A federal judge temporarily blocked the implementation of Louisiana’s new abortion law since it could’ve led to the closure of Louisiana’s five abortion clinics. The law required doctors to have admitting privileges for hospitals within 30 miles of an abortion clinic (via Associated Press/Huffington Post):
A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Louisiana's restrictive new abortion law.
District Judge John deGravelles says the law can still take effect Monday but officials cannot penalize doctors or clinics for breaking it while a challenge is heard.
The law would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. A Center for Reproductive Rights lawsuit claims doctors haven't had enough time to obtain privileges and the law likely would force Louisiana's five abortion clinics to close.
BREAKING: US judge temporarily blocks La. from enforcing law imposing toughened abortion restrictions.— The Associated Press (@AP) September 1, 2014
The law would've fined non-compliant doctors $4,000 and the loss of their medical license. While the law goes into effect without enforcement measures, the judge noted that it's unclear if the regulatory fallout would lead to abortion clinic closures:
However, deGravelles wrote, clinics' lawyers have not proven that enforcing the law would shut down most, if not all, of Louisiana's clinics, eliminating access to legal abortions in Louisiana. Because the doctors' applications haven't all been acted on and the attorneys don't represent two clinics, that's speculative, he said.
"How many patients do these other two facilities treat? How many doctors practice there? How many of these doctors have applied for admitting privileges and what is the status of their applications?" he wrote. He said he needs answers to those and other questions, including how far patients would have to travel for care if the other two clinics stayed open.
Admitting privileges laws have passed across the South.
A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Louisiana, upheld a similar Texas law. But in July, a different panel of the 5th Circuit voted to overturn Mississippi's law, which would have shuttered the state's only abortion clinic, saying every state must guarantee the right to an abortion.
Editor's note: This post has been updated.
So, should Mitt Romney run again? It’s a question that frustrates conservative since Mr. Romney wasn’t the best candidate to discuss things, like health care, that could’ve really energized the base in 2012. As Dan wrote last week, Romney’s killing it in the polls. In Iowa, one-third of the respondents would drop support of their current candidates in the 2016 field to back him. Is this the beginning of Romney 2.0?
I admit that Romney’s “I told you so” platform could play well; Americans like comeback stories. He's been right about pretty much everything, especially on foreign policy. But then there’s the issue about his stiffness as a candidate and his inability to fully unite the base.
Also, health care and immigration will continue to plague Romney. On immigration, we have his statements supporting self-deportation, which would be replayed on a loop by Democrats. We could then say goodbye to Hispanic outreach efforts.
On health care, even if Romney has a more detailed plan to fix Obamacare, he’ll once again be pelted with how Romneycare was the blueprint for Obamacare. Here’s a 2007 clip of him saying how Romneycare should be taken nationwide.
Lastly, the Heartland Institute’s Ben Domenech tore into the narrative that Romneycare’s economic effects were confined to the Bay State. In 2012, while on the Blaze, he listed off numerous figures showing how Romneycare was just bad policy. “Massachusetts spends more per capita on health care than anywhere else in the industrialized world,” he said. “Right now, under its current track–by 2020–health care costs will make up more than 50 percent of the state budget.” He also noted that within a few years Romneycare has gone over budget. Gov. Deval Patrick went down to Washington to ask for more money and got $4.3 billion more than they had asked for from federal taxpayers. Domenech also mentioned that Romney’s own advisers at the time admitted that his health care plan increased the cost of premiums when he was governor. That's not the best track record for the person who would be running against the president’s health care plan...again.
Oh, as for reaching single, urban women, none of us should expect him to perform better with that demographic either.
Nevertheless, there’s the comparison with Ronald Reagan. Reagan was governor and ran for president twice before his successful 1980 campaign. Supporters of Romney think he could do the exact same thing (via Business Insider):
There is precedent for a two-time loser finally winning the presidency on his third try. Ronald Reagan made a last-ditch effort to secure the GOP nomination in 1968. He nearly wrested it from an incumbent president in 1976. But it was only in 1980 that Reagan, at age 69, finally won. Of course, Reagan was famously charismatic, and he had been a conservative folk hero for years by the time he finally won the Republican nomination. The same can’t be said of Romney.
Nevertheless, there is something to the Reagan parallel. Though he commanded the loyalty of conservatives, Reagan was a decidedly pragmatic governor of California who acquiesced to tax increases, the liberalization of the state’s abortion laws, and other measures that should by all rights have scandalized the right.
