Monthly Archives: November 2012

REVEALED: The Horribly Skewed Internal Polling That Made Mitt Romney Think He Would Win

via Business Insider: 


Until the very end, Mitt Romney and his campaign believed he was going to win the election. The New Republic’s Noam Schieber details this morning why Romney’s team thought that: They had a set of very off-the-mark swing state internal polls that lined up to a Romney victory.

The two particularly brutal examples are from Colorado and New Hampshire, where Romney’s internal polling gave him at least a 3-point lead in each state. He lost each state by at least 5 points.

In New Hampshire, the Romney internal polls’ two-day average put him up 3.5 points on Obama. He lost the state in a blowout:


New Hampshire Obama Romney

Business Insider


In Colorado, it was much of the same story:


Colorado Obama Romney

Business Insider


These two states, combined with good Iowa polling and the assumption by the campaign that Romney would win Virginia and Florida, provided Romney with optimism going into Election Day.

So what happened? Schieber writes that the Romney campaign made some of the same flawed assumptions about the polls that turned out to be wrong:

Newhouse and some of his colleagues have said that the biggest flaw in their polling was the failure to predict the demographic composition of the electorate. Broadly speaking, the people who showed up to vote on November 6 were younger and less white than Team Romney anticipated, and far more Democratic as a result. “The Colorado Latino vote was extraordinarily challenging,” Newhouse told me. “As it was in Florida.”

Read the full New Republic story here >


Exclusive: The Internal Polls That Made Mitt Romney Think He’d Win

via The New Republic: 

It’s no secret that the Romney campaign believed it was headed for victory on Election Day. A handful of outlets havereported that Team Romney’s internal polling showed North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia moving safely into his column and that it put him ahead in a few other swing states. When combined with Ohio, where the internal polling had him close, Romney was on track to secure all the electoral votes he needed to win the White House. The confidence in these numbers was such thatRomney even passed on writing a concession speech, at least before the crotchety assignment-desk known as “reality” finally weighed in.

Less well-known, however, are the details of the polls that led Romney to believe he was so close to the presidency. Which other swing states did Romney believe he was leading in, and by how much? What did they tell him about where to spend his final hours of campaigning? Why was his team so sanguine about its own polling, even though it often parted company with the publicly available data? In an exclusive to The New Republic, a Romney aide has provided the campaign’s final internal polling numbers for six key states, along with additional breakdowns of the data, which the aide obtained from the campaign’s chief pollster, Neil Newhouse. Newhouse himself then discussed the numbers with TNR.

The numbers include internal polls conducted on Saturday, November 3, and Sunday, November 4, for Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, and New Hampshire. According to Newhouse, the campaign polled daily, then combined the results into two-day averages. The numbers for each day along with the averages are displayed in the chart below, followed by the actual result in each state:

The first thing you notice is that New Hampshire and Colorado are pretty far off the mark. In New Hampshire, the final internal polling average has Romney up 3.5 points, whereas he lost by 5.6. In Colorado, the final internal polling average has Romney up 2.5 points; he lost by 5.4. “I’m not sure what the answer is,” Newhouse told me, explaining that his polls were a lot more accurate in most of the other swing states. “The only ones we had that really seemed to be off were Colorado—a state that even Obama’s people tweeted they thought it was going to be one of their closest states—and the New Hampshire numbers, which seemed to bounce a lot during the campaign.”

This is mostly true, but not entirely. Set aside Florida and Virginia, for which I don’t have internal poll numbers, but which the campaign apparently believed it was poised to win. Among those I do have, the Iowa number is also questionable, showing the race tied even though Romney ended up losing by almost 6 points. If Romney’s internal polling number in Iowa was roughly accurate, it would imply that Obama won every single undecided voter in the state, something that’s highly unlikely. (Newhouse didn’t respond when I emailed him a follow-up question about Iowa.)

