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Florida Happened and It Ain’t Over Yet

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Ali Akbar

Here are the quick ramblings and tatlings of a Newt endorser and the leading NotMittRomney voice: me.

Romney regains his footing and adds a couple of points to what he was in fact polling just a couple of weeks ago. That’s what a more than $12 million deficit against your opponent will do to you. Right now, Romney is 14 points ahead of Newt. It’ll stay about there, maybe 13 points if we’re lucky.

Even more troubling, with 96% of the results in, we’re sitting at 1,626,172 votes. Sounds like a lot, huh? In 2008 we had 1,949,498 votes cast. GOP, we have a Florida problem and it’s something money, a candidate with a solid-jaw line, and polled stances on major issues can’t fix.

Newt could have accomplished two things. First, he could have run Florida, dubbing him the nominee. Second, he could have weighted Romney below the 40s to apply more pressure for Santorum to drop (although, that’s not happening — I’ve talked to Santorum and believe he’ll stay in at least through the end of February).

This is fundamentally good for the GOP though. This process makes our party tougher. It makes issues get talked about in the court of public opinion instead of amongst Party bosses or in Convention committee rooms.

Newt, Santorum, whoever the opposition may be has a moral obligation to stay in the race. If Romney is the nominee, the establishment, his team, dare I say a Romney administration has to know just how much of our base is opposed to his ridiculous record and flip flopped stances.

Continue this fight.

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Romney 46% to 45% Conservative Vote Signals Trouble Ahead

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Myra Adams

Sure Mitt Romney won a “landslide” in Florida tonight according to the Drudge Report headline at this moment, but was it really? Here are some numbers to consider: Romney won 46% of the vote BUT when 32% for Gingrich is combined with 13% for Santorum the total is 45% for the conservative team and suddenly Romney’s “landslide” disappears.

You can expect to hear Gingrich spout this line of thinking. He will use it as one of the reasons he will stay in the race and fight to the finish, and why he thinks Santorum should drop out.

The 45% conservative vote vs. 46% for Romney proves once again just how polarized the GOP is in 2012.

When Romney eventually becomes the official nominee, uniting the conservative wing will be his most difficult undertaking as the new party leader.

That is a problem Romney must successfully address if he is to prevail against Obama and one that Obama is counting on Romney to not solve.

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GOP Establishment Back in Control?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Patrick Reddy

It certainly looks that way: Ronmey won big in FLA with economic conservatives, suburbanites, older women and Cubans.

So is Romney another Eisenhower — or another Bob Dole?

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Florida’s Results Are the Best That Money Can Buy

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Katrina Pierson

As the Florida primary election results pour in, I have to wonder how much positive, pro-conservative messaging could have been generated with the $18M that Mitt Romney just spent on character assassination. In the midst of national debts and credit downgrades, there is worldwide civil unrest. From the riots in Greece, through the flash mobs in the UK, and all the way to the Oakland City Hall Occupiers, there are people who realize that one trillion dollars doesn’t go very far these days. Purity is the goal, but reality is the harsh equalizer. While the Tea Party is engaging in the political process and working on policy, the Occupiers are sending a parallel message to elites in both political establishments. The ruling class is on its way out.

When I joined the Tea Party in 2009, I was a purist. Demanding fiscal responsibility and accountability was just on the surface. I also wanted elected officials to represent the people with strong positions on national security and limited government. Like many, reality settled in after the 2010 elections. A mass wave of big conservative talkers and campaigns that insisted on Tea Party principles fooled many.  Unfortunately, many of these candidates did not have an actual record to validate their claims, and their maiden voyages in politics were not particularly impressive.  Many grassroots activists who helped these candidates get elected in the 2010 elections are now recruiting their replacements.

During the 2011 legislative session of the Texas Legislature, my idealism was infused with a dose of realism. As a member of the Texas Tea Party Caucus Advisory Board, I learned more than a little about how the system works. Money is power, and it rules the political elites. The leadership is handpicked, and laws are written accordingly. The “Good ol’ Boy Network” isn’t just something you see in the big Hollywood films. Even the reformers walked on eggshells, wary of shaking up the status quo. Those who attempted to challenge the ruling class became victims of backlash and threats of formidable challengers in the primaries. This is why the rise of Newt Gingrich as the choice of many conservative grassroots is a sight for my very sore — but now more open — eyes.

The mainstream media, including the “fair and balanced” cable news networks, have been telling Republicans that Mitt Romney will be the next nominee for president. They have been trying to convince conservatives that the guy who lost to the guy who lost to Obama is the right guy for us in 2012. What conservative grassroots are saying to the media and to the party is that it’s not “Mitt’s turn” — it’s the people’s turn. If Speaker Gingrich wins or loses the nomination, the people will have had their say. The mere fact that Mitt Romney has been running for president for at least five years, and has still found it necessary to spend a fortune tearing down other candidates to prop himself up, is reflective of his inability to win honestly and exposes his lack of substance on the issues. And now that all of his negative ads have been proven to be false, what will he have moving forward?  Jimmy Carter was a successful business man, and from what I’m told, he did a number on the economy.

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Through New Hampshire, Under South Carolina, Over Florida — Nothin’ But Mitt

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Stephen Green

In a four-man race, it doesn’t take a very big number to win a plurality of voters. In the four-man race in Florida today, Mitt Romney managed to nab almost 50%. His vote-ratio over the number two contender, Newt Gingrich, was almost 1.5-to-1. Rick Santorum managed 13%, and Ron Paul — who has never won a primary — is in single digits.

Before I continue, please know that I don’t have a horse in this race. Come November, I will vote for the GOP nominee with something like eagerness. So, please, don’t write letters fawning all over your candidate and why he’s really the guy for me to root for. I’d pinned all my hopes on a Buckaroo Banzai/Marco Rubio ticket, but that looks increasingly unlikely. It’s not just that I don’t have a horse in this race, I’m not even shopping for a saddle blanket.

On Saturday, Nevada voters will hold their caucus. Paul does well in small-state caucuses, and I suspect Nevada will be no different. However, Romney has money and NV has a large Mormon minority. He will likely do better there than Paul. Nobody else has a ground game there. Maine starts its rolling caucus on the same day, ending on the 11th. Romney will win there for the same reasons he won New Hampshire.

