Results of a recent survey commissioned by a women’s reproductive health advocacy group found that many Latinos vote in line with Democratic pro-choice policies — not religious doctrine that bans abortions.
The poll, commissioned by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, found that 60 percent of Latinos in Texas said abortion should be legal regardless of whether church leaders take a stand against it. And 78 percent of respondents said a woman has the right to make her own personal decisions about abortions without politicians interfering.
“Just because a Latino person identifies as religious does not mean they blindly follow positions of church leaders when it comes to the law,” said Kimberly Inez McGuire, the institute’s director of public affairs, adding that many may be pro-life personally but want choice to remain under state law.
Pro-life supporters dismissed the poll’s validity, saying it was commissioned by pro-choice advocates.
On DAY TWO of early voting in North Carolina, it’s worth remembering (and reminding others to remember) that North Carolina’s legislative leadership has doubled-down on CPCs since the last election, pumping hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars into these fronts and using your money to mislead women.
Just this year, after launching their summer “sneak attack” on women’s reproductive rights, the Senate leadership pumped tens of thousands more dollars into anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers.”
While NARAL Pro-Choice NC has, is and will be working to shed light to extreme lawmakers’ attempts to increase state funding for so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” anti-choice leaders (the ones who claim to support women’s health) are pulling out all the stops to shut down the conversation, silencing recent debate on the issue by some of the state’s most seasoned leaders and pro-woman legislative voices, including Rep. Verla Insko and Rep. Alma Adams.
Wow… who could’ve foreseen this happening in our nation?
But some 125 Seattle police officers responded by filing a lawsuit challenging the new laws. In their view, the new policies infringe on their rights to use as much force as they deem necessary in self-protection. They represent about ten percent of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild membership. The police union itself declined to endorse the lawsuit.
This week, a federal judge summarily rejected all of their claims, finding that they were without constitutional merit, and that she would have been surprised if such allegations of excessive force by officers did not lead to stricter standards.
Many observers believe Brownback had been hoping to set himself up for a presidential campaign in 2016. He’d run once before but wound up dropping out before the 2008 Iowa caucus after social conservatives flocked to Mike Huckabee. Perhaps being outflanked as God’s candidate led to a bit of soul-searching. Or perhaps he just felt the winds shifting: Button-pushing “values” issues (like gay marriage) were losing their sway, particularly with younger voters, at a time when the recession had forefronted economic issues in stark ways for millions of Americans who had yet to feel the effects of any reputed recovery.
Being governor in the midst of a national economic crisis, then, handed Brownback the perfect opportunity to reinvent himself. “My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works,’ ” he told The Wall Street Journal last year. “We’ve got a series of blue states raising taxes and a series of red states cutting taxes. Now let’s watch and see what happens.”
That’s one thing I always wondered about: Is it possible a guy as smart as Brownback really believed his own budgetary hoodoo? As Tom Holland, one of the top Democrats in the Kansas Senate, points out, “When the governor talks about how we need to be more like Texas or Florida” - meaning, a “pro-business” state with no income tax - “well, what is Florida? Basically, you have, like, 700 miles of sandy beaches and a $70 billion annual tourism economy. That’s why they don’t have an income tax. In Texas, oil and gas generate a huge amount of revenue, they’re also huge in tourism, and Houston is one of the largest export ports we have in North America. And so this talk about ‘we need to be more like Texas’: We’re not going to be like Texas in a million years!”
Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Chris Mooney’s book The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.
In June of 2011, Jon Stewart went on air with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and started a major media controversy over the channel’s misinforming of its viewers. “Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?” Stewart asked Wallace. “The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.”
Stewart’s statement was factually accurate, as we’ll see. The next day, however, the fact-checking site PolitiFact weighed in and rated it “false.”In claiming to check Stewart’s “facts,” PolitiFact ironically committed a serious error—and later, doubly ironically, failed to correct it. How’s that for the power of fact checking?
There probably is a small group of media consumers out there somewhere in the world who are more misinformed, overall, than Fox News viewers. But if you only consider mainstream U.S. television news outlets with major audiences (e.g., numbering in the millions), it really is true that Fox viewers are the most misled based on all the available evidence—especially in areas of political controversy. This will come as little surprise to liberals, perhaps, but the evidence for it—evidence in Stewart’s favor—is pretty overwhelming.
Study leader Evelyn Talbott, a Pitt Public Health professor of epidemiology, explained why researchers decided to investigate the connection between autism and pollution: “There were three small studies that came out since 2006 linking ASD, autism spectrum disorders, with air pollution…I scratched my head and said, ‘Nobody’s ever looked at this, and when you don’t look at it, you don’t find anything.’ It is worth looking at it because we know so very little about what causes autism spectrum disorders.”
The children exposed to two substances were up to twice as likley as others to develop autism spectrum disorders. The first is styrene, which is used in plastics, paints and is also a product of gasoline combustion in automobiles. The second, chromium, is produced during the processes used in steel manufacturing and other industries.
This University of Pittsburgh study follows other recent studies which have found possible connections between air pollution and autism, as well as other ailments of the brain. A study by the University of Rochester Medical Center recently showed how exposure to air pollution early in life altered the brains of mice in ways that are linked to autism and schizophrenia in humans.
For a long time, scientists focused on the lungs as the main site of damage to the human body from air pollution. But now researchers are shifting attention to the brain. Some research, such as a recent Harvard University study, has indicated that male fetuses may be more vulnerable to air pollution in the womb than females.