Together, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Iowa go most of the way toward explaining why the Romney campaign believed it was so well-positioned. When combined with North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia—the trio of states the Romney campaign assumed were largely in the bag—Romney would bank 267 electoral votes, only three shy of the magic number. Furthermore, according to Newhouse, the campaign’s final internal polls had Romney down a mere two points in Ohio—a state that would have put him comfortably over the top—and Team Romney generally believed it had momentum in the final few days of the race. (You see hints of this momentum when you compare the Saturday numbers in each state with the Sunday numbers. Romney gains in five out of the six states, though Newhouse cautions not to make too much of this since the numbers can bounce around wildly on any given day.) While none of this should have been grounds for the sublime optimism that leads you to eschew a concession speech—two points is stilla ton to make up in a state like Ohio in 48 hours—you see how the campaign might conclude that the pieces were falling into place.

Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota are also of interest. Although internal campaign numbers for these states are much closer to the actual results than they are in the other three states (and very close to the final public polls), they at the very least reflect a flaw in the campaign’s assumption that undecided voters would break Romney’s way. If the internal polls are correct, roughly 80 percent of undecided voters actually broke toward Obama.

That aside, the numbers also explain why Romney decided to visit Pennsylvania on Election Day rather than, say, Wisconsin (both states that could have put him over 270 electoral votes had he failed to win Ohio). Pennsylvania, in addition to being a state that neither candidate had spent much time or money in (meaning there would presumably be a higher return on a candidate visit there), actually looked more winnable for Romney than Wisconsin in the final hours of the race.

Newhouse and some of his colleagues have said that the biggest flaw in their polling was the failure to predict the demographic composition of the electorate. Broadly speaking, the people who showed up to vote on November 6 were younger and less white than Team Romney anticipated, and far more Democratic as a result. “The Colorado Latino vote was extraordinarily challenging,” Newhouse told me. “As it was in Florida.”

This point can be overstated. For example, New Hampshire and Iowa are both predominantly white states, and Obama won both whites and older voters in each of them. Likewise, whatever the challenges of polling Latinos, they were only 14 percent of the electorate in Colorado. It would be a stretch to say they explain most of the error in a Romney poll that was off by 8 percentage points overall in the state.

Still, the data I obtained did reveal symptoms of the “compositional” problem Newhouse cites. For example, Newhouse asked voters how interested they were in the election on a scale of 1 to 10, then kept track of how Romney was faring against Obama among those who were most interested (that is, the 8s, 9s, and 10s). In the chart below, I’ve displayed the final Obama-Romney margins for people who described themselves as 8-10s, along with those who described themselves as 10s:

What’s striking is how much better Romney does among those with the greatest interest in the campaign. If you look at Colorado and New Hampshire in particular, Romney is running up big margins among even the 8-10s, which Newhouse said routinely accounted for 80-90 percent of the sample in his internal polling. (In New Hampshire, the 8-10s represented 88 percent of the sample.) Newhouse said the reason the campaign broke out these numbers is that it helped them “try to gauge intensity.” But it also led them astray—it led them to assume that voter intensity was driving Romney’s leads. And it reflected a flaw in their polls. The people who told the campaign they were 8s, 9s, or 10s were a smaller share of the November 6 electorate than the 80-90 percent they accounted for in Romney’s polls–partly because Newhouse and his colleagues underestimated the number of young people, African Americans, and Latinos who wound up voting.

The second big problem with Romney’s internal polls has to do with the supposed momentum I alluded to earlier. Newhouse told me his numbers showed Romney stalling out around the time of Hurricane Sandy the week before the election, then recovering in the final few days of the race. “We thought we had in the last 72 hours of campaign … made up some ground from the challenging messaging period during the hurricane,” he said. It was the kind of momentum that could have made Ohio look doable even though Romney’s internal poll showed him down two points over the weekend. With the wind at their backs, even Pennsylvania may have seemed realistic with a three-point deficit Sunday night.

In some cases, the momentum appeared to be rather stark. Newhouse told me that the poll the campaign took in New Hampshire on Thursday, November 1, showed Romney down 45-48. On Sunday, it showed him up 50-43—a ten-point swing. New Hampshire turned out to be an especially volatile state, as Newhouse mentioned. And even without that, numbers often jump around arbitrarily on any given day. “You rule out any huge movement. It just doesn’t work that way,” said Newhouse. But, he conceded, “You begin to think maybe there is some movement” in the face of these kinds of numbers. “We had good earned media.” Indeed, even if you take two-day averages, Romney was down 1.5 points in New Hampshire after Thursday’s poll, according to Newhouse,but up 3.5 after Sunday’s poll—a five-point uptick from the post-Sandy low-point.

