Follow Your Money: New App Scores Businesses for Conservative Values

What would you do if you found out your money—the money you spend buying coffee at Starbucks, furniture at IKEA, and gas at Exxon Mobile—was being used to fund abortions, advertise for Common Core State Standards, and limit our Second Amendment rights? Would you change your consumer habits to align them with your voting values? A new innovative app called "2nd Vote" gives you the power to decide. 

Launched in October, the free application contains scorecards for more than 450 commonly used stores and companies such as Netflix, Whole Foods, CVS, U.S. Airways, and Ford Motor. The app explains the scoring in its "How to Use" section: 

"Higher score = more conservative. Lower score = more liberal. Scores are based on financial support to third part organization." 

One of the core founders of 2nd Vote helped conceptualize the app after he was told that March of Dimes, a pro-life organization to which he was making donations, actually sent funds to Planned Parenthood. This shocking discovery made him wonder what else his money was unconsciously funding. 

"When we started taking a look and building our database we realized that it's not just March of Dimes; it's Starbucks and Levi's jeans, and Apple, " 2nd Vote Executive Director Chris Walker told Townhall. 

"All of the companies that we shop with on a day-to-day basis typically fund a lot of left-wing causes. What we wanted to do is figure out how we can educate people and show them that 'look, where you're shopping with your second vote is funding causes and issues that you may not support on your own."

The non-profit organization is currently run by a team of individuals who have a background in politics and public policy. They dig to uncover each company's financial support on issues of pro-life, marriage, the second amendment, the environment, and education. The work is often very labor intensive, Walker stated. 

"We look at tax documents, 990 forms for non-profit organizations, we go through a lot of public statements made by the leadership or by the company itself. A lot of times the companies will put right on their website who they support and why."

In the future, 2nd Vote wants to create scorecards for thousands of companies and provide the general public with information they need to actively hold their dollars accountable. So pull out your phones, and here's to snubbing the claim that conservatives are missing the tech wave. 

Happy Labor Day

Why is Labor Day so important to us?

That's a good question. Perhaps it's because Labor Day gives the American worker a chance to spend some additional quality time with friends, family and loved ones. It’s also, supposedly, the last day you’re allowed to wear white, and, as Karl Rove points out, it's “the unofficial start of the fall campaign season.

These are all good things, or at least good things to know. But its true meaning and purpose is actually quite fascinating (via the US Department of Labor):

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

I don't think Labor Day has quite the same pop as other national holidays. But it is a federal holiday nonetheless, one meant to honor and celebrate American individual achievement and accomplishment:

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

So there you have it. That’s why we celebrate Labor Day. It isn’t to honor Big Government or organized labor, as some might believe; it's to "pay tribute" to individuals working for -- and fighting for -- the American Dream.

So, from all of us here at Townhall, we hope you have a safe, relaxing, and work-free holiday.

Enjoy the day off.

Federal Judge Blocks Louisiana's New Abortion Law

A federal judge temporarily blocked the implementation of Louisiana’s new abortion law since it could’ve led to the closure of Louisiana’s five abortion clinics. The law required doctors to have admitting privileges for hospitals within 30 miles of an abortion clinic (via Associated Press/Huffington Post):

A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Louisiana's restrictive new abortion law.

District Judge John deGravelles says the law can still take effect Monday but officials cannot penalize doctors or clinics for breaking it while a challenge is heard.

The law would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. A Center for Reproductive Rights lawsuit claims doctors haven't had enough time to obtain privileges and the law likely would force Louisiana's five abortion clinics to close.

The law would've fined non-compliant doctors $4,000 and the loss of their medical license.  While the law goes into effect without enforcement measures, the judge noted that it's unclear if the regulatory fallout would lead to abortion clinic closures:

However, deGravelles wrote, clinics' lawyers have not proven that enforcing the law would shut down most, if not all, of Louisiana's clinics, eliminating access to legal abortions in Louisiana. Because the doctors' applications haven't all been acted on and the attorneys don't represent two clinics, that's speculative, he said.

"How many patients do these other two facilities treat? How many doctors practice there? How many of these doctors have applied for admitting privileges and what is the status of their applications?" he wrote. He said he needs answers to those and other questions, including how far patients would have to travel for care if the other two clinics stayed open.

Admitting privileges laws have passed across the South.

A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Louisiana, upheld a similar Texas law. But in July, a different panel of the 5th Circuit voted to overturn Mississippi's law, which would have shuttered the state's only abortion clinic, saying every state must guarantee the right to an abortion.

Editor's note: This post has been updated.

For Romney, Is It Third Time's The Charm?

So, should Mitt Romney run again? It’s a question that frustrates conservative since Mr. Romney wasn’t the best candidate to discuss things, like health care, that could’ve really energized the base in 2012. As Dan wrote last week, Romney’s killing it in the polls. In Iowa, one-third of the respondents would drop support of their current candidates in the 2016 field to back him.  Is this the beginning of Romney 2.0?

I admit that Romney’s “I told you so” platform could play well; Americans like comeback stories.  He's been right about pretty much everything, especially on foreign policy. But then there’s the issue about his stiffness as a candidate and his inability to fully unite the base. 

Also, health care and immigration will continue to plague Romney. On immigration, we have his statements supporting self-deportation, which would be replayed on a loop by Democrats. We could then say goodbye to Hispanic outreach efforts. 

On health care, even if Romney has a more detailed plan to fix Obamacare, he’ll once again be pelted with how Romneycare was the blueprint for Obamacare. Here’s a 2007 clip of him saying how Romneycare should be taken nationwide.

Lastly, the Heartland Institute’s Ben Domenech tore into the narrative that Romneycare’s economic effects were confined to the Bay State. In 2012, while on the Blaze, he listed off numerous figures showing how Romneycare was just bad policy. “Massachusetts spends more per capita on health care than anywhere else in the industrialized world,” he said. “Right now, under its current track–by 2020–health care costs will make up more than 50 percent of the state budget.” He also noted that within a few years Romneycare has gone over budget. Gov. Deval Patrick went down to Washington to ask for more money and got $4.3 billion more than they had asked for from federal taxpayers. Domenech also mentioned that Romney’s own advisers at the time admitted that his health care plan increased the cost of premiums when he was governor. That's not the best track record for the person who would be running against the president’s health care plan...again.

Oh, as for reaching single, urban women, none of us should expect him to perform better with that demographic either.

Nevertheless, there’s the comparison with Ronald Reagan. Reagan was governor and ran for president twice before his successful 1980 campaign. Supporters of Romney think he could do the exact same thing (via Business Insider):

There is precedent for a two-time loser finally winning the presidency on his third try. Ronald Reagan made a last-ditch effort to secure the GOP nomination in 1968. He nearly wrested it from an incumbent president in 1976. But it was only in 1980 that Reagan, at age 69, finally won. Of course, Reagan was famously charismatic, and he had been a conservative folk hero for years by the time he finally won the Republican nomination. The same can’t be said of Romney.

Nevertheless, there is something to the Reagan parallel. Though he commanded the loyalty of conservatives, Reagan was a decidedly pragmatic governor of California who acquiesced to tax increases, the liberalization of the state’s abortion laws, and other measures that should by all rights have scandalized the right.

By the time Reagan ran against Gerald Ford in 1976, however, he presented himself as a conservative purist, devoted to devolving power to state governments and taking a tougher line against the Soviet empire. Between 1976 and 1980, he again underwent another subtle but important shift, smoothing some of his ideological rough edges and offering a more optimistic brand of conservatism tailor-made to appeal to voters who had grown tired of Carter-era malaise.

Could Mitt Romney pull off a similar feat? I wouldn’t rule it out.

All we can do is hope that Ann Romney and the rest of the family shoot down another presidential run with another emphatic "NO" vote. Then again, as Dan mentioned in his post, Romney “left the door kind of open to running again -- but not really” in his interview with Hugh Hewitt.  Maybe it'll all just be a bad dream.

Is Your Food Conservative?

Every major corporation has a leader, and most of them have political views. This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. Many of them also have Political Action Committees that are actively involved in politics. Again, should not be shocking.

A new mobile phone app allows you to scan the barcodes of consumer products to discover whether their leaders donate to political causes - and which ones they do donate to. John Brownlee went to Whole Foods and made a discovery: many products that fill the Whole Foods shelves could be associated with conservatism:

Spoiler: it's almost impossible to buy anything in Whole Foods without, in a roundabout way, supporting the Republican Party.

Checking my list, I noted the missus also wanted me to pick up some cereal. I grabbed a bag of Bob's Red Mill. *Gleeeble-fleep!* 49% Republican, 31% Democrat, 20% Other. Okay, how about Kashi? *Hooble-dee-zlorp!* That's better, I guess: 37.25% Republican to 33.5% Democrat, which means that the Kellogg's-owned Kashi brand bleeds bluer blood than that malevolently cackling, oatmeal-loving oligarch, Bob Moore.

The intense need for people to associate consumer brands with political ideology is so, so tiresome. We as conservatives should know this. Nearly every film that comes out of Hollywood is laden with a liberal message - and let's not get started on rock and pop music. We learn to appreciate these things if we enjoy them - so we can listen to Bruce Springsteen and eat organic granola without considering the political implications of either.

So I happily shop at Costco and buy Progressive insurance and don't really worry about what causes my money is going to support. If the product is good enough, it shouldn't really matter. So while Koch Industries manufactures Brawny paper towels, I usually buy Bounty - or just generic store brands like Target's.

Obsessing over the political leanings of the leaders of companies whose products you buy is a recipe for going crazy and cutting yourself off completely from society. Don't do it.

New Tenants: Islamist Militia Secures A U.S. Embassy Residential Compound In Libya UPDATE: They Had A Pool Party

More than a month after American personnel was evacuated from Tripoli due to ongoing fighting in Libya, Islamist militants report that they’ve “secured” a U.S. Embassy residential compound. The Islamist group now in charge of the compound said they’ve been there a week, and told the Associated Press that a rival militia has also set up shop there before they took over (via Associated Press):

An Islamist-allied militia group "secured" a U.S. Embassy residential compound in Libya's capital, more than a month after American personnel evacuated from the country over ongoing fighting, one of its commanders said Sunday.

An Associated Press journalist walked through the compound Sunday after the Dawn of Libya, an umbrella group for Islamist militias, invited onlookers inside. Some windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched. The journalist saw treadmills, food, televisions and computers still inside.

A commander for the Dawn of Libya group, Moussa Abu-Zaqia, told the AP that his forces had entered and been in control of the compound since last week, a day after it has seized control of the capital and its strategic airport after weeks of fighting with a rival militia. Abu-Zaqia said the rival militia was in the compound before his troops took it over.

U.S. personnel were evacuated on July 26, but Dawn of Libya has called on all foreign entities to return to Tripoli and resume their embassy operations since fighting has “subsided,” according to AP.  

UPDATE: This video reportedly shows the militants having a good time in the compound's pool.

Labor Daze: Majority of Americans 'Strongly Dissaprove' of Obama's Job Performance

This semi-retired president is not impressing anyone. Americans are more than twice as likely to "strongly disapprove" of President Obama's overall job performance than they are to "strongly approve," according to a recent Gallup poll: 

In the first year of Obama's presidency, the percentages of Americans who had strong views about the job he was doing were essentially tied, but the strongly negative responses now significantly outweigh the strongly positive ones. The largest segment of Americans today, 39%, strongly disapprove of Obama's job performance, while 14% moderately disapprove. Another 27% moderately approve, while 17% strongly approve.

Obama's voter base has been crumbling piece by piece as his term ticks along. Millennials stepped back as Obama created one of the worst economies in history for youth opportunity; super-sizing the national debt and fostering high unemployment rates. Hispanics, Blacks, women and almost every other demographic have also begun distancing their praise from the commander-in-chief. 

So who is left in the waning 17 percent who "strongly approve" of Obama's broken promises, failed foreign policy tactics, and negligent oversight of his administration? A few proud Democrats. Yet the poll's trajectory shows even this demographic is fast dissipating. 

Additionally, whereas Democrats were nearly three times as likely to strongly approve as moderately approve of Obama in 2009, the ratio is now about 1-to-1. 

The honeymoon is long over. Time to retire? 

Oh My: Dems More Afraid of Climate Change Than ISIS

Never mind the fact that they’re beheading captives and videotaping it for the world to see, or that they’re brutally murdering their way through Iraq and Syria, or even that they’re sending taunting tweets showing they’re already here and warning that an attack on the homeland is imminent. Nope, that’s not enough for Democrats, who, in a recent Pew poll, said that climate change is more of a threat to the U.S. than ISIS.

Partisan Differences in Views of Global Threats

The poll shows that 68 percent of Democrats believe that global climate change is a major threat to the United States, compared to just 25 percent of Republicans.

In contrast, 65 percent of Democrats believe that ISIS is a major threat, three points less than climate change. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans cited ISIS as a major threat -+ a partisan difference of 13 points.

Eighty percent of Republicans also cite “Islamic extremist groups like al Qaeda” as a major threat to the United States compared to 69 percent of Democrats.

Somewhere, Al Gore is seen nodding in approval.

U.S. Launched A New Wave Of Airstrikes Against ISIS

While the president ponders a strategy to defeat ISIS, our airstrikes continue; this time striking fighters of the Islamic State near the dam in Mosul to support Kurdish and Iraqi national forces. We’ve conducted over a hundred airstrikes so far (via AFP):

The US military launched fresh attacks on Islamic State forces in Iraq, using fighter aircraft and drones to carry out strikes near the Mosul dam, the Pentagon said on Saturday.

"All aircraft exited the strike areas safely."

The statement put out by US Central Command, based in Tampa, Florida, said the strikes were conducted to support Kurdish and Iraqi troops, "as well as to protect critical infrastructure, US personnel and facilities, and support humanitarian efforts."

The statement said that US Central Command so far has conducted a total of 115 air strikes across Iraq.

The United States earlier this week also used aircraft and drones to strike targets in northern Iraq to try to rein in Islamic State militants, who have seized a large swath of territory in the region.

It’s a start, but some direction from the White House would be nice.

White House Could Delay Immigration Decision Until After The Midterm Elections

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

How to Make the College Football Playoff Better

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.

Scarlett Johansson: Planned Parenthood's Biggest Cheerleader

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."

Massachusetts GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Has Slim Lead in Polls

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.

Federal Judge Says Texas Abortion Law Is Unconstitutional

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?

Idiotic: VA Training Manual Depicts Angry Veterans as Sesame Street Character

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.

Media On Obama ISIS Remarks: 'Odd' And 'Highly Unorthodox'

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?

Report: ISIS Studying Mexican Border

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.

Burger King Wants To Opt Out Of the U.S. Corporate Tax Regime. Good.

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.

Video: DWS Struggles to Explain Why She Trusts Charlie Crist as a Democrat


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.

Goodbye, Bro: Democrats Are Hemorrhaging Male Voters

We all know Republicans have a woman problem, but let’s focus on the Democrats’ problem with men, specifically white men. Earlier this month, U.S. News and World Report reported that while women outnumber men and vote more than they do, “in a campaign cycle set to see a handful of margin-of-error races that determine U.S. Senate control, it’s an often overlooked and undervalued element of the election.” The story also says that this male voter deficit with Democrats is “more pronounced” than the Republicans problems with single women voters.

The article noted that in races dependent on turnout, men could be the deciding factor. In North Carolina, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who’s fighting for her political life, has a healthy 8-point lead amongst women, but her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, is dominating with male voters by a 13-point margin.

But some Democrats are indifferent. Joel Benenson, Obama’s pollster, seems to think that liberal efforts to stop the bleeding amongst male voters is unnecessary since you don’t need them to win. “They won men in the presidential election and they lost,” he says. “They win white voters in the presidential election and they lost. There’s no absolute rule that you have to win this group or that group.”

That pretty much captures how male voters felt in the 1980s, as they felt the Democratic Party abandoned them. Thus, the Reagan Democrats were born. Yet, the bleeding began during the Johnson administration (via NYT) [emphasis mine]:

No Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of white men since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all prevailed with support of the so-called rising electorate of women, especially single women, and minorities. But fewer of those voters typically participate in midterm elections, making the votes of white men more potent and the struggle of Democrats for 2014 clear.

Realistically, winning votes from working-class white men has just been a very tough political challenge for Democrats,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster. With demographic trends favoring Democrats nationally and in many states, strategists say it makes sense to concentrate resources on mobilizing women, young people, Hispanics, blacks and other minority voters.

Democrats generally win the votes of fewer than four in 10 white men. But they win eight of 10 minority voters and a majority of women, who have been a majority of the national electorate since 1984, while white men have shrunk to a third, and are still shrinking.

As the Times noted, Democrats have been able to get some traction with single, gay, nonreligious, and college educated men, whereas the white working class bloc is the hardest to reach, which could spell doom for Democrats this year.

If you look at how the working-class votes over the past decade, you’ll see a trend that’s determined elections consistently in that time period. In a previous post, I mentioned a piece by the Atlantic’s Molly Ball showing how the differences in the the share of the vote Democrats win with Americans making under $50,000 a year has determined where the nation has tilted that year. Given today's political climate, even the AFL-CIO political director is saying that 2014 could be a powerful year for the GOP:

Republicans consistently win voters making $50,000 or more, approximately the U.S. median income. The margin doesn't vary too much: In 2012, Mitt Romney got 53 percent of this group's vote; in 2010, Republican House candidates got 55 percent. And Democrats consistently win voters making less than the median—but the margin varies widely. In fact, whether Democrats win these voters by a 10-point or a 20-point margin tells you who won every national election for the past decade.

In 2004, Democrats won the working-class vote by 11 points; George W. Bush was reelected. In 2006, Democrats won the working-class vote by 22 points and took the House and Senate. In 2008, Democrats won by 22 points again, and President Obama was elected. In 2010, the margin narrowed to 11 points, and Republicans took the House back. In 2012, Obama was reelected—on the strength of another 22-point margin among voters making under $50,000.

In a new Pew survey released Thursday, 45 percent of Republican voters said they were unusually excited to vote this year, compared to 37 percent of Democratic supporters. Gridlock in Washington prevents Congress from doing anything to help those struggling economically, while giving Republicans more to blame Obama and Democrats for. Similarly, chaos around the world obscures Democrats' economic message while dragging down the president's image.

The Pew report didn't include a breakdown based on the $50,000 threshold, so I asked Pew to crunch the numbers for me. The result: 51 percent of voters making less than $50,000 plan to vote for Democrats, while 40 percent plan to vote Republican. (The rest are undecided, and the GOP wins the more-than-$50,000 vote 49-44.) That's exactly the same 11-point margin that has meant Democratic doom in every election since 2004.

There are some silver linings. As Democratic pollster John Anzalone said, “In some ways, men dig in. You see it in the numbers where generically they’re just much more Republican and they dig in.” Women are more open to ideas and exchanges between members from both parties; that means we can be competitive with them if we message our brand correctly. We don’t have to win women, although they should be our mindset, but settling for being competitive is fine with me, as it’ll yield electoral dividends.

Case in point, John Kerry beat George W. Bush amongst women in 2004, but only by 3-points (51/48). Kerry and Bush virtually split down the middle with women who have children (49/50), but 43 dominated, as usual, with married women (55/44) over Kerry. The exit poll lists Kerry and Bush almost virtually tied with “other” women (50/49), I don’t know what other means, but the overall split is something Republicans need to replicate in 2016.

Bush also won a solid 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, but that’s a post for another time.

Democrats have a huge advantage with women voters, who potentially aren’t as reliably Democratic if someone doesn’t come up with something better. Women can become a shiftable voting bloc–we saw this with Bush in 2004–but Republicans need to market themselves without tripping over their shoelaces, which they often do.

With men, they’re not budging towards the Democrats and Republicans have a lock on their votes.  Democrats don't seem to have a strategy for stopping the bleeding other than minimum wage hike proposals which polls well with everyone.  Even left-leaning think tanks, like John Podesta's Center for American Progress, thinks that the white male deficit shouldn't be ignored even if their share of the vote is declining: 

“You can’t just give Republicans a clear field to play for the votes of white working-class men without putting up some sort of a fight because that just allows them to run the table with these voters, thereby potentially offsetting your burgeoning advantage among minorities, single women, millennials,” said Ruy Teixeira, an analyst at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

“I just think Democrats are having a hard time figuring out how to effectively pursue it,” he added.

Demography isn’t destiny. Both sides have talked about permanent majorities in government and got rude awakenings in 2006 and 2010 respectively. Demography isn’t destiny. So, fear not my conservative friends, there are many ways to maneuver through an electorate to win elections.

