Not dead yet. Republicans seem to be rolling over for President Obama in the fiscal cliff debate, but anti-tax-hike crusader Grover Norquist said the battle is just beginning. “Jan. 1st is not the end of the fight,” he said on C-SPAN. “It’s the beginning of the fight.” Norquist said Republicans have three weapons in the fight: “One, the sequester. The Democrats fear sequester more than Republicans because it actually reins in spending.” Next is the debt ceiling vote. Norquist favors extending the debt ceiling only a few weeks at a time, and requiring budget cuts for every extension. Finally, he said that because Congress hasn’t passed a budget, funding of government would be by continuing resolution for some time. According to Norquist, that means “the House of Representatives has to agree to continue the budget.” He thinks the House should do what it did in 2011, which is to say, “We’ll extend the continuing resolution for a few weeks if you save $4 billion.”
Union corruption. Michigan passed a right-to-work law last week, and that action re-invigorated the debate over whether unions are a good thing or a bad thing. My own position is that however necessary unions may have been in the last century, they have long since outlived their usefulness. More evidence of union corruption came out last week when the founder and president of a private security officers’ union in Washington, D.C., was convicted of 18 federal offenses. He faces up to 183 years in prison and $2.1 million in fines. A jury ruled on Sept. 4 that Caleb Gray-Burriss, founder and president of the National Association of Special Police and Security Officers, was guilty of six counts of mail fraud, seven counts of theft from a labor organization, one count of criminal contempt, one count of obstruction of justice, and three union record-keeping violations. Sentencing will take place in February of next year.
A political calculation? Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says birth control shouldn’t be an issue the Republican Party pushes. “As a conservative Republican,” he wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “I believe that we have been stupid to let the Democrats demagogue the contraceptives issue and pretend, during debates about healthcare insurance, that Republicans are somehow against birth control. It’s a disingenuous political argument they make. As an unapologetic pro-life Republican, I also believe that every adult (18 years old and over) who wants contraception should be able to purchase it.” One hopes that Gov. Jindal is not missing the point. The issue for most conservatives is not birth control, per se, but religious liberty. It’s not contraception, but the contraception mandate, which requires people with legitimate conscientious objections to pay for contraceptives for others. Jindal is fond of quoting the old saw that the difference between the Republicans and Democrats is the difference between stupid and evil. He wants the GOP to stop being the Stupid Party. I respect that. His challenge is to make sure it doesn’t become a second Evil Party. We already have one too many of those.
Atheists strike Times Square. The group American Atheists has put up a billboard in Times Square with an anti-Christian message. The billboard features a picture of Santa Claus and the caption, “Keep The Merry!” Below Santa is a picture of Jesus with the caption, “Dump the Myth!” American Atheists’ David Silverman told Fox News, “Most Christians are really atheists who feel trapped in their family’s religion. They need not be Christian to enjoy the holiday season.” Silverman said a private donor paid more than $25,000 to have the billboard posted above a nightclub in the crossroads of the world for one month, ending Jan. 10, 2013. “We chose Times Square because it is a place where people go to shop and be festive, which has nothing to do with religion,” Silverman continued. Lamar Outdoor, the advertising giant that leased the space to Silverman’s group, said it wasn’t the company’s place to censor the message.