tipsheet
Matt Vespa - White House Could Delay Immigration Decision Until After The Midterm Elections
Posted: 8/30/2014 6:15:00 PM EST

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 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 on immigration now that vacation is over and he’s put his golf clubs away. What’s it going to be, sir?

Conn Carroll - How to Make the College Football Playoff Better
Posted: 8/30/2014 12:00:00 PM EST

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:

ACC
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.

SEC
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.

Big Tens
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. 

Pac Tens
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:
ACC
East: Syracuse, Rutgers, Connecticut, Boston College, Pitt, West Virginia, Temple, Miami
South: Maryland, Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, South Carolina
SEC
East: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State
West: Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Louisville
Big Ten
East: Notre Dame, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State
West: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana
Pac 16
East: Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force, New Mexico
West: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, California, Stanford, USC, UCLA
Big 8s
North: Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
South: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, TCU, SMU, Baylor, Houston, Rice
MAC
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
Conference USA
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
Mountain West
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.

Cortney O'Brien - Scarlett Johansson: Planned Parenthood's Biggest Cheerleader
Posted: 8/30/2014 12:00:00 PM EST

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:

Ms. Johansson, for your unequivocal support for an organization that performs over 300,000 abortions annually, you are unfortunately "Lost in Translation."

Christine Rousselle - Massachusetts GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Has Slim Lead in Polls
Posted: 8/30/2014 10:15:00 AM EST

Things just got interesting in Massachusetts: A new poll of 605 likely voters has Republican candidate Charlie Baker taking a slim lead over Democrat Martha Coakley for the first time since polling began. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they would vote for Baker, while 37 percent said they would support Coakley.

From the Boston Globe:

The survey found the hypothetical general election race in a statistical dead heat, with 38 percent of respondents saying they would support Baker for governor, a slight edge over the 37 percent who said they favor Coakley. Though Baker’s lead remains well within the margin of error, it shows movement in a race between the two likeliest candidates for the November election.

Coakley still faces two Democratic rivals in the Sept. 9 party primary, but the poll found she maintains a solid lead, claiming the support of 46 percent of likely voters. Comparatively, 24 percent support Steve Grossman, the state treasurer, and 10 percent back health care expert Donald Berwick.

Baker is helped by the fact that a sizable percentage of supporters of Steve Grossman, a candidate challenging Coakley in the Democrat primary, say they would rather vote for Baker than Coakley if Grossman did not win the party's nomination. This may be the tipping point in what is likely to be a very close election come November.

If Grossman loses the primary, 48 percent of his supporters say they would bolt the party and vote for the Republican, rather than Coakley, in the general election. Just 28 percent of Grossman’s supporters would vote for Coakley, Della Volpe said. Conversely, if Coakley loses the primary to Grossman, the majority of her supporters — 56 percent — say they would support Grossman as the Democratic nominee, while 18 percent would turn to Baker, the poll showed.

Massachusetts holds their primary elections on Sept. 9.

Matt Vespa - Federal Judge Says Texas Abortion Law Is Unconstitutional
Posted: 8/30/2014 9:45:00 AM EST

Texas' abortion law won't be fully implemented after a federal judge ruled it as unconstitutional. Right now, the Lone Star State has 19 abortion clinics, which is down from a little over 40 a year ago. If this law had gone into effect, it would’ve left 6 to 7 clinics open, mostly in major urban areas. The judge considered that an “undue burden” on Texas women (via Associated Press/ABC News):

Tough new Texas abortion restrictions are on hold after a federal judge found Republican-led efforts to hold abortion clinics to hospital-level operating standards unconstitutional in a ruling that spares more than a dozen clinics from imminent closure.

The state vowed to quickly appeal Friday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin, who cited other rules GOP lawmakers have recently passed in his decision to throw out requirements that clinics meet hospital operating standards.

Those prior abortion restrictions include mandatory sonograms and a 24-hour waiting period after a woman first seeks out an abortion.

"These substantial obstacles have reached a tipping point," Yeakel wrote in a 21-page opinion.

Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of the most disputed measures of a sweeping anti-abortion bill signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2013. The ruling stops new clinic requirements that would have left seven abortion facilities in Texas come Monday, when the law was set to take effect.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who is the favorite to become governor next year, said he would seek an immediate appeal to try to preserve the new clinic rules.

