Archive for September, 2011

Caplis and Silverman rush Gessler off the air after he alleges election fraud in Denver

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Under normal circumstances, I’d slam KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman for letting Colorado’s Secretary of State breeze onto their show Wednesday, assert that there’s a “pretty high incidence of fraud” among one type of Denver voters, and then depart without being forced to explain what in the world he was talking about and what evidence he had to back it up.

But maybe Caplis and Silverman have heard Secretary of State Scott Gessler make so many unsubstantiated accusations of election fraud by now that it sounds normal, so normal that they think there’s no need for boring follow-up questions.

Whatever they were thinking, KHOW talk-show hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman listened in silence Wednesday as Scott Gessler made the startling assertion that “Denver itself admitted” that sending election ballots to inactive voters has resulted in a “pretty high incidence of fraud.”

The issue arose last week when Gessler’s office sued to block Denver from mailing ballots for the Nov. 1 election to voters who haven’t cast a ballot since 2008 and did not respond to a letter asking if they wanted a ballot.

Gessler took the action partially to “reduce the potential for fraud,” according to the lawsuit.

But on the radio, Gessler sharpened his accusation, saying he was fighting fraud itself, not just theoretical fraud.

Gessler said [at the 37 minute point in the podcast]: But Denver itself admitted, there’s a pretty high incidence of fraud in inactive-voters returned ballots. They rejected in their municipal election well over 200. So we know fraud exists. The question is, what’s the extent and what’s the proper balance. The Legislature struck that balance. I’m going to respect it.

Denver has not admitted that there was any fraud resulting from ballots submitted by inactive voters, much less a “pretty high incidence” of it.

“I’m not sure what he [Gessler] is saying is fraud,” Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson told me. “He’s using the word fraud loosely.”

She said about 200 ballots in the 2011 Denver municipal election were found to have “signature discrepancies,” meaning the voter’s signature on the paper ballot was determined not to match the voter’s signature in Denver’s database. If a signature discrepancy is found, a voter is sent a letter and given eight days to clear up the matter.

“Every one of those is sent to the District Attorney,” Johnson told me. “And none of those has been identified as fraudulent by the DA.”

Johnson pointed out that it’s not just the inactive voters who have signature discrepancies, it’s also the active voters. ‘We pulled our numbers from the last election, and they were the same, in terms of the percentage of ballots returned,” she said.

The history of election fraud in Denver, it turns out, is deadly dull, even to a political junkie. And you’d have to think even Gessler, who seems to get excited about fraud even when it’s not really fraud, would find it dull as well.

The last case of election fraud in Denver that was actually prosecuted occurred in 2005 and involved a single voter, according to Amber McReynolds, Director of Elections for Denver. She added that, in 2009, a circulator of a petition was found to be fraudulently signing names, and turned over to the DA, and in 2010, the state of Arizona asked Denver for information about a person who voted in Denver and also attempted to vote in Arizona.

Gessler’s interview on Caplis and Silverman stands in stark contrast to comments he made Aug. 31, 2010, on KFKA’s Amy Oliver Show.

At the time candidate Gessler was attacking then Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buesher for allegedly failing to ensure that Colorado complied with a federal law requiring overseas military personnel be sent election ballots 45 days before the 2010 election. In the end, Buescher found a way for Colorado to comply.

Radio-host Oliver laughed it up with Gessler, who said something that Caplis and Silverman should play back to Gessler next time he’s on their show:

Gessler said: “You’re the Secretary of State. What the heck is your job? Your job is to make sure people can vote. That’s one of your jobs!”

On Caplis and Silverman Wed., about a year after his appearance on KFKA, Gessler hadn’t completely forgotten this notion of trying to make sure people can vote.

Asked by Caplis what he thought Denver was trying to accomplish by sending ballots to inactive voters, Gessler said, “I’m guessing they are trying to increase the number of people who vote in the turnout from inactive voters.”

Silverman then asked Gessler why it “isn’t a good thing, if more people vote.”

“It’s good if you don’t have fraud,” he replied.

And since there apparently is no fraud, where does that leave Gessler?

I’m hoping Caplis will ask him next time he’s on the show. Letting him depart with a”keep-up-the-good-work” slap on the back is pretty hard to listen to.

