Common Sense Junction

Common Sense Junction
Political Reports
  1. 40,000 Voters Registered in Virginia and Maryland

    FrontPage Magazine | 24 Apr 2014 | 7:21 am MDT

    VVA identified 31,000 dead voters

  2. Ehrlich on 2016

    National Review Online - The Corner | 24 Apr 2014 | 7:11 am MDT

    Jay Nordlinger’s favorite politician (or one of them) is Bob Ehrlich, the former GOP governor of Maryland. Ehrlich visited Hillsdale College yesterday, meeting with students and professors in the afternoon and giving a public lecture in the evening. Someone asked him who should be the Republican nominee for president in 2016. He said it should be a governor, and listed a few usual suspects: Christie, Jindal, Walker, and Jeb Bush (in that order). Then he mentioned one more, a guy whose name doesn’t normally come up in these conversations: John Kasich of Ohio. Ehrlich said he hopes that Kasich runs and thinks he will.

    My profile of Kasich appeared in a recent issue of NR.

  3. Fund: 'Something's Out of Kilter' with IRS Employees with Tax Issues Getting Bonuses

    National Review Online - The Corner | 24 Apr 2014 | 6:53 am MDT

    ​For more on the $2.8 million in bonuses given to IRS employees with disciplinary issues, check out Tim’s post.

  4. McConnell: Paul forcing people to rethink GOP

    News Archive | 24 Apr 2014 | 6:47 am MDT

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said Thursday his junior colleague from Kentucky, Sen. Rand Paul (R), is forcing people to rethink the Republican Party with an unmatched level of "missionary zeal."McConnell, who is up for reelection this...

  5. Thursday links

    National Review Online - The Corner | 24 Apr 2014 | 6:45 am MDT

    Sonar-Generated Image of a 19th Century Shipwreck Near the Golden Gate Bridge.

    People with low blood sugar stick twice as many pins into voodoo dolls representing their spouses. 

    H.G. Wells Interviews Joseph Stalin in 1934; Declares “I Am More to The Left Than You, Mr. Stalin”.

    At what speed would you have to drive for rain to shatter your windshield?

    This 1976 Planned Parenthood/Amazing Spider-Man mashup comic is a hoot.

    This Guy Is Trying to Collect Every Single Copy of the Movie Speed on VHS.

    ICYMI, Monday’s links are here, including dog grooming fails, vintage video beauty tutorials, and scientific permission to drink a bottle of wine per day.

  6. Give Me Liberty Island

    National Review Online - The Corner | 24 Apr 2014 | 5:10 am MDT

    Liberty Island–the website for fiction of a conservative and libertarian bent–has just loaded its second round of new content. An email describes what you’ll find:

    • A pair of literate housewives want to go camping – just like Nick Adams …
    • A rebellious teenager steals the family air car and flees his familiar home in the Municiplex for the wild green beyond …
    • The new Union general doesn’t look like much but something about him inspires his troops with courage …

  7. The Future of Ukraine

    National Review Online - The Corner | 24 Apr 2014 | 5:00 am MDT

    From my most recent NRO article, about a possible solution: “One option is a de facto partition of the country, in which the Russian areas secede and join Russia and the continuing Ukraine is made less ambiguous politically. It could then join the West, having adopted a consensus to behave fiscally and politically like a serious country, something it has never managed before, in distant or recent history. The West should be pulling itself together for the achievement of this objective, which is distinctly attainable.”

    Whether you agree or disagree, your comments are, as always, most welcome.

  8. Greetings from the Eternal City

    National Review Online - The Corner | 24 Apr 2014 | 2:56 am MDT

    This weekend marks the canonization celebration of two holy men — and it is a celebration and there is cause for this. Sunday’s convergence on St. Peter’s Square serves as a reminder and challenge that real woman and men can be saints — it’s what we believe we’re called to be. And it’s not just the stuff of popes. 

    George Weigel talks about John XXIII and John Paul II in an interview with me here. More to come. And keep an eye on @KathrynLopez is you’re interested. St. Peter’s isn’t exactly all wifi all the time yet, but there will be snapshots from the scene in due time! 

  9. Optimism for Rising U.S. Home Values Is Highest Since 2007

    All Gallup Headlines | 24 Apr 2014 | 2:00 am MDT

    Fifty-six percent of Americans expect home prices to increase in their local area, the highest percentage holding this view since 2006. Also, 74% of Americans say it is a good time to buy a house, one of the highest readings to date.

