On October 13, 1972, the Technology Assessment Act was put into law as a bipartisan effort to promote scientific understanding for Congress members. The act created the nonpartisan Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), which released over 750 studies in its 24 years of operation. The OTA was defunded in 1995, part of Newt Gingrich's efforts to "dismantle Congressional institutions that employed people with the knowledge, training and experience to know a harebrained idea when they saw it." (Bruce Bartlett, NYT Economix blog). It was seen by some as "Reagan's Revenge" (Google books preview) for OTA's critical reports (Gbp) in 1985 (PDF) and 1988 (PDF) of the potential for Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, aka "Star Wars"). Chris Mooney looked back on OTA in Requiem for an office (PDF), and both the Federation of American Scientists and Princeton University have OTA report archives online. [more inside]
Artist Bas Van Oerle presents a series of propaganda posters for the 2012 Republican presidential contenders. Ron Paul For The Youth Vote. Fields of Santorum. Love Me Romney. Join The Cosmonewts.
After interminable months of campaigning, debates, and roller-coaster polling, the first official vote of the 2012 presidential race is in -- and boy, is it a doozy. Ames straw poll winner Michele Bachmann placed second-to-last, while former juggernaut Rick Perry performed so badly he's canceled upcoming events and is said to be on the verge of dropping out. Meanwhile, perennial laughingstock Rick Santorum, consolidating the support hemorrhaging from Perry, Bachmann, and an ad-blitzed Newt Gingrich, rocketed past the youth- and independent-backed Ron Paul and, with 99% of the vote counted, is separated from Mitt Romney by four votes out of ~120,000 -- by far the closest result in caucus history. As the shaken field contemplates the path ahead through Romney firewall New Hampshire, conservative South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, and beyond, President Obama staged a quiet redux of his own dramatic caucus win four years ago, a dry run for the looming general election. And as for powerhouse Buddy Roemer? Don't worry -- his team is ready to do battle with evil.
Is Newt really going to be the nominee? As Romney collapses and Newt surges in the polls, the party establishment is worried. Libertarians are panicking. Can the establishment stop him? What about Ron Paul? Can Huntsman save the party from catastrophe?
Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason. After two months of gaffes, impolitic stands, and bizarre speeches that quickly waned his once-strong odds of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video] to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate" in his memory. While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims -- an oddly ineffective scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign is floundering despite his brag that "I have six times as many Twitter followers as all the other candidates combined." Maybe because 80% of them are fake. Or maybe they're not. [more inside]
You may have seen Newt Gingrich this past Tuesday on The Daily Show describing Obama's decision to try the Underpants Bomber in the courts as "radical." He pointed out an incident in 1942 when Franklin Roosevelt suspended habeus corpus for Nazi saboteurs dropped off on Long Island by submarine to wreak havoc on Ameica. While "Nazi Terrorists" might be almost comic book class villains, Newt probably would prefer people not to recall the true story and villains of Operation Pastorius.
This story from NPR's morning edition discusses a program in a Georgia middle and high school that pays students $8 per day to go to after school study sessions twice a week. Jackie Cushman is the originator of the project. She is also Newt Gingrich's daughter. [more inside]
Gingrich Had Affair During Clinton Probe. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards." Thus Newt Gingrich 2008 Republican stealth candidate for U.S. president. Gingrich described by J. William Lauderback of the American Conservative Union as "the intellectual cornerstone of our modern conservative movement" has a closet filled with skeletons which should cause anyone to question his commitment to family values. (more inside)
World War III...maybe IV? Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says America is in World War III and President Bush should say so. He has plans for North Korea and Iran...and a newsletter, too. Related: 1, 2, 3, 4.
The family trees of American politicians - There are those with very long blue blood pedigrees, and there are those with very short and unknown pedigrees. There are also some surprises, like a certain Democratic senator and possible '08 Veep pick being somewhat closely related to the current Veep, or that certain ex-mayors have family trees that were apparently a bit inbred back in the old country. Other fun tidbits: Newt Gingrich's father was illegitimate, John Kerry is related to the rabbi who created the Golem of Prague, Pat Buchanan is related to both FDR and Marilyn Manson, Wesley Clark's father was a Kohan, Martin Luther King was born Michael Louis King, and Gary Hart was born Gary Hartpence, which was in turn derived from an ancestor named James Eberhart Pence. (more non-politicians here)
Newt Gingrich's Amazon book reviews. "Speaker Gingrich is an avid reader. He does not review all of the books he reads. You will not find any bad reviews here, just the books he thinks you might enjoy."
You're not going to believe this... but it looks like Newt Gingrich had more than one partner while Speaker of the House. (more inside)