Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Ann Coulter joins gay conservative group

    Coulter (AP)Right-wing provocateur Ann Coulter has joined the advisory board of GOProud, a small Washington, D.C.-based organization that represents gay conservatives, the group announced Tuesday.

    Coulter has long been a supporter of the advocacy group, which claims the support of a string of high-profile conservatives, including anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, online media mogul Andrew Breitbart, and Republican strategist Roger Stone, all of whom serve on the organization's advisory board.

    "I am honored to serve in this capacity on GOProud's Advisory Council, and look forward to being the queen of fabulous," Coulter said in a statement.

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  • Palin on downgrade: I knew this would happen

    Palin (Getty Images)Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who plans to announce whether she will run for president sometime next month, said Monday night that she predicted the credit rating downgrade long ago.

    Palin delivered her message in a post on her Facebook page that reads at first like a economics explainer and ends like campaign stump speech. The former Republican vice presidential candidate blamed Democrats for resisting  efforts fueled by the tea party to reduce spending on entitlement programs and a Congress that failed to pass a debt reduction deal big enough to avoid the downgrade.

    "I'm surprised that so many people seem surprised by S&P's decision," Palin wrote in response to Standard & Poor's announcement that it was downgrading the United States debt for the first time. "Weren't people paying attention over the last year or so when we were getting warning after warning from various credit rating agencies that this was coming? I've been writing and speaking about it myself for quite some time."

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  • IRS: No tax refunds for airline passengers who flew during FAA shutdown

    Al Berhman (AP)Airline passengers who flew during the  FAA shutdown will not receive reimbursements even if they paid extra tax fees in the two weeks the federal government wasn't able to collect flight taxes.

    Several airlines increased ticket prices and pocketed the profits during that period.

    The IRS made the announcement Friday after President Obama ended the shutdown by signing a short-term extension of funding to the agency. The additional funding comes via  a deal negotiated between the parties earlier this week.

    "Passengers who purchased tickets prior to July 23 and traveled between July 23 and the date of enactment of today's legislation are not entitled to a refund of the airline ticket excise tax," an IRS statement read, adding that it would not retroactively charge passengers and airlines who did not pay the tax during the shutdown.

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  • ‘Rent Is Too Damn High’ candidate facing eviction

    Richard Drew (AP)Jimmy "The Rent Is Too Damn High" McMillan, the sideburns-meet-moustache, black glove-wearing, self-proclaimed karate master who ran for governor in New York last year, is facing eviction from his apartment.

    The reason: The rent is too low, McMillan says.

    The New York Post reported Friday that McMillan pays $872.96 per month for his rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan's East Village. Accordingly--in a common New York story that essentially supplied the tagline of McMillan's campaign--the property owners want him out so they can renovate and charge more for the space.

    "I've been here since 1977, and they want more money!" McMillan told the Post. "It's about 'My Rent is Too Damn Low.'"

    McMillan--most people just know him as the Rent Is Too Damn High Guy--made his unforgettable public mark in last year's gubernatorial debate in New York, when he stole the show from the leading candidates Democrat Anthony Cuomo and Republican Carl Paladino with passionate monologues about hungry children, high rent, and why he wears black gloves. Saturday Night Live responded with a near-perfect parody of his performance, and there's even a Jimmy McMillan action figure still on sale online.

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  • Views of Congress, tea party reach new low in poll

    Julie Jacobson (AP)The marathon negotiations that led to the debt ceiling deal seemed to leave an indiscriminate trail of casualties in Washington. And now a new opinion poll has proven as much, with public views on the debt showdown dealing severe hits to all parties--centrist compromisers and principled hardliners alike.

    Not all the anger is necessarily aimed at Washington, however. Public perception of the tea party movement, which many see as the driving force that kept Republicans from voting to raising the debt ceiling without implementing unprecedented spending reductions, is at a record low. In a New York Times/CBS poll released Friday, 40 percent of respondents said they held an "unfavorable" view of the movement, up from 29 percent before the debt negotiations began in April, and higher than any number since pollsters started asking the question last year. One in five respondents said they approved of the tea party, down from 26 percent a few months ago.

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  • Chris Christie slams fearmongering over Sharia law

    New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie defended his decision to nominate a Muslim judge to the state Superior Court against conservative critics who warned that the new judge will implement Sharia law. The notoriously blunt-spoken Christie calling their fears "crap" and "crazy."

