As midterm elections quickly approach, many are starting to think about voting and potential fraud at the polls. And once again, we find that there is cause to be worried about voter fraud here in the U.S. It appears in a new report that 44,000 people are registered to vote in both Virginia and Maryland.
A vote-integrity group crosschecked the voter rolls in the two states and found far too many people registered in both states. The group, known as The Virginia Voters Alliance, is going to expand their research into surrounding states like Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Georgia.
The group found that the number of voters who actually cast ballots in both states was only 164 in 2012, but that is still far too many. And the problem of potentially having thousands of people casting multiple ballots is the real issue.
The Virginia Voters Alliance also worked with the Privileges and Elections committees of the state House and Senate. They found 31,000 dead voters through the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. The president of the organization said that dead voter registration is a prime target for voter fraud.
A simple solution for this issue is a voter ID law. Not only should people be required to show ID at the polls, but voter registrations should be cross checked more frequently. Hiring an outside group to do this, not only will help with voter fraud, but provides business to a non-governmental group. These numbers need to be greatly reduced before November.
It's not often the Second Amendment scores a victory in the state of New York, but they got one on Tuesday when the Grand Island School district decided to reverse its decision to suspend a student for wearing a T-shirt with the NRA logo.
Shane Kinney, a sophomore at Grand Island High School, was ordered to report to the principal's office last month when a teacher spotted him wearing the "controversial" piece of clothing.
"They've yelled at me for wearing it before because it has a gun on it and I had to duct tape it," says Kinney. Administrators suggested he turn the shirt inside out or find another shirt. He refused, saying there was nothing wrong with it, adding the NRA has done great things for the country.
Parents and gun rights advocates protested the school's intolerant move, and now it seems their efforts have paid off - the district is retracting the suspension. Activist Rus Thompson, who led protests against the school district, posted some insight about the administration's change of heart on his Facebook page after attending Tuesday's board of education meeting:
Victory on Grand Island! Mission accomplished! The Superintendent read a great statement, she admitted they were wrong in the suspension. The suspension has been expunged from Shane's school records. They returned his pocket tool and have stopped the 30 year practice of turning T-shirts inside out. She respects the 2nd Amendment, the 1st Amendment, and is the daughter of a veteran, her daughter shoots on a team. I started the applause after she was finished.
I wish I was in that meeting so I could clap along with him. Good for Grand Island for recognizing that Kinney's T-shirt was harmless and for ultimately ruling in free speech's favor.
It's a small victory in a state that has introduced some of the most anti-gun legislation in the country, but it's a victory nonetheless.
Guy analyzed this campaign spot earlier today, but I wanted to add some additional commentary as a follow-up.
As my other colleague Cortney recently noted, Oregon Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Monica Wehby is not pro-life. She is of the, shall we say, Joe Biden mold in that she is “personally” pro-life but supports abortion rights in practice. The GOP establishment, however, as Cortney lamented, has endorsed her candidacy over the pro-life candidate in the belief that she is -- and will prove to be -- more electable. We’ll see. (Personally, I don’t summarily object when the party endorses “moderate” candidates from blue states. Republicans after all are playing to win. But conservatives -- understandably -- have the right to criticize and take issue with any of their strategic endorsements).
Nevertheless, Dr. Wehby’s new campaign spot is tastefully done and hits all the right notes. She doesn’t explicitly assert she’s “pro-life” in the traditional sense, of course, but the ad titled “Trust” does explain how she guided and brought hope to a young mother in need. As it happens, Lexi Liebelt was suddenly informed by her physician -- after an ultrasound -- that she should at least consider aborting her child, who suffered from severe spinal damage. Upon hearing the news, then, it comes as no surprise that Mrs. Liebelt was devastated and disconsolate. However, as a pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Wehby went on to perform the necessary surgery that quite literally saved the child’s life. Today, we’re told, Liebelt's daughter Gabby is a healthy 12-year-old:
For obvious reasons this spot will appeal to Oregon’s pro-life crowd. What’s more inspiring than a Senate hopeful using her skills and experience as a surgeon to save a child’s life from the violence and barbarism of abortion? If she wins the primary, then, perhaps pro-lifers can summon the strength to vote for her over the Democrat.
But the ad, I think, will also appeal to those fed up with Washington -- and the lawmakers who make their living there. Trust in government is rapidly declining, so any spot that can meaningfully show a candidate is worthy of the public’s trust has the capacity to move the needle.
This ad might do just that.
Americans for Prosperity is launching anti-Obamacare ad campaigns in four key states, The Hill reports, which will undoubtedly fuel Democrats' Koch Derangement Syndrome. The story mentions the Kochs in both the headline and the lede; we'll see if the publication applies the same standard to campaigns bankrolled by liberal billionaires like Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. The new spots will air in Louisiana, Michigan, Colorado and New Hampshire -- all states in which Democrat-held Senate seats are being targeted by the GOP. The Louisiana version features a Marine who served two tours in Iraq, and who isn't feeling especially grateful over Obamacare's changes to the health plan with which he was fully satisfied:
"I don't think Mary Landrieu is looking out for my best interests."
