Saturday, May 31, 2008

An IKEA disconnect

Mrs. Gekko and I made a pilgrimage to the yuppie Mecca today, IKEA.

IKEA is every liberal's dream consumption, buy lots of cheap crap made in China, India, Turkey, Vietnam without any of the guilt.

Of course, just like a liberal, the store is full of signs telling you how to shop, were to go, why you need to throw out your crap at the cafeteria, how to flush the toilet (Seriously. if you do a number one pull the handle up; number two, down).

But Gordon, it's the perfect place to purchase materials for a minimalist existence.

Is that right? Well, if you really want a minimalist existence, you'd by all of your house wares at the local Goodwill or thrift store. Nothing says minimal like recycling.

I'm still trying to figure out how it is that if you buy cheap crap at Walmart you are the anti Christ, but if you buy the same cheap crap from IKEA, you're a "minimalist".

Dems deal

So let me make sure I've got this right.

We don't want to disenfranchise the voters of Florida and Michigan but we're only going to count one half of the delegates from those particular states. Huh?

This is the worst kind of cop out around. Either you follow the rules and deal out the penalty that comes with breaking the rules or you allow all of the delegates.

So like the constitution where slaves counted as 3/5ths of a person, the democrats determined that a person who legitimately in Florida and Michigan is only 1/2 of a citizen simply for living in that state!!!!!!

Are you kidding me?

If you ever wondered why "progressives" can't be trusted to run public institutions you need look no further than this debacle. Break the rules. No problem, we're going to bend the rules to get the outcome we want.

In this case, an affirmative action candidate.

If you are one of those bra burnin', birkenstock wearin', babes, you can now see where you stack up on the affirmative action food chain of the democratic party.


Charles Krauthammer on envirofascism.

HT Bizzyblog
I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier. I'm a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can't be very good to pump lots of CO2into the atmosphere but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

Predictions of catastrophe depend on models. Models depend on assumptions about complex planetary systems -- from ocean currents to cloud formation -- that no one fully understands. Which is why the models are inherently flawed and forever changing. The doomsday scenarios posit a cascade of events, each with a certain probability. The multiple improbability of their simultaneous occurrence renders all such predictions entirely speculative.

Yet on the basis of this speculation, environmental activists, attended by compliant scientists and opportunistic politicians, are advocating radical economic and social regulation. "The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity," warns Czech President Vaclav Klaus, "is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism."

If you doubt the arrogance, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue.

Amen brother.....

By the way, the score to my global warming challenge .

Warm - 145; Cool - 174.

You are who you associate with

If you haven't watched this by now, here's a clip of Catholic priest Father Pfleger's racist rant against The Billary.

After reading all the pundits, I'm disappointed that many miss the larger point of this whole dust up.

That is...... You are who you associate with.

Think about it. Do you think Pfleger delivered this tirade to his Catholic parishioners? I'm guessing not.

Instead he delivered it to TUCC, Obamania's church. Watching this video, does it appear that the members are shocked with the language and content as they are standing up and cheering him on? I don't think so.

Instead, from the introduction on, it appears that this sermon was particularly common place for this church....... Obamania's church.

Instead, this sermon falls right in line with rhymin' reverend Wright's race rants, common place for this church, Obamania's church.

Now if you've been around old Gordon long enough, you've heard me say many a time, if you can't change the people around you; change the people around you.

What does that mean?

It means we all end up hanging around with people who share many of our same values. If you have a drug addiction, you are probably hanging around people with drugs addictions. If you are a good family man, you are probably surrounded with good family men.

But let's say you've just filed bankruptcy and you've decided that you hang around too many people who have a bad relationship with money. You have two options. First, you can use your experience to help those learn from your mistakes. But often, those people don't want to hear the news. If that's the case, you need to dump those people for your own personal health.

Which brings us to Obamania, if you are truly the transracial candidate, how is it that you've not been able to enlighten so many people that surround your life? What does that say about your leadership skills?

But more importantly, how is it that so many anti American, racial huckster, marxist, types continue to support your candidacy?

I can guarantee if William Ayres entered my office, he would be leaving with a kick in the balls, not holding a fund raiser for me.

At the same time, I'm guessing Obamania's not going to throw $100,000 in state money to a charity I support like they did Pfleger.