In retrospect, of course, there wasn’t any momentum to speak of, at least not toward Romney. How is it that Newhouse’s polls detected momentum nonetheless? One Democratic pollster I spoke with offered the following theory: During the final days of this campaign, only the most loyal partisans were picking up their phones when pollsters called—everyone else seemed to have had enough. (The pollster notes that this isn’t a general feature of campaigns; it just happened to be true of this one.) That would have exaggerated the influence of partisans generally. And if, on top of that, your poll already skewed toward Romney, then it would have amplified the Republican partisans even more than the Democratic ones and produced the appearance of momentum.

Newhouse rejected the theory when I suggested it. “There’s no evidence to indicate that’s true, that only partisans pick up the phone [late in the campaign],” he said, adding, “I’d argue we didn’t have much of a house effect [i.e., unexplained skew].” When pressed on why many of his final numbers showed an erroneous uptick for Romney, he offered that “it may be a function of Sunday polling”—a valid concern given that many pollsters are wary of polling on weekends.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Romney’s closest aides and confidants interpreted the numbers quite literally. One Romney aide told me that he ran into Tagg Romney, the candidate’s eldest son, as the results came in on election night. “He looked like he was in a complete state of shock,” the aide said. “[As if] these numbers cannot be real.”

A Huge Sinkhole Caused An Ohio Highway To Disappear Into The Ground

via Business Insider: 


The sudden opening of an enormous sinkhole caused a section of Highway 516 to collapse last night near Dover, Ohio.

About the size of four football fields, the sinkhole may have been created by dredging for sand 50 feet below ground, WKYC reported.

According to WKYC, Ohio Department of Transportation engineers are inspecting the sinkhole, and are likely to begin permanent repairs sometime in 2013. No injuries were reported.

Here’s footage of the damage:

Alec Baldwin Blasts NY Post As ‘Morally Bankrupt Trash’ After It Alleged He Had Affair

via Business Insider: 


Alec Baldwin really did not appreciate when New York Post writer Andrea Peyser wrote a column Thursday alleging the newlywed actor had an affair and called him a “bully-boy.” apple alec baldwin iphone

In the column “Drop it, Alec! Baldwin ‘Lover Gal’ Has Suffered Enough!’ Peyser writes Baldwin is a “bloviating psycho who seduce[s] small women and bash[es] puny photographers,” while defending his “busty Canadian cutie” alleged summer stalker, Genevieve Sabourin.

Peyser writes that Sabourin, who spoke to her exclusively, was not a stalker, just a scorned ex-fling: “She told me that when their romantic evening was done, after they’d gone to Central Park, to the theater, to dinner and to bed, the guy dumped her — with a text message!”

Baldwin hasn’t denied the fling, but is currently trying to keep Sabourine in jail on $5,000 bail for allegedly Twitter-stalking Baldwin and what Peyser writes is “his temporary wife,” Hilaria Thomas. Harsh.

Baldwin took to his Twitter to express how he felt about Peyser’s column.

“Everyone who breathes air knows the Post is the worst newspaper in human history … But shame on them for politicizing a criminal case … and shame on the morally bankrupt partisan trash Andrea Peyser, who demeans all women by inferring that a charge of criminal harassment is overkill when the defendant is a woman. The ‘lovesick’ defense.”

Baldwin has since deleted his series of tweets, but luckily The Hollywood Reporter caught them before they vanished:

Alec Baldwin vs. Andrea Peyser and NY Post


  1. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 1- You read some columnists in the newspapers, you have to wonder who they are really working for. You can see they have an agenda.
  2. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 2- when some1 is arrested + brought up on charges, the DA’s office functions as a state agency, and does not respond, like a concierge
  3. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 3- the DA decides if charges should be brought, if they believe a crime has been committed. You don’t call them and place an order.
  4. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 4- the New York Post would have you believe that certain people have the ability to direct the DA to do their private bidding.
  5. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 5- everyone who breathes air knows the Post is the worst newspaper in human history. But shame on them for politicizing a criminal case
  6. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 6- the Post insults the entire staff of the NY DA
  7. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 7-and shame on the morally bankrupt partisan trash Andrea Peyser, who demeans all women by inferring that ….
  8. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 8- a charge of criminal harassment is overkill when the defendant is a woman. The “lovesick” defense
  9. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 9-most women I know insist that women enjoy equal rights and inherit equal responsibilities in all things.
  10. ABFalecbaldwin
    Part 10- Peyser spits on the DA and all women in one, poorly written, ultimately unmemorable column.#dontbuythepost

