Laura Parker - AOL News
As a minister in Appalachian coal country, the Rev. Dennis Sparks knows more than he wants to about grief. He serves as executive director of the West Virginia Council of Churches and has consoled countless families of coal miners who've lost husbands, fathers and brothers in an industry that annually kills 30 to 40 miners and injures hundreds more every year.
Sparks counseled families after the mine disaster in Sago, W.Va., claimed a dozen men in 2006, and he was there for the long wait when an explosion one year ago today at the Upper Big Branch mine killed 29 miners and seriously injured...
not in system - AOL News
WASHINGTON -- The tea partyers who helped drive GOP gains in the last election rallied in the city they love to hate Thursday, urging Republican House leaders - Speaker John Boehner above all - to resist the drive toward compromise in the protracted fight over the federal budget. Even, they say, if that means Congress fails to do its most important job: pay for the government.
"Cut it or shut it!" several hundred tea partyers chanted from their gathering place outside in the rain.
But across Constitution Avenue and inside the Capitol's thick walls, the lawmakers themselves huddled over the...
not in system - AOL News
WASHINGTON -- The White House said Wednesday it is assessing options for "all types of assistance" to Libyan rebels battling Moammar Gadhafi's troops, while frustrated lawmakers quoted senior Obama administration officials as saying the U.S. military's role will be limited.
"No decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any groups in Libya," said White House press secretary Jay Carney. "We're not ruling it out or ruling it in."
Fresh battlefield setbacks are hardening a U.S. view that the poorly equipped opposition is probably incapable of prevailing without decisive...
Politics Daily Staff - Politics Daily
A father and son running for president at the same time? It seems highly unlikely, but Rep. Ron Paul says the odds are 50-50 that he will again seek the Republican presidential nomination, and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, has trips planned soon to South Carolina and Iowa -- two of the states where the 2012 race will begin.
Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is headed to Charleston, S.C., Monday for an off-the-record meeting of influential conservatives, CNN reported. He is slated for a return trip to the state to promote his new book, "The Tea Party Goes to Washington," and he has a speaking engagement at a GOP...
Andrea Stone - AOL News
WASHINGTON -- The unrelated crises roiling Egypt and the federal budget have at least one thing in common: They both have brought calls to eliminate foreign aid.
Just as Punxsutawney Phil crawled from his hole this week, the perennial debate over sending taxpayer money to foreign lands emerged once more on Capitol Hill.
In its effort to get a handle on the turmoil, the Obama administration raised the specter of ending military aid to Egypt. The second-largest recipient of U.S. largesse after Israel, Egypt has gotten more than $250 billion in weaponry since 1950, and that doesn't count the...
Tom Diemer - Politics Daily
Freshman Sen. Rand Paul, an advocate for the conservative tea party movement, waxed eloquent in his maiden Senate speech about the perilous nature of compromise, the national debt and the historic argument over slavery.
Though he said there was no "moral equivalency," Paul compared the current debt debate to the 19th century slavery dispute between free states and slaves states.
Paul (R-Ky.) has been assigned the Senate desk of Sen. Henry Clay, who also represented Kentucky and was known as the "Great Compromiser," in part for his efforts to settle the nation's differences over slavery...
Lisa Holewa - AOL News
Jared Loughner's behavior was so disturbing, he was forced to withdraw from community college classes last fall, told he could return only with a mental health evaluation showing he "does not present a danger to himself or others."
He tried to enlist in the Army in 2008 but was rejected as unqualified. And those who knew him described him to reporters as a "troubled young man" who frequently had such unusual outbursts that no one even wanted to sit next to him in class.
But, according to The Washington Post, on Nov. 30, Loughner legally purchased the Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol that law...
David Corn - Politics Daily
It's end-of-year time, and that means journalists and pundits, looking to survive the news dead-zone of the holiday season, toss out the easy-to-compile Top 10 lists. The Top 10 political events of the year. The Top 10 quotes of the year. The Top 10 campaign ads of the year. And so on. Well, anyone can use Google to assemble such a feature. I'm going to do a little more and offer you a list of the Top 10 political moments of the coming year. After all, in the world of punditing, it is never too early to predict what will be. As for 2012 . . . well, you'll just have to wait until this time next...
Tom Kavanagh - Politics Daily
For some incoming Republican lawmakers, the road from their home districts to Capitol Hill detours onto Washington's K Street, home to many prominent "public affairs" firms. A number of 2011 freshmen -- who railed against incumbents beholden to lobbyists -- have hired registered lobbyists as senior aides.
The Washington Post reports that Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who defeated Sen. Russ Feingold after complaining that Feingold "embraced lobbyists and declared himself to be on their side," has himself hired homeland security lobbyist Donald H. Kent Jr. as his chief of staff.
Michael Medved - AOL News
(Dec. 8) -- As Republicans consider their presidential options for 2012, they ought to discard two dangerously misleading pieces of conventional wisdom: that Sarah Palin and her tea party supporters represent a triumphant, even dominant force in American politics, and that more centrist, veteran GOP officeholders exert little appeal to the electorate.
National results in the last two election cycles conclusively disprove both assumptions: Palin's power as king (or queen) maker in 2010 produced spotty, unreliable results. And Sen. John McCain ran a stronger race and drew more votes in 2008...