January 30, 2012

Department of Justice: No Comment On Whether Eric Stedman Holder Was Told of Fast & Furious Murder on Day It Occurred
— Ace

By the way, if you keep track, you'll see that this Matthew Boyle has his name atop a large number of these Fast & Furious stories. He is keeping at it.

I think Eric Holder specifically had him in mind when he whined like a bitch about people pestering him with this whole silly nontroversy about an illegal covert op with a bodycount of 300 murdered Mexicans and two dead US LEO's.

On that day, records show, Burke wrote to Wilkinson that “[t]he guns found in the desert near the murder[ed] BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about – they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store.”

The emails also show that Wilkinson “alerted” Holder of Terry’s death on that day. They do not, however, show whether he told Holder that Operation Fast and Furious had provided Terry’s killer with the means to murder him.

Reached by The Daily Caller on Sunday, DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler would not give a yes-or-no answer to the question of whether Wilkinson told Holder, his superior, about the connection between the gunwalking scheme and Terry’s murder.

Instead, Schmaler pointed to a letter Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich sent to Congress Friday with the documents. In that letter, Weich wrote only that Wilkinson “does not recall” whether or not he informed Holder. Weich added that the DOJ has been “advised” that Burke similarly has “no recollection” of discussing these details with Wilkinson in the first place.

Boyle adds a little bit of unhelpful accuracy there -- these emails show Wilkinson confirming the gun came from a "Phoenix gun store" but not that the weapon was from Fast and Furious.

However, given the Administration's desire to prove the "River of Iron" case against guns, of course they would have checked on that politically useful tidbit, and immediately discovered it was not at all politically useful. Quite the opposite, as it turns out.

I think it is generally well-known that LEOs take a special interest in the murders of fellow LEOs. Things happen more quickly in such cases. Information requests to to the top of the stack.

Now, as to this "does not recall" business--


Posted by: Ace at 11:15 AM | Comments (150)
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Occupy DC Guy Gets Tased
— Ace

I'm looking for the backstory now, but wanted to get it up. You can skip until 1:00. Nothing happens until that, except for OWSers shouting some f-bombs periodically.

Backstory: The police were putting up notices to vacate. I guess they saw this guy ripping them down.

[H]e allegedly went from tent to tent removing notices from the Park Service....

The arrest coincided with the Monday deadline for protesters to remove camping equipment from the park and nearby plaza. Many have removed prohibited gear, but others have moved in and camped to deliberately challenge police.


Posted by: Ace at 10:40 AM | Comments (234)
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Allen West To Obama, Pelsoi, Reid, and Wasserman-Schultz: Get The Hell Out of the Country
Star Khan Reince Preibus: Obama is Captain Schettino

— Ace


How do you want your steak? Bloody.

And to drink...? Meatballs.

Here's the partial transcript:

"Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."


"I will not allow President Obama to take the United States of America and destroy it. If that means I'm the number one target for the Democratic Party, I've got one thing to say: Bring it on, baby."

Thanks to peaches.

Hilarious: Space opera villain Star Khan Reince Priebus compares Obama to Captain Schettino. Via Hot Air.

"In a few months, this is all going to be ancient history and we're going to talk about our own little Captain [Francesco] Schettino, which is President Obama, who is abandoning the ship here in the United States and is more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president."

Asked to elaborate on what he meant, Priebus doubled down.

"I called him Captain Schettino, you know, the captain that fled the ship in Italy. That's our own president, who is fleeing the American people and not doing his job and running around the country and campaigning."

Love it.

Even funnier is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz accusing Priebus of making "incendiary" remarks.

Posted by: Ace at 09:50 AM | Comments (345)
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Eric Holder's Perjury Defense Is Crumbling
— Ace

NPR actually reported on the contents of his Friday Night Document Dump -- to wit, that he was apprised of Brian Terry's murder by Fast & Furious gun on the day of his death, not a "few weeks" before his May 2011 Congressional testimony.

