Thursday, January 12, 2012

Meredith is awesome

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USA TODAY: Editorial: Candidates outsource dirty work to 'Super PACs'

Look it up, and the answer is $5,000 — $2,500 for the primary and $2,500 for the general election. Those are, in fact, the legal limits on individual contributions. But, really, that's so two years ago.

Thanks largely to federal court decisions in 2010 that opened the way for virtually unlimited spending by corporations, labor unions and individuals, those limits are essentially gone — and the effects aren't pretty.

In the past several months, for example, Edward Conard, a former colleague of Mitt Romney's at Bain Capital, gave the Republican front-runner a $1 million contribution. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, gave President Obama $2 million. And Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson gave GOP candidate Newt Gingrich $5 million.

Yes, technically, these donors didn't give the money to the candidates. Instead, they donated to so-called Super PACs, powerful new campaign organizations with deceptive names that have emerged as titans in the 2012 presidential contest. A Super PAC can accept unlimited donations and spend as much as it likes to support a particular candidate (or tear down his or her opponents). The only catch is that it must be independent: It can't have a link to the candidate or coordinate with the candidate's campaign.

That lack of connection is largely a fiction, however. Super PACs might as well be wings of the campaigns they support. Typically, they're run by the candidate's former staffers. The treasurer of the pro-Romney group Restore Our Future is Charles Spies, who was legal counsel for Romney's 2008 campaign. The pro-Obama group Priorities USA Action was formed by two former White House staffers, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney.

And while it's possible that Super PAC officials avoid consulting with their former colleagues at the campaigns, why would they need to? When Gingrich shot past Romney in the Iowa polls, the mission of Restore Our Future was obvious: Do Romney's dirty work for him by running ads to savage Gingrich and drive down his poll numbers. So it did.

And when an angry Gingrich said he planned to lash back at Romney, his former press secretary Rick Tyler, an adviser to the pro-Gingrich Super PAC Winning Our Future, said he took his "cue" from his former boss' comments. Now Winning Our Future is sponsoring a harsh anti-Romney video in South Carolina, site of the next Republican primary.

The most pernicious aspect of Super PACs isn't that they can play hardball while the candidate pretends to stay positive. That sort of hypocrisy is standard campaign practice. It's that any individual, any corporation and any labor union can — in effect — give a candidate unlimited amounts of money. When candidates have to raise campaign funds from the very people they regulate, which has been the case of years, politics becomes a barely controlled form of legalized bribery. When the money is unlimited, it's a scandal waiting to happen.

Think about it: Would a president refuse to take a phone call from someone who gave "his" Super PAC $5 million? Does anyone seriously believe money doesn't at least buy access, and at worst buy results? Or signal voters that the voices that really count are the ones who write the biggest checks?

We've long advocated public financing of campaigns, which would free candidates from having to beg for dollars or worry about repaying donors once in office. That's still a worthy cause, though a distant one because those who benefit from the current system successfully demonize it as taxpayer funding of politicians.

In the meantime, there is no obvious, constitutional way to disarm the Super PACs. Perhaps the most that can be done is to require them to disclose their donors in real time. That way, even if candidates aren't directly approving the message, voters will know who is.

OPPOSING VIEW: President Obama's former White House staffers set up an organization called Priorities USA that ran the first attack ads by third-party groups in the 2012 election cycle, broadcast against Mitt Romney in South Carolina in April 2011. In light of this history, the selective outrage by liberal editorial boards regarding the activities of Restore Our Future, an independent super PAC supporting Romney, a conservative businessman, is somewhat hard to stomach. Worse yet, Obama-supporting Priorities USA is a 501(c)(4) organization that does not disclose its donors.

In contrast to Priorities USA, Restore Our Future fully reports all of our donors for public scrutiny, in compliance with Federal Election Commission regulations. This is a level of transparency that we urge President Obama's supporters to also follow.

The content of our advertisements has also provided a valuable service in the Republican primary. Judging by the daily attacks against Romney by Obama's team, they are deathly afraid of running against him in the general election, and the dearth of their attacks on Speaker Gingrich indicates that they are salivating over the idea of his getting a free pass on his baggage in the primary. We are committed to not letting that Obama dream scenario play out, and instead making Obama defend his economic record against Romney in the general election.

For those who don't like the current campaign-finance system, blame should not be placed on the Supreme Court's defense of free speech in Citizens United v. FEC, but instead should be directed towards the restrictive campaign-finance regulations of the McCain-Feingold law. The way to decrease the impact of outside organizations is to remove the contribution limitations to campaigns, which coupled with immediate reporting of contributors would ensure that candidates are held accountable for the conduct of their own campaigns.

Charlie Spies, an attorney at Clark Hill PLC, serves as treasurer for Restore Our Future, a Super PAC that supports Mitt Romney.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ready or not... Here I come...

