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Consumer financial regulator

Consumer financial regulator
Consumer  regulator Senate Democrats are preparing a proposal to create a new regulator of consumer financial services products.

Under a bill being written by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), a new division of the Federal Reserve would write rules about mortgages, credit cards and other consumer products, but it would not enforce the rules.

The proposal reflects compromises suggested by Republican senators during negotiations which have since ended. The new plan is not expected to get much GOP support.

Click the appropriate link below to send your letter to Obama and your Members of Congress.

Create a Consumer Financial Services Regulator

Support Sen. Dodd's proposal

Leave Financial Regulation Alone
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Who's afraid of Michael Steele? No one?

"Republican Party Elephant" logoImage via Wikipedia



There are two ways of reading the latest mess for Republican chairman, the Daily Caller saying that Michael Steel spends oodles on chartered planes, fancy hotels and, worst of all, the bondage nightclub Voyeur West Hollywood. The Republican National Committee says that last expense was actually filed by a staffer and that Steele never went to the club or knew about the spending on it.


First, you can understand why a certain set of Republicans would want a new chairman. The current one, Michael Steele, has used his job to rake in speaking fees, called for an "off the hook" makeover to reach the hip-hop crowd and everyone "including one-armed midgets," and suggested his critics should "shut up" and either fire him or "get out of the way" -- and those are just a few of the headlines from the Republican-centric Washington Times. When a Newsweek blog posts the headline "Is It Time for Michael Steele to Go?" the anti-Steele campaign has gotten just what it hoped for.

For a more nuanced view, try Marc Ambinder's Atlantic post "Michael Steele's Enemies Within." Ambinder writes that it's amazing Steele has survived so many embarrassments:

The sad truth for the RNC chairman is that he escapes censure because his party isn't organized enough to censure him, because Steele wields too little power to be considered a threat, and because the locus of Republican energy these days can be found in the House. These last two errors have been made by staffers, but they point to a culture of casualty at the RNC. No one, it seems, is afraid of enough the boss to go out of their to avoid embarrassing him or the party.

For More........ Maddow Blog
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Calls For The Pope To Resign

The Vatican has denied a series of media reports alleging that Pope Benedict, before being elected pontiff, may have looked the other way in cases of abuse in his native Germany and in the United States. Last week, the Vatican strongly defended its decision not to defrock the Wisconsin-based priest Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused some 200 deaf boys in the 1950s and ’60s. The National Catholic Reporter says the Pope must be ready to answer questions and called the scandal “the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history.”
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500,000 students could lose their Pell Grants entirely and everyone else will have theirs cut by 60%

On Sunday night, the House of Representatives passed the reconciliation bill for health care reform and college affordability. Yesterday, President Obama signed health care reform into law.

But don't light the fireworks yet.

The Senate still needs to pass the "fix-it" reconciliation bill. If it fails, 500,000 students could lose their Pell Grants entirely and everyone else will have theirs cut by 60%.

We can't let this fail. Can you take a minute to send a message to your Senators now?

Their vote is expected to happen this Friday or Saturday.




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“Wingnuts” and President Obama


A socialist? A Muslim? Anti-American? The Anti-Christ? Large minorities of Americans hold some remarkable opinions
A new book, Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America by John Avlon describes the large numbers of Americans who hold extreme views of President Obama. This Harris Poll seeks to measure how many people are involved. It finds that 40% of adults believe he is a socialist. More than 30% think he wants to take away Americans’ right to own guns and that he is a Muslim. More than 25% believe he wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a world government, has done many things that are unconstitutional, that he resents America’s heritage, and that he does what Wall Street tells him to do.

More than 20% believe he was not born in the United States, that he is “the domestic enemy the U.S. Constitution speaks of,” that he is racist and anti-American, and that he “wants to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers.” Fully 20% think he is “doing many of the things that Hitler did,” while 14% believe “he may be the anti-Christ” and 13% think “he wants the terrorists to win.”

