tipsheet
Leah Barkoukis - New Al Qaeda Magazine Urges Bombing More Planes, Lone Wolf Attacks
Posted: 12/28/2014 9:03:00 AM EST

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is out with a new issue of Inspire, its online English language magazine that’s dedicated to promoting ‘jihad in America.’ And predictably, the group continues to be fixated on airplanes.

“Destination airport, and Guess What’s on the Menu?” is the title to the opening spread of the cover story about how to bomb passenger planes in the slick, professionally designed new issue ofInspiremagazine published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Releasing the digital magazine on Christmas Eve is unlikely a coincidence; it’s the 5th anniversary of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's Christmas Day 2009 bombing attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it was on its landing approach to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

The entire issue is devoted to inspiring lone wolf jihadists in the US and the West, and especially urges attacks on commercial passenger planes. A lengthy section provides detailed instructions on how to build a new bomb AQAP purports can be “hidden” not only on aircraft, but also to blow up other targets with the intent of causing ripples throughout US and Western economies.

The magazine, titled “Neurotmesis: Cutting the Nerves and Isolating the Head,” lists several domestic and international airlines as targets, as well as “direct economic targets,” “economic personalities” and “wealthy entrepreneurs or company owners.”

Also notable in this issue is their detailed instructions for how to make “The Hidden Bomb” and turn kitchens into the new lab for doing so.

“Initially, what we faced as a main problem was: How can a lone Mujahid acquire the required explosive materials. For several months, we conducted a number of experiments. As a result we came up with these simple materials that are readily available around the globe, even inside America - and this is our goal,” AQAP said.

“We spared no effort in simplifying the idea in such we made it 'another meal prepared in the kitchen' so that every determined Muslim can prepare.”

Detailed instructions such as these were used by the Boston Marathon bombers in 2013 to carry out their attack. Dzokhar Tsarnaev admitted to investigators that he and his brother learned to make pressure cooker bombs from an Inspire issue, which ran a feature article titled “How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” 

Daniel Doherty - Holiday Poll: 75 Percent of Respondents Still See Themselves as Christ-Followers
Posted: 12/27/2014 6:52:00 PM EST

Despite hints and whispers to the contrary, the Christian sect is seemingly alive and well in the United States of America. Check out this recent Gallup poll:

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What's more, according to the poll, while most respondents would probably admit they don't have active spiritual lives, a plurality still do:

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Weekly attendance rates, however, vary greatly by sect:

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Meanwhile, a Rasmussen Reports poll discovered last spring that an astonishing percentage of Americans actually believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Equally as fascinating, perhaps, almost three-fourths of respondents also told the Pew Research Center in 2013 that Jesus' mother, Mary, was a virgin. This means, among other things, that despite the slight uptick in secularism from last year (see the first graph shown above), Christianity in America doesn't appear to be going anywhere, anytime soon.

Cortney O'Brien - Tragic: Faulty Prenatal Tests Often Lead to Abortion
Posted: 12/27/2014 4:00:00 PM EST

Mothers are aborting their babies based on prenatal test results that reveal their children would be born with genetic defects. A new study, however, proves that these results are wrong 50 percent of the time, meaning these mothers are often aborting perfectly healthy babies. The New York Daily News reported on this tragic trend:

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting found that some women are terminating their pregnancies based on a test result for a genetic condition — even though the center’s study shows that the tests can be wrong 50% of the time. Shockingly, the group also found that the rate of false positives increased as the conditions became rarer.

This rate is devastating for women who are relying on these tests to determine whether or not to keep their unborn babies:

A recent study of 356 women by Natera, which makes the Panorama prenatal test, showed that 6.2% terminated their pregnancy based on noninvasive test results alone.

Illumina, which makes the Verifi test, told the Daily News that it “has always emphasized the need for confirmatory testing.”

Here's just one reason for the inaccurate conclusions:

One of the problems is that test results are often misread. Two Boston obstetricians recently sent cell samples from two nonpregnant women to five testing companies — and three out of the five companies said the women were carrying healthy baby girls.

Unborn children who are diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted a shocking 90 percent of the time. I wonder how many of those children were misdiagnosed? How sad one test determined whether they would live or die.

Also disheartening, is the fact that prenatal tests can also produce false negatives. Parents who assumed their children would be healthy find themselves dealing with serious genetic diseases. A little preparation would have been helpful.

I hope mothers who decide to get prenatal results take this study into account. Don't make a terrible choice based on one, unreliable test.

