Sep 30, 2007

Some Observations on a Sunday Afternoon

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Since Philip Klein hasn't posted anything new since Thursday evening, I'll post a few observations on his radio show yesterday and revisit one of my favorite lawsuits of all time.

Regarding the radio show, I was impressed with a listener who called to correct Klein's misinformation on the Central High incident in Beaumont last week. I addressed the issue in an earlier article and pointed out some of the discrepancies between the actual event and Klein's account. The caller to Klein's radio show had first-hand knowledge of the new security measures at the campus and refuted Klein's fallacies of logic eloquently.

Philip attempted to argue, but ended up looking quite foolish when his caller displayed an intimate knowledge of the real facts.

Philip spent much of his second hour on a comment made by one of the KOLE sports commentators, Smitty, who expressed a personal opinion about Klein's consistent confusion of facts. While the original comment ran only a few minutes, Klein's response continued for approximately half-an-hour.

Astute readers will notice that Klein did not invite Smitty to defend his own statement in a one-on-one exchange. Typically, Philip resorted to name-calling and referred to the sportscaster as "Smooty," among other things.

Readers will also notice that Klein hasn't posted this show on his website, probably out of embarrassment. I suspect that show will never see the light of day again.

On a more positive note, I enjoyed Buck's show a lot. He featured guest Mike Aguilar, who also writes another local blog, Going Underground (see the sidebar for the link). The two of them together were very entertaining, especially since they didn't have a confused "moderator" butting in every few seconds as in Klein's so-called "Bloggers' Round Table."

On the subject of favorite lawsuits, I thought I'd revisit Klein's spurious appeal of the summary judgement against him when he countersued the PAISD in 2000. Readers should note that the opinion was written by Justice David Gaultney. The other two judges on the panel were Justices Don Burgess and Ron Walker. Perhaps this puts Klein's current rabid criticism of Judge Walker in perspective.

Here are the high points:

Klein characterizes appellees' conduct as an adamant refusal to permit discovery of the information he sought. The record does not bear that out. Klein had a year to conduct discovery.

Klein argues the trial court erred in overruling his objections to the District's summary judgment evidence...The trial court did not err in failing to strike the affidavits on this ground.

Klein also maintains the affidavits offered by the District contain hearsay...the Trustees' statements as to their own beliefs regarding reports from others about the prom, and the Trustees' reasons for filing the lawsuit against Klein, are not hearsay.

Klein also argues the affidavit of principal Wyble contains conclusory and self-serving statements...His complaints on appeal concerning the affidavits are overruled.

To the extent Klein asserts claims against the Trustees solely in their official capacities, the claims are in reality against the District. The immunity available to government officials sued solely in their official capacity is the same as that available to the governmental entity.

Klein alternatively sued the Trustees in their individual capacities, claiming they were personally liable for defamation, abuse of process, negligence, tortious interference, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of free speech/free press constitutional rights...For the reasons we explain below, we hold the trial court properly granted summary judgment on the merits of each cause of action.

We first consider Klein's defamation cause of action...Because the record reflects that the Trustees' public criticisms of Klein were not motivated by actual malice, the trial court properly granted summary judgment on Klein's defamation claims.

We next consider Klein's intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action...The trial court properly granted summary judgment on the intentional infliction claim.

Like many of Klein's other causes of action, the basis for his abuse of process claim against the Trustees in their individual capacities is the filing and continuation of the lawsuit...this issue is overruled.

Klein argues an issue of material fact exists concerning negligent conduct...As a matter of law, the negligence action is not proper. Moreover, on appeal Klein did not address this ground -- inapplicability of a negligence claim -- and has waived it. This issue is overruled.

Klein construes that portion of the summary judgment motion on tortious interference as a no-evidence motion...The fact that one of the Trustees visited Klein's website where the article was published does not raise a fact issue on intent to tortiously interfere with business relations...This issue is overruled.

Klein claims the Trustees' conduct violated his constitutional rights of free speech and free press under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution...We construe the summary judgment motions to encompass both. We overrule this issue.

Klein sued the Attorneys for abuse of process, constitutional violations, "attorney misconduct," negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with business relations, official oppression, official oppression per se, and conspiracy. Appellant's issues are overruled. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

While it strains credulity, Klein actually tried to appeal this decision with a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for a Writ of Certiorari. The Supreme Court court ignored his petition. Read the full opinion at the link on the sidebar.

Sep 27, 2007

Tidbits

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Typically, Klein's tidbits contain little of interest; so instead, I'll address his top item concerning a purported message that Klein allegedly took from Sam the Eagle's site.

Klein has frequently claimed in past months that there is a vast conspiracy against him, consisting of the Jefferson County Democratic Party, the Jefferson County Commissioners, the Jefferson County District Attorney's office, the local media, most attorneys in Jefferson County, Sam the Eagle, me, and countless others. If this is true, then I didn't get the memo because I'm not associated with any of these entities.

Regarding this email, I checked the web site in question, but couldn't find the message. Either it never existed and Klein has invented more "evidence," or Sam the Eagle took it down.

However, I do have a forwarded copy of the original email, not a .pdf copy, or .jpg as Klein has posted. This is one of sixteen that I have in my possession. The headers are intact and have not been manipulated. The version that I have seems to verify Klein's claim in his Tidbits:
From politics@setpoliticalreview.com Wed May 24 10:07:58 2006
Return-Path:
X-Modus-BlackList: 66.195.224.10=OK;lisahahn@iwaynet.net=OK
X-Modus-RBL: 66.195.224.10=0000232A
X-Modus-Trusted: 66.195.224.10=NO
To: politics@setpoliticalreview.com
Subject: Re: BREAKING NEWS : ADA'S NAME GIVEN TO THE REVIEW
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 12:07:58 -0500
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="---
=_NextPart_000_00E4_01C67F33.09149000"
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2900.2869
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2900.2869
From: politics@setpoliticalreview.com@
X-Invalid-header-command: REMOVE: X-Modus-BlackList
Reply-to: politics@setpoliticalreview.com
Sender: politics-request@setpoliticalreview.com
Content-Length: 6161

I'll keep my eyes and mind open. Thanks!

----- Original Message -----
From: politics@setpoliticalreview.com
To: politics@setpoliticalreview.com
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 1:04 PM
Subject: Re: BREAKING NEWS : ADA'S NAME GIVEN TO THE REVIEW

Editors Note :

Now that the cover has been "semi" outed - we will tell the story next week. Watch the spin before we print.

Philip R. Klein, Editor
While the message posted in Tidbits this week and purportedly taken from Sam the Eagle's web site may indeed be bogus, I'm absolutely certain that the messages I have are genuine and were posted by Lisa Hahn to Klein's discussion list.

If these messages and letters are truly fraudulent as Klein claims, I have a message for the responsible party (or parties). I appeal to you to stop. You're only obscuring the real issue here, and diverting attention from the real issue for Philip. Furthermore, you're giving Klein an excuse to question my credibility, since he's claiming guilt by association.

Regular readers of this site will know that when Klein can't answer a question, he either ignores it or deflects attention away from the original question. Hence, his claim that he never reads my site. Does anyone really believe that?

In the recent developments, Philip has never confirmed or denied that Lisa Hahn was a contributing member of his discussion list last summer while the investigation into Wendell "Chip" Radford was underway. Nor has he commented on why she was posting messages to his site - as I previously wrote, I do not believe that someone from Ohio just coincidentally subscribed to a discussion list from a "low-tech website with bad spelling" in Southeast Texas.

