Matt Vespa - Veterans Slam Obama's Leadership On Iraq
Posted: 11/28/2014 3:00:00 PM EST

Veterans Day has come and gone, but the Media Research Center’s Dan Joseph had just one question to ask the Iraq War veterans: How do they feel about the Obama administration’s decision to pull all combat troops out of Iraq. In short, they weren’t pleased at all.

One veteran called the president a “moron,” and that his friends who died over there would be rolling in their graves over Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq and end combat operations.

Others also voiced their opposition to the decision, noting that there’s a reason why civilian control of the military comes with military advisers who have made careers serving their country and have decades of experience in this field; they’re there to help guide the president in making military decisions.

Another veteran said it’s a bad move to go in and help a county, only to turn around and bail on them. 

With the rise of ISIS in the region, it's hard to disagree with their sentiments. 

Kevin Glass -  Measure Executive Orders By Content, Not Number
Posted: 11/28/2014 1:44:00 PM EST
President Obama's liberal use of his executive authority has been defended by progressives as being firmly in line - and even less so - than the executive powers claimed by previous presidents. They'll point to the number of executive orders that President Obama has issued as evidence that his use of this authority is not abnormal.

Over at FiveThirtyEight, Dhrumil Mehta argues that President Obama has been more restrained in his use of executive orders than every President since Grover Cleveland:

We looked at data from the American Presidency Project and found that the use of executive orders peaked in the era of the New Deal (FDR set the record) and has been on the decline since. In the past 100 years, Democrats have used them more than Republicans. Here’s every president’s tally per year that he served in office.

Mehta shows that executive orders peaked with Franklin Roosevelt but have fallen since then, and that Barack Obama has actually issued the fewest executive orders per year in more than 100 years.

This kind of analysis is incomplete. The number of executive orders is not the sole lens through which we should view this kind of executive authority. It should be the way in which a President exercises it.

At the Mercatus Center, Patrick McLaughlin has come up with a better way:

While other analysts have examined the number of executive orders issued by different administrations, we have used RegData, a database producing statistics based on the Code of Federal Regulations, to examine some of the content of these executive orders and proclamations for the past six presidencies, through the end of Obama’s first term. In particular, we examine the usage of restrictions—words that create binding, legal obligations, such as “shall” and “must.” Although the current administration has issued fewer executive orders than other modern administrations, the figures below show that its total usage of restrictions in executive orders and proclamations exceeds that of any of the past six administrations, with the exception of Clinton’s first term.

Take a look:


President Clinton is still the reigning modern champion of executive orders, but President Obama is right there with him. It's possible that President Obama also catches up to Clinton - his attitude about dealing with the incoming Republican congress might get his executive order pen itching to issue a few.

Conn Carroll - 5 Ways To Improve Meet The Press
Posted: 11/28/2014 12:00:00 PM EST

"If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press." 

For a generation of political junkies no truer words were ever spoken. Growing up in Oakland, California, I would even choose Tim Russert over the morning NFL games (both started at 10 a.m. PST). 

But now, Meet just isn't appointment viewing anymore. What can be done to turn the show around?

1. Less is more
In its current form Meet the Press is a mile wide and an inch deep. Take the November 23rd show which tried to cover immigration, Benghazi, Afghanistan, Ferguson, Keystone, and Bill Cosby. To cover all these subjects, Meet used three NBC reporters (host Chuck Todd, John Yang, and Ron Allen), and had 11 guests. Even with an hour of show to fill, that does not leave a lot of time for each issue to get properly covered or for each guest to make their mark.

2. Drop the packages
Meet the Press is not 60 Minutes and shouldn't try to be. Sunday talk show viewers are tuning in to see newsmakers make news, not watch long investigated pieces on a myriad of topics. That is what 60 Minutes or Dateline is for.

3. Bring back the journalist panels
Years ago Meet the Press consisted of a panel of journalists who would question a single guest for the full (then half hour) show. Why not get back to that? Or at least have a panel questioning two guests separately? The more time newsmakers are given to talk, the more chance there is that they will make news.

4. Let partisans be partisans
One change that could improve the old panel model would be let the new panelists be overtly partisan. Instead of a panel of three supposedly neutral reporters, why not let Chuck Todd moderate a panel consisting of himself, a liberal journalist (like Jose Diaz-Balart or Rachel Maddow), and a conservative journalist (like National Review's Kevin Williamson or The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney)?