Conn Carroll - What Exactly Does The Establishment Want Conservatives To Compromise On?
Posted: 12/27/2014 12:00:00 PM EST

Utah billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr., does not like Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

“He’s been a tremendous embarrassment to our family, to our state, to our country to have him as a U.S. senator," Huntsman, last seen feeding Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) false rumors about Mitt Romney, told Politico

Huntsman, Politico reports, is actively recruting "establishment" Republicans to challenge Lee in the 2016 primary. Lee's crime? His role in the 2012 shutdown seems to irk Huntsman the most, but other establishment Republicans in the state seem to want him to compromise more with President Obama.

"Strictly speaking on behalf of businesses, the frustration is when you have people who refuse  ... to work together to come up with solutions that can move us forward," Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce CEO Lane Beattie told Politico. "He has to, from a legislative standpoint in Congress, learn what it takes to make a change - make a difference. You can try all the bills in the world, but if you don't get anything done, what's the purpose unless you are influencing someone?"

And it is true. Obama has not signed into law any legislation authored by Lee. Not that Lee hasn't tried to be bipartisan. As Politico notes, Lee has worked with both Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) on housing and criminal justice reform respectively. Those bills just weren't priorities for Majority Leader Reid so they never went anywhere.

But as Republicans take over the Senate, you should expect to see Lee's influence more. Lee's "Conservative Reform Agenda" is highly thought of by Senate Republican policy leaders and you can expect to see legislation based on his ideas move forward on taxes, higher education, transportation, and welfare reform.

Will Obama sign any of these bills? Probably not.

But what exactly does the Republican establishment want to see Obama sign? Tax reform that raises revenue? A higher gas tax? Amnesty for illegal immigrants? More power for the Department of Education to force Common Core on the states?

What exactly do establishment Republicans like Huntsman and Beattie plan to run on in 2016?

Kevin Glass - How Republicans Can Break the "Obama Coalition" In 2016
Posted: 12/27/2014 9:00:00 AM EST
Much has been made of the "Obama coalition," the demographic mix that carried President Obama to two electoral victories. The media has reported that Republicans face an uphill battle against this supposedly emergent, dominant electoral force.

In a most recent entry, the Associated Press reports:

Despite Democrats' midterm shellacking and talk of a "depressed" liberal base, many in the party still like their starting position for 2016. Ruy Teixiera, a Democratic demographer, points to a group of states worth 242 electoral votes that the Democratic presidential nominee has won in every election since 1992. Hold them all, and the party is just 28 votes shy of the majority needed to win the White House next time.

However...

"The notion of demographics as destiny is overblown," said Republican pollster and media strategist Wes Anderson. "Just like (Bush aide Karl) Rove was wrong with that 'permanent majority' talk, Democrats have to remember that the pendulum is always swinging."

As someone who lived through the "permanent majority" era promised by Karl Rove, I can say this is definitely true. Progressives who believe that, say, Hillary Clinton will be able to motivate the same coalition and turn them out in the same number might be severely overplaying the nature of the Obama coalition. President Obama's genius was being able to turn voters out to the polls who typically aren't interested in voting. Time will tell if anyone other than President Obama will have that unique appeal.

Matt Vespa - MRCTV Asks UVA Students About Botched Rolling Stone Piece
Posted: 12/26/2014 8:15:00 PM EST

MRCTV’s Dan Joseph went to the University of Virginia to speak to students about the discredited Rolling Stone piece that delved into the alleged gang rape of Jackie and the school’s response to it. To make a long story short, the school, Jackie’s friends, and Greek life are portrayed in a very negative light.

To make matter worse, the story devolved into an absolute disaster. Other publications, like the New Republic and the Washington Post, noted the shoddy journalism by RS’s Sabrina Rubin Erdely, specifically when it became known that she didn’t contact any of the alleged attackers. Rolling Stone also botched the apology, saying they had “misplaced” trust in Jackie before tweaking it to put responsibility on them for getting it right.

So, what did Dan Joseph find out when he interviewed students on campus? Unsurprisingly, he found that students were angered by RS’s awful journalism. Some felt that this exercise in journalistic negligence didn’t take away from the validity of Jackie’s claims. Then again, while other students refused to question her claims, they didn’t take it as absolute fact either.

One female student said UVA never struck her as a school infested by rape culture. She also felt RS was more concerned with tearing down UVA than supporting Jackie–and that she doesn’t feel for her safety when she goes to parties.