The Heat Is On

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Philip Klein engages in more premature speculation regarding the case of Dr. Jeffrey Klem. Over the past months, Klein has repeatedly claimed that Klem's plea agreement is evidence of corruption:
One county employee that demanded anonymity that works in the Jefferson County Courts told us : "I am sick over this. This family got shafted. And it was an inside deal. Everyone up here knows it. I want everyone to know it was not the Judges fault either. He was forced into the deal also," said the source.

Our take?

Well, now you are hearing it two weeks later from the mainstream media. And folks - this is not over yet. The Review has been told that the families will expose the workings of the District Attorney during a civil suit that has been filed in Jefferson County.

And we say tuned in. Do you really want to know how it works? Seriously? Maybe just maybe the attorney that represents the family will now cower down and disrespect this family by cowering to political pressure. And the question remains what Harris County will do.

The Review has also learned that a FOX news production team has been floating around town asking questions. Hmmmm....now this might get really good.
We'll revisit that statement concerning a Fox news team at a later date, but in his article Klein references these two stories on KFDM/Channel 6 and KBTV/Channel 4. Channel 4 later filed an additional report regarding Klem's appearance in Harris County next week.

In my mind, this case is so convoluted that I'm having a hard time following the developments. Klein uses this case as convenient excuse for his long-running feud with Jefferson County District Attorney Tom Maness, but Maness claims the family signed off on the agreement. While neither TV station asked that question, Maness' claim is clearly verified by the Beaumont Enterprise story:
The girls said they agreed with the plea deal that let Klem serve probation for his Jefferson County cases but didn't realize they might still have to testify in a trial on the Harris County charges.

Harris County prosecutor Suzanne Hanneman has said she had hoped to offer Klem a similar plea deal but a judge overseeing the case declined to accept the arrangement.
I doubt seriously that Jefferson County District Judge John Stevens felt "forced" into the deal, as Klein claims. I'm also suspicious about the timing of these statements, which occurred days before the civil trial is scheduled to start. If the victims didn't want to testify in court, I don't understand why they felt comfortable calling a full-blown press conference to discuss the issue.

The civil suit brings out another issue, regarding the families of the victims:
The civil lawsuit also names Beaumont's New Life Tabernacle church and its pastor, Lonnie Charles Treadway. The pastor is the grandfather of three of the four girls Klem is accused of abusing in the Jefferson and Harris County criminal cases, according to an amended petition filed in the lawsuit Friday.

Klem's wife is the pastor's daughter, according to court documents. Klem, though a member, was never an official at the church, his civil attorney said.
The lawsuit claims the pastor knew Klem was abusing the girls but discouraged them and their parents from reporting it.
Klem is related by marriage to at least three of the victims - this case is getting absolutely bizarre, in my opinion. Meanwhile, good citizens like Philip Klein are titillated by every little detail. As I've previously pointed out, Klein revels in his graphic descriptions of the crime.

This isn't politics; rather, this belongs on an episode of the Jerry Springer Show.

Sep 26, 2007

The Best Defense...

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In his latest bit of melodrama, Philip Klein claims that he's been victimized by a forged letter allegedly received by one of his many attorneys. Does everyone feel pity for Philip?

Klein connects me with the letter:
The matter surrounds a post on the talk back line in 2006 from a person that is involved in the Helena labs scandal. We were made aware of it from emails to me from those who follow the web site "The DOKS" or as they like to call themselves, Operation Klein Watch. A copy of an email was posted on their site to which this web site responded. In that post, it was suggested that there was an ongoing investigation into emails sent to this web site. We have since learned that the information was false.

Apparently, as part of the ruse from the DOK site or the person that is provoking the DOK Web site to post information (RE " Philip Klein Has Some Splannin
[SIC] To Do"), this letter follows to the day that the post was made. I will not make any accusations towards the DOK site - and frankly I just do not read them. However, when an issue as sensitive to suggesting that I was involved in an operation or our sister company was - we will answer.

The only question that will now need to be answered is if Gus Pillsbury made up the email post and attempted to garner a story - or if Gus Pillsbury is involved with others that have committed a criminal act.

Klein's allegations reveal several things. Regardless of his statements, Philip has no idea who I am, since I did not send this letter, nor do I have any knowledge of this letter beyond what Klein has published. The battleground is right here and I enjoy pointing out Philip's idiocy, so I have no motive for any involvement.

While Klein claims he's been victimized by a conspiracy of the "DOKS," no one else is involved with the content of Operation Kleinwatch beyond myself. Furthermore, regular readers know that I closed the comments section to the public months ago, after getting burned by someone who claimed to be Jeff Ortiz. While I occasionally publish comments, I'll accept the responsibility for the accuracy of those statements. I think it's signficant that Klein doesn't accept similar responsibility for his discussion list.

I do thank those readers, however, who raise questions concerning Klein's statements. Unlike Klein's mailing list, these are truly anonymous. The only comments that I can identify are the ones that Philip leaves, since his writing style is quite distinctive. I've not published any of those, but perhaps I'll do that on April 1, 2008.

Klein is clearly reacting to my original posting last week, which documented an exchange between Lisa Hahn and himself on his discussion list. While I was fairly certain those postings were authentic as the comment claimed, I'm now in possession of 16 different messages with full headers that Hahn posted to Klein's list last summer. I do not believe that someone from Ohio just coincidentally subscribed to a discussion list from a "low-tech website with bad spelling" in Southeast Texas.

Neither has Klein commented on that exchange last week, where someone who claimed to be Cindy Bloodsworth from the Jefferson County Dispute Resolution Center conveniently answered a question Philip posed on his mailing list. As I pointed out in my original article, the timing of those messages seemed to be more than mere coincidence.

Specifically regarding this letter he claims to have received, the image posted on Klein's website is not a pdf, as he states, but rather a jpg graphic. This has important ramifications concerning the provenance, or chain of custody, concerning the actual document. Regarding this provenance, readers should note that Philip did not publish an image of the envelope in which the letter purportedly arrived. Instead, we're left with only Philip's account about the authenticity of this letter.

If this letter is indeed bogus and was received as Klein claims, this is obviously not a prank. Even someone as obtuse as Philip Klein would realize that simply complying with the letter's instructions will immediately reveal that it's not real. If persistent rumors over the past years are accurate, Klein knows quite a bit about impersonating a federal official. Therefore, I'm very skeptical about all of Klein's claims.

The most important question left is this: who benefits from the attention given to this incident?

Sep 24, 2007

Confusion over Central High

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I have two observations before discussing Klein's latest article today:
  • Klein attacks Sally Fields in his so-called "editorial." Remembering Sally Fields for her work as the Flying Nun and "Smokey and the Bandit" is analogous to remembering Clint Eastwood for his work as Rowdy Yates and "Paint Your Wagon."
  • Buck Naked writes, "...whether you agree with Philip or not you got to admit he sticks to his guns and never backs down." Not true - rather, Klein just vacillates between sides without acknowledging his change in positions. As an example, Klein first defended former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, then changed his opinion and decided that, "Gonzales has to go."
In today's article, Klein politicizes an incident on Friday, where Central High went into lockdown when an armed shooter ran on campus:
According to BISD's Carol Thomas, he says the shooter ran away because he "knew" that BISD had security Police.

According to BPD the shooter ran away because he got scared and knew there were way too many witnesses.

Here is the bottom line. Everyone did their job. Everyone is doing fine. The kids are good. The system works. So leave the politics out of it. Seriously Dr. Thomas. Stop it. Go pat the cops on the back - not yourself.
Readers should note that Klein's account is substantially different than the story found on Channel 6, Channel 4, and the Beaumont Enterprise. The statements from the Beaumont Police Department on all three media outlets all seem to agree - they've got video to substantiate their story, even the Beaumont Enterprise. Klein has an unattributed "source."