In a week, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri. The first two are caucus states, and MO’s primary vote is non-binding. Paul doesn’t have the money to compete in multiple states at once. None of those states are hostile to Romney. None of those states are big enough to do him much damage, even if they were.

Feb 18: Guam. Nobody cares, least of all Guam.

The last states to hold primaries before Super Tuesday are Arizona and Michigan. Both primaries are closed, so no chances for a Democratic-flavored Operation Chaos. Michigan is Romney’s old stomping ground. Arizona, again, has a large Mormon community. And Romney has shown, for whatever reason, that he can hold his own with conservative Republicans. If any of the non-Romneys are hoping for a knockout blow on February 28, they’re likely to come away disappointed.

I noted during the debates last fall, that Romney appeared to be setting up Florida as his firewall state. Coming out of a big NH win, SC was always going to be Romney’s weak spot — and that’s exactly how it turned out. The remaining question was: Would the firewall hold?

We have the answer to that tonight, and it’a a resounding yes. It’s been Romney’s gameplan likely for four years now, and he played it pretty well.

I’ve outlined why, gearing up for Super Tuesday, there aren’t any big (or very realistic) chances for a not-Romney to break Mitt’s Flo-Mo before the big day. In other words, this is likely where Romney’s near-inevitable inevitability starts coming into play. He has the money, he has the organization, and he has a pretty easy ride over the next month.

So is it Mitt? Barring a string of unlikely upsets by underfunded candidates in a string of states that don’t matter all that much… yeah, it’s probably Mitt.

I don’t like that, but I will accept it.

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More Exit Poll Observations

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Patrick Reddy

1) For Newt Gingrich to compete in February and March, he’ll have to do better with women: he only lost men by 5 pints, but lost women by 22.
2) Florida is not really a Southern state: over 70% of GOP voters and over 80% of all voters were born outside the South. If he can get back on track, Newt will win Alabama, Georgia, Miss, etc.
3) Romney’s strong showing in the suburbs of Florida bodes well for the long run.
4) Romney carried the votes of those who were either “moderate” or “somewhat conservative” by over 20 points. Newt won those “very conservative” voters by 43-29%.
5) Romney appears to be establishing a Center-Right coalition. That’s a winning formula for everywhere but the Deep South.

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CNN Exit Poll

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Patrick Reddy

Mitt Romney built his huge Florida victory on the big metro areas, Northern retirees, middle and upper class voters, moderates and Cubans.

This coalition will be: a) very strong in big urban states like New York, Penn, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio; and b) indicates that Romney will be very competitive in Florida this fall. If Romney wins FLA in November, Obama is in deep trouble.

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Landslide? Mitt’s Big Spending Helped that Along

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Roger Kimball

OK, according to Drudge and other savants it’s a LANDSLIDE for Romney in the Florida Primary. That can happen when you outspend your chief opponent 5-1, as the well-coiffed Mitt Romney did. I think Marco Rubio may well be right: the chap who wins Florida will be the chap who garners the Republican nomination. That chap, we now know, is named Mitt Romney. Yes, yes: a week is a long time in politics, as the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once observed. The sky could fall. Mitt Romney could be caught in bed with Michelle Obama. He could be caught in bed with Barack Obama. Possibility is cheap. What’s likely is that Mitt will be the nominee — despite this poll, which has Newt beating out everyone for the nomination. It is also, I submit, likely that (if the polls and the markets are to be believed) Mitt will lose against Obama. (Newt, by the way, loses by an even bigger margin.) What can I say?  I have nothing against Mitt Romney.  If if does garner the nomination, I’ll yawn and pull the lever for him when the time comes.  But, as I’ve often said, he’s our Bob Dole: the safe guy, the guy who is next next in line, the guy that the establishment can line up behind because he won’t “rock the boat,” because he won’t challenge the status quo in any fundamental way, because he has the same tapioca running through his veins that Barack Obama has, only he is not a narcissistic anti-America radical whose incompetence vies with his malevolence for ascendency.  Mitt is a nice guy who knows how to manage things, even if he has been a dismal failure in getting himself elected. He is, as I’ve also said, a company man at a moment when the problem is the company. But the Republican establishment wants Mitt. He is, they say, more “electable” than anyone else actually running.  I suppose that will be some consolation when his candidacy puts Barack Obama back in the White House.

I hope I am wrong about all this.  Let’s see.

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On Romney’s Florida Win

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by John Hawkins

Mitt Romney has proven that he’s the most electable candidate in Florida — well, as long as he has a 5-to-1 money advantage, much of the conservative press shilling for him relentlessly, and three people splitting the vote against him. That being said, Florida will give him momentum, there are no scheduled debates for February, and the primary schedule works to his advantage because he’s likely to do well in states like Nevada (heavy Mormon population) and Michigan (his father was the governor there). Whether Santorum and Gingrich will have the money to continue to effectively compete or whether the conservative base will move towards Mitt to put an end to a damaging primary fight is still an open question. Still, there is many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip, so hopefully the other candidates will stay in, fight like hell, and try to spare us the least conservative GOP nominee since Nixon.

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Romney Wins, But Race Is Far From Over

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Alexis Garcia

ORLANDO, FL – With the results of the Florida primary now in the books, Mitt Romney has emerged victorious with a double-digit win over his rival Newt Gingrich. Learning a lesson from South Carolina, Romney has emerged a meaner, more aggressive candidate here in the Sunshine State. He now understands that Newt must not be left to linger and is going for the knockout blow. After outspending Gingrich on the airwaves five to one, Romney’s attacks took their toll on the speaker and guaranteed him an easy win tonight.

However, with 95% of delegates still left on the table, this race is far from over. Gingrich has vowed to continue his campaign until the convention and is hoping that Tea Party support will help him carry the day. That being said, conservatives and Tea Party members have yet to coalesce around a candidate — if Rick Santorum continues to stick in the race he could take away a chunk of the constituency that Newt is banking on to win. With only one debate until Super Tuesday, Gingrich’s biggest battle will be fighting the perception that this race is over. If he can quelch the narrative that Romney is the eventual nominee and can keep the money coming in, he has a chance of making it into the summer.

