Daniel Doherty - MO Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto, Ratifies Statute Mandating 72-Hour Waiting Period for All Abortions
Posted: 9/11/2014 5:15:00 PM EST

The Missouri state legislature passed a statute earlier this year requiring all women seeking abortions to wait 72 hours before obtaining one. However, because there were no exemptions enumerated in the bill itself -- and thus deemed too “extreme” -- Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) vetoed it. That’s why Republicans were forced to cobble together a two-thirds, veto-proof majority coalition to override him and get it on the books -- which they barely did.

The law will go into effect sometime next month:

Missouri women seeking abortions will face one of the nation's longest waiting periods, after state lawmakers overrode the governor's veto to enact a 72-hour delay that includes no exception for cases of rape or incest. The new requirement will take effect 30 days after Wednesday's vote by the Republican-led Legislature, overruling the veto of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. He had denounced the measure as "extreme and disrespectful" toward women.

The abortion bill was one of the most prominent Republican victories in a record-setting September session, during which Missouri lawmakers also overrode 47 line-item budget vetoes and nine other bills, including one creating a training program for teachers to carry guns in schools. Earlier this year, the Republican-led Legislature overrode Nixon's veto to enact the state's first income tax rate reduction in nearly a century.

Again, the reason the bill is so controversial is because it will be one of the most restrictive anti-abortion statutes in the country. Only two other states have laws requiring women to wait 72 hours before terminating a pregnancy; Missouri will be the third:

About half the states, including Missouri, already have abortion waiting periods of 24 hours. Missouri's current one also lacks an exception for cases of rape or incest. The new law will be the second most-stringent behind South Dakota, where its 72-hour wait can sometimes extend even longer because weekends and holidays are not counted. Utah is the only other state with a 72-hour delay, but it grants exceptions for rape, incest and other circumstances.

For those interested, here's how Republicans expedited the legislative process and successfully overturned Gov. Nixon's veto:

After the House voted to override Nixon's veto by a 117-44 vote, senators deployed a rarely used procedural move to shut off prolonged Democratic debate. They completed the veto override by a 23-7 vote, barely getting the required two-thirds majority. Planned Parenthood, which operates Missouri's only licensed abortion clinic in St. Louis, has not said whether it will challenge the 72-hour waiting period in court. But the organization has said its patients travel an average of nearly 100 miles for an abortion, and an extra delay could force them to either make two trips or spend additional money on hotels.

As stated above, the measure passed 117-44 and 23-7, respectively, in the House and Senate.

Matt Vespa - On 9/11, Democratic Campaign Groups Either Tweet War On Women Haikus Or Forget Altogether
Posted: 9/11/2014 3:45:00 PM EST

Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to the 2,977 victims and their families. While the nation pauses to remember those we have lost, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) seems to have forgotten that it’s the thirteenth anniversary of the most horrific terrorist attack on American soil.

The DSCC has nothing about it. The DCCC is tweeting “War on Women” haikus–and the DGA is mostly retweeting poll numbers.

To make optics look even worse, the DNC, the White House, and even DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz have paused to give their respects on this solemn day. If Ms. Schultz can take a moment and not accuse Gov. Walker’s policies of “grabbing” women “by that hair,” then the campaign arm for the Democratic Party can do the same.

Guy Benson - Report: Obama Overruled 'Best Military Advice' on Ground Troops to Fight ISIS
Posted: 9/11/2014 3:25:00 PM EST

In his war speech last night, President Obama was at strikingly adamant about what the US mission to "degrade and destroy" ISIS would not entail: American ground troops in a combat role.  The 475 additional personnel being deployed to the region are only authorized assist with "training, intelligence and equipment."  Direct American intervention will be limited to a protracted campaign of airstrikes, in Iraq and -- for the first time -- Syria.  The Washington Post reports today that when the president tasked military leaders with devising the best strategy to defeat ISIS, the Pentagon presented a plan that involved a limited number of combat "boots on the ground."  They were rebuffed, in favor of a more politically-palatable light footprint approach:

Such a mission was not the U.S. military’s preferred option. Responding to a White House request for options to confront the Islamic State, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants, according to two U.S. military officials. The recommendation, conveyed to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was cast aside in favor of options that did not involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role, a step adamantly opposed by the White House...Recommitting ground combat forces to Iraq would have been highly controversial, and most likely would have been opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. But Austin’s predecessor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, said the decision not to send ground troops poses serious risks to the mission. “The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis said. “You’re giving the enemy the initiative for a longer period.”