Here's the quote to which Klein is referring, taken from the Channel 6 story:
"When he found out BISD had security in there he left. I think it may have prevented someone from being killed," said Dr. Carrol Thomas, BISD Superintendent.
Ironically, Klein admits that the new system implemented in the past year at Central works. This is in the same paragraph where he belittles Dr. Thomas for allegedly patting himself on the back. This is another of Klein's many logical fallacies.

Actually, the event would have been much more serious but for a stroke of luck: the gun jammed twice when the shooter attempted to discharge the firearm on campus. Considering that the gun jammed and that the shooter previously shot himself in the arm during the incident, I suspect he was using a Glock like Klein's; but, I digress.

Quick quiz for those who are paying attention: the Jefferson County Commissioners approved the new $110 million budget and a 39 cent tax rate today. Tomorrow, the Beaumont City Council is expected to approve their $209 million budget and a 65.4 cent tax rate that could trigger a rollback election. The Jefferson County Commissioners have a Democratic majority, while the Beaumont City Council has a Republican majority.

Which one will Klein comment on?

Sep 22, 2007

Philip's Tidbits

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I listened to a little of Klein's radio show this morning - enough to discover it was a "Best of" Philip Klein. Isn't that an oxymoron? If the recent comments on other sites are correct, KOLE's ratings were better with the hog-calling show that Klein replaced.

Most of Klein's tidbits have already been covered earlier this week - see my postings below on Klein's libelous assault on Wendell "Chip" Radford and fraudulent emails posted to his discussion list on Thursday night.

I did find this tidbit quite interesting, which includes one of Klein's manufactured statistics:

11% - Congressional approval rating. Seriously. Who is in control of congress?

29% - Bush approval rating.

70% - Tired of high taxes and bigger government. Think about it this spring as you go vote.
The 11-percent and 29-percent approval ratings for Congress and the President come from the latest Zogby/Reuters poll. Readers can verify these numbers at both the Reuters and Zogby web sites.

Klein manufactured that statistic concerning Americans who are "tired of high taxes and bigger government;" it's not found in the Zogby/Reuters poll.

Rather than putting all of one's eggs into one basket, examining several recent polls over the past month will put the public's feelings about Congress into a better perspective:
  • CBS (9/14-16/07) 27 percent

  • Gallup (9/14-16/07) 24 percent

  • FOX/Opinion (9/11-12/07) 32 percent

  • AP-Ipsos (9/10-12/07) 26 percent
While Klein continues his silly partisan rhetoric of "Democrats Bad, Republicans Good," these low approval ratings of both Congress and the President show something else. Here's the key point: government isn't inherently bad, regardless of what extremists like Philip Klein claim. Rather, it's how you do government.

While the democratic republic of the U.S. may not be perfect, it's still the best thing going. No matter who is president or which party is in power, Americans should focus on the commonalities that bind us together.

Most polls show that Americans believe our government functions best when power is split between the two parties in the executive and legislative branches. During the Clinton administration, parties disagreed about spending priorities, but both Republicans and Democrats agreed that fiscal responsibility was a high priority. Because of this synergy between the Republican legislative and Democratic executive branches, politicians were forced to compromise. As a result, the US economy of the '90s was robust and budgetary surpluses were used to pay down the national debt.

Unfortunately, extremist partisans like Klein will use this poll to show how the other party is ruining America. Since most Americans know more about Paris Hilton's sex life than the Senate compromise on the Prescription Drug User Fee Act passed yesterday, it doesn't matter which party has the most coherent policy. Rather, the only thing that seems to matter to Klein and others of his ilk is how his party can spin things to show the other party as a moral evil. I think these latest congressional ratings really show that people are tired of this partisan rhetoric from both parties.

Consider that no politician ever campaigns on how great the system is doing; rather, politicians use people's innate distrust of government to get themselves elected. They build up their own accomplishments, while blaming shortcomings on the other party. Look at the majority of politicians and you'll see that, as a whole, they do not have abysmally low approval ratings; instead, the individual politicians traditionally have ratings much higher than Congress as a whole.

So, we're left with partisan hacks like Philip Klein, who decry the system for their personal agenda. Perhaps it's time for people to take pride in their government - Instead of jumping on the bandwagon about poor congressional performance, one should realize that the real indicator is the turnover rate next November and not the approval rating today.

As an independent, I would argue that instead of voting all Democrat or all Republican (as Philip Klein suggests), vote for the person who best represents your ideas, no matter which party.

Sep 21, 2007

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

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Update: See I have so much from the past two days upon which to comment, I'll probably post bits and pieces throughout the week-end. As an example, Wendell "Chip" Radford apparently served Klein with a cease-and-desist order. In his article, Klein claims that it's part of a conspiracy against him by Jefferson County Democrats. Tidbits has a lot of misinformation, as well.

However, I received a comment this morning concerning an exchange last night on Philip's mailing list. In an attempt to restore his nonexistent credibility, Philip appears to posting staged discussions:


You might want to check this out. Klein is forging fake emails now on his Southeast Texas Discussion List:
-----Original Message-----
From:philipklein@gtbizclass.com
To: politics@setpoliticalreview.com
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 22:34:52
Subject: Mediator

Editors Question - Can anyone tell us if you have to be a lawyer to be a paid mediator?

Philip R. Klein, Editor

-----Original Message-----
From: cindyblood@hotmail.com
To:politics@setpoliticalreview.com
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 22:50:27
Subject: mediators

Most mediators are volunteers that attend schools in Houston. Most are not attorneys. The Mediation statute does not require a mediator to be an attorney.

Cindy Bloodsworth
Director, Jefferson County Mediation Center

-----Original Message-----
From: philipklein@gtbizclass.com
To: politics@setpoliticalreview.com
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 23:08:14
Subject: Re: mediators

Editors Note :

Thank you Cindy.

Philip R. Klein, Editor
Cindy Bloodsworth didn't write that message. You can call Cindy to verify at (409)835-8747.
Klein claims to monitor his Talk Back Line carefully and to refuse any mail from hotmail or yahoo accounts, unless he's absolutely sure of the person's identity. I think it's highly unlikely that Philip's so stupid he would fail to moderate that comment without first verifying the identity of the person behind that hotmail account.

Readers should also notice the time stamps. The entire exchange took place within 30 minutes - does anyone really believe that Cindy Bloodsworth just happened to be monitoring Klein's discussion list at that time of night and posted a reply to Klein's question 16 minutes later?

Since this posting amounts to identity theft, I'm sure Klein will cooperate with the FBI and give them the real identity of the person who posted that message.

More to come - stay tuned!

Radford Threatens the Review!

On Thursday, Philip received a cease-and-desist order from Wendell "Chip" Radford, which Klein published. In the letter, Radford writes:
The First Amendment does not give you the right to print patently false information about an individual. We feel you have done just that and have damaged the reputation of our mediation firm.
That sound you hear is another lawsuit revving up. In his articles this week, Klein claims he's the victim of a conspiracy involving all Democrats of Jefferson County, Radford, Operation Kleinwatch, several lawyers, and the Jefferson County DA's office.

While dodging the issue, Klein failed to address those statements to which Radford was apparently referring. For instance, Klein said on his radio show:
"The, the, the, the, (stutters) printed media, especially, ignores certain cases, what do you mean Mr. Klein, Oh, okay how about this. Wendell Chip Radford, Wendell Chip Radford gets popped for bilking a company out of millions of dollars."
Nor, did Klein address those statements where he intentionally defamed Radford's business as a mediator:
"Silently and under the media radar, the southeast Texas political machine took care of one of their own. Felon Chip Radford, who the state bar of Texas took his license, admitted to committing a felony, was given work by 317th District Court Judge Larry Thorne in working with juvenile victims of crimes. Meaning - a district court judge put to work a felon."

