Paul Ryan responds to Dee Snider: 'We're Not Gonna Play It anymore'

Wisconsin Congressman and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has recently taken to playing Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” at campaign events. However, this anthem will no longer be featured at his rallies.

Like many conservatives who choose to play rock songs at events during the campaign season, Mr. Ryan has been asked to stop using the song. The campaign has agreed, emailing the Associated Press “We’re Not Gonna Play It anymore.”

Jay Jay French, Twisted Sister’s guitarist, said politicians have used the song without permission previously. He said two tea party candidates were asked to stop using the same song after Twisted Sister voiced objections.

“We understand it’s a protest song, but the use of our particular version of this song connotes our support,” Mr. French said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We are absolutely opposed to this Republican ticket and to a social agenda we find particularly disturbing.”

Band member Dee Snider also voiced strong opinions about the campaign’s use of the song.

“I emphatically denounce Paul Ryan’s use of my band Twisted Sister’s song ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It,’ in any capacity,” he said, according to Rolling Stone. “There is almost nothing he stands for that I agree with except the use of the P90X.”

Earlier in the campaign season, Cyndi Lauper requested that the Romney campaign stop using her song “True Colors” in a television commercial. She said no one had asked her permission to use the song for political purposes. The campaign was also asked to stop using a song by the Silversun Pickups it inadvertently played at a campaign event earlier this month.

During the 2008 campaign, Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin was criticized by the Wilson sisters for using Heart’s “Barracuda.”

Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann upset rocker Tom Petty by playing his hit “American Girl” last spring, and it wasn’t the first time he had a song used without his permission. George W. Bush used his “I Won’t Back Down” during the 2000 campaign season, resulting in Mr. Petty demanding that the song not be played at Bush campaign events.

Mr. Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” was not the only song Mr. Bush was asked to stop playing during his campaigns. Several artists denounced his use of their music. Such songs included Sting’s “Brand New Day” and “Still the One” by Orleans. Both artists supported Democrats in the past.


Tropical Storm Issac takes aim at RNC

When Hurricane Gustav slammed into the Gulf region in 2008, the Republican Party delayed the start of its national convention in St. Paul, Minn., by a day out of respect for the victims of the storm. This year, it appears that the Republican conclave will be directly in the path of another storm, Tropical Storm Isaac.

According to the Miami Herald, the storm is projected to make landfall near south Florida on Monday. The Republican National Convention, where presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney will formally be declared the party’s candidate for president, is scheduled to convene this Sunday in Tampa. Seventy-thousand delegates, officials, and journalists are expected to be in attendance.

Speaking Thursday, Republican officials said they will continue to press forward with plans, despite the risk of the storm. Republican officials said they remain in contact with state officials regarding the path of the storm.

“We continue to move forward with our planning and look forward to a successful convention,” said William Harris, CEO of the Republican National Convention. He said Romney/Ryan campaign and convention planners were in “regular contact” with state emergency officials and with Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, who he said “assured us that they have the resources in place to respond to this storm should it make landfall.”

Although the storm is currently only moving at 18 mph with maximum winds of 45 mph, the US National Hurricane Center believes that it could strengthen into a hurricane by Thursday, with winds reaching at least 74 mph. According to Fox News, Tampa has not been hit by a hurricane in 90 years and Florida has not suffered a major hurricane since 2005’s Hurricane Wilma.

Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at noted that predictions five days in advance are difficult to gauge accurately. Nevertheless, he points out, the fact that a major gathering could be in the path of the incoming storm is reason to take extra precautions. “It would take a perfect storm of a scenario where a bunch of factors all conspire together,” said Mr. Masters.

“But we definitely have to watch this one,” he cautioned.

Republican National Convention spokesman James Davis says that the Republican is coordinating with the Secret Service (which is in charge of security for the event), and state and local emergency officials to prepare for the possibility of Isaac disrupting the convention, according to USA Today.

Florida Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon said that although his agency is working closely with the convention on preparations for Isaac, its priority remains the general population. Mr. Koon noted that convention-goers will already have quick access to transportation, including buses and even planes reserved for the event. Evacuating the city will not be difficult for them, he said.

“If this storm comes ashore, dealing with the delegates that are here, dealing with the reporters here, is going to be one of my lesser concerns,” Mr. Koon said. “They’re going to be a small percentage of the population we’re worried about. I’m going to be dealing with the million plus people who don’t have access to those resources.”

