Romney Loves Individual Mandates

It may be time for Republicans who hate the President’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to stop being dishonest with themselves and admit: Mitt Romney probably isn’t going to do much in the way of changing Obamacare.

The evidence for believing Romney actually likes President Barack Obama’s healthcare initiative has been there all along, considering how the former Governor actually penned a similar — some say the basis for Obamacare — law in his home State of Massachusetts.

In his traditional flip-floppy fashion, Romney offered another clue illustrating why Americans shouldn’t expect swift Presidential action regarding the repeal of Obamacare if he is elected. Despite the candidate’s tough talk about doing away with the law’s individual mandate and getting “rid of Obamacare and return[ing], under our Constitution, the 10th Amendment, the responsibility and care of healthcare to the people in the States,” he’s fine, actually impressed by, the same sort of mandate in Israel.

During his recent trip to Israel, Romney said:

Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent. You spend 8 percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of G.D.P. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.

Experts point to Israel’s 1995 decision to implement universal healthcare in the nation and require citizens to purchase insurance from one of four health maintenance organizations.

An article last month in The Jewish Daily Forward compared the healthcare of Israel and the United States and explained Israel’s individual mandate:

It meant that everybody had the right — and obligation — to be covered by one of the country’s four not-for-profit HMOs. Residents of the country pay from income-related contributions collected through the tax system, which cover around 40% of HMOs’ costs. The state pays the remaining 60%.

People are allowed to choose which HMO to join and are allowed to change once a year, but the differences are mostly superficial: By law they are obliged to provide a standardized “basket” of services and medicines, from emergency to preventative. Except for some consultations and tests for which the patient makes a contribution to the cost — usually less than $10 — HMOs transfer funds to clinics, health centers and hospitals to cover all services. There are only a handful of completely private hospitals.

Romney’s history with individual mandates in Massachusetts and his recent remarks undoubtedly should have many anti-Obamacare voters wondering if the Republican candidate really is the man for the job of repealing the health law. Perhaps he’ll simply change the name to Romney’s Israelicare.

Eat More Chicken… Or Not

Being the charitable sort of fellow I am, I thought I might take a moment to offer a bit of advice to the forces that have rather loudly arrayed themselves against the glowering evil that is one of the largest purveyors of not-so-fine food in the country. Although I’m no Sigmund Freud (I lack what appeared to have been some pretty serious “mommy” issues and the cocaine habit needed to qualify), I figure it’s about time someone says: “Sometimes, a chicken sandwich is just a chicken sandwich.” It strikes me that the contest between supporters and detractors of marriage equality has mistaken the feather for the bird.

Recently, Chick-fil-A President and CEO Dan Cathy publicly stated his opposition to marriage equality: “Guilty as charged.” Leftist groups immediately objected, even though few of them could have named Cathy the day before. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with liberal outrage, the situation spiraled into meaningless invective fairly quickly, with groups calling for boycotts, sit-ins and even “kiss-ins” in an effort to punish Chick-fil-A employees and diners for working at and/or eating at Chick-fil-A. The real fun arrived when noted nutrition and manners expert Roseanne Barr took to Twitter to declare: “Anyone who eats S*** Fil-A deserves to get the cancer…” I do believe that’s an even bigger jump of the proverbial shark than the great “two-Becky” controversy on Barr’s not-so-lamented sitcom of decades past.

Not to be outdone by such heavyweights as Barr, Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (who should probably consider adding some calories to his own diet) proclaimed “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values.” Far be it for me to suggest Emanuel should focus on some of the more pressing issues “Chicago’s values” have created in the Windy City. Chicago is a crime-ridden cesspool that has turned to Louis Farrakhan’s Islamofascist hate group in a desperate attempt to quell the raging epidemic of violence that is consuming the city. Joining Emanuel in his mayoral tantrum was Boston boss Thomas Menino. Boston suffers from similar crime issues to Chicago, compounded by the presence of an entrenched liberal power structure stretching back beyond Joseph Kennedy’s Nazi sympathies. Even the American Civil Liberties Union stepped forward to point out that Mayors do not have the authority to suspend the Bill of Rights in their municipalities, despite their pretensions to the contrary.