"There is a possibility that some cases need to be reviewed in order to determine if a felon had any influence on victims and if any procedure rules were violated."

"You simply do not get a convicted felon and put him into a position where he works with victims and gives a judge advice...there needs to be an investigation and maybe even a call for discipline towards the judge. As much as we like Judge Thorne, it shows a horrible sense of judgment at the minimum doing a favor for a friend, and at the maximum being a part of a concerted effort by the Gang of Seven and the democratic power structure to provide government payroll to a convicted felon - who is one of their own. "
Since Klein didn't address these statements in his response, I still wonder about his hidden agenda.

Sep 19, 2007

Bait and Switch

0 comments
Philip Klein hysterically claims that Jefferson County officials manipulated the cost of renovating the Courthouse. Readers should note that the scenario that Klein portrays here is illegal under the Texas Open Meetings Act:

"Okay - I can play with the numbers and we will say it will cost $23 million to fix. And they when I say that you all say you are shocked and shake your heads. We will call it a serious issue that needs to be addressed and we will say we are shocked! That will be the headlines. We all will look sad and say we cannot do it and have to come up with a better plan! Okay team!"

And thus is how a political bait and switch is done on the budget and the huge spending increases by the Jefferson County Commissioners Court. The old bait and switch is never far away.
Typically, Klein is completely confused and factually impaired.

Commissioners had no control whatsoever over the estimate; rather, that estimate was done by Ray Bailey Architects, Inc., of Houston, while the firm's Gerald Moorehead delivered the company's presentation to Commissioners. Both are quite reputable; in particular, Moorehead has been cited for his work in numerous awards and presentations. Here's an example.

Furthermore, anyone who actually attended that meeting knows that the Jefferson County Commissioners were genuinely surprised at the costs of repairing the courthouse.

As Patrick Swain pointed out in a Beaumont Enterprise article, the only way commissioners can come up with that kind of money is to float a bond issue. I doubt that will pass, so look for a scaled-back renovation based on what the county has to pay.

If Philip has any real evidence that Jefferson County Commissioners met illegally on this issue, perhaps he'll turn that over to the FBI, too.

Sep 18, 2007

Open Letter to Philip Klein

0 comments
Dear Philip,

I wasn't sure whether it was proper to post a direct message to you, since you didn't produce a note from your mother attorney granting permission to respond to me directly. I did find great irony in your claim that you haven't read my blog in five months, yet you posted a response within 30 minutes. Isn't that an interesting case of synchronicity?

I noticed you never answered the real questions that I asked. For instance, did Lisa Hahn post those messages to your Talk Back Line, or did she not? I'm now in possession of 12 more similar postings, which were all sent last summer in an apparent dialogue with you. I'll be glad to post them if that will help jog your memory.

If she truly posted those messages, then you can't really claim that you "never had anything to do with Lisa Hahn," can you? Special thanks to those readers who contributed - I still have a few more to wade through.

As another example, you never addressed the question I raised about your outrageous statement that Radford "bilked millions of dollars" from Helena. Anyone who read the Examiner story will know that Philip Guadagno, not Radford, bilked the company of $800,000; yet, you've never once mentioned his name, either on your radio program or on your web site. Why would you confuse the issue like this, if not for a hidden agenda?

I especially liked the part where you claimed to be victimized by a vast left-wing conspiracy. Are you confusing yourself with Hillary Clinton, as well? A good therapist can help with that.

Gus

Philip, You Got a Lot of 'Splaining to Do!

0 comments
A reader left this comment concerning last night's article, Required Reading, (see below). I did some light editing so that it reads a little easier:
Gus;

You and the Examiner are only hitting the tip of the iceberg. Here's some proof of a direct connection between Lisa Hahn and Philip Klein taken from some emails back and forth on Klein's talkback line last summer. This happened right after the FBI searched Radford's house:

----------Original Message-----------
From: 24.28.200.156;philipklein@gtbizclass.com
To: politics@setpoliticalreview.com
Subject: Radio Show
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 14:55:57 -0500

I have just gotten out of a meeting with the KOLE staff. The air checks failed sometime Friday and we do not have the show for posting this week. We are sorry. This Sat. show will be posted on Tuesday of next week.

Philip R. Klein, Editor

----------Original Message-------------
From: 66.195.224.10;lisahahn@iwaynet.net
To: politics@setpoliticalreview.com
Subject: Re: Radio Show
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 15:14:03 -0500

Does the missing show have any mention of the ADA search warrant, or is there going to be any more press on that this week?
The IP number on Hahn's email address shows her account was with www.iwaynenet.com which serves Columbus, OH. Check those copies of the checks in the Examiner article and you'll see that Flexo Tech is located in Columbus. Dig a little more and you'll find a bunch of other emails on Klein's tailback line where she seems to know Philip pretty well. Is she one of Klein's clients? If she is, there are some important people who want to know exactly what he did for her and how much she paid him.

All of this is public record since this came from Klein's mailing list but I can't comment on anything else. Let me just say that according to the "rumor" the investigation is not over.
I haven't vetted this for accuracy, but if anyone else has copies of those other emails, please leave them on my comment line.

After this, I reread some of Klein's articles about Radford and listened back to some of his radio shows this afternoon from a new perspective. It's obvious something is going with Klein and Radford. Consider this statement from his radio show about 2 weeks ago, where Klein is literally yelling into the microphone:
The, the, the, the, (stutters) printed media, especially, ignores certain cases, what do you mean Mr. Klein, Oh, okay how about this. Wendell Chip Radford, Wendell Chip Radford gets popped for bilking a company out of millions of dollars.
According to the Examiner article, the total take was about $800,000 dollars, not millions of dollars as Klein states. Radford's take was about 5,000 dollars, so this is a bald-faced lie. Why would Klein lie about this? As another reader commented, it doesn't make sense that Radford would only get 5K out of the deal if he were truly aware of the nature of this scam and as involved as Klein claims.

Furthermore, all of the local media covered this story quite closely. Here's the article on Radford's sentencing from the Beaumont Enterprise. After reading both the Examiner article and the Beaumont Enterprise article, it's obvious that Klein is the one who's ignoring the facts. He's made no mention whatsoever of any of the other people in this case, only Radford, and I seriously doubt it's because Guadagno and Klein share the same first name.

Paraphrasing one of the great band leaders of our time, Philip, you've got a lot of 'splaining to do.

Special Note: I'm leaving this up all week, since his readers and subscribers to the Talk Back Line deserve an explanation.

Sep 16, 2007

Required Reading

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I urge everyone to read the lead story in the latest edition of the Examiner. Here's the link.

Jerry Jordan did some impressive research into the case of former Jefferson County ADA Wendell "Chip" Radford and came to a completely different conclusion than Philip Klein. Of course, Philip did no research whatsoever beyond looking at the pictures in the Beaumont Enterprise before forming his opinion.

Readers may remember that in my article debunking Klein's position on August 26, 2007, I outlined a few of the things that bothered me about this case, including this question:
  • And the most troubling - that Ohio company was never charged with anything, even though they knowingly paid kickbacks to those Helena employees. Why?
The Examiner article didn't answer the question, but Jordan's research certainly raised a few more questions.

Evidence uncovered by Jordan clearly shows that Radford was deceived about the illegal nature of the relationship between Philip Guadagno and Lisa Hahn. Guadagno is the Helena Lab employee and ringleader, while Lisa Hahn-Fine is the CEO of Flexo Tech, the Ohio company that allegedly paid the kickbacks. I must confess a bias, however. I've always been suspicious of women who hyphenate their last names.

While the case is quite technical in nature, Philip will have a hard time following the narrative. However, the most cursory examination of the the facts behind the investigation portray an entirely different perspective than Philip Klein's condemnation of Radford. More importantly, Radford was obviously a political target.

