The Doctor has a new look as Peter Capaldiís era officially begins. In a picture released today by the BBC, Capaldi can be seen in the costume that will define his time as the Twelfth Time Lord in one of TVís biggest roles. Sporting a dark blue Crombie coat with red lining, dark blue trousers, a white shirt as well as black Dr. Marten shoes, the look was created by Doctor Who costume designer Howard Burden.
Commenting on his costume, Peter Capaldi said: ďHe's woven the future from the cloth of the past. Simple, stark, and back to basics. No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 per cent Rebel Time Lord.Ē While lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat added: ďNew Doctor, new era, and of course new clothes. Monsters of the universe, the vacation is over - Capaldi is suited and booted and coming to get you!Ē
Now as a long-time fan of the show (going back to the days of the Third Doctor in the early 1970s), I can't help but notice a bit of homage to some of Capaldi's predecessors.
I see touch of William Hartnell's First Doctor. I see a hint of Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor. But let's be honest -- I see Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor in that scarlet lined jacket. Is this a bit of foreshadowing for all of us? Or will the new Doctor be something completely different?
Could be -- and these could even result in her being prosecuted for violating Texas ethics laws.
AUSTIN, Texas ó A Texas citizen filed a complaint before the Texas Ethics Commission Monday afternoon, alleging that State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) knowingly misrepresented her assets on her annual Personal Financial Statements.
The complainant, Lou Ann Anderson of Temple, alleges that Davis failed to disclose her ownership of stocks and mutual funds, capital gains made on the sale of those mutual funds, interest earned on several bank accounts, and professional ties to registered lobbyists associated with a law firm at which she is employed. Davis allegedly failed to make these financial disclosures on three of the four Personal Financial Statements she has filed since taking office in 2009. Watchdog Wire has obtained copies from 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Davis disclosed ownership of a single stock and two mutual funds on each of her Personal Financial Statements, but reported ownership of several additional mutual funds on her income tax returns for each corresponding year (2010, 2011, and 2012). Davisí 1040 and 1099-B forms include over 40 pages of proceeds from mutual fund transactions, and reveal that the Senator reported to the IRS that she bought and sold several mutual funds that made capital gains and losses during the years 2010-2012, but did not report any such activity to the state in her Personal Financial Statements for those years.
I wonder -- will Texas Democrats who have made a hobby out of attacking Republicans who have complaints filed against them take on their own gubernatorial candidate?
Some years back, Stephen Glass was a writer for The New Republic. His career flamed out spectacularly when he was caught fabricating details for his stories. But now he has been denied admission to the State Bar in California because his offenses against journalism make him ethically unfit to practice law.
The former New Republic writer who fabricated many articles in the 1990s ďhas not sustained his heavy burden of demonstrating rehabilitation and fitness for the practice of law,Ē says the California Supreme Court:
Stephen Randall Glass made himself infamous as a dishonest journalist by fabricating material for more than 40 articles for The New Republic magazine and other publications. He also carefully fabricated supporting materials to delude The New Republic‟s fact checkers. The articles appeared between June 1996 and May 1998, and included falsehoods that reflected negatively on individuals, political groups, and ethnic minorities. During the same period, starting in September 1997, he was also an evening law student at Georgetown Universityís law school. Glass made every effort to avoid detection once suspicions were aroused, lobbied strenuously to keep his job at The New Republic, and, in the aftermath of his exposure, did not fully cooperate with the publications to identify his fabrications.
Glass applied to become a member of the New York bar in 2002, but withdrew his application after he was informally notified in 2004 that his moral character application would be rejected. In the New York bar application materials, he exaggerated his cooperation with the journals that had published his work and failed to supply a complete list of the fabricated articles that had injured others.
Glass passed the California bar examination in 2006 and filed an application for determination of moral character in 2007. It was not until the California State Bar moral character proceedings that Glass reviewed all of his articles, as well as the editorials The New Republic and other journals published to identify his fabrications, and ultimately identified fabrications that he previously had denied or failed to disclose. In the California proceedings, Glass was not forthright in acknowledging the defects in his New York bar application.
At the 2010 State Bar Court hearing resulting in the decision under review, Glass presented many character witnesses and introduced evidence regarding his lengthy course of psychotherapy, along with his own testimony and other evidence. Many of his efforts from the time of his exposure in 1998 until the 2010 hearing, however, seem to have been directed primarily at advancing his own well-being rather than returning something to the community. His evidence did not establish that he engaged in truly exemplary conduct over an extended period. We conclude that on this record he has not sustained his heavy burden of demonstrating rehabilitation and fitness for the practice of law.
Now I'm not necessarily disputing the finding of the California Supreme Court or the bar association in that state insofar as they question Glass's ethics and fitness to practice law -- at least not per se. What I am questioning is the ruling's consistency with
Citing a new state law allowing persons living in the country illegally to get their law licenses, the California Supreme Court on Thursday paved the way for a Chico man to fulfill his dream of becoming an attorney despite his not being a U.S. citizen.
In a unanimous ruling, the state Supreme Court determined there is no reason to block Sergio Garcia's bid for a California law license, now that a new law permits the state's high court to give such licenses to immigrants who are not yet citizens. State legislators, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, pushed the legislation last fall as Garcia's case was unfolding in the Supreme Court, which has a final say on licensing California attorneys.
Now let me get this straight -- Stephen Glass, an American citizen who violated no law when he faked stories for publication is unfit to have a law license, but illegal alien Sergio Garcia can have one despite the fact that every breath he takes in this country is an offense against the laws of the United States. That is nonsensical on its face -- and one more example of how law-abiding American citizens are held to a higher standard than those who violate our nation's immigration laws. And that ought to outrage every American.
Presented for your consideration.
UPDATE -- Welcome Jawas!
This post is not about Wendy Davis. It is not about her views. This is about a woman who claims to be a feminist but who still insists that women receive all the protections of the patriarchal system she claims to oppose while being freed from the limits said system placed upon them.
In other words, it is about FoxNews Host Greta Van Susteren. And she's up in arms that there are men out there who dare to speak disrespectfully of the abortion-backing serial liar who is the presumptive Democrat nominee for governor of Texas.
This posting is not about Wendy Davis. It is not about her views. This is about a man who has pattern of being disrespectful to women:
We are a big nation with different viewpoints. We wonít always agreeÖbut a strong debate is helpful when we disagree. Sometimes if you are smart in your debate, you persuade someone who otherwise had disagreed with you.
And then there are the creeps who take cheap shots because they are too ignorant and small to engage in an important discussion. The best they can do is make themselves look really bad. No one should pay any attention to them Ė they are not persuasive, they are noise, and in some instances boorish and obnoxious. I suspect this guy feels that he makes himself relevant or even important if he says or tweets like this. I just roll my eyes and wonder what is going on in his head!
Now I'll say it -- Erick and I have gotten into it a time or two. I've believed him to be flat out wrong at times and have said as much -- I guess that is why he banned me on Twitter some time ago, though I honestly have no idea why he did so. But when it comes to Wendy Davis, I think he has been more or less on target. But Greta does not.
I donít care how much you disagree or agree with Texasí Wendy Davis, you have to agree that this guy, Erick Erickson, is a real jerk and is really lousy at being a spokesperson for his views:
Calling her an ďAbortion Barbie?Ē
Really? Does he think that makes him look smarter? It makes me think he is a jerk.
Well, Greta, Wendy Davis is known for one thing only -- briefly delaying a bill designed to put limits on the abortion of viable babies and apply the same standards to abortion clinics as are applied to other free-standing surgical facilities. Other than that, Wendy Davis has very few significant legislative accomplishments down here in Texas, and is known for being one of the most liberal members of the state senate. Given the attention paid her pink tennis shoes during her filibuster, is it any wonder that the one might compare her to another blonde known for her pink accessories? Of course, Greta doesn't get into the substance of the tweet in question -- one noting that Davis falsified her biography and succeeded in life after her deadbeat dad (Davis' claim, not mine) set up his 21 year old daughter with a big donor to his theater company who was in his mid thirties.
But let's set this aside -- because after all, this piece is not about Wendy Davis, it is about Greta.
And I say that because Greta then goes on to exploit one of Erick Erickson's children and paint him as a bad father.
Here are some more of his tweets:
I see he tweets about his daughter. When I read the above tweet I thought, I wonder how proud his daughter would be of him if she knew that he tweeted insults about women. It is one thing to disagree ..but he tweets insults.
Wow -- that takes a lot of class, Greta. Erick Erickson had the audacity to tweet about a major candidate for high office, and so that makes him a bad father. I'd ask what Greta thinks about Wendy Davis abandoning her daughters when being mom became a political liability, but I'm not sure if that Greta would recognize that my attack on her hypocrisy was not intended as an attack on Davis instead. Besides, Greta might insist that I was attacking a woman (and Greta does claim to be a woman) by exposing her double standard on personal attacks.
And here are more of his tweets about a woman, Wendy Davis:
Well come on -- Wendy Davis has claimed that she is tough enough to lead while being all things feminine. She has been caught lying to the people of Texas about the only thing she seemed to have going for her -- a compelling biography that has now been found to have the consistency of Swiss cheese. She's tried to sound tough and look like a delicate flower as she has worked to undo the damage of the unforced error she and her campaign have made. But according to Greta, it really isn't fair to use the sort of ridicule that would be directed at a male politician in a similar situation because, well, Wendy Davis is a woman and you are a jerk if you dare pick on a woman in precisely the same manner you would a man.
I'll skip Greta's reference to an earlier post in which Erickson was among a group criticized for noting the implications of social science research on working mothers and absent fathers. Suffice it to say that she didn't like what was said -- and probably thinks that the social scientists who have conducted these studies are jerks, too.
No, I'll just skip to the end of the piece, which shows the deepest hypocrisy of all.
One other thingÖ. donít expect me to police everything that is said by everybody, but I will from time to time speak up (not alwaysÖIím busy doing a lot of other things).
Translation -- "I'm going to criticize Erick Erickson for daring to treat a woman like a man, but I'm not going to comment on the disgusting attacks on Wendy Davis' opponent, Greg Abbott, that have become common among Davis supporters and staffers who think it is just great to mock a man in a wheelchair over that disability. After all Abbott doesn't have a uterus."
Hypocrisy, thy name is Greta. Sexism, too.
Yeah, I know -- the smelling-salts brigade has declared "thug" to be the new N-word. But given that as recently as a couple of weeks ago the word was used to describe the pasty white Chris Christie. And given that we are hearing that the president plans on working with Congress the same way some street punk with a shank works with his victim -- "give me what i want or I'll take it from you anyway."
"The president sees this as a year of action to work with Congress where he can and to bypass Congress where necessary," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
In other words, Obama plans on getting what Congress will give him and then taking as much as he can through executive orders.
Never mind that Article I of the Constitution begins with this very simple declaration.
All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Notice, the president is not given any powers to legislate matters -- only Congress is. Indeed, his authority is quite happy.
The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.
But what is the executive power? It is the power to carry out the laws that have been validly enacted into law. It does not consist in making laws that Congress refuses to make or bypassing Congress when the president considers it necessary. A president who chooses to engage in such activity is no longer the chief executive -- he is nothing but a thug abusing those limited powers he was granted at the time of his election.
The declaration by the president that the failure of Congress to enact those measures that he believes are necessary constitutes grounds for him to enact them himself constitutes a declaration of war on the separation of powers that are a part of our constitutional system of government, and is itself an impeachable offense. Unfortunately, this president is insulated from removal for violations of his oath of office; the Senate majority of the president's power has indicated its unwillingness to hold him constitutionally accountable for his malfeasance in office. Are We the People prepared to stand up and tell Barack Obama no -- whatever the dangers to ourselves at the hands of a man who has repeatedly abused the powers of the executive to harass his critics -- or will we meekly submit to being robbed of our liberties and our constitutional form of government?
UPDATE -- Instapundit has the term for what I'm suggesting we engage in here -- "Irish Democracy"!
Yes. I still get home delivery of the Houston Chronicle. Now I only get it twice a week, Wednesday and Sunday, for ads and coupons, because those are the two things my wife most wants and it gets me electronic access to both the regular website and their premium site. My expectations are not that high -- just that my paper is here on the days it is supposed to be here that it is here by the time it is supposed to be here, and that it is good shape.
Unfortunately, we've had some problems with these the last several weeks. I don't mean "damn, the paper ended up in a puddle on a rainy day" delivery problems. I mean late delivery or non-delivery. One Wednesday I called and received assurances that I would get my Wednesday paper on Thursday -- only to not find it on Thursday and then receiving it on Friday only after an additional phone call to the circulation folks. And we won't get into the fact that the paper kept showing up later than the promised delivery time so that we did not have it before I left for school on Wednesday or before church on Sunday.
Today, though, brought things to a whole new level of suckage.
I looked for the paper about 8:30. No sign of it. I looked at 9:30, as I was getting ready to leave for church. No paper. I used the Chronicle's automated service to request delivery, and then called to talk to a person in order to make sure I got my paper -- my wife wants the coupons and the ads. I was assured delivery today.
About 10 minutes later, while leaving for church, I got a phone call from a number that I did not recognize. I answered and was told that it was someone involved in delivery, and that she had been shadowing our new delivery person this morning. My paper, I was assured, had been tossed "between your house and the one next door" -- and that I should just go out and pick up the one that was in the neighbor's yard. When I explained that this was not true and that there had been no paper near the property line, I was then informed that the paper was there -- the caller had seen it tossed in the yard at #### N. XXXXX Drive. At this point I lost my cool -- pointing out that there is no lot with the address in question, that there was no paper near the property line with the neighboring house, and that if the caller was indeed shadowing the delivery person they should have gotten out of the car and put it in the correct yard.
Two hours later, I got home from church. You guessed it -- no paper. When I called back to the Chronicle offices, they had closed for the day. But I did take a couple of pictures from my driveway just to document that there was no newspaper near my property line.
By the way -- that house to the north of mine is the one for which I was given the wrong address and told that the paper was "near the property line". I guess that is an accurate description if by "near the property line" you mean "clear on the other side of your neighbor's lot in their driveway." The same would be true regarding the house to the south (which has been vacant since Hurricane Ike in 2008) -- it is only "near the property line" if you mean "as far from your yard as possible while still being in the neighbor's yard".