I didn’t eat Chick-fil-A the week before CEO Dan Cathy made his now infamous remarks about his opposition to gay marriage. As the oddly manufactured controversy regarding his view on the subject developed into a full-blown rhetorical war, I still didn’t eat Chick-fil-A. Tomorrow, as vast flocks of folk on both sides of the drive-thru either do or do not deliberately dine on what many of us will admit is a pretty tasty treat, I will probably not eat at Chick-fil-A. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I ate Chick-fil-A. I am highly confident that I won’t be darkening the door to the coop anytime soon. But I’m not making a political statement; I’m just too lazy to drive to a Chick-fil-A.

My “boycott” of Chick-fil-A, such as it is, is entirely based on geography. I care as much about Cathy’s personal politics as I do about the politics of the presidents of McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s — which is to say, not at all. But liberals are up in arms about Cathy’s stance. They’re welcome to be so, but perhaps their squawking would ring less hollow were it not for their simultaneous support of Obama, Emanuel, Menino and the rest of the vermin who have turned their party into the biggest rat’s nest outside Chicago’s sewers.

Think of it this way: Emanuel and his liberal friends don’t want Chick-fil-A in Chicago, but Louis Farrakhan is welcome to pitch in? I’d rather have the chicken sandwich — with extra pickles, of course.

–Ben Crystal

Shield Your Liver From Damage With This Drink

A recent study of more than 12,000 people shows that up to one glass of red wine a day doesn’t just help your heart and blood pressure, it cuts your risk of liver disease in half. This liver protection is mainly attributed to the resveratrol, a polyphenol and antifungal chemical that’s found just below the skin of red wine grapes.

But do other kinds of alcohol such as beer provide similar protection? Absolutely not! According to the same study, other alcoholic drinks can even do harm to your liver.

So let your liver know it’s loved. Turn up a glass of red wine each day.

Gunning For Tyranny

Late last week, as Democrats and their media minions jockeyed for position at the front of the macabre post-Aurora-massacre line of people who reflexively oppose the Bill of Rights, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) grabbed his moment in the glare. It’s well known that the space between Schumer and a working camera is far more dangerous than any place frequented by people with firearms, and Schumer’s latest publicly expressed folly was hardly surprising under the circumstances. A tragedy had occurred; and come hell or high water, Schumer was loath to miss a chance to use the coffins of the victims as a soapbox for yet another mind-numbing liberal pronouncement on the dangers of law-abiding citizens owning firearms. Worse yet, Schumer and a number of his fellow Senators were loath to miss an opportunity to force their anti-Constitutional criteria on a citizenry already suffering their presence in the halls of Congress.

Thus did Schumer proclaim:

(The) basic complaint is that the Chuck Schumers of the world want to take away your guns. I think it would be smart for those of us who want rational gun control to make it known that that’s not true at all.

Personally, I think it would be smart for all of us to recognize that the Chuck Schumers of the world have hardly hidden their desire to take away our guns. In fact, the Chuck Schumers of the world are joined by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) of the world, among others. And they are backed by the Brady Campaign and fellow fringe anti-Bill of Rights groups in their endeavors. That’s how the Chuck Schumers of the world get away with remarks like “rational gun control” while pushing for anything but.

While Schumer took to the floor to once again rail against things he doesn’t understand (which is hardly uncommon), he did so in an effort to throw a rhetorical blanket over an offensively secretive plan to do far more than simply abrogate the right to keep and bear arms. Following the Senate approval for amendments of the abominably invasive Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (itself a redressed version of the similarly appalling Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which Representative Ron Paul rightly identified as “Big Brother writ large”), Schumer and his friends pulled a fast one. They tacked an amendment onto the bill which might as well be known as the “Aurora Amendment.” Rather than try to take on the 2nd Amendment from the front, Schumer and his accomplices pinned their pusillanimous program to ban everything north of your daughter’s pink .22 Crickett onto the Federal cyberspying bill.

