industry with more than $30 billion in assets, Fortress was the first hedge fund manager to go public, thereby subjecting itself to far more scrutiny. But it was an unusual choice of employment for Edwards, who for years has decried offshore tax shelters as part of his broader campaign to reduce inequality. Although Fortress was incorporated in Delaware, its hedge funds were incorporated in the Cayman Islands, enabling its partners and foreign investors to defer or avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Fortress announced Edwards’ hiring as an adviser in a brief statement in October 2005. Neither Edwards — who ended his consulting deal when he launched his presidential campaign in December — nor the firm will say how much he earned or what he did.

But his ties to Fortress were suggested by the first round of campaign finance reports released last week, which showed Edwards raised $167,460 in donations from Fortress employees for his 2008 presidential campaign, making it his largest source of support from a single company.

Edwards’ connection to Fortress is only one sign of the booming $1.4 trillion hedge fund industry’s emergence in national politics. During the 2006 election, its executives and employees accounted for $6 million in campaign contributions, the first time its giving was tracked as a separate industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, for whom Wall Street is an especially key constituency, count hedge fund executives as donors and fundraisers for their presidential campaigns. One of Sen. Barack Obama’s biggest presidential fundraisers is a hedge fund manager — Orin Kramer, general partner of Boston Provident Partners LP in New York and a longtime Democratic fundraiser.

Bloomberg reported last year that two-thirds of the campaign contributions from hedge fund employees went to Democrats in 2005 and 2006:

Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) — Democrats are collecting more than two-thirds of the campaign donations from employees of the biggest hedge funds and buyout firms, as the party taps into one of Wall Street’s fastest-growing sources of wealth.

Of the $7.4 million contributed by employees of the 100 largest hedge funds and 50 biggest buyout firms in 2005-06, Democrats received $5 million, Federal Election Commission records show. The biggest checks went to congressional campaign committees led by New York Senator Charles Schumer and Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel, which took in $2.8 million.

This from the so-called ‘party of change’? Lying hypocrites.

The latest Democrat motto: What’s good for me, is not good for thee!

Oh, and speaking of John Edwards, heappeared on the Ed Schultz radio show on Monday and tried to explain how ’embarassed’ he was about “Haircutgate”:

CHAPEL HILL – Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Monday called the flap over his $400 haircuts “embarrassing” and said he didn’t realize at the time the cost of the Beverly Hills stylist.

Appearing on the nationally syndicated Ed Schultz radio show, the former North Carolina senator said his staff had arranged for the two haircuts in his hotel room to save time during busy West Coast campaign swings.

“This particular thing is really embarrassing,” Edwards told radio listeners and an audience of about 250 people in the Carolina Union auditorium at UNC-Chapel Hill. “No one should pay $400 for a haircut.”

Which must be why you didn’t just get one $400 haircut Senator, but two. In less than a month.

Raleigh News and Observer columnist Ruth Sheehan apologizes for presuming Duke lacrosse players were guilty

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How refreshing:

Members of the men’s Duke lacrosse team: I am sorry.

Surely by now you know I am sorry. I am writing these words now, and in this form, as a bookend to 13 months of Duke lacrosse coverage, my role in which started with a March 27 column that began:

“Members of the men’s Duke lacrosse team: You know. We know you know.” [Here’s the link to that column. -ST]

That was when Durham police and District Attorney Mike Nifong were describing a “wall of silence” among the men who attended the now-vaunted lacrosse party at 610 Buchanan Blvd. Nifong, now described by the state attorney general as a “rogue prosecutor,” was widely respected as solid, even understated.

Though wrong, my initial column was cheered by hundreds of readers.

Last weekend, our public editor, Ted Vaden, laid me low for that first column, and the second, which called for the firing of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler. According to Don Yeager, a former Sports Illustrated staffer who is writing a book about the case, Pressler blames me for his dismissal. I’m sorry he ended up coaching at a Division III school.

But, lest my reporting on Duke lacrosse over the course of a year be reduced to two early columns, let me remind you that I did not just throw those two Molotov cocktails and remain mute for nine months before declaring myself “naive.” My lacrosse columns numbered 14.