Now is this a little thing? Yeah, but more than six hours have now passed and the newspaper I have paid for newspaper still has not been delivered -- I've had to run out and buy a copy. This really bothers me because the Chronicle is known to boost circulation figures by delivering the paper to non-subscribers -- but I can't get my paper even though I've been a subscriber at this address for the last dozen years.
Here are this weekís full results.
See you next week! Donít forget to tune in on Monday AM for this weekís Watcherís Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh inÖdonít you dare miss it. And donít forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..ícause weíre cool like that!
This is demonstrably false -- but is indicative of the sycophantic absurdity that we will be treated two over the next 33 months.
Scandal-plagued Anthony Weiner ó whose wife is a close associate to Hillary Clinton ó laid it on pretty thick for the former first lady this week, characterizing her as quite possibly the best politician for the presidential role in the entire history of the United States.
On Larry Kingís Ora TV show, Mr. Weiner said: ďIf Hillary were to run, sheíd be an amazing candidate, arguably the most qualified candidate in the history of the United States ever to run for president,Ē The New York Post reported.
Hillary Clinton is more qualified than George Washington? Than John Adams? Than Thomas Jefferson? Than James Madison? Those four men were instrumental in founding this great nation and establishing its system of governance. Hillary certainly isn't superior to them.
But let's take Weiner at his word and presume that he doesn't only means candidates of the modern era. After all, it was the custom for much of US history for candidates to "stand for office" -- accept their party's nomination and allow surrogates to campaign for them rather than seeking out voters and actively promoting themselves. What would that mean?
How about Herbert Hoover -- businessman, philanthropist, and cabinet member? I'm not talking about his later success as president - I'm just referring to his qualifications. Or Dwight D. Eisenhower -- a military leader who helped reestablish civil government in Europe following WWII and was the president of Columbia University. Or consider, dare I suggest it, Bill Clinton George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.
What I'm saying is that it is fine to love your candidate -- but don't delve into hyperbolic absurdity when you do.
HOUSTON - The greater Houston area is under a Winter Storm Warning from Thursday night through Friday afternoon.
Some school districts plan to wait until early Friday morning to make a decision, and once they do we'll post them on this page.
So yes, we've joined most of the rest of the country in experiencing the horrors of Global Warming -- extremely cold temperatures and frozen precipitation that requires us to stay bundled up in our house, trying to keep warm!
Here in Seabrook it is a balmy 31 degrees!
Dave over at Big Jolly Politics has disclosed this scandalous little morsel involving a payment that sure as hell looks improper.
Second, when a precinct does not have an elected chair, anyone can apply to fill the role. The applicant must go through the Vacancy Committee, whose members are primarily chosen by the precinct chairs from the Senate Districts. But, the HCRP Chair, in this case Jared Woodfill, is allowed to appoint a member. Jared, as I have told you before, appointed a guy named Terry Lowry. Lowry is a sort of super Pharisee/Sadducee/zealot in his quest to keep the party free of homosexuals and people that are, in his mind (warped as it is) pro-choice Ė they donít have to be pro-choice, they just answer questions differently than Lowry wants them to. Because of his status as a Woodfill appointee and party insider, his influence on the committee is larger than one vote.
Third, recall that the Vacancy Committee denied the applications of two supremely qualified candidates last year, Chris Busby and Nghi Ho. I happened to hear Mr. Ho today at the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club Ė goodness, he is like, I donít know, everything Republicans need in a candidate! Wow. But the Vacancy Committee, led by Terry Lowry and a couple of other ďChristiansĒ said no to Busby and Ho because they arenít the right kind of Republicans.
Okay, so there is your context. Now, imagine my surprise when I see this entry on the campaign finance report for the Harris County Republican Party:
And lfor those who don't know, the "Whats Up Program" is Terry Lowry's radio show. So apparently the Harris County Republican Party is paying Terry Lowry for doing through his show what Terry Lowry has already promised to do by becoming a part of the Vacancy Committee! And if you don't believe that Lowry has made the commitment to recruit precinct chairs, consider this from the Harris County GOP bylaws.
Section 2 - Committee Description and Duties:
A. The Vacancy Committee: The Vacancy Committee shall meet monthly (Regular Meeting) unless otherwise ordered by majority vote of said committee (Special Meeting) to interview and recommend qualified applicants to fill vacant precinct chairmen positions. Special Meetings shall not be considered in determining automatic removal. The Vacancy Committee shall seek, recruit and interview legally qualified persons to fill precinct chairman vacancies and shall determine by majority vote the applicant whom it recommends for each precinct. All votes regarding applicants shall be recorded in the minutes of the Vacancy Committee. All recommended applicants by the Vacancy Committee will be included in the Meeting Call for the next Executive Committee meeting.
Yeah -- this payment is interesting in an "appearance of impropriety" sort of way.
Especially because Jared Woodfill is the guy who appointed Terry Lowry to the committee in the first place. And he's also one of the guys who would have had a major role in making the decision to pay Lowry for doing something that Lowry had volunteered to do by taking the appointment. And he's also a candidate who has received the endorsement of Lowry's "pay to play" slate (LinkLetter) that arrives as junk mail in the mailboxes of Republican primary voters around Harris County.
And sadly, things are likely to remain at the "appearance of impropriety" level. As much as i think one is needed, I do not see there being an investigation, or at least not one we can trust.
Who's going to do the investigation -- Jared Woodfill and his appointees? District Attorney Devon Anderson, who could not manage to get an indictment of Family Court Judge Denise Pratt, despite the abundance of evidence of wrongdoing in her court? Or County Attorney Vince Ryan, a partisan Democrat who seems to be setting himself up for a run for higher office here in Harris County and who would therefore have incentive to tear down the party that holds the balance of power in the county? Our local media, which seems content to let the workings of the slate-makers go unscrutinized despite their influence and the efforts of some to highlight the mischief caused by these mailers.
In other words, there is nothing to be done -- except vote to replace our current chairman and immediately audit the books and the records to find out if the Harris County GOP received any value at all for this $5000 payment and any number of other matters found in the party's financial reports.
UPDATE -- David has updated his post, so I'll include that update here.
I spoke to HCRP Chair Jared Woodfill about this today. Obviously Jared disagrees with my assessment that this was for nothing. Jared told me that the program run by Lowry was for 100,000 targeted Robocalls, 15,000 targeted mailers and produced, they think, 25 applications for Precinct Chair. It will be interesting to see if anyone challenges this and asks for documentation on these results and if they do, what documentation is provided.
So that was $5000 for 25 applications for open precinct chair positions. I may not teach math, but I can still calculate that this means that the Harris County GOP gave Terry Lowry $200 per application. Is that good stewardship of party funds?
And as far as anyone challenging this expenditure. I wonder if where we will find precinct chairs willing to make some waves and ask those questions. I suspect I can think of a couple -- coming out of Precinct 377 and Precinct 333, just for starters.
Davis told AP in Tuesdayís interview that as governor she would support an expansion of concealed carry rights in Texas.
While Democrats elsewhere have called for tighter gun laws, Davis said she owns a handgun for protection, plans to obtain a concealed handgun license and supports legislation that allows workers to keep guns in their vehicles at work.
Itís a good idea. Itís one thatís likely to garner broad support in the legislature. In fact, it already did.
The 82nd session of the Texas legislature took up Senate Bill 321 beginning in January 2011. That Republican-sponsored bill codifies ďan employeeís transportation and storage of certain firearms or ammunition while on certain property owned or controlled by the employeeís employer.Ē After going through the usual sausage-making that goes on in Austin, it passed, was sent to Gov. Rick Perry, and he signed it on June 17, 2011. It went into effect September 1 of that year and has been the law ever since.
State Sen. Wendy Davis voted for the bill, joining a solid bipartisan majority.
Can we question her competence yet?
So does "religious freedom", according to the banally evil head of NARAL, the industry trade association for abortionists.
Lila Rose was asked on Crossfire tonight why she believes a woman should be forced to carry her baby to term in the case of rape (question heavily loaded by leftist host) and Lila responded with a great answer about why she believes that babyís life should be protected and why having an abortion doesnít Ďunrapeí a woman. You should watch the clip just to hear her answer.
Toward the end the President of NARAL, Ilyse Hogue, chimes in and condescendingly says that her choice to have an abortion is what religious liberty is all about:
Isnít it great that we live in a country where Lila Rose could decide that she would choose to carry her rapist pregnancy to term, but her version of morality doesnít actually dictate what I can choose to do in that moment. And thatís what religious liberty is about. Itís about you getting to chose what would be right for you in that circumstance but I donít get to tell you what to do and you donít get to tell me what to do.
I wonder -- would Hogue equally argue that religious liberty also means that people like her don't get to use the law to dictate to employers that they must include coverage of the abortion pill as a part of their employee benefits? Does religious liberty include the right of business owners not to provide services for a gay wedding, civil union or commitment ceremony because "getting to choose what would be right for you in that circumstance"?
Of course not -- for Hogue and her ilk, "religious liberty" means sucking an unborn member of species homo sapiens sapiens into a sink, destroying that fellow human being via chemicals, or severing its spine mere moments from its exit from the birth canal. It means for Hogue -- and for Barack Obama -- leaving the survivor of such a procedure to die without medical care because its female parent paid good money to a hitman with a medical license to procure that child's death. And it means painting anyone who dares to speak on behalf of the most voiceless among us as an extremist who hates women and supporting blasphemy to ridicule the beliefs of those whose morality disagrees with hers.
Because in the dictionary of the Left, "choice" means this.
Given players the team is losing this year and needs shown last year, there are a lot of possible options. But the top quarterbacks -- Manziel and Bridgewater -- don't seem like a great fit. So why not go ahead and draft Jadeveon Clowney -- the premiere defensive player this year -- with that number one pick and wait until the second round to draft a new quarterback -- a guy who would be happy to come here?
Carr will be disappointed if heís still on the board when the Texans lead off the second round with the No. 33 overall pick. But heís fully open to becoming the second Carr to QB the Texans. If Davidís former team trades down via its No.1 overall selection and Derekís still on the board when the Texans hold a later pick, the kid who grew up following the Texans will eagerly join them.
ďIf I am (available in the second round), theyíre going to get even more of a chip on my shoulder than there already is,Ē Carr said. ďAbsolutely: Iíd love to play for the Texans. They have a great team. They have a great offensive line ó one of the best tackles in the game (in Duane Brown). Iíve thrown to Andre (Johnson) before, so the timing should be OK.Ē
Realistically, Derek Carr is likely to still be available at #33. So why not do it -- both for PR value and to fill a need that the team really has. Schaub will be leaving, so the #8 Jersey can once again read "CARR" like it did in the early days of the franchise -- and if we have to sign a journeyman veteran to help tutor the newcomer for a season, so be it.
Having been caught in multiple lies, Wendy Davis now declares that the very thing she says makes her such an ideal candidate for governor -- her life story -- is just not something that the media has any business covering.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the Democratic state senator from Fort Worth also reiterated her refusal to discuss the volatile end to her second marriage to Jeff Davis, which led to allegations of infidelity and a temporary restraining order against her.
ďWhat I committed to my daughters when I started this journey was that I would not revisit a very difficult time in our life which was that period,Ē Davis said. ďI am not going to revisit that for the purposes of this campaign, not today, not in the future of the campaign. I would just remind you that there are always two sides to every story in a divorce.Ē
Oh come on, Wendy -- you made your life story the focus of your campaign. It is that narrative that you say makes you more in touch with the lives and aspirations of ordinary Texans. What do you mean that now your life story -- and the lies you have told Texans abut your life -- is off limits? I don't think so.
We are clearly approaching the day that I prophesied some years ago -- that in the not too distant future we will see some huckster on television (or hear one on the radio) proclaiming "Free at last! Free at last! Buy one get one free at last!" to promote an MLK Day sale.
Because he's incapable of believing that anyone could object to his presidency for any reason other than racism.
When Dave over at Big Jolly wrote his piece the other day about State Rep. Patricia Harless making public a series of emails from backers of Jared Woodfill, it seemed pretty clear to me why Harless put them out for all the world to see -- the tactics being used by the Woodfill faction exhibited the seamy underbelly of social conservative politics in the Harris County GOP. Those in Woodfill's corner don't just want to win the race for their candidate -- they are out to destroy anyone who dares to support Woodfill's opponent, Paul Simpson. It does not matter that Simpson himself agrees with them on their major issues (abortion and gay marriage) and that the bulk of his supporters (including me) do so as well -- in their eyes we are are somehow wanting because we have failed to fall in line with their faction of the party and the pay-for-play slate-makers who have come to dominate at primary time.
This is pretty clear from the emails that Harless released.
Patricia Harless: I know in the ďbig pictureĒ of life, stuff like this doesnít matter but politics in the Harris County Republican party has sunk to an all time low. Two lessons learned here: 1) be careful when you forward a chain email & 2) the ďpay for playĒ republican slates are not a level playing field. I donít even know what to say about this email.
From: Terry Lowry <email@example.com>
Date: January 15, 2014, 6:45:58 AM CST
To: ďĎSimpson, PaulíĒ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: ĎJared Woodfillí <email@example.com>
Subject: FW: Eagle Forum President Maria Espinoza endorses Simpson for County Chair
Later today I will officially endorse Jared Woodfill for re-election.
