Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller has long been dogged by the kind of problems that (in retrospect) you'd expect from a loud advocate of Limited Government -- he took Medicaid payments and farm subsidies, got breaks on hunting and fishing licenses he didn't deserve, and may have hired his wife in violation of nepotism rules so he could then fire her and enable her to collect unemployment benefits. But he's really in the soup now, largely because of this imbroglio, in which his private security goons "arrested" an editor who got a bit too aggressive in trying to get a question answered. (The actual police later came by and released the editor.) Mr. Miller then admitted to using Fairbanks North Star Borough computers for political purposes, thus answering the question that provoked the "arrest." I shudder to think, though, that his fortunes have only suffered because he mistreated someone from the press. I shudder to think, also, that he could have staged the whole thing in order to avoid a debate with his two opponents the very next day, sponsored by the very same news organ whose editor he "arrested." I mean, it could just be spectacular incompetence on his part, but I'd feel like a fool if I didn't note the timing.
Meanwhile, closer to home, Rep. Joe Sestak (D) now leads Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey in a few Pennsylvania Senate race polls. I always expected that Mr. Sestak would get his groove back -- he's been pummeling Mr. Toomey statewide for weeks (if not months) with his Toomey's-for-Wall-Street-not-Main-Street message, and the dog-poop ad is genius, despite its imperfect metaphor (really, Belle should be insulted to be compared to Republicans). I'm deeply perturbed, however, by this DSCC ad, which contains one great laugh line -- "Pat Toomey: he's working to bring jobs -- to China" -- but then bangs a gong, paints China's map red, and busts open a fortune cookie. Seriously, I almost expected the DSCC to show someone in a Fu Manchu mustache chowing down on a cat. It's not just that you can easily argue against corporate control of economies without resorting to racial prejudice, it's the knowledge that, in the state where the Guru ad once turned an election against a moderate Republican, this ad will probably win Mr. Sestak a lot of voters. I'd rather win by doing right.
Further from home, I suspect even Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) has a shot at getting re-elected -- Rasmussen had her down only 18 last I looked, so it's gotta be closer than that -- especially now that she's pummeling Rep. Boozman over his support for the "Fair" tax, which would replace our mostly-income tax-based system with a national sales tax. Politifact rated her ad about the matter "half-true," mainly on technicalities, while showing no awareness whatsoever that what the Fair Taxers call a 23% tax is actually a 30% tax. You get the tax rate by dividing the tax into the original price (30 cents into a dollar), not by dividing the tax into the original-price-plus-tax (30 cents into $1.30), as the Fair Taxers do. I mean, that's fourth-grade math. Given that most Americans would want to know that the real rate of the Fair Tax is uncomfortably close to the current top income tax rate of 35% (a rate you don't pay on any income under $250,000), I think Politifact had an obligation to provide that fact.
Finally (cue cheers from convention hall!), a relatively famous California megachurch files for bankruptcy, with debt of $43 million ($36 million of it from mortgages, presumably on those great glassy spirey things they build) and, apparently, a trail of miserable businesses just trying to get them to pay up. Telling your creditors "you can't tell us how to run our business" does not exactly make you a fisher of souls. The Crystal Cathedral folks can take comfort, however, in the fact that Jesus had absolutely nothing whatsoever to say about rich people praying in public. Ha! I'm just kidding.