As for the politics of the upcoming convention, Republican delegates say they will begin the roll call vote to officially nominate Mr. Romney for president on Monday at the national convention in Tampa. Officials on Thursday said the formal presidential nomination would come days earlier than at previous conventions in part because of concerns about supporters of Ron Paul.


Michael Dukakis slams Mitt Romney: He is a joke

Former Presidential candidate and Masschusetts Governor Michael Dukakis previewed his upcoming remarks for the Democratic National Convention, saying presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will do little to revamp the U.S. economy.

“For us to watch this guy go out and tell people he’s going to transform the economy is a joke, ” said Mr. Dukakis. “The only thing he’s got going for him is ‘I’m a businessman and I understand the economy.’ We heard the same things from him when he ran for governor. The notion that this guy is qualified to lead us based on our experience here (in Massachusetts) is ludicrous.”

Mr. Dukakis, who lost the 1988 presidential race to Republican George H.W. Bush, said he plans to focus on the state of the U.S. economy during his upcoming speech. The former Massachusetts governor has increased his national profile in recent months, sharing his perspective of Mr. Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts.

The convention speech could present problems for the Romney campaign. Speaking earlier this month, Romney’s spokesman continued to tout the state of the Massachusetts economy under Mr. Romney. A number of news sites have questioned the Romney campaign’s claim, saying the state ranked just 47th in nation under Mr. Romney.

“Massachusetts was a turnaround story under Governor Romney,” said Romney spokesman Robert Reid. “During his four years as governor, Massachusetts had the sixth-best improvement in job growth rank of any state, rising from 51st in his first year to 30th.…”

Thursday’s statement echo early statements from Mr. Dukakis, who has roundly criticized Mr. Romney’s tenure as governor.

“We heard this stuff when he was elected governor,” Dukakis argued of Romney’s claims that he knew small business and he knew how to run the economy. “He was a disaster… Massachusetts had one of the worst economic records in the country,” Mr. Dukakis said in a June interview,” and it wasn’t because it was a deeply blue state (“we voted for Reagan twice”). Instead, he argued that because “people saw him in action here… they just don’t like him.”


Todd Akin: I 'misspoke' about rape

Missouri Congressman Todd Akin says he “misspoke” in an interview earlier on Sunday in which he said female bodies have the ability to prevent pregnancies in the case of “a legitimate rape, ” according to the USA Today.

Mr. Akin, currently in his sixth term as a U.S. congressman, is a conservative Republican running for the Senate against incumbent Claire McCaskill. In an interview with St. Louis television KTVI he was asked if he supported abortions for rape victims.

“It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said about the chances of a rape victim’s chances of getting pregnant. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Shortly after the interview was broadcast, the congressman released a statement regarding his comments.

“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” the statement read. Mr. Akin added that he believes “deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”

The campaign of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney quickly condemned the congressman’s comments.

“Governor Romney and Congressman (Paul) Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

Mr. Akin’s opponent, Democrat Claire McCaskill, called the comments “offensive” in an email statement on Sunday.

“It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape,” she wrote. “The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”

The congressman handily won Missouri’s Republican primary for the Senate early this month. Throughout his career has had relied on a base of support from evangelical Christians. This reputation was only enhanced during the primary when he was endorsed by over 100 pastors and former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called him “a courageous conservative” and “a Bible-based Christian” who “defends the unborn.”

The president of the National Organization for Women, Terry O’Neill, called Mr. Akin’s comments “flat-out astonishing.”

“That kind of rhetoric re-traumatizes sexual assault victims … That kind of talk, I believe, is intended to shame women,” she told AP Radio.

In the interview for KTVI’s “The Jaco Report,” which was conducted days before it was broadcast, Mr. Akin spoke about other issues such as voter ID laws, Medicare and the economy.


Ron Paul fights to restore voice within Republican Party

Texas congressman Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign is still seeking to win the Louisiana state delegates that it feels were stripped from their candidate during the Louisiana Republican party state convention in June.

According to a CNN report, Mr. Paul’s campaign sent a letter to the Republican National Committee (RNC) regarding its second appeal to void Louisiana of its state delegates to next week’s RNC convention in Tampa. The Paul campaign’s initial appeal was rejected by the RNC earlier this month.