On April 13, 2006, two weeks after the first column, I drew comparisons between the Alleged Victim and Tawana Brawley: “If lying, take her to task.”

In June, I said it was time for a special prosecutor to step in.

And on Jan. 1, I called on Nifong to do what the attorney general finally did: drop the charges. I also acknowledged publicly how wrong I had been.

For many, that wasn’t enough. When the former players were declared innocent, I received 75 copies of my March 27 column (or parodies of it) and as many requests for an apology.

Here it is: I am sorry.

Her apology was overdue, but not as overdue as that of the NYT. The Duke Chronicle reported that the NYT’s first public editor criticized the NYT’s one-sided coverage of the lacrosse case:

“I think The Times’ coverage was heartbreaking,” said Daniel Okrent, who served as the first public editor of The Times from October 2003 to May 2005. “I understand why they jumped on the story when they did, but it showed everything that’s wrong with American journalism.”

The Chronicle also pointed out other noteable critics of the Times’ coverage:

“Here was a story that fit a template that they recognized and thought was a productive one… a story about privilege, a story about town and gown, a story about how race is handled in America,” said Jack Shafer, editor at large for Slate.com and author of several articles criticizing The Times’ coverage of the case.

After the March 29 article, The Times maintained coverage on the sports pages and inside news pages until a highly criticized 5,600-word article by Duff Wilson and Jonathan Glater ran Aug. 25 as The Times’ lead story.

In an August article for Slate.com Stuart Taylor, a columnist for the National Journal and a former Times reporter, said Wilson and Glater’s piece “highlights every superficial incriminating piece of evidence in the case, selectively omits important exculpatory evidence and reports hotly disputed statements… as if they were established facts.”

He also criticized the article for relying heavily for evidence on a 33-page report by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and three pages of handwritten notes that had been made exclusive to The Times. Gottlieb wrote the notes after the initial investigation and told defense lawyers he was “relying… on his memory” to write a chronological report of the investigation, The Times reported.

“[It] was the worst single piece of journalism I’ve ever seen in long form in a newspaper,” Taylor said in an interview with The Chronicle. He added that many of the paper’s articles-most of which were written by Wilson-were pro-Nifong and downplayed much of the defense’s evidence.

“About the time Nifong dropped the rape charges [Dec. 22], they brought in a more serious reporter, and their coverage began to sound more like a newspaper and less like a propaganda organ for a transparently abusive prosecutor,” Taylor added.

But has their been a direct apology for the NYT itself? James Taranto writes:

But Okrent’s successor, Byron Calame, published a column this weekend in which he offered what blogger KC Johnson, a leading expert on the case, calls the “scarcely credible thesis” that the “past year’s articles generally reported both sides, and that most flaws flowed from journalistic lapses rather than ideological bias.” Johnson offers a lengthy bill of particulars, but his overall point is this:

Imagine the following scenario: three African-American college students are charged with a crime for which almost no evidence exists. One has an air-tight, public, unimpeachable alibi. Their accuser is a white woman with a criminal record and major psychological problems. They are prosecuted by a race-baiting district attorney who violates myriad procedures while seizing upon the case amidst an election campaign in a racially divided county.

Does anyone believe that the Times would have covered the story outlined above with articles that bent over backwards to give the district attorney the benefit of the doubt, played down questions about his motivations, and regularly concluded with “shout-outs” regarding the accuser’s willingness to hang tough–coupled with sports columnists who compared the accused students to gangsters and drug dealers

The question answers itself, doesn’t it? It seems likely that the Times was engaging in some Terry Moran-style stereotyping, rationalizing that the erstwhile defendants were fair game because they were privileged jerks. But even privileged jerks are due the presumption of innocence.

Indeed.

Reality show for a 2008 ‘independent’ presidential candidate in the works

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Interesting. Via AP:

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The online social networking site MySpace and reality TV producer Mark Burnett are teaming to launch the search for an independent presidential candidate.

The political reality show “Independent” comes with a $1 million cash prize and a catch: the winner can’t keep the money.

The prize can be used to finance a run for the White House or can be given to a political action committee or political cause.