I wonder if this is another of Klein's hidden agendas.

They Do Not Care!

Philip's latest article is more hysteria over the Jefferson County budget for 2008. Nothing new here - just a rehash of the identical points, complete with red font color, in case we missed them in his many past articles on the same subject.

Ironically, Klein has still not commented on the tax increase in the City of Beaumont. The proposed rate in Beaumont is about 3.5 cents over the rollback threshold, but Philip is apparently giving the GOP majority on the Beaumont City Council a pass.

On another note, I had to laugh at Philip during his radio program over the week-end. This isn't unusual; in this case, Klein discounted the damage done to local residents during Hurricane Humberto.

He got a lot of phone calls from angry residents, many of whom were still without power. I wondered why they were wasting their batteries on Philip's show, especially when they asked questions for which Klein was clearly unprepared. In one instance, a listener asked for Entergy's phone number - I thought most radio stations kept emergency phone numbers available for listeners, but Philip certainly dropped the ball. I may have heard the sound of pages turning in a phone book, but I'm not sure because of the static in the broadcast.

Sep 14, 2007

Tidbits

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Little list, little content:

Hurricane Whatever - Done - gone - past. Get over it.
Philip apparently has electricity. The rest of you can eat cake in the dark.
Joe Deshotel - Somebody is mad in Austin. Recruiting candidates to run against him we here. They could never win. He is in like cement.
One of Philip's recurring themes.
Shut Up And Drive - It seems that the mainstream wants nanny to make rules regarding handless cell phones in Texas. We say great! Another law telling you what you cannot do.
Is anyone else tired of having to dodge drivers holding cell phones to their ear?
Electricity - Not 100% until Tuesday.
See the first comment above.
Electricity II - Now they are stealing Entergy Trucks. Now that is funny.
It's only funny if you have a sadistic sense of humor and electricty.
Newt - Says 80-20 that Hill wins the Presidential. Unless he runs.....gezzzz.
Jeez - you'd think Klein would learn to spell by now.
Hill - Here she comes again with her health care plan. ITS FREE!!!!
Not true.

Clinton unveiled two parts of her plan so far, but the final part of her proposed health care reform won't be released until her speech in Des Moines on Monday night. This part will detail her proposals to ensure coverage for all Americans. So far, we know that the coverage won't be free, but will rely upon insurance purchasing pools, reduced copayments, and other mechanisms.

Ironically, Klein apparently missed the similarities between Clinton's plan and GOP candidate Mitt Romney's health care plan that he's already implemented in Massachusetts. And of course, Romney's plan was lifted from the original Clinton plan in '93 and '94.

Does anyone wonder why Klein hasn't had a client for his political consultancy business in years, if ever?

HSU - Had 30 mill in assets to his name when arrested. Had a bank book with 6 mill in it. Had Hill's name all over it. Hmmm.
Maybe Hsu will do time with Jack Abramoff, but I do see a difference. Hillary has already given all donations raised by Hsu back to the original contributors. How many of the Republicans gave money raised by Abramoff back?

I rarely comment on Klein's so-called Blogger Report because it's usually gibberish. However, I did find this disclaimer interesting today:

"The Southeast Texas Political Review has made some decisions regarding who will appear on the Local Blogging page of our web site. We know that some will not be happy with our decision, however, if you do not post you have to go. So...."

I hope he figures out the proper spelling of "Senator Kay Baily Hutchison [sic]!"

He also made a decision that Buck Naked can only have one link. I suppose if it's good enough for the Guy from Boston, it should be good enough for Buck Naked; however, this could be one of Klein's hidden agendas. Perhaps Philip's afraid Buck's getting more attention.

Philip Klein's Quote of the Week:
"And for those of you who want to point fingers and complain - take a hard look in the mirror."
Pot, meet kettle!

Sep 13, 2007

Ask Yourself (but don't ask Philip Klein)

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Philip Klein asks this question today:
"Where was the government? Yes - the cops were out. The firefighters were out. Street and drainage were out. And on and on. But our question is this - where were all the big dogs. You know - the ones that want your money...They did nothing. You did it all."
Klein is confused again: cops, firefighters, street and drainage, and "on and on" are all a part of our local government. I suspect that the county's essential personnel were a lot happier working this disaster with a new raise on the horizon, as well. Hurricane Humberto only underscores the point that these people are worth every penny we pay them and more. Let me be the first to say to all of them, "Job well done."

Klein's article implies that Judge Ron Walker did nothing. Even the most obtuse readers will realize that Rick Perry wasn't talking about someone from street and drainage when he declared Jefferson and Orange counties a disaster area by mid-morning and issued this statement:
“We are working closely with local officials to restore power to the region and to ensure everyone’s safety. I urge all Texans to heed the warnings of their local leaders and take all possible precautions to stay out of dangerous situations.”
Neither was Judge Walker invisible. He's been widely quoted in news services around the world - for instance, consider this article from the Dow-Jones News Service as published by Lloyd's of London shortly before noon, local time:
"When everybody went to bed, it was a tropical storm, heading toward Galveston and Freeport," said Jefferson County Judge Ron Walker. "By 1:30 a.m. it was a hurricane, and heading for Port Arthur." Walker is the top elected official for the county, which includes Port Arthur.
The Beaumont Enterprise fills in further details on Judge Walker's day, which began very early:
After going to bed Wednesday facing a tropical storm and being awakened by a 1:30 a.m. phone call about a hurricane warning, Jefferson County Judge Ron Walker said he was amazed to see how quickly diverse agencies were able to come together."The biggest problem now is a lack of power. This can be, of course, life-threatening as far as health welfare is concerned," Walker said late Thursday afternoon.
Perhaps Klein's just peeved because Judge Walker wasn't camping out at Ford Park.

Fatally Flawed

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Philip Klein's latest article refers not to his own peculiar logic, but to a statement by Karl Rove:
The king of politics say that Hillary Clinton is Fatally Flawed as a candidate for president of the United States.
Readers will find little substantive content here, but given Philip's track record, one would hardly expect a coherent discussion of Hillary Clinton's positions and proposed policies. Klein's main point is his prediction that Clinton will carry the North. At this point, the Democrats could probably run Charles Manson for President and carry most of the country.

Even though Philip disagrees with Rove's assessment of Hillary Clinton, Klein apparently considers Karl Rove as the "King of Politics." This was the same political architect who orchestrated the Terry Shiavo sideshow and the Bush Plan for Social Security. Rather than build a sustainable Republican majority in Congress as he predicted, Rove alienated the Republican base, effectively surrendering both the House and Senate to Democratic control for the first time in 12 years.

Considering Philip's articles over the past months, his current editorial is quite appropriate - exactly what is that guy shoveling? Next, please.

Sep 12, 2007

Ford Park - click - Ford Park - click - Ford Park - click...

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Mr. Broken Record writes:
As was promised by the new county commissioners court - Ford Park would take off. And it has done nothing of the such. In fact, and again, Ford Park has not produced a successful year yet. And it will not.
Philip Klein is confusing the previous county administration of Carl Griffith with the current administration of Judge Ron Walker.

Walker maintained throughout his campaign that Ford Park would never be profitable. Griffith claimed it would. Billy Job claimed he had a plan, but couldn't share it with the public because he didn't want Walker to steal it.

Next, please.

A reader writes:

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A reader left a very articulate comment this evening on Philip's article, EMS Problems. I haven't vetted the information for accuracy, so the facts quoted are unconfirmed and constitute one person's opinion. However, I found his/her command of the issue and argument quite compelling.

I know you have covered this already, but I would like to add a little more about the EMS story. You might have noticed that Klein takes every opportunity to bash Beaumont FD. Why, I'm not sure considering he pretends to be a fireman himself.