One of the people Joseph interviewed was none other than Alex Stock (“Andy”) from Erdely’s article who noted that the story–and how it reflects on the school–is just not true. He also mentioned that his portrayal in the piece, along with his friends Kathryn Hendley (“Cindy”) Ryan Duffin (“Randall”), is also patently false. Erdely reported them as being distant, apathetic, and more concerned about their social standing at the school on the night of Jackie’s alleged attack. It was actually Jackie who didn’t want to go to the authorities. He also said the school isn’t the rape capital of the country.

When Joseph asked if the accused deserve due process, another female student said, “Well, I think that we need to be careful of believing them over believing the survivor.”

Two other female students in the video noted that there’s anger on campus at RS from the fraternities for not doing their job in checking all the facts; others were mad at RS’s botched apology.

Another freshman said it’s been a stressful time, and noted that not everyone knows the full gravity of the situation. 

Well, bad journalism can do that.

Another student mentioned that it’s probably the “darkest semester” he’s experienced since enrolling at the school.

Yet, even when the story began to collapse, some feminists refused to acknowledge the journalistic malpractice that had taken place here. Enter Feministing’s Chloe Angyal, who actually had the audacity to thank Erdely for writing this article. Oh, and society hates women, or something:

I have to thank you, Sabrina, for writing this. I think you've done a tremendous act of public service, and I'm genuinely very, very grateful. It is hard to read an article like this and avoid the conclusion that we live in a culture that hates women, just hates us. It's hard to read an article like this and conclude that the men in this culture, the boys and men in this culture, are raised to see women as not just less than them but in some cases as less than human. But one thing really stood out to me, which is the statistic about how boys and men in frats are three times more likely to commit sexual violence. But I think as Raul says -- you know what, I just used a euphemism there, and I shouldn't do that. They are three times more likely to commit rape. And I think Raul makes a really interesting point. This is not just about party schools. And it would be at our peril to pretend that this is just a frat problem. Yes, it at frats and football teams, but it also happens on the chess team and in dance companies. This is not just a frat problem. This is an American problem.

Angyal wrote a post on Feministing about why women coming forward about being sexually assaulted should be believed since they rarely lie about rape. It’s a somewhat better read that Zerlina Maxwell’s irresponsible piece where she basically says due process be damned. Speaking of statistics, some of the ones relating to rape and sexual assault are incredibly shaky. 

Yet, that’s not the issue here. The issue is that Erdely wrote a piece that was insanely inaccurate, it didn’t do activists fighting sexual assault any favors, it will make it harder for women to come forward, and it will distort–or ruin– the reputations of individuals and institutions involved. Now, Erdely's article is indefensible; Angyal has rarely tweeted anything about it since Dec. 11.

Maybe it’s due to the fact that Erdely’s account of the alleged attack comes perilously close to fabrication.

Exit question via Charles Cooke of NRO: does truth matter to the feminist left?

If not, addressing this issue will be like navigating through a minefield.  

Sarah Jean Seman - Shocker: Americans Want to Choose Their Own Health Care
Posted: 12/26/2014 6:00:00 PM EST

In a nation driven by the free market, it should come as no surprise that Obamacare is not getting any more popular. People don’t want to be told what they should or shouldn’t, can or cannot buy—and the same goes for their health insurance plans.

According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday, American’s are as pro-choice when it comes to health care as ever, and they do not want the government mandating coverage:

Seventy-five percent (75%) say individuals should have the right to choose between different types of health insurance including some that cost more and cover just about all medical procedures and some that cost less while covering only major medical procedures. Just 10% disagree, while slightly more (15%) are undecided.

Even more (83%) believe individuals should have the right to choose between different types of health insurance including some with high deductibles and lower premiums and others with lower deductibles and higher premiums. Only six percent (6%) oppose this kind of choice, while 10% are not sure.

Support for these choices is little changed in nearly two years of regular tracking.

Most voters (76%) also believe that employers and individuals should be allowed to buy health insurance plans across state lines, something that is not allowed under the new health care law. That’s the highest level of support measured since April.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a new law which might limit an individual's choice even more, according to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC):

CMS has proposed a new rule that includes an overly reaching provision allowing CMS to re-enroll anyone who has not made the annual trek back to healthcare.gov in a cheaper plan of CMS’ choosing….

To be clear, a citizen will sign up once for a private plan with a healthcare provider, only to have that plan changed by the federal government. Moreover, CMS will change your plan after the open enrollment period ends, leaving you and your family stuck with a potentially unwanted plan for the year.