So what is it Obamania? Are you a horrible leader or are you just surrounded by those people who find that you represent their values? I think either of those options make you disqualified to lead the US.

Let's look at it another way. If Obamania told me to have my people call his people, would my friends call Louis Farakhan or Bill Ayres? No thanks.

Classic Steyn

Sexism in the democratic party?
Democratic women are feeling metaphorically battered by the Obama campaign. "Healing The Wounds Of Democrats' Sexism," as the Boston Globe headline put it, will not be easy. Geraldine Ferraro is among many prominent Democrat ladies putting up their own money for a study from the Shorenstein Center at Harvard to determine whether Sen. Clinton's presidential hopes fell victim to party and media sexism.

How else to explain why their gal got clobbered by a pretty boy with a resume you could print on the back of his driver's license, a Rolodex apparently limited to neosegregationist race-baiters, campus Marxist terrorists and indicted fraudsters, and a rhetorical surefootedness that makes Dan Quayle look like Socrates.

"On this Memorial Day," said Barack Obama last Monday, "as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes – and I see many of them in the audience here today."

Hey, why not? In Obama's Cook County, Ill., many fallen heroes from the Spanish-American War still show up in the voting booths come November. It's not unreasonable for some of them to turn up at an Obama campaign rally, too.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Young Hillary Clinton

How to save 10% on gasoline

I came up with a unique way to drop 10% off of the price of gasoline.

Right now many of the larger chain grocery stores (Meijer & Kroger) are offering to add 10% on a gift card with your government bribery, I mean, stimulus, check.

Simply purchase a card for $300 or $600 (roughly the price of an SUV refill) and the store will ad $30 or $60 on top of that. Then simply use that card at the gas stations of those stores.

Stay tuned for your latest in consumer savings tips.

Obamania Gaffes

Where have we heard that before?

SUSAN SARANDON, who appeared in three films last year and won kudos for her TV movie "Bernard and Doris," is still not a contented soul. She says if John McCain gets elected, she will move to Italy or Canada. She adds, "It's a critical time, but I have faith in the American people."

If we could just get one of these stars to actually follow though it would be a good day. What I don't get. These people want to turn the US into France. The best part of this country, if you want to expatriate to France... No one's going to hold you back.

Wait until they have your medical records

An Internal Revenue Service tax examiner in Northern Kentucky was arrested Thursday on charges that he illegally looked up the personal information of nearly 200 celebrities and professional athletes.

The victims include Hollywood stars such as Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Sally Field, Vanna White of "Wheel of Fortune" fame and the late Eddie Albert of the classic sitcom "Green Acres."

The athletes include tennis champion Steffi Graf, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs players, and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.

The tax examiner, John Snyder, is accused of looking up confidential information of 197 celebrities, one neighbor and four publishers over the past five years, according to an affidavit signed by Special Agent Daniel Carney of the office of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Snyder was caught when authorities audited who was accessing personal and tax information stored on a federal database called the Integrated Data Retrieval Systems, according to the affidavit.


Mad Tv - Public School House Rock - Nouns

Friday Funny

Schoolhouse Rock- How a Bill Becomes a Law

In place of a Friday Funny, I feel the need to provide the public with a civics lesson they didn't seem to get in public schools.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Affirmative action candidate

Democrats are going to get a feel for how affirmative action works in real life.

The fact is, Obamania is a weak candidate; staggering across the DNC finish line.

The Billary keeps working out all kinds of Mary Lou Retton contortions to weasel her way into the nomination by counting Florida & Michigan. The democrats have no one to blame but themselves.

Why? All this could be diverted if the super delegates simply all declared for Obamania. By my count, even if you concede all the Mi and FL delegates to The Billary, moving all of The Billary's supers over to Obamamia gives him a majority anyway. Then you can take your roll call, give Obamania the nomination, and go out for cocktails with all the hookers in Denver.

But the supers won't declare for Obamania. Why? All these Obamania fans are quick to criticize The Billary for staying in the race but why should she get out? If the supers are not willing to commit and save the party from a nightmare, why should she do their dirty work for them?

Howard Dean is setting up some big saving face, pow wow where they can work out an agreement on Michigan and Florida. Basically, pretending to count the votes for The Billary while giving Obamania the nomination.

The bottom line, the democrats are going to nominate Obamania. There's no way around it. If you thought the rhymin' reverends (Wright, Sharpton, Jackson) hated white people before, wait until you take away that nomination.

