Caption This: Charlie Rangel [The Tax Cheat] Edition

Y’all are gonna love this one:

Rangel relaxes

Rangel naps at his 'tax-free' Dominican Republic hideaway. Photo via Splash News/Daily Beast

It comes from a piece published at the Daily Beast and written by Peter Beinart on how Nancy “Drain the Swamp” Pelosi’s standing by Rangel the tax cheat in light of the House Ethics Committee’s finding that he broke House gift rules could come back to haunt both her and her party come fall:

Charles Rangel would make the all-Madden team, too. The son of a maid, he went to work at age 8, won a Purple Heart in Korea, and rose through the Harlem Democratic machine. Since entering Congress, he has spoken blunt truths: declaring that if congressmen’s sons served in uniform, America would never have gone to war in Iraq. He has taken care of the little guy, assiduously bringing home federal bucks to his impoverished district. And in the [disgraced former Dem House rep Dan] Rostenkowski tradition, Rangel has taken care of himself as well, using rent-controlled apartments given to him by a Manhattan developer,and failing to pay income tax on a three-bedroom villa in the Dominican Republic (where he’s been pictured napping).

To understand why the Rangel scandals are so dangerous for Democrats, you need to understand something about midterm landslides: They’re usually composed of three parts. First, the other party’s activists are highly motivated. Second, your own activists are highly unmotivated. Third, independents want to burn Washington to the ground.

There’s nothing Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi can do about the first problem. The stimulus, the bank bailouts, the auto-takeover and the health-care push have convinced large numbers of aging white people that Obama is Mao Zedong, and they’re not going to change their mind anytime soon. The best response to the second problem is to pass health-care reform and give Keith Olbermann something to get excited about. But perhaps most crucial of all is responding to problem No. 3.

Independents are the most fickle, the most cynical, and the least ideological people in the American electorate. When they’re unhappy with the state of the country, they tend to stampede the party in power—less because they disagree on the issues than because they decide that the folks running government must be malevolent and corrupt. In Washington, congressmen violate ethics rules all the time. But when independents get in one of their sour moods, these infractions become matches on dry tinder. In 1994, the scandals concerning Rostenkowski and the House bank helped sweep the Gingrichites into power. In 2006, according to exit polls, the scandals surrounding mega-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Rep. Mark Foley did more to lose the GOP control of Congress than did the Iraq war. Pelosi became speaker, in fact, by running against the GOP’s “culture of corruption” and promising the “most ethical Congress in history.”

Now Republicans are hurling those phrases in her face. Democrats, who in April 2006 held a 17-point advantage as the party less “influenced by lobbyists and special interests,” have seen that margin dwindle to eight points, according to the Pew Research Center. The National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee has begun running ads against Democrats who accepted donations from Rangel, and two of the party’s most vulnerable congressmen, Alabama’s Bobby Bright and New Hampshire’s Paul Hodes, have called for Rangel to step down as chairman. Call them the canaries in the coal mine.

For more on the GOP’s efforts at stripping Rangel of his HWMC chairmanship, we turn to Politico:

House Republicans will move again on Tuesday to strip Rep. Charlie Rangel of his chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee — and after last week’s admonishment of the veteran New York lawmaker by the House ethics committee, Republicans are confident that they will be pick up more Democratic votes.

Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) will introduce a privileged resolution Tuesday on Rangel, according to John Stone, his spokesman.

Carter is hoping for a vote on the measure by Wednesday, Stone said.

A new wrinkle in the GOP resolution will be a call for Rangel to release his tax returns.

Carter came under criticism last year when it was revealed that he failed to report several hundred thousand dollars in profits from stock sales on his annual financial-disclosure forms filed with the House Clerk’s office.

But Stone said Carter remains a viable spokesman for Republicans on the Rangel issue despite his own lapses on disclosure.

Carter and other top Republicans attempted several times last year to strip Rangel of the Ways and Means gavel, but Democrats always stood united in defeating the GOP effort. Mississippi Reps. Gene Taylor and Travis Childers were the only House Democrats to support Carter’s last Rangel resolution.

But with Rangel now publicly admonished by the ethics committee for taking two corporate-funded trips to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008, several other Democrats have now come out in favor of removing him, and GOP leaders are hoping to force more Democrats to come out against him.

Hmmm. Wonder how long it will be before the inevitable cries of “raaaacism” fill the air over the GOP’s latest attempts to get the gavel taken away from Rangel? Rangel himself isn’t above playing the race card; will it be him – or one of his cohorts in the House?

Last but not least, a “Real Members of Congress” parody video featuring Charlie Rangel (via Ed Driscoll):


IPCC data on hurricanes wrong, too?

The Times of London reports on another potential shake-up brewing for the world’s elite global warming “experts” (via Memeorandum):

Research by hurricane scientists may force the UN’s climate panel to reconsider its claims that greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in the number of tropical storms.

The benchmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that a worldwide increase in hurricane-force storms since 1970 was probably linked to global warming.

It followed some of the most damaging storms in history such as Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans and Hurricane Dennis which hit Cuba, both in 2005.

The IPCC added that humanity could expect a big increase in such storms over the 21st century unless greenhouse gas emissions were controlled.