Don’t forget, the penalty for not having health care coverage will increase every year. In 2014, the maximum fee per family was $285. In 2015, the fee will increase to $325 per adult or two percent of income, in 2016 this rises to 2.5 percent of income. The penalty continues to rise until it caps at the average national premium for the bronze plan.

Even more comforting news: bronze plan premiums are expected to increase by some 15 percent in 2015.

The phrase “Thanks Obama,” just isn't getting old anytime soon. 

Leah Barkoukis - The Friday Filibuster: Blue Lives Matter
Posted: 12/26/2014 3:10:00 PM EST

The Friday Filibuster: The one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about this week in politics.

#BlueLivesMatter: The week started off on an incredibly somber note after two NYPD officers were assassinated in Brooklyn over the weekend. The perp, Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, had a long criminal history as well as reported mental health problems. According to statements he made on his Instagram account, Brinsley was avenging the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Tensions between law enforcement and Mayor DeBlasio were running high after the incident. Former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani reminded folks that the vast majority of law enforcement want to help the communities they serve, not hurt them. He also took a shot at the politicians who’ve been trying to separate communities from the police, saying their actions are “shameful.” Ron Hosko, former FBI assistant director and law enforcement legal defense fund president, also slammed criminals, the media, and race baiters and said that law enforcement are constantly under attack from those who seek to evade responsibility. Meanwhile, showing incredible generosity, the Yankees will be covering the education costs for one of the officer’s two sons.

In the military: President Obama’s approval rating among active duty service members has plummeted to just 15 percent. And as many as 1,300 more troops will be heading back to Iraq this year to serve in what the administration insists is an “advisory role” to help “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS. Meanwhile, the State Dept is offering a $5 million reward to get back an al Qaeda terrorist that the U.S. released from Gitmo in 2006. Townhall’s Guy Benson also recently spoke with a former CIA official who defended the agency’s use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques on suspected terrorists after 9/11, saying that it saved an untold number of American lives. The Warner Bros. recently released a trailer for the upcoming film “American Sniper” about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who became the most deadly sniper in U.S. history during his four tours of duty in Iraq. There’s also an interesting new documentary out about what it’s like to be in the IDF.

Economy: Some relatively good news for the U.S. economy came out this week, with the Commerce Department releasing revised figures showing that the economy surged in the third quarter of the year. Now for the bad news: Fewer Americans are working today than before the recession began.

Campaigns and elections: Despite the endless attacks against wealthy Republican donors during the 2014 election cycle, it turns out Democrats were the party that relied more on the rich to fund their electoral pursuits. And looking ahead to 2016, did Sen. Rand Paul announce he will run for president during a Twitter Festivus celebration?

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“The Interview” saga continues: Last week the FBI determined North Korea was behind the cyber attack against Sony, but they continued to deny it and threatened to strike the U.S. for “recklessly” spreading that rumor. The country also experienced major Internet outages this week just days after President Obama had promised to respond proportionally. And in light of President Obama saying that Sony had made a mistake for not releasing the film (a point Sony’s CEO said Obama was mistaken about), Townhall’s Conn Carroll wonders why the president didn’t call the entertainment network, seeing that other leaders in similar situations have done just that. In the end, Sony released the film online and in select theaters. 

Cuba vows to protect cop killer: While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie urged President Obama to demand that Cuba return cop killer Joanne Chesimard before the U.S. normalizes diplomatic relations, Cuba has defiantly said no, stating their right to protect ‘persecuted’ fugitives.

Inside the Beltway: The pizza industry will continue fighting against one of Obamacare’s more onerous regulations. And the law as a whole will get another day in the Supreme Court, meaning the GOP has until June to replace it. Speaking of next year, here’s nine fights you’ll be seeing in Washington in 2015. It’s too bad retiring Sen. Tom Coburn can’t get his wish.

Immigration: A federal judge dismissed Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s lawsuit challenging President Obama’s immigration overhaul this week. What does that mean for the suit filed by Texas?

Merry Christmas: On the nice list is rock band Madison Rising, which is raising awareness for military families this holiday season. On the naughty list? You guessed it: Barack Obama. The GOP gave the president coal this year, but not for the reason you might think. Finally, we hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Graphics by Feven Amenu. 

Conn Carroll - 9 Fights You'll See In Washington Next Year
Posted: 12/26/2014 11:56:00 AM EST

Now that Republicans control the Senate, President Obama can no longer hide behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). He is going to have to start vetoing some bills in order to protect his existing government expansions. But he can't veto everything. 