  10. Report: Obama ate only half of exclusive sushi meal

    News Archive | 23 Apr 2014 | 11:48 pm MDT

    President Obama only made his way through about half of the 20-course meal at the world-famous Tokyo sushi restaurant he visited this week, the owner of a nearby restaurant told AFP.According to the wire service, Obama slowed down after about 10...

  11. The Blair Doctrine

    FrontPage Magazine | 23 Apr 2014 | 10:56 pm MDT

    Replacing democracy with religious freedom.

  12. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Castro’s Propagandist & Snitch

    FrontPage Magazine | 23 Apr 2014 | 10:54 pm MDT

    What the media's eulogies for a Nobel-winning author didn't tell you.

  13. Why the Left Will Never Abandon ‘Global Warming’

    FrontPage Magazine | 23 Apr 2014 | 10:40 pm MDT

    A look at the mother of all issues for the lovers of Big Government.

  14. To Execute a Victim of Attempted Rape

    FrontPage Magazine | 23 Apr 2014 | 10:36 pm MDT

    The Islamic Republic unveils its true face. . .again.

  15. ‘Easy Meat’: Inside the World of Muslim Rape Gangs, Part II — on The Glazov Gang

    FrontPage Magazine | 23 Apr 2014 | 10:14 pm MDT

    Gavin Boby unveils a horrifying segment of Islamic Jihad terrorizing the U.K.

  16. Video: Raymond Ibrahim on Islam, Dictators, and Christian Persecution

    FrontPage Magazine | 23 Apr 2014 | 10:13 pm MDT

    The Freedom Center's Shillman Fellow appears on New Zealand’s "Shine TV."

  17. What the Media Won’t Tell You About the ‘Central Park Five’

    FrontPage Magazine | 23 Apr 2014 | 10:10 pm MDT

    New York City poised to deliver millions of dollars to men of dubious innocence.

  18. NBC’s David Gregory Problem

    FrontPage Magazine | 23 Apr 2014 | 10:10 pm MDT

    Why viewers are rejecting the network's biased host.

  19. Krauthammer's Take: Obama's Foreign Policy Is 'Minimal' And 'Laughable'

    National Review Online - The Corner | 23 Apr 2014 | 9:05 pm MDT

    Charles Krauthammer called President Obama’s trip to Japan particularly important because of “the weakness Obama has shown vis-a-vis Russia on Ukraine.” 

    Obama’s visiting Asia because China is claiming islands in the East China Sea that Japan already claimed, and they’re claiming islands in the South China Sea that the Philippines have claimed. 

    “[Obama's] going to go around and tell them ‘we’re going to stand with you,’ but what does that mean given the president’s actions?,” Krauthammer asked. 

    When the presidents stands behind our allies, it looks like the news reported earlier on Wednesday that 150 American troops are being sent to Poland. “150 troops up against 100,000 Russians is not exactly a detergent,” he said. And that every time the Obama administration does something right “it does it in a way so minimal to be laughable.” 

  20. Director of National Intelligence Lied to Congress About Muslim Brotherhood Contacts

    FrontPage Magazine | 23 Apr 2014 | 6:51 pm MDT

    The Muslim Brotherhood is “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular."

  21. To Incite the Naïve?

    National Review Online - The Corner | 23 Apr 2014 | 5:36 pm MDT

    Writing from the left (I you don’t believe me, read what he has to say about the death tax), James Galbraith dissects Capital in the Twentieth-First Century, the new confiscation manifesto by Thomas Piketty, and he does so in a way that is not  necessarily to Piketty’s advantage.


    In global comparison, there is a good deal of evidence, and (so far as I know) none of it supports Piketty’s claim that U.S. income today is more unequal than in the major developing countries. Branko Milanović   identifies South Africa and Brazil as having the highest inequalities. New work from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) places Indian income inequality well above that in the United States. My own estimates place United States inequality below the non-OECD average, and my estimates agree with those of the LIS on India.


    As for remedy, Piketty’s dramatic call is for a “progressive global tax on capital”—by which he means a wealth tax. Indeed, what could be better suited to an age of inequality (and budget deficits) than a levy on the holdings of the rich, wherever and in whatever form they may be found? But if such a tax fails to discriminate between fortunes that have ongoing “social utility” and those that don’t—a distinction Piketty himself has just drawn—then it may not be the most carefully thought-out idea.