If Schumer, et al.’s S.A. 2575 seems familiar to observers of dastardly Democrat deeds, that’s because it is essentially a backdoor attempt to reintroduce the infamous “assault weapons ban” of years past. The new amendment is, in fact, virtually identical to the gun-ban bill introduced by Lautenberg. Feinstein sponsored the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. S.A. 2575 would, without a separate vote, “make it illegal to transfer or possess large capacity feeding devices such as gun magazines, belts, feed stripes and drums of more than 10 rounds of ammunition with the exception of .22 caliber rim fire ammunition,” according to The Hill. It’s worth noting that your current magazines, whether they be the 30-rounders most of us use for our ARs or one of those unwieldy 31 round monsters the Koreans make for the Glock 22 .40 caliber, are “grandfathered in.”

Before you panic and open a new tab on your browser so you can begin ordering replacement magazines for your AR-15, keep in mind that the bill still has to pass the Senate. That means the Senate will actually have to do something proactive — not exactly a strong suit under the listless leadership of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). And even if it does manage to make its way out of that wrinkled group, it’s as likely to pass the House as Chuck Schumer is to win the next 3-gun match at the local range.

The real problem with Schumer’s latest attempted abrogation of our Constitutionally protected rights — his protestations to the contrary be damned — is the same one that has plagued the Nation for decades: The basic premise of gun-ban proponents is fatally flawed. While liberals would ultimately prefer to relieve us all of our weapons, they know that will fly like a stone kite. So they try their usual incrementalist tack. They can’t get the guns, so they’ll limit the magazine capacity.

(Author’s aside: Stop saying “clips.” They’re not clips; they’re magazines. Your use of inaccurate descriptives reveals much more about you than it does about your intended targets. Likewise, weapons like my AR and my 1911 are not “automatic,” they’re semi-automatic: one round per trigger pull. Fully automatic weapons have been illegal in the United States without specialized permits since the early 1930s. Your argument might resonate more if you sounded even vaguely like you knew what the hell you were talking about. Imagine how you would feel if a conservative suggested cutting off taxpayer funding for the liberal twaddle on PBS with references to “Oliver the Grouch” on “Sesame Lane.”)

Some of Schumer’s carrion-feeding compatriots have even attempted to point to Aurora, Colo., suspect James Holmes’s ownership of a 100-round drum as proof of the need to limit magazine capacity. That argument falls apart fairly quickly when you realize the magazine wasn’t used during the shooting. The shooter didn’t need it; he had the advantage of knowing that anti-Bill of Rights activists like Schumer had already disarmed his victims through draconian restrictions that disallow any carry inside the Aurora city limits. It’s also worth noting that anyone who has tried to fire an AR with a 100-round drum magazine has recognized fairly quickly that it’s a fairly miserable experience — and that’s just the drudgery of loading the magazine itself.

For his part, Schumer added another amendment to his defense of the indefensible, suggesting:

We can debate where to draw the line of reasonableness, but we might be able to come to an agreement in the middle…Maybe, maybe, maybe we can pass some laws that might, might, might stop some of the unnecessary casualties.

Pardon my saying so, Senator, but the moment you and your cabal of Brady-backed gun grabbers began discussing limiting my Constitutional rights, you put “reasonableness (sic)” in the rearview mirror. There is absolutely nothing reasonable about agreeing to abrogate the Bill of Rights. There is no middle ground. And perhaps if people like you didn’t consistently focus on guns as opposed to criminals who misuse them, we “might, might, might stop some of the unnecessary casualties.” My suggestion is to arrest the Attorney General. At the very least, you’d be sending a strong message that arming homicidal narcoterrorists is generally frowned upon.

And once anyone offers Schumer and the Democrats “an agreement in the middle,” where does that leave the end? Should we agree to “the middle” on free speech? Perhaps allow some quartering of troops in our homes, but only squad-sized or smaller? Possibly we could compromise on… Come to think of it, the Federal government has already made a practice of doing everything to the Bill of Rights besides murdering it and burying it in Schumer’s backyard. Anyone who has watched as Transportation Security Administration agents have searched a handicapped person’s colostomy bag for explosives can testify that the 4th Amendment is certainly on life support, if it isn’t dead already.