Here's NPR's version of the news:

The email messages show the former top federal prosecutor in Arizona, Dennis Burke, notifying an aide to Holder via email on Dec. 15, 2010 that agent Brian Terry had been wounded and died. "Tragic," responds the aide, Monty Wilkinson. "I've alerted the AG, the acting Deputy Attorney General..."

Only a few minutes later, Wilkinson emailed again, saying, "Please provide any additional details as they become available to you."

Burke then delivered another piece of bad news: "The guns found in the desert near the murder [sic] ... officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about — they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store.

Oh, and skip down to "Motives Doubted" in this profile of key Fast and Furious figure (fall guy?) Dennis Burke for a media broaching of the "deliberate scheme to assault the Second Amendment" theory.

Posted by: Ace at 09:40 AM | Comments (77)
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Romney: "Of course the economy's getting better..."
Updated & Bumped: Longer Quote Added; Link Added

— Ace

Goldberg discusses this statement of Romney's, made on the Laura Ingraham show.

Of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after the recession. There’s always a recovery. There’s never been a time anywhere in the world where an economy has never recovered. The question is how is recovered by virtue of something the president has done or has he delayed the recovery and made it more painful? And the latter, of course, is the truth.” “The president’s policies have made the recession deeper and have made the recovery more tepid and more difficult on the American people. This is the worst recovery that we have seen from a recession since Hoover. And President Obama wants to take credit for things getting better, he’s in fact made things worse. He’s made this recovery take much longer, but, will our economy get better someday? Of course it will.

And it will not be thanks to President Obama, it will be in spite of President Obama, and that's of course the message we have to give. If people think the right course for improving an economy is to massively expand debt and the federal government, why of course they can vote for Obama. But we know better.

This surprised Ingraham.

When Laura asked Romney if that’s a hard argument to make — that “Obama is making the economy better, but vote for me,” Romney replied: “Do you have a better one Laura?”

Goldberg lays out some alternate lines Romney might have deployed.

Although I'd like to see Romney sharper on this, it seems to me that Romney is seeing two moves ahead and planning for contingencies.

If you're arguing a case at law, you tend to make contingency arguments. "Your honor, my client did not kill that man, and, even if he did, he was out of his mind on peyote at the time and could not legally form the required intent to make him guilty of murder."

Romney is making a contingency argument here. What if the economy continues improving? A lot of people pooh-pooh this, but in fact Romney's sense is correct: The economy generally does improve... at least until it doesn't. Even during the Great Depression, there were long periods when the economy seemed to be on the mend (only to suffer another shock).

Here's my belief:

If the critics of Romney here are right, and that the economy will continue deterioriating, Romney needs to make no argument at all.

That's like playing chess when you're up a rook, a knight, and a queen. Assuming you don't make some catastrophic rookie own-goal error, you win. Period.

Fans of the "Obama killed the economy and it's dead until we get someone else in office" argument should bear in mind that if you're right, the election is going to be a very, very, very difficult thing for Obama to win.

But if you're playing chess, you do not make moves assuming that your opponent's moves will be awful. You assume your opponent will make great moves, the best moves possible, and you play your game with that assumption.

That analogy doesn't quite work here, but I analogize "opponent's moves" to "the electoral environment."

If the economy deteriorates further -- if there's a second dip -- if Europe experiences a credit crisis and that contagion hurts the American economy -- then Romney really needn't make much of an argument at all. (Only on that last one can I see the need for any kind of argument -- Obama will claim that this is just happenstance and he shouldn't be blamed for it, and etc.)

But what if present conditions continue, with the economy slowly, microscopically improving? What if GDP grows 2.0% through the next year -- which is very anemic growth for an alleged "recovery," and yet still is in the positive column?

In that case, you do have to make the argument. And the argument will be:

1. The economy can be expected to grow some on its own. Obama should not have credit for a natural rebound of the economy.

2. The economy grew despite Obama's policies, not because of him.

3. The economy grew at a much more anemic rate than it should have, due to Obama laying burden upon burden on already overtaxed wealth-generators.