    In any case, as Piketty admits, this proposal is “utopian.” To begin with, in a world where only a few countries accurately measure high incomes, it would require an entirely new tax base, a worldwide Domesday Book recording an annual measure of everyone’s personal net worth. That is beyond the abilities of even the NSA. And if the proposal is utopian, which is a synonym for futile, then why make it? Why spend an entire chapter on it—unless perhaps to incite the naive?

    Or to provide cover for those who would do very well out of doing just that.

    In any event, read the whole thing.


  22. Good Old IRS Helps People In Tax Trouble

    National Review Online - The Corner | 23 Apr 2014 | 4:40 pm MDT

    Sometimes it seems like you only hear the bad news about the Internal Revenue Service: the targeting of the president’s enemies; the padding of union bosses’ hours.

    But sometimes the federal tax collector is there to lend a hand.

    During 26 of the darkest months of the post-recession, 1,100 persons in the United States had “substantiated Federal tax compliance problems.”

    Yet during that same time period, from October 2010 through December 2012, the IRS showed mercy, even charity. It gave those 1,100 people more than $1 million in cash awards, as well as other considerations of value.

    The other considerations included 69 workplace promotions and 10,000 hours worth of what California public employees call “air time.”

    That is to say: All of those 1,100 were IRS employees.

    From Acting Deputy Inspector General for Audit Michael E. McKenney’s Final Audit Report:

    Between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012, more than 2,800 employees with recent substantiated conduct issues resulting in disciplinary action received more than $2.8 million in monetary awards, more than 27,000 hours in time-off awards, and 175 quality step increases.  

    Among these, more than 1,100 IRS employees with substantiated Federal tax compliance problems received more than $1 million in cash awards, more than 10,000 hours in time-off awards, and 69 quality step increases within a year after the IRS substantiated their tax compliance problem.

    With few exceptions, the IRS does not consider tax compliance or other misconduct when issuing performance awards or most other types of awards.  Governmentwide policies do not provide guidance on providing awards to employees with conduct issues.  The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 does not specifically mention awards, but does make mandatory the removal of IRS employees who are found to have intentionally committed certain acts of misconduct, including willful failure to pay Federal taxes.  Thus, while not specifically prohibited, providing awards to employees with conduct issues, especially those who fail to pay Federal taxes, appears to create a conflict with the IRS’s charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration.


    TIGTA recommended that the IRS Human Capital Officer determine the feasibility of implementing a policy requiring management to consider conduct issues resulting in disciplinary actions, especially the nonpayment of taxes, prior to awarding all types of performance and discretionary awards.

    The IRS agreed with TIGTA’s recommendation.  The Human Capital Officer plans to conduct a study by June 30, 2014, for the implementation of a policy requiring management to consider conduct issues resulting in disciplinary actions prior to awarding all types of performance and discretionary awards.

    Like if you are outraged; share if you are energized; facepalm if you have another reaction.

    If I were the IRS flack I’d say this was the Treasury Department’s way of helping civil servants pay off their debts, like when Willie Nelson gives extra concerts to pay his back taxes; only with the improvement that all taxpayers had to buy tickets, so it’s like nobody was hurt at all.

    (I believe that’s literally true, like all good flackery: There is a body of precedent affirming that no taxpayer has standing to sue over misuse of federal revenues.)

    Coverage in USA Today, CNNMoney, Washington Post.

  23. McCain: Illegal immigrants are 'not going home'

    News Archive | 23 Apr 2014 | 4:22 pm MDT

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that immigrants living in the United States illegally are not going home, and that the U.S. has no practical way of forcing them to leave."They're not going home. And so why don't we give them a path to...

  24. One Way Rand Paul Could Get on the Ticket

    National Review Online - The Corner | 23 Apr 2014 | 4:13 pm MDT

  25. Regrets? John McCain has a few

    News Archive | 23 Apr 2014 | 4:05 pm MDT

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday talked about his biggest regrets in life during an event with students at Harvard University.A student who said he admires McCain asked the senator to identify his biggest regret in life. "As far as one...

  26. McCain predicts 'major scandal' on campaign finance

    News Archive | 23 Apr 2014 | 3:43 pm MDT

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday said he predicts "a major scandal" will happen as a result of the Supreme Court's recent decisions to relax campaign finance laws.At Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, an alumnus asked the senator...