So now they're stuck between a candidate that can't get the job done and a candidate that can't get the job.

The bottom line, it sounds just like a college admissions office.

What is this picture?

You're probably guessing a lot in Tel Aviv after a hezbollah rocket? Nope.

The aftermath of a Baghdad car bomb? Negative.

The future home to a casino in Gary Indiana? Close but not quite.

This is a commercial real estate development managed by "progressives". In this case, the University of Cincinnati. That same University who just extracted 10's of millions of dollars from the state to build new buildings on campus.

The University didn't like the eyesores of old bars and run down fast food joints that adorned Calhoun St. So they purchased all this property and started razing the buildings. This has been going on for the past ten years now and here's what we have all along the street. Looks like a big time improvement doesn't it?

By the way, the University is absorbing losses of 10's of millions while this development sits. Those same tens of millions that could have built those buildings on campus. But hey it's just not as much fun if you can't bilk the Ohio taxpayer's for the money.

How do I get these guys to do that landscape at my place? Maybe they can get the architecture students there to come up with a way to make rubble look like... well.... anything.

Don't it make my Blue State.... Bluer?

It's no fun to kick a state when it's down? It is when it's Michigan. From the WSJ.
It's no fun to kick a state when it's down – especially when the local politicians are doing a fine job of it – but the latest news of Michigan's deepening budget woe is a national warning of what happens when you raise taxes in a weak economy.

Officials in Lansing reported this month that the state faces a revenue shortfall between $350 million and $550 million next budget year. This is a major embarrassment for Governor Jennifer Granholm, the second-term Democrat who shut down the state government last year until the Legislature approved Michigan's biggest tax hike in a generation. Her tax plan raised the state income tax rate to 4.35% from 3.9%, and increased the state's tax on gross business receipts by 22%. Ms. Granholm argued that these new taxes would raise some $1.3 billion in new revenue that could be "invested" in social spending and new businesses and lead to a Michigan renaissance.

Not quite. Six months later one-third of the expected revenues have vanished as the state's economy continues to struggle. Income tax collections are falling behind estimates, as are property tax receipts and those from the state's transaction tax on home sales. Michigan is now in the 18th month of a state-wide recession, and the unemployment rate of 6.9% remains far above the national rate of 5%.

You know what the Guv outta consider. How about some more tax increases? That ought to fix things right up.

Hat Tip TaxProf.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Communist Candidate

From Accuracy in Media
Senator McCain’s communist connections consist of bombing the communists during the Vietnam War and then being shot down, badly injured, captured, and tortured by them. On the other hand, Senator Barack Obama was mentored by an identified Communist Party member in Hawaii who had functioned as a Stalinist agent. That was before Obama developed cordial relationships with communist terrorists who openly supported the communist regime that tortured McCain and killed 58,000 of our fellow Americans.

Can we have some coverage of the contrast between the two candidates on Memorial Day? It’s not just a matter of McCain serving in the military and Obama not doing so. It’s a matter of which side they were on.

McCain was on the American side during the Vietnam War. He personally risked his life and carried out the U.S. policy of resisting the communist military conquest of South Vietnam. Obama had friendly associations with those who had been on the other side and they helped launch his political career in Chicago. Obama can’t solve this problem by occasionally wearing an American flag lapel pin.

McClellan finally speaks

If Scott McClellan's comments about the Bush administration are true, why did continue employment with the White House?

How could anyone with a conscience work for someone over 7 years and have these beliefs?

If he had any balls about any of this he should have resigned in protest. Instead he just continued his job. If McClellan's allegations are true, it probably says more about him than the Bushies. I think testically challenged is a good description.

Dear John

Dear John

I just received this email from you.
Dear Gordon,

Our Party needs to pull together, and we need to do it now.

Never in memory have the Democrats, liberal special interests groups, labor unions and unregulated "527" soft-money groups come together with so much money and so much determination toward one purpose: Defeating Republicans.......

John buddy, let me be the bearer of bad news.

First, these 527's you speak of were a direct result of a law that bears your name. Remember McCain-Feingold?

Second, for the past decade or so, I haven't received one damn email from you; not that I really want to hear from anyone associated the GOP. But for years you've made it perfectly clear that you really didn't want input from conservatives within the GOP. If you had talked to some conservatives, maybe this whole 527 mess would never have occurred.