In this article about Vidor and Liberty EMS, he takes most of the story to bash BFD, who is not even part of the story. He says the firemen treat EMS like step children. Maybe 20 years ago when the fire chief had control of EMS and they were housed in the fire stations.

These days BEMS is run by the health department. The FD has nothing to do with EMS besides making calls with them. If anybody treats them like step children, it's the city manager. He's the one that puts them up in crappy stations and understaffs/underpays them.

The reason for this is that EMS is not unionized like Fire and Police. The fire union actually tried to help EMS out by allowing them in the union, but the city wouldn't recognize the union's ability to represent them.

Some examples of Klein's crappy math. He says that the BFD runs 6 calls per shift versus BEMS' 14. Then he says EMS runs triple the amount of calls as BFD. 6 into 14 isn't triple.

He also says that BFD has 14 stations. They actually have 12. There is no station 13, for obvious reasons. And 12 was skipped too because there has always been an engine 12 at station 1. Then he says each station has 2+ units that can take ems calls. Actually 9 of those stations only have 1 unit. 3 have 2 units. None have 2+.

He also says BEMS has 5 units on "a good day". Actually they have 5 every day, 6 or 7 on a good day.

His source says that BFD doesn't want BEMS in their fire houses. I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean. They aren't in the fire houses, and they don't want to be in the fire houses.

He says that BEMS is almost a true 911 system and that they are stuck in the 80s, yet offers no explanation as to what the heck he is talking about. I'm not sure what a "non-tiered system" is either.

He then goes on to imply that the "big city" EMS has lower turnover because they aren't as busy. Considering he used to ride a Houston FD ambulance that he quit because he couldn't handle the stress, he must have amnesia about how truly busy they are.

The only reason they have less turnover is that after a few years, they can move from the ambulance to a fire truck. In essence changing jobs because they are burned out.

Throughout the piece, he continually uses BEMS' supposed problems as his reasoning behind why we need more taxpayer funded EMS systems even though BEMS is already taxpayer funded. His point making ability is terrible.

Thanks for the comment! I'd like to add that I've frequently heard Klein describe how he held people as they lay "dying in my arms" during his tenure as an EMT. Perhaps those victims wouldn't have died had Klein performed basic EMT duties, rather than holding them in his arms. Most EMTs I know would have been too busy administering emergency medical procedures to merely watch a patient die.

Sep 11, 2007

EMS Problems

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In his article today, Philip Klein writes:
And so Liberty EMS skipped town. The doctor that owned the company is crying because he had to fork out payroll? With one call he shut the door and said he closed and filed bankruptcy (PACER SAYS DIFFERENT)."
While Klein claims that Dr. Eric Marks has filed bankruptcy, the lack of notice in the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system confirms the Beaumont Enterprise story:
Marks said the company's expenses exceeded income and he already had borrowed $70,000 from his medical practice's line of credit to subsidize the ambulance company.

"I was OK up until about six months ago. Then expenses got out of control," Marks said.

"I didn't have the money to make another payroll," he said. Friday's payroll would have been $43,000, he said.

The company will file for bankruptcy, Marks said.
Since the company has yet to file, PACER would have no record.

Philip's article is also an excellent example of his inconsistent positions. While he argues that the employees should be paid in spite of Dr Mark's cash flow problems in this article, he argued the other side in his July 12th defense of Goldstar EMS.

Klein also posits this opinion:
We are calling for a Government run EMS system for Southeast Texas.
Klein's list of those things that a "government does good [sic]" is apparently quite flexible, depending upon the moon's phase, whether he's taken his happy pills, and which side of the bed he crawled out of that particular morning.

Typically Klein manufactures multiple sources to besmirch Jefferson County:
"'The politicians could care less. They put us in these shacks and we run all day and all night. The trucks break down. Our supervisors are great. The firemen do not want us in the firehouses. We are there and we get tired. I have been here a long time and have seen them come and go. More go than come. You have to be dedicated,' said our source."
Has anyone noticed how all of Klein's so-called sources speak exactly the same way that Klein writes? Klein also argues:
In major cities such as Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Waco, Lubbock, taxpayers support an EMS system.
Not true - for instance, the East Texas Medical Center Emergency Medical Service provides EMS services to Waco and nearby communities. In Lubbock, the UMC Health System provides emergency medical service. Within the City of Austin, first response is indeed provided by the City of Austin Fire Department, but outside the city limits, responsibilities are shared among fourteen volunteer and paid EMS/Fire agencies.

I have some advice for EMT-Basics who work at private companies. Never, ever, beat on an ambulance with a high-pressure water nozzle because you're angry at being called out just before the end of a shift. You could be terminated on the spot.

As a personal disclaimer, I may or may not agree with Klein's opinion on this or any other matters. Most readers who are paying attention know that I rarely express my opinions, since that's not what this blog is about. Rather, this blog's purpose is expose Philip Klein's stupidity and illogical arguments.

Sep 10, 2007

Who Will Show?

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Philip Klein writes:

"Now, let's educate the political inept."

Isn't that commonly referred to as the blind leading the blind? Since Klein is just rehashing his bumper sticker mentality, I'll revisit this later in the week.

Maybe Klein will have a chance to comment on the increase in the City of Beaumont's proposed budget. The average property tax in Beaumont has increased by about 109 dollars over the past three years, according to this article in The Examiner. Yet, Klein has given the Beaumont City Council a free pass. Is this because a majority of the Beaumont City Council are Republicans?

Meanwhile , I saw this comment from Doug Connor, Chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party on the Port Arthur News web site:

“It isn’t easy being an elected official. Tough decisions must be made. But elected officials should not make more than the public sector. If you don’t like the pay, don’t run for office.”

To which I'll add, don't complain about the quality of your elected officials if you insist upon paying them wages that are not competitive with the private sector.

As an example, I pose this rhetorical question: how many senior managers at a local plant or hospital are making about 77,000 per year? I bet Joe Domino would laugh at that wage.

Sep 7, 2007

Tidbits

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Philip Klein writes:
Wow ! - Dateline Mauriceville - they are getting high speed internet. Story at 10.
And his point is?
Super Trooper - Gets to go to trial on the eight liner thing. We here there is way more to it. Standby for a good story we have heard. We also hear this guy is a good guy that has been targeted.
To be revisited at a later date.
School Things - Spending up - students down. Yes it is. They are flocking away from BISD. Down four figures but the jury is still out.
Down four figures? Let's do the math, shall we?

The total enrollment from last year......19,283
minus enrollment at end of Tuesday.....19,143
Total Decrease........................................140

I count three figures - how about you? Considering the number of Katrina evacuees who've left in the past year, I'm shocked that enrollment is down by only 140 students.
Duece Got Caught - Lowers a bond for a criminal cause everyone says he knows his daddy. Then the criminal does not show up! Duece got a complaint in Austin! Funny Funny Funny. Like you all are surprised. This is JEFFERSON COUNTY!!!
Actually, that's "Duce" Jones, not "Deuce." But, those problems with questionable actions by justices of the peace aren't endemic to Jefferson County - ask any resident of southern Jasper County. A Brazos County JP is being sued in a civil court because of his questionable actions. Probably the most famous feud in history began, in part, because Justice of the Peace Anderson Hatfield ruled that a pig belonged to Floyd Hatfield and not Randolph McCoy.
More School Things - In fighting between special interests. Fact - South Park High School Old Campus. DOA. Gone. Forget it. They will tear it down. Now stop moaning about it and vote.
Go Trojans!
Jail Overcrowding - Build tents. And good job Judge Lane Walker! We loved his comments. Put them in tents! Number two per capita for violation crimes in Texas? No Duh! Go Judge WALKER!!!!!
Read the real story here. One option in consideration is taking over a downtown maximum security facility, but no one mentioned tents except Philip Klein.
Methhouse in Mayberry - Like there are not Meth Houses in every single home around? Guys - wake up. And to you the rank and file officers - good job!
I had to track this story down on the Channel 4 web site. Somehow, I missed Klein's point.
More Crap From Swain - Okay - now we have to borrow from the "contingent fund and other departments" to cover Public Defenders payments. Hmmm....very interesting. Very very interesting. High crime, high unemployment, high taxes. Brought to you by your Jefferson County Democrats!
More crap from Klein, too. Very boring. Very, very boring.
Said Well - Mary Matilin, advisor to Bush 41 and Cheney said it clearly tonight on the AP. There are two types of Americans - those that believe in a Government Solution to anything and everything and those that believe we as people without government intrusion can solve problems like our founding fathers wrote in the US Constitution. We love Mary. What are you?
Said it on the AP? Perhaps Philip meant that he read it in the Associated Press.