One thing is for sure, there are still four viable candidates in the race and the mudslinging is sure to continue for at least the next couple months. Eventually though, one candidate is consistently going to be a winner and Mitt Romney has the most resources and money to carry his campaign until he is the last man standing.

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Slouching Toward November

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Glenn Reynolds

So Mitt Romney has won, and won big. He’s got momentum, and it’s bad news for Newt, as well as for other contenders like Santorum and Ron Paul. The way you puncture the inevitability of an “inevitable” nominee is to beat him, and nobody came close to beating Romney in Florida. On the other hand, as Bryan Preston points out at the link above, Romney hasn’t won over Republican voters yet.

Then again, neither has anyone else, and nobody else came close to Romney’s performance tonight. Ultimately, the way you seal the deal is by getting the votes, and the delegates. So far, Romney seems to be pulling ahead.

In exit interviews, many GOP primary voters worried that campaign negativity would hurt the chances of beating Obama in November. And while politics ain’t beanbag, winning politics isn’t about fratricide, either. What GOP primary voters are looking for, above all, is a candidate who can make Barack Obama a one-term President. Candidates will be well advised to remember that, and not let their egos lead them into pointless personal attacks.

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Florida Called, Double Digit Win for Romney (Update: Comprehensive Reaction on the Tatler)

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Mitt Romney has reason to be singing tonight, but I don’t think it’s time to crank up the Crowded House yet. Don’t say it’s over, because it’s not. The big win in Florida hands Romney 50 delegates, maybe, probably, unless Florida ends up doling them out proportionally as other states are. If that happens, Romney’s lead will be reduced. But winning in Florida, as the first closed GOP primary and the first state that can be said to be a microcosm of the entire US is significant.

Nevada caucuses on February 4, territory that favors Mitt Romney and Ron Paul for different reasons. Super Tuesday is coming up March 6, and includes some states friendly to Gingrich, Santorum and Romney. At this point, even if Romney had won Florida by 50 points we have still seen less than 6% of the total delegates awarded. Romney has less than 100 delegates to date, and needs more than 1100 to clinch the nomination. A lot has already happened to upend this primary several times, and a lot more can still happen.

The exit polls keep telling us that a majority of Republican voters want someone else in the race. That’s very unlikely to happen, but those numbers do tell us something important: Mitt Romney has not sealed the deal. He hasn’t sealed the deal because the base of the party distrusts him, and it has valid reasons for that distrust. He still has some time in the primary to earn that trust. Or, someone else has time to earn it instead.

Update: Click the links below for other reaction to the primary results.

Glenn ReynoldsSlouching Toward November

John Hawkins of Right Wing NewsOn Romney’s Florida Win

PJTV’s Alexis Garcia, reporting from Florida – Romney Wins, But the Race is Far from Over

Roger Kimball – Landslide? Mitt’s Big Spending Helped that Along

Patrick Reddy looks at the CNN exit poll data, and more here.

Roger L. Simon – Why Gingrich Lost Big and What’s Next

Stephen Green – Through New Hampshire, Under South Carolina, Over Florida – Nothin’ But Mitt

Tea Party captain Katrina PiersonFlorida’s Results are the Best that Money can Buy

Ali Akbar – Florida Happened and It Ain’t Over Yet

Myra Adams – Romney’s 46% to 45% Conservative Vote Signals Trouble Ahead

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Poll Buzz: Winner to Be Called Early

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Alexis Garcia

ORLANDO, FL — Word here is that they will call the polls shortly after 8p ET for Mitt Romney. No word on his margin of victory. Note that the panhandle polls are still open for the next hour.

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CNN Leak

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Patrick Reddy

GOP consultant Alex Castellanos just let it slip that their exit poll showed an easy Romney victory.

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Florida’s Looking Like a Win for Mitt Romney

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Big Government’s got some exit poll numbers.

Romney  47%

Gingrich  34%

Santorum  11%

Paul  8%

Most of us spectators have expected a Romney win for a few days now. If those numbers hold up, what do they mean? We will have a few folks weighing in on that very question here at the Tatler tonight, so keep an eye on us. Head over to our facebook page for a preview of some of the folks you can expect to hear from.

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Will Obama Find out The Answer to Stalin’s Query: “How Many Divisions Does the Pope Have?”

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Clarice Feldman

Michael Gerson in the Washington Post takes aim at the administration’s demand that all employers who provide health coverage must provide for abortion, contraception and sterilization in their policies and all hospitals must perform these services:

The implications of Obama’s power grab go further than contraception and will provoke opposition beyond Catholicism. Christian colleges and universities of various denominations will resist providing insurance coverage for abortifacients. And the astounding ambition of this federal precedent will soon be apparent to every religious institution. Obama is claiming the executive authority to determine which missions of believers are religious and which are not — and then to aggressively regulate institutions the government declares to be secular. It is a view of religious liberty so narrow and privatized that it barely covers the space between a believer’s ears.
Obama’s decision also reflects a certain view of liberalism. Classical liberalism was concerned with the freedom to hold and practice beliefs at odds with a public consensus. Modern liberalism uses the power of the state to impose liberal values on institutions it regards as backward. It is the difference between pluralism and anti-­clericalism.

A Catholic poster at Just One Minute, Cathyf, explains why the Church cannot back off on this fight:

Something that I’m pretty sure that non-Catholics have no idea about, and Catholics are mostly ignorant as well is the latae sentiae excommunication. “Officially, a latae sententiae penalty follows automatically, by force of the law itself, when the law is contravened… A latae sententiae penalty differs from a ferendæ sententiæ (sentence to be passed). If one commits an ecclesiastical offense for which a ferendae sententiae punishment is prescribed, the penalty will only take effect when imposed by the competent ecclesiastical authority.” In other words, a normal excommunication requires a Church trial, where you can mount a defense, get off on a technicality, bribe or threaten the judges, blah-blah-blah. But with the automatic excommunication, there is no judicial process, no requirement to get caught, no one but the person who committed the offense has to even know that it happened — boom — game over.

