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 Obama Administration continues to insist that the Affordable Care Act will be good for Americans. With insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion, they say that Americans will healthier. But is that true? According to a study out of Oregon, which expanded Medicaid in 2008, greater access to healthcare doesn’t mean that people will be healthier:
In 2008, the state of Oregon initiated an ambitious health care policy that allowed researchers to shed light on the effects of guaranteeing Medicaid coverage for low-income adults. The results have been closely followed in large part because insurance for the poor is a major component of the Affordable Care Act—aka Obamacare—that will soon be rolled out across the country.
As Americans were preparing to celebrate the Easter weekend, President Barack Obama quietly signed an executive order that establishes the “Presidential Commission of Election Administration.” This nine-member panel will, according to the release from the White House, make recommendations to promote the efficient administration of elections in order to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without undue delay.”
During the State of the Union address, President Obama addressed the reports of long lines at polling places around the country, using an example out of Florida, one of the areas of the country that experienced problems.
“We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor. When she arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours,” President Obama said during his speech to the joint session of Congress. ”And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her would get to have their say.”
Hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line in support of her,” he continued. “Because Desiline is 102 years old. And they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read ‘I Voted.’”
The commission, which will have six months to report its finding to the White House after its first meeting, will consider a number of points dealing with voter experience at the polls, including:
I am proud of the thoughtful, thorough and deliberative approach that our Select Committee took on the important issues related to Medicaid expansion and health exchanges. I received their recommendations and agree that expanding Medicaid and setting up a state exchange is not in the best interest of our state. We simply cannot count on the federal government to pay 100 percent of the cost for expansion. The facts show that healthcare costs will go up for many Floridians, while access to and quality of healthcare will go down. The ‘all or nothing’ approach that the Obama administration is offering will not work for our state. I know there will be continued discussion about this matter, and I look forward to exploring better policies for our state.
It looks like Medicaid expansion in Florida may not be the foregone conclusion that some people thought.
Schools throughout the nation adopted so-called “zero tolerance” rules dealing with guns in the wake of school shootings and gang violence back in the 1990’s. They haven’t really accomplished a whole heck of a lot, but keep popping up in the news from time to time due to various idiotic points of the rule that will occasionally ban a kid for using his fingers as a gun, shaping his breakfast like a gun, or disciplining a child for wearing a t-shirt that has a picture of an American soldier on it. However, the latest incident that, at least to me, appears to be related to these idiotic rules comes to us from Fort Myers, Florida.
This time, the incident actually did involve a gun, so there’s that. However, the whole story is even more confounding:
A Florida high school student wrestled a loaded gun away from another teen on the bus ride home this week and was slapped with a suspension in return.
The 16-year-old Cypress Lake High student in Fort Myers, Fla. told WFTX-TV there was “no doubt” he saved a life after grappling for the loaded .22 caliber revolver being aimed point-blank at another student on Tuesday.
“I think he was really going to shoot him right then and there,” said the suspended student, not identified by WFTX because of safety concerns. “Not taking no pity.”
It appears environmentalism has officially gone insane. In Florida, a man released several heart shaped balloons into the air as an expression of love to his girlfriend. And for that, the guy was arrested:
Brasfield, 40, and his girlfriend, Shaquina Baxter, were in the parking lot of the Motel 6 on Dania Beach Boulevard when he released the shiny red and silver mylar balloons and watched them float away Sunday morning.
Also watching the romantic gesture: an FHP trooper, who instead noted probable cause for an environmental crime.
Brasfield was charged with polluting to harm humans, animals, plants, etc. under the Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act.
Seriously? We’re going to arrest people now because they released balloons into the air? What sort of joyless soul-sucking Dementors are the people who push for this kind of legislation?
The story notes at the end that Brasfield, if convicted, faces up to five years in prison. Five years for releasing balloons into the air to show his love to his significant other. If that’s not liberty-trampeling, un-American, and just plain immoral, I don’t know what it is.