From: David Riddle [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 6:31 AM
To: Terry Lowry
Subject: Fwd: Eagle Forum President Maria Espinoza endorses Simpson for County Chair
Good morning Terry, please read this email that Clint wrote. We need your support for Jared now more than ever. I understand he is not the ultimate answer to HCRP but I also know Simpson would be catastrophic to HCRP and would essentially delete all the efforts of the pro life/anti gay movement in Harris county that you have built since the mid 90′s. I will not hound you for your endorsement for Jared because that is your decision, but I wanted to have clear communication as to where I stand on this issue. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
David M. Riddle
Begin forwarded message:
From: ďClint MooreĒ <email@example.com>
Date: January 14, 2014, 11:35:09 PM CST
To: ďValoree SwansonĒ ďMark Ramsey ďPaul BettencourtĒ ďDan PatrickĒ <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, ďRepub Ė Jared WoodfillĒ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: FW: Eagle Forum President Maria Espinoza endorses Simpson for County Chair
Earlier today, I called Cathie Adams to bring to her attention the Paul Simpson email blast today (see below) that announces her Houston Eagle Forum President Maria Espinozaís endorsement of Simpson. Cathie was horrified, to say the least, especially since Cathie had already strongly endorsed Jared. In the end, I told Cathie to get with Jeff Yates and see what she could do for Jared to counter this, especially since Simpsonís message line above, called Maria the ďEagle Forum PresidentĒ, with no Houston mention. I also told her that in the end, she should consider replacing Maria, since she has burned her own reputation with social conservatives in Harris County for good, as a result of her grossly enthusiastic quote supporting Simpson.
I told her that she should remind her that:
1) Simpson has never been considered a friend or ally of Eagle Forum, or the Republican Party Platform planks on social issues that Eagle Forum fights for.
2) Simpson has consistently worked for decades against Eagle Forum allied candidates and precinct chairs, preferring Rhinos.
3) Simpson has all the support of pro-gay, pro-abort Rhinos, as well as the consistent endorsement of Betsy Lakeís United Republicans and Rhino Ed Emmett
4) Simpson consistently tried to tear down Eagle Forum champion Gary Polland when he was County Chair to the point that Gary fired him as Treasurer, and then has opposed both Gary and Jared in every primary for over almost two decades.
5) Simpson has written ugly emails to several Republican leaders (including me) over the last 20 years, demonstrating he cannot be a unifier.
Above all, we need to ask Terry Lowry to endorse Jared this time. With Simpson getting downtown businessman money to open a Campaign HQ on Wirt Chimney Rock & Longpoint, and having Jennifer Naedler (who is not inexpensive) helping run his campaign, we canít afford to get overconfident. Weekley, C-Club, et al think they can buy the election with their donations, just like they did with Munisteri. It will be much harder to do with such an inferior candidate as Simpson, and hundreds of thousands of voters in the primary.
From: Simpson for County Chair Campaign [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 1:00 PM
To: Clint Moore
Subject: Eagle Forum President Maria Espinoza endorses Simpson for County Chair
The Paul Simpson for Republican County Chair campaign is
pleased and honored to announced yet another endorsement to our growing list of Conservative Republican officials, leaders, and grassroots activists endorsing Paul Simpson as our next
Harris County Republican party Chair.
Maria Espinoza, President of Eagle Forum-Houston, has announced her support for Paul Simpson for Harris County Republican Party Chair in the upcoming primary:
ďPaul is the pro-life conservative who can rebuild the grassroots in Houston, and provide the much-needed conservative leadership.
The kind of leadership that will fight for Family, Faith and Freedom.
There is too much at stake to continue down the same failing path.
Thatís why Iím supporting
Paul Simpson for Harris County Republican Party Chair.Ē
Maria Espinoza, President, Eagle Forum-Houston
Ms. Espinoza joins Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Former State Party Chair George Strake, and hundreds of Party Leaders, Community Leaders, Business community Leader and Grassroots activists in supporting Paul Simpson for Harris County Republican Party Chair.
Join them and our Republican Grassroots Army
Saturday, January 18, noon-2pm
1739 Wirt Road, Houston Texas 77055 (map)
Do you see what happened there? Someone who is undeniably a social conservative dared to endorse Paul Simpson because she recognizes that a dozen years is enough time for Jared Woodfill to be at the helm of the Harris County GOP -- and so not only was there an effort to seek endorsements of Jared, but also to see to it that this social conservative leader would be fired from her position as president of the Houston Chapter of the Eagle Forum. Apparently this crew has learned well from organizations like the NAACP and NOW, which purge those with heterodox views on which candidates should be elected to office.
But if matters had stopped there, I probably would have remained silent. You see, I generally agree with the views expressed by Karen over at Pondering Penguin and think she said it better than I could. Patricia Harless was right to bring to light the sort of activity that goes on behind the scenes and which is harming our party.
So why am I posting on this subject? That's easy -- because of this reprehensible piece of bovine excrement posted over at the Patriot Statesman.
Patricia Harless Publicly Condemns Social Conservatives For Banding Together For Social Values
Is it wrong for Social Conservatives to seek out and support leaders who share their Godly values? Well according to State Representative Patricia Harless it is wrong and harmful for believers to seek out others of faith who will stand up for the values that are documented and expressed in the Republican Party Platform.
Patricia, on her personal Facebook page, posted publicly a private email that was sent to her in an effort to somehow insinuate that it was wrong for like-minded people to form a coalition that expresses their beliefs. In this email we can clearly see that Social Conservatives are banding together in an effort to keep our local Republican Party not only fiscally conservative but also socially conservative, not a crime, but quite the opposite, in accordance to what Republicans across Texas have agreed to in the Party Platform.
If you read that excerpt closely, you will note that every word in it including "and" and "the" is designed to further a lie. Rep Harless did not "Publicly Condemn Social Conservatives For Banding Together For Social Values." It is pretty clear that she is offended by the tactics being used by the gang of Pharisees who have appointed themselves as the guardians of True Republicanism and who therefore feel it is acceptable to engage in ugly tactics when anyone dares to challenge the status quo that has allowed some of them to control the Harris County GOP, in some cases for personal profit. No where did Harless say that social conservatives (or anyone else) should not be coming together to promote their values and principles, but rather they should do so in a decent -- dare I say Godly -- manner.
Bill Kneer, the author of the reprehensible post, then goes on to selectively edit the material that Harless made public so that it appears quite innocent. In particular, he cuts out the ugliest parts of Clint Moore's email and then disingenuously claims that there is nothing there for anyone to object to. In other words, he again lied to his readers, this time by omission. And while Kneer complains at the notion that there is "pay-to-play" in the endorsement process in Harris County when it comes from the junk mail slate mailers coming from Hotze, Lowry and Polland, he then leaves in place Moore's claims that certain monied interests bought the chairmanship of the state GOP for Steve Munstieri. Apparently it is OK if one first declares oneself to be a tool in the hands of the Almighty promoting Godly values and anyone who disagrees to be (implicitly) on the side of sin and Satan.
But believe it or not, it gets worse.
Here is a note I that is fitting from the Patriot Statesman Ė Reclaiming our Freedom of Speech and Religion Factions who despise our moral and religious freedoms have injured our nation. These include ungrateful recipients within our own citizenry, anti-Christian sects, and even foreign foes. Slowly but surely, they have chipped away at the foundation of religious freedom, banning children from the right to practice freedom of religious expression in schools and using the phrase ďseparation of church and stateĒ as a hammer. The liberal ďthought policeĒ are out in full forceÖ but the Patriot Statesman defies the censorship of a government run amuck. We push back with clarity and seek to remind the nation of the tremendous sacrifice of our forefathersóand their vision for America. Our mission is to reclaim our Biblically-based freedoms.
The Patriot Statesman further goes on record to say that Patricia Harless is a traitor to the Republican Party name. She is just another self-serving politician who has betrayed the values of those who put her in office. We will seek others to help us oppose her in future endeavors, with the goal of removing her from office, now that we know her true colors.
Let's break this one down.
Wow! Hyperbole much?
And may I remind you that your principles involve rejecting those of Ronald Reagan?
But then again, these social conservatives probably don't care about that -- after all, Ronald Reagan signed the law that made abortion legal in California and opposed a proposed anti-gay amendment to that state's constitution. He was just another RINO, right?
Now I'll give these folks their due -- I'm sure they are sincere in their views. They may even believe that their actions will save the GOP. Unfortunately, they are wrong, and are instead working to hasten the demise of the Republican Party every bit as much as the Democrats are.
In an extensive interview last week, Davis acknowledged some chronological errors and incomplete details in what she and her aides have said about her life.
ďMy language should be tighter,Ē she said. ďIím learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail.Ē
Yeah -- a little bit tighter. You know, like being more truthful in presenting her life story.
Take this, for example. Wendy claims to have been divorced at age 19. Of course, that isn't true.
She was 17 and still in high school when she moved in with her boyfriend, a construction worker named Frank Underwood. She got pregnant, married and ďsome time between [age] 19 and 20 was when Frank and I separated,Ē she said.
Davis remained in the mobile home a few months, then moved in with her mother before getting her own apartment. She got custody of her daughter, Amber, and Underwood was ordered to pay child support.
Under terms of the divorce, he got a boat, the mobile home and the responsibility for the mortgage on it. She got a 3-year-old Pontiac Grand Prix, a 1972 Firebird and a 1967 Chevy pickup. Davis was 21.
So you see, even basic details she ought to be able to remember are conveniently fudged when it makes the narrative better.
And then there is what happened next.
Four nights a week, Davis was also waiting tables at her fatherís Fort Worth dinner theater, Stage West. It was there that she met her future husband, Jeff Davis, a 34-year-old friend of her fatherís.
ďOne day at the end of a meeting, Jerry asked, ĎHow do you like younger women? My daughter wants to go out with you,íĒ Jeff Davis said in an interview. ďI was flattered so I took her out. We dated two or three years, then got married.Ē
While they dated, Wendy Davis enrolled at Texas Christian University on an academic scholarship and a Pell Grant. After they married, when she was 24, they moved into a historic home in the Mistletoe Heights neighborhood of Fort Worth.
Jeff Davis paid for her final two years at TCU. ďIt was community resources. We paid for it together,Ē Wendy Davis said.
When she was accepted to Harvard Law School, Jeff Davis cashed in his 401(k) account and eventually took out a loan to pay for her final year there.
Of course, even that isn't it the whole truth -- Jeff Davis was a board member and donor for the theater group run by Wendy's dad, and encouraging a dating relationship between 34-year-old Davis and his 21 year old father ensured that he had Davis' continued financial support and an ally on the board. And for Wendy, it was quite convenient that her deadbeat dad helped set up a relationship that would benefit both himself and his daughter financially.
But what happened next is , shall we say, quite intereting.
Over time, the Davisesí marriage was strained. In November 2003, Wendy Davis moved out.
Jeff Davis said that was right around the time the final payment on their Harvard Law School loan was due. ďIt was ironic,Ē he said. ďI made the last payment, and it was the next day she left.Ē
* * *
In his initial divorce filing, Jeff Davis said the marriage had failed, citing adultery on her part and conflicts that the couple could not overcome. The final court decree makes no mention of infidelity, granting the divorce solely ďon the ground of insupportability.Ē
So -- just as soon as the loans for Harvard are paid off, she left. That speaks volumes. So does the claim of infidelity. If we had real journalists in this state, it would be quite the thing for them to delve into that matter and find out who the affair was with. After all, Wendy Davis has made her life story the central feature of her campaign, so we Texans have a right to the answers to these questions.
I'm particularly struck by this quote from one of Wendy Davis' colleagues.
A former colleague and political supporter who worked closely with Davis when she was on the council said the bodyís work was very time-consuming.
ďWendy is tremendously ambitious,Ē he said, speaking only on condition of anonymity in order to give what he called an honest assessment. ďSheís not going to let family or raising children or anything else get in her way.Ē
He said: ďSheís going to find a way, and sheís going to figure out a way to spin herself in a way that grabs at the heart strings. A lot of it isnít true about her, but thatís just us who knew her. But sheíd be a good governor.Ē
Wow -- "a lot of it isn't true". In other words, Wendy Davis will lie to the people of Texas in order to bamboozle them into voting for her. Sounds like another politician who ran for office on a platform of change and whose biography has been shown to be full of errors and omissions.
Of course, imprecision seems to be a big part of Wendy's modus operandi. Consider her recent campaign fundraising report. Roughly a quarter of the $12.2 million she claimed to raise came from Battleground Texas, And while she claims some 84K small donors, these numbers should raise some eyebrows.
Big donors to Sen. Wendy Davis include an Austin physician who gave $1 million, according to the first report of hers to be posted online.
Davis earlier said she raised $12.2 million in the six-month reporting period that ended Dec. 31, counting donations to two of her accounts and the Texas Victory Committee.
The committee is a joint effort with Battleground Texas, which is dedicated to making Texas competitive for Democrats. The Davis campaign says the committee is focused on her election, with emphasis on a grassroots effort.
The $1 million donation from Carolyn Oliver of Austin, who lists her occupation as physician, is the biggest in the Wendy R. Davis for Governor Inc. report.
The campaign committee reported raising nearly $4.2 million and having $2.9 million in cash on hand.
Other large single donations included $250,000 from Fort Worth investor Robert Patton, who is one of the owners of the LA Dodgers; and $150,000 from Louise Carvey of Fort Worth, listed as retired.
Davis also got $125,000 from the American Federation of Teachers and $100,000 from Sara Morgan of Houston, community volunteer.
My colleague David Saleh Rauf, who is combing through the report, also tallied up in-kind contributions from big groups and bigtime Democratic contributor Steve Mostyn of Houston (whose donations came in the form of travel). They total about $776, 000, including:
Battleground Texas ó $284,037
Lone Star Project -Ė $201,083
Emilyís List -Ė $147,681
Planned Parenthood: Ė $74,512
Mostyn Law Firm Ė $50, 577
NARAL Ė $18,236
Sort of puts her fundraising in perspective -- and makes her claim of having a grassroots campaign somewhat suspect.
But then again, that's just Wendy Davis.
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Yeah, but he has been ďlooking outĒ for them for years!
Fox News host Bill OíReilly has ruffled feathers in his exclusive Montauk neighborhood after pulling down a charming 1940s cottage to make way for a mansion.
The host of the OíReilly Factor bought the historic ocean-front Abbey Cottage for about $8 million last year.
The shingle cottage, built on an East Hamptons bluff, was the last of its kind after a spate of property developers razing older homes to make way for new ones.
Can you explain to me why, if people have been buying and tearing down these houses for years, it is somehow incumbent upon Bill O'Reilly not to exercise his property rights in the same way?
Barack Obama will do anything to make Muslims feel warm and fuzzy about him, even if it harms the national security of the United States and creates grave danger for the people of Israel. To that end, the anti-Semitic regime in Washington and its media sycophants are making use of traditional Jew-baiting rhetoric to declare Americans who support sanctions against Iran to be unpatriotic warmongers.