Democratic attempts to institute limitations on the Bill of Rights routinely devolve into the dangerous or the absurd — as often as not, both. S.A. 2575 will have precisely the same prophylactic effect on violent crime as Aurora’s ban: none, at best. Meanwhile, the liberal arguments backing Schumer border on the absurd. Of course the Framers of the Constitution lived in a world with flintlocks and the like. Lest anyone stand on that wobbly rhetorical table, imagine the Framers’ reaction to the liberal argument in favor of Constitutionally protected partial-birth abortion.

The late, great Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) said “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” He was right. But defending liberty against the encroachment of people like Schumer is anything but extreme.

–Ben Crystal

CNN Plays ‘Stupid Girls’ Before Palin Segment

On Sunday, CNN played the song “Stupid Girls” before a story about Sarah Palin. The snippet of the song contained the lyric, “Stupid girl, stupid girls, stupid girls, maybe if I act like that…”

The segment, covered by anchor Randi Kaye, was about Sarah Palin tweeting a picture of herself at Chick-fil-A. The tweet said, “Stopped by Chick-fil-A in the Woodlands to support a great business.”

Jazz Shaw wrote on Hot Air:

For the record, it’s my understanding that the hosts of these shows on the 24 hour cable news channels generally have nothing to do with the selection of the bumper music. That’s usually handled by the production staff, and a specific individual is frequently assigned to do nothing but select the musical cuts. CNN can — and probably will — easily say that it was all a coincidence and it might be hard to prove otherwise.

The most trusted name in news isn’t the only one that seems to be criticizing Palin. Former Vice-President Dick Cheney recently said he thought it was “a mistake” to put Palin on the ticket in 2008.

John McCain, as well as Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney, quickly came to Palin’s defense. McCain responded to the criticism with his own jab: “I respect the vice president. He and I had strong disagreements as to whether we should torture people or not.”

Libertarian Billboard Compares Obama To Batman Shooter

A billboard in Caldwell, Idaho, is causing an uproar. The highway advertisement compares President Barack Obama to alleged Batman shooter James Holmes. Attempts to get the billboard removed have been unsuccessful.

The billboard has the image of Holmes on one side with the message “Kills 12 in movie theater with assault rifle everyone freaks out.” On the other side is Obama’s picture with the message “Kills thousands with foreign policy wins Nobel Peace Prize.”

The controversial display was funded by a group honoring the late Libertarian Ralph Smeed. Maurice Clements, one of the individuals behind the billboard’s creation, said that America needs to be reminded that many have died during Obama’s Presidency.

“We’re all outraged over that killing in Aurora, Colo., but we’re not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan,” he said.

When asked about the opposition to the message, Clements admitted, “Maybe it was poorly done.”

After the shooting in Aurora, Colo., “The Dark Knight Rises” has been falling at the box office. “The Dark Knight,” the 2008 Batman movie, took in $533 million. So far, “The Dark Knight Rises” has generated $289.1 million.

Law Enforcement Focus On Future Crime

Heavily armed and paranoid seems to be the new modus operandi of many law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.

New reports indicate that law enforcement agencies are increasingly adopting the use of software that uses algorithms to predict where and when crimes are likely to take place by monitoring human behavior. The software examines a database of thousands of crimes and uses algorithms and different variables like geographical location, criminal records and ages of previous offenders to predict where, when and how a crime could possibly be committed. Law agencies are then able to increase patrols and physical or electronic surveillance in those areas.

Another pre-crime tactic being adopted by law enforcement is the use of cameras that sense suspicious behavior, according to a recent Daily Mail report. The cameras, manufactured by the Texas-based company BLS Labs, have been installed at tourist attractions, government buildings and military bases in the United States. Most recently, the company has been hired to install 288 of the cameras throughout the San Francisco mass transit system.

The cameras, which are reportedly able to track about 150 individuals at a time, are able to build a memory of “suspicious” behaviors. When the cameras observe behavior they deem out of the ordinary, they are able to immediately alert onsite guards via text message.

Woman, 88, Still Working For Oklahoma Agency

OKLAHOMA CITY, (UPI) — Melba Morrow says she plans to spend her 88th birthday the way she spends many of her days, answering phones for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Morrow, who is a year older than the agency, said she has been working as a receptionist for the bureau for about 13 years and will spend her 88th birthday Wednesday answering the facility’s phones, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, reported Monday.

