Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Florida Democrat gets trapped in an awkward hippy music video about a river and manatees

    Florida Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy at an event to save the St. Lucie River in his district. (YouTube.com)


    JUPITER, Fla. — While meeting with environmental activists in his district last Thursday, Florida Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy found himself starring in an impromptu singalong about the nearby St. Lucie River, an at-risk waterway in his district.

    After delivering a brief talk of support to members of the Rivers Coalition, a group that raises awareness about pollution from the nearby Lake Okeechobee, Murphy joined local activist Kathy Thomas while she sang her song, "Save the St. Lucie River.”

    The look on Murphy’s face as the protest anthem goes on for about five minutes is, well, priceless.

    "Spanish moss breathes into birds nest baskets where babies are fed with fish from a toxic nursery. Dolphins breed and roll around in the brown lagoons,” Thomas, wearing a homemade tie-dye shirt, cooed over the sound of her guitar. “Five hundred and eighty-two manatees have died in the last four months. There is no easy way to say that.”

    “There’s so much talent in this district,” Murphy said after

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  • House won't return early to debate Syria attack authorization

    House leaders do not intend to call lawmakers back to Washington early to debate a measure to authorize using military force against Syria, House Republican leaders said Saturday.

    In a joint statement, House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris said they plan to consider an authorization measure Sept. 9, the original date scheduled for return on the congressional calendar.

    “We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised. In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th,” they said after President Barack Obama announced he would seek authorization from Congress to launch a military strike against Syria. “This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people.”

    House lawmakers have been on a multi-week summer recess

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  • Sen. Ron Johnson: Obama must make his case for an attack on Syria

    ORLANDO, Fla. – President Barack Obama should not launch a military strike on Syria until he can make the case for action to Congress, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Friday.

    In an exclusive interview with Yahoo News, Johnson, who was briefed at the White House this week, signaled he is open to approving a U.S. strike on Syria, where the government is accused of using chemical weapons against its citizens, but not until the president has outlined a clear reasoning for an attack.

    “It’s incumbent on President Obama to explain the rationale to the American public — convince the American public to the point where he can come to Congress and gain approval from Congress,” Johnson said at Defending the American Dream Summit, an annual gathering of conservative activists.

    “There are a lot of questions that need to be answered. It’s not my job to give those answers; it would be my job to give him authority to do it once he’s made

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  • Marco Rubio heckled by conservatives over immigration push

    ORLANDO, Fla. – A small but loud group booed and heckled Florida Sen. Marco Rubio while he tried to give a speech at a conservative conference here Friday, a sign that his support for a bipartisan immigration bill has hurt him within some elements of the Republican Party.

    “No Amnesty!” several people shouted when Rubio walked to the lectern at the Defending the American Dream Summit, an annual gathering of Republicans and conservatives organized by the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity.

    Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010 with support from the tea party, but he has been the target of fury on the right since he joined Democrats in championing an immigration bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally. Rubio is considered a possible Republican presidential contender, but his work on the immigration bill has hurt his image with some conservative voters within the party.

    The heckling at the conference subsided after he began to

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  • David Koch: Attacking Syria would be 'dead wrong'

    ORLANDO, Fla. — President Barack Obama would be “dead wrong” to order a military strike against Syria, billionaire political activist David Koch said Friday.

    In an exclusive interview with Yahoo News, Koch, who finances several conservative and libertarian political causes, warned that attacking the country would harm the United States' image in the region.

    “I do not think we should get involved in attacks on Syria. It’s like putting your head into a hornet’s nest,” Koch told Yahoo News at  a conference sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group he backs financially. “You’re going to get shot at from all directions. There’s all this talk about attacking the bad guys in Syria, but whom do you attack? Where do you find the people who put these chemical weapons together, this poisonous gas? To me it’s an impossibility, and we’re just going to generate a huge increase in the hostility to the United States in my opinion.”

    The White House has signaled that Obama is

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  • Those who attended the first March on Washington lead thousands to the Lincoln Memorial

    Mary Thomas stood in the misty rain on Wednesday morning clutching a tattered, 50-year-old copy of Life Magazine that chronicled the first March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

    “My picture is in here, which was taken at the reflecting pool in 1963,” Thomas said, holding up the Sept. 6, 1963, edition bearing the words "In Color: SPECTACLE of the MARCH” written across the cover in front of a picture of the Lincoln Memorial.