The warning helped turn hurricanes into one of the most iconic threats of global warming, with politicians including Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, and Al Gore citing them as a growing threat to humanity.

The cover of Gore’s newest book, Our Choice, even depicts an artist’s impression of a world beset by a series of huge super-hurricanes as a warning of what might happen if carbon emissions continue to rise.

However, the latest research, just published in Nature Geoscience, paints a very different picture.

It suggests that the rise in hurricane frequency since 1995 was just part of a natural cycle, and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline.

Looking to the future, it also draws on computer modelling to predict that the most likely impact of global warming will be to decrease the frequency of tropical storms, by up to 34% by 2100.

It does, however, suggest that when tropical storms do occur they could get slightly stronger, with average windspeeds rising by 2-11% by 2100. A storm is termed a hurricane when wind speeds exceed 74mph, but most are much stronger. A category 4 or 5 hurricane such as Katrina generates speeds in excess of 150mph.

“We have come to substantially different conclusions from the IPCC,” said Chris Landsea, a lead scientist at the American government’s National Hurricane Center, who co-authored the report.


Ed Morrissey writes:

Landsea is not an AGW skeptic, but left his IPCC post in 2005 over the politicization of the scientific process at the UN body. At the very least, the scientific research showing that hurricane strength cycles have nothing to do with AGW or carbon emissions is yet another reason to dismiss the highly-politicized 2007 report and the blatherings of politicians using it to seize control of the private energy sector. About the only reliable information left in the IPCC report is the page numbers.

And that, too, I’m sure will one day be questionable.

I’m still waiting for the US media to saturate their papers, websites, news channels, blogs, etc with reports on the various climate scandals that the UK media has been all over the last several months. Why, one would think that the virtual blackout (with a few exceptions) from the US media on this issue would mean that they have a vested interest in keeping this news under the lid.

Oh, that’s right. They do.

Read much more via Dr. Richard North at EU Referendum.

So much for the Obama coattail effect

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s favorite paper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, reports on new poll numbers showing that President Obama’s recent visit to Vegas hurt more than helped the Senator’s already sagging polling numbers:

WASHINGTON — During his whirlwind visit to Las Vegas two weeks ago, President Barack Obama mentioned U.S. Sen. Harry Reid by name four dozen times, gave him a big hug and talked him up as if he was a long-lost brother.

In remarks that could not have been more laudatory, Obama repeatedly characterized the veteran Democratic leader as a man “made of very strong stuff” who was making the right decisions for the state back in the nation’s capital.

But as Reid faces an uphill path to win re-election to a fifth Senate term, Obama’s enthusiastic endorsement does not appear to have improved the Senate majority leader’s standing among constituents, according to a new poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Reid got no bounce from Obama’s visit on Feb. 19, when the president spoke highly of him at Green Valley High School and to business leaders at CityCenter, polling indicates.

A larger percentage of voters surveyed (17 percent) said they would be less likely to vote for Reid following the president’s visit than said they would be more likely to vote for him (7 percent). Seventy-five percent said Obama’s visit would have no effect on how they vote.

“Reid was not helped, and Obama was not any more popular than he was before he came to the state,” said Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Obama’s day in Vegas “did not have much of an effect” on Reid’s re-election chances, notably among independent voters, Coker said.

“The independents hold the key to Reid, and for Reid there is no sign he is cracking them right now,” he said.

I’m sure President’s dissing of Vegas didn’t help matters, either.

What a difference a year makes. Who’d have thought a year ago at this time that our celebrity President would have been a drag rather than a boost to any politico running for election or re-election in his party in 2010 – just a year after he was sworn into office and was hailed as the greatest thing to happen to America in, like, forevah? Turns out that’s exactly what’s happened, and not just in NV. Let’s not forget that the President himself made a last-minute pitch for failed candidate for Senate Martha Coakley just days before the Miracle in MA happened in which a Republican won the seat formerly held by the late liberal lion Ted Kennedy. And didn’t Obama campaign for Jon Corzine, too? Why yes, he did. He also campaigned for failed Dem candidate for governor (VA) Creigh Deeds.

This poll, of course, comes on the heels of the report out of the LA Times from a couple of weeks ago regarding certain Congressional Democrats who have sought for and received “official” permission from the WH to distance themselves from the admnistration in a phony effort to paint themselves as “independents.” As I noted in that post, if you have to seek permission to do that, then you, um, really aren’t “independent” in the first place.

In light of these latest poll numbers, it’ll be interesting to see in the weeks and months ahead if Reid will solicit Obama for “help” in attempting to get elected again to serve another term in the US Senate. If you’ve read the book Game Change, you know that Reid actually had a hand in and encouraged to a significant extent then-Senator Barack Obama to run for president, so I suspect Obama will be loyal to Reid as he has been before even in the face of the growing hostility to him in the state of NV but only if Reid can ram through healthcare “reform” (a possibility becoming increasingly likely). If not, he’ll throw him under the bus like he has so many others “allies” who became political liabilities. Of course, by that point, Obama’s numbers may be so low that Reid wouldn’t welcome his “help” even if he offered it on a silver platter.