Third, this email is like hearing from an old girl friend who dumped me 20 years ago and recently found out that I hit the lottery; all of a sudden she realizes she made a mistake? I need a shower just thinking about it.

Fourth, now you're running for president and you're thinking "wow I could use those conservatives right now". Well if you hadn't decided to piss all over us with your McCain-Feingold, immigration stance, gang of 14 nonsense maybe we conservatives would be more than willing to kick in to your campaign. Maybe...... even be willing to vote for you.

As it is, I'm not all that warm to your campaign. It's not so much that you took a vote against my conservative principles, but felt the need to insult and ridicule those principles on your way to your vote and a Newsweek cover.

And now you want my support?

Look, come November, I may punch your name on my ballot, only because the thought of people like Jane Fonda running this country makes my skin crawl.

But don't come around pretending your all buddy buddy with me just because we have a mutual hatred for socialists.

Now excuse me while I go delete your email.

Bring on The Goracle

You have to love some of the leaders countries that made up the old eastern Europe communist bloc such as Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic.

These leaders have respect for all the problems created by the communist state because they lived it.

Here's an excerpt of a speech yesterday by Klaus taking on global warming nut Al Gore.
My deep frustration has been exponentially growing in recent years by witnessing the fact that almost everything has already been said, that all rational arguments have been used and that global warming alarmism is still marching on. It could be even true that "We are now at the stage where mere facts, reason, and truth are powerless in the face of the global warming propaganda" (R. McKittrick, private correspondence).

We are regretfully behind it. The whole process is already in the hands of those who are not interested in rational ideas and arguments. It is in the hands of climatologists and other related scientists who are highly motivated to look in one direction only because a large number of academic careers has evolved around the idea of man-made global warming. It is, further, in the hands of politicians who maximize the number of votes they seek to get from the electorate. It is also - as a consequence of political decisions - in the hands of bureaucrats of national and more often of international institutions who try to maximize their budgets and years of careers as well regardless the costs, truth and rationality. It is in the hands of rent-seeking businesspeople who are - given the existing policies - interested in the amount of subsidies they are receiving and look for all possible ways to escape the for them often merciless, but for the rest of us very positive, general welfare enhancing functioning of free markets. An entire industry has developed around the funds the firms are getting from the government.

The basic questions of the current climate change debate are sufficiently known and well-structured:

1) Do we live in an era of a statistically significant, non-accidental and noncyclical climate change?

2) If so, is it dominantly man-made?

3) If so, should such a moderate temperature increase bother us more than many other pressing problems we face and should it receive our extraordinary attention?

4) If we want to change the climate, can it be done? Are current attempts to do so the best allocation of our scarce resources?

My answer to all these questions is NO, but with a difference in emphasis. I don't aspire to measure the global temperature, nor to estimate the importance of factors which make it. This is not the area of my comparative advantages. But to argue, as it's done by many contemporary environmentalists, that these questions have already been answered with a consensual "yes" and that there is an unchallenged scientific consensus about this is unjustified. It is also morally and intellectually deceptive.

Awesome dude.

Best Bars in America

Esquire magazine has it's list of the 100 best bars in America.

Five Ohio bars grace the list.

Now I've been to the Surly Girl in Columbus and it's a nice place, but one of the top five in Ohio? Homey don't play that. In fact, there are probably five-ten bars in Cincinnati alone I would put in front of that place.

City View Tavern - Mt. Adams
The Blind Lemon - Mt. Adams
Habits Cafe - Oakley
Mt. Adam's Bar & Grill - Mt. Adams
Arnold's - Downtown
Arthur's - Hyde Park
Arlin's - Clifton
The Comet - Northside
Northside Tavern - Northside
Cock and Bull - Covington

Man, maybe I spend too much time in bars.

Is he the one they've been waiting for?

A really neat piece at NRO On line regarding the Marxist extremists who have found their Neo (a Matrix reference) in Obamania.

Is Barack the one we have been waiting for? Or is it the other way around? Are we the people we have been waiting for? Barack Obama is giving voice and space to an awakening beyond his wildest expectations, a social force that may lead him far beyond his modest policy agenda.

Tom Hayden, endorsing the Obama Movement

For a Boomer like me, following the threads of the Obama movement is like a flashback from a bad 60s drug trip — an old, unwelcome nightmare.

