One of our favorite unhinged Democratic Congressmen, Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, has been accused by his wife of allegedly assaulting her during a domestic dispute. More from the AP:
Florida U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson's wife has accused him of pushing her during an argument over the weekend, but he claims the allegations are a lie.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office confirmed Tuesday that it was investigating a reported domestic violence incident between Grayson and his wife, Lolita, but no charges have been filed.
Grayson's office released a statement denying his wife's accusations. Grayson says he never touched his wife, even after she physically attacked him.
Grayson's wife filed for divorce in January, and the central Florida Democrat claims he was attempting to visit his children when the incident occurred.
More from the Orlando Sentinel:
The Orlando Sentinel reports that a judge has granted a temporary protective injunction against Grayson after Lolita Grayson filed paperwork accusing the congressman of pushing her against a door during a confrontation at their home on Saturday, causing her to fall and injuring her.
Here's a quick flashback to Grayson railing against Republicans for their war on women.
And another clip of Grayson falsely implying his 2012 Republican opponent was a wife beater.
Todd Long’s wife had alleged that he had been “very abusive and manipulative” in divorce papers, but didn’t accuse him of being physically abusive, which Grayson implied in his quip, “if you’re going to ask anyone, ‘are you still beating your wife,’ that kind of question, ask him!”
We'll have to wait and see how this whole thing plays out, but already the hypocrisy is strong. I'll leave you with this pointed question from my colleague Guy Benson:
First Filner, now Grayson. Do Democrats have a domestic abuse problem? #TheirPlaybook— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 4, 2014
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Debo Adegbile at 11:45 am Wednesday. Adegbile has been tapped by President Obama to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Late yesterday afternoon, Republican Senator Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor to announce his opposition to Adegbile's nomination as a result of his voluntary efforts to advocate for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, who murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner ins 1981. Cruz urged his fellow Republicans and Democrats to stand with law enforcement agents around the country in opposition to the nomination. Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey has announced he will vote no. The Fraternal Order of Police, along with five other major law enforcement groups, are opposed to the nomination.
Last night on Hannity, Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey stressed that opposition to Adegbile's nomination should be bipartisan and that this is a "bad choice."
In 2008 the Romeike family emigrated from Germany to the United States to escape religious persecution. Like so many American families, all they wanted to do was home school their children in accordance with their faith. But in Germany the practice is illegal, and has been for nearly a century. Thus the Romeikes relocated to the land of opportunity, hoping to raise their children in relative peace and solitude. But for the last six years or so they’ve been in and out of court, fighting to stay.
At first, they were granted political asylum by a U.S. judge who ruled in their favor; but that decision was quickly overturned after the Obama administration applied pressure to have them deported. ABC News reported this last May:
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ruled this week in favor of the Obama administration, which challenged the family's asylum on the grounds that Germany's ban on home-schooling did not constitute persecution and thus could not be used as a basis for political asylum in the United States.
"We are very disappointed in the decision by the Sixth Circuit to deny political asylum to the Romeike family who wants the freedom to home-school their children," said Michael Farris, the Romeike family's attorney and the chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, in a statement emailed to ABC News.
"The decision of the court fails to even discuss the unchallenged evidence of Germany's motive in banning homeschooling. The German Supreme Court says that they want to suppress religious and philosophical minorities," the statement read.
The case was destined to make its way all the way up to the Supreme Court, or so it seemed. Until yesterday, that is, when the family learned that the High Court would not hear their appeal. All was lost. The Romeike family would be deported after all.
Until today, of course! Inexplicably, the Department of Homeland Security announced they could stay:
A German home-schooling family facing deportation following the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear their appeal is being allowed to stay in the U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security has granted the family “indefinite deferred status,” their attorney confirmed to Fox News.
That means the Romeike family, who claim the German government is persecuting them because they want to raise their children in accordance with their Christian beliefs, can stay in the United States without the threat of being forced return to their home country, the family’s legal team told Fox News.
This is a huge and unexpected victory for eight souls searching for religious freedom in a foreign land. Their prayers have finally been answered.
Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, Texas Senator Ted Cruz expressed his strong opposition to President Obama's nominee, Debo Adegbile, to head the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. During his time in leadership at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund [LDF], Adegbile volunteered to advocate for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, who murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. In 2011, LDF attorneys were successful in getting Abu-Jamal's death sentence overturned.