This might make it easier for Meet the Press to book more conservative guests, many of whom currently do not believe Todd will gave them a fair shake. At least with this set up conservatives will know they'll get a chance to get their message out.

5. Better guests
The panel discussions on the week's events do still have a place. But no more "Republican strategists" or Democratic political consultants. No more former-governors or former-House Majority Leaders who just got bounced from office because they are deaf to the populist movements in their party. And this might be ageist but the guests need to be younger too. Meet the Press is in desperate need of some fresh faces.

Surprisingly, NBC News President Deborah Turness seems to already be on board with many of these ideas. She recently told The New York Times, “The show needs more edge. It needs to be consequential. I think the show had become a talking shop that raked over the cold embers of what had gone on the previous week. The one-on-one conversation belongs to a decade ago.”

I couldn't agree more.

Matt Vespa - Incredible: Girl Doesn't Let MS Keep Her From Becoming A Phenomenal Distance Runner
Posted: 11/28/2014 11:00:00 AM EST

Earlier this month, ESPN’s E: 60 series brought you the inspirational story of Kayla Montgomery, a North Carolina teenager living with multiple sclerosis; an incurable disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own nerve cells.

She grew up loving the game of soccer, but was forced to stop upon her diagnosis. She lost feeling in her legs for eight months, but with the help of medication; she was able to recover.  After that, she decided to take up running.

Knowing the window of opportunity for running could be short, Kayla wanted to make the most of it, which is precisely what she told her coach, Patrick Cromwell, who admitted she was very average in the beginning; “varsity hopeful by her senior year” is how he put it.

But, with Kayla’s hard work and Cromwell’s coaching abilities (he pushed her hard), she has become one of the best distance runners in the country for her age group. But it comes with a cost.

Heat triggers multiple sclerosis attacks. She admits feeling a tingling, numbing sensation in her feet, which then travels up her legs.  

Kayla admitted that in the beginning, it was difficult to pace herself because she felt no pain and couldn’t tell how fast she was going. She has since adapted.

Yet, by the time her race is over, she no longer feels anything from the waist down and collapses, but Coach Cromwell is there to catch her. 

When her body temperature returns to normal, she regains full use of her legs–and the attacks cause no permanent damage.

It's a long video for a post, but surely worth watching.

Katie Pavlich - Former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Caught on Kiss Cam
Posted: 11/28/2014 10:00:00 AM EST

Here's a palate cleanser for your Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

During a Houston Texans game last week former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were caught on the kiss cam.

And now to one of my favorite kiss cam moments:

Daniel Doherty - Poll: Nearly One-Third of NH Republicans Would Support Romney in '16
Posted: 11/28/2014 9:00:00 AM EST

Electorally, New Hampshire is as unpredictable a state as they come. During this past year’s midterm elections, for example, New Hampshire was one of the only states in the nation where a Senate Democrat running for re-election survived. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hung on by roughly three percentage points, a decisive victory in what was otherwise a terrible election year for her Senate colleagues. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) all lost their respective races.

All of which is to say that New Hampshire has history of bucking national trends and electing and re-electing candidates unexpectedly. It’s also the first-in-the-nation primary state. Thus, it’s somewhat interesting to learn that roughly one-third of GOP primary voters in the state have a candidate in mind who they’d support in 2016. According to a freshly-released poll, presidential also-ran Mitt Romney garnered 30 percent of the vote, followed rather distantly by Sen. Rand Paul (11) and Gov. Chris Christie (9).

National Journal has the scoop:

New Hampshire's all-important stamp of approval is Mitt Romney's to lose—if he runs, that is. The former Massachusetts governor and two-time presidential contender leads his potential rivals by a double-digit margin in the early-primary state, with 30 percent of voters expressing their support, according to a Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm poll released Monday. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the runner-up in the hypothetical contest, garnered just 11 percent support.

Leading up to the midterm elections, Romney fashioned himself as a sort of thought leader for the GOP, a seasoned luminary who rises above the political fray. Although he has stuck to the line that he's not running, albeit in varying language, his popular support continues to grow.

The poll suggests, however, that if he did run, he’s in good shape to win the New Hampshire Republican primary once again. Never say never.

UPDATE: Also, don't forget about this.