This turn of events was inevitable, given the instincts and priorities of the Oval Office's current occupant.  According to the New York Times' bureau chief in Baghdad, the Obama administration has serially misled the American people about on-the-ground realities in Iraq in order to protect a politicized "receding tide of war" illusion.  The president shrunk from his own red line in Syria last year due, at least in part, to heavy domestic pressures, ultimately resorting to a fake "solution" that has since collapsed.  Having ignored and dismissed ISIS for years, the president has finally been pressed to play catch-up with events.  Public opinion has turned sharply in favor of intervention, likely spurred by grisly images of beheaded American journalists broadcast around the world, but most are still wary of ground troops.  Obama -- once again leading from behind with no discernible strategy beyond 'win the current news cycle' -- is giving the public what it wants at the moment.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Following that "best military advice" would have required the president to forcefully make the case that a limited American ground force was vital to victory. He clearly had no appetite to do so, as it would have entailed further eroding his anti-war cred and infuriating his core base ahead of an election.  Even with the scaled-back mission, Hill Democrats are fracturing over whether to support the president's path forward:

Vulnerable Democratic senators were split — or in some cases, silent — on President Obama’s proposal to tackle the growing terrorist threat in the Middle East. Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), both facing tough reelection fights this fall, issued statements sharply critical of Obama’s proclaimed plans to launch military attacks unilaterally and to arm Syrian rebels....[Udall], like every Democrat who weighed in Wednesday, said he plans to continue to demand further details from the administration on its plans.Begich, one of four Democratic incumbents running for reelection in a red state, said, while he supports airstrikes, he’s opposed to arming rebels...But another quartet of vulnerable Democrats, Sens. Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Al Franken (Minn.) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), were cautiously supportive of Obama’s remarks...The issue is politically fraught for Democrats, as support for military action risks alienating progressive Democrats opposed to an aggressive, hasty response, like the one that launched the Iraq War, which is now seen by many as a quagmire. But polling has shown Americans overwhelmingly support military action, and are expressing higher levels of fear and concern for their safety than they have in recent memory, increasing the pressure to act. And the division within the party underscores the challenge Congress faces in rallying behind a passable proposal for military action against ISIS.

Of course, if President Obama wanted a decisive show of unity from Congress, he would ask for an authorization vote on the expanded air campaign.  Such a resolution would pass overwhelmingly, neutralizing continuing questions about the bounds of his authority in escalating a renewed military conflict.  But the White House, with some bipartisan backing, insists that Obama possesses all the authority he needs to pursue his strategy.  Read Eli Lake's piece detailing Obama's remarkable, shall we say, evolution on presidential war powers.  Candidate Obama wouldn't recognize this man, who is now relying on Congress' post-9/11 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) as the legal grounds for ratcheting up a new war in Iraq and Syria.  Ironically, just last year he was urging Congress to roll back and eventually abrogate that very AUMF: "Not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States," he said at the National Defense University. "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states. So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further."  

Well, promise (technically) kept.  He isn't "signing laws" to expand the mandate, per se.  He's expanding it unilaterally.  What Obama is directly asking Congress for is permission and appropriations to arm so-called moderate rebels in Syria, which is the most treacherous element of the four-point plan he laid out last night.  Obama backhanded this gambit as "fantasy" just last month, perhaps for good reason.  The White House says it would "welcome" a show of solidarity from Congress, but is ambivalent about whether vote on a no-brainer authorization of force.  Obama wants Congress on the hook with him for the riskier and more divisive Syria business.  Congressional Democrats, in particular, are in a tough spot, for reasons cited in the story above.  On one side of the tightrope is their reflexively pacifist base (which may not be quite as pacifist as advertised, now that it's no longer Bush who's mongering the wars or whatever); on the other is the rest of the American public:

UPDATE - Extraordinary:

Sarah Jean Seman - Blurred Lines: Two Straight Men Getting Married?
Posted: 9/11/2014 3:07:00 PM EST

Two straight men in New Zealand are getting married, but not because they love each other, they are tying the knot because they love Rugby. Travis McIntosh, 23, and Matt McCormick, 24, are best friends who are willing to repeat marriage vows in order to win a radio station competition and get a free trip to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

The “Love You Man” campaign began in August and promises a “trip of a lifetime” to “two best mates” who get married. The Edge radio station has a history of promoting “outrageous weddings, according to Media Works. They have previously prompted strangers to marry, couples to elope to Las Vegas, and for individuals to agree to “Nudie Nuptials.”

Tickets to the Rugby World Cup can cost as much as $1,217.00. Throw in the costs of flights, hotel rooms, etc. and you might end up saving money after throwing a small wedding. So, maybe it comes down to the fact that these are just two very competitive guys (I mean, their "bromance" did begin at ages 5 and 6 when they met on the Rugby field). 

The New Zealand Herald has more:

"We are not here to insult anyone. We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path." Mr McIntosh said the wedding was not mocking the institution of marriage.

"It's just seeing how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup."

"We picked up our wedding certificate and the nerves are starting to really hit home."

They will marry in front of 60 family and friends at Eden Park, Auckland.

Same-sex activists, however, are not taking the situation with such levity. Neill Ballantyne, co-coordinator of the Otaga University Students' Association Queer Support in New Zealand called the wedding an “insult:”

"Something like this trivialises what we fought for." The competition promoted the marriage of two men as something negative,"as something outrageous that you'd never consider", Mr Ballantyne said.

LegaliseLove Aotearoa Wellington co-chairman Joseph Habgood said the competition attacked the legitimacy of same-sex marriages.

The truth is, however, when marriage is no longer about having children you can get married for whatever reason you want. This sort of competition is merely the after-effect of creating blurred lines around the institution of marriage. 

Katie Pavlich - George W. Bush on 9/11/2001: We're at War, We Will Find Who Did This and "We're Going to Kick Their A**"
Posted: 9/11/2014 2:10:00 PM EST

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is tweeting today about experiencing 9/11/2001 first hand with President George W. Bush. This is my favorite one. 

You can read all of Fleischer's compelling tweets here. It's worth your time. Twitchy also has a good summary. 

For good measure, here's Bush's bullhorn speech from Ground Zero.

"I can hear you! I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

Greg Hengler - Remember: Bush's 1st Pitch at Yankee Stadium After 9-11
Posted: 9/11/2014 2:03:00 PM EST

Daniel Doherty - Ted Cruz Walks Off Stage After Crowd Boos Him for Pro-Israel Remarks
Posted: 9/11/2014 2:00:00 PM EST

According to the Daily Caller, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the keynote speaker at a forum last night put on by the nonprofit organization In Defense of Christians.

In his remarks, Cruz spoke to the crowd of Middle Eastern Christians and others about the “cancer” of “religious bigotry,” and how important it is for Jews and Christians to live together in solidarity. It is a feeling widely shared by most Americans. And yet, as the DC points out, it wasn’t until he asserted, “Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” that the night was totally ruined.

“If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, I will not stand with you.”

Good for Cruz. This spectacle is appalling and there's no justifiable reason why, in my view, he should have continued to preach tolerance to a crowd of bigots and anti-Semites (see below). Also, the fact that the phrase “solidarity dinner” is blasted across the big screen as the shouting grows -- and the bigotry becomes even more apparent -- is fairly ironic. (Although, given the makeup of the crowd, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised).

When Cruz suggested that only some attendees were being rude, and expressing hateful views, it was interesting to hear one man actually shout “most of us!” feel the same way. After the event, Cruz told the Washington Free Beacon how he felt about the whole thing. “I’ve certainly encountered audiences that disagreed with a particular point of view,” he said. “But this virulent display of hatred and bigotry was remarkable, and considerably different from anything I’ve previously encountered.”