So far, 59 senators, 16 Democrats, are co-sponsoring a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran and, perhaps, derail the Obama administrationís recent diplomatic efforts on that front. Really, itís one of the only times weíve seen any notable resistance to Barack Obama from people within his party. But, if Iím hearing the administration and punditry from the left correctly, even debating these approaches is a call for war to them. Instead, weíre supposed to believe that those 16 Democratic senators (not to mention the entire GOP) are set to send Americans to die for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Jay Carney kicked off the shameful rhetoric by warning that anyone who disagrees with Obamaís Iranian position risks supporting a ďmarch to war.Ē As USA Today put it, ďthe White House has suggested Washington opponents want negotiations to fail so the United States can attack Iran.Ē
To begin with, it seems an enormous stretch to assume that the Senateís passage of tighter sanctions would inevitably lead to war with Iran. Itís at least as massive as believing that Obamaís diplomatic efforts are no better than the Munich Agreement. Yet the former is accepted as the basis for nearly every piece critical of the recent debate over Iranian sanctions.
So got that -- disagreeing with Barry, Kerry, and the Ayatollahs makes you an evildoer who wants to rush into war. And what's more, some of the allies of this anti-sanction troika are going further.
As unhealthy as that kind of partisan lock-stepping can be, hereís Andrew Sullivan kicking it up a notch and offering up a list of ďDemocrats For War With IranĒ: ďMichael Bennet of Colorado ó a key Obama supporter; Cory Booker of New Jersey (ditto); Mark Warner of Virginia; Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut; Ben Cardin of Maryland; and, of course, Chuck Schumer of New York. All of these Democrats are in favor of humiliating the president of the United States and refusing to allow him to pursue negotiations without being trumped by deliberate, pre-meditated sabotage.Ē
Does anyone really believe that Cardin and Bennet are driven by bloodlust? That Booker is willing to go to war to humiliate the president? That Warner wants to sabotage a chance at a meaningful peace agreement? That Schumer wants to ó wait a second. What does Sullivan mean by ďof courseĒ? Schumer, as you may already have guessed, is a Hebrew. And letís concede that Jewish politicians and their constituents tend to get a bit nervous when a bunch of belligerent oil-rich anti-Semites start pulling together a nuclear program. Does concern for an ally mean you are a member of a fifth column?
Itís just remarkable how regularly liberals will breezily call you a traitor these days for disagreeing with them. Thatís exactly what Fallows does when he writes that ďa striking number of Democrats have joined them, for no evident reason other than AIPACís whole-hearted, priority-one support for the sanctions bill.Ē
Got that -- support for sanctions makes you a traitorous tool of the Jews! Frankly, his rhetoric ranks right up there with the stuff that was recently published by USNews.com regarding the fifth column of Papists out to demolish the Constitution.
So let's be clear -- anti-Semitism is back in fashion among the Left, who must always find the enemy within.
Because. . . #Tolerance!
Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if thatís who they are and theyíre the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because thatís not who New Yorkers are.
I'd like to make two observations here.
First, this is the sort of rhetoric that Democrats have long engaged in. After all, think back to the 1950s and 1960s, when Democrat governors denounced "outside agitators" for stirring up unrest in their states. I could easily imagine Orval Faubus or George Wallace saying something like this:
Are they these extreme civil rights advocates who are right-to-vote, pro-blacks-at-lunch-counters, anti-segregation? Is that who they are? Because if thatís who they are and theyíre the extreme integrationists, they have no place in the state of Arkansas/Alabama, because thatís not who Arkansans/Alabamans are.
See -- the essential authoritarianism of the Democrat Party hasn't really changed.
Secondly, by declaring that being right-to-life makes on unfit to be a New Yorker, Governor Cuomo had set himself against the Catholic Church, of which he is nominally a part. I therefore hope that Cardinal Dolan and the rest of the bishops in New York state will gather on the steps of the state capitol building and jointly excommunicate Andrew Cuomo as a notorious heretic and public sinner.
ABC News showed itself to be part of the Obama lapdog media with this piece.
Frankly, that is enough to make me vomit.
But it got me thinking, and I came up with several items that I believe many Americans would fully support.
But the one that I would gladly add to the list is this one.
You know -- just until we can get Barry before a military tribunal for the damage he has done to our nation.
H/T Michelle Malkin
Here are this weekís full results.
See you next week!
The Hamas government in Gaza celebrated the graduation on Monday of paramilitary camps geared at training high-school children ďto follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs.
The camps, titled ďthe pioneers of liberation,Ē are run by Hamasís ministries of education and interior. Some 13,000 students in grades 10-12 participated in the one-week training camps this year, compared to 5,000 last year when the program was launched, Israeli sources with knowledge of the program said.
The corps of instructors consists mainly of active members of Hamasís security forces, and the curriculum includes weapons training, first aid, self defense, marching exercises and ďsecurity awarenessĒ classes on identifying Israeli spies.
The late Ariel Sharon, back when he was prime minister, agreed to help the give Gaza to the Palestinians and help them remove every last Jew from that territory. Today it serves as a dagger in the Israeli heartland, and the source of rocket attacks and terrorist raids against Israeli civilians. Why on earth should anyone -- even the anti-0Semitic regime in Washington, DC -- expect Israel to even sit at the table with Palestinian negotiators as long as such activities as this are sponsored by the governing authorities?
During class today, my American Government students asked about a quote from a primary source document that was found in their reading assignment.
The liberty of man, in society, is to be under no other legislative power, but that established, by consent, in the commonwealth; nor under the dominion of any will, or restraint of any law, but what that legislative shall enact, according to the trust put in it. . . . [F]reedom of men under government is, to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, where the rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man. . . .
We talked about it for a while, and thrashed it out to mean something along these lines.
A free people is legitimately subject only to those laws passed by a duly constituted legislative body and regulations issued pursuant to such legislation. We are not a free people when ďthe lawĒ is based upon the decisions of one man (or, perhaps, a group of men), enacted without the approval of the legislative branch or contrary to the will of the will of that branch, and when the laws are arbitrarily changed or unenforced without the consent of the legislative branch.
Which led one of my students to start talking about this news story (not this particular article, but this story).
President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday to use the power of executive actions to bypass the unfriendly Republican-controlled House in order to advance his liberal economic agenda.
Obama focused on improving the up-and-down economic recovery as he convened his first Cabinet meeting of 2014 and made clear he'll be doing so with or without the help of the embattled Congress.
'We're not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we're providing Americans the kind of help they need,' the president said.
(NOTE TO READERS -- No, I didn't prompt anyone to bring the story up. And I've only had these kids for two weeks, so don't write it off to teacher bias.)
The discussion that ensued was one of those that teachers dream about -- one that shows kids are actually paying attention to the world around them and thinking about the things they see, hear, and read. I just stood back and moderated. What surprised me was the number of them who really had a problem with Obama's statement and his actions in recent weeks regarding ObamaCare, given their age and the makeup of the class.
I didn't give my opinion to my students -- but I will give it here.
Our constitution vests the legislative authority Ė the ability to make laws Ė in the Congress. But Barack Obama does not want to wait for Congress to act, and does not respect the decision of Congress not to adopt his preferred policies. Obama therefore insists upon the right to unilaterally create his own laws through executive orders Ė or, in the case of ObamaCare, to rewrite provisions of the law and waive deadlines and mandates that the law prescribes. In doing so, Obama has made and will continue to make the laws of this country ďsubject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another manĒ Ė himself Ė rather than the will of the duly established legislative branch.
The sad thing is that Obama knows he can do this with impunity. Members of his party in the House will not vote to impeach, and members of his party in the Senate will not vote to remove him. As a result, Obama can paint any opposition as a partisan effort by Republicans, despite the fact that he is clearly violating the laws and the Constitution which he has sworn to uphold.
We do, however, have a chance to limit the damage. This fall, we can elect men and women who believe in upholding the Constitution and following the laws of this country Ė regardless of their party. Such folks would have the character that would lead them to put the brakes on Obama power grabs which violate Constitution. And while I would prefer that these new men and women be members of the GOP, I would be content if they were Democrats who still had respect for the limits of the Constitution and put fidelity to that document above partisan advantage. Because it is only fidelity to the Constitution and assurance that the legislative power is in the hands of those to whom it was properly delegated that we will return to the situation where we the people are not subject to ďsubject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will ofĒ a single man Ė of any party.
John Locke lived in a very different age than we do today -- but the issues that the British people faced at the time of the Glorious Revolution really are not too different from those we face today. Their example shows us there is hope for reigning in government run amok. Our solution need not be identical to theirs -- deposing a ruler and bringing in new ones -- but we can certainly find our own that fits the needs of our nation today.
Congressional negotiators unveiled a $1.1 trillion funding bill late Monday that would ease sharp spending cuts known as the sequester while providing fresh cash for new priorities, including President Obamaís push to expand early-childhood education.
The 1,582-page bill would fully restore cuts to Head Start, partially restore cuts to medical research and job training programs, and finance new programs to combat sexual assault in the military. It would also give all federal workers a 1 percent raiseÖ.
The White House and leaders of both parties praised the measure, which would fund federal agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year and end the lingering threat of a government shutdown when the current funding bill expires at midnight WednesdayÖ.
The spending bill puts flesh on the bones of a bipartisan budget deal struck in December, when Republicans and Democrats agreed to partially repeal the sequester, heading off a roughly $20 billion cut set to hit the Pentagon on Wednesday and restoring funding to domestic agencies, which had already absorbed sequester reductions.
Of course, the deal doesn't address runaway deficits and their impact upon the nation over the long term. They just provide a little cover until the next continuing resolution.
Dave Norman, one of the twelve candidates for the Republican nomination in Texas Congressional District 36, doesn't look too kindly upon these shenanigans.
House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that simply ďputs tough spending decisions off to another day,Ē according to Dave Norman, candidate for Congress in the 36th District.
The deal bypasses the regular appropriations process by rolling twelve appropriations bills into one omnibus that will fund the government Ė and Obamacare Ė through September 30, 2014.
ďCongressí responsibility is to pass twelve spending bills worked on by dozens of committees in a process that is open to the American people. Instead, we are given a single omnibus bill thatís over 1,500 pages long, that legislators will not actually read, that skirts around the Obamacare issue and continues to fund the EPAís war on energy,Ē said Mr. Norman.
Dave's got it right -- when will Congress get back to doing its real job and pass real budgets rather than pork-laden continuing resolutions and omnibus bills that get no examination by anybody -- just like ObamaCare -- until it is too late?
Screw that Constitution thing and the separation of powers. I'll make the laws, not Congress!
ďWeíre not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that weíre providing Americans the kind of help they need. Iíve got a pen and Iíve got a phone,Ē Obama said Tuesday as he convened his first Cabinet meeting of the year.
Obama continued: ĒAnd I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.Ē
In an earlier time, patriots would have declared "We've got tar and we've got feathers, and we aren't going to wait around to use them. Then we'll put your sorry ass on a fence rail and run you out of town." Have we grown so soft that we fail to take such steps to stop tyranny?
But it isn't the Iranian leadership making the criticism -- it is the anti-Semitic gang headquartered in Washington DC.
The US State Department on Tuesday condemned as ďoffensive and inappropriateĒ reported comments by Israelís defence minister criticising a security plan put forward by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
ďThe remarks of the defence minister if accurate are offensive and inappropriate especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israelís security needs,Ē spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters following a visit by Kerry to the Vatican.
The Yediot Aharonot newspaper in Israel on Tuesday reported Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon saying in private conversations with Israeli officials that Kerryís plan was ďnot worth the paper it was written onĒ.
The minister also accused Washingtonís top diplomat of having an ďincomprehensible obsessionĒ about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, accusing Kerry of being naive and implying he is a nuisance.
ďIt provides neither security nor peace,Ē he reportedly said, adding: ďThe only thing that might save us is if John Kerry wins the Nobel Prize and leaves us be.Ē
Of course, Obama has been for the Arabs and against the Jews since well before he became president. That makes the support of the man by so many American Jews incomprehensible. Given that Israel has been the only party to the negotiations to ever give anything in compromise with the other side, why should they accept any plan proffered by a president and a secretary of state with a long history of opposition to Israel and its security?
It strikes me that the number that folks should pay attention to is not how much money the candidates raise, but rather where it is coming from.
First the numbers from Republican Greg Abbott.
Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott finished 2013 with $27 million cash on hand. In the most recent fundraising period from July 1 Ė December 31, Abbott reported raising $11.5 million, making his total haul for 2013 $16.3 million.
Abbott continued to display his strong showing of support among Texans, with 97% of donors from the latest report coming from Texas.
On the other hand, consider Wendy Davis' numbers.
Word from inside the Davis camp is that her fundraising haul over the last six months will be north of $10 million ó and will include some big-dollar donors whose contributions are crucial to a successful statewide candidate.
While some of her money will come from a dwindling pool of wealthy Democratic donors capable of writing checks of $25,000 or more ó people like Houston trial lawyers Steve and Amber Mostyn ó much of Davisí money is expected to come from small contributors from across the country.
The final numbers show Davis raising $12.2 million -- but only after an outside group composed of former Obama staffers and funded by the national Democrat Party. raised $3.5 million on her behalf.
In other words, the Davis campaign is fueled by non-Texans.
From where I stand, that raises a question that every Texas voter should ask.
Thatís my response to this opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle regarding Republicans rejecting ideologues.
Jimmie Don Aycock is unhappy - and with good reason.
The Republican state representative from Killeen, a semi-retired veterinarian, a Baptist deacon and a very capable chairman of the House Public Education Committee, took to the pages of the Texas Tribune recently to complain about what he called "a delegation of conservative stakeholders" who had misrepresented his pro-life bona fides in an effort to secure a candidate to run against him.
Aycock named names - Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Empower Texans; Elizabeth Graham, the director of Texas Right to Life; and Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Home School Coalition. What they're up to, Aycock charged, "is about making a lot of noise to solicit membership and funds. It's about a handful of people controlling votes in the Texas Legislature by seeing who can shout 'conservative' the loudest."