"Mr. President, this is insulting to law enforcement officers everywhere," Cruz said. "I stand with the Fraternal Order of Police in opposition to Debo Adegbile."
In his speech, Cruz stressed Adegbile's role in Abu-Jamal's case wasn't about proving innocence or guilt, but about volunteering as his advocate in the name of race. During a pro-Mumia event in 2011, LDF attorneys expressed the great "honor" they felt in representing him.
"We all should agree that violent criminals should be punished and we all should agree that those who go out of their way to celebrate, to lionize, convicted cop killers are not suitable for major leadership roles at the Department of Justice," Cruz said. "Under Adegbile's supervision, LDF lawyers fanned the flames of racial tension through rallies and protests and a media campaign all to portray Mumia Abu-Jamal, an unrepentant cop killer, as a political prisoner."
In January, the Fraternal Order of Police sent a scathing letter to President Obama opposing Adegbile's nomination. Shortly after, five major law enforcement agencies sent similar letters. Pennsylvania Democrat Senator Bob Casey has announced he will oppose Adegbile's nomination and Senator Cruz encouraged other Democrats to do the same. A simple majority of 51 votes are needed for Adegbile to solidify his position. Earlier this week, Maureen Faulkner, the widow of Daniel Faulkner, launched a petition to oppose the nomination. A vote is scheduled for Wednesday, March 5 at 11:45 am et.
For the fifth time in six years, Barack Obama missed his budget deadline -- and for the sixth time in six years, the spending blueprint he eventually produced never comes close to balancing. The Washington Post previewed Obama's budget last month, noting that the White House would peddle it as an end to America's "era of austerity." That's rich. Under this president, the federal government has spent more money annually than at any other time in US history. Annual deficits have ranged between $500 billion and $1.4 trillion. Prior to Barack Obama's presidency, the United States had never racked up a single trillion-dollar annual shortfall. On his watch, Washington has done so four times. The Congressional Budget Office projects that on our current trajectory, we'll hit $1 trillion again within eight years. Various fact-checkers have confirmed that among his many predecessors, President Obama is the "undisputed debt king," having added more than $6 trillion to the nation's red ink since taking office in 2009. In his first campaign, Obama called President Bush "unpatriotic" for amassing more than $4 trillion in gross national debt over two full terms in office. So that, ladies and gentlemen, is the "era of austerity" that Obama has magnanimously decided to end. His new grand vision, the Associated Press reports, will "appeal to Democrats," and is a politically-charged "messaging" document, according to Time:
Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget represents a laundry-list of policy proposals designed to help Democrats hold the Senate and pick up seats in the House. Obama essentially conceded the point last month, when the White House announced he is dropping calls for an unpopular, but cost-saving measure to change the way inflation is calculated for the purposes of entitlement programs like Social Security. That compromise was intended to be a good-faith offer to Republicans as part of a grand bargain, but gridlock and declining deficits have placed the national debt on the backburner. The new budget, by contrast, is chock full of wedge issues designed to exploit the divide between Democrats and Republicans, and it has been released under Obama’s populist State of the Union theme “Opportunity for all,” which the president hopes to make a rallying cry for Democrats this year.
Having dropped any pretense of getting serious about entitlement reform -- which he's (correctly) deemed essential in the past -- Obama's latest proposal presents a Christmas tree of liberal policy wishes:
The budget also includes additional funding to improve background checks for gun purchases and money to help state and local police forces train for active shooter incidents in the wake of Sandy Hook. It adds $1 billion for a “Climate Resilience Fund” to help research and prepare for the effects of climate change. It would even increase federal defense spending by $28 billion over the caps set in the 2013 budget agreement. Other proposals include a “race to the top”-style program to incentivize states and localities to embrace energy efficiency legislation. There’s additional funding for job training and infrastructure that Obama has long requested but has never been able to get through Congress, and a proposal to auto-enroll Americans in retirement savings accounts. The budget also restates Obama’s calls for existing priorities like continuing the Affordable Care Act and passing comprehensive immigration reform. It repeats his call from last year’s budget to extend pre-k education for more children, paid for partly by higher taxes on tobacco products.