10 Totally Gorgeous Fast Food Joints Around The World

via Business Insider:


Fast food restaurants have a somewhat unsavory reputation for being bland and predictable. The decor and architecture usually fail to impress and fall somewhere along the lines of boring and boxy. 

But some fast food giants are breaking the mold. Unusually-designed fast food restaurants have become a worldwide trend.

A Starbucks in Tukwila, Washington, sports a drive-thru built entirely from recycled shipping containers while a McDonald’s nestled in the mountains of Yangshuo, China hosts one of the world’s most splendid natural backdrops.

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most impressive places to enjoy your burgers and fries.


As part of a growing “green” initiative in retail, a Starbucks in Tukwila, Washington constructed its drive-thru entirely from used shipping supplies

Source: FlavorWire

A McDonald’s in Yangshuo, China sits in a mountain valley and overlooks a lake, guaranteeing diners an impeccable view of the natural landscape

Source: FlavorWire

Built in the early 70s, this Taco Bell in Pacifica, California overlooks the ocean and is a hotspot for the local surf crowd

Source: FlavorWire

This McDonald’s has taken up residence in an old train station in Budapest, Hungary

Source: FlavorWire

A Pizza Hut in Cairo, Egypt looks out over the Giza Pyramids, allowing frugal travelers to see the view without paying the park entrance fee

This Starbucks give the Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar in Shanghai, China which dates back to 1559, a contemporary flair

The Arby’s in Brooklyn, New York retains a truly historic character. The inside is decorated with working gas lights and brass chandeliers

Source: amNY

This Pizza Hut in Stratford-upon-Avon, England is one building in an entire neighborhood of black and white facades

The west end of this KFC in Keflavík, Iceland is sheer glass, which gives diners a stunning view out over the ocean

This Starbucks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is part of the “Persian Area” of the Ibn Battuta Mall


‘Gangnam Style’ Christmas [VIDEO]

via Daily Caller:

Move over, Clark Griswold, you’re so … 1989. This year, all the cool kids are decking out their houses “Gangnam Style.”

My sympathies if the owners of any of these homes are your neighbors.

Also, if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months and are unacquainted with Korean singer-songwriter PSY’s magnum opus, check it out here.


10. Perhaps the most basic display on the list, it still has a lot going for it. The three Christmas trees on the roof are the highlight here.

9. Tired of the original Gangnam Style? Remix time. Hipsters who find the original Gangnam too “mainstream,” this is for you.

4. This reindeer has dancing skills PSY himself would be proud of.


3. Hilarious lip syncing. They even include multiple faces and mouths for the Gangnam backup singers. Technically a Halloween display, but too cool not to include.


2. No gimmicks here. Just well timed flashes and a cool-as-ice color scheme. The effect of cutting all the lights at certain moments is particularly striking. Check out some local news coverage of this house here.


1. We go down under to Perth, Australia, for the house topping out the list. What’s so great about it? It combines what made so many of these other houses work into one neat and tidy package: cutting the lights for dramatic effect, synchronized face, cool colors. Also, the lights drawn along this sweet house’s straight edges give the display a sleek modern look.

Private business owner successfully blocks contraceptive mandate in ‘Obamacare’

via Catholic: 

O’Brien Industrial Holdings of St. Louis, which runs the Christy family of companies, has won a larger battle to preserve the firm’s religious integrity. The company is the first private business owner to successfully sue the Obama administration over its contraception mandate, setting a precedent for other faith-based businesses.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – A federal appeals court panel this week has temporarily blocked the “Obamacare” mandate from taking effect against the Missouri business owner, pending the outcome of the appeals process.