We would like to think that Aycock's protest is a portent, a sign that even deeply conservative Republicans have had enough of the ideologues within their midst.
The thing is, the problem described is not one of ideology Ė it is a problem of tactics and morality. If Aycock is to be believed Ė and Iíve not looked into the question to closely enough to know whether he should be or not Ė then the issue is the fact that some folks are willing to lie in order to get their allies into power and make their organizations more influential. The issue is one of character, not political philosophy.
Maybe because of stuff like this.
The Iran nuclear deal is in place. And Senate majority leader Harry Reid is preventing the Senate from voting on Iran sanctions to be implemented in case the Iran deal fails. Reid is holding up the vote at the urging of President Obama.
The Emergency Committee for Israel is calling on Reid to allow a vote on the sanctions bill that's supported by many Democrats and Republicans, and well over half of the Senate.
A majority of Republicans support it. A large segment of Democrats supports it. But Harry Reid refuses to allow a vote. And this isnít the only time, either.
At first glance, the statistic found in this opening paragraph looks quite damning.
Despite all the lip service given to battling bullying, many kids are still being seriously hurt while on school grounds, a new study shows. Each year more than 90,000 school children suffer ďintentionalĒ injuries severe enough to land them in the emergency room, according to the study published in Pediatrics.
But as I read the article, I noted that there is a statistic not found anywhere Ė the number of schools in the United States. The answer to that question? There are around 130,000 elementary, middle and secondary schools, both public and private, in this country. That means that, on an annual basis, the number of kids at a school who ďsuffer Ďintentionalí injuries severe enough to land them in the emergency roomĒ is less than one per campus. Now the fact that any student ends up in such a situation is unacceptable Ė but are we facing nearly the epidemic of violent assault and bullying the statistic in that paragraph would initially make it appear? No, we arenít Ė and it is irresponsible to present the statistics in such a way as to make it appear otherwise.
And interestingly enough, they even go so far as to use the magic word Ė Democrat Ė in the article!
Now if this first paragraph were all that they do, Iíd be a big fan of what the politiqueras do.
DONNA, Tex. ó In this Rio Grande Valley town of trailer parks and weedy lots eight miles from the Mexico border, people call them runners or politiqueras ó the campaign workers who use their network of relatives and friends to deliver votes for their candidates. They travel around town with binders stuffed with the names and addresses of registered voters, driving residents to and from the polls and urging those they bump into at the grocery store to support their candidates.
Unfortunately, that isnít all they do Ė and it has been an open secret here in Texas that some Ė perhaps even most Ė are engaged in practices that are illegal in every state.
Three women working as politiqueras in the 2012 elections in Donna were arrested by F.B.I. agents in December and accused of giving residents cash, drugs, beer and cigarettes in exchange for their votes.
According to court documents, the typical payment to a voter was $10, a sign of the extreme poverty in the Rio Grande Valley, which is home to some of the poorest counties in America. Two of the three women ó Rebecca Gonzalez and Guadalupe Escamilla ó are accused of paying some voters as little as $3 for each of their votes. One voter was given a pack of cigarettes. Others were taken to buy drugs after they received cash for voting for a politiqueraís candidate.
Ms. Gonzalez, Ms. Escamilla and the third woman, Diana Castaneda, said the candidates and their campaign managers would give them the cash and instruct them to use it to pay voters in the 2012 primary and general elections, the F.B.I. said in court documents. The three women worked for several candidates running for seats on the board of the Donna Independent School District, though court documents do not identify any candidates or campaign managers.
And therein is the problem. There is blatant vote buying going on Ė not to mention absentee vote fraud, which this article skims over because that is not the focus of this case. And as the article points out, while politiqueras are from time to time prosecuted, the politicians they work for are never charged. The reason for this is obvious Ė the local prosecutors are clients of many of these same politiqueras, the stateís public integrity unit is located hundreds of miles away in Austin and has been headed by extremely partisan Democrat county prosecutors for decades, and any effort by the stateís Republican Attorney Generals over the last fifteen years would be viewed as partisan (while Democrat AGs would have no incentive to prosecute those who are helping their party).
The thing is, voter corruption in Democrat controlled areas of Texas has a long-standing history. LBJ became Senator because of vote fraud. Close elections can hinge on votes in the Rio Grande Valley. And Iíve heard stories Ė not too many years old Ė about goings on in Democrat run precincts here in Harris County, where the number of votes cast exceeded the number of voters who signed in and Republican election officials and observers would find themselves barred from polling places by Democrat election judges.
But of course, we keep hearing from Democrats that election fraud doesnít happen. Even when we have documented cases like the ones here that are so obvious that even the dis-Gray-ced Lady has to admit it is happening.
I reported on Paul Simpson picking up a big endorsement last week -- but having taken a weekend away from the blog, I have not reported this group of endorsements of Jared Woodfill, which was ably covered by Big Jolly Politics on both its site and its Houston Chronicle mirror.
CONSERVATIVEí REPUBLICAN COUNTY LEADERS SUPPORT WOODFILL
Judge Robert Eckels, Commissioners Cagle, Morman, and Tax Assessor Mike Sullivan ENDORSE Jared Woodfill
Now I'm a big fan of Commissioners Morman and Cagle, but given that that Robert Eckels abandoned his post and Mike Sullivan invited death-threat Democrat John Cobarruvias to lunch and a tour of his office, so I'm not so sure about his judgement at this point in time.
What is the Woodfill campaign saying about their candidate?
1) The years 2008 and 2012 were the two largest Republican Primary turnouts in the 64 yr. history of the HCRP.
2) In 2008 and 2012, Republicans in most large urban counties were being overrun; however, Republicans in Harris County worked hard and won seats. In fact, in 2012, while Obama was winning around the country, in Harris County all countywide incumbents won and we picked up seven new countywide offices.
3) Jaredís opponents make note that the top of the Republican ticket hasnít won Harris County in the last three election cycles. This criticism is actually the greatest feather in the cap of Jared Woodfill and the HCRP. The fact that there have been zero coattails at the top of the ticket, but several down ballot candidates have either a) won outright, or b) received a higher percentage of the vote than the Republican Presidential or Gubernatorial candidates, speaks to the effectiveness of the local Party, its leaders and volunteers.
4) MOST IMPORTANT: It is an empirical fact that 2010 was the greatest election cycle in the history of the HCRP; more seats were won, and by a greater margin.
Clearly Woodfill is on the defensive here, trying to counter the Paul Simpson campaign's talking points from the other evening.
And you know what they say in politics -- if you are letting the other guy set the agenda, you are losing.
UPDATED -- Attention Republican Primary Voters -- This Judge Must GoSince being cleared last month by a grand jury for backdating records, a family court judge has quietly dismissed hundreds of cases, effectively nullifying a bevy of child support obligations and custody arrangements she previously made to protect children and families.
Lawyers say state District Court Judge Denise Pratt gave no prior notice of her intent to drop their cases from her 311th Court. Nearly 300 have been dismissed since Dec. 20, according to the Harris County District Clerk's Office, including many that had been scheduled to go to trial soon.
All but 19 were dismissed on a single day, Dec. 30.
Judges are required under rules of civil procedure to schedule hearings and warn parties involved in pending litigation of their intent to dismiss cases, but lawyers said they learned their cases had been dropped after the fact by postcards mailed by the district clerk or by word of mouth from clients.
Interestingly enough, many of these cases were being handled by attorneys who had called for Pratt's resignation last fall when problems in her court were publicly revealed. Among these cases were ones from which Pratt had been recused or which were ready to go to trial.
I will say it right now -- my endorsement in the Republican primary in the race for the 311th District Court (the family court over which Pratt presides) is ANYONE BUT PRATT. I'm personally partial to either Anthony Magdaleno or Donna Dettamore (both of whom I know), but I'd even be happy to see Philip Placzek or Alicia Franklin (neither of whom I know) as the GOP nominee in this race. Why? because it is important that we get an honest, professional, qualified judge on that bench, given that Pratt has shown herself to not fall in that category.
And if Denise Pratt makes it through the process as the Republican nominee even after all these revelations? Well, we will then have a first here at Rhymes With Right -- an actual endorsement of a Democrat in a Harris County race rather than no endorsement. It is THAT IMPORTANT that Denise Pratt be ejected from the bench.
UPDATE -- 1/14/13: Over at Big Jolly Politics, Ed Hubbard says something I really should have.In my opinion, Denise Pratt, Presiding Judge of the 311th District Court of Harris County, which only hears family-law disputes, should resign immediately and withdraw from the race for re-election, for the good of the families and children whose futures are placed in her trust, and for the good of our Republican ticket in the fall election.
* * *
Unlike those whom Judge Pratt has accused of distorting her record, I think it is pretty clear to any objective observer that I am not now, nor have I ever been a Democrat. I am a life-long Republican, and I am asking Judge Pratt to do the honorable thing nowóto please resign immediately, withdraw her candidacy, and allow Governor Perry to replace her with an interim judge who can address the immediate problems in the 311th District Court between now and the election.
Now in my defense, the only reason that I did not call for Pratt's resignation above is that she has demonstrated herself to have so little integrity that I can't believe she would do the right thing and resign. As for dropping out of the race, it is now too late for Pratt to remove her name from the ballot and so we are stuck with her as one of the choices available in the primary.
Watcher's Council Results
Here are this weekís full results.
- *First place with 3 2/3 votes! Bookworm Room Ė Solidarity with the nuns ó a tipping point moment?
- Second place with 2 2/3 votes JoshuapunditĖ Al-Qaeda Wins A Major Victory Over The Iraqi Army
- Third place with 2 1/3 votes Ė The Razor-The Entitlement Mindset
- Fourth place with 2 votes Ė Libertyís Spirit-New York City: Melting Pot or Plantation
- Fifth place with 1 vote Ė The Noisy Room-- New York Gets The Communist Leader It Deserves
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote Ė GrEaT sAtAnĒS gIrLfRiEnD Ė Losing Iraq
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote Ė Simply Jews Ė PressTV, Gordon Duff and Quenelle
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote Ė VA Right! Ė Obamacare Targets Women: Pregnant Women Forced to Pay In Full BEFORE Delivery
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote Ė The Political Commentator Ė An Amsterdam good time is giving beer to alcoholics!
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote Ė The Right Planet Ė All Incandescent Light Bulbs Declared ĎEnemies of the Stateí
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote Ė Rhymes With Right Ė Archdiocese Of New York Explains Whatís Wrong With ObamaCare Birth Control Mandate Intransigence
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote Ė The Mellow Jihadi Ė Business ethics & credibility BZÖ
- First place with 3 votes! Ė Sean Davis/The Federalist- submitted byThe Glittering Eye-Sorry, Comrade, But You Didnít Just Discover The Secret To Making Communism Work
- Second place with 2 votes Ė American Thinker ĖLeftist Jew-Hatred: From Marx to Dieudonne submitted by The Political Commentator
- Third place with 1 2/3 votes Ė Powerline ĖRachel Maddow Is Crazy, Too submitted by Joshuapundit
- Third place *t* with 1 2/3 votes -RedState-Why Faith submitted by Rhymes With Right
- Fourth place with 1 1/3 vote The Sad Red Earth -Wrong on Both Counts: Academic Boycotts and Israel submitted by Simply JewsThe Razor
- Fifth place with 1 vote Megan McArdle -Another Problem Obamacare Wonít Solve: Health Costs submitted by The Razor
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 votes -Matthew Vadum/FrontPage Mag ĖComrade De Blasio Takes Over submitted by The Noisy Room
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote - War On The Rocks ĖItís an Anbar Thing submitted by GrEaT sAtAnĒS gIrLfRiEnD
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote -Andrew McCarthy/NRO ĖDown the Timesí Benghazi Rabbit Hole submitted by Bookworm Room
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote -Bleeding Heart Libertarians Ė Immigration, Eugenics, and the Minimum Wage submitted by The Right Planet
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote -The Other McCain ĖNow It Can Be Told: Obamacare Paves the Way for Single Payer submitted by VA Right!
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote Ė ĖJohn Sexton, The Conversation -Another Problem Obamacare Wonít Solve: Health Costs submitted by Nice Deb
See you next week!
January 09, 2014
Top County Elected Official Backs Challenger Paul Simpson For Harris County GOP Chair
County Judge Ed Emmett has given a ringing endorsement of Paul Simpson's challenge to Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill.Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has endorsed Paul Simpson, who is challenging six-term incumbent Jared Woodfill for chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, according to the Austin political website, the Quorum Report.
Reporter Scott Braddock quotes Emmett as saying that he believes the party should be making a greater effort to reach out to young people.
ďRonald Reagan would probably not be welcome in todayís Republican Party,Ē Braddock quotes Emmett as saying. ďI would like to see the base in Harris County to be 400,000, not 150,000.Ē
For some this is inside baseball stuff, because it is an internal part matter. The thing is, it is much more important than it seems.
First, the Harris County GOP is the largest local Republican Party in the United States. Any change of direction here indicates the potential for a seismic shift in the state of Texas, with the shock waves rippling out to impact the entire country. And since Emmett is the highest ranking elected official in the county, it indicates that there are powerful people here in the Houston area who are not comfortable with the direction the county party has been headed for some time.
Secondly, it is important to note that the reason for the shift is the recognition by many Republicans that the party needs to move in the direction of greater inclusivity. In recent years the party has been controlled by a social conservative faction that has recently been loathe to include anyone who is not purer than Ivory Soap in terms of their support for every jot and tittle of the Texas GOP platform. It would appear that this is a significant factor in Judge Emmett's decision to throw his support behind Paul Simpson's candidacy -- the willingness of Jared Woodfill and those who back him to leave precinct chair positions vacant rather than fill those slots with someone who Ronald Reagan would have defined as friends and allies rather than traitors to the Republican cause. Judge Emmett openly expressed his concern that men like Reagan and Barry Goldwater, a pair who were once the gold standard for what it meant to be a Republican and a conservative, would no longer be considered acceptable candidates for office (even to be precinct chairs) by the current leadership in Harris County.
