Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
They have naked hiking in Argentina???
Mark Sanford is back! ... and he wasn't on the Appalachian trail. He was out of the freaking country (in Buenos Aires, Argentina, no less.)
Sanford said he had considered hiking on the Appalachian Trail, an activity he said he has enjoyed since he was a high school student. "But I said 'no' I wanted to do something exotic," Sanford said "... It's a great city."

... Sanford said he has taken adventure trips for years to unwind. He has visited such places as the coast of Turkey, the Greek Isles and South America. He was with friends sometimes and sometimes by himself.News conference in minutes.
Huh??? Are we talking with clothes or without!? Sanford says he doesn't know how this whole thing got blown out of proportion, and he seems to think it's perfectly normal for the chief executive of a state to exit the country without telling his staff, his wife, or frankly anyone, where he's going. Helloooo 2012!

Sanford press conference any minute.

Ane by the way, if you think the Sanford story has stopped getting weird, consider this: Sanford claims he was driving by himself along the Argentine coast. Okay, however:
Trying to drive along the coast could frustrate a weekend visitor to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, the Avenida Costanera is the only coastal road, and it's less than two miles long. Reaching coastal resorts to the south requires a drive of nearly four hours on an inland highway with views of endless cattle ranches. To the north is a river delta of islands reached only by boat.

A spokesman for Argentina's immigration agency wouldn't comment Wednesday on whether Sanford entered the country, citing privacy laws.
Hopefully at his presser, which we're still waiting on, he will explain why he told his staff he'd be hiking, why he didn't update them if he changed his mind and decided to leave the United States, and why he didn't place the lieutenant governor in charge during his absence. He might also explain how he proposed to drive this so-called coastal route, alone, with or without a map, and without any obvious way of being found should he get lost.

Meanwhile, BlackBook queries Sanford's possible sideline as a Peronista...

And Gawker lists some fun things to do in Argentina without your wife. Handy!

UPDATE: 2:26 - Sanford is talking now, and apologizing to his wife, kids and right now, his staff, saying he let them all down, and let down "people all across the state." He stressed the importance of "being a husband and father" and said that's job one (unlike job 2, which is driving aimlessly down the rambling coastline of Argentina, mostly off-road...)

2:28 - Sanford is now apologizing to his friend Tom Davis. And he's apologizing to his in-laws. (Wow, this is a lot of apologies!) His rambling apology to the in-laws includes strange references to past? internal struggles about "where my heart is." What??? Is this guy dumping his wife or what?

2:29 - Sanford just said "if you look at God's laws, they're designed to protect people from ourselves..." and that "the biggest self is self." Oh lord, is he gonna announce that he's gay?

2:30 - Oh, snap! Sanford just admitted that he's been cheating on his wife. Paraphrasing: "I've been unfaithful to my wife. I've developed a relationship with what started as a dear, dear friend, from Argentina ... it began very innocently as I suspect these things do, in just a casual email back and forth ... but here recently devleoped in this past year into something much more than that. As a consequence, I hurt her, I hurt you all. I hurt my boys. I hurt friends like Tom Davis. ... "

Wow. Wow. I just missed part of the presser because my cellphone rang. But Sanford is going to resign, but so far, only from the Republican Governor's Association, due to this affair. Wow.

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posted by JReid @ 2:11 PM  
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Newt: aiming to be the man
Newt Gingrich is running for president in 2012. How do I know? The "other fat one" has waded into the GOP vacuum created, most recently, by the unmanliness of Michael Steele. Now, Newt is attempting to demonstrate that one can stand up against Rush Limbaugh -- even dare to question his role as the leader of the Republican Party, and live to tell about it. We'll see how that works out. He even used the opportunity, on NBC no less, to take a shot at Chris Matthews:
"Rush Limbaugh is in the long run an interesting radio personality," Gingrich said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"The fact is he has a large audience, the audience believes him, the audience calls their members, the audience has an affect. He's not the leader of the Republican party," he said.

"That's like saying, 'Does Chris Matthews help or hurt the Democratic party?'"
As if. Matthews, on a given day, sounds like everything from a Democrat to a Reaganite. Calling him a leader of any Democrat is like saying Shep Smith should replace Michael Steele. (Newt then went on to answer the question of whether he wants to run in 2012 with something on the order of "not particularly." But of course not...

Related: David Frum gets the cover of Newsweek to air his own Rush dissent.

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posted by JReid @ 4:25 PM  
Friday, February 27, 2009
Do you know Bobby Jindal?
The Daily Beast delves into the background of the GOP's Brown Guy Rising (hokey, Barney Fife speech the other day notwithstanding...)
... as the country gets acquainted with the Bayou’s boy wonder, the stranger details of Jindal’s religious or personal background remain largely unknown, even among the Republican grassroots. How many Americans know that Jindal boasted of participating in an exorcism that purged the spirit of Satan from a college girlfriend? So far, Jindal’s tale of “beating a demon” remains behind the subscription wall of New Oxford Review, an obscure Catholic magazine; only a few major blogs have seized on the story.