“There’s no way you can argue with a straight face that rules weren’t changed, ” said Charlie Davis, Louisiana chairman of the Ron Paul campaign.

The Paul campaign alleges that the Louisiana state executive committee was allowed to replace unallocated delegates at the state convention after it sent out a memo to convention participants outlining supplemental rule changes.

Mr. Paul received 6 percent of the votes in the March 24 Louisiana Republican primary election, however Ron Paul supporters showed up in greater numbers at the state convention to vote for the remaining 30 delegates that were up for grabs because of RNC delegate issuance rules. Out of those remaining delegates, about half were open to be filled by the Louisiana Republican state executive committee at a later date, and Mr. Paul’s supporters  were planning to convince them to be assigned to Mr. Paul.

Paul supporters refused to participate in the official voting process at the state convention, choosing instead to hold their own separate vote.

“The affidavit and supplemental rules systemically changed the way that Louisiana elected National Delegates,” Mr. Davis wrote in the memo to the RNC outlining the Paul campaign’s latest appeal.

“Both documents are clear violations of the national requirement that all rules must have been submitted to the RNC last October 1,” added Mr. Davis.

Mr. Davis claims that his campaign only learned of the supplemental rules changes two days prior to the state convention.

However, the state executive committee argues that the Paul campaign and all campaigns that participated in the Republican primary election were well aware of the rules changes.

“We had received letters from (the Mitt) Romney and (Rick) Santorum campaigns stating who they wanted their delegates to be,” said Jason Doré, executive director of the Louisiana Republican party.

“We worked very long to make sure that we had an affidavit that was similar to other state parties’ that was enforceable that prevented delegate stealing,” added Mr. Doré.

Mr. Davis said that he expects the RNC to rule in the Paul campaign’s favor, and that their delegates from Louisiana will be seated prior to the upcoming national convention.


Jerry Brown hits back at climate-change 'deniers,' launches new website

California Governor Jerry Brown has taken another swing a climate-change “deniers” with the launch of a new website dedicated to setting the facts straight about climate change.

“Climate Change: Just the Facts, ” which was launched by The Governor’s Office of Planning & Research, has an entire page devoted to “The Deniers.” On that page, Mr. Brown says that climate-change deniers share several traits:

“Many have little or no expertise in climate science,” the web page reads. “While some have some science background, their training often is unrelated to climate science and they have not published ‘peer-reviewed’ scientific work in climate or atmospheric science.”

Governor Brown has a lot to gain from promoting climate change, as two recent studies predicted that California would be hit hard by climate change in the near future.

A UCLA study found the Los Angeles could heat up by four to five degrees by mid-century. The study found that coastal communities will see average temperature increases ranging from 3.7 to just under four degrees Fahrenheit. However, scientists say the worst heat will be in towns that already have hot summers. The average temperature increase in towns like Big Bear Lake and Palm Springs is projected to be five degrees.

To make matters worse, a report from the National Research Council found that California sea level is expected to rise at a higher rate than the global average. The sea level rise will likely increase damage to the California’s coast from storm surges and high waves, said the report. Southern California is expected to deal with the greatest increase in sea level rise.

“After decades of pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, humanity is getting dangerously close to the point of no return,” Governor Brown said in a statement about the new website. “Those who still deny global warming’s existence should wake up and honestly face the facts.”


Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello: I'm not a fan of Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan may be a fan of Rage Against the Machine, but the band’s guitarist definitely is not a fan of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, according to a recent editorial he wrote in Rolling Stones.

“Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades,” wrote Tom Morello. “He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.”

The 42-year-old Mr. Ryan is the nation’s first Generation X vice-presidential candidate, which may partly explain his Rage fandom. But he has admitted that while he likes the band’s sound, he often tunes out the lyrics.

“Rage’s music affects people in different ways. Some tune out what the band stands for and concentrate on the moshing and throwing elbows in the pit.” wrote Mr. Morello in the editorial. “Perhaps Paul Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening.”

The guitarist expressed incredulity on just how much the Wisconsin congressman has missed the message of the band, however.

“I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of “Fuck the Police”? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!” he said. “Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta “rage” in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.”