This leads us to a third factor, and one that Judge Emmett spoke to me at length about in a phone call this evening -- party organization and support for candidates.When I first ran for the state legislature, the Republican Party in Harris County was about electing candidates, and worked to help those candidates. Today, it seems to be the opposite --now it seems to want the candidates to support the party. In recent years the party hasn't had the financial resources to really help candidates. What we need today is for the party to have the funds to enable it do the work for candidates that will allow candidates in Harris County to continue to be elected. That has to happen to keep Harris County Republican.
Judge Emmett also noted the large number of precinct chair positions that have gone unfilled in Harris County in recent years -- right now something like half of those grassroots positions are vacant, and that cannot continue if we are to have the GOP winning races up and down the ballot in the county.
And it goes beyond just finances and back to the issue of organization on the ground.One of the things that is a frustration to me is that we have a built in structural disadvantage in Harris County that dates back to 2008. That year, because of the Obama-Clinton presidential race, there were over 400,000 voters who turned out to vote in the Democratic primary here in Harris County. In our primary, with me seeking the nomination for county judge along with Charles Bacarisse, we got 171,000. That means that the Democrats in Harris County have a 3-1 advantage in terms of names in their party database and the ability to contact and turn out those voters. But in the fall of 2008 I got 600,000 votes -- who were those additional 400,000 voters who were willing to vote Republican? Where did they come from? We need to know! Paul Simpson is very strong on the issue of grassroots organizing, and that is what we need right now in order to keep Harris County Republican.
Paul Simpson offered this statement in response to the news reports.Iím gratified by the endorsement and support of County Judge Ed Emmett in the race for Harris County Republican Party Chair. The GOP has declined in Harris County for too long under the 12-year incumbent, losing ground election after election and shrinking our footprint for over a decade.
Now, Battleground Texas is working overtime to take over Harris County. Like me, Judge Emmett sees the need to rebuild an effective Republican Party across Harris County that can beat the Democrats on the ground. Rather than being a mouth living off our own candidatesí donations, the Republican Party needs to be a hand that helps our candidates win in November: restore the Partyís financial base, promote our positive conservative message to more voters, and grow, support, and train our grassroots to win. So, game on, Democrats!
Clearly Simpson's view of the situation here in the county is substantially similar to Judge Emmett's, and equally importantly he is ready to hit the ground running in order to win Harris County for Republican candidates in a year when the Democrats' Battleground Texas project is trying to turn the Lone Star State blue under the leadership of Barack Obama and Wendy Davis.
In a comment on Facebook, my friend and fellow GOP blogger Dave Jennings of Big Jolly Politics raised the issue of how Emmett's support for Paul Simpson came to be broken in Quorum Report, which is known to slant to the Left. Judge Emmett offered a rather straightforward answer.To be honest, I didn't announce my support for Paul Simpson, and I really probably should have let Paul make the announcement. But I was in the car today and got a call from Scott Braddock, who is with Quorum Report, asking me if it was true that I was backing Paul Simpson for Harris County GOP Chair. I figured at that point that somebody must have announced it or leaked it, and that since I've made $10,000 donation to Paul's campaign it would be public information as soon as the campaign finance reports were filed, so I answered him honestly that I am supporting Paul Simpson.
In other words, it wasn't something that was planned. Instead, Judge Emmett chose the path of honesty when asked -- something refreshing in an officeholder.
I've reached out to Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill, hoping to get some comments from him in response to this endorsement. Unfortunately, I got no response to my email, and so I am posting this without any input from Jared. Should I hear from him at a later date, I will either update this post or include his comments in a future one.
Caleb Jacoby Found Safe
I wrote yesterday about the disappearance of Caleb Jacoby, son of Boston Glove columnist Jeff Jacoby. Prayers have been answered -- Calbe has been found safe.The Brookline Police announced via Twitter just before 9 p.m., "Caleb Jacoby has been found. Safe and well." The police said more information will follow as details become available.
The Brookline Police Department posted on its website around 9:45 p.m. that the Brookline police, working with other agencies, were able to provide information to the New York City Police Department that Jacoby may be in the area of Times Square. "Based upon this information at approximately 9PM New York City Police informed us they had located Caleb and he was safe and sound," the Brookline Police wrote. "Plans are now being formulated to transport Caleb back home."
Via Twitter, Jeff Jacoby issued this statement.Jeff Jacoby said via Twitter, "Our prayers have been answered. We are thrilled to hear from the Brookline Police that our beloved son Caleb has been found and is safe. Words can't express our gratitude for the extraordinary outpouring of kindness and support that we have received from so many people. All we can think of at this moment is how wonderful it will be to see Caleb again and shower him with love."
Praise God for this good news -- and may he continue to bless the entire Jacoby family.
January 08, 2014
About That Chris Christie Bridge Closure "Scandal"Aides to Chris Christie shut down lanes on a bridge to cause a traffic jam in a town whose mayor endorsed Christieís opponent.
Say what you like about Ted Kennedy, but the worst thing he ever did with a bridge was drive a woman off one and kill her.
Thanks to Karl on the Twitters.
Anti-Catholic Rhetoric At USNews.Com
The venerable old US News and World Report bit the dust some time back, but remains as a news website with a number of blogs by columnists. Frankly, I havenít followed it Ė and now Iím rather glad about that. You see, it has descended from the best and most serious of Americaís weekly news magazines to become instead a cesspool of bigotry Ė as exemplified by columnist Jamie Stiehmís latest piece that constitutes one long foray into anti-Catholicism.
Et tu, Justice Sonia Sotomayor? Really, we can't trust you on women's health and human rights? The lady from the Bronx just dropped the ball on American women and girls as surely as she did the sparkling ball at midnight on New Year's Eve in Times Square. Or maybe she's just a good Catholic girl.
Letís look at this Ė Justice Sotomayor enjoined enforcement of an Obama Administration policy that many Americans view as an infringement on religious liberty and a number of courts around the country have struck down on that basis. In doing so, she maintained the status quo in the United States for all of its previous history Ė namely that the government cannot force religious organizations to engage in activity that are explicitly against the teachings of that organization. And such orders are common in major cases, leaving things as they are until the matter is resolved. What's more, in 90% of the cases that have been decided thus far, the courts have granted the very sort of injunction that Sotomayor granted to the Little Sisters of the poor -- indicating that her actions served to correct a decision that was an outlier among the lower courts. But Stiehm declares that this is some sort of gender treason Ė and an imposition of religion, because Sotomayor, like the nuns in the case, happens to be Catholic!
Do you doubt that last statement? Read on!
The Supreme Court is now best understood as the Extreme Court. One big reason why is that six out of nine Justices are Catholic. Let's be forthright about that. (The other three are Jewish.) Sotomayor, appointed by President Obama, is a Catholic who put her religion ahead of her jurisprudence. What a surprise, but that is no small thing.
Wow Ė a bald assertion that Sotomayor ruled because of her religion and not because the ruling was good law. Evidence? There is none given. Just Stiehmís claim that the Supreme Court is extreme because there are too many damn Catholics on it.
But it gets better (or should that be worse?).In a stay order applying to an appeal by a Colorado nunnery, the Little Sisters of the Poor, Justice Sotomayor undermined the new Affordable Care Act's sensible policy on contraception. She blocked the most simple of rules Ė lenient rules Ė that required the Little Sisters to affirm their religious beliefs against making contraception available to its members. They objected to filling out a one-page form. What could be easier than nuns claiming they don't believe in contraception?Of course, Stiehm neglects to mention that the rule in question also requires that the Sisters authorize their insurer to provide contraception coverage to the nuns and their lay employees. In other words, that lenient little paper makes them cooperate in providing services they believe to be immoral Ė in other words, to escape the requirement to do something immoral they must do something else immoral. Itís sort of like the ancient Romans saying that the simple, lenient laws of the Empire only requires them to burn a little incense before the image of the emperor Ė what could be easier?Sotomayor's blow brings us to confront an uncomfortable reality. More than WASPS, Methodists, Jews, Quakers or Baptists, Catholics often try to impose their beliefs on you, me, public discourse and institutions. Especially if "you" are female. This is not true of all Catholics Ė just look at House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. But right now, the climate is so cold when it comes to defending our settled legal ground that Sotomayor's stay is tantamount to selling out the sisterhood. And sisterhood is not as powerful as it used to be, ladies. Catholics in high places of power have the most trouble, I've noticed, practicing the separation of church and state. The pugnacious Catholic Justice, Antonin Scalia, is the most aggressive offender on the Court, but not the only one. Of course, we can't know for sure what Sotomayor was thinking, but it seems she has joined the ranks of the five Republican Catholic men on the John Roberts Court in showing a clear religious bias when it comes to women's rights and liberties. We can no longer be silent about this. Thomas Jefferson, the principal champion of the separation between state and church, was thinking particularly of pernicious Rome in his writings. He deeply distrusted the narrowness of Vatican hegemony.Got that? We canít know what she was thinking, but because of her religion we can assume that Sotomayor was just being a good Catholic Ė and being a good Catholic means you are a bad American. Never mind that she canít show that the five eeeeevilllll Catholic men on the Supreme Court make the rulings they do because of their religion Ė they are Catholic, therefore it must be presumed that they are doing so. She even claims that Jefferson shared her anti-Catholic bigotry Ė again without a shred of proof. Frankly, Iím surprised that Stiehm isnít insisting that the only way to honor the First Amendment Ė she isnít more than a step away from doing so, given her logic that being a faithful Catholic makes one incapable of operating within the parameters of the First Amendment.
By the way, about that "Vatican hegemony" hegemony argument -- we have heard it used in the past, most recently in the election of 1960 when secularist and Protestant bigots argued that a Catholic president would inevitably end up taking orders from the Pope and the destruction of the Constitutional order of things. America rejected such hate a half century ago, and we should be horrified to see it resurface today on the website of a supposedly respectable news source. What next? Arguments for segregation due to the racial inferiority of blacks or blatantly anti-Semitic arguments about Jews? Has the American Left really backslidden so?
The seemingly innocent Little Sisters likely were likely not acting alone in their trouble-making. Their big brothers, the meddlesome American Roman Catholic Archbishops are bound to be involved. They seek and wield tremendous power and influence in the political sphere. Big city mayors know their penchant for control all too well. Their principal target for years on end has been squelching women and girls Ė even when they should have focused on their own men and boys.
Wow. Just wow.
Apparently the author now argues that women whose religious beliefs and practices don't extend to the celebration of the latter-day Left's Sacrament of Abortion are just trouble-making tools of men -- especially " meddlesome American Roman Catholic Archbishops". Never mind that those archbishops are also American citizens who have every right to participate in the political and legal process. Forgive me if I find myself remembering this historical artifact of nineteenth century yellow-press anti-Catholicism.
In one stroke with ominous implications, there's no such thing as Catholic justice or mercy for women on the Supreme Court, not even from a woman. The rock of Rome refuses to budge on women's reproductive rights and the Supreme Court is getting good and ready to strike down Roe v. Wade, which became the law of the land 40 years ago. President Clinton had it exactly right in his formulation: abortion should be safe, legal and rare.
Got that -- "no such thing as Catholic justice". Isn't that strikingly similar to the arguments put forward to a certain group that claimed to be made up of patriotic Americans back during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? It sure looks that way to me.
Stiem's concluding paragraph, amazingly enough, doesn't deal with the Catholic Church -- instead she rants about Rush Limbaugh and a cast of thousands of men leading a campaign to strip women of their human rights. Never mind that Stiehm herself is supporting the trampling of one of the most fundamental rights that we all have, the right to live out our religious beliefs free of government efforts to coerce us into violating them through "simple" actions compelled by "lenient" laws and policies. How long until Stiehm and her ilk seek to put religious believers -- especially Catholics -- in the back of the proverbial bus?
Please Keep The Family Of Columnist Jeff Jacoby In Prayer
His son Caleb is missing.Caleb Jacoby, the 16-year-old son of Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby and his wife Laura, has been missing since about 12:30 p.m. Monday.
Jacoby is a Brookline resident who is in the 11th grade at Maimonides School. According to a flier distributed by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Maimonides School, he is 5-foot-11 and 140 pounds with a thin build and short, light brown hair.
Over the years Iíve had a number of friendly exchanges with the elder Jacoby. He is a fine man and a loving father. May God grant that his son is found safe and sound.
Huffington Post has a very touching article.
We are so deeply, deeply grateful for everything being done to reunite us with our beloved son Caleb. pic.twitter.com/o7wHTr0BrA— Jeff Jacoby (@Jeff_Jacoby) January 8, 2014
This May Be The Best Prose Paragraph Iíve Read Today
From James Demingpoleís column, ďGlobal warming devastates AmericaĒ.See that chilling solid yellow stream extending upwards from the snowy ground to your shrivelling blackened member after you made the very wrong call to take an al fresco leak, Chicagoans? That's global warming, that is.
And as a former Chicagoan who has lived through some frigid winters, I got a great chuckle out of a vulgar image expressed in such a clever British manner that no one could take offense.
Except, of course, the militant Global Warmists.
January 07, 2014
Pictures Like This Are Not Unusual In America Today
But this frozen fountain is in Houston, Texas!
Right now the outside temperature is 26į!
January 06, 2014
Does CD36 Really Need Another Congressman With Fundraising Issues?
Let's be honest -- Steve Stockman has always had issues involving fundraising and campaign finance matters swirling around him. Such issues go back some two decades to his very first campaign, and continue right up to the present. Some speculate that it is why he is making the run for Senate -- raise big bucks for the Senate race and use some leftover cash to pay off old campaign debts when it is all over after the primary. Put simply, Stockman is a campaign finance scandal waiting to happen.
That said, why would we Republicans in CD36 want to risk selecting a nominee for the seat who has his own colorful history of campaign finance issues? One would hope that we had the sense not to do so. And that is why I'm concerned about the candidacy of Woodville Mayor Brian Babin.