Under the new restrictions, the only remaining abortion facilities in Texas would have been in major cities, and there would have been none in the entire western half of the nation's second-largest state. For women in El Paso, the closest abortion provider would be in New Mexico — an option the state wanted Yeakel to take into consideration, even though New Mexico's rules for abortion clinics are far less rigorous.

The first wave of regulation that went into effect last November, specifically banning abortions 20 weeks after pregnancy and requiring physicians to have admitting privileges no further than 30 miles from where the abortion is performed, according to the Austin Chronicle.

The story also reiterated how the second wave of regulations would’ve decimated the abortion industry in Texas:

The final part of HB 2 (to take effect Sept. 1) requires clinics to meet building code compliance that match the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, a costly regulation that is estimated to shut down 14 clinics, leaving the state with less than 10 abortion providers. To date, roughly 50% of Texas abortion clinics have shuttered their doors since HB 2.

Yesterday, Wendy Davis, Abbott’s Democratic opponent, criticized him for withdrawing from the televised statewide debate, citing format concerns. Both camps agreed to have a debate on September 30–and Abbott accepted an invitation from another network hours later. Also, the two campaigns are debating on September 19 in the Rio Grande Valley.

It’s safe to assume that a question about this development on HB 2 will be asked during the debate. Davis, who’s hasn’t made abortion a centerpiece of her gubernatorial run, will have to find some way to maneuver around her highly unpopular position on this issue.  Then again, she could just say what she believes and show once again how radical she is on the subject. 

This could be a good thing for Abbott. After all, 60 percent of American women support banning abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy:

A new Quinnipiac poll shows 60 percent of women prefer allowing unrestricted abortions for only the first 20 weeks of pregnancy rather than the Supreme Court-prescribed 24 weeks. Among men, 50 percent support the 20-week law — a 10-point gap.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed the gap at seven points, while two other polls (from NBC/Wall Street Journal and National Journal) showed it at six and four, respectively.

And those numbers may actually understate support among women for the new restrictions.

In the Post-ABC poll, rather than choosing between a 20-week ban and the current 24 weeks, 8 percent of women volunteered that abortion should never be legal, and 3 percent volunteered that the window should be smaller than 20 weeks. If you add them to the 60 percent of women who support the 20-week abortion ban, then 71 percent of women would seem to support the effort to increase abortion restrictions.

Oh, and how do Hispanics feel about abortion in Texas? Well, as Politico mentioned in July of last year, “the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 53 percent of Hispanic Catholics say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. That’s a lower percentage than white evangelical Protestants and Mormons, but it’s higher than all other religious voting groups, including white Catholics, white mainline Protestants, black Protestants, and Jews.”

So, who’s ready for this debate this September?

Daniel Doherty - Idiotic: VA Training Manual Depicts Angry Veterans as Sesame Street Character
Posted: 8/30/2014 9:00:00 AM EST

To paraphrase the economist Thomas Sowell, some ideas are so stupid only a government agency would adopt them.

Speaking of which, this latest scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) couldn’t have come at a worse time. In an attempt to instruct government workers about how to deal effectively with disgruntled veterans unsatisfied with their health care plans, a series of informational slides meant for instruction portrayed said veterans as... this guy. For obvious reasons, it didn’t go so well.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

The beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs depicted dissatisfied veterans as Oscar the Grouch in a recent internal training guide, and some vets and VA staffers said Tuesday that they feel trashed. The cranky Sesame Street character who lives in a garbage can was used in reference to veterans who will attend town-hall events Wednesday in Philadelphia.

"There is no time or place to make light of the current crisis that the VA is in," said Joe Davis, a national spokesman for the VFW. “And especially to insult the VA's primary customer." The 18-page slide show on how to help veterans with their claims, presented to VA employees Friday and obtained by The Inquirer, also says veterans might be demanding and unrealistic and tells VA staffers to apologize for the "perception" of the agency.

Meanwhile, the VA’s statement on the controversy itself was somewhat mystifying:

"The training provided was not intended to equate veterans with this character," spokeswoman Marisa Prugsawan said. "It was intended to remind our employees to conduct themselves as courteously and professionally as possible when dealing with veterans and their concerns."