And in New Hampshire, the organization builds a similar case against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen:
The Colorado spot hasn't been released yet. You can see my write-up of that contested race here. While the AFP ads are solid, the best ones I've seen this week come from GOP campaigns. Yesterday, Dan wrote up Tom Cotton's lighthearted push-back effort against Sen. Mark Pryor's outrageous "sense of entitlement" smear. A fresh poll in that race gives Pryor a ten-point lead, although the internals look rather suspect. Nevertheless, it's appears as though Cotton has work to do in order to unseat the incumbent. If Pryor survives in Arkansas, a Republican takeover of the Senate becomes highly unlikely. I'll leave you with this moving spot from Oregon doctor Monica Wehby:
Wehby has a compelling story to tell. Her years in the medical profession put her in an unique position to critique Obamacare, and her status as a woman renders "war on women" attacks less effective -- as Democrats are learning in Michigan. The theme of this ad is trust, highlighting her integrity and commitment to working for others when everything is on the line. She's drawing a contrast with incumbent Sen. Jeff Merkley, whom she's denounced for playing along with his party's "lie of the year" on Obamacare.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush reportedly admitted today that he is "thinking about" running for president. Jeb Bush has now joined the ranks of Hillary Clinton in admitting that there is a possibility he may throw his hat in the ring.
Strikingly direct Jeb Bush today on White House run: "I'm thinking about running for president," attendee at closed NY event tells us.— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) April 23, 2014
Nobody has officially entered the 2016 election yet.
Americans have no shortage of reasons to resent the Internal Revenue Service. The agency is responsible for confiscating an annual percentage of each citizen's earned wealth on behalf of the state (and it's never a bad time to reiterate this point about "fair shares"). It is now tasked with enforcing Obamacare's hated individual mandate tax -- although with blanket exceptions like this, it's unclear what there is to enforce at this stage. And it has been embroiled in a high-profile targeting scandal, in which agency higher-ups exploited their power to deliberately harass and abuse organizations opposed to the government's ruling party. The scandal has flared up again in recent weeks, as the House of Representatives weighs contempt charges for Lois Lerner amid additional developments coming to light regarding the IRS' internal culture, Lerner's political biases, and possible collusion from the Justice Department and Congressional Democrats. Against that sordid backdrop, we have this:
The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said Tuesday. More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, said a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012. George's report said the bonus program doesn't violate federal regulations, but it's inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws.
So while the IRS was slow-rolling and auditing conservative groups, it was bestowing generous, taxpayer-funded bonuses upon employees who'd been flagged for disciplinary issues, including more than 1,100 who owed back taxes. How many ordinary Americans have received any form of bonus during this "recovery," which has been so tepid that Democrats are being urged not to mention it? How many taxpayers would earn "performance" bonuses after getting into trouble at work, or openly violating core tenets of their company's mission? Perhaps most galling is the fact that these unwarranted bonuses don't violate any federal regulations. An incredulous Mary Katharine Ham floats a modest proposal:
Surely in the untold reams of regulations, they could codify that they shouldn’t give piles of money to people charged with collecting your piles of money who then neglect to pay the proper piles of money to the organization for whom they’re charged with collecting piles of money! Lord knows they can’t use common sense, so it must be a law. Pretty sure they could find my lawnmower gas tank in violation of some federal regulation if they tried, but this? No prob, moving on.
Will this public embarrassment -- at a moment where the public is even more suspicious of the IRS than usual -- trigger some painfully obvious reforms within the agency? Perhaps, but never underestimate the power of bureaucratic inertia to do the wrong thing.
What to make of this poll jointly conducted by the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation? After crosschecking other surveys at RCP, my colleague Ed Morrissey (who first flagged this story, by the way) concludes this poll is almost certainly an outlier. I tend to agree with him. After all, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) is perhaps the number one Republican target running for re-election in the upper chamber. How on earth, then, is he leading Tom Cotton by double-digits in a state the president lost by 24 percentage points in 2012? Doesn’t make that much sense:
Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, a two-term incumbent who has been considered perhaps the most imperiled Democratic senator in the country, holds a 10-point lead over his Republican opponent, Representative Tom Cotton. Mr. Pryor, the son of a former senator, has an approval rating of 47 percent, with 38 percent of Arkansas voters disapproving of him.
Top line numbers are utterly meaningless, although still attention-grabbing, if the sample is skewed. And that’s apparently what’s going on here. The big take-away Senate Democrats will shout from the rooftops is that a race that was once deemed "competitive" is moving into safer Democratic waters. But that’s nonsense. The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol explains:
[The] Times and Kaiser have produced a sample in Arkansas that reports they voted in 2012 for Romney over Obama--by one point. But Romney carried Arkansas in 2012 by 24 points. Similarly, the Kentucky sample is +3 Romney when reality was +23. The Louisiana sample is +3 Obama in a state Obama lost by 17, and the North Carolina sample is +7 Obama in a state he lost by 3.