Now you are probably wondering what I'm talking about/ After all, what possible scandal could there be with a guy who is mayor of a town with fewer than 3000 residents? I'd agree with you -- were it not for the fact that Brian Babin is also a former congressional candidate who became embroiled in a campaign finance scandal that included illegal donations by a contributor, the churning of funds through various putatively independent groups, and former House majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Let's go back to the 1996 election. Brian Babin won the GOP primary for what was then CD2 in east Texas, then a reliably Democrat district. And he needed money. What happened next became the subject of investigations by the FBI, the FEC, and (briefly) a committee of the House of Representatives. At issue were donations made by Orange businessman Peter Cloeren. And lest one think there is nothing to the matter, consider this from a 2008 FEC press release:Brian Babin and Brian Babin for Congress (TX/02) paid a $20,000 civil penalty and paid $5,000 in excessive contributions to the U.S. Treasury for accepting an excessive contribution and a contribution in the name of another and failing to disclose financial activity properly.
That isn't a small sum of money -- and there is reason to believe that there is a great deal more.
So what's the story? I'll leave it to authors Lou Dubose and Jan Reid to sketch out what happened next.Cloerenís story (told in detail in a sworn affidavit) begins with one of his employees introducing him to Babin, a candidate in the Republican congressional primary. Cloeren was flattered. And impressed. Babin wanted his help and told him that businessmen like him were essential to expanding a conservative Republican majority in Congress. And Babin was the kind of candidate Cloeren could get excited about. A small businessman with Main Street values. A Christian. A candidate who promised less government regulation and lower taxes. A Republican running for a House seat that had been the private property of larger-than-life Democrat Charlie Wilson. When Babin asked him to help raise $50,000, Cloeren said that it was impossible to do in a rural county peopled by blue-collar Democrats. He offered to write Babin a check for $20,000 or $25,000 ó a clear sign he was utterly out of touch with federal campaign finance law. Babin advised him there was a $1,000 per-person limit and suggested Cloeren ďwork with loyal employees.Ē
In other words, Cloeren should make contributions in his workersí names, or have them make the contributions and reimburse them. Before long, Cloeren was sending his employees home on their lunch breaks to pick up their checkbooks. And Babin was swinging by Cloerenís plant parking lot to pick up his checks. The same way Paulie Walnuts picks up the tributo payments that Jersey businessmen owe Tony Soprano. In a charmingly naove line in his congressional affidavit, Cloeren says: ďSince I had never raised funds for a political candidate before, I didnít know whether it was unusual for the candidate to pick up the checks in person.Ē (He would later learn why Babin avoided the mail.) When Babin made the runoff, he was back again, asking Cloeren to find more employees through which company money could be funneled to the campaign. (Like the wisecracking boys at Tony Sopranoís Bada Bing Club, Babin knew that once you get your hand into somebodyís pocket, you gotta work to keep it there.) Babinís fundraising consultant even devised a scheme by which Cloeren Inc. employees would get bonuses from the boss ó precisely the amount they were contributing to the campaign. After Babin won the runoff, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay got behind his candidacy. And Babin, who had served as mayor of the tiny East Texas town of Woodville, began to show real growth as a candidate. For example, he called Cloeren to ask if he would pick up the tab to fly the congressman in for a fundraiser.
Now Babin disputes that he picked up the checks personally or that he knew that the contributions were being reimbursed by Cloeren. But could the campaign reasonably believed numerous employees of the same company -- not executives, but even line workers and secretaries -- were all making the maximum contribution tot he campaign? Frankly, it defies belief. It was suspicious enough that the FBI would ultimately investigate the matters.
And what happened next? According to Cloeren, he suggested a way that additional contributions could be funneled to the Babin campaign through other entities.DeLay campaign manager Robert Mills suggested that Cloeren contribute to Strom Thurmondís Senate campaign in South Carolina and Stephen Gillís House campaign in Tennessee. They would, in turn, donate money to Babinís campaign. Babin also made the ďTriad connectionĒ and Cloeren began writing checks to organizations he had never heard of: $5,000 to the Citizens United Political Victory Fund PAC, which would run issue ads supporting Babin; $20,000 to Citizens for Reform, yet another Triad operation. He also wrote checks to the Thurmond and Gill campaigns, though he had never heard of Gill.
Money was moving in circles: Cloeren wrote a $5,000 check to Citizens United and the PAC wrote a $5,000 check to Babinís congressional campaign. And the campaign committees of a South Carolina senator and a House candidate from Tennessee were suddenly contributing to a congressional campaign committee in Texas. If the requests were unusual, Cloeren at least had convinced himself he was doing nothing wrong. ďI assumed that if a senior member of Congress said to do something that it would be legal, proper, and ethical to do it,Ē he would later say.
According to Cloeren, Babin and his consultant Walter Whetsell used Triad, Citizens for Reform, and Citizens United interchangeably. Their comments led Cloeren ďto believe that Triad might be composed of all these different groups.Ē It was. Triad Management Services Inc. was a queer political animal, a for-profit corporation that earned no profits, sold no goods or services, and operated two nonprofit organizations: Citizens for Reform and Citizens for the Republic Education Fund. Both nonprofits were described as nonpartisan social welfare organizations. The ďnonpartisanĒ designation allowed the groups to meet an IRS standard and run issue ads ó as long as they were not funded by or coordinated with a political candidate. Yet every dime of the $3 million that the two nonpartisan Triad organizations spent in the 1996 election cycle was spent on twenty-nine Republican congressional candidates. Neither the public nor the candidates attacked by the ads bought with Triad money knew what individuals paid for them. Because Triad was a corporation and not a political action committee, it was exempt from disclosure laws. It was a drop box where contributors who ďmaxed outĒ their federal giving could send additional money to help their candidates. And perfect cover for donors who didnít want their names in the public record.
And indeed, it is in relation to Triad and its donations that Babin paid that $20,000 fine and turned over that $5,000 in excess contributions several years later. So you see, this is not a partisan smear by someone who is a Democrat -- a quick check of his political donation history shows virtually all of his contributions (even if one excludes those from the 1996 Babin campaign and related activities) to be going to republican/conservative candidates and committees -- indeed, he even donated to Herman Cain's failed presidential campaign.
Dare I suggest that nominating Brian Babin would be a disaster for the GOP? We will spend the election cycle with the 1996 campaign finance issues playing out again in the press, and in cyberspace as well. What's more, the names "Tom DeLay" and "Citizens United" will be featured prominently in the discussion and reporting -- after all, those two immediately catch peoples' attention, and not for good reasons. I'm therefore have to argue against Brian Babin as the GOP standard bearer in CD36. Even assuming he is a good and decent man, we just don't need the issue raised this year -- and in every future election cycle.
On The "Are You Gay" Question For Celebrities -- And Others
Apparently it is insufficient to answer the question (presumably) truthfully and deny that one is gay. If asked, you MUST go further.First, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers addressed rumors that he was gay on his weekly ESPN radio show, saying, "I am not gay. I really, really like women."
* * *
Pointedly denying a. . . gay rumor. . . , while obviously personally important to the intensely private Rodgers, highlights that being gay in sports -- or being perceived as gay -- still carries a huge stigma (though mainstream conversations often steer toward men's sports, this problem is rampant in women's sports as well).
* * *
While Rodgers effectively put an end to the discussion of personal life and vowed to "keep on trucking, " what was left unsaid was any support for the LGBT community or contemplation of the broader questions such rumor-mongering raises about our sports culture and the specter of acceptance. Kluwe's allegations shed new light on why one of the NFL's best players and articulate spokesmen felt pressure to stand down on that type of intelligent dialogue.
Rodgers is one of the most respected, revered and highest paid players in the game. His fan base includes straight fans and gay fans. He is admired by youth in this country spanning all sexual orientations. And most of all, the ubiquitous tweet from fans after the gay rumors emerged was: "I don't care!"
Excuse me -- I do not believe that Rodgers is obligated to make statements of support for any cause or group. That is true whether Rodgers is straight or gay, and regardless of whether he is a strong advocate of gay rights or a conservative Christian who holds the same beliefs on homosexuality as Phil Robertson. He has no obli9gation to speak out on either side of the issue.
I've got a different question, the one that is more important -- why is it anyone's business whether or not Aaron Rodgers is gay? Just because he is a sports superstar, he does not forfeit the right to a zone of privacy. From where I stand, there were two better responses that he could have given.
Response number one -- had he wanted to sarcastically belittle the questioner for daring to raise the issue -- would have been "Why? Are you looking to hook up? Because I've got to tell you, you really aren't my type -- since you lack breasts and a vagina."
Response number two -- designed to point out how utterly inappropriate the question is in the first place -- would have been "I'm sorry, but I didn't know that the Enquirer, the Globe, or the Star had NFL credentials. No serious journalist with so much as an ounce of professional ethics would even be asking that question."
Or, I suppose, he could have offered some combination of the two.
But by answering the question, Rodgers legitimated it and indicated that the media has some sort of right to delve into that aspect of his life. As I've said, the media does not. But Rodgers' decision to answer the question adds to the pressure on the next ball player to answer the question when it arises -- and that is unfair to that next player.
January 05, 2014
Watcher's Council Results
Here are this weekís full results.
- *First place with 2 1/3 votes! Ė Libertyís Spirit -JĒaccuse the Ultimate Anti-Semite (Update): The ďas a JewĒ Meme Returns
- Second place *t* with 2 votes Ė Bookworm Room -When it comes to Norman Rockwell (ďnudge, nudgeĒ), homosexuality is in the eye of an obsessed culture
- Second place *t* with 2 votes Ė Joshuapundit -Stone Soup
- Third place *t* with 1 2/3 votes ĖSimply Jews -Turkish Blues
- Third place *t* with 1 2/3 votes ĖThe Political Commentator -Egypt knows what Obama still canít figure out!
- Fourth place with 1 vote Ė The Noisy Room-Verily, It Is A Clusterduck
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote Ė VA Right!-Duck Dynastyís Phil Robertson a Modern Day Rosa Parks
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote Ė The Right Planet- Do Barack Obama and Karl Marx Agree on Social Inequality?
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote ĖThe Mellow Jihadi -The French peasants are revoltingÖ
- Sixth place with 1/3 vote ĖThe Razor - 2013 Posts That Went nowhere
- First place with 2 2/3 votes! Ė Sherri Mandel- Ė Iím Glad My Sonís Murderers Have Not Been Found submitted by Joshuapundit
- Second place with 2 1/3 votes Ė Sultan Knish ĖRise of the Mediacracy submitted by Nice Deb
- Third place *t* with 1 vote Ė Caroline Glick/Jerusalem Post Ė Ė Khodorkovsky and the Freedom Agenda submitted by Libertyís Spirit
- Third place *t* with 1 vote ĖRoger L.Simon/Pajamas Media -ĖThe Principal Enemy submitted by The Mellow Jihadi
- Third place *t* with 1 vote ĖDavid P. Goldman/ Pajamas Media Ė Ė The End of Erdoganís Cave of Wonders: An I-Told-You-So submitted by Simply Jews
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote Ė American Thinker -Will 2014 See A Repeat Of 1914? submitted by The Political Commentator
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote-War On The Rocks Ė Holiday Reading List submitted by GrEaT sAtAnĒS gIrLfRiEnD
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote-Alinsky Defeaterís BlogĖ The Darwinian Paradox of Progressivism submitted by The Right Planet
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote-Althouse Ė ďLook, you wait until they get to be 20-years-old, the only picking thatís going to take place is your pocket. Ē submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote-Popehat ĖBurn the F***ing System to the Ground submitted by The Razor
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote- Bill Whittle Ė The End of the Beginning submitted by The Watcher
- Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote -Doug Ross @Journal Ė Obamacare Comix Ė Real Numbers Edition submitted by Rhymes with Right
- Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote -New American Ė Global Warming Alarmists Stuck In Antarctic Sea Ice submitted by VA Right!
- Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote -Norman Rogers/American Thinker-The Solar Swindle submitted by Bookworm Room
See you next week!
January 04, 2014
My Favorite Moment Of The Indianapolis Colts Victory
One of the first students I met when I started teaching down here in Texas was a young man named Cory. We had a rocky start because of a misunderstanding, but we quickly overcame that. He remains one of my favorite students of all time, because time and again he showed himself to be a fine human being. And yeah, he wasn't bad on the football field, either -- and that remains the case today, 16 years later. I'm hoping #90, Cory Redding, ends this season with a Super Bowl ring.
Archdiocese Of New York Explains What's Wrong With ObamaCare Birth Control Mandate Intransigence
I've wanted to write on this matter in detail now for several days. Every time I've started to do so, though, I've been overwhelmed by the task of refuting a policy that I view as morally and constitutionally objectionable in that if effectively arrogates to the government the power to determine what the actual religious beliefs of religious organizations and individuals are AND to determine on their behalf both the sincerity of those beliefs and whether certain acts violate those beliefs or not, irregardless of what is believed and asserted by those organizations and individuals. Indeed, I find myself questioning whether or not the religion clauses of the First Amendment, protecting the right o freely exercise one's religion and prohibiting the establishment of religion by the government, have not been de facto excised from the Bill of Rights by the current regime in Washington and its lawless leader.
How can you diagnose when somebody is suffering from ideological obsession?
Consider the case of the Affordable Care Act. This law was supposed to provide for universal health insurance for all Americans. Yet the law is filled with exemptions, and the Administration has granted even more exceptions and exemptions as the implementation date for the law approached on New Yearís Day.Here are just a few of the exemptions that were incorporated in the law itself: people who canít afford coverage, even with a subsidy; people with income levels too low to require filing a federal tax return; members of certain Indian tribes; people who can claim a hardship; people who will have a short gap in their coverage; members of certain religious groups that conscientiously oppose insurance benefit programs (e.g., the Amish); members of a ďhealth care sharing ministryĒ; people in prison; and people who are not lawfully in the United States.
In the last few months, with all the mess associated with the new health exchange websites, and all the other chaos associated with the law, the Administration has granted new exemptions: people whose plans were cancelled can get a plan that is not compliant with the ACA; people who werenít able to comply because of difficulties in signing up for a new plan wonít be penalized; and large businesses with over 50 employees will not be fined for failing to provide any health insurance.
Now, many of these exemptions make perfect sense, and reflect a healthy degree of flexibility in the implementation of a very complex law.