By the time Reagan ran against Gerald Ford in 1976, however, he presented himself as a conservative purist, devoted to devolving power to state governments and taking a tougher line against the Soviet empire. Between 1976 and 1980, he again underwent another subtle but important shift, smoothing some of his ideological rough edges and offering a more optimistic brand of conservatism tailor-made to appeal to voters who had grown tired of Carter-era malaise.
Could Mitt Romney pull off a similar feat? I wouldn’t rule it out.
All we can do is hope that Ann Romney and the rest of the family shoot down another presidential run with another emphatic "NO" vote. Then again, as Dan mentioned in his post, Romney “left the door kind of open to running again -- but not really” in his interview with Hugh Hewitt. Maybe it'll all just be a bad dream.
Every major corporation has a leader, and most of them have political views. This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. Many of them also have Political Action Committees that are actively involved in politics. Again, should not be shocking.
A new mobile phone app allows you to scan the barcodes of consumer products to discover whether their leaders donate to political causes - and which ones they do donate to. John Brownlee went to Whole Foods and made a discovery: many products that fill the Whole Foods shelves could be associated with conservatism:
Spoiler: it's almost impossible to buy anything in Whole Foods without, in a roundabout way, supporting the Republican Party.
Checking my list, I noted the missus also wanted me to pick up some cereal. I grabbed a bag of Bob's Red Mill. *Gleeeble-fleep!* 49% Republican, 31% Democrat, 20% Other. Okay, how about Kashi? *Hooble-dee-zlorp!* That's better, I guess: 37.25% Republican to 33.5% Democrat, which means that the Kellogg's-owned Kashi brand bleeds bluer blood than that malevolently cackling, oatmeal-loving oligarch, Bob Moore.
The intense need for people to associate consumer brands with political ideology is so, so tiresome. We as conservatives should know this. Nearly every film that comes out of Hollywood is laden with a liberal message - and let's not get started on rock and pop music. We learn to appreciate these things if we enjoy them - so we can listen to Bruce Springsteen and eat organic granola without considering the political implications of either.
So I happily shop at Costco and buy Progressive insurance and don't really worry about what causes my money is going to support. If the product is good enough, it shouldn't really matter. So while Koch Industries manufactures Brawny paper towels, I usually buy Bounty - or just generic store brands like Target's.
Obsessing over the political leanings of the leaders of companies whose products you buy is a recipe for going crazy and cutting yourself off completely from society. Don't do it.
More than a month after American personnel was evacuated from Tripoli due to ongoing fighting in Libya, Islamist militants report that they’ve “secured” a U.S. Embassy residential compound. The Islamist group now in charge of the compound said they’ve been there a week, and told the Associated Press that a rival militia has also set up shop there before they took over (via Associated Press):
An Islamist-allied militia group "secured" a U.S. Embassy residential compound in Libya's capital, more than a month after American personnel evacuated from the country over ongoing fighting, one of its commanders said Sunday.
An Associated Press journalist walked through the compound Sunday after the Dawn of Libya, an umbrella group for Islamist militias, invited onlookers inside. Some windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched. The journalist saw treadmills, food, televisions and computers still inside.
A commander for the Dawn of Libya group, Moussa Abu-Zaqia, told the AP that his forces had entered and been in control of the compound since last week, a day after it has seized control of the capital and its strategic airport after weeks of fighting with a rival militia. Abu-Zaqia said the rival militia was in the compound before his troops took it over.
U.S. personnel were evacuated on July 26, but Dawn of Libya has called on all foreign entities to return to Tripoli and resume their embassy operations since fighting has “subsided,” according to AP.UPDATE: This video reportedly shows the militants having a good time in the compound's pool.
This semi-retired president is not impressing anyone. Americans are more than twice as likely to "strongly disapprove" of President Obama's overall job performance than they are to "strongly approve," according to a recent Gallup poll:
In the first year of Obama's presidency, the percentages of Americans who had strong views about the job he was doing were essentially tied, but the strongly negative responses now significantly outweigh the strongly positive ones. The largest segment of Americans today, 39%, strongly disapprove of Obama's job performance, while 14% moderately disapprove. Another 27% moderately approve, while 17% strongly approve.
Obama's voter base has been crumbling piece by piece as his term ticks along. Millennials stepped back as Obama created one of the worst economies in history for youth opportunity; super-sizing the national debt and fostering high unemployment rates. Hispanics, Blacks, women and almost every other demographic have also begun distancing their praise from the commander-in-chief.
So who is left in the waning 17 percent who "strongly approve" of Obama's broken promises, failed foreign policy tactics, and negligent oversight of his administration? A few proud Democrats. Yet the poll's trajectory shows even this demographic is fast dissipating.
Additionally, whereas Democrats were nearly three times as likely to strongly approve as moderately approve of Obama in 2009, the ratio is now about 1-to-1.
The honeymoon is long over. Time to retire?
Never mind the fact that they’re beheading captives and videotaping it for the world to see, or that they’re brutally murdering their way through Iraq and Syria, or even that they’re sending taunting tweets showing they’re already here and warning that an attack on the homeland is imminent. Nope, that’s not enough for Democrats, who, in a recent Pew poll, said that climate change is more of a threat to the U.S. than ISIS.
The poll shows that 68 percent of Democrats believe that global climate change is a major threat to the United States, compared to just 25 percent of Republicans.
In contrast, 65 percent of Democrats believe that ISIS is a major threat, three points less than climate change. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans cited ISIS as a major threat -+ a partisan difference of 13 points.
Eighty percent of Republicans also cite “Islamic extremist groups like al Qaeda” as a major threat to the United States compared to 69 percent of Democrats.
Somewhere, Al Gore is seen nodding in approval.
While the president ponders a strategy to defeat ISIS, our airstrikes continue; this time striking fighters of the Islamic State near the dam in Mosul to support Kurdish and Iraqi national forces. We’ve conducted over a hundred airstrikes so far (via AFP):
The US military launched fresh attacks on Islamic State forces in Iraq, using fighter aircraft and drones to carry out strikes near the Mosul dam, the Pentagon said on Saturday.
"All aircraft exited the strike areas safely."
The statement put out by US Central Command, based in Tampa, Florida, said the strikes were conducted to support Kurdish and Iraqi troops, "as well as to protect critical infrastructure, US personnel and facilities, and support humanitarian efforts."
The statement said that US Central Command so far has conducted a total of 115 air strikes across Iraq.
The United States earlier this week also used aircraft and drones to strike targets in northern Iraq to try to rein in Islamic State militants, who have seized a large swath of territory in the region.
It’s a start, but some direction from the White House would be nice.
Immigration is becoming quite the red meat issue this year. President Obama vowed to take on this matter alone due to congressional gridlock, which had many wondering what executive orders he might issue to address this crisis. Earlier this month, Guy had a great post about Obama using the presidential pardon for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States. But, for now, the president could postpone his decision on what he'll do on immigration until after the elections (via Associated Press):
President Barack Obama's possible delay in taking action on immigration has thrown advocates and lawmakers from both parties a curveball, barely two months before the midterm elections.
Democrats who were bracing for the impact that Obama's long-awaited announcement would have on their campaigns are now rethinking aspects of their strategy for the fall. Republicans who were considering legislative attempts to block Obama must reconsider whether that's the best use of the few remaining work weeks before Election Day.
And immigration advocates, already frustrated by how long it's taken Obama to act, must decide whether to pressure the president publicly to stop stalling or remain hopeful he'll give them a favorable outcome in the end.
Obama in June said that by the end of the summer, he'd announce what steps he had decided to take to fix the nation's immigration system in the absence of a legislative fix from Capitol Hill. But Obama backed away from that deadline on Thursday, and the White House on Friday acknowledged it was possible the decision would slip past the end of summer. It was unclear whether any delay would be a mere matter of weeks or could push the announcement past the November elections.
In some ways, this decision has helped Republicans, some of which were planning not to extend funding the government come September and shutting it down again. At the same time, Colorado was the only race where an announcement on immigration from the Obama administration could’ve helped; Hispanics make up 21 percent of the population there. Then again, most of the senate races are in red states, with lower percentages of Hispanic voters (via Washington Post):
A dramatic move may well produce long-term political benefits with the nation’s fast-growing Latino electorate. But many of the crucial Senate battles this year are being fought in conservative states with small Latino populations where Obama is unpopular.
One state where the issue could pay dividends for Democrats this year is Colorado, where 21 percent of the population is Hispanic and Sen. Mark Udall (D) is in a close race against Rep. Cory Gardner (R). Udall has called on Obama to act.
The two impulses that Republican leaders are eager to tamp down are calls for Obama’s impeachment or another government shutdown.
Rep. Steve King (Iowa), a hard-line tea party conservative, said a shutdown is possible. He has accrued growing influence on the immigration issue this summer, helping to shape the House GOP border security legislation that passed in early August.
King said in an interview that if Obama does move forward with an executive action, many House Republicans will be unwilling to extend funding for the government that is set to expire at the end of September.
“I don’t see how we could reach agreement if he takes that posture,” King said. “It would throw us into a constitutional crisis.”
“No one wants to use the I-word,” King added, when asked about possible calls for impeachment. But he did not rule out the option.
So, given that Rep. King would be a sucker for this trap, if that were what the White House had in mind; then why not set it for the GOP. Impeachment and shutdown talk could torpedo Republican chances of retaking the senate. Mitch McConnell was saddled with a potentially embarrassing development when his campaign manager, Jesse Benton, resigned over a scandal where a Iowa State Senator received money to switch allegiances from Rep. Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul during the 2012 GOP primaries; Benton was chairman of Ron Paul's campaign.
Nevertheless, as Allahpundit wrote last month, immigration has become another situation where Obama is faced with a difficult decision, whose consequences will have one side furious with him no matter what:
With public sentiment moving towards security and away from legalization, he’s going to drop an amnesty atomic bomb for millions of illegals right before the midterms? C’mon. [Rep.] Gutierrez gets asked about that in the first clip and doesn’t even contest that the politics are dodgy. His answer is that we can’t put politics above doing what’s right for migrants, which is precisely what you’d expect a guy whose only loyalty is to “the immigrant community” to say. But what about O? At a minimum, if he’s really thinking about bringing America’s refugee apparatus to Central America to make immigration faster and safer for child migrants, you’d think he’d want to hold off on any political sudden moves for illegals who are already here. Mickey Kaus argues, in fact, that Obama’s painted himself into a corner: If he goes big on executive amnesty now, he might doom red-state Democrats in November. If, despite his promises, he goes small, Gutierrez will be back on MSNBC the next day blubbering about Obama’s final betrayal or whatever.
According to a CNN poll, 51 percent of Americans say that we should be moving towards enforcing the border and curbing the amount of illegals entering the country; that’s a 10-point swing from February of this year. Additionally, support for granting legal status to illegal aliens has dropped 9-points, with 45 percent supporting the idea; it was 54 percent in February.
The New York Times also noted that a delay would enrage immigration groups, while Rep. Gutierrez hopes the president doesn’t screw this up. Yet, Democratic senators have reached out to the White House informing them that a delay is justified, especially with the large numbers of unaccompanied minors heading towards the United States that has exacerbated the problem on the border:
For Mr. Obama, talk of a delay is politically explosive among Hispanics, who are one of his most loyal constituencies and twice helped him win the presidency. Long upset by Mr. Obama’s inability to successfully push comprehensive immigration overhaul in Congress, immigration rights advocates said Friday that a delay would be unconscionable.
Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez, Democrat of Illinois, who has at times been critical of the administration’s approach, said that delay “comes at a tremendous cost in terms of families split up and children placed in foster care.” He said he remained confident that the president would put families and security “ahead of short-term political maneuvers.”
Democratic senators have reached out to top White House officials, including Denis McDonough, the chief of staff, to argue that the recent crisis with unaccompanied minors crossing the border into the United States justifies a delay. Several Democratic officials on Capitol Hill said the angry reaction to that border crisis eroded public support for changing immigration policy, and in some cases, turned the issue into a negative one for them.
The president has a lot on his plate right now; he’s dealing with how to handle Russia in Ukraine, ISIS in the Middle East, and his announcement on what he’ll do about immigration now that vacation is over and he’s put his golf clubs away. What’s it going to be, sir?
At long last, this season will be the first college football season ever with a real playoff system. It is far from perfect, but here is how it will work.
At the end of the regular season, and after the conference championship games, a 13-person committee will pick the nation's top four college football teams. On New Year's Day, two of them will play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and the other two will play in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Then on January 12th, the winners of those two games will square off in the championship game in Dallas' AT&T Stadium.
While this is a big improvement over the former Bowl Championship Series system, it is still fundamentally flawed. There are five major conferences: the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference, the Big Ten, the Big 12, and the Pacific 12. That means that every year at least one champion of a major conference will be left out of the playoff. And since the SEC is often dominant, there is a good chance some years will see two SEC teams make the playoffs, and two major conference champions left out.
And the winners of the minor FCS conferences are virtually guaranteed never to be invited.
This needs to be fixed. Here are two possibilities.
Option 1: The Big 4
The five major conferences are already considering adopting their own special rulebook for basketball and football players. They are pretty much a separate division as it is already. Why not go all the way? Why not expand and merge the existing five major conferences into four conferences each divided into 10-team divisions? Here is how the merger might look:
East: Boston College, Connecticut, Syracuse, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Miami.