Morrow said she took a job at Sears when she was in her 40s and temporarily retired when the store closed down.

“I retired for about six weeks after Sears closed down, and I thought, I can’t do this,” Morrow said.

She said the retail experience prepared her for a position answering phones.

“If you’ve worked customer service at Sears, you can deal with just about anything,” she said.

Sherry Mosley, administrative programs officer for the bureau and Morrow’s supervisor, said the senior citizen is a dependable worker.

“I’m just amazed that she’s still able to, she gets around better than some of us do,” Mosley said.

Morrow said she does not have any plans to retire.

Dump Truck Rolls Into House

TAMPA, Fla., (UPI) — Police in Florida said a dump truck rolled into a home while the driver was inside a neighboring restaurant.

Tampa police said Daniel Echols, 53, parked the 1998 Volvo dump truck at the La Teresita Plus Club restaurant around 8:50 p.m. Sunday and went inside to eat, the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times reported Monday.

Investigators said the truck rolled into a neighboring home a short time later, knocking over a TV. No injuries were reported from the crash.

Police said they are investigating whether the vehicle was not shifted fully into “park.”

Woman Arrested Trying To Get Into Jail

HAMILTON, Ohio, (UPI) — Authorities in Ohio said they arrested a woman accused of trying to break into a jail while shouting, “I want to be arrested.”

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office said Tiffany Hurd, 36, was spotted attempting to climb over a barbed wire fence early Sunday at the jail in Hamilton and a corrections officer was unable to convince her to leave, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday.

“I want to be arrested,” Hurd allegedly shouted. Deputies said she appeared to be intoxicated.

Hurd was arrested on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

“Prisoner arrested trying (to) get back (into) jail … She got her wish. Not the norm. Got it backwards,” Sheriff Rick Jones posted on his Twitter account.

Fake $100 Bills Had Lincoln Watermark

PRESCOTT, Ariz., (UPI) — Police in Arizona said they were trying to identify a suspect who allegedly tried to pass two counterfeit $100 bills bearing a watermark of Abraham Lincoln.

Prescott police said the man first attempted to use a phony $100 bill about 8 p.m. July 18 at a Goodwill store. A worker noticed the security strip was incorrect and the watermark bore the image of Lincoln instead of Benjamin Franklin, The Daily Courier, Prescott, reported Monday.

Police said the man left the store before officers arrived and attempted to use a similar bill less than a half hour later at a Safeway store, where a manager noticed the flaws in the forgery.

The suspect again left before police arrived. The Safeway manager said the man left in a black, four-door passenger car.

Some Olympic Volunteers Sell Props

LONDON, (UPI) — Some volunteers in the London Olympics Opening Ceremonies have called colleagues “crass” and “disrespectful” for selling props from the show.

Items including costumes, a book read to the audience by J.K. Rowling, programs and confetti from the Opening Ceremonies have popped up for sale on eBay and London 2012 officials said they were happy to see the props “go to a good home,” The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

However, some of the volunteers said they were disappointed with their colleagues for selling the items.

“I think it is a bit crass really. While we were told they were ours and were not told not to auction them, I still think it is very disrespectful,” one performer said.

“A group of us joked … as to how much our costumes would sell on eBay but it was very tongue in cheek. It is not really in the spirit, is it?” another said.

U.S. Strategy In Afghanistan Questioned

WASHINGTON, (UPI) — A report by a special inspector general for Afghanistan said Monday the billions of U.S. dollars invested in Afghanistan’s infrastructure could be lost.

The report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction said construction projects are running way behind schedule and it is questionable whether the Afghan government will have the wherewithal to maintain them once U.S. forces leave.

The United States has spent $90 billion on Afghan reconstruction in the last decade, The Washington Post reported.

“Implementing projects that the Afghan government is unable to sustain may be counter­productive,” the report said. “If goals are set and not achieved, both the U.S. and Afghan governments can lose the populace’s support.”

