Miami U. grad picked as Romney's running mate

Published: Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 8:17 AM
Updated: Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 6:21 PM


            House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney before Romney spoke at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee, in this April 3, 2012 file photo. Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a Republican with knowledge of the development. They will appear together Saturday Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the newly minted GOP ticket to the nation.
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney before Romney spoke at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee, in this April 3, 2012 file photo. Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a Republican with knowledge of the development. They will appear together Saturday Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the newly minted GOP ticket to the nation.

Mitt Romney’s decision to select Republican congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate is a bold stroke designed to convince skeptical conservatives that as president he will crusade for lower taxes and curbing federal spending.

Analysts acknowledge that Romney’s choice Saturday could prod voters to focus on the federal deficit and the sluggish economy as opposed to Romney’s career with a Boston investment firm.

But some GOP officials privately fear that the Republican ticket could hurt itself in the crucial state of Florida, which has 29 electoral votes, by emphasizing restraints on the rapidly growing entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Ryan, a Wisconsin lawmaker who chairs the House budget committee, has pressed for a sweeping overhaul of Medicare’s current fee-for-service plan into a system in which the federal government would subsidize private insurance plans so seniors could buy their own policies. Although Ryan has stressed his Medicare plan would not into effect for a decade, it could prove toxic with many seniors.

In addition, even though Ryan graduated from Miami University in Oxford, many Republicans were convinced that Sen. Rob Portman had a better chance than Ryan to tip Ohio toward Romney.

“It was a bold choice and it will virtually guarantee that the issues of the role of the government and fiscal responsibility will be a top priority in the general election,’’ said David Walker, former comptroller of the United States and founder of Comeback America Initiative, a nonpartisan organization that champions lower deficits.

“It increases the likelihood that the debates will be more substantive and the American people will be provided with a real choice,’’ Walker said. “And whoever wins the election will be able to claim they have a mandate for action.’’

But even as many Republicans praised Ryan as smart and possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of the federal budget, they know that Obama and Democrats will hammer the GOP ticket on the type of Medicare changes that Ryan has championed as chairman of the House budget committee.

“Paul Ryan is a great guy,’’ said Barry Bennett, a Republican consultant in Washington with close ties to Portman. “My heart’s 100 percent with Paul Ryan.’’

“But my head says we need to talk about how people are hurting (economically), not how to end Medicare. I just hope it doesn’t turn into a debate on how much to cut entitlement programs. If it does, we’re going to lose.’’

Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said that by picking Ryan, Romney’s “chances have been irreparably harmed in Florida. The majority of Floridians understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare.’’

As he introduced Ryan to an enthusiastic rally in Virginia on Saturday, Romney praised Ryan as “an intellectual leader of the Republican Party. He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt – and the fiscal catastrophe that awaits us if we don’t change course.”

Neither Romney nor Ryan has much international experience.

“Who would have thought that only a decade after 9/11, the Republicans would have so little foreign policy experience on the Presidential ticket?” asked University of Dayton political science lecturer Dan Birdsong. “This underscores a simple ‘truth’ about presidential elections: domestic policy trumps foreign policy.”

Ryan signaled an aggressive course when he said that Obama and many others in Washington “have refused to make difficult decisions because they are more worried about their next election than they are about the next generation. We might have been able to get away with that before, but not now. We’re in a different, and dangerous, moment. We’re running out of time — and we can’t afford four more years of this.’’

Yet Romney appears to understand the potential danger with Ryan’s Medicare plans. The Romney campaign has advised its surrogate speakers that are differences between Romney and Ryan on some of the major issues, including Medicare revisions and reforming entitlements.

Federal spending on Medicare, which pays for health coverage for seniors, is projected to nearly double from $560 billion this year to $1 trillion in 2022. By 2022, Washington will spend almost as much on the entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as it spends today for the entire federal budget.

Without restraining the growth of the entitlement programs, the only way the government can eventually balance the budget is through either large tax increases on all Americans or politically unpopular reductions in spending for national defense and domestic programs.

