The emergence of Newt Gingrich as frontrunner for the Republican nomination is without doubt very odd. Many pundits thought that Gingrich’s campaign dead in the water after making some incredibly dumb comments about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan. We were all wrong, apparently.
It’s not like the conservative base has embraced Gingrich. After all, Herman Cain excited the base at the beginning of the race. But that eventually moved to Michele Bachmann, who had her brief time in the limelight and won the Ames Straw Poll in mid-August. But after Rick Perry jumped in the race, Bachmann became a distant memory. After Perry proved himself to be an incapable debator and gaffe-prone, where did the support go? Not Gingrich, but back to the inexperienced and unproven Cain.
But now with Cain tapering off again, it’s Gingrich — not Rick Santorum or Ron Paul — who is reaping the benefits. Why? As I noted recently, it’s because GOP voters remember him and respect him as a some sort of intellectual conservative (laughable, I know, given all the statist policies he’s supported).
The reason conservatives aren’t flocking to Paul are sort of obvious, though I don’t expect his average supporter to grasp them. Paul isn’t a neo-conservative, so he doesn’t appeal to warmongers defense-minded GOP voters. While he is personally opposed to gay marriage, he is also a defender of the Tenth Amendment and opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment. And let’s face it, he doesn’t come off as that great of a debator. Sure, his ideas are sound on paper and in practice, I believe. But when it comes articulating them, he just isn’t that great.
A federal judge has recently blocked Florida’s new program to test welfare recipients for drugs:
Judge Mary Scriven’s ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of a 35-year-old Navy veteran and single father who sought the benefits while finishing his college degree, but refused to take the test.
The judge said there was a good chance plaintiff Luis Lebron would succeed in his challenge to the law based on the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. The drug test can reveal a host of private medical facts about the individual, Scriven wrote, adding that she found it “troubling” that the drug tests are not kept confidential like medical records. The results can also be shared with law enforcement officers and a drug abuse hotline.
“This potential interception of positive drug tests by law enforcement implicates a `far more substantial’ invasion of privacy than in ordinary civil drug testing cases,” Scriven said.
While allowing extensive access to medical records is certainly questionable and poses a privacy risk to patients, I see no inherent constitutional issue with requiring a drug test for voluntary welfare benefits. The intent is certainly honorable; we want to ensure that taxpayer funded welfare checks are not being used for recreation. The practice is popular among conservatives and tea party folk alike, but it distracts from the much larger issues and instead seeks to implement a solution on a subordinate level.
The City of Brotherly Love may want to rethink their nickname when they get a chance. How about the City of Statist Tyranny. Doesn’t that have a nice ring? Why, you may ask? Because the City has arrested at least eight people over the last two years who’s only “crime” was to carry a legal firearm. That’s it.
Apparently, due to a quirk in local law, Philadelphia residents will get Florida gun licenses since the out of state license allows them to carry in their home state, but is easier to issue. It’s referred to as the “Florida Loophole”. Go Florida!
The “loophole” is unpopular with Philadelphia cops, who say that it allows those denied a permit here or whose permits were revoked to circumvent Philadelphia authorities and obtain it elsewhere.
But proponents say that it’s necessary because Philadelphia has unusually strict criteria for obtaining a concealed-carry permit. Philadelphia, according to police and gun owners, relies heavily on a clause that allows denial of a permit based on “character and reputation” alone.
“Character and reputation”? It sounds like a good idea, since it would prevent someone widely known to be a gangster from carrying his weapon legally. However, what provisions like this do in practice is give gun-grabbing local bureaucrats an out. Something bad has been said about almost anyone. The rumors that I know have been said about me alone would make me question my sanity and ability to responsibly handle a firearm…if any of them were true. Character and reputation are weapons used to disarm most of the population, so that population has attempted to find a way around it. With a Florida license.
Podcast: Immigration, Crist Party Switch, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell On Hold AGAIN, 2010 Elections, Guests: Mike Hassinger & Doug Deal
Being a diehard Crimson Tide fan— and believing we deserve a chance at the national title as much as Oklahoma, Florida, or Texas— I can surely relate to (R-TX) Rep. Joe Barton’s disillusionment with the current BCS system. He is right- we need a playoff to determine the National Champion for Division 1-A college football. Personally I prefer an 8 team playoff that integrates the existing bowl traditions, while still finding annual closure to each season. But the difference between myself and Rep. Barton is that he is using his position of power to introduce a bill that would push the NCAA to end the current system and introduce a playoff system. I argue that he does not and should not have the authority to use the legislative process to accomplish this worthy goal.
