The Monday Hot Blast: Your guide to politics and punditry
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Oct 22, 2012 | 1886 views |  0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dinesh D’Souza. AP photo
Dinesh D’Souza. AP photo
slideshow
DIDN’T SLEEP A WINK

“I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced.”

Conservative author Dinesh D’Souza responding to a World magazine article last week that noted “questions about his relationship to a woman not his wife.”

According to Warren Cole Smith’s article in World, a news magazine aimed at conservative Christians, the married D’Souza was spotted at a South Carolina hotel with a woman other than his wife. According to D’Souza, his 20-year marriage has been unraveling for the past two years.

World continues, “The episode is a strange twist in D’Souza’s otherwise meteoric rise in the evangelical world. He developed a reputation among evangelicals with a string of best-sellers, including “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” which spawned a movie, “Obama: 2016,” which has now grossed more than $30 million.”

According to The New York Times, D’Souza has resigned under pressure from his day job as president of King’s College in New York City.

DRY AND DEFEATED

In The New York Times excellent Disunion series on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Auburn University professor of Southern history Kenneth W. Noe recently wrote on the role drought played in the conflict:

“Food shortages, inflation and other hardships the Confederate plain folk suffered, as well as at least part of the disillusionment that grew out of those issues — the entire litany of the so-called ‘internalist’ interpretation of Confederate defeat as a ‘rich man’s war and poor man’s fight’ — actually can be traced back at least in part to the drought of 1862, its negative effect on Southern food production, and the choices the Jefferson Davis administration made when confronting the situation. The newborn Confederacy simply had been born at perhaps the worst possible moment in the 19th century to launch an agricultural republic. Meanwhile, Northern crops, especially Midwestern wheat, boomed.”

HEALTH CARE BY ANOTHER NAME

The Rural Blog tipped us to new poll of rural voters from swing states. The survey by the National Rural Assembly and Center for Rural Strategies found:

“When asked if they approved or disapproved of the ‘Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare,’ 60 percent of rural voters said they opposed the law, and 34 percent said they favored it. Without reference to ‘Obamacare,’ voters were asked if they approved or disapproved of the law, which ‘would give states the opportunity to extend Medicaid coverage to cover more low income families with health insurance, with the federal government picking up 90 percent of the costs,’ and 45 percent said they approved, while 42 percent disapproved.”

More here.

OFF THE CHARTS

Georgia voters will have a say on expanding their state’s charter schools on Nov. 6. (This is unlike Alabama, where lawmakers have apparently abandoned the pursuit of charter schools.)

According to The American Prospect, the Georgia vote would allow for institutions other than local districts to grant charter schools, which are non-traditional public schools that in theory allow administrators more freedom to teach children.

The Prospect’s Abby Rapoport writes that if the amendment passes the Peach State “could now become a major destination for money-making charters. Their lobbyists may end up with more influence than local school boards when it comes to the state commission's decisions on adding new charter schools.”

Causing concerns among some voters is the fact that Georgia has been cutting its education budget over the past few years. More charters, the theory goes, would further dilute those dollars.

Rapoport sums up, “This campaign offers a stark look at just how odd the reform argument can get. Here, there have been billions in cuts to public education and lawmakers complain that schools aren’t performing well. So instead of making investments in education—or simply replacing some of the funds taken away—they spend money elsewhere, to create a new, competing system.”

AMENDMENT MANIA

The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama has analyzed all 11 constitutional amendments Alabama voters will find on their ballots on Nov. 6, the sort of tedious work that work that would send most of us into a deep slumber.

Here’s what our sharp-eyed friends at PARCA found.

LET’S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE

With the presidential election only two weeks and a day away, things are going to get hairy. Best to step back and laugh it up before we lose perspective.

Here are a few of our favorites presidential moments from Saturday Night Lives past.

This one from 1988 is “Dukakis After Dark,” featuring the soon-to-be defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis, with guest appearances by “Willie Horton,” “Joan Baez” and “Jimmy Carter.”



In 1992, SNL enjoyed skewering three presidential candidates – George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. At one point during a debate skit, Perot (played by Dana Carvey) tells Clinton (Phil Hartman), “Hold it there, cracker boy, I’m not finished.”



And four years ago Tina Fey went to town on Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, portraying her word-salads at their confusing best.

FRACKING CONCERNS

The Institute for Southern Studies reported this week that an environmental watchdog group has learned that natural gas drillers are still using diesel fuels in hydraulic “fracking” operations despite known health hazards. That’s a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

This finding should be interesting to those here in Alabama who are concerned about the Talladega National Forest possibly being opened for drilling.

The ISS wrote, “The West Virginia-based group SkyTruth analyzed a database of voluntary industry disclosures and found that diesel fuels were used in fracking on 448 separate occasions in 12 states between January 2011 and August 2012. Fracking involves injecting water and chemicals underground at high pressure to release natural gas from rock formations and has been linked to groundwater contamination.

“Arkansas had the most frequent number of diesel uses for fracking at 171, followed by Texas at 142. SkyTruth also found instances of fracking with diesel in Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia.”

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