While the Ryan choice will thrill economic conservatives, particularly those who write for the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard, many analysts doubt whether he can broaden the appeal of the ticket to the handful of swing voters in a dozen states who will decide the election.

“It makes no sense whatsoever,’’ said one political strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity. “You don’t win elections with your base vote and this guy doesn’t get you anything beyond the base. What’s the No.1 rule? Don’t pick anybody who can hurt you? Do you think swing voters in Ohio are going to like this guy’s message?’’

Naturally, local Democrats and Republicans had different opinions on how Ryan would affect the local vote. Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Rob Scott said having Ryan on the ticket will make his job easier because so many voters are looking for a real plan with specifics.

“There’s been a huge push for good fiscal management in our government, from Washington D.C. to Columbus to here locally,” Scott said. “And Congressman Ryan’s plan speaks directly to that.”

But county Democratic Chairman Mark Owens said he was looking forward to spelling out pieces of Ryan’s plan to voters, saying it would help the Obama campaign.

“Raising the tax burden on the middle class, cutting education through Head Start programs and Pell Grants that allow middle income families to go to college, all that’s going to have an effect on everybody in the Miami Valley,” Owens said.

Ryan, who was born, raised and still lives in Janesville, Wis., has an interesting parallel to the Miami Valley in the auto industry. General Motors closed its Janesville Assembly plant on Dec. 23, 2008, the same day as GM’s Moraine Assembly plant closed here. Janesville made trucks and SUVs, as did the Moraine plant.

Ryan voted in favor of the auto industry bailout, but later explained to The Daily Caller newspaper that he was told the industry was going to get government money no matter what, and he voted for what he thought was the better of two options.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich hailed the choice of Ryan, saying “he’s got a keen intellect and the kind of courage to think big on solutions that America needs from its leaders. That he’s a graduate of one of Ohio’s great universities – Miami University – doesn’t hurt either.’’

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, said that “the selection of Paul Ryan shows that we are serious about putting this country back on the path to prosperity. Unfortunately, the President has failed to offer a plan to put Ohioans back to work or to end the largest federal deficits since World War II. Governor Romney has a plan, and our country is in desperate need of leadership.”

Asked how Ryan was different from other possible Romney running mates, Turner said Ryan is “young, dynamic, intelligent, well-studied and very well-spoken.” He said the fact that Ryan has been overwhelmingly re-elected six times in an otherwise Democratic district is proof that he can appeal across party lines.

Romney will be back in Ohio on Tuesday as part of a four-state bus tour. He will stop in Chillicothe and eastern Ohio, but the campaign has not yet said whether Ryan will be with him.

Air Force may recall up to 1,000 retired pilots

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 12:24 AM

Up to 1,000 Retired Air Force Pilots May Be Recalled

The U.S. Air Force may recall as many as 1,000 retired military pilots to active duty because of an executive order signed Friday by President Donald Trump,  ABC News reported.

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By law, only 25 retired pilots can be recalled through voluntary programs to serve in any one branch of military service, but Trump’s executive order removes that limit, ABC News reported. The order expands the national state of emergency declared in 2001 by President George W. Bush in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as part of an effort “to mitigate the Air Force’s acute shortage of pilots,” said Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman.

Secretary of Air Force Heather Wilson said the service was short by 1,555 pilots -- including 1,211 fighter pilots -- at the end of the 2016 fiscal year.

"We anticipate that the Secretary of Defense will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years," Ross said in a statement Friday. "The pilot supply shortage is a national level challenge that could have adverse effects on all aspects of both the government and commercial aviation sectors for years to come."

Teacher duct tapes 5th graders mouths shut to keep them quiet

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

An elementary school student raises a hand in class. A substitute teacher in Texas was banned from a school in Killeen after she allegedly duct-taped students’ mouths shut.
Ulrich Baumgarten/U. Baumgarten via Getty Images
An elementary school student raises a hand in class. A substitute teacher in Texas was banned from a school in Killeen after she allegedly duct-taped students’ mouths shut.(Ulrich Baumgarten/U. Baumgarten via Getty Images)

A substitute teacher at an elementary school in Killeen, Texas, has lost her job after allegedly duct-taping fifth-graders mouths shut to keep them quiet, according to news outlets.