Frank O’Brien of O’Brien Industrial Holdings of St. Louis, which runs the Christy family of companies, says his religious beliefs guide the operation of his business. His firm employs 87 people.

On its Web site, the holding company says its mission “is to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society.” The holding company also operates Christy Catalytics, Christy Industrial Services, Christy Minerals Company, and the Christy Refractories Company.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted a motion for a preliminary injunction filed on behalf of the firm.

“By granting our motion, the appeals court blocks the implementation of the HHS mandate and clears the way for our lawsuit to continue – a significant victory for our client,” Francis Manion, Senior Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice says. The center sued on O’Brien’s behalf.

“The order sends a message that the religious beliefs of employers must be respected by the government. We have argued from the beginning that employers like Frank O’Brien must be able to operate their business in a manner consistent with their moral values, not the values of the government. We look forward to this case moving forward and securing the constitutional rights of our client.”

The temporary injunction issued this week is the first decision from an appeals court in the litigation challenging the Health and Human Services mandate, which requires employers to purchase health insurance for their employees that include coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

A federal district court judge granted the Obama Administration’s motion to dismiss O’Brien’s lawsuit in October. The ACLJ immediately filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, leading to the temporary order issued on Wednesday.

This is a highly significant development, as until O’Brien filed his lawsuit, only religious organizations or institutions had challenged the mandate.

In addition to the O’Brien case, the ACLJ has filed two other direct challenges to the HHS mandate and it has filed amicus briefs backing other challenges in more than a dozen pending cases.

NOT JUST APPLE: Samsung Under Fire For Allegedly Giving Employees 16-Hour Workdays, One Day Off Per Month

via Business Insider: 

SEOUL, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Samsung came under renewed criticism from a rights group on Tuesday for illegal work practices at its Chinese suppliers, a day after the South Korean electronics giant admitted excessive overtime and fines for employees in China.

china factory shenzhen foxconn

A number of foreign companies have been accused in recent years of improper labour practices in China, seen as a cheap source of labour for their production lines.

New York-based China Labor Watch (CLW) said employees at one of Samsung’s suppliers sometimes worked up to 16 hours a day, with only one day’s rest a month.

Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s largest maker of cell phones and televisions, said on Monday a review of 105 of its Chinese suppliers – involving more than 65,000 employees – found illegal work practices, but said the companies involved would be given two more years to change their ways.

The audit followed allegations by CLW in August that seven children younger than 16 were working in one of Samsung’s suppliers in China.

Samsung said the audit had found no evidence of child labour.

It did, however, concede several instances of inadequate practices, such as overtime hours in excess of legal regulations and the imposition of a system of fines for tardiness or absence.

“We have identified the need for initiatives to reduce employee overtime as a top priority, and we are researching and developing measures that will eliminate hours beyond legal limits by the end of 2014,” the company said in a statement.


China Labor Watch said on Tuesday a follow-up investigation found that workers usually work from three to six times the legal overtime limit.

“The worst situation is in a Samsung supplier factory called Chitwing Mould Industry (Dongguan) Co., Ltd, where workers’ overtime hours surpass 220 hours per month. Workers here can work up to 15 or 16 hours per day with perhaps one day of rest per month,” CLW said in a statement.

“Samsung uses an audit system to monitor factories, but audits are renowned for their lack of reliability. Instead of audits, Samsung should establish direct channels of communication with its workers, such as worker committees or a worker hotline.”

Samsung said on Tuesday hotlines were being set up for workers at supplier firms to report anonymously any inhumane treatment or violations of labour laws.

Samsung is reviewing 144 more suppliers in China and said the review would be completed by the end of this year.

The firm also said that from 2013 audits of its 249 suppliers in China would be conducted by an independent third party.

The move reflects a growing attention on work practices in China by foreign multinationals including Apple.

Apple Inc and its main contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, whose subsidiary Hon Hai Precision Industry assembles Apple devices in China, earlier this year agreed to tackle violations of conditions among the 1.2 million workers assembling iPhones and iPads. That landmark decision could change the way Western companies do business in China.


An Eccentric Ad Man Loses His Helicopter to the Feds

via Phoenix New Times:


Bill Stokely is explaining a few things about chopper envy.