Gun control, immigration reform and climate change are extremely low priorities for most Americans, but not for Barack Obama. The American people want jobs and a vibrant economy -- two goals that Obama's agenda has explicitly obstructed, according to nonpartisan analysts. A majority of voters believe the first $825 billion "stimulus" bill was a failure, and accurately so, but that hasn't stopped the president for calling for even more borrowed stimulus spending. The government's own gold-plated study determined that government-funded universal pre-K programs are a massive waste of money and don't work. Full speed ahead, Obama says. That also applies to Obamacare, naturally, and its tidal wave of government spending that will bend the cost curve up, in yet another violation of this president's word. The House Budget Committee (update: in conjunction with Republican Senate budget staffers) lambastes the document as a tax-hiking, spending-increasing, debt-exploding, unbalanced mess:
- This budget increases spending by $791 billion over the budget window—and by $56 billion above the Bipartisan Budget Act levels in 2015 alone.
- It adds $8.3 trillion to the national debt over the budget window.
- It calls for $1.8 trillion in new taxes—though the President has already raised taxes by $1.7 trillion during his administration.
- This budget never balances—ever.
Those numbers are derived from OMB's wildly rosy projections; using CBO stats would make these figure look much uglier. Keep in mind that Obama has already raised taxes on Americans by nearly $2 trillion during his presidency, including a $600 billion hike targeting "the rich" in 2013. His FY 2015 plan calls for doubling the total amount of tax increases, which his administration says would bring in $1.8 trillion in revenue. Despite all of those new taxes, his budget would still never balance. Why? According to Paul Ryan's calculations, approximately half of the new proposed revenues would finance additional spending, rather than deficit reduction. The American public strongly supports a balanced budget. With Medicare and Social Security slouching towards insolvency and racking up enormous unpaid-for promises, this budget offers absolutely nothing in the way of solutions to these very real problems. This, sadly, shouldn't come as a surprise. This president's fiscal recklessness and partisan cynicism is has been a calling card of his administration. The Democrat-led Senate will not offer a budget resolution this year, a dereliction of duty that became commonplace throughout Obama's first term. The Republican-held House of Representatives has done its job year in, and year out. The GOP's last budget offered real solutions to head off the entitlement catastrophe, didn't raise taxes on anyone, and achieved balance within ten years. Whether House Republicans will follow Democrats' lead by punting on an exploitable election-year budget this year remains to be seen. A spokesman for Paul Ryan sent me the following statement: "We don't have any announcements to make at this time. It is Chairman Ryan's intent to again put forward a balanced budget." Hmmm.
Parting thought: What might vulnerable Democrats have to say about the president's extreme tax-and-spend plans? Might we be headed for another Obama oh-fer?
UPDATE - An important catch by The Hill. Obama's budget allocates $5.5 billion for Obamacare 'bailouts' for health insurers.
40 Days for Life is a pro-life campaign that works to end abortion through prayer, fasting and holding peaceful vigils outside abortion clinics. Their nonviolent work has helped to close 45 abortion clinics since its founding.
This week, the campaign celebrated overseas. In London, the BPAS abortion business in Bedford Square closed after five campaigns, giving 40 Days for Life its first international victory.
Robert Colquhoun, 40 Days for Life’s international outreach director, spoke in front of the newly closed clinic and explained what a little bit of prayer and determination accomplished:
“We know of 50 women who chose life for their babies as a result of an offer of love and support at this very spot. It’s a profound joy to know there will no longer be abortions happening at this very place.”
40 Days for Life is kicking off its next campaign this week in 253 locations, both nationally and internationally.
Here are a few other encouraging numbers from the lifesaving campaign:
• 600,000 participants
• 16,500 churches
• 2,786 total campaigns
• 522 cities
• 21 countries
• 8,245 lives saved
• 88 workers quit
• 45 clinics closed
The pro-life activists involved in these campaigns often face adversity and ridicule from those who call them “protesters,” “bullies” or worse. As such, they should be commended for continuing to fight for the unborn. Now, they’ve proven their message can win across the pond.
Here’s hoping London is just the beginning.
The AP's formulation of the issue is studiously "neutral": "Shutdown cost national parks at least $414 million." From reading the linked piece, one would never know (1) that Republicans actually voted to fund the parks -- it was the Democrats who refused; and (2) that the losses were due entirely to the way the Obama administration chose to handle the shutdown, seeking political support by inflicting as much pain on Americans as possible.
