Debate Rules For Republicans

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Matt Lewis writes about debates for Republicans. If anyone watched any debates this cycle, they’ll recall that the debates were often tag-team efforts where the Democrat and journalist ganged up on the Republican. Matt says:

The people asking questions are usually more powerful than the people answering them. And for too long, Republican primary debates have featured liberal moderators who ask questions based on liberal premises. I’m also sick of simplistic “wedge” tactic such as “Raise your hand if you don’t believe in evolution.” It is simply absurd for Republicans to subject themselves to taking questions from moderators who are all liberal.

My solution?

One half of the debate moderated by a conservative-leaning journalist. One half of the debate moderated by a liberal-leaning journalist. And then let the observers judge who is the most fair and asks the best questions.

Make it a competition.

Or, make it the most shamelessly partisan questions. To build on Matt’s examples:

Ask a liberal: Do you believe in creation? Do you believe that the Bible is the written word of God?

Ask a conservative: Do you believe in evolution?

Etc. Oh, there’s so many ways this can go. Bottom line: No Republican should participate in an unbalanced debate ever again. I’m serious. This obscenity that passes for journalism should be exposed for the sham it is.

No debates. No interviews. Get your dirt the old fashioned way reporters: dig it up.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Reform the House Rules – Now!

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Real, long-lasting policy changes won’t occur unless the internal rules of Congress are changed. The key meeting is next week.
American Thinker Blog

Jack Yoest: Rules For Dating My Daughters

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

My favorite:

Rule Four:
I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without using a “barrier method” of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Liberty Pundits Blog

The Cannabis Closet: Mom’s Rules

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


A reader writes:

The trouble may be in the fact that those of us who smoke herb illegally have already negotiated all of the pitfalls only now being considered by those who don't. Yes, it stinks. That's why we eat it. (THC is fat-soluble, so melting it into butter or oil makes all kinds of yummies!) Yes, it causes second-hand smoke. That's why those of us with kids already keep our activities far away from them. In our house, for instance, pot is only smoked in the garage, which the kid has been informed is too dangerous for him to go into, what with the sharp tools and all (he's six, so this is working so far).

Yes, it impairs driving and working (duh, kinda the point), so we don't drive or work under the influence. As an actor, the idea of working stoned is absurd. In fact, my rule has always been exactly what your rheumatoid arthritis sufferer came up with – only when responsibilities are done and I'm in for the night (and now, that the wee one is asleep). I made up that rule when I was 23, when I first started smoking. Which is why I really do think one should wait until one is 21. One must figure out responsibilities first.

The only time I broke these rules and was caught by police (I was smoking in my apt – pre-kids – with the windows open, stupid), the cops gave me and my two friends a big lecture about how to keep it under the radar. (Rule 1, shut your windows.) Then they stole my pot. Of course, that was a happy outcome and I was grateful.

I think perhaps everyone else just needs to catch up to what we have already learned: how to keep it reasonable and under the radar.  It makes me think of the Cannabis Closet feature. If we somehow show the non-tokers that we have it all sorted, will it make them feel better?

(Photo by Flickrite Stephen Train)

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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

UK’s Islam Channel broke broadcasting rules by condoning marital rape, encouraging violence against women, and promoting an anti-Israel, pro-Hamas line

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

No one should be surprised that the Islam Channel did this. Beating is recommended for disobedient women in Qur’an 4:34, and the anti-Israel, pro-Hamas line stems from Islam’s deeply ingrained antisemitism, as per Qur’an 5:82. As for marital rape, they were just being true to the teachings of Muhammad, who said: “If a husband calls his wife to his bed [i.e. to have sexual relation] and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning” (Bukhari 4.54.460). He also said: “By him in Whose Hand lies my life, a woman can not carry out the right of her Lord, till she carries out the right of her husband. And if he asks her to surrender herself [to him for sexual intercourse] she should not refuse him even if she is on a camel’s saddle” (Ibn Majah 1854).

Also unsurprising is that British authorities are shocked, because they are totally clueless.

“Islam Channel breaks British broadcast rules, regulator says,” by Richard Allen Greene for CNN, November 8 (thanks to all who sent this in):

London, England (CNN) — Britain’s Islam Channel broke broadcasting regulations by condoning marital rape, encouraging violence against women, and promoting an anti-Israel, pro-Hamas line, the country’s broadcast regulator Ofcom ruled Monday.

One violation came during an advice program in which a female caller asked if a woman could hit her husband back if he was beating her. The host, as part of his answer, said the most a husband could do was hit her with a stick the size of a pen “just to make her feel that you are not happy with her.”

The same host said in another program that for a woman to wear perfume when praying in a mosque made her a prostitute in the eyes of the Prophet Mohammed.