Behind bars: A Robinson R44 'copter, like the one seized from Bill Stokely.

The 69-year-old Oklahoma ad man lives in the posh Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff half the year, his hometown of Tulsathe other half. Billboards are the main business of Stokely Outdoor Advertising, the company he and his wife started in 1978. The family also owns the Stokely Event Center in Tulsa, which is rented out for weddings and other midsize events.

“When you have a helicopter, there’s a certain amount of jealousy,” Stokely says, after New Times reaches him by phone at his Tulsa office. “It’s human nature.”

Jealousy isn’t responsible for Stokely’s legal troubles involving his helicopter, and Stokely’s not exactly saying it is. But he’s acutely aware of how an un-helicoptering public might perceive his hobby — especially now, when his quarter-million-dollar toy is seized and he faces felony charges alleging he flouted federal air rules.

Though he admits he has no excuse for flying without a pilot’s license, he maintains that his troubles are rooted in misunderstanding.

The problem began on October 12, 2011, when a report about a suspicious pilot came into the Flagstaff office of the U.S. Department of Homeland SecurityInvestigations.

A man had been seen on numerous occasions filling five-gallon fuel containers at the Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport, loading them into a Robinson R44 helicopter and stashing them around the forests near Flagstaff and Winslow. Agents began a probe immediately.

As Stokely explains it, a user of the Winslow airport saw him taking the gas cans, and “his imagination ran away from him,” leading the man to make the report to the government.

In fact, the stashing of fuel containers was innocent behavior: It allowed Stokely to visit more of the Arizona hideaways he loved without worrying about whether he’d make it back to the airport.

“Very few people have the luxury of exploring the desert” like a helicopter owner can, he says. “You can check out caves. You get to fish places nobody else can get to.”

He also uses his chopper for business and charity, taking advertising clients in Tulsa or schoolkids in Arizona for rides.

Stokely says he’s one of the most experienced helicopter pilots in the country, having logged more than 13,000 hours in the air. The R44 is his sixth helicopter.

If he were to run low on fuel, he’d use his GPS to find the coordinates of one of the fuel-containers he’d hidden.

“I’ve got gas stations all over the desert,” he says with a chuckle.

Homeland Security agents soon learned that the pilot wasn’t engaged in anything sinister — like drug-dealing or terrorism — only harmless fishing and exploring.

Though their initial fear proved unfounded, agents discovered that the Federal Aviation Administration had denied Stokely’s medical certificate in March 2011; he wasn’t allowed to fly until he got it reinstated. Doctors believed he might be suffering from dementia (though Stokely sounded entirely lucid when New Times interviewed him).

Even worse, agents saw something that disturbed them when they visited Flagstaff’s Pulliam Airport on October 17, 2011, to view Stokely’s helicopter: The R44’s official tail number, N7513Q, had been altered with a piece of black tape, making the “Q” look like an “O.” No aircraft was registered under the altered number.

The next day, investigators watched as an “unidentified elderly man” — apparently Stokely — performed “some of type of work” on the chopper’s tail, court records state. A day later, agents saw that the R44’s tail number had been changed back to its registered number, and Stokely took off in the chopper with two other men. The airport’s operation manager told agents that Stokely had informed Pulliam he’d be flying to Tulsa that day, with stops inNevada and Utah.

The agents took the information to a grand jury, which on May 30, 2012, indicted Stokely for displaying a false or misleading registration on an aircraft and piloting the helicopter without a valid airman’s certification.

But the feds needed a stronger case. Stokely’s son, also a trained pilot, was next to Stokely in the chopper and could have been the pilot for the October 19, 2011, flight. According to Stokely, the U.S. Attorney’s Office never told him about either the grand jury indictment or a subsequent arrest warrant.

Indeed, instead of arresting Stokely, agents conducted surveillance at the Flagstaff airport to see if they could catch him flying. On July 30, 2012, they saw Stokely roll up in his blueBMW, climb into the pilot’s seat of the helicopter, lift off the tarmac, and fly away to the southwest.

A few minutes later, Stokely received a call over his radio from the flight tower. The controller told him someone had crashed into his parked car, that the police had arrived, and that Stokely needed to land immediately.