And paying for an abortion (“procuring an abortion”) is one of the eight automatic excommunication sins.

Obama, being a politician, believes that he can convince, bribe, threaten, etc. the Church into going along. But, sorry, there is no way a bishop is going to excommunicate himself for Obama. But, simultaneously, there is no way that a bishop is going to risk the shutting down of every Church school, hospital, social service agency, etc. in order to score debating points.

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Newt’s Newest Attack Isn’t Very Kosher

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Stipulation: I have no dog in the fight between Mittens and the Gummy Bear. As a conservative who wants to support a solid conservative who has shown evidence that they can stick to principles and win a national contest…well, I don’t really have anywhere to go, do I? None of the final four are convincing on both fronts.

Especially when the “anti-establishment” candidate who has been in Washington DC since Lincoln was splitting logs complains about his opponent’s dishonest attacks from the left, and then follows up with a dishonest attack from the left of his own.

At his first rally of the morning, Newt Gingrich rolled out a new attack line: Mitt Romney took kosher food away from elderly Jewish people.

“He eliminated serving kosher food for elderly Jewish residents under [Medicaid],” Gingrich said. “I did not know this; it just came out yesterday.  The more we dig in, I understand why George Soros in Europe yesterday said it makes no difference if it’s Romney or Obama, we can live with either one.”

Didn’t happen. The cut wouldn’t have forced anyone to eat non-kosher food. It would have outsourced preparing the kosher food and saved the state a lot of money. Very very dumb of Team Newt to bring this up, since it ends up making Romney look frugal and religiously sensitive. Then again, we know that negative noise works no matter what the underlying facts are.

What we see here is Gingrich using the tactics of the left (oops) to amp up the fear and defend every penny of government spending. That’s objectively what he is doing.

What’s a conservative supposed to do with this? It’s making me think about Sam Houston quite a bit; either the first or the third of his “Texas” quotes will do.

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Gingrich Camp Prepares for Early Night

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Alexis Garcia

CELEBRATION, FL — Newt Gingrich made his final stop here at the Heritage Hall Voting precinct before polls close in the Florida primary.

Word among the press corps is that the Gingrich camp is planning for an early night. The former Speaker is set to address supporters at a primary night rally at 8pm EST and then retire to watch results.

Gingrich spokesman RC Hammond gave brief remarks to the press signaling the focus of the campaign post-Florida:

“In a race where the media has picked a front runner who hasn’t broke 50% yet, that leaves a lot of math out there for the conservative side of the party to pick. So we’ll stay competitive in the nomination which is why it will last into the Spring. We will continue to bring in delegates. We will continue to bring in large amounts of support. At the end of the day as long of the Tea Party supporters keep coming our way, we’re going to be able to do very well.”

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Naming Names: A List of Big Obama Fundraisers

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

In case you’re interested, straight from BarackObama.com, a who’s who of Obama money: OBAMA FOR AMERICA AND OBAMA VICTORY FUND 2012 VOLUNTEER FUNDRAISERS.

Nota bene: In the super high-roller category of $500,000+, that’s not our Steve Green. But it is Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg.

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Sen. Rubio Introduces Bill to Stop Obama’s Birth Control/Abortion Edict

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

This is leadership.

Amid growing rancor between the Catholic hierarchy and the White House, Republican rising star Sen. Marco Rubio is pushing a bill that takes a swipe at the Obama administration’s stance on expanding access to birth control.

Nice lead, Politico. “Expanding access to birth control” sounds quite a bit better than the reality, which is forcing religious organizations to provide services that go against their beliefs. But writing that would highlight what Obama is trying to do. Can’t have that.

The Florida senator, widely considered on the short list for the GOP vice presidential pick, introduced legislationTuesday that would vastly expand the ability of religious or faith-based employers to opt out of a health reform law requirement that health plans cover all FDA-approved contraceptives without any co-pay.

Note Rubio’s possible political motive despite the fact that he is a Christian social conservative, but omit the administration’s obvious political motive to mollify the NOW and NARAL gang. Politico is outdoing itself here.

The administration had offered a narrow exemption to religious organizations, which the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops said was unacceptable. They were not mollified when the administration gave other religious group, such as a religiously affiliated hospitals or charities, an extra year — until August 2013 — to comply with the requirement.

Giving them an extra year doesn’t fundamentally change what the administration is forcing them to do. It’s just political procrastination.

Rubio’s bill would allow individuals to take a conscience exemption and not offer the benefit to workers. The administration has defined access to birth control as a basic preventive health service that should be available.

At taxpayer expense, too, with no co-pays. Since declaring that he would bypass Congress, President Obama has gone out of his way to pick fights over fundamental things — the advise and consent role of Congress in appointments, religious freedom, the rule of law regarding immigration. He needs to be called out by those who can force him to defend his actions. We need to hear more from the Republican presidential candidates on this.

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Muslim Persecution of Christians: Context and Continuity

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Raymond Ibrahim

recently spoke at a conference sponsored by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA), held at the Sheraton hotel in Framingham, Massachusetts. Titled “The Persecuted Church: Christian Believers in Peril in the Middle East,” Part 1 of my talk follows:

YouTube Preview Image

Click for Part 2 and Part 3.

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Race Arsonist Tim Wise vs. Andrew Breitbart

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Christian Adams

The Left can accuse conservatives of engaging in racially charged behavior, when in fact the Left requires racial resentment to survive.  Consider the brewing war between Tim Jacob Wise and Andrew Breitbart.  Wise is a race arsonist of the higher order.  His mission in life is to stoke the flames of racial resentment and grievance.  Cause for grievance lurks everywhere for Wise, and therefore he is relevant in Leftist circles.  A few moments on his website gives you an idea of the creepy depths he will plumb to keep the malignancy of racial resentment alive.

Not surprisingly, Wise is a favorite guest on MSNBC.

