Archives for November 2011

Gary Johnson to file complaint against CBS

Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico and current Republican presidential candidate, plans to file a complaint against CBS with the regulatory bodies — the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) — over being excluded from this GOP debate that took place on Saturday:

Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign is filing an official complaint with both the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over their candidate’s exclusion from the most recent GOP debate, Johnson’s campaign announced Tuesday.

Johnson’s complaint charges that debate sponsor CBS significantly contributed to the candidates who were allowed to participate in the debate, “directly and significantly supporting those candidates it favors, and advocating the nomination of one of their favorites and opposing the nomination of [Johnson], whom CBS evidently disfavors.”
Saturday’s debate, co-hosted by CBS and National Journal, was the first debate to air on broadcast television. According to Johnson’s complaint, “the public owns the airways over which CBS broadcasts, and the public deserves to be free from bias- favoring some candidates over others- as well as illegal support of certain presidential candidates on national network television.”

You can read the complaint here.

Four-way tie in Iowa for GOP nod (Ron Paul is a frontrunner?)

With national polls showing yet another shake-up in the race for the Republican nomination, the latest survey out of Iowa shows a four-way race among Republican caucus-goers:

Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are in a dead heat as the top choices for Iowans likely to attend the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucuses.

A Bloomberg News poll shows Cain at 20 percent, Paul at 19 percent, Romney at 18 percent and Gingrich at 17 percent among the likely attendees with the caucuses that start the nominating contests seven weeks away.
Texas Governor Rick Perry and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, who both once were strong contenders in polls of the Republican race, have seen support plummet. Perry, who is running ads in Iowa, gets 7 percent support in the Bloomberg survey; Bachmann, who won the Iowa Straw Poll in August, is backed by 5 percent.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who has spent the most time campaigning in Iowa, is at 3 percent. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., who isn’t competing in Iowa, is backed by 1 percent.

Paul’s quiet rise prompted National Journal to run with this headline in their coverage of the Bloomberg’s survey: “Ron Paul Emerges as Front-Runner in Iowa.” And although straw poll results don’t translate into support at the ballot box, Paul has had a good last few weeks with grassroots support. Unforunately, he continues to be treated unfairly by the media.

Lifestyles of the rich and famous

All over the nation, people are “occupying” various cities and destinations. They’re angry over a lot of things, but one thing that I agree with them on is bailouts of banks. Many in the occupy movement argue correctly that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to make the wealthy even wealthier.

Of course, I would love to get their take on this tidbit:

Wealthy celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Quincy Jones and Ted Turner have received federal subsidies, according to “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous,” a new report from the office of Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified several individuals receiving farm payments “whose professions had nothing to do with farming or agricultur[e],” says the report. These individuals include real-estate developer Maurice Wilder, a “part-owner of a professional sports franchise [who] received total of more than $200,000 in farm program payments in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.”

The report also says millionaires Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Ted Turner have collected farm subsidies.

“These individuals include Scottie Pippen and Ted Turner, respectively. Millionaires also receive state tax breaks on farm land. For example, Jon Bon Jovi paid property taxes of only $100 last year on his extensive real estate holdings in New Jersey that he uses to raise bees. At the same time, Bruce Springsteen received farm subsidies because he leases his property to an organic farmer,” the report explains.

When Lambs Lay Down With (Nittany) Lions

Over the past week, we’ve been inundated with lurid details of the deviant exploits of Jerry Sandusky, former long-time defensive coordinator for the Penn State University football team under legendary coach Joe Paterno. Sandusky has been indicted on numerous counts of molestation and rape of boys as young as ten years old. According to the charges, Sandusky molested nearly a dozen boys over a fifteen year span, many of which he encountered due to his work with The Second Mile, a charity for at-risk youth. One must now wonder whether he founded the organization specifically to give himself better access to troubled boys.