Stokely says he was “skeptical” but landed anyway. As he approached his BMW, which was still in good shape, six agents “popped up” and yelled that Stokely was under arrest. An agent handcuffed the businessman behind his back, and when Stokely complained, he says the guy told him, “It’s not supposed to feel good.”

He spent 34 hours behind bars until he was processed and released. His trial has been postponed until next month, but he’s hoping that prosecutors cut him a deal. He’d gladly give up the helicopter to stay out of jail, he says.

Stokely denies that he altered his tail number. He says he puts tape over the numbers to make them easier to clean after they’ve been dirtied by the helicopter’s black exhaust smoke. After a flight, he’d strip off the tape to reveal the clean numbers — but on the day the agents observed him, he forgot to take off the little piece that covered part of the “Q.”

“It was an accident,” he maintains.

He claims he never flew the R44 himself after his pilot’s license was revoked, saying, on July 30, his intention had been only to take a 10-minute flight to ensure the vehicle was performing perfectly before his son was scheduled to fly it to Tulsa. Finally, Stokely also denies he has dementia, chalking up his failures to convince FAA doctors that he was flight-worthy to nervousness and poor math skills. On the contrary, he says, he’s in great shape and “very few men can stay with me mentally or physically.”

Stokely first says the FAA medical exam was triggered by complaints that he buzzed the Forest Highlands country club with his helicopter. A Forest Highlands resident interviewed by New Times says several people complained to the club after Stokely flew about 50 feet over the driving range and performed a 360-degree turning maneuver.

But Stokely calls back later to say he’d gotten his timelines wrong — the FAA medical check was routine and had nothing to do with the overflight.

“I got past the golf-course issue,” he says.

Reid Pixler, an assistant U.S. Attorney handling the forfeiture of Stokely’s helicopter, says government seizure of an aircraft is not unusual in cases that allege altering a tail number, though he agrees most such cases involve “international drug-dealing.” Still, Pixler says, after going through the facts in the Stokely case, he believes it’s “appropriate” that Stokely forfeit his helicopter.

Whatever Stokely’s upcoming punishment, he doesn’t plan for it to end his flying career.

“I have used up six helicopters in my lifetime,” he says. “I’m sure that, in the future, there will be a number seven or number eight.”


via The Blaze:


Editor’s note: We discussed this story and all the day’s news on our live BlazeCast, featured below:

(Editor’s note: The video above features Beck’s radio segment from Wednesday morning, discussing the eBay incident.)

The popular online auction site eBay has yanked a piece of artwork done by Glenn Beck citing its belief that the project featured an Obama figurine floating in actual urine (it was not, however).Bids can now be emailed in the subject line to the following email address set up by Beck:


(Related: Liberals Goes Berserk Over Beck’s ‘Obama in Pee Pee,’ Hurl Expletives at Beck)

On Tuesday evening, Glenn Beck featured an Obama bobble head doll in a jar of yellow liquid, catalyzed by Michael D’Anouto’s painting titled, “Truth,” which features a crucified Obama and also parodies the controversial “artwork” dubbed “Piss Christ” that defaced a crucifix in a glass of urine.

Beck’s piece was meant to underscore the importance of adhering to the First Amendment and highlight the hypocrisy of those who adhere to it only when it suits them. Often, members of the Left will rail against the disparaging of figures they hold dear, but do not hold themselves to the same standard when disparaging figures others hold dear.

Ebay Yanks Glenn Becks Obama in Pee Pee Art Project

(Photo source: The Examiner)

Beck was auctioning the jar, complete with the Obama doll, on the auction site, with all the proceeds set to go to  Beck’s Mercury One charity. At the last entry its bid was up to $11,300. On Wednesday morning, however, eBay removed the auction page.


Below is the letter eBay sent to Beck’s charity eBay page:

Dear mercury1charity

We recently removed the following listing:

221159812533 – Obama in Pee Pee

We removed it because including this information in the description is a violation of our policy:

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For reference, below is Beck’s Tuesday evening segment in which he unveils his “artwork”:

Beck’s piece was spawned by a painting (which was covered by TheBlaze on Monday) that depicts Barack Obama as Jesus Christ crucified, adorned with a crown of thorns. The work, entitled “Truth,” was created by Michael D’Antuono, who said that his “First Amendment rights should override someone’s hurt feelings” and that “we should celebrate the fact that we live in a country where we are given the freedom to express ourselves.”