Hey Obama, David Cameron Has a Strategy

Unlike someone we know, it sounds like United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron has a strategy for defeating Islamic extremists. At a press conference today on the growing threat of ISIS, Cameron offered a passionate speech with plans to disrupt the terror group. Just a glimpse at his comments proves he knows exactly who we’re dealing with:

“The threat we face today comes from the poisonous narrative of Islamist extremism.”

“The terrorist threat was not created by the Iraq war ten years ago. It existed even before the horrific attacks on 9/11." 

“This threat cannot be solved simply by dealing with the perceived grievances over Western foreign policy."

"We cannot appease this ideology. We have to confront it at home and abroad."

Thankfully, Cameron is more than a speech maker. In addition to announcing the UK was raising the terror threat level from “substantial” to “severe," Cameron said they will introduce new laws to fights terrorists and seize passports from terror suspects. He plans to offer more details on the UK's plans in a few days:

The prime minister's comments were a clear contrast from our commander-in-chief’s response to the growing threat of ISIS militants at a Thursday press conference. President Obama acknowledged the threat of the extremist group, yet stated the US does not yet have a strategy to confront it. Numerous lawmakers and analysts criticized his comments as weak. Following Cameron’s speech, however, a number of pundits were clearly impressed:

Personal favorite:

You know it's a good speech when people are talking more about the content of his speech than his tan suit. While Obama seems more interested in golfing, Cameron is taking serious steps to combat this very dangerous organization. 

Photo of the Day: Someone in Ferguson Actually Wore This Shirt

So this shirt was spotted in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this week. 

It’s notable for three reasons:

  • 1) Poor grammar: “I rather get stopped by ISIS terrorist than Ferguson PD.” It hurts to read that, doesn’t it?
  • 2) The message on the shirt shows a profound level of ignorance by suggesting that the Ferguson Police Department is more unjust/brutal (take your pick) than ISIS, the terrorist army that is raping and killing its way through Iraq and Syria, and posting its murdering sprees on YouTube and Twitter.
  • 3) This guy can vote.

Head meet desk. 

H/T: WeaselZippers 

Uh Oh: Mary Landrieu Doesn't Own a Home in Louisiana


This is…not what embattled "Louisiana" Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu wanted to read in the Washington Post -- which, as it turns out, is her hometown paper:


In Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu lives in a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill. Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu’s federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records. On a statement of candidacy Landrieu filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, she listed her Capitol Hill home as her address. But when qualifying for the ballot in Louisiana last week, she listed the family’s raised-basement home here on South Prieur Street. The New Orleans house, which Landrieu claims as her primary residence, is a new flash point in one of the most closely contested Senate races in the country. Republicans are considering taking legal action to question Landrieu’s residency in the state, arguing that since winning her seat in 1996 she has become a creature of Washington. For Landrieu, there are hazardous parallels to other recent cases in which residency questions have dogged incumbents. Former senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) lost reelection in 2012 after reports that he stayed in hotels when he returned to Indiana, while Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is drawing flack this year for not having a home of his own in Kansas and listing a donor’s house as his voting address.


Lugar was dumped by primary voters last cycle (before the GOP frittered away the seat he vacated), and Roberts is only leading by high single digits in the ruby red state of Kansas.  Landrieu is one of the most endangered Senate Democrats in the country, representing a state -- from afar -- that Barack Obama lost by 17 points in 2012.  Landrieu has gone 'full Beltway.'  She lives in her multimillion-dollar DC mansion (remember this tax-related flap?), not in the state she ostensibly serves.  The Senator claims that she lives at her parents' house when she's in town, but neighbors, including some of her supporters, aren't so sure:


“I don’t think she lives there,” said Fontaine Wells, 65, pointing at the Landrieu home. “She might come visit, but come on now — she lives in D.C. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her.” … Michael Fitzgerald, 61, has lived around the corner from the Landrieus for three decades. He said he sees Moon and Verna Landrieu regularly, as well as Mitch Landrieu, Mary’s younger brother and the city’s current mayor, who lives in a home he owns nearby.  “On Election Day, [Mary] is seen at our polling place accompanying her parents.” He added, “I have not seen her lately... She’s been in the Senate for — I’ve lost count — 16 years? 18 years?