Contestants in the show, set to launch in early 2008, will meet the public and interact with supporters, protesters and others. An interactive “town hall” will give MySpace users and TV viewers a chance to rate their performance.

The show does not yet have a commitment from a TV network.

Potential candidates will audition for the show by submitting a video. Once the contestants are chosen, they will set up MySpace profiles to serve as their campaign headquarters.

I’d say a better name for this particular reality show could have been “Survivor” – because that’s what you have to be in order to go far in a campaign – but that name, of course, had already been taken.

Got your video ready? :)

New evidence exonerating Haditha Marines?

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This story from Newsmax is making the rounds so I figured I would link to it, even though I usually take what Newsmax says with a grain of salt (sometimes they’re accurate, sometimes they’re not – then again, so is the NYT …).

Some of the claims made:

Although the prosecutors said they needed more time to prepare their cases, there is much more to the story than that NewsMax.com has learned, and it paints a shocking picture of a prosecution that should never have been pursued.

In a nutshell, the case exploded when an intelligence officer dropped a bombshell on prosecutors during a pre-hearing interview when he revealed the existence of exculpatory evidence that appears to have been obtained by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and withheld from the prosecutors.

This officer, described by senior Marine Corps superiors as one of the best and most dedicated intelligence officers in the entire Marine Corps, was in possession of evidence which provided a minute-by-minute narrative of the entire day’s action — material which he had amassed while monitoring the day’s action in his capacity as the battalion’s intelligence officer. That material, he says, was also in the hands of the NCIS.

Much of that evidence remains classified, but it includes videos of the entire day’s action, including airstrikes against insurgent safe houses. Also included was all of the radio traffic describing the ongoing action between the men on the ground and battalion headquarters, and proof that the Marines were aware that the insurgents conducting the ambush of the Kilo Company troops were videotaping the action — the same video that after editing ended up in the hands of a gullible anti-war correspondent for Time magazine.

When asked by the prosecution team to give his copies of the evidence to the prosecution, he told NewsMax.com that he was reluctant to do so, fearing it would again be suppressed or misused, but later relented when ordered by his commanding general to do so.

Confronted by the massive mounds of evidence that Marine Corps sources tell NewsMax proves conclusively that the cases against the Haditha Marines are baseless, the prosecutors were forced to postpone the Article 31 against Lt. Col. Chessani and two of the enlisted men in an attempt to regroup.

By granting immunity to the officer on the scene of the house-clearing effort, the prosecution, lawyers say, has further weakened its case.

Because the intelligence officer was slated to return to Iraq for another tour of duty, arrangements were made prior to his departure to videotape his testimony for use in the hearings which would take place after his departure.

Those familiar with his testimony, which included masses of classified material, insist that the narratives of the day’s events disclosed by NewsMax.com in a long series of stories about Haditha were accurate presentations of the true facts and a total repudiation of all the slanderous material leaked by the Pentagon to the media.

My question is, if the charges against the accused are dropped, will we see an apology from Rep. John “it looks like it’s the policy of our troops to do something like this” Murtha? I won’t hold my breath.

My prior posts on Haditha can be found here.

Others blogging about this: AJ Strata, Clarice Feldman, J’s Cafe Nette

Southwest Airlines and “Red Friday”

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Robert Bluey has a great post up about Southwest Airlines’ decision to encourage their employees to show their patriotism on Fridays by wearing red:

Southwest Airlines is taking patriotism to a new level. My favorite airline has stepped to the forefront of the Red Fridays campaign, which encourages Americans to wear red on Fridays in a show of support for our troops.

This post on Southwest’s blog explains why the company has embraced the Red Fridays idea as a voluntary way of showing support. A spokeswoman for Southwest told me that at the height of the current conflict, Southwest had 173 employees called to serve, 79 of who remain on military leave. So now when you see a Southwest employee wearing a red shirt, you’ll know why.

Read more about what Red Friday is all about at the Bluegrass Military Affairs Coaltion website.

I’ll be wearing red to work on Friday in honor of all our troops, especially this week for the nine from the 82nd Airborne (based here in NC) who were KIA earlier this week.

Rosie O. to leave The View?

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The online tabloid website TMZ has the scoop:

There is a strong buzz in Hollywood that Rosie O’Donnell will announce Wednesday (April 25th) that she is leaving “The View.”