In fact, a contemporaneous news account revealed that:
Republican lawmakers and local community officials in some communities affected by the shutdown are raising questions about why it took 10 days for the Interior Department to agree to [allow states to cover the costs of operating the country's 401 Park Service properties], when a precedent for such arrangements was set during the 1995 and 1996 government shutdown.
Got that? The Interior Department dawdled, so that parks would remain closed, in hopes that angry Americans would blame the Republicans. And the costs mounted.
Anyone wondering how the shutdown came to "cost" national parks (and really, us, the taxpayers!) hundreds of millions of dollars can . . . ask the Obama administration.
Construction worker Frank Selicchia combed the wreckage of the Twin Towers two days after Sept. 11 for survivors—instead, he uncovered a cross-shaped steel beam.
The cross was then placed in a prominent location where many of the recovery efforts were centered, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the History Channel, Catholic Mass along with other religious services would often take place there:
It became like rallying cry or a focal point for many people. I there’s all these issues about religion, but this is beyond religion. This was a significant part in the days after September 11 that kept a lot of people going.
For two years American Atheists, Inc. has been fighting for legal grounds to remove the relic from the privately operated National Sept. 11 Museum. “American Atheists v. Port Authority of New Jersey and New York” will go before a Court of Appeals Thursday.
Regardless of the fact that the piece is an authentic artifact salvaged from a memorialized day in America, the atheist group claimed the cross' presence in the museum violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause and the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.
Some “residents, citizens, and taxpayers of the United States and the State of New York” were injured when they saw the cross on “either in person or on television,” according to the complaint.
The Cross is approximately 17 feet tall and towers over any other symbols in the vicinity, expressing Christian primacy.
The museum sued is not a government entity, and there is considerable question over whether taxpayer dollars even helped fund the memorial.
As the Beckett Fund pointed out:
There is no coercion: no one is forced to attend the Museum, or to view the artifact. There is not even any religious activity. The artifact “express[es] many different sentiments.” While some may find the artifact religiously significant, “it does not follow that the museum, by displaying [the artifact], intends to convey or is perceived as conveying the same ‘message.’”
The museum in no way violates the Establishment Clause by erecting a cross pulled from the aftermath of the actual tragedy. If every cross necklace, Star of David, Rosary, and religious symbol were pulled from museums across the nation historic artifacts would be outlawed by the thousand.
The court has once before ruled American Atheists’ claim moot. There should be no ground to reconsider this logical conclusion.
In light of recent court decisions regarding bakeries and photographers, this story is beginning to make the rounds once again: New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez was dropped from her gay hairdresser's client list in 2012 due to her stance against same-sex marriage.
Darden told a local news station that he cut the governor’s hair three times, but won’t do it again as long as she continues to oppose gay marriage.
“The governor’s aides called not too long ago, wanting another appointment to come in,” he told KOB-TV. “Because of her stances and her views on this, I told her aides no. They called the next day, asking if I’d changed my mind about taking the governor in and I said no.”
Martinez isn't the only person to be subjected to a refusal of services due to her beliefs about marriage. Alan Sears, the CEO and lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative group against gay marriage, was turned down by a photographer who refused to shoot a Christmas card for his family due to his anti-gay marriage stance.
Six months ago, a Southern California photographer turned him down flat when he asked her to take a Christmas card photo of his family, explaining in an email, “I oppose the goals and objectives of your organization and have no interest in working on its behalf.”
That was fine with Mr. Sears, CEO and general counsel of the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, who is leading the legal battle on behalf of photographers, florists, cake decorators and others sued for refusing to create products for same-sex weddings.
Like Sears, I am fine with these decisions by private businesses. I'd rather the hairdresser refuse to cut Martinez's hair then give her a terrible haircut out of spite, or a photographer refuse to take photos than produce a sub-par blurry shot. There has to be thousands of other hairstylists in New Mexico or photographers in California—and it's perfectly okay to refuse this particular client. If Darden doesn't want Martinez's money, or the photographer doesn't want Sears', those are their personal choices.
The Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats. As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements. Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected this fall. The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day. The White House is intent on protecting its allies in the Senate, where Democrats face a battle to keep control of the chamber...Allowing insurers to continue offering noncompliant health plans for several years would substantially alter the health insurance landscape under ObamaCare. It would also undercut one rationale for the healthcare reform law. Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans are required to offer 10 medical benefits that the Obama administration deems essential.
The Hill is clearly correct that his move is aimed at providing nervous Congressional Democrats with a fig leaf on Obamacare. Its analysis that this extended "fix" will "avoid another wave" of cancellations isn't quite accurate, though. This maneuver will mitigate the next wave for some Americans, but many won't be granted a reprieve from Democrats' broken promise. A bipartisan group of state insurance commissioners and Attorneys General rejected this "keep your plan" band aid when it was first proposed by Obama, calling it unworkable and/or illegal. Health insurance companies prepared for years to offer plans that complied with Obamacare's new rules -- and those rules haven't been altered or repealed. The administration has essentially said that they simply won't enforce them for a little bit longer. Just long enough, in fact, for some Americans to dodge cancellation notices scheduled for this coming fall. The pain will still come; it's just been pushed back a bit for some consumers.
Another important reminder is that Moody's credit agency downgraded the health insurance industry in January, citing the endless cycle of policy uncertainty caused by destabilizing political delays and "fixes." This turmoil may compel some companies to pull out of certain markets, and will almost certainly contribute to premium increases. Those who are covered by this "keep your plan" stay of execution will be allowed to maintain their "sub-standard" (in the White House's eyes) coverage, which entails fewer mandates and costs less. Insurers who do scramble to keep these plans intact are (a) spending resources to do so and (b) are taking a revenue hit as a result. Under Obamacare's model, these people are supposed to pay more to offset the new costs of insuring high-risk consumers with pre-existing conditions. Rather than absorb those new costs -- profit margins are tight -- they will be passed down and spread out across other consumers in the form of higher premiums or out-of-pocket expenses.
Ultimately, though, this gambit isn't about health coverage, helping people or righting wrongs. It's about handing Democrats across the country a thin reed of an excuse when the next batch of cancellations hit. "The president tried to make this right, but some states and greedy insurers refused to go along with this fix for the American people," they'll try to argue. This is bogus, and I strongly suspect it won't work. This administration wrote these rules in such a way that they knew tens of millions of people would lose their existing coverage, contra Obama's repeated promises. Republicans saw this problem coming years ago and offered a legislative correction to keep the pledge back in 2010. Democrats voted in lock-step to kill it. The catalyst behind the president's quasi-apology and "fix" idea was a ripple of abject panic among Democrats, who were getting pummeled by terrible headlines last fall. Many began to float freelance ideas to change Obamacare, several of which would have deeply undermined the law's viability. Obama's cobbled-together plan was pure damage control. The forthcoming extension is round two of said damage control. It's that simple. And why am I confident that it won't move the needle much? One of the Democrats who's been leaning on this Obama-crafted excuse is Sen. Kay Hagan, whose approval rating has tanked into the low-30's, with Obamacare submerged in unpopularity among her state's voters. In other words, she's been clinging to this lifeline for months and it hasn't helped her. The president, meanwhile, is mocking Republicans. Why, when he so generously tries to "improve" Obamacare, the GOP calls him a tyrant, those hypocritical ingrates:
He's being smirkingly obtuse on purpose. Republicans are leveling two separate objections here: First, that Obamacare isn't working and needs to be changed and repealed, and second, that Obama is overstepping his authority by simply decreeing unilateral changes to a duly-passed piece of legislation. His administration has made one alteration after another, several of which have been deemed legally dubious by legal scholars and media types alike. Indeed, when the House passed a bill to delay the law's employer mandate (which Obama has now done twice, single-handedly), the White House threatened a veto. Obama wants to alter and tweak this law as he sees fit, without any regard for that pesky co-equal legislative branch. Not only doesn't he care whether what he's doing is legally permitted, he's going a step further by ridiculing the GOP for raising questions about it. This from a guy who, as a candidate, rammed Bush for expanding executive authority while waxing poetic about how "seriously" he takes the Constitution. Whatever you say, champ.
UPDATE - I discussed these changes with Neil Cavuto moments ago: