TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Friday, Apr 24, 2015

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

Hillary’s problems go nuclear

Published:
By Tom Jackson

About that boast made on behalf of Clinton boosters and partisans defending the family’s foundation during Hillary Clinton’s years as secretary of state, and vice-versa. Remember: There couldn’t possibly be any problems with donations and donors and the activities of both the foundation and the secretary because everything was disclosed.

Yeah. About that. Not so fast.

Undisclosed until just now is a confluence of donations and events that, because it involves advancing Russian boss Vladimir Putin’s ambition to dominate the world uranium supply — including controlling U.S.-based sources — is worrisome, to say the least.

Click to continue reading this post

All clicks are equal, but some clicks are more equal than others

Published:
By Tom Jackson

During the Q-and-A portion of my presentation to a Pasco County political group recently, I declared the primary reason I leaned toward favoring local government structural change is because an editorialist for a rival publication was against it.

The line got a laugh, as intended, and I went on to lay out my actual reasons the change sounds like a good idea. That they are almost precisely why the other guy dislikes it is happenstance. Demonstrating, again, the best humor is at its core honest.

What I wouldn’t do, however, is what anyone who has thoughtfully examined his opinions would never do: abandon a position simply because people with whom they normally disagree support their side. Sometimes orbits overlap; when it happens we are wise to understand how much more alike we are in our marrow than surface appearances suggest and move, happily, along.

Click to continue reading this post

False accusers amid the ‘rape culture’

Published:
By Tom Jackson

Without getting into the veracity of widely reported statistics regarding campus rape, or breaking down into a squabble about what percentage of the time women fudge their stories about unwanted sexual contact, can we agree this does not help?

Police arrested 20-year-old Lindsey Sweetin Thursday for filing a false police report about a sexual assault she originally said happened in the Harmon Parking garage on the University of Arkansas campus.

What began innocently enough on March 5 — Sweetin told her boyfriend she’d seen a man between 50 and 60-years-old who gave her the creeps near the garage — evolved over the next few days into the highly specific story of a full-fledged molestation she told police, including the details of how a gray-haired man had approached her (seeking jumper cables) and groped her (one hand up her blouse, the other inside the back, then front, of her pants), how he’d shoved her into her car, and how she’d escaped (pepper spray in the face).

Click to continue reading this post

Fixing our annual taxation complication irritation

Published:
By Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson’s “The Right Stuff” blog updates throughout the week at TBO.com.

Tax Day came and went last week with its traditional panicked flurry for which most of us are ill-equipped and resentful. If the deadline has a redeeming quality, it’s as a reminder that we fund the federal government using a system that is hopelessly, needlessly and aggressively complicated, opaque, cumbersome, punishing and worse.

At the same time it relies on Americans to be truthful about their income and deductions, the code’s daunting weight combined with the likelihood that — with so many returns pouring in — we won’t be caught encourages us to fudge. It’s perverse incentives run wild.

Click to continue reading this post

Rent-seekers among solar activists

Published:
By Tom Jackson

Two things are becoming increasingly clear about the so-called “grassroots” coalition pushing a constitutional amendment to expand solar energy in Florida. The first is commendable. The other, not so much.

The commendable portion: They’re not going away. They’re determined, organized, energized and committed. Good for them. Getting a potential amendment on the ballot is a heavy lift not for summer soldiers or the faint of heart.

If only they were as interested in being truthful about what they propose. Instead, they hide their agenda, as you would expect from anyone seeking special status in the law.

Click to continue reading this post

Rubio’s evergreen relevance

Published:
By Tom Jackson

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne has a bone to pick with Marco Rubio, the newly minted Republican presidential candidate from Miami. Evidently, Dionne considers Rubio some sort of political Dorian Gray, a fellow who presents a fresh face to the public that disguises a portrait of antique thinking stashed in some secret garret.

But this is not Dionne’s first rodeo — he was around when John Kennedy originated, presumably, the passing of the torch to a new generation — and he’s seen through to the ancient heart of Rubio’s spruced-up pitch.

And while Rubio casts himself as an innovative thinker, it’s quite hard to distinguish between what he’s saying and what [Ronald] Reagan ran on 35 years ago. In his announcement, Rubio spoke with compassion about “small-business owners who are left to struggle under the weight of more taxes, more regulation and more government.” Nothing new there. He spoke of “our leaders . . . taxing and borrowing and regulating like it’s 1999.” Change “1999” to “1979” and that could be the Gipper talking.

Click to continue reading this post

The Taxation Complication Irritation

Published:
By Tom Jackson

Tax Day is a timely reminder that our system of funding the federal government is hopelessly and needlessly complicated, opaque, cumbersome, punishing and worse.

At the same time it relies on Americans to be truthful about their income and deductions, the code’s daunting weight combined with the likelihood that — with so many returns pouring in — we won’t be caught encourages us to fudge.

Add complaints (possibly legitimate) from the IRS itself that requests for service outstrip overburdened agents’ ability to provide information and advice, plus the annual roundup of “experts” supplying widely varying interpretations of a single hypothetical tax situation, and you begin to appreciate our national, bipartisan frustration.

Click to continue reading this post

Clinton: Outlaw anonymity

Published:
By Tom Jackson

As if there weren’t already reasons enough to resist Hillary Clinton’s White House aspirations, along comes this on Day Two of her campaign, when the Mystery Machine rolled into Monticello, Iowa:

Hillary Rodham Clinton is calling for changes to the nation’s campaign finance system, saying ... Tuesday that she would support a constitutional amendment if that’s what it takes to fix what she called a “dysfunctional” system.

Holding her first official campaign event at Kirkwood Community College in rural Monticello, Clinton identified campaign finance reform as one of several pillars of her 2016 presidential campaign.

Click to continue reading this post

Hillary’s reimagination instigation

Published:
By Tom Jackson

Hillary Clinton’s long-anticipated announcement regarding her next career choice arrived the other day in fresh wrappings, featuring friends and associates elbowing for space to declare an end to our misconceptions built up over her nearly quarter-century in the national — nay, global — spotlight.

For reasons even these Hillary intimates cannot adequately express, the woman they know has persistently hidden the qualities that endear her to them: Her charm, humor, vulnerabilities, curiosity, empathy, reliability and sense of duty.

No, they hasten to say, this is not Hillary 2.0. That would suggest the original needed improvements. Just give her a second chance to make a first impression, they say.

Click to continue reading this post

Justice and the Lois Lerner inevitability; Harry Reid’s awfulness

Published:
The Right Stuff

Tom Jackson’s “The Right Stuff” blog updates throughout the week at TBO.com.

Because it has been apparent for quite some time no bending of rules and norms that have stood since the Constitution was delivered to the printers — a long time covering lots of rules and norms — is beyond the Obama administration, Wednesday’s news out of the Justice Department comes as neither a surprise nor a disappointment, but merely a reaffirmation.

In a letter to John Boehner, shoved through the House speaker’s mail slot as its author headed out the door to the private sector — another slithery trick, but who’s counting anymore? — the Justice Department revealed it would not seek contempt of Congress charges against Lois Lerner, the former division chief at the heart of the IRS’ prolonged targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Click to continue reading this post