So, what does this have to do with ideology? Well, despite all those other exemptions, waivers and extensions, one group has not been able to obtain an exemption, despite repeatedly asking for it, petitioning for it, and finally suing for it ó religious organizations that have a moral objection to facilitating contraception, sterilization, and abortion, as would be required under the so-called HHS Mandate.
For these groups, there is no flexibility at all. There is instead an adamant insistence that they will have to cooperate, regardless of their deeply-held religious beliefs. The Amish get out of the law entirely, but when it comes to Catholic dioceses, schools and charities agencies, the government offers nothing except artificial and unsatisfactory ďaccommodationsĒ.
Consider the absurdity of the governmentís position. As pointed out by Archbishop Kurtz, the president of the U.S. Bishops, under the Administrationís current policies, large businesses will be able to completely eliminate any health insurance for their employees, with no fine at all, but religious organizations that refuse to cooperate with moral evil will be subject to crippling fines of $100 per day per employee. The government wonít even grant temporary respite while legal challenges are working their way through the courts. They canít even bring themselves to give a break to the Little Sisters of the Poor, who spend their entire lives caring for needy elderly people.
Why is this? Itís not that hard to understand. The current Administration is entirely beholden to an ideology of sexual liberationism that considers contraception, sterilization and abortion to be ďsacred groundĒ. They consider this ideology to be so central to life that they will brook no opposition, and will do whatever it takes to bring to heel anyone who opposes them.
That is an ideological obsession. It is dangerous to the souls of those who suffer from it, and it is dangerous to any society in which they wield power.
Beautifully put. And I urge you to click the link to the original, where Ed takes down every Obamunist taking point against the Little Sisters of the Poor and religious freedom for those who hold that birth control -- or even just those with abortifacient effects -- is contrary to their faith and that facilitating its provision through their insurance plan is sinful cooperation with moral evil.
It is apparently the view of the current regime in Washington that religious liberty for all but a handful of religious minority groups (Amish, Muslims, etc) is incompatible with the national health care scheme advocated and imposed by Obama and the Democrats. Obama and his subordinates demand, in effect, precisely what a string of Roman emperors from the mid first through the early fourth centuries demanded -- that followers of Christ be prepared to burn a little incense in worship of the false god of the state and murmur the prescribed words in honor of one whose glorified hindquarters temporarily occupied the throne of an earthly empire. What they fail to understand -- or perhaps refuse to accept -- is that we cannot and will not do so if we are true to our faith, for we obey a higher law than that of man, await a kingdom much more glorious than the nation in which we live, and give all honor, glory, and praise to the One who sits upon much more glorious throne than any earthly leader. In short, this is not a new conflict -- it is one that is two thousand years old. And if the temporal battle is lost in the coming weeks and months, our faith tells us that the eternal battle will be won -- and indeed already has been.
January 03, 2014
How Screwed Up Is ObamaCare?
Well, let's look at some of the problems other than the website, the administration changing statutory law willy-nilly via decree (Constitution be damned) and the efforts of the Administration to supplant the religious tenets of religious believers and organizations with the Leftist sacraments of birth control and abortion.
No, these are the practical problems that exist.Hospital staff in Northern Virginia are turning away sick people on a frigid Thursday morning because they can't determine whether their Obamacare insurance plans are in effect.
Patients in a close-in DC suburb who think they've signed up for new insurance plans are struggling to show their December enrollments are in force, and health care administrators aren't taking their word for it.
In place of quick service and painless billing, these Virginians are now facing the threat of sticker-shock that comes with bills they can't afford.
'They had no idea if my insurance was active or not!' a coughing Maria Galvez told MailOnline outside the Inova Healthplex facility in the town of Springfield.
So maybe you have insurance, maybe you don't -- but nobody, neither the insurance company nor the government, can say for sure, leaving patients in limbo. The result is that they are potentially on the hook for care that is unaffordable to them -- care that many of them could have easily gotten last week before cancelled policies expired.
And then there is the problem of major life changes that the system isn't set up to handle -- things like having a baby or getting married or a death in the family. You know, little things that happen every day for many Americans.There's another quirk in the Obama administration's new health insurance system: It lacks a way for consumers to quickly and easily update their coverage for the birth of a baby and other common life changes.
With regular private insurance, parents just notify the health plan. Insurers will still cover new babies, the administration says, but parents will also have to contact the government at some point later on.
Right now the HealthCare.gov website can't handle such updates.
It's a reminder that the new coverage for many uninsured Americans comes with a third party in the mix: the feds. And the system's wiring for some vital federal functions isn't yet fully connected.
It's not just having a new baby that could create bureaucratic hassles, but other life changes affecting a consumer's taxpayer-subsidized premiums. The list includes marriage and divorce, a death in the family, a new job or a change in income, even moving to a different community.
In other words, making changes that were simple a week ago are difficult or impossible today because of the incompetent administration's botched implementation of a flawed law.
And then there is another problem -- delays in getting approvals and authorizations of medical care.Paperwork problems almost delayed suburban Chicago resident Sheri Zajcewís scheduled surgery Thursday, but Dr. John Venetos decided to operate without a routine go-ahead from the insurance company. That was after Venetosí office manager spent two hours on hold with the insurer Thursday, trying to get an answer about whether the patient needed prior authorization for the surgery. The office manager finally gave up.
Fortunately the doctor decided to do the surgery anyway -- but will there be reimbursement? Is the patient even covered?
Just one more example of how ObamaDon'tCare has f*ck*d up our medical system beyond all recognition. Seems to me that we have fallen below the standard of care found in Outer Mongolia.
Know Your Rights
H/T The Blaze
January 02, 2014
Understatement Of The Year On Middle East PeaceIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday that doubts about the Palestinians's commitment to peace are mounting in Israel.
"There is growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace," Netanyahu said, with Kerry at his side, at the start of their talks in Jerusalem.
There has never been a commitment to peace on the part of the Terrorstinians. The Israelis need to tell Kerry and Obama to bugger off -- and then solve the entire issue with force if there are continued acts of terrorism from within the Terrostinian Anarchy.
Wendy Davis Calls For Resignation Of "Fox In Henhouse" -- Who She Voted To Confirm
One of the interesting things about liberal websites is their lack of candor. Take, for example, the hate-blogger over at BayAreaHatemonger's latest post, trumpeting Wendy Davis calling for the resignation of an appointed official.Leave it to Governor Rick Perry to continue appointing rabid, right wing, foxes to guard the hen house. From The El Paso Times:[William J.] White was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to chair the state agency that oversees the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner, which is responsible for protecting consumers from predatory lending practices.
White also is vice president of Cash America, a major payday lender that the new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last month socked with its first sanctions for abusive practices.
Texas Senator Wendy Davis has now called on the governor to remove William J. White from his position:"It's really disgusting that an industry that profits from the poor by charging 1,000-plus interest is put at the head of the state's financial regulatory agency," Davis said. "It's saying, 'It's not only OK, but we're going to put them in charge.' "
John goes on to make up quotes that he attributes to both CashAmerica and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (Davis's presumptive GOP opponent in the gubernatorial race), concluding by calling payday lenders "rotten bastards". But since appointees like White have to be confirmed by the Texas Senate, what about the "rotten bastards" there who voted to confirm White.
Did Sen. Wendy Davis put on her pink tennis shoes and filibuster the olí fox in the henhouse when it came time to approve him as Chair of the Finance Commission?
No, she did not. In fact, she voted FOR William J. White as Chair of the Finance Commission. Donít believe me? Read it for yourself in the Texas Senate Journal dated May 11, 2011. Yeas 30, Nays 0, 1 Present, Not Voting (Kirk Watson-D). And that was after Sen. Wendy Davis called William J. White a ďfox in the henhouseĒ on January 20, 2011. Backroom deals? Hmmm.
Apparently Wendy Davis is one of the "rotten bastards" who voted to confirm this "rotten bastard".
So apparently the new liberal line is "Vote for Wendy Davis -- She's a Rotten Bastard, Too!"
Dead Vote In New York, Felons Vote Democrat Nationwide
Two bits of interesting data.
First, it appears that there really is a problem with dead folks voting in New York -- one of those states without photo ID requirements for voting.Death doesnít necessarily disqualify you from voting in New York City.
Investigators posing as dead voters were allowed to cast ballots for this yearís primary and general elections, thanks to antiquated Board of Election registration records and lax oversight by poll workers, authorities said.
The election boardís susceptibility to voter fraud by people impersonating the departed was uncovered during a massive probe of the agency by the Department of Investigation.
The probe uncovered 63 instances when votersí names should have been stricken from the rolls, but werenít ó even though some of them had died years before.
ďThe majority of those 63 individuals remained on the rolls nearly two years ó and some as long as four years ó since a death, felony conviction, or move outside of New York City,Ē said DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.
Undercover DOI agents were able to access voting booths in 61 instances ó including 39 dead people, 14 jail birds and eight non-residents. Only twice were the agents blocked.
Wow -- just walk up, give a name, and get a ballot to cast -- 97% of the time that will work in New York. And if those few dozen cases documented by investigators happened, how many times did it happen with fraudsters?
And if you doubt it happens, consider that it did happen quite recently in one precinct.The report noted that the Gothamist newspaper had reported that in New York Cityís September primary election:People had attempted to vote for other registered voters at IS 71, a poll site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. DOI spoke with four poll workers assigned to IS 71 who cited multiple instances of young men they believed were attempting to vote for other registered voters at IS 71 during the 2013 primary and additional instances during the 2013 runoff election. Two of the poll workers recalled instances where young men who appeared to be 19 or 20 years old sought to vote as registered voters who were in their thirties or sixties based on the dates of birth recorded in the registration books. One of the poll inspectors stated that she asked some individuals to confirm their dates of birth, after which they typically walked away without voting.Ē
But not only are unknown criminals voting, known felons are voting as well -- voting Democrat.
The study looked at three states which are reminding convicts that they can vote after leaving jail: New York, New Mexico and North Carolina.
They provided the following Democrat-to-Republican breakdown in felon party registration patterns:
Ė New York: 61.5 percent register Democratic, 9 percent register Republican
Ė New Mexico: 51.9 percent Democratic, 10.2 percent Republican
Ė North Carolina: 54.6 percent Democratic, 10.2 percent Republican
No wonder the Obama Administration -- and Democrat activists generally -- want felons voting. It is a great source of untapped votes for their party.
So see -- criminal votes are out there -- and they benefit Democrats.
January 01, 2014
Predictions, predictions, predictions ó do I have predictions for 2014? You bet I do. Letís break them down by category.
- Weíll finally see the death of Fidel Castro. The Left around the world will mourn deeply.
- The current Turkish government will fall, and a more secular regime will replace it ó returning the nation to its historical political configuration.
- Nobody will do anything serious about the instability in Syria because there are no good guys there ó which means a year from now Assad will still be killing his people and Islamists will still be trying to overthrow him.
- Iran will continue working towards nuclear weapons ó and Israel will continue to show restraint, not launching a military attack on the Islamic Republic. However, there will be more ďunexpected deathsĒ of researchers, ďindustrial accidentsĒ and ďsoftware problemsĒ that most will understand are the results of Israeli efforts to provide for its own security.
- The Christian population of the Middle East will continue to be persecuted and the governments of the West will continue to ignore the violence against followers of Christ in the region.
- The GOP will hold the House of Representatives, even picking up a handful of seats as a part of the ObamaCare backlash.
- The GOP will also win the US Senate ó but will hold only 51 seats following bruising primaries against incumbents and a couple of meltdowns by ďnot ready for prime-timeĒ nominees.
- Barack Obama will continue to govern using the same playbook as the late Hugo Chavez, issuing executive decrees and making illegal recess appointments despite the restrictions on executive power contained in the Constitution.
- Chief Justice John Roberts will write a 5-4 majority opinion on the ObamaCare birth control mandate ó and will deliver a stinging defeat to Barack Obama by striking down the mandate on First Amendment grounds.
- Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden will both declare their candidacy for President before Christmas. So will at least three Republicans ó one of whom will be Chris Christie. Thus begins the long slog to November of 2016.
- Despite drawing a great deal of national attention ó and out of state money ó Wendy Davis will NOT be elected Governor. Greg Abbott will be elected with over 55% of the vote.
- Republicans will hold on to all statewide elected offices and both houses of the legislature. Among the statewide winners will be Jerry Patterson as Lt. Governor and George P. Bush as Texas Land Commissioner.
- While Senator John Cornyn will face a crowded primary field that includes Congressman Steve Stockman, he will be the Republican nominee for Senate and will hold the seat for the GOP in November.
- As the CD36 GOP primary has 12 candidates, the nomination will be decided in a runoff between two candidates who have garnered only about 20% of the vote each in the primary. The ultimate victor will be Seabrook businessman Dave Norman.
- In 2014, the Houston Texans have their third number one draft pick since 2002. In 2006, they did the unexpected thing and drafted Mario Williams despite Reggie Bush being the consensus #1 pick of experts and Vince Young being the fans sentimental favorite ó but this year we will see them pick a quarterback with that first pick. And no, it wonít be Fresno Stateís Derek Carr, the younger brother of their 2002 number one pick ó it will be the very safe and very expected Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, despite sentimental fan hopes for Texas A&Mís Johnny Manziel.
My fellow members of the Watcher's Council also made predictions for the new year -- check them out here.
If you drive much in the Houston area, you will become familiar with various and sundry road hazards. After all, we folks here in Houston do a lot of driving in our spread out city, so it won't be long until you find yourself in need of some sort of repair work -- whether it be fixing a dent, getting one's wheels aligned or needing to Repair or Replace your window glass.Continue to be enlightened while reading "Windshield Repair" ¬Ľ
Heck, just last week I took a pebble to my windshield as I was driving down one of our local highways, leaving me with a chip. That means, of course, that I'm going to have to have some auto glass work done in the not too distant future. I'll be calling my insurance company to make a claim on this work, which is actually deemed to be an essential bit of safety work by most insurance companies. Since it is just a little chip, it is possible that I'll be able to get a Free windshield repair rather than actually replace the whole thing. And since I work not too far from Beltway 8 and i-10, I may just see if it is possible to get the work done at If you drive in the Patsco Windshield Repair . near where I teach.
¬ę All done with "Windshield Repair"?