The hot temperament consequently tends to dominate in the ranks of the media. And the media love nothing quite so much as a politician who shares their disposition. It’s not a coincidence that McCain is, on a durable basis, the media’s favorite senator.
He approaches his job as if you gave a Senate vote to a cantankerous but sharp newspaper columnist. But that path was never available to a young African-American liberal from Chicago. The alternative to cool and cerebral was “angry” and radical, a non-starter with white America.
But more than a political pose, an aversion to purely symbolic action has genuinely served Obama well at critical moments. Less cool heads would have abandoned Obamacare in January 2010. Obama persevered and it’s worked. Obama’s approach to the economy has been far from flawless, but it’s not a coincidence that the USA has performed better since 2008 than Europe or the United Kingdom and weathered its financial crisis far better than Japan did in the 1990s.
The Deepwater Horizon crisis passed. The American Ebola crisis will also pass. healthcare.gov got fixed. The Russian economy is reeling in the face of sanctions. Osama bin Laden is dead. The economy is growing. Obama hasn’t always been a very effective pundit-in-chief (acute crisis moments aside, his inability to articulate public anger at Wall Street has been remarkable) but that’s not actually his job. On the big stuff, he’s been effective. And that’s not a coincidence.
Whether one shares it or not, the chief’s perspective does display a certain moral nobility—an old-style determination that the state will never again engage in the “sordid business” of discrimination, no matter the clever arguments advanced for doing so. Proclaiming moral absolutes can be principled. It can also degenerate into preening. The test is applying the principle when it pinches.
Which brings us to Peasey v. Perry, the voting-rights case in which the Court issued its 5 a.m. order on Saturday. That order allowed Texas’ draconian voter-ID law, known as SB 14, to take effect for the midterm elections next month—the first general election to which it will be applied. It is customary to speak of SB 14 as a “tough” voter-ID law, but it might be better to speak of it as a discriminatory voter-ID law, inspired by the intent to disfranchise black and Latino voters.
That’s not my inference; it was the considered factual finding of federal district Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos. (Ramos is an Obama appointee, but one endorsed for the bench by Republican Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn.) Ramos based her conclusion on a nine-day trial in which both the state and the plaintiffs presented evidence about SB 14’s history and effect. That effect is startling—Ramos found that the law might disfranchise as much as 4.5 percent of the state’s eligible voters.
As the November elections approach, it seems a second-tier advocacy group run by a disgraced Religious Right icon is gearing up to make a major impact.
Politico reported this week that Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition (FFC) is planning an all-out blitz in states like Colorado, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Louisiana and North Carolina in the hope that Republicans and can take control of the U.S. Senate.
You may remember Reed. He ran TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition throughout the 1990s. After leaving the group, he started a political consulting firm that became mired in the Jack Abramoff casino lobbying scandal. He also tried unsuccessfully to launch a political career and even wrote some political thrillers.
After those efforts flopped, Reed slunk back to the Religious Right. A few years ago, he formed the Faith & Freedom Coalition to push a fundamentalist agenda.
Politico reports that Reed has big plans for 2014.
His operation plans to “knock on roughly 500,000 doors” in key counties and distribute 20 million voter guides (which are surely biased) to some 117,000 churches. FFC will also send mailings to 6 million voters and make 10 million robocalls.
Reed also said he hopes to make a significant impact with a digital outreach, contacting 15 million “video viewers” through banner and video advertisements in several states. He told Politico he has a database of 33.1 million social conservatives, and expects to reach 6.2 million homes in battleground states.
Sungenis is an anti-science traditionalist Catholic who praised the infamously anti-semitic Father Coughlin and others. His film is produced by the same company that gave us Dinesh D’souza’s recent anti Obama film “Obama 2016”, “Expelled,” and other insanely wrong fundamentalist Christian movies.
The film’s executive producer is Robert Sungenis, a “geocentrist” who co-authored a book entitled Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right. Sungenis is also a “radical traditionalist” Catholic, meaning he rejects that church’s liberalizing reforms of recent decades, who has railed against Jews for much of his adult life.
Sungenis, who started a group called Catholic Apologetics International (CAI) in 1993, is one of the most rabid anti-Semites of the radical traditionalist movement. He has questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, and cited the neo-Nazi canard that there were about as many Jews living in Europe after World War II as before, a plain falsehood. His CAI website has blamed Jews for starting a “New World Order” and referred to the alleged “Jewish origins of bolshevism, Jewish dominance of Hollywood and the media, [and] Jewish control of Congress.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, “The Principle” is being distributed in North America by Rocky Mountain Pictures, based in Salt Lake City. That is the same company, according to a fawning recent piece about the movie on christiancinema.com, that distributed right-wing favorites including Dinesh D’Souza’s “Obama 2016,” Ben Stein’s “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.Sungenis has frequently quoted the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia that “predicts the anti-Christ will come from Jewry.” He has been a columnist for the radical publication The Remnant, where he wrote a piece entitled “The New World Order and the Zionist Connection” that detailed a Satanic conspiracy to rule the earth and claimed, “Among the major forces in the ascent of the New World Order are the Jews, Judaism and Israel.” Although he once produced two series for EWTN, the Catholic TV network, that ended after he published a 33,000-word, anti-Semitic attack on an official Catholic Church statement on converting Jews. That 2002 attack praised vicious anti-Semites including Father Charles Coughlin, the “radio priest” of the 1930s, as “dedicated Catholic priests who lived impeccable lives.”