Blog Posts by Chris Moody, Yahoo News

  • Clarence Thomas: Society is overly sensitive about race

    Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas addresses the audience during a program at the Duquesne University School of Law on Tuesday April 9, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Tribune Review, Sidney Davis) PITTSBURGH OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    Americans today are too sensitive about race, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told a gathering of college students in Florida on Tuesday.

    Speaking at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., Thomas, the second black justice to serve on the court, lamented what he considers a society that is more “conscious” of racial differences than it was when he grew up in segregated Georgia in the days before — and during — the civil rights era.

    “My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school. To my knowledge, I was the first black kid in Savannah, Georgia, to go to a white school. Rarely did the issue of race come up,” Thomas said during a chapel service hosted by the nondenominational Christian university. “Now, name a day it doesn’t come up. Differences in race, differences in sex, somebody doesn’t look at you right, somebody says something. Everybody is sensitive. If I had been as sensitive as that

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  • In Congress, a war on obnoxious airline passengers

    Lawmakers may ban phone conversations on planes. But should the government protect you from being annoyed?

    From little kids to belligerent drunks, flying on an airplane can be a high pressure situation. (AP)

    Congress may soon save you from ever having to deal with an annoying, horrible person who insists on yakking away on a cell phone during a commercial airline flight.

    The House Transportation Committee plans to take up a bill Tuesday that would ban cell phone conversations during commercial flights. Advancements in technology combined with the possibility of looser rules from the Federal Communication Commission could make it possible to hold voice conversations at 35,000 feet, a practice some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to stamp out before it starts.

    Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, a Republican from Pennsylvania who is leading the charge in the War on Insufferable Plane Phone Talkers, said he expects the bill to pass through the committee. The bill, aptly named the “Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless Devices Act of 2013” has a bipartisan coalition of 29 co-sponsors. California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Tennessee

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  • Rand Paul is pitching libertarian ideas to social conservatives. And they're listening.

    Common ground between warring cousins.

    In this Nov. 6, 2013 file photo, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Paul said Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” that Democrats should remember President Clinton’s sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky before turning their criticism to Republicans’ attitudes toward women. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

    For many, the word that comes to mind when they hear the name Rand Paul is likely “libertarian.” While he gladly embraces the label, Paul brands himself as more a pragmatist than purist, and he’s seeking a way to bring libertarians and social conservatives—long warring cousins on the right—together.

    If successful, Paul’s effort could be the start of a fresh form of fusionism on the right that could be a significant asset if he seeks the White House in 2016.

    Instead of adopting a hard line on issues like drug legalization and non-interventionism like his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the younger Paul speaks about these topics in a way he hopes will spark collaboration instead of squabbling. And it seems to be working.

    Paul’s efforts were on display Wednesday night at a gala for the American Principles Project, a conservative group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and aims to promote religious liberty. The group's board includes Maggie Gallagher, one of the foremost

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  • Kronies! The latest Koch-backed project is a viral cartoon even the left can love

    Get Konnected!

    What do you get when you combine Captain Planet with G.I.-Joe villains, add a splash of anti-K Street populism and a bucket of funding from Charles and David Kochs’ donor network?

    Meet the “Kronies,” a new online video series that seeks to raise awareness about how well-connected companies use their political muscle in Washington to rig the system in their favor. Using animation straight out of classic Saturday morning cartoons and action figures made with a 3-D printer, "The Kronies" series illustrates how corporations, bureaucrats and politicians work together at the expense of entrepreneurs and the little guy.

    The story is told from the perspective of the bad guys — the Kronies themselves — a coalition of characters from the darker corners of America’s political system. Our universe of anti-heroes includes Kaptain Korn, who represents big agriculture, Ariel Stryker, the symbolic stand-in for the military-industrial complex, Parts and Labor, who keeps business protected from

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  • A year after snub, Chris Christie will speak at CPAC 2014

    The potential presidential hopeful will address conservative activists in March

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Julio Cortez/AP)

    After being denied a speaking slot last year at the largest annual gathering of conservatives, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie has accepted an invitation to speak at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference next month, Yahoo News has learned.

    “We are very excited to announce that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will speak at CPAC 2014," American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas told Yahoo News. "At this year's CPAC — and through our theme 'ACU's Golden Anniversary: Getting It Right for 50 Years' — we will celebrate how conservatism has shaped our past and look to the future with excitement. This will be the year that conservatives begin pulling the nation back from the brink of Barack Obama's disaster with a movement that inspires, unites and discovers new solutions to our current challenges.”