Media should provide perspective on how previous Colorado Secretaries of State have handled conflicts of interest

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

With the partisan glow emanating ever more brightly from Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, it’s worth taking a moment to think back on another SOS conflict-of-interest brouhaha that spilled out of the Secretary of State’s office in Colorado in recent years.

The local media hasn’t done much of this, so I’ll fill in the journalistic gap a bit here.

You may recall that a few months after Mike Coffman became Secretary of State in 2007, it was revealed that one of his new hires, Dan Kopelman, was running a partisan consulting business on the side. Kopelman was accused of selling SOS voter lists to Republican candidates. 

Kopelman was promoting his business on his website by highlighting his day job at the Secretary of State’s office.

Coffman admitted at the time that hiring GOP election consultant Kopelman to help oversee elections was a mistake, because of the appearance of conflict of interest, but he said he did not know Kopelman continued running the side business, illegal under state law, after he was hired. Kopelman was demoted and re-assigned. (Later, Colorado Ethics Watch filed a complaint against Coffman before the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission, alleging that he knew about Kopelman’s moonlighting biz. This was dismissed.)

Against the backdrop of secretary-of-state fiascos in Florida and Ohio, Coffman was quoted at the time as saying the Kopelman incident represented a “failure of leadership” on his own part. This is an expression of contrition that we haven’t yet heard from Gessler, even though Gessler has been acting as if conflict of interest is to be expected from the SOS, and he articulated this categorically when he told the Greeley Tribune in March that he hopes to use the SOS office to “further the conservative viewpoint.”

A couple weeks after Kopelman was accused of selling voter data (an allegation that was never proven), Coffman instituted personnel rules banning SOS staffers who worked on election matters from engaging in partisan political activities, including attending caucuses or conventions.

Coffman also told The Denver Post that he, personally, would not endorse or contribute to candidates or initiatives.

A BigMedia review of Coffman’s subsequent political donations from June 2007 to November 2008 shows that he did not contribute to candidates during his SOS service, but his wife did, and he, his wife, and his political groups gave a total of $2,625 to GOP political entities, according to state and federal databases

This includes $300 that his wife, Cynthia Coffman, gave directly to “Bob Schaffer for US Senate,” about month after her husband promised to stop donating to partisan candidates.

It also includes $1,629 given to GOP groups by Coffman himself, including $420 Coffman gave to the Jefferson County Republican Central Committee, $350 to the Arapahoe County Republican Party, and $300 he gave to the Douglas County Republican Central Committee. 

Coffman had to have known that groups like these collect money and, in turn, give much of it directly to candidates.

The rest of the $2,625 was donated to Republican groups by Cynthia Coffman ($312 to GOP groups plus the $300 for Schaffer) or by Coffman for Congress ($384).

Coffman gave an additional $2,216 to his own congressional campaign in 2008, which you’d have to count as a violation of his promise not to give to partisan candidates, unless he doesn’t count himself as partisan.

Apparently Coffman kept his promise about not making partisan candidate endorsements, though his office would not return my calls to confirm this or, for that matter, to comment for this post at all.

Gessler, on the other hand, has yet to donate to GOP candidates or groups, but he has taken endorsements to a new height, the presidential level, having thrown his weight behind Mitt Romney

Colorado’s last Secretary of State, Bernie Buescher, endorsed Cary Kennedy for Treasurer, and some other Colorado candidates.

Gigi Dennis, CO Secretary of State before Coffman, endorsed Bob Beauprez in 2006 and possibly others, she told me, adding, “I was always very careful about any endorsements, and I did not put my name on fundraising letters and invitations, that sort of thing.”

I didn’t ask her what she thought of Gessler’s dunk tank fundraiser.

“Secretary Gessler has an important role as the state’s chief elections officer,”  Jenny Flanagan, Executive Director of Common Cause, emailed me. “For voters to have confidence in our elections, they need to believe that the Secretary’s decisions are in the best interest of the state and not for the benefit of a particular candidate or political party.  To hold the public’s trust, the Secretary should refrain from partisan activities, whether it is endorsing candidates or fundraising for political parties.”

Some people thought Coffman’s post-Kopelman reforms didn’t go far enough, or were developed for self-serving reasons and ignored as Coffman ran for Congress, but a Post editorial at the time called the reforms “sound policy and should be a permanent rule in the secretary of state ‘s office, even after Coffman is gone.”

CO Springs radio host cleanses his Facebook fan page of BigMedia questions; maybe you’ll have better luck if you try

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Maybe you saw my post a couple weeks ago about a Colorado Springs talk-radio host who laughs hysterically (and grotesquely) when a caller tells him that Michele Obama reminds her of a main character in the Planet of the Apes. You have to hear it to believe it.

In response to my questions about this, one of Lakey’s supervisors at KVOR emailed me that Lakey did not know “whether his laughter following her Michelle Obama observation was out of humor or simply discomfort.”

I’ve been trying to get a response from Lakey himself but to no avail.

Is he sorry? How could he not figure out if he was feeling uncomfortable or elated?

So I posted a question on Lakey’s fan page on Facebook Sept. 21:

Hi Jimmy — I’m a progressive blogger in Denver, and I heard you howl with laughter Aug. 21 when a caller told you that Michele Obama reminded you of a character in The Planet of the Apes. I admit that the left is sometimes too quick to condemn “insensitive” jokes, but I’m wondering why you were laughing Aug. 21. Here’s the audio clip.

Lakey didn’t respond, so I posted a second message the next day:

I’d like to conduct a poll of readers of Jimmy Lakey’s Facebook page. Do you think he should respond to my question below, posted on Sept. 21?

Within a couple days, my posts were deleted, and I was banned from posting further comments.

If you want to try to get an answer from Lakey to my questions or any others, please post them on Lakey’s fan page here. We’ll see if he deletes your questions, too, or answers them.

I had a feeling Lakey would expunge my queries from his page, so I made a screen grab of his Facebook page before he deleted my questions.

Here's BigMedia's post on Jimmy Lakey's fan page on Facebook before it was deleted.

Coloradoan and Colorado are losers with departure of Exec. Editor Moore

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Colorado journalism is taking yet another sad blow Sept. 30 when Bob Moore departs for a job in, I’m sorry to say, Texas. He’ll be Executive Editor at the El Paso Times. Moore is clearly one of the state’s leading journalists thanks to his fair-minded and detail-oriented reporting, as well as his sincere concern for the community. He has the respect of all types media figures. Even bloggers like him. And he’s president of the Colorado Press Association.

Moore started his journalism career as an intern at the Pueblo Chieftain in 1983. He landed his first job in 1984 at the Fountain Valley News in El Paso County, CO. After a few months, he went to the Colorado Springs Sun. When it closed in 1986, he moved to the El Paso Times, where he was, among other things, executive editor. He left there in 2005 to become Executive Editor at the Coloradoan.

Q: Why are you leaving the Ft. Collins Coloradoan?

A: The opportunity to return to El Paso is a great professional and personal opportunity. I spent almost 20 years there before returning to Colorado in 2005. The Mexican border is one of the most interesting places in the world from a journalistic viewpoint. El Paso is a city going through a unique transformation as the violence in Mexico drives middle class Juarenses to El Paso, where they are setting up businesses and setting down roots. This current exodus is reshaping the U.S.- Mexico border like no event since the Mexican Revolution. I’ll also get the opportunity to work with seven newspapers in New Mexico. Finally, my wife and I have family in El Paso.

 

Q: You were the Executive Editor of the El Paso Times previously. Do you hope to be a better journalist at the El Paso Times? If so, how so?

A: As executive editor, I was the No. 2 in the newsroom. In my new role, I’ll be the top editor. I think my six years in Fort Collins has definitely made me a better journalist. I’ve had to reimagine approaches to news coverage, utilize new technologies, and be more creative in deploying resources.

Q: Do you see a dim future for your style of serious journalism at the Coloradoan [owned by Gannett] or Gannett newspapers generally? Does MediaNews [owner of the El Paso Times, The Denver Post, and many other newspapers] look like a better or more stable company to work for?