She said the guide appeared to be an old internal document from which employees at the Philadelphia office pulled information ahead of Friday's training. Prugsawan said she was unsure if the original slide show comparing veterans to Oscar had been created locally or by the national VA office and sent to regional centers.

And yet, the department saw fit to portray veterans as a cantankerous Sesame Street character. That doesn’t strike me as very “courteous.”

For what it’s worth, Concerned Veterans for America spokesman Pete Hegseth vented his frustration to my colleague Ed Morrissey earlier this week about the controversy. He provided some much-needed insight into this wholly preventable -- and ridiculous -- episode:

I reached out to Pete Hegseth of Concerned Veterans for America, who said that this exposes “the dirty little secret about how many VA officials feel about veterans.” They see veterans as the problem, not the clients. “If veterans were seen as customers, they wouldn’t be seen as Oscar the Grouch,” Pete said. “This feeds the fears about how veterans believe they are perceived at the VA.” He assured me that CV4A will not let this slide, either.

They shouldn’t -- and neither should we.

Matt Vespa - Media On Obama ISIS Remarks: 'Odd' And 'Highly Unorthodox'
Posted: 8/30/2014 7:30:00 AM EST

As Dan pointed out on Thursday, we have no strategy to fight ISIS. None. Zip. The leader of the free world literally told everyone that it’s a work in progress. This tepidness exuded from the Obama administration is one of the reasons why 54 percent of Americans think he isn’t tough enough on foreign policy and national security.

As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey wrote yesterday, Politico, the Washington Post, and ABC News, all pretty much said this explicit admission wouldn’t do us any favors [emphasis mine]:

The reason why this gaffe does so much damage is because it’s accurate. Josh Earnest may have tried arguing that “no strategy” really means “we totally have a strategy, but it’s obvious that the White House has nothing but tactical reactions on its collective mind. The President seems not to have heard Hagel’s assessment last week [he called ISIS an imminent threat], as his remarks yesterday contradicted them. It’s become beyond clear that ISIS will continue its genocidal activities until stopped, and yet the message from Obama yesterday was basically to tell people to be patient while he catches up on the news. On top of that, we have the leader of the free world almost literally telling the press that he’s got no plan to deal with the situation, which can’t help but boost the morale of ISIS and encourage others to join them.

Then, there’s the question about optics. Obama hit the golf course after he made a statement about American journalist James Foley getting beheaded by ISIS. Now, he took off on Marine One to fundraise for Democrats in Rhode Island and New York after his “no strategy” remarks.

David Gergen and Barbara Starr of CNN also were floored by the admission, with Gergen saying that while the president may deserve some credit for honesty; this is a “whoa” moment and “highly unorthodox.”

As for mixed messages, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest seems to think Obama has a comprehensive strategy for fighting ISIS. Is it 2016, yet?

Kevin Glass - Report: ISIS Studying Mexican Border
Posted: 8/29/2014 8:47:00 PM EST
A new report obtained by Fox News from the Texas Department of Public Safety indicates that elements of ISIS are interested in the U.S.-Mexico border as a means of entry into the United States.

As Fox News' Jana Winter reports:

“A review of ISIS social media messaging during the week ending August 26 shows that militants are expressing an increased interest in the notion that they could clandestinely infiltrate the southwest border of US, for terror attack,” warns the Texas Department of Public Safety "situational awareness" bulletin, obtained by FoxNews.com.

It notes no known credible homeland threats or specific homeland attack plot has been identified. That assertion was underscored by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who said Friday that DHS and the FBI are "unaware of any specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland" from Islamic State.

The bulletin details numerous “calls for border infiltration” on social media, including one from a militant confirmed to be in Mosul, Iraq who explicitly beckons the “Islamic State to send a special force to America across the border with Mexico.”

This follows numerous posts on social media accounts of purported ISIS activity in the United States.

As Dan reported for Townhall, threats from ISIS on social media have proliferated recently:

The tweet above was presumably blasted out by an ideological adherent of ISIS living in the U.S.: the photo on the left is the Old Republic Building in the Windy City, the one on the right is clearly the White House. So this begs the question: Is this tweet merely propagandist fodder, meant to deal a psychological blow to the American public and thwart U.S. intelligence officials, or should Americans be genuinely concerned?

This new DPS report from Texas indicates that yes, we should be concerned. The insecure nature of the U.S. southern border should always concern terror analysts, and with the rise of a new transnational well-funded terrorist power, its security becomes even more important.