As the story has developed, we learn that a graduate assistant with the football team walked in on Sandusky and a young boy in the locker room showers, with Sandusky performing sexual acts on the boy. The assistant, Mike McQueary, reported the incident to Coach Paterno, who reported it to the university president. From there the story begins to diverge, but the reported facts tell a story of a shameful abdication of moral responsibility which left numerous young boys as victims of a sexual predator. As of this writing, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former VP of Business and Finance Gary Schultz have been criminally charged for actions relating to covering up evidence of a crime and committing perjury. University President Graham Spanier and Coach Joe Paterno were then fired on Wednesday night after a meeting of the Board of Trustees, and both may end up facing criminal charges before all is said and done.

Whiplash: Gingrich rises, Cain falls

The race for the Republican nomination for president continues to get even crazier as polls indicate that the surfacing of past accusations of sexual harassment and lack of knowledge on basic policy issues have hurt Herman Cain’s candidacy and subsequently aided Newt Gingrich in rising to contender status.

The latest poll in the race from CNN shows Gingrich within the margin of error to Mitt Romney and Cain falling back to a distant third with Rick Perry right behind him.

  • Mitt Romney: 24% (-2)
  • Newt Gingrich: 22% (+14)
  • Herman Cain: 14% (-11)
  • Rick Perry: 12% (-1)
  • Ron Paul: 8% (-1)
  • Michele Bachmann: 6% (even)
  • Jon Huntsman: 3% (+2)
  • Rich Santorum: 3% (+1)
  • Other: 1%
  • None/No opinion: 8%

Even better news for Gingrich is the latest survey from Public Policy Polling showing Gingrich with the lead, though he is within the margin of error. Romney comes in third and Perry begins the lower tier of candidates in fourth.

  • Newt Gingrich: 28% (+13)
  • Herman Cain: 25% (-5)
  • Mitt Romney: 18% (-4)
  • Rick Perry: 6% (-8)
  • Ron Paul: 5% (even)
  • Rick Santorum: 5% (+4)
  • Michele Bachmann: 5% (even)
  • Jon Huntsman: 3% (+1)
  • Gary Johnson: 1% (+1)
  • Other/Not sure: 9%

Gingrich’s rise is as odd as what we saw with Cain. Cain is inexperienced and obviously in over his head. For all the criticisms of Barack Obama not being ready for the presidency, Cain would be equally unprepared.

Yes, the GOP is still pro-torture and pro-war

I went into Saturday night’s debate on foreign policy fully expecting to be depressed.  Despite the party’s claims that it has learned its lessons from Bush’s mistakes, one area where the GOP is entirely unreformed is in foreign policy.  A decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has not deterred the hawks of the party who still see aggressive military action as both viable and even desirable.  And yes, the party still wholeheartedly endorses torture.

The torture support is truly baffling from a party that claims to be about morality and traditional values.  On issues like abortion and gay marriage, we are told that the federal government needs to have an activist role that extends far beyond strict Constitutional mandates because the issues are so important.  On these matters, the moral case is simply so compelling that small-government ideas go out the door.  (As an aside, I am not necessarily against state-level action here, but the federal government has NO role.)

Yet when it comes to fighting terrorists, despite the moral weight clearly being on the side of humane treatment and the rule of law, Republicans line up and endorse treatment of prisoners that justified execution when the Japanese did it during World War II.  The only explanation I can come up with is that the average Republican voter is so terrified of terrorists that they take a pass on the moral dilemma here.  It’s sad to say the least that they have ceded the high ground on this issue, all for the illusion that brutal interrogations make us safer.

Herman Cain makes embarassing gaffe on Libya policy

Even without the past allegations of sexual harassment surfacing, it’s been a rough last couple of weeks for Herman Cain. Commentators knocked his poor performance in Saturday’s debate and his poll numbers are starting to fall, though largely a result of the afforementioned allegations.