These last few months I've been doing the whole college prep thing: scholarships, college applications, financial aid, the whole ordeal, but it still seemed so far away. Swim is officially over, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to be done. This year was one of the hardest and most trying years I've ever experienced. Last swim season ended in a torrential downpour of tears and a coachless swim team... this year the team bounced right back, placing in the same places they did last year (boys took 2nd; girls took 4th) which was shocking for everyone. The experience taught me that I can bounce back, no matter how hopeless I believe the circumstances to be. For the last 3 years I have identified myself as a swimmer, and now I'm not... and that's weird. I realize I don't know exactly where my life is going, but I know that I'm excited for something new... This is the end of an era.... but also just the beginning.

“Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.”
-James Dean

Love always,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

All you need is love...

So last night I was thinking about Abby's Love book, and all of the things in my life that I never pay much attention to. This post is an excerpt from my own love book:

1. The wonderfully unpredictable way life always changes.
2. Peanut Butter Bars
3. Falling in Love
4. Holding Hands
5. The noise the water makes when you are in a perfect streamline
6. The Ocean
7. Tropical Fish
8. The feeling you get after a hard work out.
9. Bridal Pictures where you can't see people's faces (but you see the gown, the rings or the bouquet.)
10. Homemade Pumpkin Bread
11. Chocolate chip cookies
12. Love stories
13. Red roses and white lilies
14. Getting letters in the mail
15. Cuddling
16. Bones :D
17. A good book
18. Finishing a puzzle
19. Deja Vu
20. Speaking French
21. Change (both kinds)
22. Cellos
23. Soft sweaters
24. Fuzzy Socks
25. Dark Chocolate
26. Fondue
27. The color blue
28. Mood rings
29. Pea coats
30. Going to the Theater
31. Kisses
32. Witty Shirts
33. Puppy Kisses
34. Babies
35. Learning something new
36. Dancing
37. Daydreams
38. Laughing so hard my eyes water
39. When my bed is warm
40. When frost freezes on the trees from the fog
41. Cookie Dough
42. Singing
43. Vacations
44. Buying presents
45. A good debate
46. Homemade Bread
47. Independence
48. Gold Fish Crackers
49. Inspirational Quotes
50. Love :D

Hurray. So these are the things that I love for the people I love :D

"Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile."
Franklin P. Jones

~Erin Jo

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Start :)

It's a brand new year, and as such, it's time for a brand new start. This blog is a fresh start to a new year, 2009, one better than 2008. :D Ok so to kick of the new year I've decided to take a leaf out of Morgan's book. I'm going to vent and get a few things off my chest, the difference is that Morgan said she couldn't say these things to people's faces, I'm choosing not to. I've decided that there is too much confrontation in my life, partially because I ask for it, partially because people expect me to always react that way. (Extremely narrow minded, but I'm getting used to it, people subconciously have an extreme aversion to change. Even when people change.) (Though I'm still convinced that some confrontation is still needed in life, FYI) So this is my way of getting things off my chest so that this new year really can be a fresh start.

To you: We got along so well when we were younger, but now it's hard to even be in the same together. At least it seems to be improving. I know I don't always try as hard as I should be trying, and I know I should. I'm sorry I let you get to me, but I promise I will try harder.

To you: As I get older I notice more, I see you fight and I realize how immature you can be. You teach me more every day, and sometimes it happens to be exactly what I don't want in my life. I love you more than you will ever know, sometimes I just wish you knew what you were doing, how you were teaching me. Not everything I learn is something you meant to teach.

To you: I've tried to find someone I can easily relate to my entire life, and I didn't believe in Kindred Spirits until I meant you. The fact that there is an age difference seems so unimportant, you understand me in a way that no one has in a very long time. You are one of my closest friends, and I'm not sure you even realize how much you mean to me.

To you: You make me miserable. I trusted you once more than anyone, and that trust has been betrayed because it wasn't valued. You frustrate me because you refuse to change anything and accept that you're miserable. We were once friends. Friendship is supposed to go two ways, but this one only seems to go one. I'm wasting my energy on you, and we both know it.

To you: I dislike you because you are like I once was, but you've yet you learn what I had to. And until you do, you will continue to frustrate me. You are one of the people I play nice with to get along, but I continue to resent you for every fiber of my being. If you could grow up then I think we could get along.

To you: You're my exact opposite. We're like oil and water, but somehow it works. I feel like I don't deserve you, but I wish more than anything for you. Thank you, for putting up with me, and loving me anyway.

To you: You intrigue me, you push me, and you force me to be honest with myself even when I don't want to. I wish I knew you better, but I hope that this new year brings that opportunity.

