In October, I reported that Mississippi GOP senate candidate Chris McDaniel had delivered speeches to the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, including during a conference the neo-Confederate group held in August. When I contacted McDaniel's campaign for the story, a spokesman said: "Senator McDaniel has driven across Mississippi to speak to many groups over the past decade." He did not dispute that McDaniel had attended the August gathering. A spokesman for the SCV chapter also told me that McDaniel had attended the August event as well as an earlier event, but now McDaniel is saying he wasn't at the August gathering. He told the Clarion-Ledger that although he had been scheduled to speak at the event, but missed it because he was in Chicago for a conference for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). An SCV member backed him up:
"He wasn't at this last one," said [SCV spokesman George Jaynes]. "He missed a flight coming out of Chicago … A guy from Mother Jones news, which I had never heard of, called me the other night and was asking questions. Maybe I didn't explain myself well. Maybe this guy misunderstood me. But (McDaniel) wasn't there."
The Southern Heritage Conference was Aug. 9-10. The ALEC conference in Chicago was Aug. 7-9. McDaniel said he recollects he stayed over at least a day after the ALEC event, and was still out of state when the Rosin Heels event was held.
McDaniel also alleges that Mother Jones "doctored" a photo to falsely depict him speaking to the event; the image was identified in the story as a photoshop.
Though McDaniel might have missed the conference because of airline issues, he did deliver the keynote address at an event the group held on June 22 in Jackson. Jaynes confirmed to the Clarion-Ledger that McDaniel had indeed spoken to the group in previous years (which Jaynes also told me). So whether or not McDaniel made it to the August conference, there is no question he's been a friend to this particular group.
Sybrina Fulton, mother of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, speaks with her attorney at Tuesday's Senate hearing on Stand Your Ground laws.
When it was his turn to ask a question at Tuesday's Senate hearing on Stand Your Ground laws, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lowered his voice and spoke cautiously about the pain Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, must feel. But then he got to his point. Addressing Fulton, who had traveled from Florida to express her opposition to the spread of these laws, Cruz sought to downplay the significance of her message.
"I understand, for the family, you're simply mourning the loss of your son, and I understand that," he said, "but there are other players that are seeking to do a great deal more based on what happened that Florida night."
Cruz, his Republican colleagues, and the witnesses they'd summoned before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, had a different point to make: Stand Your Ground laws—which allow a person to kill another if he feels his life is endangered—benefit black people if you hold the data up to the light and squint a little. And those who would say otherwise are using race as a cudgel to force through their anti-gun agenda. "With whom do we stand?" Cruz asked. "I for one believe we should stand for the innocent against aggressors."
On the 23rd day, Harper Reed finally broke down. Tired of being beseeched to save Healthcare.gov, the glitchy three-week-old website designed to help people shop for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Reed, the chief technology officer for President Obama's 2012 campaign (I
wrote the first national profile of his role), began compulsively retweeting requests for his assistance on matters entirely unrelated to web forms, government databases, and subsidized health care: "Hey @harper, I have 56 people I need to invite to a dinner that maxes at 50. Can you fix this?"; "Listen @harper, get Firefly back on the air. Whatever it takes"; "@harper I'm out of coffee"; "@harper Can you do anything about the fact that I hear Zooey Deschanel's voice in every coffee shop?"; "@harper I am unable to get past Belial's poison attack on Diablo III…help!"
Those sarcastic tweets were meant to point out that even Reed's formidable code-wrangling skills can't solve every problem under the sun. And by retweeting them, he was doing his part to knock down a false parallel that's been spreading across mainstream political circles over the last two weeks. It goes a little something like this: How can the same president whose re-election campaign was widely praised for its startup ethos watch his signature accomplishment go down at the hands of a broken website?
Getting a concealed-carry permit for a firearm from the state of Utah is pretty easy. As I reported in our September/October issue, you don't have to know how to fire a gun—or even set foot in Utah—to obtain one. That's why more than 60 percent of the Beehive State's 473,476 concealed-carry permits belong to non-residents, who take advantage of Utah's reciprocity with 35 other states.
And they're doing so in rising numbers: Over the last year, the Deseret News reports, the state has seen a boom in permit requests. The cause? Fear of mass shootings, as well as new gun restrictions, according to a Utah official:
[Bureau of Criminal Investigations] chief Alice Moffatt said the agency had "bins and bins" of applications in February, March and April when the numbers swelled to more than 18,000 per month. She attributed the surge to last year's shootings in Connecticut and Colorado and gun control legislation.
"That seems to spur people getting their concealed weapons permits," she told the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee on Wednesday.
Permit renewals will exceed 40,000 this year, a 42 percent increase, Moffat said.
Mississippi Republican Chris McDaniel, who is challenging Sen. Thad Cochran and backed by the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth, took the stage with a historian who says Lincoln was a Marxist.
Update: Chris McDaniel is now saying he wasn't at the event in August. See our update here.
Chris McDaniel is taking the "GOP Civil War" to a new level. Two months ago, the tea party-backed Mississippi Senate candidate addressed a neo-Confederate conference and costume ball hosted by a group that promotes the work of present-day secessionists and contends the wrong side won the "war of southern independence." Other speakers at the event included a historian who believes Lincoln was a Marxist and Ryan Walters, a PhD candidate who worked on McDaniel's first political campaign and wrote recently that the "controversy" over President Barack Obama's birth certificate "hasn't really been solved."
McDaniel, a state senator, is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Thad Cochran in next summer's GOP Senate primary. After announcing his run last week, McDaniel quickly picked up endorsements from the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a prominent backer of the tea party. Both groups are key players in the internal GOP battle between establishment-minded Republicans and tea party insurgents and are backing right-wing challenges to incumbent Republicans whom they deem insufficiently conservative. Cochran, who is finishing out his 35th year in the Senate and has not said if he will seek re-election, earned the ire of tea partiers by voting to re-open the federal government and avert defaulting on the debt. McDaniel, whose campaign bus features an image of Article I of the Constitution, has promised to make Cochran's debt ceiling vote a centerpiece of his campaign.