Remember, this is Ted Cruz's reaction, who, as you well know, is no stranger to controversy or public condemnation. It is simply amazing, then, how some self-professed and so-called "Christians" can act this way -- and yet still prescribe to the religion of Christ.

Editor's note: The video above was recorded by EWTN News. This post has also been updated.

UPDATE: Two things. One, Cruz released this statement confirming his version of events. Two, Mollie Hemingway has an important post explaining why she believes Ted Cruz is “no hero,” and that many people, in fact, were offended by what he said. They think he missed an opportunity (by accident or not) to address important issues -- namely, Christian persecution. She also reminded readers that not all Christians have the same political interests and/or partnerships as the United States, and that’s something all of us should keep in mind.

UPDATE: This is relevant, too:

Cortney O'Brien - Violations Hamper Construction of 8,000-Square-Foot Planned Parenthood Facility in New Orleans
Posted: 9/11/2014 1:15:00 PM EST

Since June 26, the Planned Parenthood-in progress sitting on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans has remained untouched. That’s because protests and pesky violations have brought construction to a standstill. The planned 8,000 square-foot facility could perform up to 30 abortions a day and Benjamin Clapper, the executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, said Louisianans are rejecting Planned Parenthood's agenda. Even though the organization has tried to use misleading wording to describe the purpose of their new multimillion dollar building, companies aren’t being fooled, Clapper told Townhall:

“Planned Parenthood has appealed to contractors across south Louisiana to build what they describe only as a "medical office building." They never mention abortion, and rarely do you see the words "Planned Parenthood" on proposals, plans, or other documents. But even with this deception, people have learned who Planned Parenthood is and what they truly want to do on Claiborne Avenue: sell more abortions. Louisiana is a pro-life state, and people want little to do with facilities that sell abortion.”

Of the contractors Planned Parenthood did manage to hire, two of them have been cited for violations. Documents provided by Clapper revealed that one contractor, Barre McNeely, used an unlicensed name; and a subcontractor, Quality Diamond Products, LLC, wasn't licensed for work in Louisiana. As a result, these companies received thousands of dollars in fines.

As if construction violations weren’t enough, the New Orleans Planned Parenthood is also dealing with a lack of enthusiasm. Take, for instance, the organization’s scarcely attended job fair:

“Planned Parenthood invited over 500 companies to a job fair to recruit them to help the construction of their abortion facility. At most, 40 people showed up.”

Forty too many. In fact, it seems most people who have shown up to the site have done so to protest. Louisiana has been named the "most pro-life state" in the nation for the past five years by Americans United for Life. Is it any wonder residents are distancing themselves from Planned Parenthood’s doors? 

Here’s hoping construction is delayed – forever.

Daniel Doherty - Obama to 9/11 Families, Survivors: "Your Love is the Ultimate Rebuke to Those Who Attacked Us"
Posted: 9/11/2014 11:30:00 AM EST

Speaking at the Pentagon on the 13th anniversary of 9/11, the president of the United States delivered what can only be described as a tremendously powerful and moving speech.

“Scripture tells us we count as blessed those who have persevered,” he began. “Michelle and I are humbled to be with you once again.”

“It has now been 13 years–13 years since the peace of an American morning was broken,” he said. “Thirteen years since nearly 3,000 beautiful lives were taken from us.”

At which point he memorialized the fallen, noting how even today, in small yet subtle ways, survivors still keenly feel their absence.

“[There are] 13 years of moments they would have shared with us,” he lamented. “Thirteen years of memories they would have made.”

And yet, addressing the 9/11 families directly, he offered up prayers and reflected upon their courage and resolve during these past 13 years.

“Here once more we pray, for the souls of those who remember,” he said. “For you, their families, who love them forever. And for a nation that has been inspired by your example. Your determination to carry on.”

“As Americans we draw strength from you,” he added. “Your love is the ultimate rebuke to those who attacked us.”

This love, however, is why the flame of American liberty can never be extinguished, he said.

“America endures in the tenacity of our survivors,” he affirmed. “You learned to walk again and stand again. After terrible burns, you learned to smile once more.”