The Post said the report questions the basic strategy to counter the Taliban: that improving the infrastructure can help turn the loyalty of the populace toward the Kabul government. The report said the massive infusion of U.S. spending actually may be making the situation worse.

The Pentagon called the critique premature and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said it was “speculative,” adding the large-scale projects show U.S. “commitment to Afghanistan.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told the Post the report casts doubt on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

“There’s no data that shows these major projects have changed the security environment in the country,” she said. “We cannot just throw money at a country like this and expect it to have a good ending.”

'Dark Knight' Suspect Faces 142 Charges

CENTENNIAL, Colo., (UPI) — Suspect James E. Holmes faces 142 charges, including 24 first-degree murder counts, in the massacre at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, in which 12 people died.

The charges were announced Monday during a 45-minute hearing in Centennial, Colo.

Holmes also was charged with 166 counts of attempted murder, one count of possession of explosive devices and one count that is a sentence enhancer in the July 20 massacre at the Century Aurora 16 movie theater complex during a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” CNN reported.

Prosecutors said they essentially filed double the number of charges because it was a premeditated, planned attack and because Holmes showed extreme indifference, CNN said.

Immediately after Holmes’ first court appearance last week, prosecutors said they wanted to leave open the possibility of more charges being filed.

Unlike last week’s hearing, cameras were not allowed in Monday’s proceeding, which many survivors and families of victims attended.

One survivor who attended the hearing told CNN survivors of the theater shooting wanted to show Holmes how strong and united they are.

Holmes, still sporting his red-and-yellow dyed hair, reportedly said one word during the hearing. After conferring with his attorneys about whether to seek a delay for the preliminary hearing, the defendant told the court, “Yes.”

Meanwhile, weekend donations brought the Aurora Victim Relief Fund to $3.1 million, Community First Foundation online giving manager Dana Rinderknecht told The Denver Post.

A pregnant woman whose 6-year-old daughter was killed in the Aurora shooting, and was herself seriously wounded in it, suffered a miscarriage, her family said Sunday.

The attack was the deadliest mass shooting in Colorado since the 1999 Columbine High School attack in which 12 students and a teacher were killed and 24 others were wounded.

First-degree, or premeditated, murder of multiple victims can be punishable by death in Colorado.

Arms Treaty Collapse Met With Frustration

NEW YORK, (UPI) — Negotiations over an international arms trade treaty set the mark for what’s expected in a binding treaty, a director from the ICRC said.

Parties to monthlong negotiations meant to find common ground on an international arms trade treaty failed to find a consensus. Peter Herby, head of the arms control unit at the International Committee of the Red Cross, said nations are called to action to prevent arms transfers if the weapons could be used for possible war crimes.

“We believe that this process has established the norm and the expectation,” he said of the negotiations. “What is needed now is to capture this in an internationally legally binding treaty and this has to be completed.”

The United States, Russia and China said last week they needed more time to consider the draft treaty.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon described the lack of consensus as a setback despite years of negotiations aimed at finding a way to move the treaty forward.

“I am disappointed that the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty concluded its 4-week-long session without agreement on a treaty text that would have set common standards to regulate the international trade in conventional arms,” he said in a statement.

Cheney: Obama Worse Than Carter

WASHINGTON, (UPI) — Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said he thinks Barack Obama is “one of our weakest presidents,” and worse than ex-President Jimmy Carter.

“I obviously am not a big fan of President Obama. I think he’s been one of our weakest presidents,” Cheney, a Republican, told ABC News Sunday. “I just fundamentally disagree with him philosophically. I’d be hard put to find any Democratic president that I’ve disagreed with more.”

Pressed if he thought Obama was worse than Carter, Cheney said, “Yes.”

Cheney gave credit to Obama for killing al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, but qualified his praise by saying, “[A] lot of that intelligence that laid the groundwork for what ultimately led to the capture of Bin Laden [was] as a result of programs we had in place in the Bush administration.”

He also criticized Obama’s plans to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We should not be running for the exits,” Cheney said. “We should not be turning our backs on our friends in that part of the world.”

In the wide-ranging interview, Cheney, 71, said he had no regrets concerning his vice presidency. Cheney was one of the most unpopular vice presidents when he left office.