To you: You're impossible. You have exactly what you want, but you always want more. Be happy with him and stop trying to overreach. I would still respect you if you made the choice, but you won't and I can't.

To you: My life once entwined itself with yours, but not anymore. Goodbye.

Now that all of that is off my chest, I do actually feel much better. :) Now to start new:

1. I resolve to be the self that I want to be.
2. I resolve to mediate all the confrontation that comes my way.
3. I resolve to be happy.
4. I resolve to follow my heart.
5. I resolve to pursue my dreams.
6. I resolve to be more open.
7. I resolve to cherish the time I have left.
8. I resolve to keep swimming.
9. I resolve to form new friendships.
10 I resolve to stop mourning friendships I can't save.
11. I resolve to relax.
12. I resolve to play.
13. I resolve to love unconditionally.
14. I resolve to be mature.
15. I resolve to live well, laugh often, and love much.

So that is all for now. :) Here is a thought to help your day:

"The great and glorious masterpiece of
man is to know how to live to purpose."
~Michel de Montaigne

Love Always,
Erin (Not Jo, Not Jo Crip, Not Michelle Pickleface, Just Erin :) exactly who I want to be.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


First off I would like to thank Victor for noting that I actually can spell pneumonia, and considering the number of drugs that are currently in my system I would say that's actually quite impressive. So here is how my week has gone, Monday... felt like crap.... Tuesday and Wednesday... felt like crap. Thursday, collapsed after my race the EMT sent me to the Urgent Care, they diagnosed me with pneumonia. So that's happy but the best is yet to come. They apparently can't tell from the X-rays if my pneumonia is viral or bacterial... which is exciting... bacterial can be fatal and viral is apparently just a pain in the ass. They game me an entire pharmacy full of drugs and said "here take these, if you don't feel better by Sunday come back and we'll put you on an IV and you can spend a few nights in the hospital" So that's a good time.. I've pretty much sat on the couch going entirely stir crazy because I've been banned from the pool, and banned from school because apparently everyone thinks that by boring me to death I might some how magically get better... right.
So while I've been lying here "on my death bed" I've had a nice little bit of time to think about everything and everyone. You realize that the ones that text you every day to check up on you and the ones that come over just to say hi are the people you should be worrying about. Everyone else is pretty inconsequential. It's easy to get caught up in things, people, school, family, I think this sickness was a nice little wake up call for me to slow things down a bit and recognize those that really matter. So thanks to Britta Marie, Berto, and Jake for coming over to check up on me, and thanks to Natalie, Hannah, Lurpey and Troy for texting me to check up on me :D You guys are quite wonderful and I love you lots. :D

I'll be home under house arrest all weekend. Come visit, I'm running out of things to do. LOL

Love always

Erin Jo

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Who am I?

On the surface one might say that I’m outgoing, intelligent, confident, energetic and opinionated, but they would be wrong. It’s easy to tell I’m all of those things, but they are states of being, states of mind, and descriptive words. Being outgoing, confident, and energetic is what I am, not who I am.
People look at other people, see them for what they are, and make opinions of them. It’s as if they were looking at a painting, regardless of whether you like the painting your looking at or not, your opinion is formed by projecting your past and your emotions onto a picture and interpreting it as such. Take the Mona Lisa for instance, some people look at the woman and believe she is smiling, others see her frowning, and others still see her as doing neither or both at the same time. The same way people look at different people and interpret them in different ways. If you ask one person I may be a happy person, confident and easy to get along with; ask another person and I may be a cocky, demanding persona, bent on getting things my way. Perspective determines who other people think that we are, but even then who other people believe we are may not be in actuality who we are.
Stereotyping is a way of categorizing new people in ways that makes them easy to understand, but my experiences show that no one is exactly what they seem, and nothing in life is ever easy. Knowing information is entirely useless without the learning process. Learning teaches practical application, without it all the information stored in your brain is simply taking up space. If I can teach someone something that may in fact, help him or her in the future, I would invite him or her to ‘know’ everything they can about me. However, if they are disinclined to learn and simply wish to know, I’m content to remain a mystery.
If I had my way, stereotypes would be obliterated and people as a whole would not be judged by society, but by those appointed to such positions in the government. I choose the qualities I possess, I let other people choose which of these qualities they may judge me by. Some people may say that honesty is the best quality, but I freely admit to being honest only for the fact that lies will never posses the bittersweet sense of injustice and irony that the truth frequently possesses. Others may see determination as a great quality of man, but I also admit that I’m determined only for the foolhardy dream of never admitting defeat. My characteristics are obvious, how you interpret them decides how you will interpret me.
Many people believe who you are defines what you do; I believe they’re mixed up. Everyday you are faced the decisions and choices, different paths lay themselves out before you and you must choose which one to take. In my opinion what you do defines who you are, and I’m still being defined.