Moreover, he didn't gloss over the countless sacrifices so many Americans have made: The firefighters, the policemen, the EMTs–and, crucially, our men and women in uniform–who have bravely served in harm’s way since 9/11.

“America endures in the courage of the men and women who serve under our flag,” he said. “After more than a decade of war, this 9/11 generation has answered their country’s call.”

And yet, he said, America endures for other reasons, too.

“America endures in that perennial optimism that defines us as a people,” he intoned. “Thirteen years after small, hateful minds conspired to break us, America stands tall and America stands proud.”

“Generations from now, no matter the trial, no matter the challenge, America will always be America,” he said.

Cortney O'Brien - Have You Met...Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
Posted: 9/11/2014 10:48:00 AM EST

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the September issue of Townhall Magazine. 

Rep. Kenny Marchant’s childhood does not exactly suggest his was a life destined for politics.

“I was brought up in a very religiously conservative family and my summers were church camps and Bible school and then I went to a very conservative church college. That upbringing permeates pretty much every decision I make.”

With a childhood centered on church, what was it that made Marchant say, “Hey, I should enter politics”?

“I was a homebuilder in my hometown and was like the president of the homebuilding association and the cit came in and they were gonna change all the codes and make it significantly more expensive to build,” he explained. “So I kinda got involved in that and ran for the city council mainly just to make sure business had a representation on the city council. So, I started at city council and was elected mayor and all these are part time jobs so I could do them while I was raising my kids.”

Marchant then had the chance to run for state legislature, which is actually part-time in Texas. Representatives meet for four and a half months every two years, he explained. He served 18 years in that role.

By the end of this almost two-decade tenure, Marchant was still yearning for more political experience, especially with his family responsibilities beginning to wane.

“By the end, my kids were grown and out of college, and we were pretty much empty nesters. So, when I had the opportunity to run for Congress, I felt like I could do it.”

Since gaining an office in the nation’s capital, one hot button issue Marchant has leant his experience to is immigration.

“The system is broken primarily because the border’s not secure. It’s physically not secure and there’s never been enough money or assets to put on the border to seal and secure the border. All of South America feels like it’s possible to cross the border and possible to get in the United States. So, as long as that possibility is out there, and as long as they think the possibility of receiving amnesty is out there, I think we’re gonna have a continual rush to our border.”

As to how conservatives can voice the need for a secure border without sounding insensitive, Marchant insists the word “amnesty” is cruel in itself.

“I don’t think it’s sincere to say to someone, ‘You can come here, you might get amnesty.’ To hold up the hope of getting amnesty and being accepted in society. That’s not very humane. To me, that’s the tragedy that’s happening right now on the border. People on the border really do believe they’re going to come here, be accepted, get citizenship, and they’re going to achieve that.”

With liberal policies negatively affecting not only our immigration system, but our national economy, Marchant suggests Texas can and should be a fiscal model for the country.

“Any government I served in before I got here, we had to balance our budget every year. Be it city or county, or state. So that’s the number one thing that the U.S. can learn from Texas. The second thing is, being pro-business always pays off as far as helping stay self-sufficient as a government. It makes people more self-sufficient and less dependent on government. If you want to be on welfare, you don’t want to move to Texas.”

His praise of Texan policies didn’t end there.

“We are as diverse a population as any state in the union. And yet, our school system has dealt with that, our state has dealt with that. We’re much more energy independent in Texas, we export most of our energy. And believe it or not, the part-time government part of it works pretty well. That’s exactly the way the first government was organized up here. Congress was a part-time Congress, came and met for several months and went back home. It seemed to work better than constantly being in the business of passing bills writing law.”

Marchant’s beloved ranch certainly benefited from his more open schedule.

“I have one main hobby. I have a ranch and I have about 400 cows and I spend my spare time being a rancher, and riding four wheelers and fishing and hunting. It’s about an hour from Dallas. At least one afternoon a week I try to be up there. I like to travel a lot, but I’ve traveled less since I’ve been in Congress.”

Like his state and country, however, Marchant is sure not to leave it to fend for itself for long.