Sarah Jean Seman - Gun Sales Expected to Skyrocket on Black Friday, FBI Worried
Posted: 11/27/2014 5:00:00 PM EST

From Cabela’s to Wal-Mart guns will be on sale a everywhere on Black Friday, and what better time is there to load up on a firearm? The manic shopping frenzy lands right before Christmas and right in the midst of deer hunting season.

With the expected increase in gun sales the Federal Bureau of Investigation is gearing up for a dense wave of background check requests. There are more than 48,000 gun retailers in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. For every sale, cashiers must call in a check to the FBI or to other approved agency to insure that the customer does not have a criminal record. When the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, was implemented in 1998, the FBI oversaw around 9 million checks. Last year that number inflated to more than 21 million.

“This Friday opens the busiest season for gun purchases, when requests for background checks speed up to nearly two a second, testing the limits of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS….

NICS did about 58,000 checks on a typical day last year. That surged to 145,000 on Black Friday 2013. They're bringing in 100 more workers than usual for the post-Thanksgiving rush this year.”

Seventy-one percent of background checks last year were instantly approved. According to Federal Law, a customer is disqualified from purchasing a gun if he/she is: underage, an illegal alien, a documented drug addict, a convicted felon, a fugitive from justice, underage, mentally ill, dishonorably discharged from the military, has renounced their U.S. citizenship, is subject to a court restraining order, or has a history of domestic violence.

Christine Rousselle - Coming Soon to a Mall Near You: Obamacare
Posted: 11/27/2014 2:43:00 PM EST

The holiday shopping season kicks off tomorrow with Black Friday, the annual mad-dash for good deals and early-morning sales. This year, shoppers in a few states will see something new this year at shopping malls--and its not exactly a hot new store. It's...Obamacare.

In an effort to boost floundering enrollment numbers, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken to partnering with retail stores, pharmacies and websites to promote the open enrollment period, which lasts until Feb. 15. Enrollment workers will be present on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday to tell shoppers about how to sign up for a plan on the exchange.

Westfield malls in New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, Florida and Washington will allow navigators and other enrollment workers to both hand out fliers and use other outreach approach methods.

The NCPA will be hosting calls with HHS officials to train pharmacists on how they can spread the word about open enrollment season, as well as using new tactics to share information with its 23,000 members.


Finally, the XO Group will be using its sites — such as The Knot and The Bump — to advertise to women who are set to experience a life changing events such as marriage or childbirth.

The "target" of expected signups has been ticked downward to about nine million.

I don't know about you, but when I go to the mall I make an effort to avoid the majority of the mall kiosks attempting to push products on me. I'm assuming this will be no different. How desperate is HHS getting to resort to invading shopping malls?

Katie Pavlich - Rebuilding After The Riots: Ferguson Cake Shop Owner Grateful to Fellow Americans For Love and Support
Posted: 11/27/2014 1:30:00 PM EST

Natalie Dubose is a single mother of two living and working in Ferguson, Missouri. Dubose runs her own cake shop in the city called Natalie's Cakes and More, a business she dedicated all of her resources to in order to make a living. Dubose started her cake business by renting out a booth at the local flea market every weekend, selling her product and eventually saved enough money to open up a store, which had it's grand opening in August.

Despite pleading with protestors, her store was severely damaged in riots Monday night, but thanks to the generosity of fellow Americans she'll be back in the kitchen in no time. After learning about the destruction, fellow citizens from around the country donated more than $140,000 to a crowdfunding site dedicated to getting her back on her feet. Hundreds of people have also placed orders for her baked goods.

"It's been amazing. I've been crying but these are tears of joy. I'm just so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from people across the country and I thank them," Dubose said during an interview on Fox News Wednesday. "This [the shop] is my baby." 

"I am so thankful and I'm so grateful. If I could have arms big enough I would just hug each and every last one of them but I just want to thank everyone that has contributed to helping me rebuild my shop to helping me live my dream and to helping for me to continue to be the mom that I've been to my children, to continue providing them with the support that they need," she said. 

All the best to Ms. Dubose, what a wonderful example of the American Dream she is and her cake looks really yummy too! Be sure to check out more about her story here.

Katie Pavlich - Hunters Feed The Hungry This Holiday Season
Posted: 11/27/2014 1:00:00 PM EST

Every year hunters from around the country feed the hungry by donating nearly three million pounds of meat and 11 million meals to those who are less fortunate. Just one pound of ground venison can feed four people. 

Hunters Feed Those In Need

Interested in donating? Watch the video below about how to get started and learn more about venison donation programs by visiting