Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Sam Brownback: The possible GOP presidential contender no one's talking about

    The governor of Kansas isn't ruling anything out. But first he needs to win re-election

    Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. (John Hanna/AP)

    You won’t see Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback taking high profile trips to Iowa, South Carolina or New Hampshire. He’s not on the star-studded speech lineup at the Conservative Political Action Conference this year. Nor is he listed in national polls that measure hypothetical presidential matchups in 2016.

    But Brownback, a former U.S. senator who briefly sought the presidency in 2007, isn’t ruling out another run for the White House.

    Since he left the nation’s capital to become Kansas’ 46th governor in 2011, Brownback has gone largely unnoticed by the national media. His quiet yet ambitious work in Kansas has proceeded without major controversies of the sort that have helped define Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who fought a pitched battle with public-sector unions, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was a magnet for viral controversies even before the recent allegations of misconduct surrounding the closure of George Washington Bridge lanes.

    But that doesn't mean Brownback

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  • John Boehner gets in on the joke about his name

    "It's Boner."

    John Boehner (ABC News)

    Childhood surely wasn't easy for young John Boehner, who one images faced a tornado of teasing from kids who willfully mispronounced his name. His family pronounces it "Bayner."

    But shed no tears for the gentleman from Ohio, because these days, as the most powerful member of the House of Representatives, he's clearly taking it in stride. When a reporter accidentally referred to him as "Mr. Camp" during a press conference on Thursday, Boehner played along.

    "It's 'Boner,'" he replied before the reporter could correct himself. "Boner."

    Even in adulthood, as this 1991 video shows, his own colleagues mispronounced his name.

    And so have members of the media.

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  • These Oscar-nominated movies saved millions of dollars through tax credit giveaways

    Thanks taxpayers!

    (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Mary Cybulski)

    Film buffs tired of shelling out $15 for a movie ticket will surely be delighted to know that, depending on where they live, the box-office price is only a part of the cost of admission.

    According to a study by the Manhattan Institute, all of the 2013 films nominated for the best-picture Oscar this year benefited from subsidies and tax credits during production, a practice that saved big-box film companies millions of dollars.

    Of these taxpayer-subsidized critically acclaimed movies, “Wolf of Wall Street,” the three-hour Martin Scorsese flick about fleecing gullible investors, secured the most help through a 30 percent tax credit from New York. With a budget of $100 million, the savings for “Wolf” would buy enough 'ludes for at least a long weekend.

    In the South, "Dallas Buyers Club” and "12 Years a Slave" scored huge incentives from Louisiana, which offers a 30 percent tax credit on expenditures and a 5 percent payroll credit for the cast and crew. In Virginia, “Captain Phillips”

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  • If Republican governors did local news promos...

    The Republican Governor's Association is producing a video series to promote the 29 GOP state executives.

    We noticed a pattern.

    1. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

    2. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

    3. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad

    4. Ohio Gov. John Kasich

    5. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez

    6. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback

    7. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

    8. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard

    South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard

    9. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

    South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

    10. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple

    The full video:

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  • The Dalai Lama spent the day with hundreds of conservatives in Washington, D.C.

    And everyone got along.

    So a French hornist, an economist, a billionaire, a psychologist and the Dalai Lama walk into a conservative think tank…

    Actually, this really happened Thursday in Washington, D.C., when the Dalai Lama joined a group of thinkers at the conservative American Enterprise Institute for a forum about “happiness, free enterprise and human flourishing.” Together with AEI President Arthur Brooks, hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb, economist Glenn Hubbard and NYU psychology professor Jon Haidt, the exiled Tibetan leader examined happiness and the role markets and government can play in fostering it.

    In the audience sat Washington lobbyists, libertarians, conservatives, peace activists and yoga instructors--a truly unusual coalition for a morning policy discussion in the nation's capital city.

    Sharing a room with the Dalai Lama and Grover Norquist at the headquarters of the organization that helped start the Iraq War may sound like a surrealist drug trip on the backpacker trail to Dharamshala. But

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  • An Army of Ted Cruzes: Louisiana candidate takes a page from a tea party hero

    Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness is making a play for a U.S. Senate seat

    WASHINGTON — On July 31, 2012, a little-known state attorney in black ostrich-skin boots named Ted Cruz shocked the Lone Star State’s political establishment when, facing incredible odds, he defeated popular Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Republican primary race for Senate.

    Within a year, Cruz would be a household name across the country and considered a possible candidate for the presidency. With another congressional election season approaching in November, Cruz’s story has inspired a new crop of little-known candidates who want to replicate his success. While Cruz may be the least popular man in the Senate, his popularity soars outside the Beltway, where he has become a model for a new generation of long shots.

    Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel based in Madisonville, La., is one of them. Maness is one of four declared Republican candidates now vying for a chance to unseat vulnerable Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana. He's raised almost a half a million dollars in

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  • Meet the nerds who are making life hell for the White House right now

    The number crunchers at the Congressional Budget Office call it as they see it

    Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf (Christian Science Monitor)

    Barely an hour had passed since the Congressional Budget Office unveiled a report on Feb. 4 about the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the labor market before the White House alerted reporters about a conference call with President Barack Obama’s top economist, Jason Furman.

    The CBO, a nonpartisan research service that provides Congress with legislation analysis, had released a paper predicting that Americans would work less as a result of Obamacare. According to the report, workers would trim hours so they could still qualify for a federal health insurance subsidy or because they no longer needed a job to obtain health insurance. The report indicated that Obamacare would decrease labor participation by the equivalent of 2 million jobs by 2017.

    Republicans, sensing an opportunity to chip away further at the reputation of a law they have spent years trying to repeal, seized on the "2 million" number and declared that Obamacare would “kill” millions of jobs.

    Democrats acted fast to try

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  • Oliver Stone among the libertarians

    Stone defends Latin American leaders, calls Obama 'a weak man' and dishes on Hillary Clinton

    Oliver Stone (left) speaks with Peter Kuznick (right) at the 2014 Students For Liberty Conference in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Cristina Moody)

    WASHINGTON — Seated at a table between a painting of Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises and a stack of right-wing books with titles like “Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax” and “The Dangers of Socialized Medicine,” Oliver Stone, the iconic Hollywood filmmaker with a soft spot for Latin American strongmen, was in a strange place.

    A line of college students attending the “International Students for Liberty Conference,” an annual gathering of college libertarian clubs from around the world, snaked through the Grand Hyatt basement for pictures, autographs and an opportunity to give the 67-year-old Academy Award-winning director an earful.

    To the befuddlement of the attendees, many of whom consider Stone a socialist who pals around with dictators (such as the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez), Stone had accepted an invitation to speak Saturday at the conference. His panel's focus: "imperial overreach" and "the national security state," a topic on which even an anarchic libertarian

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  • 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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