A Hanukkah Miracle

On the first night of Hanukkah, the state of Alabama witnessed a miracle of its own: the voters of this very red state elected a Democrat to the United States Senate for the first time in 27 years. In a highly publicized special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore. Moore, who was endorsed by President Trump, has been accused by multiple women of predatory sexual misconduct, dating back years ago when the women were teenagers and Moore was a much older man.

In Jones’ victory speech, the new senator-elect thanked family, friends and campaign staff, as well as voters of different demographics, even wishing a happy Hanukkah to his Jewish supporters.

Alabama Supreme Court Judge Equates Gay Marriage & Nazi War Crimes

Alabama Supreme Court  Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore

— by Sharon Bender

In the aftermath of the landmark Supreme Court decision granting marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore responded to an Al.com reporter’s question about enforcing the notable decision. He told the reporter that enforcing the Supreme Court ruling is akin to following the immoral orders of the Nazis.

It is disgraceful to use Nazi imagery to invoke a political or social view. Comparing the systemic attempt to annihilate an entire population to a peaceful Supreme Court decision minimizes the very magnitude of the Nazis’ maniacal efforts to murder Jews, gays and others across Europe and eventually, they hoped, the world.

Moore told the reporter: “Could I do this if I were in Nuremberg [at the war crimes trials after World War II], say that I was following the orders of the highest authority to kill Jews? … Could I say I was ordered to do so?”

Told by the reporter that: “killing human beings, not gay marriage,” was the focus of the Nuremberg trials, Moore reportedly asked: “Is there a difference?”

This shameful, inappropriate comparison trivializes both the unique atrocity that was the Holocaust as well as the momentous equality decision by the Supreme Court.

Amazing Reunion Of Holocaust Survivors After 50 Years!

Henry Stern was one of the fortunate ones.  In 1937, his family embarked on the last boat of Jewish refugees to leave Germany legally.  They sailed for New York.  The family settled in Opelika, Alabama.  As news of the Holocaust trickled out, Henry never stopped hoping that some of the relatives left behind had somehow survived.  In 2004, with the aid of the internet, he succeeded.  Here is an amazing clip of Mr. Stern’s reunion with his cousin Fred Hertz.

Deep South Votes: Santorum Wins, Gingrich Places, Romney Shows

Today, Republicans voted in Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii and American Samoa.

  • Santorum won the Alabama primary with 34.5%, Gingrich came second with 29.3%, just ahead of Romney with 29.0%, and Paul scored 5.0%.
  • Santorum won the Mississippi primary with 32.9%, Gingrich 31.3%, Romney 30.3%, and Paul 4.4%.
  • Romney won the Hawaii caucus with 45.4%. Santorum came with 25.3%. Paul was third with 18.3% winning the largest island while Romney won the smaller islands.
  • No vote totals are available from the US Territory of American Samoa, but Romney is projected to win all 9 delegates.
    Update: Only 70 Republicans participating in the caucus since “it’s rare in American Samoa for anyone to officially register as a Republican or Democrat because local elected officials don’t run on party lines.” This means that 13% of caucus goers in American Samoa will be eligible to vote at the Republican National Convention!

Speculation is increasing that Newt Gingrich may drop out of the race. He will probably suspend his campaign and keep his pledged delegates in order to give himself an important role at the Republican National Convention.

  • This Saturday, Republicans will vote again in Missouri’s caucus. The Republicans already had a primary there on February 7 and Santorum won every county across the state. No delegates were awarded in the primary, but Santorum hopes to repeat his success in the Missouri caucus.
  • On Sunday, Puerto Rico will be the final US Territory to vote.
  • This is quickly followed by the Illinois primary on Tuesday. Oddsmakers at inTrade give Romney a 71% to 75% chance of winning in Illinois. This would probably be his first victory in the continental United States since Super Tuesday.
  • Then the following Saturday is the Louisiana primary. InTrade gives Santorum a 72% to 85% chances of winning there.
     Other Key Dates

    • Cancelled PBS/NPR Debate, Monday, March 19 at 9pm ET, Portland, OR
    • Republican National Convention, August 27-30, Tampa, FL
    • Democratic National Convention, September 3-6, Charlotte, NC
    • Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3, Univ. of Denver, Denver, CO
    • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College, Danville, KY
    • Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
    • Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
    • General Election, Tuesday, November 3

    Color Key  
    Romney: Orange
    Santorum: Green
    Gingrich: Purple
    Paul: Gold
    Rick Perry: Blue
    Not voted: Grey


    States Won
    Mitt Romney: NH FL NV ME AZ MI WY WA VA VT MA ID AK OH GU MP AS HI
    Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO-primary TN OK ND KS AL MS
    Newt Gingrich: SC GA
    Ron Paul: VI


    Next Contests  
    Mar 17: MO-caucus
    Mar 18: PR
    Mar 20: IL
    Mar 24: LA
    Apr  3: MD DC WI  
    Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
    May  8: IN NC WV
    May 15: NE OR
    May 22: AR KY
    May 29: TX
    Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
    Jun 26: UT

For Sleeper Candidate The End May Be Near After All


According to the odds makers at inTrade, Speaker Newt Gingrich is more likely than not to be the next Republican candidate to drop out.

It seems not too long ago that Gingrich was viewed (at least by himself) as the inevitable nominee:

Jake Tapper interview of Newt Gingrich, Dec. 1, 2011
Tapper: You are going to be the nominee?
Gingrich: I’m going to be the nominee. It’s very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I’m going to be the nominee.

What caused this change of fortunes? Why does it look now like Newt Gingrich may suspend his campaign.

  • Georgia: Before Super Tuesday, Newt Gingrich said winning his home state of Georgia would be critical to continuing his campaign as a serious candidate. On Tuesday, he bettered his opponents, but failed to secure a majority. According to Eric Ostermeier, Gingrich’s anemic result (47% of the vote) “ties John McCain for the second lowest home state tally for a major GOP presidential candidate since 1972, besting only Pat Robertson.” As our readers will recall, neither McCain nor Robertson went on to be elected President.
  • Kansas: Unlike Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Gingrich cannot call Kansas his home. Kansas will be voting this Saturday (along with 3 US Territories) and Gingrich had hoped to contest this state and planned an extensive campaign schedule accordingly. However, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported yesterday that Gingrich has cancelled all of his appearances in that state. He no longer had a realistic chance of prevailing in Kansas and decided to bet all the marbles on Alabama and Mississippi who vote this coming Tuesday March 12. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Gingrich’s abrupt switch of travel plans reflected the grim political map that he faces in the weeks ahead.”
  • video platform
    video management
    video solutions
    video player

    Alabama and Mississippi: The Gingrich campaign told the Wall Street Journal that they must win Alabama and Mississippi in order to remain viable. However, it is not clear that Gingrich can win Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday even if he concentrates all of his efforts on these two states. Rick Santorum’s Super PAC is hotly contesting these two states. According to Alabama State University’s new poll, Rick Santorum has a substantial lead with 23% of the vote, Mitt Romney is second with 19%, and Newt Gingrich is a distant third with 14%. According to the odds makers at inTrade, Gingrich has only a 15% chance of winning Alabama and a 23% chance of winning Mississippi.

  • AIPAC and Super Tuesday: The Alabama State University poll was taken before Super Tuesday, so it might be understating Santorum’s margin of victory. Gingrich’s results on Super Tuesday were less than inspiring, and his appearance that day at the AIPAC meeting was best described as confused. He fell asleep while waiting for his satellite feed to be connected, and seemed unaware that he was expected to have prepared remarks (just like the earlier remarks by Santorum and Romney).
  • Key: Gingrich purple, Santorum green, Romney orange, Paul yellow, Perry blueThe South: Even if Gingrich’s bet pays off and somehow he wins in Alabama or Mississippi by concentrating on those states, he has really defined himself as a regional candidate and there aren’t that many states left to vote in that area, so the road forward is unclear.
  • Delegate Count: Key to the nomination are the delegates to the Republican National Convention. Newt Gingrich trails far behind Mitt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. He will probably get a few more delegates in the South but not enough to get a majority of the delegates. His only hope at the convention would be if no one candidate had a majority of the delegates, allowing Gingrich to play the role of a king-maker or a spoiler. However, by continuing in the race, Gingrich splits the anti-Romney vote in winner-take-all states like New Jersey. This increases the chances that Romney will be able to reach the critical threshold of 1,144 delegates making Gingrich’s delegates meaningless. Nate Silver‘s mathematical analysis indicates that Santorum could gain 11 times more than Romney without Gingrich in the race.

I expect that Gingrich will stay in the race until Tuesday’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi (or perhaps the March 24 primary in Louisiana) and end his campaign on the high note. Officially, his campaign would be “suspended” so his delegates to date would still be bound to him and give him an important role in case of a brokered Republican National Convention.

Storm-tossed South rises… for more government

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: “It should have some spending cuts as a down payment on controlling the size of our federal government.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Richmond, Virginia: “We’ve had to bring this president kicking and screaming to the table to cut spending.”

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio: “It’s time for us to get serious about how we’re spending the nation’s money.”

These Republicans, along with others in Congress and statehouses like Trenton and Madison, demand smaller government and lower spending, yet they have not complained about the federal government’s aid to the Republican-dominated Southern states ravaged by storms and tornadoes that left 350 people dead.

More after the jump.
“They have been very proactive and very reactive to our requests,” Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, a northern Alabama Republican, told The New York Times.

Aderholt was praising the Obama administration’s response to the storms, mainly through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When the president visited Tuscaloosa, Ala., the hardest hit area in the region, Obama said, “We’re going to make sure that you’re not forgotten and that we do everything we can make sure that we rebuild.”

Obama signed a disaster declaration for Alabama on Thursday, April 28, 2011, and subsequently signed disaster declarations for Georgia and Mississippi.

FEMA administrator W. Craig Fugate explained that the declarations sought by these states mean that the federal government will pay 75 percent of the uninsured costs to repair public buildings; that residents can qualify for modest recovery grants; and that businesses can apply for low-interest loans.

FEMA also assigned liaison officers to Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, a spokesman said.

Aderholt, a veteran House member who seems more reasonable than extremist Republicans, is not resisting the government’s aid to Alabama and the other southern states. Most of them are represented by Republicans in the Senate, the House and their respective governor’s offices.

Probably some people wish that Obama had rejected these disaster declarations in the spirit of shrinking government. If Republicans want less government, why would they accept federal aid for storm relief?

Back in Washington, the GOP House and Senate members from these states have been plotting to eliminate programs that help all Americans generally and big cities specifically.

Never did they express such urgent concern when they voted to invade two fragmented countries one after the other and cut taxes for the wealthy.

The hypocrisy is glaring, but the disasters plaguing the South show that even southern states need government. The only effective means of resolving America’s many problems is to involve government, directly or indirectly.

We all certainly recognize that there are many problems with government.

Ronald Reagan’s proclamation that “Government is the problem” distorts the situation. Government is “a” problem when it does not carry out its responsibilities properly. Did Reagan do his job or was he “the problem” for eight years?

The same question can posed to Boehner, Cantor and Graham.