“I’m very comfortable with what I did, and why I did it, and how I did it,” he said, later adding, “You can’t be judged, and shouldn’t judge, people in those senior levels by the polls.”

Poll: Jobs, Corruption, Deficit Top Issues

PRINCETON, N.J., (UPI) — Job creation, reducing corruption on the federal level and lowering the federal budget deficit were the top issues listed by U.S. voters in a new Gallup survey.

Americans listed the three as the most important of 12 issues the next president should address, the USA Today-Gallup survey released Monday indicated.

Job creation’s No. 1 position on the list is consistent with several measures of issue relevance or importance Gallup has asked this year. Corruption in government typically ranks as important when asked about specifically, although it isn’t as top-of-mind as jobs or the economy, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said.

Besides jobs, corruption, and the deficit, Americans gave relatively high priority to addressing terrorism and other international threats, ensuring long-term stability of Social Security and Medicare, and improving public schools.

Supporters of President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney likely disagree on how best to address major issues facing the country, Gallup said, but both rate job creation and reducing government corruption among their top priorities for the next president.

Addressing environmental concerns and increasing taxes on wealthy Americans were the two issues ranked as the lowest priorities for Romney and Obama supporters.

Results are based on nationwide telephone interviews with 1,030 adults conducted July 19-22. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

Arrogant Bosses Insecure, Disparage Others

AKRON, Ohio (UPI) — Arrogant bosses are typically poor performers who cover up insecurities by disparaging subordinates and can hurt a company’s bottom line, U.S. researchers say.

Professor Stanley Silverman, dean of the University of Akron’s Summit College, and colleagues at Michigan State University, developed a Workplace Arrogance Scale to help organizations identify arrogant managers before they have a costly and damaging impact.

Arrogance is characterized by a pattern of behavior that demeans others in an attempt to prove competence and superiority, Silverman said.

Silverman said arrogance in managers was correlated with lower intelligence scores and lower self-esteem compared to managers who are not arrogant.

“Does your boss demonstrate different behaviors with subordinates and supervisors?” Silverman asked. “Does your boss put his/her personal agenda ahead of the organization’s agenda? Does the boss discredit others’ ideas? Does your boss reject constructive feedback? Does the boss exaggerate his/her superiority and make others feel inferior?”

An answer of yes to any of the questions could mean trouble, Silverman said. Left unchecked, arrogant leaders can be a destructive force within an organization, leading to organizational dysfunction and employee turnover, Silverman said.

“With power over their employees’ work assignments, promotion opportunities and performance reviews, arrogant bosses put subordinates in a helpless position,” Silverman said. “They do not mentor nor do they motivate, contributing to a negative social workplace atmosphere.”

The findings were presented at The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist.

AA To Expand Lie-Flat Option On Planes

FORT WORTH, Texas (UPI) — American Airlines said some long-haul domestic flights would be run with planes with so-called lie-flat seats in the business and first class sections.

The airline did not say when planes with lie-flat seats would be put to use for transcontinental flights, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

American is expecting delivery of new Airbus 321 jets in November that will have 10 lie-flat seats in the first class cabin and 20 in business class, the newspaper said.

The seats don’t lie perfectly flat, although they include a head rest, seat back and leg rest.

“Passengers often find these seats to be extremely comfortable for relaxing and working, but not conducive to sleep when in the fully reclined position because of the awkward angle,” says SeatGuru, a Web site that advises passengers on seating comfort.

Massachusetts Paul Delegates Challenge GOP Ouster

BOSTON, (UPI) — Sixteen Republicans elected to represent Massachusetts at the Republican convention have formally challenged the state party’s decision to oust them.

In a letter to the national committee, the 16 delegates — all supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul — said the Massachusetts Republican Party “changed the rules” when it disqualified them, the Boston Globe reported Monday.

The delegates were elected in April caucuses when they defeated many of Romney’s chosen delegates.

The filing starts a formal process for the would-be delegates, who hope to convince national GOP officials they were unfairly disqualified from the Republican National Convention Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, Fla.