 

A: I think both Gannett and MediaNews are committed to journalism that aggressively informs communities and acts in the greatest traditions of the First Amendment.  I have very much enjoyed my 25 years with Gannett.  I’ve known Dean Singleton for about eight years, and very much respect him. Obviously, MediaNews is going through significant changes as John Paton moves in as CEO. Gannett’s also undergoing significant changes, as is the entire industry.

Q: As a long-time journalist in Fort Collins and as President of the Colorado Press Association, you have a good perspective on Colorado journalism, as you head out the door. What do you think are its biggest strengths and weaknesses?

 

A: The biggest strength in Colorado journalism is the journalists. We’ve got a lot of really good people plying their trade. Obviously, the numbers are down significantly from when I returned to Colorado in 2005. But there’s a lot of remarkable work being done. My biggest concern is how thin we are in the ranks of younger newspaper journalists. We’ve got some good ones working in Fort Collins, and there are others throughout the state. A few years ago I hired a great young reporter named Jason Kosena. He did a lot of good work in the political realm, but he’s now out of the business because he felt he needed something more stable.

Q: What would you say to a young person who wants to be a political journalist?

 

 

A: I still think it’s a good and important career, though I doubt there’ll be many people spending 25 years with the same company like I did. You’ll need to be entrepreneurial, flexible, and curious.

Q: Do you think political reporting in El Paso could possibly be as interesting as it is in Ft. Collins?

A: I don’t think Texas politics takes a back seat to politics anywhere. And sitting on the Mexican border, we’ll actually get to cover two presidential elections next year. And here’s my favorite piece of meaningless political trivia. No Republican since 1988 has been elected president without first appearing in a debate I moderated. The only candidate who fits that bill this year? Rick Perry.

Q: Do you have a couple favorite moments during your career here in Colorado?

A: The 2008 4th Congressional District campaign between Marilyn Musgrave and Betsy Markey would have to top the list. It was one of the more important House races nationally, and it had interesting dynamics. Even though I was covering it part-time in addition to my editor duties, I think we were able to bring a lot of depth to our coverage that you didn’t see in House races across the country. Covering the recent problems with the Larimer County Republican Party was also interesting.

 

Then there was Balloon Boy.

 

The most important impact the Coloradoan has had during my tenure is the consistent reporting we’ve done since 2007 looking at rising poverty rates in Fort Collins and Larimer County. This had been going on since the early part of the decade, but policy makers and the general public really didn’t notice it. Beginning with a seven-day series in August and September 2007, and continuing since, the Coloradoan has documented how rising poverty and declining incomes have altered our community. Our reporting managed to awaken the community to the problems, and spurred the creation of a program called Pathways Past Poverty, which is working to address a number of the root causes of rising poverty. This work constantly reminds me of the impact that newspapers can have on a community when we focus our storytelling.

 

Two stories from last year also come to mind. The Coloradoan documented that a negligent Department of Human Services bureaucracy had failed to complete 10 of 11 required child fatality reviews in the deaths of children who died while under state supervision. The purpose of these reviews is to identify systemic problems, and fix them. The Coloradoan’s stories were a huge embarrassment to the state and prompted a number of reforms. It was an example of how a small newspaper can have statewide impact.

 

The other story was our discovery, using open records laws, that the Poudre School District had decided not to notify parents when employees were charged with felonies involving student victims. Our reporting prompted change at both the state and local level.

Q: How will you live without the Colorado Rockies? [Moore's followers know he's a big sports fan.]

A: One of my great personal memories of my time back in Colorado was being able to go to every Rockies playoff game in 2007, including the play-in game against San Diego. That was a thrill. And I had tickets to Game 5 of the World Series. Of course, that never happened. I’ve now had tickets to two World Series games — Game 3 in 1989, which was the earthquake game, and Game 5 in 2007. Still haven’t seen a World Series game. And thanks to Josh McDaniels thinning out the waiting list for Broncos season tickets, I finally got season tickets this year. It’s hard to give those up.

Talking Points Memo connects Perry, Daniels, Paul Ryan, Coffman, and “Ponzi scheme”

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

In a Post titled, “It’s Alive! Despite GOP Warnings, Ponzi Scheme Meme Is Alive and Well on Capitol Hill,” Talking Points Memo’s Evan McMorris-Santoro reports today that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WIS) has joined Rep. Mike Coffman in saying, on the radio, that Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme.