And so forth.

I don't see much advantage to a campaign strategy of saying "The economy is definitely, definitely going to get worse under Obama."

Indeed, it might. I think there's a reasonably good chance it will.

But the American economy is robust and hard to kill -- despite Obama's best efforts.

If we have a second dip, Game Over.

But why plan for that? Why build a campaign around the assumption of a nearly automatic-win scenario?

If that scenario comes to pass, great, collect your Presidential Election Trophy.

And if it doesn't?

I don't want to be in the situation where we have no shot at winning just because the economy managed some very anemic growth in GDP and some very modest reductions in unemployment.

I want a candidate planning for that eventuality and making arguments based upon the assumption of that eventuality.

And if it gets worse for Obama -- then it gets worse for Obama. Bonus damage.

Goldberg's right that Romney must reiterate all the horrible things about this economy whenever he's asked about it. But the basics of noting that there is, in fact, GDP growth, tepid as it is?

It's not like the MFM isn't going to tell people that. Any candidates' argument must be along the lines Romney suggests -- yes, we are having weak "growth," but not of the type usually associated with a true recovery, and that's Obama's fault.

Update: Here. The discussion begins around 5:20.

I've added more to one of his quotes above. At around 7:45, he notes that the unemployment rate is dropping chiefly because of discouraged voters exiting the workforce.

And him taking credit for people becoming so desperate that they drop out of the work force altogether is a very weak position from which he'll be campaigning.

All of this sounds pretty reasonable in full context. Check it yourself. It's about three and a half minutes, 5:20 to 8:00.

He also says he expects there's a pretty good chance the economy will go into a second dip, but can't predict that.

Posted by: Ace at 08:58 AM | Comments (470)
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Santorum's Daughter Isabella Recovering After Bout of Pneumonia
— Ace

Some good news.

Santorum spoke with Florida supporters by telephone from 3-year-old Bella's hospital room and said doctors hope she can go home in the next few days.

The former Pennsylvania senator also said, "We're going to get out on the campaign trail later tomorrow ... heading out to the Midwest, and start campaigning in the next states as we move this campaign forward."

Posted by: Ace at 08:28 AM | Comments (117)
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Newt on ObamaCare, May 2009
— Ace

"We believe that there should be must-carry, that is, that everyone should have health insurance, or, if you're an absolute libertarian, we would allow you to post a bond."

Note that he's speaking about "must carry" -- the individual mandate -- in a federal bill.

He ties this into the end of the pre-existing conditions clause. He says that if the law says everyone is must-carry, then insurers can be mandated to be must-issue (that is, if everyone's mandated to carry insurance, insurers don't have to worry about gaming the system, and can be mandated to issue a policy to anyone who asks, minus the pre-existing condition clause).

That sounds like it kinda-sorta makes sense, but...

As I've said, there has been a sea change in conservative opinion in just the past few years. The Tea Party was an enormous change in thinking, but before that, a proto Tea Party emerged to defeat Comprehensive Immigration Reform. What was billed as "conservative" five years ago is defined as anti-conservative now.

And that's fine. Movements change, they clarify.

But there it's an ahistorical vanity to punish a politician over-much for subscribing to conservative doctrine as he understood it at the time. Much of what is "conservative" now was, until three or four years ago, "libertarian" or "paleoconservative" or just plain "radical."

That said, this gets at my objection to claims that Gingrich is deeply conservative. Many of his policy responses remain in the category of "agreeing broadly with the goals of the liberal welfare state, but proposing that those goals be satisfied by ostensibly pro-business mechanisms or market-disciplined widgets."

That's not the worst policy impulse I can imagine, but that's very far from the "revolutionary" posture he's now assuming, and which his supporters are claiming on his behalf.