    The appointee, Sohail Mohammed, is an American attorney who offered legal aid to New Jersey residents who were suspected after the 9/11 terrorist attacks but were later found innocent of any crimes.

    Opponents of Mohammed's nomination have issued warnings, with no evidence, that Christie's nominee, if approved, would base his rulings on Islamic law. Christie was having none of it.

    "Sharia law has nothing to do with this at all. It's crazy. It's crazy," Christie said at a press conference Wednesday. "The guy's an American citizen who has been an admitted lawyer to practice in the state of New Jersey, swearing an oath to uphold the laws of New Jersey, the constitution of the state of New Jersey, and the Constitution of the United States of America . . . .This Sharia law business is crap. It's just crazy. And I'm tired of dealing with the crazies."

    You can watch the exchange after the jump:

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  • Frank Augstein (AP)Update: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a deal to end the FAA shutdown Thursday afternoon, the The Hill newspaper reports. The Senate is expected to vote Friday.

    Lawmakers may have left Washington, D.C., in a hurry for a six-week holiday—but that doesn't mean they finished their work. Swamped with the fight over the debt ceiling, the House and Senate failed to extend funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. Now thousands of employees are out of work because of it, and will likely continue to be until September.

    The good news is that your summer travel plans shouldn't be delayed or canceled due to Congress stranding the FAA. But the inability of lawmakers to fulfill their most basic duty--that is, keeping the government funded--puts a major strain on workers who have nothing to do with the battle in Washington, and is even forcing some of them to go on government assistance.

    But before you write an outraged letter to your congressman, you might want to save some of that energy for the airlines. Get this: Since the FAA cannot collect taxes during the partial shutdown, airlines don't have to pay them. That means cheaper fares for customers, right? Nope, the airlines are still collecting the fees (from you); they're just not turning them over to the government. They're pocketing the extra profits.

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  • Poll: Romney tied with Obama in Florida

    Romney (Jay LaPrete/AP)Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is now tied with President Obama in Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

    The poll suggests a shift in voter sentiment took place during the negotiations to raise the debt ceiling. Before Obama announced the deal this week, he led Romney in the state by five points, but the pollsters now find Romney and Obama both at 44 percent. And among independents, Obama's disapproval rating rose to 61 percent from 47 percent after the deal.

    "President Barack Obama's numbers in the key swing state of Florida have gone south in the last two months. The debt ceiling deal is not making any difference in that decline and any bounce he got from the bin Laden operation is long since gone," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The president's drop off is huge among independent voters who now disapprove almost 2-1."

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  • Government spending will still increase after the debt deal’s budget ‘cuts’

    J. Scott Applewhite (AP)After months of rigorous debate over trimming the federal budget, Congress has finally passed a short-term budget and increased the debt limit in return for what is said to be "historic" budget cuts.

    But after all that--the fighting, the 11th-hour back-room deals, the warnings of calamity--will the federal budget actually be smaller in a few years?

    Nope. Spending will continue to increase.

    Much of the problem has to do with the language of Washington, which, you might have noticed, is different from the speech you hear almost every other place on Earth. When most politicians talk of "cutting" spending, they don't always literally mean that they intend to reduce current spending levels. Instead, under this version of fiscal discipline, Congress merely agrees not to spend as much money as it initially had planned. Once that deal is struck lawmakers then turn around to sell their proposals as "cuts."

    Take the "debt ceiling deal" President Obama signed on Tuesday. Let's say that the federal government, when all is said and done, actually slows the growth of spending by $2 trillion over a decade--the minimum amount promised. After 10 years' time, if all $2 trillion is not spent, there will actually be an increase of about $1.8 trillion.

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  • The debt ceiling debate: The official end of the ‘new tone’ era?

    Susan Walsh (AP)Remember all that talk in Washington just a few short months ago about the "new tone" in public discourse? You might, but the people who argued for it obviously forgot.

    This won't come as a shock to anyone who has spent a single moment following politics, but it is clear that the "new tone" of respect and humanity--as called for by lawmakers, the media and the president after the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that left several dead and many more wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords--is long gone.

    After a brief hiatus, politicians hailing from both parties are now back to their old ways.

    And nothing, it would seem, is off-limits--particularly in the hotbed of hyperbole that marked the congressional debate over the debt ceiling.

    With the nation's full faith and credit inches away from falling off a cliff, tempers ran high. There are plenty of examples of Democratic lawmakers, opinion writers, and yes, even Republicans, who tagged as "terrorists" the tea party-backed members who opposed raising the debt ceiling.

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