The Associated Press (AP) reported recently that 3.5 million health insurance policies had been canceled because of changes in the plans that resulted in the loss of their “grandfathered” status under Obamacare regulations.
But a separate report from the news organization, released last week, indicates that this is just the minimum number as most states aren’t keeping track of the cancelations or the numbers weren’t available. This report, complied by AP staffers, shows that the 3.5 million cancellations have come from just 22 states and the District of Columbia.
The “grandfathered plan” regulations written by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Department of Health and Human are very strict. Most people don’t realize that the vast majority of insurance plans go through some sort of change over time. But virtually any change a pre-Obamacare plan, either by the insurer or consumer, means that the policy can no longer exist and the consumer would have purchase one compliant with law’s mandates.
Even plans with grandfathered status would eventually have to comply with at least some of the mandates. But despite President Obama and his subordinates blaming insurance companies for the cancellations, these rules — written by bureaucrats in his administration — are entirely responsible.
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is as classless as ever.
The controversial Florida Democrat sent out an email on Monday features an image of a burning cross — using it to spell “Tea Party” — and the body of the email features comments he made during a recent interview with Al Sharpton on MSNBC.
“I think that ordinary Americans are with the President. They’re appalled by the Tea Party’s tactics,” Grayson told Sharpton. “At this point, the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan.”
“They simply want to bring about the End of Days, as quickly as possible,” said Grayson of the Tea Party. “That’s the ultimate Tea Party Republican desire, to bring about the End of Days. The Republican Party has become the largest suicide pact in history. And I hope they don’t take us with them.”
Grayson, who is unapologetic about the email, isn’t new to controversy, though this may be his most distasteful example to date. In 2009, he threatened to imprison an activist who created a website that was critical of him. He also accused Republicans who opposed ObamaCare of wanting the sick to “die quickly.”
Guys, remember being a kid and playing “Cops and Robbers”? Maybe your game was more “Cowboys and Indians.” Whatever. If you’re a male, you probably played a game like this at least once in your childhood. It was almost a rite of passage. Well, a school in Osceola County, Florida has apparently outlawed these timeless games in the name of “zero tolerance”:
Jordan Bennett was suspended from school for the day, but his mother, Bonnie, said she’s now worried her son be labeled as violent with a suspension on his record.
“He had nothing in his hand. It was a finger gun, a pretend gun,” Bennett said.
But as it turns out, the school considered the gesture to be an act of violence.
Ah, for the good old days when an act of violence required…oh, I don’t know…actual violence to take place? The boys were playing cops. No robbers, apparently, but cops. You know, the supposed good guys?
Of course, Bennett isn’t some mother who thinks her child can do no wrong. From the same report:
“A written apology,” she said. “If he would have written an essay about why it was inappropriate, what he did, that would have made more of an impact.”
Frankly, I don’t see what her son did as inappropriate. It’s a game. No human being has ever been killed by a bullet fired from a finger. Ever. In the whole of human history, it has never happened once.
A little more than a week after being aquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman is back in the news because of his efforts to help rescue someone from an overturned truck last week in Florida:
George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue someone who was trapped in an overturned truck, police said today.
Sanford Police Department Capt. Jim McAuliffe told ABC News that Zimmerman “pulled an individual from a truck that had rolled over” at the intersection of a Florida highway last week. Florida Highway Patrol is now handling the case, McAuliffe said.
The crash occurred at the intersection of I-4 and route 417, police said. The crash site is less than a mile from where he shot Martin.
This comes just days after President Barack Obama weighed in on the shooting and trial, which further fanned the flames of racial divide in its aftermath, and protests throughout the country against the verdict. Despite being found vindicated in the eyes of the judicial system, Zimmerman continues to receive death threats, according to ABC News, and has to wear a bulletproof vest in public.
One of many issues that has come under fire since the start of the whole George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin drama has been “Stand Your Ground” laws. To many, they were the root of Martin’s death.
Zimmerman’s acquittal has clearly done nothing to change this.
“Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention,” Holder said of the Zimmerman case, “it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if – and the ‘if’ is important – no safe retreat is available.”
Holder said the law has “victimized too many people.”
“By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety,” Holder continued. “The list of resulting tragedies is long and – unfortunately – has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation – we must stand our ground – to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.”
First, I’d like to point out something to Mr. Holder. “Stand Your Ground” laws only apply to actual cases of self defense. His desire that you or I should have to try to get away from a criminal before being able to defend ourselves will not save innocent lives. No, it will further empower criminals who will then know that they can have their way after you retreat.