He points out that “GOP superstar” Mitch Daniels told the New York Times that the phrase is not wrong but “too frank.”

McMorris-Santoro links to a Huffington Post piece by Jordan Howard quoting Ryan on the Laura Ingraham show today:

When asked by host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday whether the country’s social insurance program is a Ponzi scheme, Ryan replied, “That is how those schemes work.”

“So if you take a look at the technicality of Ponzi — I would — it’s not a criminal enterprise,” he said, according to a transcript. “But it is a pay-as-you-go system where … earlier investors or, say, taxpayers, get a positive rate of return and the most recent investors — or taxpayers — get a negative rate of return.”

Coffman didn’t explain last week on KNUS why he thinks Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, because KNUS host Steve Kelley failed to ask him about it.

A call to Coffman’s office yesterday for comment was not returned.

In response to BigMedia, infamous FEMA Director Brownie says he’s “proud” of his FEMA tenure

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

In a post last week, I asked why Denver talk-show host Michael Brown airs, during the intro to his KOA radio show, the audio clip of Bush saying, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a Job.”

I asked if Brownie was actually proud of the disastrous federal response to Hurricane Katrina. And I quoted a recent radio show during which Brownie essentially said that anyone who did not evacuate from New Orleans got what they deserved.

Ugly stuff, and I tried repeatedly to get Brownie’s answers to my questions, but he ignored me.

But, to his credit, Brownie addressed some of the issues I raised for the Huffington Post, in a piece published Monday. He wrote:

Salzman asks in his essay, “is [he] proud of his claim to fame?” Jason, it doesn’t make any difference whether I am proud of the President’s phrase or not. It will stick with me for the rest of my life, giving people like you ample opportunity to continue to “blame Bush” for the ills of the world, regardless of the occupant of the White House. I am proud of my time at Homeland Security and FEMA.

So, yes, he’s proud, I guess, but he did say he made mistakes.

Bownie also wrote:

Salzman wrote in typical hatred fashion: “sadly enough…[Michael Brown] is easily the most famous media figure in Colorado.”

Really? Says who? What does it matter? And if it is true, why is it sad? To progressives like Salzman it really isn’t “sad” that I might be the most famous media figure in Colorado – it gives them great pleasure for now they have a target on the conservative side of the aisle they can attack. It gives Jason Salzman something to write about that makes him feel superior, better than others, while pointing out how “sad” it is that I might be, at least in his mind, the most famous media figure in Colorado.

I have to admit that Brownie is partially right. I liked writing about the fact that Brownie plays the heck-of-a-job clip every night and verbally assaults Katrina victims on his show. I wish he didn’t do this, and it’s ugly, but I like airing it out.

If Brownie were right, and I enjoyed having famous evil right wingers around Colorado to beat up on, then he’d say I’d love to have Dick Cheney move here, to sell his book that attacks everyone he knows. God no.

To paraphrase Fiddler on the Roof, god bless Cheney and keep him, far away from us.

No, sorry Brownie. I wish you weren’t the most famous media figure in Colorado. I wish you’d stop playing the “heck of a job” audio on your radio show every night.

I wish Colorado’s most famous media figure was known for doing something great, not for being the enduring symbol for an avoidable human catastrophe within our own borders.

Politico’s Catanese wonders how many GOP candidates will fall in Coffman camp

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Politico’s David Catanese posts Coffman’s Ponzi-scheme comment and writes:

Even as recent as today, Democrats are attempting to link GOP candidates to Perry’s Social Security position, but it appears some are willing to openly embrace it without prodding.

Right now it’s mostly a talking point, but if Perry continues to gain steam towards the presidential nomination, House and Senate candidates will inevitably be pressed on whether they hold the same view as the sharp-tongued Texan.

The question is how many of them fall into the Coffman camp and how many are forced into verbal gymnastics to show separation without seeming disloyal to the nominee.