To make matters worse, Cain stumbled horribly on a question dealing with Libya during a meeting with the editorial board at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, in the midst of a Midwestern campaign swing, stumbled badly Monday when attempting to answer a question about whether he agreed or disagreed with President Barack Obama’s approach to handling the Libyan crisis.

Meeting with Journal Sentinel reporters and editors before fundraising appearances in Milwaukee and Green Bay, Cain was discussing foreign policy in general when he was asked specifically about Obama’s handling of Libya.

Cain paused for some time, then wanted to clarify that Obama had supported the uprising. Clearly struggling to articulate a response, Cain paused again, saying “got all of this stuff twirling around in my head.”

TSA: Drinking the bong water

TSA gets a tough rap.  Let’s face it folks, these people do a tough, tough job, and all they get from us is nothing but derision, despite their hard work  They keep us safe from terrorists and all we can do…

…OK, sorry, I just can’t keep typing that crap without laughing my butt off.

Seriously, TSA is about as idiotic an organization as could possibly exist.  Even if they were a good idea, the Department of Homeland Security can’t seem to get all that much right.  The TSA, and their idea of keeping the nation safe is a prime example:

A recent TSA blog post cites several cases in which the agency’s screeners stopped travelers from carrying guns or knives onto airplanes: “the passenger in Boston who had a steak knife in his carry-on bag; the El Paso passenger with a 6 ½-inch hunting knife in his carry-on bag; the LaGuardia Airport passenger who had eight rounds of 9 mm ammunition in his bag; the JFK Airport passenger who had a 6-inch butterfly knife in his bag; and the New Orleans passenger who had a loaded .380 caliber firearm—with a bullet in the chamber—in his carry-on bag.” I’m not sure those eight 9mm rounds posed much of a threat, unless the passenger planned to hurl them at people. And as a commenter notes on the TSA blog, there is no indication that any of these passengers intended to harm anyone. But at least guns and knives are weapons (or potential weapons) that theoretically could be used to hijack a plane.

ObamaCare is headed to the Supreme Court

It’s official, the Supreme Court announced this morning that it will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of ObamaCare, President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, at some point during the Spring:

The Supreme Court said on Monday it would consider the challenge to last year’s health care reform law, setting up a major ruling on the Obama administration’s signature legislative achievement just months before the presidential election.

The case is likely to be heard in March, meaning that a final decision is likely at the end of the Court’s term, in June.

Apparently in recognition of the complexity of the issues presented by the cases, the Court has asked for an unusual amount of time for oral arguments. The order said the court would listen to five and a half hours of arguments—a rare departure from its usual practice of allocating an hour to hear a case.

The arguments will revolve around four issues — most notably the individual mandate, which requires individual Americans to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan. SCOTUSBlog has a run-down of the what exactly the Court will hear:

The Court, however, did not grant all of the issues raised and it chose issues to review only from three of the five separate appeals before it.  It is unclear, at this point, whether all of the cases will be heard on a single day.

Occupy the Republican Party: YES

Conor Friedersdorf has an interesting idea: instead of occupying Zucotti Park, disgruntled liberals and democrats should Occupy the Republican Party:

What if the left registered its discontent with Obama and its disgust for the GOP frontrunners by registering Republican? It would only matter during primary season. And what a message they could send! One long-shot Republican candidate, Gary Johnson, visited Zuccotti Park, affirms that Wall Street banks got unseemly favors, wants to legalize marijuana, opposed the Iraq War, favors bringing the troops home, and even wants abortion to stay legal. Another, Buddy Roemer, has made the centerpiece of his campaign “fighting the corrupting influences in Wall Street and Washington, ending favors to big donors and the misuse of federal funds to benefit major corporations.” Though the typical Democrat would disagree with both of them on various issues, they’d surely prefer either to Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, or Rick Santorum; elevating either would send a powerful message on several of the most important issues that has the left upset; and like all quixotic stunts worth trying, there is a huge upside and no downside.

Think about it.

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