Kevin Glass - Burger King Wants To Opt Out Of the U.S. Corporate Tax Regime. Good.
Posted: 8/29/2014 5:24:00 PM EST
Burger King has agreed to purchase Tim Hortons, a Canadian food service chain, and has re-ignited the debate over "tax inversions." If Burger King gets its way, it will relocate its global headquarters to Canada for tax reasons.

But it's not necessarily the reason you might think it is. Danny Vinik at The New Republic writes that "Congress needs to close this absurd tax loophole," and that "Burger King will have opted out of the U.S. corporate tax system."

What isn't said in that piece is that it's not merely Canada's tax rate that has attracted Burger King. Statutorily, Canada does indeed have a much lower rate. But after accounting for local laws and code complexity, Burger King and Tim Horton's have very similar rates and by some estimations Tim Horton's tax rate is higher than Burger King's:

Burger King’s overall effective tax rate was 27.5% in 2013, according to its annual report. Tim Horton is expected to book a tax rate of 29% this year.

The U.S. corporate tax system that Burger King wants to opt out of is its odd system of global taxation. That is, Burger King has to pay the U.S. corporate tax on earnings no matter where they are made. So they must pay the U.S. marginal rate on a Whopper sold in Bahamas, where the corporate tax rate is 0%. If they relocate their global HQ to Canada, they don't have to pay U.S. taxes on Whoppers sold in Bermuda.

The U.S. is quite unique in our system of global taxation. As Megan McArdle says:

he U.S., unlike most developed-world governments, insists on taxing the global income of its citizens and corporations that have U.S. headquarters. And because the U.S. has some of the highest tax rates in the world, especially on corporate income, this amounts to demanding that everyone who got their start here owes us taxes, forever, on anything they earn abroad.

Practically speaking, global taxation is hard to enforce and loaded with bad incentives, which is why our fellow members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have moved away from global taxation of corporate income, and abandoned global taxation of personal income. If anything, the U.S. has gone in the other direction -- by insisting, for instance, that foreign companies report various financial transactions with U.S. citizens to the Internal Revenue Service, and taxing foreign cost of living allowances, which makes it more expensive for companies to employ expats.

Progressives are constantly comparing the U.S. to other countries when it comes to laws and norms. We're the only country that owns guns, for example, and we're the only country with the death penalty. That's used as justification for moving towards what other countries do. Not so for corporate taxes. We're alone in global taxation, yet progressives see no good reason to move in a better direction for it.

This is not to say that other countries' tax regimes is a good reason to move away from a regime of global taxation. We should get rid of our global tax regime because it's a good idea regardless of what other countries do. In an area where the U.S. is an outlier for reasons progressives like though, they don't think the fact that the U.S. hasn't followed a global lead is meaningful.

Guy Benson - Video: DWS Struggles to Explain Why She Trusts Charlie Crist as a Democrat
Posted: 8/29/2014 3:45:00 PM EST

In fairness, Debbie struggles to explain most things, so her stumbling isn't necessarily out of the ordinary here. Still, I figured I'd send you into the holiday weekend with a clip of America's most inept party chairperson lamely embracing America's most pathetic politician:



Allahpundit calls Crist -- a Republican, turned independent, turned Democrat, with all three party switches serving his immediate expedient political needs -- a "soulless careerist." That's being kind.  The dude says and does literally whatever it takes to attain and cling to power.  Politics at its self-interested, power-hungry worst.  Democrats are angry that A Republican organization is using recycled robocalls voiced by...Charlie Crist against Charlie Crist, calling the use of this audio a "dirty trick:"



"Hi, this is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight. I'm prolife. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program. It's sad that in his fourth try for governor my opponent has resorted to distortions and untruths. … Floridians need a consistent, conservative governor that they can trust. I would appreciate your vote on election day. Thank you so much and God bless you, and God bless Florida. Paid for by Charlie Crist, Republican for Governor."

Sorry guys, it's not a dirty trick to use a shameless person's verbatim recorded words against him. The Left can carp (and sue!) all they want; they're the ones who nominated this fraud as their gubernatorial candidate. Polls remain close, but Republican Rick Scott's standing has improved, and primary voting turnout contained some potentially ominous trends for Florida Democrats.