Posted by: Ace at 06:04 AM | Comments (405)
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The Daily DOOM
— Monty


America’s GDP grew by a smokin’ hot 1.7% last year. Whee! It bears repeating: if you’re counting on getting investment returns in the 7-8% range, much less the 10% range, you’re likely to be disappointed for the next, oh, ten to twenty years. If you plan to retire on your savings, you need to be realistic about how much you need to put away, because you’re not going to be able to count on investment returns to fill the hole.

Don't read this story (it's just more of the same "California is boned" stuff I've been yelling about for a long time); read the comments to it. The mindset of the public employees -- particularly the unionized ones -- is pretty common to states high in the rankings of the LOTB. In fact, this attitude is pretty prevalent across the public sector generally. The sense of entitlement, grievance, and utter lack of clue about private-sector compensation and benefits is rife. But taxpayers are beginning to get a gut full of this rancid porridge, even in California. The window of opportunity where this fiasco can end amicably is closing fast.

Posted by: Monty at 03:40 AM | Comments (280)
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Top Headline Comments 1-30-12
— Gabriel Malor

Gotta run in early, so you're on your own this morning.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 01:13 AM | Comments (147)
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January 29, 2012

Overnight Open Thread - Cuneiform Edition
— Maetenloch

AoSHQ: The Very Early Years

Technology may change but the popularity of drink, dirty jokes, and political snark hasn't:

Crude jokes, beer and a hearty disregard for politicians were part of life in ancient Mesopotamia - 3,500 years ago.

A newly translated tablet from the area of present-day Iraq runs through a series of riddles which show that even in 1,500BC, people liked a puzzle.


True some of the jokes and riddles don't quite make complete sense - but then that's also true of most of the ONT comments say between 2am and 6am.

The two rudest riddles have missing answers - or ones that don't make sense.

'The deflowered girl did not become pregnant. The undeflowered girl became pregnant. What is it?'
Answer: Auxiliary forces. The term for a group of soldiers is puzzling here, says Wasserman.

'... of your mother, is by the one who has intercourse with her. Who is it?'
Answer: Perhaps thankfully, this answer has been lost.

Yo mamma jokes - still going strong 3,000 years later.

And then of course we have the ever popular depictions of Mesoptamian cheerleaders:


Good times, good times. more...

Posted by: Maetenloch at 05:19 PM | Comments (392)
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The Occupy Movement Scores More Annoyance in Oakland
— Dave in Texas

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

Winston Churchill, commending the bravery, and victory of the Royal Air Force over the Nazi Luftwaffe in the summer of 1940.

If I were to swipe it and amend it to address the OWS ninnies, and I am about to do that, I'd say "Never in the field of human conflict were so many annoyed by so few".

Oakland gets more of the nonsense.

I can't recall a more media-driven nothing story than the "Occupy" story. Brainless twits who couldn't express themselves coherently, had absolutely no idea what they were actually protesting, and yet protested with so much vigor.

Not new, by the way. It's been around.

Peggy Maley: "What are you rebelling against, Johnny?"

Johnny Strabler: "Whaddaya got?"

The Wild One, 1953.

Incoherent rage, pushed by users of this sort of thing, and political enablers who test the winds of populism and set sail and policy in accordance. Constituents and taxpayers be damned.

UPDATED: Man, you cheerleader fans are strict. Ok, Pro Bowl babe, south of the fold. more...

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 01:54 PM | Comments (395)
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Ben Howe's Radio Show: Act I, Scene 2
— andy

The second installment of Ben Howe's broadcast show airs tonight from 6pm-8pm Eastern. It's on WBT 1110AM in Charlotte, NC, if you're in the area. If not, there's a livestream at the link, and he'll also be taking calls at (704) 570-1110.

As a reminder, Ben's in competition with another host for a full-time show, and it would be great if the Moron Nation would lend its support.

Dramatization below the fold, and open thread in the comments.


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UK's Global Warming Office Issues New Temperature Data: No Warming in the Past 15 Years
— Gabriel Malor


Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.

Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.

We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.