    An invitation to speak at the conference, held near Washington each spring, is traditionally a prime opportunity for aspiring Republican presidential candidates to make

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  • House GOP leaders: Unlawful immigrants should be able to stay, but under certain circumstances

    Republican House members will debate how to move forward on the issue.

    CAMBRIDGE, Md. — House Republican leaders on Thursday unveiled a list of “standards” for an immigration reform plan that would allow unlawful immigrants to remain in the United States if they meet certain standards and requirements.

    The document, which was provided to House leaders during the conference’s annual policy retreat here, outlines how party leaders wish to proceed on the issue.

    “There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws — that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law,” the document reads. “Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang

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  • Smells like team spirit at the House Republicans' annual retreat

    GOP wants to shred the 'party of no' label to become known as the 'alternative party'

    (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)

    CAMBRIDGE, Md. – With a year left in Congress’ legislative session, House Republicans are planning — in the words of top House leaders — to go “alternative.”

    “We’re not just the opposition party,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on Thursday during the annual House Republican retreat here, where members are privately hashing out their plan forward. “We’re actually the alternative party.”

    The days of “hell no we can’t” — also Boehner’s words — are behind them. Republicans want 2014 remembered for what they're for, not for what they're against. 

    On Friday, House Republicans plan to emerge from their three-day meeting at a resort along the icy banks of the Choptank River with a coordinated response to the policy goals President Barack Obama outlined in his State of the Union address and with a long-term strategy for the year ahead.

    “The discussion at this retreat is going to be not just about opposing the policies that this president has been about over the last couple of

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  • Ted Cruz is sick and tired of being asked about the government shutdown

    He doesn't want it tied to his legacy

    FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Cruz said he would renounce his Canadian citizenship by the end of 2013, but the Calgary-born Republican lawmaker is still a dual citizen. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

    Ted Cruz would appreciate it very much if you would kindly stop discussing his role in the government shutdown.

    The Texas senator who burst onto the public scene when he convinced congressional Republicans to adopt a scheme to withhold federal funding unless President Obama’s health care law was repealed, defunded or delayed, said Tuesday that talk of the shutdown in 2014 amounts to nothing more than a distraction.

    In October, the federal government closed for more than two weeks after Republicans in the House and Senate refused to vote for any plan to reopen the government that did not injure the health care law. The exercise resulted in a public relations nightmare for GOP lawmakers, who eventually relented under public pressure and reopened the government as part of a larger deal that also raised the debt ceiling. In the end, Republicans had nothing to show for their efforts.

    Four months later, Cruz, arguably the mastermind behind the shutdown strategy, refuses to take

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  • How Rick Santorum is laying the groundwork for another presidential run

    Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum walks in the March for Life rally in Washington. (Chris Moody/Yahoo News)

    WASHINGTON — Talk about campaign trail déjà vu.

    As hundreds of bundled-up supporters gathered around him on a freezing January day, Rick Santorum towered over a lectern and rallied his troops. Aides pecking at smartphones lined the perimeter of the hotel conference room. An army of young children scurried across the floor. Volunteers collected email addresses and phone numbers at a fold-up table near the door.

    The people, the “candidate” — even the weather — gave the event a presidential primary campaign feel. But this scene played out in the Capitol Hill Hyatt in Washington, not a Sheraton in West Des Moines and there won’t be a presidential election for another two years.

    It’s at events like this gathering before the March for Life, which marked the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, that Santorum is conducting a presidential campaign in waiting. There were banners, aides, supporters, a stump speech — a whole campaign-style apparatus organized by Patriot Voices, a conservative

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  • The GOP's State of the Union strategy: Drown out the president's message

    Or at least try

    Every year, the State of the Union Address grants the president of the United States a marvelous opportunity to promote and outline a concise and unified agenda in front of a captivated audience of Congress and the nation.

    Those without the executive power — in this case, the Republican Party — don’t have a single equivalent opportunity to share their message.

    But together, they certainly try.

    As part of the circus of the modern State of the Union Address, Republicans are launching a messaging blitz to respond to President Barack Obama’s Tuesday address using nearly every available tool they have. Gone are the days when the party without keys to the White House delivered merely one post-SOTU response. Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, will do the honors with the “official” party response this year. She’ll be competing, however, with the tea party response by Utah Sen. Mike Lee via Tea Party Express, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul

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