I can see why Philip likes Mary Matalin - check out her predictions in last year's elections. All of them were wrong:
On Meet the Press last Sunday, Bob Shrum kept smacking down every one of Mary's stupid comments about Iraq - for instance, she claimed that only 25 percent of Democrats favor troop withdrawal. She became increasingly perturbed and at the end of the segment as Mike Murphy was getting in a little spin of his own, Mary threw her pen at Bob Shrum and her wig fell off:
Okay, I was joking about the wig, but if Klein were married to Matalin, I bet he'd look like Skeletor, too.
Bin Laden - Oh my gosh. He is going to broadcast another tape live from his cave.
Osama bin Forgotten, which brings us to Iraq:
Troop Draw Back - A little. Maybe? Just get the job done.
You bet - our brave troops successfully invaded Iraq and did everything they've been asked. Now it's time to start bringing them home.

If Klein had been paying attention to the Iraqi Congress, he'd know the solution is no longer military, but political. It's quite sad that our elected officials and our diplomats aren't as good as our troops. It's also time for the Iraqis to step up to the plate and put their partisan bickering aside if they truly want a democracy.
Blogger Note - We will be changing the front page this next week. A new set of Bloggers. Some will stay and some will go. Depending on our content and posting habits.
Wonderful! Maybe he'll finally spell Kay Bailey Hutchison correctly.

Philip Klein Quote of the Week:

"We hear at the Review are just sick over the entire matter."

Sep 6, 2007

Code Red (Idiot on Board)

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Special Note: After weeks of ranting over the proposed $115 million budget in Jefferson County, Philip Klein has not mentioned the City of Beaumont's proposed budget of $209.6 million, an increase of about $27 million. Beaumont's proposed tax rate for 2008 is almost 7 cents above the effective tax rate and approximately 3.5 cents over the rollback threshold.

Philip's petty partisanship and his hidden agenda are clearly evident. While the Beaumont City Council has a GOP majority of four sitting Republicans, County Judge and Democrat Ron Walker served on the panel of judges who threw out Klein's spurious appeal of the PAISD decision.

Figures taken from the Beaumont Enterprise

In today's article, Philip Klein demonstrates his ignorance of the complex issues regarding health care reform. He's so confused that he presents an argument in favor of reform:

"In the past, healthcare providers bumped up the costs to cover for those who do not pay. They hit the ceiling and insurance companies said enough. They jacked the rates up to subscribers to the point that healthcare was no affordable to small and medium sized businesses. When they began to drop out of the system - and there goes rates to bigger companies and negotiations in holding down the costs to the insurance companies. "

Klein can't even spell health care properly. After this rant, Klein veers over to the other side of the issue like a drunk driver on a two-lane blacktop:

"Our take is pretty simple - the day the United States of America goes to into government sponsored healthcare system is the day the United States becomes a socialist country. We are on the edge right now with taxes hitting close to 64 cents on a dollar. Add in health care and we are topping 75% of the average Americans income going to taxes."

Klein is confusing an economic system, socialism, with a political system, a democratic republic. I suppose this is to be expected from someone who flunked out of college before taking sophomore government classes. Until the U.S. Constitution is thrown out, the U.S. will always be a democratic republic, no matter how high taxes are.

Furthermore, Klein is not even remotely conversant with the U.S. economic model of capitalism. In our current model, medical insurance is a good example of the common economic problem of adverse selection, also referred to as a market failure.

Adverse selection in insurance markets occurs because those providing insurance have limited information with which to estimate the risks their clients wish to insure against. In other words, those with poor health will apply for insurance, raising the cost of providing insurance; those with good health will find the cost of insurance too expensive, raising costs further. As an example, 25 percent of all Texans, or one out of every four, do not have health insurance, yet only 16 percent of our population in Texas lives below the poverty level.

This adverse selection is further exacerbated because private insurers are economically incentivized to spend substantial sums on weeding out bad risks by providing medical insurance only to the most healthy. If everyone were required to have health insurance, then that money would be better spent on providing real health care, while drawing from a larger pool.

This is only one of several proposed models, but compulsory universal health insurance is a common thread, either through single payer systems or by requiring individuals to have private health insurance. For an example of the effect of compulsory insurance on rates, compare the escalation of health insurance costs with that of auto insurance rates.

As I pointed out when Klein last displayed his ignorance of this subject, U.S. citizens consistently rank health care as the number three top priority behind the Iraq war and the economy. Americans favor some sort of universal health care by roughly 2-1, 62-32 percent. The rest work for insurance companies or private investigators.

Sep 5, 2007

Klemed

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Unless this is a new HMO, I think Philip probably meant "Klemmed;" but in my opinion, this sounds like a term that Philip Klein would invent. He writes in today's article:
In a letter obtained by the Review this past week, a letter writing campaign has begun regarding the sentencing of Dr. Klem, who was accused of putting his hands down three girls panties and fondling them.
For most of us, a term like sexual assault is entirely adequate in describing Klem's crime. I noticed on Klein's radio show a few weeks ago that he seems to derive a perverse pleasure in these graphic descriptions. During his broadcast, you could hear Klein salivating and spitting on the microphone as he described the sexual contact in excruciating detail between Dr. Jeffery Klem and those children.

Klein quotes another manufactured source in this story:
"The families went into panic mode when they heard this. They were shocked up and until the week of trial when they were told that this was a slam down case. After all they had three girls between 11 and 13 that were credible witnesses," said the source.
For the record, I heard an entirely different story. The parents were quite concerned about putting their children on the stand during cross-examination by defense attorney Doug Barlow. Presumably, the children have suffered enough without having to recount the details of this shameful experience in public.

However, don't take my word for it. Klein and anyone else concerned about this sentence should read the victims' statements during sentencing in the court record. They were quite eloquent in expressing their feelings about Klem, his crime, and his sentence, without being shamed by an overzealous defense attorney into a sexually explicit description of these events.

Klein doesn't have the integrity or the credibility to make his point without dragging these children through the whole sordid experience again by appealing to his own prurient interest. This is a logical fallacy; specifically, an appeal to emotion.

His real point is another attack on the Jefferson County District Attorney:
"Rumors that Klem gave substantial amounts of money to Tom Maness and his reelection campaign are unfounded. The Review was unable to find any contributions to Maness. "
Another logical fallacy - in this case, a loaded question. I was unable to find whether Philip has beat his current wife, either. Klein quotes another manufactured source to continue his attack:

"Adding insult to injury, the Review has learned that there is a push to have former ADA Chip Radford do his Federal Time in the Jefferson County Jail. Something that has never ever been even considered in the history of crime and convictions in Texas. "He would be safer in Jefferson County where he can be nearer to family and friends as well as jailers that know him," said a source in the courthouse.
Klein is either perpetrating a falsehood or he's playing on the gullibility of his readers - local authorities have no input with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, who have the sole responsibility of determining where a prisoner is incarcerated. Does anyone remember David Moore?