Another violation took place in a discussion about an Afghan law that, critics say, allows men to rape their wives.

“To refuse relations would harm a marriage,” a guest on the program said.

The Islam Channel “does not condone or encourage violence toward women under any circumstances,” the broadcaster told Ofcom during the investigation.

But the author of a report into the channel said it promotes “a fringe and intolerant form of Islam.”

Sure, except that the fringe in this case seems to take up most of the garment.

“It is only right that the Islam Channel has been held to account,” said Talal Rajab of the Quilliam Foundation. He wrote its report “Re-programming British Muslims” this year.

The channel’s agenda “risks having a negative effect not only on British Muslim communities but also on relations between Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said.

But, he added, “there are encouraging signs that the channel is now making efforts to improve its output and to give greater airtime to a wider range of more mainstream Muslim voices.”…

Yeah, that’s gonna happen.

Jihad Watch

5th Circuit Rules That High School Cheerleader Is Required To Cheer For Her Alleged Rapist

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Fifth Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen and former President George W. Bush

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, one of the most right-wing courts in the country, sanctioned a former high school cheerleader because she brought a lawsuit claiming that she shouldn’t be required to cheer for her alleged rapist:

The former cheerleader and her family are appealing the ruling by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which includes an order to pay the school district’s legal fees on the grounds their suit was far-fetched and frivolous. […]

H.S., then 16, attended a party in her hometown of Silsbee, Texas, in October 2008. She said she was dragged into a room, thrown onto the floor by several youths and raped by Rakheem Bolton, a star on the school’s football and basketball teams.

Bolton and a teammate were arrested two days later, but were allowed to return to school after a county grand jury declined to indict them. They were later indicted on sexual assault charges, but in the interim came the February 2009 incident on the basketball court.

H.S. joined in leading cheers for the Silsbee High team. But when Bolton went to the foul line, and the cheers included his name, she stepped back, folded her arms and sat down.

This decision is hardly the first time the right-wing Fifth Circuit has come under scrutiny for its harsh judgments. As the Wonk Room noted earlier this year, the overwhelming majority of Fifth Circuit judges are invested in the oil industry, and both of the judges who voted against reinstating a drilling moratorium during the Gulf oil disaster attended oil industry-funded junkets. In one case brought by Katrina victims against the energy industry, so many judges were required to recuse themselves that there weren’t enough judges left to hear an appeal.

Yet, even in a circuit known for its knee-jerk ideology, the cheerleader rape case was heard by an unusually radical panel of three judges. Judges Emilio Garza and Edith Clement were both on President George W. Bush’s “short list” for potential Supreme Court nominees, and Clement serves on the board of the leading organization providing industry-funded junkets for judges. The third judge, Priscilla Owen, took thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions from Enron and then wrote a key opinion reducing Enron’s taxes by $ 15 million when she sat on the Texas Supreme Court. The panel did not include the court’s chief judge, Edith Jones, who has her own history of ignoring the pleas of women who are sexually harassed or assaulted.

(HT: Howard Bashman)


Shortly After Major Bush Donor Takes Over MSNBC, Network Selectively Applies Rules To Suspend Olbermann

November 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Earlier today, MSNBC declared that it would be suspending progressive host Keith Olbermann because he violated NBC’s ethics rules by donating to three Democratic candidates for Congress. As many bloggers have noted, conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough has donated to Republican candidates for Congress while promoting the same candidate on air, but has never been disciplined. Moreover, Gawker notes that MSNBC has been exempt from the formal NBC ethics rules for years. It is still a mystery why MSNBC selectively applied NBC’s ethics rules to Olbermann. However, it important to realize that MSNBC has undergone a fundamental change in leadership in the last two months.

Late last year, Comcast — the nation’s largest cable provider and second largest Internet service provider — inked a deal taking over NBC Universal, the parent company of MSNBC. Comcast moved swiftly to reshuffle MSNBC’s top staff. On September 26th of this year, Comcast announced perhaps the most dramatic shift, replacing longtime MSNBC chief Jeff Zucker with Comcast executive Steve Burke. Burke has given generous amounts to both parties — providing cash to outgoing Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) as well as to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and other top Republicans. But as Public Citizen has noted, Burke has deep ties to the Republican Party. Public Citizen’s report reveals that Burke served as a key fundraiser to President George Bush, and even served on Bush’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology:

Comcast – the country’s largest provider of cable TV and broadband Internet services – has increased its political giving along with its mergers and acquisitions. CEO Brian Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the 2000 Republican Convention. Comcast Cable President Stephen Burke has raised at least $ 200,000 for Bush’s re-election campaign. […] Comcast’s political giving has increased along with its mergers and acquisitions. The company was a “platinum sponsor” at the 2000 GOP convention, and Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the Philadelphia event. Burke was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology in 2002.