Whether it’s Billy Ayers or Bernadine Dohrn, Tom Hayden or Jane Fonda, or any of the other lesser-knowns, 60s Marxist radicals are lining up behind Obama.

Obama’s young worshippers think they see something altogether new, a unique persona, seemingly magically transported to this moment in history to help them finally be the ones to net the elusive butterfly of socialism’s never-realized promise.

The kids think they see something new. But do they?

Sixties’ radicals see their as yet unfulfilled yearning for socialist utopia in a well-groomed, glittery, establishment-approved package.

The college kids today, flocking to Obama rallies, don’t look much like we did, with our tie-dyed shirts and frayed bellbottoms, our waist-length hair or wild Afros. And they seem to see Obama as the antithesis of 60s’ madness, with a been-there-done-that-want-something-new kind of thirst, a quest for which youth has always been known.

Obama is clean-cut. He talks unity, not subversion. He promises equal outcomes without resorting to violence to get them. He endorses marriage and fidelity for himself, without condeming other lifestyle choices. He speaks in highbrow English, rather than the 60s revolutionary slogans:
Kill the Pigs
Smash Monogamy
Violence is as American as cherry pie
If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down

Obama’s followers make high-tech videos, mindlessly chanting, “Yes, we can” instead of making bombs to blow up government buildings, or holding up armored trucks and killing police officers.

This new generation seems to have the opportunity to do now with mere votes what their predecessors tried and failed to do through violence. We can finally seal the deal on the real revolution — democratically. Obama, the Closer, is at hand.

Evidenced by his list of supporters, from Ayers Dohrn, Hayden and Fonda, to the New Black Panthers, the New SDS, the New Winter Soldiers, et al., the radical Left has anointed Obama as the One. Every aging, anti-war, anti-capitalist group and their new offshoots are flocking around Obama like moths to a flame.

Shine some sunlight

Yesterday, I ran across this organization, named the Sunlight Foundation, who scans all 535 congress people and senator's financial disclosure statements* and notes the changes in their net worth from the time our public servants took office to present day.

Take someone we all know and love like our own George Rinovich. Curious George started in the senate with a net worth of 1.3 million and now has a net worth of 2.0 million (the data is adjusted for inflation).

You can break down the information lots of different ways.

One thing of note, 7 of the top ten wealthiest are democrats; led by Jane Harman at $409 million (interesting that her net worth has grown from 241 million since she took her congressional job in 2000). The bottom ten are nearly all democrats; an obvious case of two America's.

I believe we should have a vote to get rid of this disparity by having the top of the list give up some of their worth to the bottom of the list.

How fast do you think that will happen?

* It's not known if William Jefferson counted the money in his freezer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

SUV's on Jupiter?

The upheaval was heralded in December 2005 by a color change from white to red of a large oval near the Great Red Spot, earning it the moniker Red Spot Jr. This oval, formally known as Oval BA, formed six years earlier through a merger of three large white ovals just south of the Great Red Spot - storms that formed in the early 1930s and were prominent in the Voyager era.

The new images, the first since Jupiter emerged from its passage behind the Sun, may show that Jupiter indeed is undergoing a major climate change, as predicted four years ago.


No one better find evidence of Polar Bear life on Jupiter or congress will force them to produce ethanol.

"McCarthyism" Obamania style

So you are a democratic candidate for president and for some reason the Jewish community doesn't believe you are a friend of Israel's. What do you do?

You bring on Zbigniew Brzezinski, one time adviser to the America's favorite anti Semite, Jimma Carter.

So what does Brzezinski bring to the table for you. How about this one
It's not unique to the Jewish community -- but there is a McCarthy-ite tendency among some people in the Jewish community. They operate not by arguing but by slandering, vilifying, demonising.

They very promptly wheel out anti-Semitism. There is an element of paranoia in this inclination to view any serious attempt at a compromised peace as somehow directed against Israel."

Yeah, it's kind of ridiculous for those Jewish community types to think you might be hostile to Israel.

With friends like these, who needs friends.

Are "progressives" patriotic?

Yesterday, I was running through the SOB alliance feed reading the various posts on Memorial Day.

There were many posts on Memorial Day. There were historical posts on the holiday, there were simple recognition posts (such as Midas'), but there was some sort of recognition of the holiday on almost every active SOB blog.