    Thomas lived in Savannah, Ga., in the early 1960s, she said, and was arrested after participating in a sit-in protest at a restaurant that refused to serve black customers. Fifty years ago, she was here in Washington, D.C., marching to the Lincoln Memorial to hear the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. call for action on civil rights. Now, she is back in the nation’s capital with tens of thousands of others who on Wednesday gathered to commemorate the anniversary of King’s famous rally.

    On Wednesday morning, a few thousand marchers gathered near the Capitol Building to

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  • The important battle this fall will be over the debt ceiling, not a government shutdown

    Some conservative lawmakers are threatening to shut down the government rather than fund the president’s health care law when it comes time to pass a required spending bill this fall, but House Republican leaders are looking instead to the upcoming vote to raise the debt ceiling as their opportunity to attack Obamacare.

    The federal government is expected to reach its borrowing limit in October, and Congress will be asked to vote to increase the ceiling. Republican leaders see the vote as a better opportunity to squeeze concessions out of President Barack Obama than another necessary vote to set spending levels.

    But Republicans face one major problem: Obama has said unequivocally that he is not open to negotiating when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling, a position that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew echoed on Tuesday.

    “The president has been very clear. We are not going to be negotiating over the debt limit,” Lew said during an interview on CNBC’s "Squawk Box." Lew reiterated the

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  • Can't make it to Spain? Now you can run with the bulls in the USA

    A man steps in front of charging bulls at the Great Bull Run in Petersburg, Va., on Aug. 24, 2013. (Chris Moody/Yahoo News)

    PETERSBURG, Va. – It was nearing the end of a long day full of booze, food fights and group runs alongside 1,000-pound bovines, and no one had been sent to the hospital. Yet.

    “We came all this way and not a single broken neck,” one reporter lamented.

    We had come here to cover the Great Bull Run, an attempt at an American version of the traditional Spanish "running of the bulls" made famous by Ernest Hemingway in which thousands of thrill seekers flee from massive charging animals with sharp horns.

    Held on a drag racing strip at the Virginia Motorsports Park on Saturday, the American bull run came complete with a massive tomato fight — just like the annual festival in Buñol. The event was the brainchild of Rob Dickens and Brad Scudder, two extreme sports organizers who wanted to host a Yankee-style bull run after they saw the whopping price tag of traveling to Spain, where residents have hosted a similar event for more than 100 years. Saturday's event was similar to the Spanish

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  • Conservative groups plan to target Republican lawmakers over Obamacare in their own districts

    A conservative advocacy group that recently launched a series of online political ads that call Republicans “chickens” for what the group considers lackluster efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act are planning to hold events near lawmakers’ district offices in the next week.

    Activists from an organization called For America Inc. plan to join Tea Party Patriots on a five-state “Exempt America Tour” urging GOP lawmakers to refuse to support any government-spending bill unless it defunds the health care law known as Obamacare.

    Lawmakers must approve a new spending bill by the end of September or risk temporarily shutting down the government, and some conservatives see it as an opportunity to cripple the health care law.

    The campaign will target key congressional Republicans. Starting on Aug. 27, the tour is scheduled to visit the offices of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in Lexington, Texas Sen. John Cornyn in Austin, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker in Jackson, South Carolina Sen.

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  • Defunders vs. Delayers: Conservatives are split over Obamacare strategy

    You would be hard-pressed to find a conservative who supports President Barack Obama’s health care law, but when it comes to the actual strategy to bring it down, there isn’t nearly as much unity.

    Republicans are divided over how to continue the fight against the 2010 law known as Obamacare, which the U.S. Supreme Court deemed constitutional in 2012. There is a disagreement within the conservative movement between those who want to defund the law and those who think it would be better to delay its implementation.

    Both share the same aim: the eventual destruction of Obamacare. But the two sides have significant tactical disagreements over how to reach that goal.

    On the Defunder side, a group of conservatives in Congress has threatened to vote against any government spending measure (known as a continuing resolution, or CR) that includes federal funding to implement the law. Congress must agree to a new CR by the end of September, when the last short-term extension of federal spending

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