On radio, Coffman says Social Security is “obviously” a Ponzi scheme

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

On a Denver radio program, “Kelley and Company” Wed., Rep. Mike Coffman called Social Security a Ponzi scheme and aligned himself with Gov. Rick Perry over Mitt Romney and other candidates in the race to be the GOP presidential nominee.

That’s news, if you ask me, especially the Ponzi scheme part, but it has yet to be picked up by other media outlets. I think Social Security is a hot topic, being the third rail of politics and all, but journalists could spice up this angle on the topic by interviewing Ponzi scheme experts, like Bernie Madoff. (Maybe not him, but his ilk.) Do they think Social Security is a Ponzi scheme?

Here’s what Coffman told Steve Kelley, host of “Kelley and Company,” on KNUS-710 AM:

I am obviously going to support whoever the nominee is. But I have to admit to you philosophically I am closer to Perry. Obviously, I hope he gets better on the debate stuff. I think he did good. I think he did better on Social Security. I think obviously it is a Ponzi scheme, but he has to say he is going to fix it. And he did that in the last debate where he didn’t do that in the first debate. Now I think that was positive. [BigMedia emphasis]

Listen to the audio clip here:

The trouble with Coffman’s statement is, obviously, that Social Security isn’t a Ponzi scheme, and Kelley should have called him on this.

My online dictionary defines a Ponzi scheme as an “investment swindle in which supposed profits are paid to early investors from money actually invested by later participants.” Maybe that’s what Social Security sounds like to people who think government shouldn’t collect taxes and devise programs to help people, but if you’re not one of those people, you probably understand that Social Security is no swindle, but actually a successful government-run retirement system based on a funding formula that’s worked, with rational adjustments, for 76 years. It will continue to be a lifeline for many seniors for 25 more years with no changes at all. And with minor tweaks, it can be made to work indefinitely, as the LA Times pointed out Sunday in an editorial titled “Social Security Is No Ponzi Scheme.”

Why does Coffman think Social Security an investment swindle? Kelley should pose this question to Coffman next time he’s on his morning show. But it looks like Coffman is thinking less about Social Security and more about Rick Perry.

Coming before Thursday’s GOP presidential primary debate, Coffman may be illustrating that people (like him) believe in Perry so much that they’ll say that something (Social Security) is obviously something that it’s not (a Ponzi scheme) just to make it look normal for Perry to say it (when it’s not). And to help him connect with his core GOP audience.

Even while Gov. Mitt Romney has attacked Perry’s “Ponzi scheme” comments, he’s  on record supporting the George Bush plan for partial Social Security privatization and has been attacked by Perry for likening the funding mechanisms of the program to “criminal” activity.

This sentiment against Social Security, if not the same phrasing, was echoed by Perry supporters, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who agreed with the arguments Perry was making while stopping short of going the Full  Ponzi.

Further complicating the storyline for Romney are recent polling data showing that Republicans are just as likely to be attracted to Perry’s Ponzi Scheme message as they are to be turned away, and may in fact break his way in the context of a conservative primary electorate.

And just yesterday came reports in Politico that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, once a speculative candidate for president, came very close to the same wording in his upcoming book.

In Colorado Jane Norton did the same during her 2010 primary race against Ken Buck, but no one has resurrected this message at such a level in the presidential race.

In other words, the substance behind Rick Perry’s Ponzi scheme attack is in keeping with a broad range of Republican thinking. The question is whether his supporters will go once more into the Ponzi breach with him.

Coffman decided to do so.

Partial Transcript of KNUS morning radio program, “Kelley and Company,” Wed, Sept. 14, 2011.

KELLEY: Before we let you go, Congressman Coffman, the debate the other night I thought was excellent on CNN. It was a little more refined and a little opportunity to get a back and forth going. Of course Tim Pawlenty has backed Romney. Where do you stand right now, even 14 months out?

COFFMAN: I am obviously going to support whoever the nominee is. But I have to admit to you philosophically I am closer to Perry. Obviously, I hope he gets better on the debate stuff. I think he did good. I think he did better on Social Security. I think obviously it is a Ponzi scheme, but he has to say he is going to fix it. And he did that in the last debate where he didn’t do that in the first debate. Now I think that was positive. [BigMedia emphasis]

KELLEY: I see CNN really trying to blow up the HPV vaccination. The executive order he signed down in Texas. You don’t think that is going to haunt him?