Why would Comcast be interested in silencing progressive voices? Historically, Comcast has boosted its profits by buying up various telecommunication and media content companies — instead of providing faster Internet or better services (overall, American broadband services are far slower than in many industrialized nations). Many of these mergers, as Public Citizen and Free Press have reported, have been allowed by regulators because of Comcast’s considerable political muscle. Comcast’s latest regulatory battle has been to oppose Net Neutrality — a rule allowing a free and open Internet — because the company would prefer to have customers pay for preferred online content.

Olbermann has been a strong voice in favor of a free and open Internet. Republicans, on the other hand, have supported the telecommunication industry’s push to radically change the Internet so corporate content producers have the upper hand over start-ups like blogs, independent media, small businesses, etc. As Reuters has reported, the incoming Republican Congress has signaled that it will vigorously side with companies like Comcast against an open Internet.

It is not clear why MSNBC has selectively suspended Olbermann indefinitely without pay — but the move showcases the limits of the corporate media. While modern technology has created a seeming multitude of entertainment and television choices, the reality of corporate media consolidation has resulted in fewer investigative news options and less voices in the media with a critical perspective on powerful business interests. Olbermann has stood out as a voice for working people in a media universe dominated by “reality television” and business lobbyists posing as political pundits. It is unfortunate that Comcast and MSNBC have chosen to suspend him.


Senator Tom Udall Wants To End Filibuster Abuse: ‘Now Is The Time For Rules Reform’

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Earlier this year, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) delivered an address about conservative obstruction at the Center for American Progress Action Fund titled “Deliberation, Obstruction or Dysfunction? Evaluating the Modern U.S. Senate and its Contribution to American Governance.” At the event, Udall discussed what he called the “Constitutional Option,” which he described as the Senate having the ability to alter its rules with a simple majority vote at the beginning of each Congress. Indeed, with record use of the filibuster in the current Senate, an overhaul of the procedure is needed to prevent further obstruction.

A week and a half ago, Udall conducted an interview with Tikkun Daily’s Lauren Reichelt in which he reiterated his support for changing the rules of Senate procedure. He explained once again that all it takes is for 51 senators to vote for a change in the rules for the Senate to change the filibuster right at the start of the session. He concluded, “Now is the time for rules reform“:

UDALL: The first thing for people to really understand about the Constitutional Option is that people are frustrated with the rules of the Senate and I don’t blame them. The reason they’re frustrated is because when we campaigned and when President Obama campaigned, we were gonna do all these great things, make these great changes, move the nation forward, and that’s not happening as quickly as we would want it to happen. So that’s a critical issue — that we’re not getting the change that people want. And so what the Constitutional Option is about is doing rules reform in the Senate at the beginning of a Congress and the crucial thing is that at the beginning of Congress you can set rules with 51 Senators. You can end the debate and you can adopt new rules. Now is the time for rules reform.

Watch it:

In part two of the interview, Udall used health care as an example of why the filibuster should be changed. He explained that if “we were able to refine the rules and reform the rules, I think we would be getting closer to a public option than the bill we passed.” He concluded that “the real issue here is the Senate should be producing on the change the American people want. And the Senate’s broken now, and so I’m trying to lead out on reform.”

This past summer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told an audience at the Netroots Nation conference that “we’re going to have to change” the filibuster in order to end obstruction. And during a recent appearance on The Daily Show, President Obama also hinted that he’d support overhauling the filibuster, telling host Jon Stewart that he would “love” to not have a 60 vote requirement for ending debate and proceeding to a vote on bills. Their sentiments are in line with 50 percent of Americans, who said in a February 2010 CBS/New York Times poll that the filibuster should be changed (44 percent were opposed). Udall has laid out a path for doing exactly that, and it is up to his fellow legislators to choose to use it.


Appeals Court Rules DADT Can Remain In Effect Pending Appeal

November 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the military can continue enforcing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, while the government appeals a decision by a lower court that the policy is unconstitutional.

Today’s decision extends a temporary emergency stay the court granted on Oct. 20, which froze an injunction, issued by circuit court Judge Virginia Philips, against the military enforcing DADT.

Philips ruled in September that the policy is unconstitutional. The federal government is appealing her ruling, even as President Obama attempts to repeal the policy legislatively. Arguments are set to begin in January.

In today’s decision, the judges said the military’s argument, that abruptly ending the policy would cause irreparable harm, is “convincing.”

The decision was made by a three-judge panel. One judge dissented, writing that he would have barred the military from actually discharging servicemembers pending appeal.

Log Cabin Republicans v. USA, Gates


Queensbury rules in the war on terror?

October 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Purity over safety?
American Thinker Blog

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