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The incident, which lasted for several minutes, involved 10 students at Maxdale Elementary School, ABC News reported. Three additional students also placed duct tape over their own mouths after their classmates mouth were duct-taped.

“She had an idea where some kids would line up in a line and she would duct tape their mouths,” fifth-grader Andy Hernandez told KRON.

The students were checked out by a school nurse and school officials later called child protective services.

The students were not injured by the tape, but the Killeen Independent School District launched an investigation and later banned the teacher from campus.

“The substitute teacher was immediately removed from the classroom and barred from the campus as a result of this outrageous and unconscionable behavior,” the district said in a statement, KRON reported.

“The school leadership notified child protective services of the event, and we will work closely in support of any additional investigation by law enforcement as needed,” district officials said.

>> Related: Teacher strapped special needs child to chair with masking tape

The school’s principal called the parents of the children involved to inform them of the incident, KRON reported.

Pizza shop owners remove bathroom signs after protests

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 1:45 PM

Restaurant Owners Remove Controversial Bathroom Signs

The owners of a Colorado pizza shop are reluctantly removing the controversial bathroom signs at their restaurant after receiving backlash.

The signs depict a man trying to lift up a woman's skirt, The Durango Herald reported. While the restroom signs have been up since HomeSlice Pizza opened four years ago, the complaints skyrocketed after images of the signs were shared on social media. Some found the signs to be in poor taste and making light of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

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Lynn Kitch and her husband own the restaurant. Kitch submitted a statement to the Herald, in which she said that she was removing the signs not because they are offensive, but because she didn't want her employees subjected to "adverse working conditions." Kitch said in the statement that she is a sexual assault survivor and would have welcomed a meaningful conversation about the signs, but instead, protesters were making harassing calls to the restaurant and cyberbullying the business by leaving bad reviews online.

Some HomeSlice Pizza customers supported the owners, saying the sign was meant to be humorous.

Kitch said at least one of the signs will be auctioned off and the proceeds will be donated to a local organization who supports sexual assault victims.

Mariah Carey’s ex-fiance James Packer calls relationship a ‘mistake’

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 10:14 AM

Singer Mariah Carey and billionaire James Packer in happier times on vacation in Portofino, Italy on June 26, 2015.
Photopix/GC Images
Singer Mariah Carey and billionaire James Packer in happier times on vacation in Portofino, Italy on June 26, 2015.(Photopix/GC Images)

A year after calling off their engagement, James Packer is talking about his breakup with Mariah Carey for the first time.

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“I was at a low point in my personal life,” Packer said about his time with Carey.

“She was kind, exciting and fun. Mariah is a woman of substance. But, it was a mistake for her and a mistake for me.”

The couple first got together in 2015 and had plans to get married. Nine months after getting engaged, however, they called everything off in October 2016 while they were vacationing in Greece.

Carey, who was reportedly “blindsided” by the breakup, famously went on to burn her wedding gown in her “I Don’t” music video by tossing it into a fire.

>> Related: Mariah Carey is asking for much more than cash in her settlement with ex-fiancé James Packer

Mariah was totally blindsided by James. She read the news in Woman’s Day Australia that said he dumped her,” a source told Us Weekly. “Mariah knew they were having problems, but all relationships have issues — it wasn’t the kind of thing where she thought she’d read in the paper that she got dumped. She was devastated; she was shocked.”

A representative for the singer later confirmed the news in a statement that read, “Mariah and James had a fight in Greece, and have not seen each other since. The fight was not because of any cheating allegations or excessive spending by Mariah. James is one of the most successful businessmen in the world. They are trying to work it out. Right now, they’re not sure if they will stay together.”