Wise is not beyond tossing defamatory accusations at conservatives.  Consider his running war with Andrew Breitbart.  Wise actually went to Tulane at the same time Breitbart did. At that time, a cross burning took place on the lawn of Breitbart’s fraternity.  That fraternity had a black pledge, and Breitbart was the pledge’s sponsor.  Decades later, Wise actually accused Breitbart of having something to do with the cross burning.

So far, nobody has sued Wise for defamation, or even called for him to be bumped from MSNBC.  Those penalties are reserved for conservatives.

But the fight has gotten bloodier in recent days with Wise taking to the airwaves with his fellow traveller Sam Seder at MSNBC.  This dispute is more than a shouting match between Wise and Breitbart, it is an illustration of the double standard that affects any discussion of racial issues in this country.  When a presidential candidate bemoans Americans on food stamps, some hear racial code.  When Eric Holder hears a witness statement documenting black panther voter intimidation, “my people” are offended.  This effort to shame people from discussing real problems is an effort to provide a smokescreen for bad policies.  Unfortunately, the nation suffers.

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Why Would Newt Want to Ban Reporters from Moderating Debates?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

I’ve read this through several times and can’t quite figure out why Newt Gingrich would say this.

“As your nominee, I will not accept debates in the fall in which the reporters are the moderators,” he said, “because you don’t need to have a second Obama person in the debate.”

Doesn’t Gingrich owe his South Carolina victory to ABC News and John King? Hasn’t he ridden media bashing in debates to the front of the GOP pack, twice? It makes no strategic sense for him to ban reporters from moderating debates. He needs them, to some extent, serve as foils.

So, I guess, he doesn’t really mean it. If he is the nominee and debates are scheduled with reporters as moderators, Newt Gingrich is not about to turn away from that. He knows as well as anyone that debates are his time to shine. He knows what media bashing has done for his campaign.

Personally, I would like to see someone other than reporters moderate debates. The media are 90% or more Democrats, stacking the deck against Republicans. Gingrich is dead right about that. That’s precisely why Newt needs them.The mainstream media is not trusted or liked. They’re the perfect targets of Gingrich’s justified rage.

It would be worthwhile to mix in moderators who are prominent for having done big things — a Norman Schwartzkopf to ask questions about military and foreign policy, a successful entrepreneur, a religious figure, etc. I’m no fan of Rick Warren’s, but didn’t he moderate a pretty interesting forum/debate in 2008? We would get much broader set of questions from a broader and more interesting slice of America if we cycled in moderators who aren’t reporters. I’m all for that.

But just issuing a blanket ban on reporters? It won’t work, and Newt Gingrich of all people wouldn’t want it to.

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Obama Edict on Abortion Leaves No Room for Freedom of Conscience

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

I’m with Ace on this — Barack Obama is an arrogant moralist. And his absolute view of morality is one that I don’t think any previous president has shared. Through ObamaCare he has imposed a demand on religious institutions that defy their beliefs and consciences, in forcing them to provide contraceptives and abortions.

Catholic organizations are Obama’s primary target. And some of them are not bowing to the king.

At least three Catholic bishops have said they will not comply with the mandate the Obama administration put in place recently in Obamacare that will force religious employers to pay for birth control, contraception and drugs that may cause abortions in their health care plans.

The Obama Administration issued a statement re-iterating the “contraceptive mandate” requiring all insurance providers cover the full range of FDA-approved drugs and devices would remain intact. This mandate, originally proposed in August, includes drugs that work after conception to destroy life rather than prevent it. The statement included a postponement of one year for religious groups that do not already carry contraceptives and additionally would not be exempted under last year’s narrow definition of “religious employer.”

The mandate not only violates such existing conscience protections on abortion such as the Hyde/Weldon Amendment (in so far as Plan B and Ella are covered), but also violates the principles of the Church Amendments which protects conscience rights for those who object to contraceptives and other services on moral or religious grounds.

Simply put, Obama doesn’t care about mainstream Christians. If he did, he would not do what he is doing. He knows that his edict violates the consciences of millions of Americans, Catholic  as well as Protestant. And he does not care. He has revealed himself as a man of faith of sorts, though, in serving the left’s most cherished sacrament: Ending the lives of “unwanted” innocents.

Maybe he’ll care in November, when Catholics hopefully vote en masse to kick the abortionist tyrant off his throne.

 

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Yes, Jonah Goldberg, You’re a Northeastern RINO…

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The man wants a government bounty program to protect us from Burmese pythons. Seriously.

I think it is the right and proper role of government to protect us from giant alien snakes that are destroying our environment, threatening our children and pets. If you want to call me a RINO for that, go for it. I can do without the cowboy poetry festivals, but invasive giant snake genocide: mark me down for a yes.

You see, I don’t think we need a vast new government bureaucracy to kill snakes. Heck I think if we created a vast new bureaucracy to kill snakes we would very quickly end up subsidizing people to raise snakes to kill them. But, are you telling me that during a time when unemployment is outrageously high, the government can’t put a bounty on snakes and get results? I don’t know what the right number is but for the sake of argument if we had a hunting season in which you could bring in unlimited number of Burmese pythons for $50 per pound, my hunch is Burmese pythons would be erecting memorials to the great snake genocide of 2012.

Seriously, I need two hands to count the number of cabinet agencies I would shutter. I cringe every time I remember George W. Bush saying that whenever somebody hurts, the government has to move. But when it comes to an invading army of giant snakes, it’s time for the government to get moving.

Faster, please.

Faster, please, you say? Well, cast your eyes on fair Sweetwater, Texas. They have a rattlesnake problem out that way, a problem which is several orders of magnitude more of a threat then non-poisonous and generally slow-moving pythons. Every March, thousands gather in Sweetwater for the fun and privilege of hunting, killing and eating rattlesnakes. The local Jaycees run the round-up. Participants buy a ticket that lets them in on the hunt. They have a carnival and other events attached to the round-up. I understand some out-of-staters don’t like the event very much. This anti-roundup site fails to make the event sound like anything but fun. But if Wikipedia is right, the round-up is good business along with being useful for controlling the rattlesnake population.

So there’s your solution to the Python Crisis of 2012: Let some local clubs or groups organize periodic hunts, let them charge for tickets to hunt, and let hunters do what hunters do. People will pay for the privilege of killing snakes in great numbers. No government bounty necessary.