Born in Baton Rouge in 1971, Jindal rarely visited his parents’ homeland. His birth name was Piyush Jindal. When he was four years old, Piyush changed his name to “Bobby” after becoming mesmerized by an episode of The Brady Bunch. Jindal later wrote that he began considering converting to Catholicism during high school after “being touched by the love and simplicity of a Christian girl who dreamt of becoming a Supreme Court justice so she could stop her country from ‘killing unborn babies.’” After watching a short black-and-white film on the crucifixion of Christ, Jindal claimed he “realized that if the Gospel stories were true, if Christ really was the son of God, it was arrogant of me to reject Him and question the gift of salvation.”

So ... "Bobby" is so influenced by the teevee that he changed his name because of "The Brady Bunch" and came to Jesus because of a movie??? Yeesh. ... Okay, moving on. About that exorcism!

During his years at Brown University, Jindal pursued his Catholic faith with unbridled zeal. Jindal became emotionally involved with a classmate named Susan who had overcome skin cancer and struggled to cope with the suicide of a close friend. Jindal reflected in an article for a Catholic magazine (called “Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare”) that “sulfuric” scents hovered over Susan everywhere she went. In the middle of a prayer meeting, Jindal claimed that Susan collapsed and began convulsing on the floor. His prayer partners gathered together on the floor, holding hands and shouting, “Satan, I command you to leave this woman!”

While under the supposed control of satanic demons, Susan lashed out at Jindal and his friends. “Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me,” Jindal reflected. “It was as if something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe… I began to think that the demon would only attack me if I tried to pray or fight back; thus, I resigned myself to leaving it alone in an attempt to find peace for myself.”

Bobby, Bobby, Bobby!

UPDATE: About that "go ahead and arrest me" story.

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posted by JReid @ 8:08 AM  
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The federal dole: the common denominator in GOP stim opposition
Let's see... our folksy friend Bobby Jindal doesn't want the stimulus money ... nor does the equally folksy Sarah Palin of Alaska, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Sonny Perdue of Georgia, and even some Democrats, like Phil Bredeson of Tennessee. Most of them say they only object to giving their unemployed residents increased benefits. But since they have now been informed by Chuck Schumer that it's "all or nothing," perhaps some of them will stand by their "conservative principles" and not take any of the dough.

Still, as many observers, including political scientist Larry Sabato, have said, it would be a lot easier to listen to that kind of fiscal "discipline" from people who weren't feeding so heartily at the federal trough. Because see, it turns out, the states that are turning up their noses at the federal dollars Obama is offering, happen to also be the states sucking down far more federal pork than, say, Florida, Michigan, New York or California, which send more taxes to D.C. than they get back (and where the governors have said, "yes, please show us the money."

According to the Tax Policy Center, here's how the numbers shake out, in terms of dollars received per dollar of taxes paid, in the latest year they have records for, 2005 (states where governors or Senators have taken a yay or nay position on the stimulus in bold*)

State

Outlay to Tax Ratio

Ranking

New Mexico

$2.03

1

Mississippi*

$2.02

2

Alaska*

$1.84

3

Louisiana*

$1.78

4

West Virginia

$1.76

5

North Dakota

$1.68

6

Alabama

$1.66

7

South Dakota

$1.53

8

Kentucky

$1.51

9

Virginia

$1.51

10

Montana

$1.47

11

Hawaii

$1.44

12

Maine

$1.41

13

Arkansas

$1.41

14

Oklahoma

$1.36

15

South Carolina

$1.35

16

Missouri

$1.32

17

Maryland

$1.30

18

Tennessee*

$1.27

19

Idaho

$1.21

20

Arizona

$1.19

21

Kansas

$1.12

22

Wyoming

$1.11

23

Iowa

$1.10

24

Nebraska

$1.10

25

Vermont

$1.08

26

North Carolina

$1.08

27

Pennsylvania

$1.07

28

Utah

$1.07

29

Indiana

$1.05

30

Ohio

$1.05

31

Georgia*

$1.01

32

Rhode Island

$1.00

33

Florida*

$0.97

34

Texas

$0.94

35

Oregon

$0.93

36

Michigan*

$0.92

37

Washington

$0.88

38

Wisconsin

$0.86

39

Massachusetts

$0.82

40

Colorado*

$0.81

41

New York*

$0.79

42

California*

$0.78

43

Delaware

$0.77

44

Illinois*

$0.75

45

Minnesota*

$0.72

46

New Hampshire

$0.71

47

Connecticut

$0.69

48

Nevada

$0.65

49

New Jersey

$0.61

50

District of Columbia

$5.55


Note that of the state where governors or Senators are pooh-poohing the stimulus money, only Minnesota is a net tax payer. The rest, well, they're more like geographic welfare queens.

Go figure.

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posted by JReid @ 9:28 AM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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