An RNC committee is expected to consider the challenge by mid-August, the Globe said, but a decision isn’t expected until the week before the convention. Any appeal could be considered by the convention’s credentials committee when the event begins.

Supporters of Paul, who has stopped campaigning for his party’s nomination, said they still hope for a large presence at the convention.

In their letter, the “Liberty” delegates say they were properly elected in April, but disqualified after they didn’t provide timely affidavits pledging their support to Romney. They argue that the affidavits were not included in state or federal rules and that they got them “less than one week before an arbitrary deadline” to return them notarized, the Globe said. While some met the deadline, others missed it and some filed an affidavit in which they promised to follow the state’s rules, not pledging to support Romney by name.

The state GOP determined it had just cause to disqualify the delegates, replacing them with 16 others, the challenge said.

One national Republican leader knowledgeable of the situation told the Globe he thinks the Paul supporters don’t intend to support Romney, but cause trouble at the convention.

“If they’re not willing to say that, that’s their prerogative,” the official said. “But clearly they’re not Mitt Romney delegates.”

“It’s a really awkward situation. A lot of them are trying to get guest passes with the other Liberty delegates,” Brad Wyatt, one of the disqualified delegates, told the Globe. “We’re cautiously optimistic that we’ll get some good decisions.”

Britain Hangs On To AAA Credit Rating

LONDON (UPI) — Standard and Poor’s said it was maintaining Great Britain’s AAA credit rating in anticipation of an economic upswing.

The ratings agency said that while the British economy had dipped into a recession earlier this year, the second half was looking better due to progress in controlling the national debt.

“The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the U.K. government will implement the bulk of its fiscal consolidation program and that the economy should recover in the remainder of 2012 and strengthen thereafter,” S-and-P said in a written statement.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne called S&P’s move a vote of confidence in Britain’s economic policy, the BBC said Saturday.

“The deficit has fallen by a quarter; inflation has fallen by half; employment is rising, with British businesses creating over 800,000 new jobs; and the economy is re-balancing, with Britain now exporting more to the rest of the world than Europe,” Osborne said.

The Daily Telegraph said S&P issued its analysis just days after relatively disappointing growth figures that showed a slight economic contraction between April and June.

Dozen Rescued After Theme Park Ride Stalls

VALLEJO, Calif., (UPI) — About a dozen people were stuck mid-air when Superman stopped flying at a California theme park.

Riders on the Superman Ultimate Flight rollercoaster were left 150 feet in the air for about two hours when the ride stopped, the Vallejo Times Herald reported.

The riders, in two cars of six, were upright when Superman stalled about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The ride, which opened at Six Flags in Vallejo June 30, travels as fast as 62 mph.

Firefighters were called to assist in the rescue, and a crane with a personnel bucket lifted water to the stranded riders.

At one point, the riders appeared to try to shake the cars to loosen them and get them moving again. However, that action did not succeed.

Fire officials said they were prepared to lower the passengers one at a time in the bucket if necessary. However, a mechanic was able to restart the ride, which traveled backward and returned the riders safely to the ground.

It was not immediately known what caused the cars to stop. Park officials said the ride would be closed until a safety inspection could be conducted.

Prolonged Sun Can Cause Tissue On Cornea

DALLAS (UPI) — The surface of the eye and the cornea are particularly vulnerable to the sun’s rays and that’s why a U.S. eye expert recommends everyone use sunglasses.

Dr. V. Vinod Mootha, a specialist in cornea, external disease, refractive and cataract surgery, said sunglasses should be used by adults and children when outdoors for prolonged periods of time.

“Excessive exposure may increase the risk for the formation of a fleshy tissue over the cornea, some forms of cataract, and possibly macular degeneration,” Mootha said in a statement. “For eyeglass wearers, polycarbonate lenses, which are thin and shatterproof, offer protection from ultraviolet radiation.”

Ultraviolet B — shortwave — exposure is higher on sunny days, especially at noon, and low-ozone days. UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers.

It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photoaging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day — during the U.S. summer the most significant amount of UVB hits the between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Mootha says some sunlight is good for people, but common sense should be a guide for limiting exposure time while minimizing the chance of damage to eyes.