Astonishingly, the Met Office says it doesn't expect another Maunder-like "grand minimum" to lower temperatures much on Earth because, and I'm not making this up, the sun doesn't have all that great an impact on temperature. Really:

Yet, in its paper, the Met Office claimed that the consequences now would be negligible – because the impact of the sun on climate is far less than man-made carbon dioxide. Although the sun’s output is likely to decrease until 2100, ‘This would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08C.’ Peter Stott, one of the authors, said: ‘Our findings suggest a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases.’

These findings are fiercely disputed by other solar experts.

I'll bet.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 10:39 AM | Comments (198)
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Is This Something?
— Ace

See, in 1945, the Nazi remnant evacuated earth to set up a base on the dark side of the moon*. And now they're invading the planet. more...

Posted by: Ace at 09:38 AM | Comments (165)
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Santorum Suspends Campaign, Temporarily, As Daughter Is Admitted To Hospital
— Ace

Tough stuff for any parent.

Isabella was born with Trisomy 18, a rare genetic disorder. Most infants with this disorder don’t live to see their first birthday.

Posted by: Ace at 08:26 AM | Comments (93)
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Romney Supporter Says Romney's Plan Is RomneyCare For All States?

— Ace

From what I see, it's, how do I put this gently, "Blogger Nonsense."

Although I can see where there would be confusion, the surrogate seems to be talking about the "Romney Plan" even though she was asked about RomneyCare vis a vis ObamaCare.

"Romney Plan" I take to mean the plan Romney has suggested for health care. That is, his campaign platform plan. Which contains the usual widgets that everyone talks about.

Which is not the same as "RomneyCare." The woman never says anything like what it's claimed she says -- she never says, as the headline at Gateway Pundit would have it, that Romney's plan is for RomneyCare in each state.

Obviously he has a plan regarding health care and has talked about that. And obviously, this being his own plan, he's in favor of it. But it's all the typical stuff like cross-state insurance sales.

One can have a reasonable suspicion that Romney thinks that RomneyCare would be a perfectly good plan for a state to implement. This suspicion could arise from various bits of data, like Romney directly saying that RomneyCare would be a perfectly good plan for a state to implement. And having previously written in book a line that suggests that RomneyCare would be a perfectly good plan for a state to implement.

But that is not "Romney's Plan" for health care (on a federal level), and the surrogate does not say it is.

This isn't "spin." I'm telling you what the woman actually said -- actually, listen for yourself. Don't take my word for it.

Show me the passage where she says "Romney wants RomneyCare for each state."

She doesn't. That's the spin. She's speaking of "Romney's plan," and it does not appear as if she thinks she's making headlines. Why assume that she must be making Huge News by announcing Romney's got a secret plan (now out of the bag, whoops!) to replace his stated plan with "RomneyCare for everyone"?


Posted by: Ace at 07:09 AM | Comments (368)
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Friday Night Document Dump: Holder Was Informed of Brian Terry's Death on Day of Shooting; Also Informed That Fast & Furious Weapons Had Killed Him
— Ace

The day it happened.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice dumped documents related to Operation Fast and Furious on congressional officials late Friday night. Central to this document dump is a series of emails showing Holder was informed of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder on the day it happened – December 15, 2010 – and that he was informed the weapons used to kill Terry were from Fast and Furious on the same day.


That email was sent at 2:31 a.m. on the day Terry was shot. One hour later, a follow-up email read: “Our agent has passed away.”

Burke forwarded those two emails to Holder’s then-deputy chief of staff Monty Wilkinson later that morning, adding that the incident was “not good” because it happened “18 miles w/in” the border.

Wilkinson responded to Burke shortly thereafter and said the incident was “tragic.” “I’ve alerted the AG [Holder], the Acting DAG, Lisa, etc.”

Then, later that day, Burke followed up with Wilkinson after Burke discovered from officials whose names are redacted that the guns used to kill Terry were from Fast and Furious. “The guns found in the desert near the murder BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about – they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store,” Burke wrote to Wilkinson.