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Congressional Democrats: Fast & Furious is Arizona’s Fault!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Howard Nemerov

The new Fast & Furious meme:

Democrats investigating the failed gun-running probe known as “Operation Fast and Furious” are laying the blame at the feet of officials in Arizona, saying in a new report that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have “obtained no evidence” implicating high-level political appointees in Washington.

This is curious. Evidence surfaced this week showing that AG Holder’s office knew immediately when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered by a F&F firearm.

Congressman Elijah Cummings, point man on this new propaganda, is a longtime Maryland gun control proponent and Brady Campaign endorsee.

Speaking of Brady Campaign, let’s not forget that, before F&F exploded in their faces, President Obama promised Brady he was working on their gun control agenda “under the radar,” and that AG Holder wanted to reinstate the Clinton gun ban allegedly to help Mexico soon after Obama took office.

Then Fast & Furious began.

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This is Why They’re Called ‘Tax and Spend Liberals’

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Because they tax. And they spend. So they tax some more, so they can spend some more. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, having failed up from the job of Baltimore mayor, wants to impose a massive new tax on gasoline.

On Monday, the governor announced a proposal to apply the state’s 6 percent sales tax to gasoline.

The state already levies a 23.5-cent gas tax, and the sales tax proposal would be on top of that to generate new revenue for transportation infrastructure needs. The O’Malley administration said the proposal would raise the price of gas by about 6 cents a gallon in the first year, 12 cents in the second year and about 18 cents in the third year.

This, from the same fellow who imposed a tax on millionaires and saw them flee the state in droves. The boy governor evidently hasn’t learned much from that experience.

Here’s what happened, looking back a few years. When times were good and the state’s coffers were full, the Democrats ramped up state spending on all sorts of new social programs. I lived in Maryland at the time, and remember thinking that eventually all this spending would catch up with the state. Now that the economy has turned sour the spending has caught up. Rather than cut back, though, the governor is proposing a new tax that, among other things, will strangle the non-government economy in the ironically nicknamed Free State. Maryland already has a high state income tax, and a high tax burden overall. But it’s lucky in one respect: Its proximity to Washington ensures that it will have an abundant supply of overpaid federal workers to inflate its economy.

Not for the first time, I am so glad I left Maryland when I could. Love the people, the history, the coast and food. The politics leave a whole lot to be desired.

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Mr. Krugman, There’s Nothing Sacrosanct about the Nobel Prize in Economics

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Neil Snyder

In a column for the New York Times titled “The Austerity Debacle,” Paul Krugman, a Nobel laureate in economics, opined that austerity is driving European countries back into recession.  He focused his attention on Britain, Italy, and Spain and said that government attempts to rein in spending in those countries are the exact opposite of what should be done:

“And it’s a failure, in particular, of the austerity doctrine that has dominated elite policy discussion both in Europe and, to a large extent, in the United States for the past two years…

Even so, surpassing the track record of the 1930s shouldn’t be a tough challenge. Haven’t we learned a lot about economic management over the last 80 years? Yes, we have — but in Britain and elsewhere, the policy elite decided to throw that hard-won knowledge out the window, and rely on ideologically convenient wishful thinking instead…

The infuriating thing about this tragedy is that it was completely unnecessary. Half a century ago, any economist — or for that matter any undergraduate who had read Paul Samuelson’s textbook “Economics” — could have told you that austerity in the face of depression was a very bad idea. But policy makers, pundits and, I’m sorry to say, many economists decided, largely for political reasons, to forget what they used to know. And millions of workers are paying the price for their willful amnesia.”

This is the problem with Krugman’s logic, and the thinking of like-minded liberal progressives for that matter: they forget that John Maynard Keynes, the originator of Keynesian economics, believed that governments should engage in deficit spending during recessions to counteract the effects of reduced private sector spending.  He never suggested that deficit spending should become a way of life.  Keynes’ thesis made a lot of sense in the 1930s during the Great Depression when he introduced the concept, and it would make sense today as well if it were not for the fact that governments have abused debt.  In the early part of the 20th century, governments didn’t routinely spend more than they took in.  Since the end of World War II, they have, and that difference is key.

As peculiar as this may seem to Krugman and his sycophants, Keynes’ theory was based on the simplest of principles – the kind of thing that any conscientious parent teaches his children: save for a rainy day.  During good economic times, if you are prudent with your resources you’ll set money aside to deal with bad economic times when they come.  But what if governments spend as though there will be no tomorrow, take on mountains of debt, and use up all of their debt capacity during good times?  What will they do when their economies nosedive?  That’s what happened, and getting out of this mess won’t be painless.  This is the question: when will we face the facts and do what must be done?

Krugman’s solution is to continue borrowing willy-nilly, but as we know, there is a limit to how much debt a nation can afford to take on.  If that issue was ever in doubt, the Standard and Poor’s downgrade of United States bonds in 2011 should have settled the matter.  And the United States isn’t alone.  Western countries across-the-board including Britain, Italy, and Spain have spent more than they should have, and in the absence of self-restraint, at long last rating agencies are imposing discipline.

In the latter part of the 20th century, Western governments turned deficit spending into an art form.  So did their citizens, and it didn’t matter where we were in the economic cycle.  The housing debacle was the pièce de résistance.  Governments and their citizens threw caution to the wind and assumed massive amounts of debt with little or no regard for their ability to repay.  Now it’s time to pay the fiddler.  With debt loads already at highs not seen since World War II, there are no easy fixes.

Krugman posed this question: “Haven’t we learned a lot about economic management over the last 80 years?”  The obvious answer is “no.”  For the last 80 years, Western countries including the United States, Britain, Italy, and Spain to name just a few have habitually spent money they didn’t have on things they didn’t need and couldn’t afford during good times and bad times, and they paid for their excesses with borrowed money.  That irresponsible behavior can’t continue.  If we don’t put the brakes on spending now, when will we?  In the world that Krugman and his liberal progressive followers inhabit, the answer is “never,” but they don’t live in the real world.