There are at least six must pass items that Obama and Republicans must come to an agreement on in 2015. And there are at least three other fights the will be simmering through out year but are unlikely to reach any resolution. So, in chronological order, here are the nine biggest fights you can expect to see between Obama and Republicans in 2015:

1. Tax Extenders: On December 19th, Obama signed the Tax Increase Prevention Act, which retroactively extended more than 50 tax credit programs worth almost $42 billion from January 1, 2014 through December 2014. The credits will again expire on New Year's Day 2015, so there will be some pressure on Congress to renew them again right away. 

However, Congress has routinely retroactively extended these tax breaks before, and the Internal Revenue Service continues to operate as though they will do so again for 2015, so there will not be a lot of pressure to get this done right away.

2. Department of Homeland Security: The CRomnibus, signed by Obama, on December 16th, funds every agency of the federal government, except the DHS, through September 30th, 2015. But the bill only funds the DHS through February 28th. 

House Republican leaders have promised conservatives that they will attach a rider to the DHS funding bill, that will prevent the agency responsible for carrying out Obama's amnesty, the office of United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services, from issuing the work permits Obama promised illegal immigrants. Obama has promised to veto any DHS spending bill that has such a provision. Someone will have to cave.

3. Debt Limit: On February 15th, 2014, Obama signed the Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act, which raised the Treasury Department's borrowing limit through March 15, 2015. The Treasury Department is usually able to fudge some accounts and extend debt limit deadlines, and experts say they should be able to extend this deadline too, possibly all the way through August. 

However, considering that Republicans got virtually nothing from Democrats when the debt limit was raised in February, it is highly unlikely Republicans will get anything from Obama in 2015.

4. Doc Fix: The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 created a cost saving mechanism for Medicare called the Sustainable Growth Rate. The law was designed to slow Medicare spending growth by cutting the payments doctor's receive from Medicare. But Congress has routinely undone these cuts and the latest Doc Fix prevented a 25 percent cut in doctor Medicare payments for 2014 at a cost of $21 billion. These cuts are scheduled to, again, take place starting March 31, 2015.

But just like the IRS ignores the expiration of certain tax extenders, the Health and Human Services Department has continued paying doctor's their expected rate despite inaction from Congress. But HHS can only do this for so long. Sometime around the end of March Republicans will have to find a way to pay for another Doc Fix. Since Congress and Obama would need to agree on a pay-for, either through a spending cut or a tax hike, a long-term fix to the problem is highly unlikely.

5. Budget: Congress is obligated by law to pass a budget by April 15th and, thanks to the most recent Obamacare challenge to reach the Supreme Court, King v. Burwell, this year's battle will be particularly dramatic. If the Court sides with plaintiffs, and finds Obamace insurance subsidies to citizens of states that did not establish health exchanges unlawful, then millions of Americans, mostly in red states, will have to pay full price for expensive Obamacare insurance.

Republicans will want to have a bill ready to fix this problem, and they will want to avoid a Democratic filibuster in the process. They can do this by including instructions in the budget directing one or more committees to pass legislation that changes tax or entitlement programs (like Obamacare) to meet the budget's tax and spending targets. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would then be allowed to pass changes to Obamacare by a bare majority. None of this guarantees Obama would sign Republican changes to Obamacare, but it does neutralize Democrats in the Senate.

6. Highway Bill: The ten month extension to the Highway Trust Fund signed in August 2014, is set to expire at the end of May 2015. Republicans say they want to find a long-term solution to the HTF's funding problem, but finding a pay-for will be difficult. Democrats want to raise the federal gas tax and they may be emboldened by falling gas prices to force the issue on Republicans. Republicans will fight any effort to raise taxes at the federal level and will instead look to cut non-highway spending out of the HTF which current spends billions on mass transit programs which do not pay into the program. Cuts could also come from other areas of the federal government as they did in 2014 when the deal was funded by "pension smoothing" for federal workers, a one-time gimmick. 

7. Export-Import Bank: Conservatives have been trying to kill the Export-Import Bank for generations, including President Reagan who proposed shrinking the corporate welfare program by a third. The bank was due to expire this past fall and corporate lobbyists desperately tried to attach a long-term authorization to the mast-pass government funding bill set to expire at the same time. House Republicans punted on that fight, however, reauthorizing the bank only through the end of June, while funding the federal government through the end of September. 