After receiving roughly 4,000 angry emails over the painting, D’Antuono also said he respects “their right to express themselves” and hopes they will afford him the same.

With this in mind, Beck chose to “express himself,” during his Tuesday evening broadcast by featuring a piece of artwork of his own creation. It was meant to highlight the hypocrisy of the left.

Tune in to The Glenn Beck Program Wednesday evening at 5:00 p.m. ET where D’Antuono will actually come into the studio to discuss his piece (along with the subsequent controversy) with Beck. 


Veteran abandoned in Oakland jail with a ruptured spleen, lawsuit claims


via Raw Story: 


Veteran abandoned in Oakland jail with a ruptured spleen, lawsuit claims

A war veteran who claims he was falsely arrested, beaten, and almost died due to neglect in an Oakland prison has launched legal action against the jail, claiming his pleas for help were ignored.

Kayvan Sabeghi, 33, was arrested during an Occupy rally in Oakland, California, in November last year. Video footage shows him being beaten with batons and he suffered a lacerated spleen which his attorney Dan Siegel says almost killed him after he was left without treatment for 18 hours in prison.

Siegel estimated damages in the case will be upwards of $1m but said his main aim was to change the practices at the jail. “The greater concern that he has is that there be some changes at the jail. It’s a big problem that the county has privatised health services in a public jail and that the company that’s doing it is more concerned about making money than providing quality care.”


A private company, Corizon, is hired by the prison authorities to take care of the medical needs of prisoners at Glenn Dyer. Corizon is named as one of the defendants in the suit, along with the county of Alameda, Sheriff Gregory Ahern and an officer at the county sheriff’s office.

On arrival at the prison Sabeghi told medical officers that he had been beaten by police and he offered to show them his injuries.

Corizon staff are accused of refusing to look at Sabeghi’s injuries.

The suit claims that his condition deteriorated and that despite showing severe distress and vomiting, Sabeghi did not receive treatment for 18 hours and was mocked by prison guards who dismissed his suffering as heroin withdrawal symptoms. It further claims that one officer filmed Sabeghi as he lay on the floor in agony and vomiting.

By the time his friends posted his bail, at 2pm the following day, he was so ill he could not lift himself from the concrete floor of his cell. Four hours later his friends came to the prison to get him out and an ambulance was called.

“There are a lot of people taken to jail who have substantial medical problems,” said Siegel. “There are a lot of people with drug and alcohol problems and they need to be adequately cared for … When you have guards who ridicule people with health problems, that’s a setup for failure. Maybe there are some who exaggerate their symptoms but I think they should all be checked out and if someone continues to complain, they should be given the benefit of the doubt. At least get a doctor.”


The suit further claims that a medical staffer did take Sabeghi’s blood pressure but reported, wrongly, that he was a diabetic and alcoholic and sought no further treatment for him.

But the authorities in Oakland have rejected the claims. Sgt JD Nelson, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, denied any mistreatment and insisted video footage would show officers promptly assisting Sabeghi and arranging an examination. “As his condition worsened, we got an ambulance there,” Nelson said.

Yet Siegel responded that it was clear to other prisoners that Sabeghi was in genuine distress and they asked guards to get help but were ignored.

He added: “Contrary to what the sheriff department’s spokesperson said, it was not the case that they responded with any urgency. They only took it seriously when his friends bailed him out and he was unable to leave.

“He came close to dying. His doctors said so. He had a ruptured spleen and he was bleeding internally, which is why he got progressively weaker.”

Sabeghi served tours as a ranger in Afghanistan and Iraq and is no longer in the army. On his return to civilian life he ran a bar in Oakland for a time but has since given that up.

He has said he was not participating in the Occupy rally the day he was arrested, but merely trying to get home when he was confronted by police in riot gear. When he refused to change direction he was beaten.

Video footage posted on YouTube shows him receiving a number of blows with police batons before being arrested. He was not charged with any crime.