Mr. Morello joined in on an Occupy L.A. last year as well as protesting the opening of a Chinatown Wal-Mart, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“You see, the super rich must rationalize having more than they could ever spend while millions of children in the U.S. go to bed hungry every night. So, when they look themselves in the mirror, they convince themselves that ‘Those people are undeserving. They’re . . . lesser.’ Some of these guys on the extreme right are more cynical than Paul Ryan, but he seems to really believe in this stuff,” the guitarist wrote. “This unbridled rage against those who have the least is a cornerstone of the Romney-Ryan ticket.”




Madonna rips Putin, Russian court for sending Pussy Riot to jail

World leaders, celebrities, and political and human rights activists are roiling today after a Russian court sentenced the punk band Pussy Riot to two years of corrective labor for storming a Russian Orthodox Church and singing a song entitled “Virgin Mary, Chase Putin Out” in protest of President Vladimir Putin.

A judge who read the verdict on Friday said they had been found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced them to two years of corrective labor, the harshest possible sentence for first-time female offenders.

The trio stormed the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February wearing bright ski masks, tights and short skirts and sang a “punk prayer” urging the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.

The trial, labeled a “farce” by reporters on the scene, and the accompanying sentence mark an upsurge in politically motivated intimidation and prosecution of opposition activists in Russia. After the band was arrested, the women were kept in a glass cage, sometimes for 10 hours at a time, being denied food and adequate sleep.

The judge repeatedly refused to let the defense call witnesses and struck the defense lawyer’s questions of the Prosecution’s witnesses. “I have no rights in this court,” an exasperated defense lawyer said, according to Masha Lipman’s article in the New Yorker. “Indeed,” the judge responded, “all you have is obligations.”

Leaders from Europe and the United States have expressed deep concern over the Russian government’s reaction to Pussy Riot’s peaceful protest.

The U.S. State Department, along with Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said the two-year sentences given to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were “disproportionate” to the crime.

Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, said the sentence was “excessively harsh” and “not compatible with the European values of the rule of law and democracy to which Russia, as a member of the Council of Europe, has committed itself.”

“A dynamic civil society and politically active citizens are a necessary precondition for Russia’s modernization, not a threat,” she said, according to Al Jazeera.

Paul McCartney, Madonna, Sting, Bjork and a long list of other musicians and actors expressed their support for Pussy Riot.

“FYI. We will never being playing a show in Russia as long as they imprison innocent musicians for speaking their minds peacefully,” Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney tweeted today upon hearing that the band had been convicted.

“I can’t believe sentencing #pussyriot to2 yrs in someone who lived in Moscow and has filmed& seen inside the jails my heart goes out,” tweeted Mischa Barton.

“These girls got sentenced to 2 years in prison for this. I assume we are in agreement that it’s not ok. #pussyriot,” wrote Adrien Grenier. “Two years in a Russian jail? Geez. That’ll give em some song writing material,” former House star Jesse Spencer tweeted.

The Pussy Riot case has reawakened anti-government passions that first emerged when Mr. Putin announced last autumn that he was returning to the presidency.

In the closing arguments, Pussy Riot’s lawyer Mark Feygin warned that Society would never forgive the government for jailing three innocent women, according to The Guardian.  He warned that tensions, between society and the church, were building to similar levels as before the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.

Prosecutors presented the women as dangerous feminists. “All the defendants talked about being feminists and said that is allowed in the Russian Orthodox church,” said Yelena Pavlova, a lawyer for several of the nine complainants who claimed they were insulted by Pussy Riot’s performance.

“This does not correspond with reality. Feminism is a mortal sin,” Prosecutors said, according to Al Jazeera.

Aljazeera notes that Amnesty International said the trial was politically motivated and the women were wrongfully prosecuted for a legitimate, if potentially offensive, protest action, adding that the verdict was “a bitter blow to freedom of expression” in Russia.

Protests have occurred in major cities such as New York to demonstrate solidarity with Pussy Riot.  According to The Guardian, opposition activists in Russia are scheduled to protest on Sunday, August 19.


Ron Paul wants to make his presence known at RNC

Congressman Ron Paul has used much of the $2.5 million that his campaign had at the end of July towards his rally that will be held next week, Paul campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said.  The event will be held a day before the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

The Paul-led event is called “Rally for the Liberty Delegates” and it will run simultaneously with a pro-Ron Paul rally in Tampa called “Paul Festival,” which is being organized by Paul supporters.