Now corporate welfare advocates must either find another vehicle to attach Export-Import Bank reauthorization to (the Highway Trust Fund, Doc Fix, and DHS funding bills are all strong possibilities) or reauthorize the program by itself.

8. Appropriations/Continuing Resolution: Since taking over the House in 2010, Republicans have tried to pass all 12 appropriations bills needed to keep the federal government running, but they have never quite gotten the job done. But now that a Republican controlled Senate may actually take up their work, the exercise is no longer symbolic. It will be a heavy lift, but Republican controlled committees could get their work done before the September 30th deadline. If they don't Obama and congressional Republicans will have to agree on another continuing resolution or omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2016.

9. Tax Reform: There is no deadline attached to the issue, but both Republicans and Obama have repeatedly said there is an opportunity to pass tax reform in 2015. The sticking point, as always, will be revenues. Obama is still insisting on higher revenues from both corporate and individual tax reform to pay for higher spending, specifically he wants higher revenues from corporate tax reform to pay for higher infrastructure spending. As long as Republicans stick to their pledges not to raise taxes, any compromise on this front remains unlikely. 

Leah Barkoukis - Pizza Industry Vows to Continue Fight Against Obamacare’s Onerous Menu Labeling Regulation
Posted: 12/26/2014 8:30:00 AM EST

It’s been a month since the Food and Drug Administration announced its final rule for menu labeling, a regulation that’s already proving to be a nightmare for the major chain restaurants and retail food establishments that must comply by Dec. 1, 2015, or face a stiff penalty.

“It got much worse in the final rule,” Lynn Liddle, chairperson of the American Pizza Community and executive VP of communications and investor relations for Domino’s Pizza, told Townhall. “I was surprised, disappointed, and befuddled because there’s all this new stuff in there where I go, ‘I don’t know how we’re gonna do this.’ … We’re gonna need a lot more time to untangle this mess, which I don’t think is viable or workable.”

While the regulation is bad for all industries, pizza has been hit particularly hard. For one, it’s a food industry unlike any other—90 percent of customers get their food delivered, making the idea of in-store displays of calorie information unnecessary and costly, not to mention extremely difficult since it’s such a customizable food.

Liddle said a concession was made on labeling by the slice rather than the whole pizza, but the rule is still disastrous for small businesses across America.

“[W]hat [FDA] did in these final rules is they expanded their definition of a menu and said ‘we’re gonna look at it and say anything a consumer will think of at that moment as a menu,’ so it’s very squishy right now because nobody really understands this thing because they’re saying if you have a picture or a name of a product, along with a price, were gonna call that a menu, so if you take it to the ridiculous that could include television advertising, because in the restaurant industry you always have a picture of product and a price, that’s how the restaurant industry advertises,” she explained.

“We went to [the FDA] with a proposed solution; we didn’t say ‘we want to get out of it,’ we said, ‘we have a better way’ … and that better way was primarily doing this electronically, which by the way we already do voluntarily, so it was a really workable solution … and basically they’ve ignored it,” she said.

While Domino’s is a major pizza chain across the country, the vast majority of stores are franchises, meaning the burden of implementation falls squarely on the backs of small business owners. And failure to have the appropriate signage or serving food that’s outside of the labeled calorie range can carry civil and criminal penalties, Liddle said, but specificity over how it will be policed and what the penalties are remains unclear.

Meanwhile, studies continue to show that menu labeling has little to no effect on consumers’ purchasing habits. In other words, despite the cost to small business owners across the country, menu labeling will have no significant impact on obesity in America, the purported benefit the FDA used to justify the law as part of the Affordable Care Act to begin with.

Liddle sees the rule as a way for its proponents to feel like they’ve done something that will be good for Americans. “I’ve seen a number of article and commentary from people … saying we need to tell people what to eat,” she said. “I think there’s this belief that … Americans can’t or won’t ever help themselves.”

“I don’t think slapping calorie ranges on a pizza menu board that no one looks at is gonna be any kind of a solution [for reducing obesity],” she continued.

It’s been a long road fighting against the rule since it first came out as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and Liddle says she isn’t done yet.

“I don’t think I have the luxury to stop fighting against this because it’s hurting my small business franchisees … and it’s hurting the [entire] pizza industry with an additional cost their customers haven’t asked for,” she said.

“We’re going to keep pushing for solutions we think are most viable, and we’re encouraged because we have nearly 100 members of Congress that have supported our past legislation, so I think we have a lot of people with a lot of common sense on our side.”