Out of curiosity, I thought I would check the "progressive" blogs listed at BNN. Try looking for some tribute to a soldier there. You'd have a better chance of finding a winning lottery ticket.

To their credit, Psychobilly Democrat & Pho's Akron Pages did have a nice posts but my "dark side" list? Forgetaboutit.

It's funny how these "progressive" politicians like to pretend that they're all about supporting our troops and about people of faith but when the rubber actually meets the road, we're just a bunch of gun and god clingons. And then they want to write off Obamania's 20% in Appalachia as racism.

All this reminds me of an email I got from an old fling where she told me that she didn't want me to think of her "as a thief and an idiot". As I told her "you don't want me to think of you as a thief and an idiot; don't be a thief and an idiot".

So for my fellow "progressive" brethren. You want the public to think you are supporting the troops, here's a novel idea. Try actually supporting the troops. Here's an even better idea. How about showing some deference for the people who actually died so you could spill your drivel?

Another Obamania gaffe

Yesterday, Obamania continued his assault on basic history and/or civics 101.
On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.

I'm not sure where Obamania was speaking but unless the audience was filled with a bunch of corpses, I don't think he got that right.

Ring Wing News with a great list of Obamania gaffes. If this were McCain, there'd be a pack of journalists claiming he had Alzheimer's.

How do we account for Obamania's miscues; general stupidity? I'm still wondering if anyone's told him there are only 50 actual states.

O'Rourke on Politics

Occasionally, I run into a piece I find so powerful, that I keep a copy in a file in my desk. Every once in a while, I run into a piece that I copy into my file and in the glove box of my car (The US Constitution and Reagan's 1964 convention speech).

I think I ran into a third standard; file, glove box, shirt pocket.

It's a piece by PJ O'Rourke on politics.

There's only one number that matters in politics. And you may think that that's the number of votes, but that's not the number. The number that matters in politics is the lowest common denominator. It is the avowed purpose of politics to bring the policies of our nation down to a level where they are good for everyone. No matter how foolish, irresponsible, selfish, grasping, or vile everyone may be, politics seeks fairness for them all. I do not. I am here to speak in favor of unfairness.

I have a 10 year old at home and she is always saying, "That's not fair." When she says that, I say, "Honey, you're cute; that's not fair. Your family is pretty well off; that's not fair. You were born in America; that's not fair. Honey, you had better pray to God that things don't start getting fair for you."

After all my time covering politics, I know a lot of politicians. they're intelligent. They're diligent. They're talented. I like them. I count them as friends. But when these friends of mine take their intelligence, their diligence, and their talent and they put these into the service of politics, ladies and gentlemen, when they do that, they turn into leeches upon the commonwealth.

They are the dogs chasing the cat of freedom. They are the cats tormenting the mouse of responsibility, They are the mice gnawing on the wiring of individualism. They are going to hell in a hand basket, and they stole that basket from you. They are the ditch carp in the great river of democracy. And this is what one of their friends says.

You must read this and force your kids to read it as well.

Lobbyists everywhere

Isn't there a certain irony that the two candidates who profess to change politics as usual have staffs loaded with lobbyists.

When Illinois utility Commonwealth Edison wanted state lawmakers to back a hefty rate hike two years ago, it took a creative lobbying approach, concocting a new outfit that seemed devoted to the public interest: Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity, or CORE. CORE ran TV ads warning of a "California-style energy crisis" if the rate increase wasn't approved—but without disclosing the commercials were funded by Commonwealth Edison. The ad campaign provoked a brief uproar when its ties to the utility, which is owned by Exelon Corp., became known. "It's corporate money trying to hoodwink the public," the state's Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said. What got scant notice then—but may soon get more scrutiny—is that CORE was the brainchild of ASK Public Strategies, a consulting firm whose senior partner is David Axelrod, now chief strategist for Barack Obama.

Last week, Obama hit John McCain for hiring "some of the biggest lobbyists in Washington" to run his campaign; Obama's aides say their candidate, as a foe of "special interests," has refused to take money from lobbyists or employ them. Neither Axelrod nor his partners at ASK ever registered as lobbyists for Commonwealth Edison—and under Illinois's loose disclosure laws, they were not required to. "I've never lobbied anybody in my life," Axelrod tells NEWSWEEK. "I've never talked to any public official on behalf of a corporate client." (He also says "no one ever denied" that Edison was the "principal funder" of his firm's ad campaign.)