Let's look at this realistically: Given the choice of spending five months in the Jefferson County Jail with murderers and drug addicts, or five months with other Martha Stewart types in a minimum security federal prison with tennis courts, premium cable, and a swimming pool, which would you choose? You can find a Club Fed in Jefferson County, as well.

Sep 4, 2007

Door Open

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As I delight in pointing out, Philip's opinions are frequently based on his hidden agenda. Consider this statement from today's article:

And now the door is open for the Jefferson County Republican Party. With spending out of control by the Jefferson County Democrats led by Judge Ron Walker, Mark Domingue and Bo Alfred, Jefferson County will spend a record $115 million and collect another $25 million in reserves.
The rest of his posting typically rants against the Democrats of Jefferson County. Compare Philip's gibberish with this article from today's Beaumont Enterprise:
The proposed tax rate is 65.4 cents per $100 valuation, which is more than 3 cents over the rollback rate and could trigger a rollback election if approved.

The proposed rate exceeds the effective tax rate by 6.88 cents and exceeds the rollback level by 3.4792 cents.

Next year's proposed budget is $209.6 million, which is about $27 million more than this year's budget.
Philip lapses into hysterics over the Jefferson County budget of $115 million, but he's strangely silent on the issue of Beaumont's budget of $209.6 million. The city budget in Beaumont is so big that the council proposes to raise the tax rate by almost 3.5 cents over the rollback threshold, but Philip has completely ignored their budget. How funny!

Of course, the Beaumont City Council has four sitting Republicans and a city manager who bleeds GOP blue. What happened to the "SOCIAL BREAKDOWN by DEMOCRATS" in Beaumont, Philip? Didn't you predict that Billy Job would win the race for Jefferson County Judge last November?

Now that I've brought the budget to your attention, Philip will be on this like white on rice. Unfortunately, he can't blame this one on those Democrats.

Sep 3, 2007

Labor Day 2007

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Philip Klein's salute to labor today is another attack on labor unions, the Democratic party, and organized health care:
And of those that are doing all of the above are those in the labor unions all over the United States. With only one difference than years before. Their political clout has been cut in half, their membership continues to dwindle and most of all their message continues to be anti-company and a "You Owe Us" syndrome.
Even Adam Smith, father of modern economics and patron saint of free traders everywhere, noted that private businesses are driven by the profit motive and have "generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and . . . have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it." As it turns out, John Nash was right.

Furthermore, Klein neglected to mention that the value of the American dollar against foreign currencies is currently at the historical low, while the trade imbalance between imports and exports is at it's historical high. As a result, the manufacturing sector has lost more than 5.7 million jobs since it's peak in 1979. Employment in manufacturing was its lowest since July 1950. At that time, about a third of all U.S. workers were engaged in manufacturing. Today, about nine percent of all U.S. workers are engaged in manufacturing, which corresponds closely to the current figure of union membership of approximately eight percent.

Considering these numbers, is anyone surprised that union membership is in decline?

This synchronicity of large-scale manufacturing job loss and growing trade deficits can probably be traced to free trade agreements - Klein was apparently putting on his make-up when Ross Perot first predicted that "giant sucking sound" we've been hearing recently. Really, do we need a free trade agreement with our new best friend, Viet Nam?

Klein continues:
"This years message? Everyone is owed health care. Right out of the Clinton playbook...There is no doubt at one time in the history of Unions that they did the right thing. But it is a different time. Safety, wages, promotions, health care and other issues that face the average person is here to stay."
Fact check: Citizens consistently rank health care as the number three top priority behind the Iraq War and the economy. Americans favor some sort of universal health care by roughly 2-1, 62-32 percent.

The U.S. is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not offer its citizens universal health care. The U.S. is also the only country without mandated paid maternity leave. We spend less on education, job training, child care, and affordable housing, but much more on prisons, than any other industrialized nation. The U.S. has the widest gap between rich and poor and the highest poverty rate. And, as we saw recently with the deaths of Utah miners, our workplace safety laws are still the weakest and most poorly-enforced than any other industrialized nation. What's wrong with this picture?

Bottom line: Americans have far fewer rights at work than employees in other democratic societies. Current federal laws are an impediment to union organizing rather than a protector of workers' rights. The rules are stacked against workers and any employer with a clever attorney can stall union elections, giving management time to scare the living daylights out of potential recruits.

Instead, businesses spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars a year to hire anti-union consultants who use elaborate strategies to keep unions out. Employers in the United States can require workers to attend meetings on work time where company managers and consultants give anti-union speeches, show anti-union films and distribute anti-union literature. Unions have no equivalent rights of access to employees. To reach them, organizers must visit their homes or hold secret meetings. This is hardly workplace democracy.

Idiots like Klein argue that American employees anti-union attitudes account for the decline in union membership. However, recent polls show that 58 percent of non-managerial workers would join a union if they could. But they won't vote for a union, much less participate openly in an organizing drive, if they fear losing their jobs for doing so. According to figures I found on the NLRB website, over 31,000 workers were illegally disciplined or fired for union activity in 2005 alone.

More importantly, Klein is typically misinformed.

The battle over workers' rights continues today. Perhaps Philip was putting on his make-up again during the debate over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which took place earlier this year. This is probably the most important pro-worker legislation since the original National Labor Relations Act passed in 1935. The EFCA would level the playing field between management and workers by allowing employees to form unions by simply signing a card stating that their desire for union representation, increase penalties for companies who violate worker rights, and provide for mediation and arbitration for contract because employers often drag out negotiations to wear down a unions.

In March, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the EFCA by a 241-185 vote. In June, 51 Senators voted in favor of EFCA, but it wasn't enough to end the Republican filibuster from several senators who received a majority of their financial support from big business. Even had the bill gotten out of Congress, President Bush pledged to veto it. That bill will be back again - bet on it.

I do agree with Klein, however, that it's do-or-die time for the American labor movement. In the next decade or two, unions will either make a comeback or become marginal players in American society and politics. If labor stumbles towards irrelevance, our overall society will become nastier and more inequitable than it already is - imagine Philip Klein as a harbinger of things to come. It's not a happy prospect -- but one worth pondering on this Labor Day.

Miscellaneous Observations from the Week-end

Klein has apparently stopped posting his radio shows and the show currently on his website dates back to August 18, 2005. Saturday's program was typical - two hours of yelling and spitting into the microphone as he denigrated former ADA Chip Radford. I thought I heard Klein accuse Radford of pedophilia; however, I'm not sure about this - static in the poor signal of KOLE makes listening difficult for anyone north of I-10.

As I've noted before, it generally takes Ronnie Linden some time to get Klein out of the control room. On Saturday, Klein was there for at least 45 minutes after his show ended - I particularly enjoyed hearing Klein discuss theology with Leon, one of KOLE's three regular callers. During this exchange, Klein noted that he exercises his mind by "trying to read a book" occasionally. Philip, old buddy, either you read a book or you don't - and comic books don't count. "Trying to read a book" implies that you never finish.

Based on my posting today, here are my some suggestions for Philip's reading list on this Labor Day.
  • Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
  • Matthew Josephson's The Robber Barons
  • Burton Folsom's The Myth of the Robber Barons
  • Upton Sinclair's The Jungle
  • Dominick Armentano's Antitrust: The Case for Repeal
  • John Nash's Ideal money: An article from: Southern Economic Journal

These books cover multiple viewpoints - I found all of them quite interesting over the years and certainly more relevant than those bumper stickers which Klein routinely quotes.