COFFMAN: Not in the general election. I think it is certainly going to cost him some in the Republican primary. That is why I am interested in why CNN is weighing in on the issue. Because it is actually more a moderate position that he quite frankly took. I wouldn’t have done it. But that is probably more sympathetic with the general electorate than it is with a more conservative Republican primary voter.

KELLEY: With that, we thank you and will talk with you down the road, Congressman.

I’d hide, but Michael Brown plays Bush’s “heck-of-a-job” clip every day on KOA radio show

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

I don’t think too many people realize it, but Michael Brown is a regular weeknight talk-show host on Denver’s KOA radio.

That’s, Michael Brown of “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” fame. And Hurricane Katrina fame. That’s not a little bit of fame. It’s a lot.

I mean, he’s easily the most famous media figure in town, when you think about it. Maybe he’s even an historic figure, thanks to W.

But what do you do with fame like that, if you’re Michael Brown?

If I were in his shoes, I’d run from it and be thankful that “Michael Brown” is an utterly generic name that won’t immediately be associated with the phrase, “heck of a job.”

In other words, you could probably move on and avoid your past.

But Brownie acatually plays the clip of Bush delivering the heck-of-a-job line every time he opens his radio show on KOA–and after most commercial breaks. It’s part of his intro, as you can hear here.

It made me wonder, what’s up with Brownie? You recall he was apparently forced to resign in 2005 from his post as Director of FEMA, after the disastrous federal response to Katrina, which was probably the beginning of the end for Bush. In the wake of Katrina, Brown was exposed as a political appointee, without proper qualifications to head FEMA in the first place.

So, is Brownie proud of his claim to fame? Proud of his response and W’s to Katrina? And whether he’s proud or not, why remind people of Bush’s embarrassment by playing the Brownie line over and over again.

I emailed Brownie and got this response:

Brownie: Hello, Jason. I just returned from Seoul and will get you a non-jet lagged response tomorrow.

After he sent this promising response, I emailed him five times but he never got back to me.

But Brownie’s response to a caller Aug. 29 gives us a hint that he likes listening to the Bush quote every night becaue thinks he did indeed do a heck of a job at FEMA, and he blames the victims. At least that’s what this exchange would have you belive:

Caller: And Katrina, I was actually down there a day before, two days before it happened. I was going through when I was driving cross country. And I went back a week later, or a few days later. You know, it’s hard to feel sorry for people when they were told to leave.

Brown: Bingo! (laughs)

Caller: I just find it difficult, you know, you were told this was going to happen and you wanted to take a chance. Well, you took the chance, and you lost.

Brown: And you lost.

Caller: And why….

Brown: Exactly, you took the chance and you lost. Thanks for the call. I appreciate it.

GOP National Committee Chair says Perry is electable even if he’s against Social Security

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show is drifting rightward these days, as Silverman talks about registering as a Republican so the GOP will select an electable prez candidate in 2012.

But Silverman, who leans right but says he’s an independent, can’t convince GOP-talking-point-machine Caplis that Rick Perry is unelectable. Caplis seems warm to Perry and is keeping an open mind.

Silverman put his sharp questioning skills to work on this topic Sept. 9, when GOP National Committee Chair Reince Priebus was on the show. Silverman was hoping Priebus would agree with him that Perry’s views on Social Security make him look more like a loser.

But Pribus wouldn’t bite. He rejected Silverman’s assertion in this exchange.

Silverman: Mitt Romney went on our KHOW colleague Sean Hannity’s show today and said, “If we nominate someone who the Democrats can correctly characterize as being opposed to Social Security, we will be obliterated as a party.” Romney’s read Perry’s book, Fed Up. So did I. I watched that debate the other night. Didn’t Rick Perry make himself unelectable or at least start down that road.”

Priebus: No. You know, first of all, refereeing between the candidates, that’s a pretty dicey spot for me to be in, and I try not to do that.

Maybe he tries not to, but Priebus turned against Romney here by disagreeing with Silverman. He sided with Perry, who obviously thinks his position on Social Security will not obliterate him from being POTUS.