Texas Leads in Super PAC Donations

May 29, 2012, 12:53 pm EDT

Everything’s bigger in Texas, the saying goes. Apparently, this also applies to citizens’ generosity in supporting the major super PACs.

A report from the Houston Chronicle‘s Texas on the Potomac blog revealed the state had given $36.5 million to the 20 largest super PACs. Nevada placed second among states in giving to the 20 largest super PACs, thanks primarily to the donations made by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his family on behalf of the Newt Gingrich-supporting super PAC.

By way of comparison, California and New York, who out-raised Texas in donations with campaign limits (primarily for candidates’ campaigns), lagged behind in super PAC donations. California raised $22 million for the largest super PACs, and New York raised $17 million. Read 

Gov’t Taking New Steps to Stop Food Stamp Fraud

May 24, 2012, 5:18 pm EDT
Gov’t Taking New Steps to Stop Food Stamp Fraud

Food stamp fraud is an expensive problem, but states have often had their hands tied in how they handle it. The Agriculture Department is now seeking to give them more weapons.

Today, the department announced it was proposing rules that would allow states to demand formal explanations from people who seek more than three replacement cards a year. Those who refuse to comply can be denied further cards.

Why is the government doing this? While the biggest source of food stamp fraud comes from retailers who allow customers to turn in their benefits cards for lesser amounts of cash, they are seeing an increasing number of people selling or trading their benefits cards, including over web sites like eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Craigslist. Overall, food stamp fraud costs the government $750 million a year, on a $75 billion program. Read 

Silicon Valley Cools On Obama

May 23, 2012, 5:25 pm EDT
Silicon Valley Cools On Obama

As one of the first presidents of the social media era, his famous Blackberry ever by his side, Barack Obama charmed Silicon Valley during his 2008 election run. In 2012, though, Obama is finding it harder to break through.

The Pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future has raised $1.76 million in Silicon Valley. Notable among those donations was one by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen. In 2008, he gave the maximum allowable to Barack Obama’s campaign. This time around, though, he gave $100,000 to Romney’s super PAC.

In this campaign cycle, Obama has been receiving most of his money from a smaller pool of people than in 2008. Current Obama supporters like Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt have already given the maximum campaign donation of $35,800. Because super PACs have no limit on the monetary amount of individual donations, this puts candidate campaigns at a disadvantage when competing against those organizations. Read 

Election 2012: Forget Bailouts, We Need a Shakeout

May 23, 2012, 1:01 pm EDT
Election 2012: Forget Bailouts, We Need a Shakeout

The markets rallied Monday (although they fell slightly on Tuesday) on news that global leaders favor additional stimulus. The hope is that additional spending will induce growth and put the world back on track.Don’t hold your breath.Big government robs the economy of wealth, strips it of initiative and further undermines our recovery.

So why, then, do our leaders continue to throw good money after bad?

Try this on for size. Read 

Poll Finds Romney Facing Enthusiam Gap With Obama

May 22, 2012, 1:00 pm EDT
Poll Finds Romney Facing Enthusiam Gap With Obama

One of the major talking points in this election cycle has been whether or not Barack Obama can capture the energy of his 2008 campaign, famously encapsulated in Shepherd Fairey’s “Hope” poster. The Obama campaign has worried that the upcoming election, recently given the motto “Forward“, will struggle to maintain that enthusiasm in the wake of lingering economic issues.

Whether or not Obama can rekindle that past enthusiasm, he appears to still have an advantage over presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 93% of Obama supporters were enthusiastic about voting for him, compared to 75% for Romney backers.

The numbers are nearly the same as those taken from a similar poll in 2008, where Obama had enthusiastic support from 91% of his supporters, compared to 74% for McCain supporters. Read 

Average Congressman Speaks at a High School Level

May 21, 2012, 5:41 pm EDT
Average Congressman Speaks at a High School Level

It isn’t just you. Politicians are, in fact, getting dumber, if a recent study by the Sunlight Foundation is any indication. Since 2005, the average grade level a member of Congress speaks with has declined nearly a full school grade.

In 2005, the average member of Congress spoke at a grade level of 11.5. In analysis of speeches given this year by lawmakers, that average fell to 10.6.

Democrats speak at a slightly higher grade level than Republicans do — 10.8 for the former, 10.4 for the latter. However, analysis of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address by the University of Minnesota revealed it was given at an 8th grade comprehension level, the third lowest score for a State of the Union address since 1934. Read 

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