  27. Americans' Ratings of Their Personal Finances Inch Up

    All Gallup Headlines | 23 Apr 2014 | 2:15 pm MDT

    Americans continue to become more positive about their personal financial situations, with an increase in those who rate their finances as excellent or good and those who say they have enough money to live comfortably.

  28. Fla. GOP hopeful to Obama: 'Man up,' meet me on the court

    News Archive | 23 Apr 2014 | 1:06 pm MDT

     Republican congressional candidate Curt Clawson is telling President Obama that it's "time to man up" and face him on the basketball court.Clawson, a former Purdue University basketball player, issued the challenge for a 3-point shooting...

  29. Attorney of jailed American in Cuba presses Obama for action

    News Archive | 23 Apr 2014 | 12:59 pm MDT

    The attorney for a USAID worker jailed in Cuba plead with President Obama to "sit down with the Cuban government" and try to strike a deal for his release in an interview Wednesday with MSNBC.Scott Glibert, the attorney for jailed American Alan...

  30. State: Palestinian, Hamas truce could 'seriously' complicate peace talks

    News Archive | 23 Apr 2014 | 12:45 pm MDT

    The State Department said Wednesday that a reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas announced Wednesday threatens to disrupt peace talks between Israel and the PLO."This could seriously complicate our...

  31. King calls for troop buildup near Ukraine

    News Archive | 23 Apr 2014 | 12:30 pm MDT

    Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Wednesday that President Obama hasn't done enough to show that the United States is committed to supporting Ukraine, and said the administration should take additional steps — including moving troops into Baltic...

  32. Russia: US 'running the show' in Ukraine

    News Archive | 23 Apr 2014 | 12:08 pm MDT

     Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday accused the United States of "running the show” in Ukraine's efforts to dissolve pro-Russian separatist groups.Ukraine resumed its “counter-terrorist” operation to root out the separatists on...

  33. Provo and Boulder Residents Report Highest Daily Learning

    All Gallup Headlines | 23 Apr 2014 | 2:00 am MDT

    Residents of Provo-Orem, Utah, and Boulder, Colo., are the most likely to say they learned something new or interesting "yesterday." Communities with the highest levels of reported daily learning tend to have a large university.

  34. One in Five African Adults Work on Farms

    All Gallup Headlines | 23 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am MDT

    The one in five adults who said they worked on farms in 2012 in sub-Saharan Africa could play an important role in eradicating hunger and reducing poverty, but the demographics of these farm workers may have to change first.

  35. Retirement Remains Americans' Top Financial Worry

    All Gallup Headlines | 22 Apr 2014 | 1:00 pm MDT

    Americans' top financial concern is not having enough money for retirement, followed by unexpected medical costs and maintaining their standard of living. A majority of Americans have been worried about retirement savings since 2001.

  36. U.S. Economic Confidence Stable at -15

    All Gallup Headlines | 22 Apr 2014 | 6:30 am MDT

    Gallup's Economic Confidence Index averaged -15 for the week ending April 20. This is consistent with the previous three weekly readings.

  37. One in Four in U.S. Are Solidly Skeptical of Global Warming

    All Gallup Headlines | 22 Apr 2014 | 2:00 am MDT

    A special Gallup analysis categorizes 39% of Americans as "Concerned Believers" on the issue of human-induced global warming. Another 36% are the "Mixed Middle," while 25% are "Cool Skeptics."

  38. Global Warming or Climate Change: Is There a Difference?

    All Gallup Headlines | 22 Apr 2014 | 2:00 am MDT

    In a guest commentary for Gallup, Riley Dunlap, Regents Professor of Sociology at Oklahoma State University, explores differences in Americans' views when they hear the terms "climate change" and "global warming."

  39. Obama Job Approval Up Slightly in Most Recent Quarter

    All Gallup Headlines | 21 Apr 2014 | 12:15 pm MDT

    President Barack Obama's job approval rating averaged 42.4% during his 21st quarter in office, a slight improvement from 41.2% in the prior quarter, but still one of his lowest quarterly averages as president.

  40. Young Adults Cite College Costs as Their Top Money Problem

    All Gallup Headlines | 21 Apr 2014 | 10:30 am MDT

    Paying tuition or college loans far exceeds other money matters as the top financial challenge young adults in the U.S. say they face today. Older adults have a mix of top concerns that include healthcare and paying debts or bills.