 

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Game Day: Will FL Make the Hypocritical Choice?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Stephanie Maier

It’s Florida’s big day to have a voice in this race, and already there’s a strange, de’ja’vu-ish sort of thing going on as I have flashbacks to Rick Scott’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, wherein many of the same observations can be made.

If Floridians award our fifty delegates to Mitt Romney as a protest to Newt’s 1997 ethics violations in Congress, it would be the height of hypocrisy, since this is the same state that put Naples millionaire Rick Scott in the governor’s mansion right on the heels of his own HCA scandal, the largest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history. That case ended with the hospital giant paying a record $1.7 billion in damages.

That wasn’t a concern for the majority of Florida voters, but Newt’s multiple marriages and his troubles with Congress in 1997 may trump that in favor of Romney, whose own life seems to mirror many of the same attributes as Scott.

Both 2010 Rick Scott and 2012 Mitt Romney are millionaire business men who have absolutely put profit over pretense to climb the ladder of success, and have had to possess egos the size of Mt. Kilimanjaro to do it.

The moral of the story: As Florida heads to the polls, don’t think for a moment that Mitt-the-Mormon is in any way more ethical than Newt Gingrich.

Don’t believe me? Let us hearken back to the campaign trail of two years ago and see the remarkable and eerily familiar comparisons between presidential candidate Mitt Romney and gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott:

Marc Caputos’ 2010 article from the Tampa Bay Times, could in so many ways be about Mitt Romney today:

“Rick Scott’s campaign for the Florida governor’s mansion is starting to look like his latest business acquisition. In the 1990s, Scott exploded on the business scene and reshaped the hospital industry thanks to financial moxie, relentless drive and a salesman’s knack for exploiting opportunities missed by others.”

By comparison, Mitt Romney’s FL campaign in the presidential primary is starting to look like his latest business acquisition. He’s ahead in the polls largely because he is outspending his opponents by tens of millions of dollars in glitzy ads that eviscerate his main competition, Newt Gingrich, rather than focusing on his own solutions. At least 17 of the 24+ million dollars spent in Florida have been from the Romney campaign, and as a result, Romney has been able to reshape the political scene and promote his ObamaCare agenda thanks to his financial moxie, relentless drive and a salesman’s knack for exploiting opportunities missed by others.” (Yep, that sounds familiar).

According to a recent piece in Forbes Magazine, “RomneyCare was more of an insurance bill than a means to cut healthcare costs…to pay for the extra coverage, the state had to find an additional $350 million from its own budget. On balance, RomneyCare costs Massachusetts an extra $100 million a year from its state budget. Not bad for a state with a $30 million budget.”

But will Floridians get the message before it’s too late? Not likely, as the comparison of the voting history continues.
Regarding Rick Scott’s campaign for Governor:

“Those attributes have made the Naples millionaire the frontrunner for governor today. A political newcomer, Scott unexpectedly entered the race in April, hired a top-notch campaign staff and leveraged his sizable fortune to surge ahead of Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Aug. 24 Republican primary…”

Likewise, those attributes have made Massachusetts millionaire Mitt Romney the frontrunner for president today. As Romney entered the race, he hired a top-notch campaign staff and leveraged his sizable fortune to surge ahead of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (leveraged a little and raised a lot from super PACS and millionaire buddies). It seems that he who has the most cash wins, regardless of his record on the issues.

Regarding Scott: “As head of the mammoth Columbia/HCA hospital chain in the 1990s, Scott acknowledges, he was “responsible” for what became the largest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history, totaling $1.7 billion.

Romney: While he understandably tries to push a moral issue down the throats of FL voters regarding Newt Gingrich’s ethics violations in 1997, let’s face it: if FL voters can usher in Rick Scott after his HCA scandal but can’t move on from Newt’s ’97 debacle, then Floridians get what they deserve when Romney is elected and slams them with a huge health care mandate just like his buddy Barack Obama. They’ll also have no room to complain when Romney goes to bed with China in a business-as-usual scenario that will be full of campaign rhetoric but will end up with Romney-style profiteering.

The similarities are painfully obvious. But, just like Governor Scott, Romney brushes off accusations that his campaign feels more confident spewing venom and vitriol against Gingrich than focusing on the solutions Romney offers for the economy or other issues (Isn’t it amazing, folks, how quickly the devout Mormon can turn ugly when power and ego are on the line)?

And, like Governor Scott, the Romney sees the criticism as trivial:

“Scott, 57, brushes it off – sometimes literally, by waving his hand as if shooing gnats.” Likewise, Romney brushes off Newt’s accusations (or any other for that matter) with a flippant wave and a smirk, shrugging it off as just being the ugly side of politics. This week he even had the low class to say that he “felt sad” for Gingrich, hearkening to some kind of school yard thug who can’t make a point based on his own merits but instead finds strength through demeaning others.
More flashbacks from Caputo’s article:

“Scott is a study in polarizing contrasts: he’s arrogant or humble. He’s a visionary who wants to revolutionize health care, or he’s blinded by ambition and a lust for profits.”

Sound familiar?? When it suits him, Romney is the humble Mormon family man, and when it doesn’t, he’s a cutthroat egotistical profiteer who’s out to win at all costs, no matter who he has to pay, what he has to say, or how he has to pray.

Perhaps Kenneth Rapoza says it best in Forbes when he laments the predictions of Gringrich regarding his own campaign:

“I believe the Republican Party will not nominate a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase moderate from Massachusetts,” Gingrich said after attending a Baptist church in Lutz, Florida.
Rapoza: “Oh, yes they will.”

To that I plead: Say it ain’t so, Florida, say it ain’t so…

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Polls Open in Sunshine State

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Alexis Garcia

WINTER GARDEN, FL — Polls officially opened here in Florida this morning. Newt Gingrich made a stop at the First Baptist Church of Windermere to greet voters heading to the ballot box.

Facing a swarm of national and local press, the former Speaker said he felt “confident” heading into today. Speaking to a gaggle of reporters outside his press bus, the Gingrich stated that he didn’t think Republican voters wanted a Massachusetts moderate to go against Obama in the fall.