As Rep. Paul explains, “Our theme for this event will be, ‘We Are the Future – A Rally for the Liberty Delegates’. I’m sure it will not only be a great time, but it will also go a long way to proving you and I are the future of the Republican Party.”

Dr. Paul, an eleven-term congressman from Texas, has continued his campaign for the presidency despite strong signs that the GOP will make Mitt Romney their candidate in this election.

“Our team has been very busy working to plan our ‘Rally for the Liberty Delegates’ event in Tampa and setting up our convention plans, including the fight to seat as many of our delegates as possible,” Mr. Benton said in an email.

In June, 100 self-described delegates to the RNC in Tampa filed a harassment law suit against the RNC chairman Reince Priebus and GOP chairmen in every state as defendants, according to a report on CNN.  The plaintiffs allege that the RNC leaders engaged in numerous violations of party rules, threats of violence, ballot tampering at state conventions and “intimidating demands” that delegates sign affidavits promising to vote for Romney.

The plaintiffs are seeking clarification from a federal court about whether they may vote in Tampa according to their consciences or if they are actually bound by delegate rules to vote for the winner of their state’s primary or caucus at the convention.

An RNC spokesperson called it “a frivolous lawsuit that we’re not worried about” but the committee still intends to plan a legal strategy in response. “We view the suit as completely frivolous but one to which a serious response must be made,” RNC Chief Legal Counsel John Phillippe Jr. said in a memo to members obtained by The Hotline.

“When the RNC calls this frivolous, I think it’s very telling about how the RNC has no respect for the delegates at the convention,” Richard Gilbert, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, told CNN. “These are delegates to a national convention who are asking the judge for guidance whether to follow federal law or whether to follow state party rules or state bylaws. How can that be a frivolous case?”

According to The National Journal, Mr. Gilbert said he had been in touch with Paul’s campaign, and that while one official urged him not to file suit, another Paul adviser — Doug Wead — told him to “go for it.”  The case is still outstanding.

All Ron Paul supporters are invited to join the “Rally for the Liberty Delegates” being held at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome on Sunday, August 26th from 12-6p.m.  The rally will promote the ideas of Libertarianism, including Dr. Paul’s own plans and policies.


Candy Crowley becomes first female to moderate a presidential debate since 1992

Moderators for the three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate have been announced, including the first female presidential debate moderator since the early 1990s, CBS News reports.

On Monday the Commission on Presidential Debates, which hosts and sets the terms of the debates, released the names of the moderators for the four events, scheduled to take place in October. The first debate, set to take place on October 3 in Denver and focus on domestic policy, will be moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS. Mr. Lehrer has moderated 11 of the last 35 presidential debates.

CNN’s Candy Crowley will moderate the second debate on October 16, which will have a town hall meeting style format. She will be the first female to moderate a presidential debate since ABC News’ Carole Simpson, who in 1992 became both the first female and the first African American to do so.

The third debate on October 22 in Boca Rotan will focus on foreign policy and be moderated by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, who moderated a debate in both 2004 and 2008. Martha Raddatz of ABC News will run the vice presidential debate.

“These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using the expanded time periods to maximum benefit,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, co-chairmen of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

In May, three high school students began a petition on to lobby the commission to choose a woman to moderate at least one of the debates. Each time someone signed the online petition, the commission received an email. The three teenagers from New Jersey collected over 100,000 signatures and delivered a copy of them to the commission’s Washington, D.C. offices in late July.

“Women’s voices need to be heard,” 15-year-old Sammi Siegal told CBS News. “The main goal is to get people to realize that this is such a big issue and that women aren’t still completely equal.”

Ms. Simpson recently weighed in on the issue to the Huffington Post.

“Now that we are back in 1971 again with Mitt Romney suggesting that he wants to kill Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe v. Wade, this year more than any other presidential year needs a female moderator,” she told The Huffington Post. “And not like the one I was.”

While she was the first minority woman to moderate a presidential debate, Ms. Simpson said that due to the town hall style of the event, she was “like a traffic cop.”

“They kept saying they wanted an Oprah-style town hall format, so that probably had something to do with them choosing a black woman,” she said. “I was told in my earpiece by a producer, ‘Go interview the lady in the green dress on the left, and now the man in the red sweater.’ I had no control over the questions that were asked, or who asked, or in what order.”

It seems history may be repeating itself, however, as Ms. Crowley will be moderating the debate that has been set up as a town hall-style meeting.