If it happens, it’s likely Rosie will stick it out through the end of the season.

TMZ has spoken with multiple industry people who say the word is spreading and the info emanated from inside the show itself.

Rosie’s rep could not be reached for comment.

Just a hot rumor at this point, but how much do you want to bet Baba Wawa is hoping it’s true? Despite her public defending of Rosie, someone of Walter’s journalistic caliber has to be secretly embarassed by all the unnecessary attention Big Mouth has drawn to a show most people used to view as of the casual coffee klatch variety.

Stephen Sprueill opines:

It’s probable that, like many of our celebrity millionaires, she feels disenfranchised and she’s tired of holding back (hard to believe, but by her own admission she is holding back on The View), so my guess is she’s lined up a deal for a show where she can be more overtly political. The most likely place for such a show would be, dare to dream, cable news. But a return to syndication is also possible.

Rosie O.If it does turn out to be true that she’s leaving the show, I’ll probably be one of the few who will miss her being on there. Not because I like her, but because in my opinion Rosie is the face of today’s left, what with her various conspiracy theories about 9-11, thinking BushCo. is out to steal everyone’s rights, believing that the US is the bigger terrorist than Al Qaeda … these are things so many on the left believe – and even though it’s something we see on the Nutroot blogs often, rarely do we get such a candid everyday view of how far left Democrats have gone that we get with Rosie O. Sure, we can see Harry Reid and others on CSPAN, but – sadly – people don’t pay as much attention to politicians as they do celebrities, and the more celebrity moonbats like Rosie O. speak out, the more people can judge for themselves how wacked out the left has become.

With the speculation of where Rosie would go buzzing around the blogosphere, Lorie Byrd has a great suggestion:

I know one place Rosie would fit in perfectly — on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show on MSNBC. She would probably give his ratings a huge boost.

Heh. Yep. And would give Allah back, as he describes it, “75%” of his blogging material ;)

Update I 9:37 AM: TMZ confirms that Rosie is indeed leaving The View.

Update II 10:22 AM: ABC News is confirming as well:

April 25, 2007 — Rosie O’Donnell is leaving “The View.” ABC has been unable to come to a contractual agreement with “The View” co-host. As a result, her duties on the show will come to an end mid-June.

The president of daytime programming for the Disney-ABC Television Group, Brian Frons, told ABCNEWS.com, “Going in we knew we would have an amazing year with her, and that anything beyond that would be gravy. But we were willing to take the chance because we understood what a coup it was to entice Ro back to daytime television. So here we are a year later, and while we’ve tried to come to terms on a deal that would extend her co-hosting duties on ‘The View,’ we find ourselves unable to agree on some key elements.”

According to Barbara Walters, creator and co-executive producer of “The View,” the departure is an amicable one.

In a statement, Walters said: “I induced Rosie to come back to television on ‘The View’ even for just one year. She has given the program new vigor, new excitement and wonderful hours of television. I can only be grateful to her for this year. I am very sad that ABC Daytime could not reach an agreement with her for a second year. We will all miss Rosie on ‘The View,’ and hope she will be back with us often next season. She remains for me a cherished friend and colleague.”

O’Donnell said: “This has been an amazing experience, and one I wouldn’t have traded for the world. Working with Barbara, Joy and Elisabeth has been one of the highlights of my career, but my needs for the future just didn’t dovetail with what ABC was able to offer me. To all the viewers out there, I just want to say ‘thank you’ for opening up your hearts and your homes to me this past year. But you can always find me at rosie.com. Here’s hoping there’s more confetti for all of us going forward.”

Update III: LOL – Bob Leibowitz suggests Rosie to replace Katie Couric, should the rumors about the perky one being on her way out the door at CBS are true ;)

Update IV: Allah has video of “Ro’s” announcement today on The View. Newsbusters has the transcript.

Update V: Gateway Pundit has video of a crude and rude Rosie making a vulgar gesture in front of an audience that included a group of high school teen girls. (Hat tip: MKH)

Read more via Don Surber, Joe Gandelman, Human Events’ Right Angle blog, James Joyner