Landrieu votes with Barack Obama 97 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly.  The president and his signature legislative item, Obamacare, are hugely unpopular in Louisiana.  Landrieu cast the deciding vote for that law, attacking critics for "lying" about its now-evident effects.  At the time, she pledged to take '100 percent' responsibility for Obamacare's outcomes.  Like these ones.  Whether or not the incumbent Senator faces any serious eligibility issues remains to be seen, but the optics are bad.  The "out of touch" attacks will only intensify, especially in light of the recent revelation that Landrieu inappropriately used taxpayer dollars to fund private jet trips for campaign events.  To that end, I'll leave you with this clever bit of in-person trolling from a Republican group last week:


Benham Brothers Challenge Sen. Kay Hagan at Pro-life Rally

HGTV may have fired the Benham brothers for their religious beliefs, but that’s not stopping them from voicing and standing up for their pro-life ideals. At a "Summer of Life" rally organized in North Carolina on Wednesday, David and Jason Benham spoke outside of Senator Kay Hagan's (D) office to challenge her pro-abortion agenda. In particular, they criticized the senator for opposing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks - the point when unborn babies can feel pain.

In addition to taking Hagan to task for her anti-life behavior, the Christian brothers also shared how their pro-abortion critics often sound irrational, one even calling them "anti-woman":

“I was sitting there thinking and I looked at my wife and said, ‘Anti-women? Well, the last I checked, I really love women. I love my daughters, I love my wife, and I’m willing to stand up and lay my life down for those women that are in a very difficult situation and think that abortion is their only choice.”

The twin brothers were set to host a new show called "Flip it Forward" on HGTV, but in May were let go after the network discovered they were pro-life. As we have witnessed so far, the incident has only made them more outspoken in their fight for life. 

The Benhams may have lost their jobs, but they've gained an important presence in the pro-life movement. Watch more of their passionate speech here:

Have Republicans Already Caved on Obama's Executive Amnesty?

President Obama, The Week's Marc Ambinder reports, is considering announcing a temporary executive amnesty for up to 8 million illegal immigrants sometime around mid-September. The timing, Ambinder reports, is in part designed to provoke Republicans into initiating another government shutdown, which could help Democrats at the polls this November. Ambinder writes:

The Democratic scenario has Republicans underestimating the price of such a move. Indeed, Democratic focus groups consistently show that the most unpopular thing the GOP can do, the one thing that will make people who are too disgusted to vote, vote, or who are capable of changing their vote to change their vote to the other side, is to shut down the government again. It is that unpopular.
...
So: Go big on immigration. Wait for the GOP counter-reaction. Quietly pray for the government to get shut down. Use it like a cattle prod to wake voters up just before the midterms.

That's the last, best hope for Democrats.

But Republicans seem to be on to Obama's game. And they are making it perfectly clear that there will be no government shutdown before the elections. Roll Call reports:

House Republicans won’t repeat that mistake this September, Ryan predicted: “We will pass a clean [continuing resolution], and if for some reason the Democrats don’t take that, then they will clearly have shut the government down … it will be patently obvious … that they are playing politics with this, and trying to trigger a shutdown so they can blame us, but we’re really blameless in this particular situation.”

Ryan’s confidence that his conference will cooperate in passing a stop-gap spending bill free of controversial policy riders — "until Dec. 11 is what we’re thinking,” said Ryan — contradicts Democrats’ cries over the past few days that the GOP is spoiling for another shutdown that could cost them the election in November.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) aide Alex Conant outlined a similar timeline for The Washington Examiner's Byron York:

Rubio's office says there's nothing to it. "We're not going to shut down the government," spokesman Alex Conant told me. "Ultimately, Republicans will need to win control of the Senate to reverse an executive action. We would be interested in having a vote on it in the context of the budget debate, but we are not going to shut down the government."

So does this mean Republicans will just roll over if Obama grants executive amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants? Not at all. Look at the bolded portions of the Ryan and Conant quotes. Both suggest that Republicans are planing to attach specific language forbidding Obama from spending money administering his new amnesty program, just not before the November election. 

And this is the smart strategy to pursue. Republicans have a very good chance of taking control of the Senate this November. And it is much easier to force policy concessions from the White House when you control both the House and Senate as opposed to just the House.

Democrats seem to be realizing that Republicans will not make the same mistake two years in a row, and it is now looking like Obama will wait till after the election before moving on amnesty.