The whole point of question 12 is to provide a reality test for the sample. That's why they ask that question--we know what happened in 2012, so the only thing to be learned by asking the 2012 question of the sample is to ensure that it's a reasonably accurate snapshot of voters in the state. Of course there'll always be some variance between reality and the sample's report of its vote a year and a half ago--but not a 23 point variance.
A reputable news organization would have looked at question 12 and thrown the poll out. But then again, it was the New York Times.
Kristol argues the contest in Arkansas is exceedingly close. But at the same time, concedes after a barrage of anti-Cotton attack ads, Pryor "is probably now ahead by a point or two.” Still, “a point or two” is nowhere near the double-digit lead the New York Times claims Pryor now enjoys. He doesn't.
Low-information voters, I assume, will take these top-line numbers at face value. But they shouldn’t, of course -- and neither should anyone else.
Professor Brent Terry has apologized for slamming the GOP during a creative writing class lecture at Eastern Connecticut State University earlier this week. During the four-minute rant, captured by one student on audio tape, the professor claimed Republicans do not want Latinos, blacks, young people, or old people to vote. He also warned colleges would start closing if the GOP takes control of both the House and Senate in November.
State GOP Rep. Leader Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) demanded Terry apologize for his offensive harangue “as a point of personal privilege.” Only an hour after Cafero made the request on the House floor, Terry released a statement:
During my creative writing class yesterday, I allowed my own political opinions to color the discussion. I regret the language I used, and I apologize to any students in the room who were offended. As a liberal arts university, Eastern is known for encouraging debate and discussion about a host of social and political issues.
My role in my own classroom is to keep the debate lively yet respectful. I did not meet that standard yesterday, and for that I am truly sorry.
Read more about Terry’s initial comments here.
Last week on Good Friday, the White House announced yet another delay for the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2014 midterm elections. The White House cited the project needing "further review" before approval and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says the move was not political. The bright side is labor unions called the delay "gutless," a “low blow to the working men and women of our country," and a "cold, hard slap in the face for hard working Americans who are literally waiting for President Obama's approval and the tens of thousands of jobs it will generate."
A new poll from Rasmussen Reports shows 61 percent of Americans support the approval of Keystone, a new high.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters now at least somewhat favor building the major oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, while just 27% are opposed. This includes 37% who Strongly Favor the project and 10% who Strongly Oppose it. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.
Last night on The Kelly File, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul discussed the recent and ongoing rash of violence in the Windy City. Paul, who was in town for a school choice event, explained that the violence problem in Chicago goes far beyond guns and comes from a lack of leadership, education and guidance for young people in certain parts of the city. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (like Barack Obama) is an opponent of school choice, which allows kids to get out of miserable, failing schools in violent neighborhoods. But thanks to Emanuel's solid support for teacher's unions, instead of being able to pursue a future through educational choice, teenagers are trapped in worthless, hopeless schools. Due to a lack of opportunity, they join gangs.
Gang initiations typically require a violent act. Those violent acts usually involve guns that were purchased or stolen illegally by gang members and then are used in crimes (again illegal). When guns aren't purchased illegally on the street, they're brought into the city illegally. As Megyn Kelly points out in her introduction, all gun sales in Chicago are already banned, yet the Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy (and Emanuel) is still blaming a lack of gun control for the violence. He admits murders by gunshot wound are higher in Chicago than the national average, but fails to acknowledge that the rest of the country has less stringent gun control laws. In fact, states and cities with fewer gun control laws and more concealed carry permit holders have lower crime rates.
But not only are McCarthy and Emanuel's calls for more gun control unproductive, they're also out of touch with the people who live in the communities being affected the most. Since the ban on concealed carry in Illinois was struck down in December 2012, residents from Chicago's south side have been flocking to classes to learn about how to protect themselves. The Reader recently did a feature story, Dismantling the Stigma of Guns, profiling Gerald Vernon, a long time Second Amendment advocate and firearms instructor living in Chicago's south side.
Gerald Vernon believes conceal-and-carry laws and responsible firearm owners are crucial to keeping people safe—especially in the communities hit hardest by crime.The first lesson Gerald Vernon shared with his conceal-and-carry class is, to him, the most fundamental: "The only thing that stops bad people with guns is good people with guns."
His ten students—eight men and two women, all African-Americans—were listening intently. They had gathered in a meeting room at a south-side social service center to learn about gun ownership and self-defense from Vernon, a veteran firearms instructor who was seated at the front of the room next to a table set with an array of revolvers and semiautomatic handguns from his collection.
The students didn't appear to need any convincing. "I'm interested in protection," explained Thomas Brandon, 57, when it was his turn to introduce himself. The others said they were there for the same reason.
Last week, Chicago Magazine published an investigative story alleging McCarthy and Emanuel were cooking the books on "decreasing" crime rates.