South: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Florida State.
This conference combines the traditional ACC schools with what was the Big East, plus Notre Dame and Penn State. The Pitt-West Virginia rivalry would be restored, Maryland would be back in the ACC, and the ACC would maintain all of their current major TV markets.
East: LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia, and Florida.
West: Arkansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, SMU, TCU, Baylor, Houston, Rice, and UTEP.
This conference combines the old SEC with old SWAC into one football and ratings powerhouse. All the old great SWAC rivalries would be back (Texas vs Texas A&M, SMU vs TCU, etc.) and all the SEC teams would get to play each other every year again too.
East: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State.
West: Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Louisville, and Cincinnati.
Combining the original Big Ten and and Big Eight (plus Louisville and Cincinnati) would restore a slew of rivalries (Nebraska vs Oklahoma, Nebraska vs Colorado, Missouri vs Kansas, etc.) while letting the Big Ten Network keep a bunch of its new television markets. They would lose the DC market without Maryland, and the New York market without Rutgers, but neither Maryland or Rutgers have big followings in their regions anyway, and the Big Ten would be gaining the Denver, St. Louis, Kansas City, Louisville, and Oklahoma City markets.
Pacific: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, California, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State.
Mountain: BYU, Utah, Nevada, UNLV, Fresno State, San Jose State, San Diego State, Hawaii, Boise State, and Colorado State.
The WAC is back! And this time they will be paired with the original Pac-10. Admittedly there is not a ton of upside for the existing Pac-12 schools here, but they don't really lose anything either.
On New Year's Day, the ACC champion would meet the SEC champion in either the Orange or Sugar Bowl, while the Big Tens and Pac Tens champions would meet in the Rose Bowl. A week or so later there would be a national championship game.
Option 2: The Big 8s
If the NCAA is determined to keep almost all of the current FCS teams in one division, the existing schools can also be divided into 8 smaller conferences. Here is how those conferences could look:
East: Syracuse, Rutgers, Connecticut, Boston College, Pitt, West Virginia, Temple, Miami
South: Maryland, Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, South Carolina
East: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State
West: Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Louisville
East: Notre Dame, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State
West: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana
East: Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force, New Mexico
West: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, California, Stanford, USC, UCLA
North: Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
South: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, TCU, SMU, Baylor, Houston, Rice
East: Toledo, Bowling Green, Akron, Kent State, Marshall, Buffalo, Army, UMass
West: Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Miami of Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio University
East: Troy, Old Dominion, Navy, East Carolina, South Florida, Central Florida, FAU, FIU
West: Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Lousiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Lousiana-Monroe, Southern Miss, Southern Alabama
East: Arkansas State, Texas State, UTSA, North Texas, UTEP, Tulsa, New Mexico State, Utah State
West: Fresno State, San Jose State, San Diego State, Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV, Boise State, Idaho
With eight conferences, there would be 8 conference champions, so there would have to be another round of games. Finding four existing pre-New Year's Eve bowl games willing to host the quarter final round of the college football playoffs should be easy though. And the NCAA could seed the teams just as they do for the NCAA basketball tournament.
Neither of these options are likely to be adopted anytime soon, but college football fans can always dream.
Scarlett Johansson may be known as the butt-kicking Black Widow in the "Avengers" franchise, but in real life her recurring role is less-than-heroic. Just call her Planned Parenthood's biggest cheerleader.
The Hollywood starlet is the enthusiastic new face of Planned Parenthood Action Fund's new advertising campaign. Their latest project, which comes on the heels of the Supreme Court's decision to exempt the Christian-owned company Hobby Lobby from Obamacare's contraception mandate, will target pro-life politicians. Johansson, an outspoken feminist, is more than happy to help aim the bow-and-arrow:
"When I heard that some politicians were cheering the Supreme Court's decision to give bosses the right to interfere in our access to birth control, I thought I had woken up in another decade," Johansson said. "Like many of my friends, I was appalled by the thought of men taking away women's ability to make our own personal health care decisions."
As a part of the campaign, Johansson will be helping design Planned Parenthood t-shirts, which will say things like, "Hey Politicians! The 1950s called… They want their sexism back!"
I think this tweet says it all:
Scarlett Johanssen designs pro-abortion t-shirts? I'd rather b the ugliest woman alive than as beautiful as she is & promote such atrocities— Kelly Campagna (@warriorwoman91) August 29, 2014
Ms. Johansson, for your unequivocal support for an organization that performs over 300,000 abortions annually, you are unfortunately "Lost in Translation."