When asked about the challenges of being outspent 5 to 1 in the state, Gingrich stated, “It’s very hard, especially when the campaign has been so dishonest and lying about my record.”

With Romney leading by double digits in most polls, Gingrich is not expected to make an 11th hour comeback. Romney appeared to take a victory lap in his appearances yesterday and canceled a rally in Tampa that was supposed to be held this morning.

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Mitt Romney’s Florida Media War and the Plan to Beat Obama in 2012

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Dave Swindle

One thing is clear this primary season: nobody wants to have the grown-up discussion about how Republicans and Tea Partiers actually defeat Barack Obama this November. The conservative media is too busy squabbling over whether more conservative angels dance on Newt’s head or Mitt’s. We’re not seeing questions like these talked about in any substantive fashion:

  • Which states will be most in play this cycle and which groups of independent swing voters need to be targeted?
  • How have technological advances in the last four years provided campaigns with new methods to engage voters?
  • Less important than who said what about Ronald Reagan decades ago is what will be said about Barack Obama in the fall. What will be the focus of the campaign? Obamacare? Jobs? Debt? That the economy would be much healthier without the uncertainty of Obama’s programs?
  • What media strategies will be most effective in 2012? What kinds of ads need to be made?

Meanwhile, right under our noses, Mitt Romney’s method of challenging Newt Gingrich in Florida begins to offer an answer to this last question.

John Avlon gets a choice quote from a Florida GOP insider at The Daily Beast on Romney in Attack Mode:

“The Romney camp made a very clear decision that this was going to be somebody’s Waterloo,” says Rick Wilson, a legendary Republican operative and CEO of Florida-based Intrepid Media. “In the past, a 60–40 positive to negative ratio in ads used to be considered a heavy load. But that world is just gone.”

“The scope and effectiveness of their negative campaigning have been breathtaking—and it’s all paid off,” says Wilson. “They figured out on the fly that Romney showing fight and backbone—not being a squishy-soft, mealy-mouthed, half-assed campaigner—could bear dividends with conservatives. Because everything comes down to ‘will we have a candidate who takes it hard to Obama?’… And he’s narrowed the gap. Tea Party conservatives are split between Romney and Gingrich—which would have been unimaginable in South Carolina.”

Will Romney’s willingness to campaign hard be an asset in the general election against Obama? Will forcefulness from the generally more mild-mannered Mormon Mitt be regarded with more seriousness by the independent voter than the Gingrichian rage that seems to flow at the slightest provocation? What does this strategy in Florida suggest about Team Mitt’s ability to craft specific-state strategies in the general?

Right now the contest of Romney vs Gingrich is no longer about who is the mythical “true conservative,” but rather who is the more competent political strategist.

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 - by Ed Driscoll

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The Gingrich Rope-a-Dope: Speaker Attacks Romney as Moderate

Monday, January 30th, 2012 - by Alexis Garcia

TAMPA, FL — Muhammad Ali may have invented the rope-a-dope, but Newt Gingrich is perfecting the move here in Florida as the he fends off repeated attacks by his rival Mitt Romney in the hopes a late surge will put him over the top in the Sunshine State.

A day after Newt Gingrich called Mitt Romney a “carpet-bomber” on ABC’s This Week, the former speaker continued his assault on Romney Monday afternoon at a rally here at the Tampa International Jet Center in Tampa, FL.

Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of dozens of people, Gingrich exclaimed, “This is a guy who has spent $17.5 million on falsehoods. He voted for Paul Tsongas. He donated money to the Democrats. And he’s questioning my credentials? That just shows you how out of touch with reality Romney is. The establishment is terrified of a Gingrich nomination.”

While most polls show Gingrich slipping to a 15-point deficit in the state, an Insider Advantage poll indicates that the former speaker may be gaining ground in the state on the eve of voting. Even better news for Gingrich — a new Dixie Strategies/The News-Press/First Coast News poll has him dead even with Mitt at 35%.

Gingrich admitted this weekend that he needed a strong finish in the Florida primary to save his “unique campaign.” A double-digit loss would be the beginning of a long month for the Gingrich as the campaign heads into a lull before the Super Tuesday primaries on March 6.

Learning from his defeat in South Carolina, Romney continues to wage attacks on Gingrich — this time on Fox and Friends, where the former governor stated, “We keep hearing him talk about fundamental change and big ideas. What are they? A colony on the moon? I frankly think that’s not the kind of big idea America is looking for.” He continued, “He is the same old Newt Gingrich. What you’re seeing on TV as you see him flail around and attack me is exactly what you saw back in the 90′s which led to him being reprimanded and ultimately, if you will, pushed out of the Speaker position by his own fellow Republicans.”

Pushing back, Gingrich cited remarks made by liberal billionaire financier George Soros from the World Economic Forum in Davos over the weekend. Speaking to policymakers at the event, Soros stated that there is “little difference” between Romney and Obama, but that Gingrich would be real change.

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Occupy Protesters Show Tolerance and Understanding. Just Kidding: They Throw Condoms at Catholic School Girls

Monday, January 30th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Disgusting.

About two-dozen members of Occupy Providence hiked from Burnside Park to the 39th Annual Pro-Life State House Rally organized by the Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee on Thursday.

The pro-life organization’s executive director, Barth E. Bracy, told LifeSiteNews.com that, near the end of the rally, the Occupiers “strategically fanned out with military precision.”

That’s when they “started showering condoms down on some of the girls from a Catholic high school.”

They gathered around speakers at the podium, shouting them down or otherwise jostling them and members of the audience.

Are these not the same people on whom Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic, showered the blessings of God?

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Interfaith outreach meeting turns into riot as video rolls

Monday, January 30th, 2012 - by Patrick Poole

Ever wonder what goes on in those Islamist/Leftist interfaith meetings? Well, wonder no more.

Courtesy of the United West comes this video of an interfaith event at Seminole Community College in the Orlando area earlier this month, led by Imam Abdurrahman Sykes, a Federal prison chaplain (who knows a few things about being on the wrong side of the law).

If you ever get tired of all the multi-culti PC crap, this video is 26 minutes of pure comedic interfaith schadenfreude:

YouTube Preview Image

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