“I’ll call tomorrow,” Wilkinson responded.

Unless we're to believe that Wilkinson never made that call -- and I have a feeling we will be asked to believe that, very shortly -- this directly contradicts Eric Holder's claim to have only found out about gunwalking "a few weeks" (later amended to "a few months") before his May 2011 testimony.

Posted by: Ace at 06:31 AM | Comments (127)
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Sunday Book Thread
— Monty

I haven't picked up any new books since last week -- I've mainly been trying to work my way through my various in-progress reading projects (in particular Richard Taruskin's Oxford History of Western Music). My lack of formalized music training slows me down, but I'm making my way up the face of the cliff, one handhold at a time.

I also started reading Steven Goldberg's classic sociology work Why Men Rule: A Theory of Male Dominance. (I bought it a long while back but haven't gotten to it until now.) I thought it would be interesting to see how Goldberg mounts his argument in these politically-correct times.

It is an academic work, not a "popular" book, so Goldberg's thesis has faced the full wrath of the feminized academy and defeated all comers (so far). Goldberg's book has caused a lot of gnashing of teeth in all the right quarters, which means that he is probably on to something. I presume that Goldberg is a man of the left -- as a professor of sociology at a major New York university, that is almost certainly statistically the case -- but so far in my reading he has been very careful to stay away from ideological axe-grinding. The book simply posits that patriarchy is the overwhelmingly default mode for human societies, both ancient and modern; he takes no official stance on the morality or desirability of such a thing. He also is careful to point out that his statements about males and females are statistical statements and apply at the social level. I get the feeling that a lot of the feminist animus against his book is from people who never bothered to read it closely (or at all).


Keep sending those book recommendations to aoshqbookthread AT gmail DOT com. Whether the books are your own, the product of a friend, spouse, child, parent, or complete stranger -- send them along!

This week's moron book recommendations:

Russell Bonds sends a pair of American Civil War history books he has written: Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor and War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta.

Grace McLoughlin sends a book by Father Patrick Henry Reardon, The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ.

Posted by: Monty at 05:46 AM | Comments (68)
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Cain Endorses Gingrich
Poll: Romney over Gingrich 42-27

— Gabriel Malor

After he dropped out, Herman Cain told any news outlet that would have him that he would make an "unconventional endorsement" in the presidential contest at the SRLC, right before the South Carolina primary. True to his word, he endorsed "We the People" that day. Yesterday, he took another swing at it and endorsed Newt Gingrich.

This time it was much more conventional:

“Surprise, Surprise,” Cain said as he walked out on stage. “I hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse Newt Gingrich for the president of the Unites States.”

Cain gave several reasons for why he reached this “public decision.”

“One of the biggest is the fact I know Speaker Gingrich is a patriot,” Cain said. “Speaker Gingrich is not afraid of bold ideas and I also know Speaker Gingrich is running for president and going through this sausage grinder and I know what the sausage grinder is all about.

“Speaker Gingrich is running because he cares about the future of the United States of America, we all do,” Cain said.

How will this help Gingrich? Well...

Every little bit helps, right?

New NBC/Marist poll has Romney up 15 in Florida: I'm not suggesting that these numbers are related to Cain's endorsement; I just don't think this deserves it's own post.

The latest polling in Florida has Romney over Gingrich 42-27 percent. Santorum got a five point bump from the last poll, which puts him at 16 percent, over Ron Paul's meager 11.

Oh, Not An Outlier: The Miami Herald and Rasmussen both have similar numbers for Florida.

Miami Herald - Romney 42, Gingrich 31, Santorum 14, Paul 6
Rasmussen - Romney 44, Gingrich 28, Santorum 12, Paul 10

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 04:07 AM | Comments (256)
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Sunday Morning Non-Book Open Thread
— andy

It's that day we've been looking forward to for a year. That's right, it's Pro Bowl day!

Please try to contain your excitement.

Posted by: andy at 02:24 AM | Comments (107)
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