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,320 adults surveyed online between March 1 and 8, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

The actual percentages of adults who believe these things are true are as follows:
· He is a socialist (40%)
· He wants to take away Americans’ right to own guns (38%)
· He is a Muslim (32%)
· He wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government (29%)
· He has done many things that are unconstitutional (29%)
· He resents America’s heritage (27%)
· He does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do (27%)
· He was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president (25%)
· He is a domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitutions speaks of (25%)
· He is a racist (23%)
· He is anti-American (23%)
· He wants to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers (23%)
· He is doing many of the things that Hitler did (20%)
· He may be the Anti-Christ (14%)
· He wants the terrorists to win (13%)
What Republicans, Democrats and Independents think
There are – no surprise here – huge differences between what Republicans and Democrats believe. Majorities of Republicans believe that President Obama:
· Is a socialist (67%)
· Wants to take away Americans’ right to own guns (61%)
· Is a Muslim (57%)
· Wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government (51%); and
· Has done many things that are unconstitutional (55%).
Also large numbers of Republicans also believe that President Obama:
· Resents America’s heritage (47%)
· Does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do (40%)
· Was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president (45%)
· Is the “domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of” (45%)
· Is a racist (42%)
· Want to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers (41%)
· Is doing many of the things that Hitler did (38%).

Even more remarkable perhaps, fully 24% of Republicans believe that “he may be the Anti-Christ” and 22% believe “he wants the terrorists to win.”

While few Democrats believe any of these things, the proportions of Independents who do so are close to the national averages.

One big surprise it that many more Republicans (40%) than Democrats (15%) believe the president does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do.
Differences by education
These replies are also strongly correlated with education. The less education people have had the more likely they are to believe all of these statements. Consider these differences between those with no college education and those with post-graduate education:
· He is a socialist (45% and 20%)
· He wants to take away Americans’ right to own guns (45% and 19%)
· He is a Muslim (43% and 9%)
· He was not born in the United States so is not eligible to be president (32% and 7%)
· He is a racist (28% and 9%)
· He is anti-American (27% and 9%)
· He is doing many of the things Hitler did (24% and 10%).
After reviewing these findings, John Avlon comments, "These new numbers are shocking but not surprising – they detail the extent to which Wingnuts are hijacking our politics. This poll should be a wake-up call to all Americans about the real costs of using fear and hate to pump up hyper-partisanship. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing our country in the process. Americans need to remember the perspective that Wingnuts always forget – patriotism is more important than partisanship."

So what?
So what indeed! These responses recall a favorite saying of our founder Lou Harris that “when you don’t want to publish a poll finding you dislike, you should get out of the business.” The very large numbers of people who believe all these things of President Obama help to explain the size and strength of the Tea Party Movement, a topic that will be addressed in another Harris Poll in a few days time.
###
EDITOR’S NOTE
To see the data tables, please visit: www.witeckcombs.com/news/releases/20100324_harris.pdf or call 202-887-0500 x19.
Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States March 1 and 8, 2010 among 2,320 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
J37772
Q976
The Harris Poll® #42, March 24, 2010
By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.



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CNN keeps moving to the Right And Keeps Losing Viewers


5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Beck: Baier: Shep: O'Reilly: Hannity: Greta: O'Reilly:
988 689 638 1160 835 767 673
CNN Blitzer: Blitzer: KingUSA: Brown: King: Cooper: Cooper:
129 167 228 238 217 312 179
MSNBC Matthews: EdShow: Matthews: Olbermann: Maddow: Olbermann: Maddow:
156 231 293 454 385 332 246
HLN Prime: Prime: Issues: Grace: Behar: Grace: Showbiz:
88 81 118 182 144 133 140
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Independent Voters Pull Back From Republicans

Independent Voters Pull Back From Republicans

In the New York Times op-ed piece today, ‘A Win is a Win,’ we highlight some very big changes. Yes, there has been some movement on health care – before the vote – but more dramatic is the pull back from Republican members of Congress and their party, as voters watch the scene evolving in Washington. Independent voters who did not approve of Democratic governance over the past year seemed to be re–assessing their feelings about the different players.

This pullback is very specific to the Republicans – and does not represent any gain for Democrats or any confidence gain in their direction. Health care’s passage could change perceptions in very important ways, though it is too early to tell. Over the long term, it could be a ‘game–changer.’ But for now, the economy is a bigger driver. Less and less people believe the country is on the right track, or that the economy is getting better or benefiting them – and Democrats have lost serious ground on whom you trust to handle the economy. This poll showed the Democrats’ advantage in party identification drop to just 2 points, and narrowing further to no advantage once independent–lean voters are allocated. This makes it all the more believable, then, that ‘something is happening’ to perceptions of the Republicans.

The poll finds ratings of the Republican Party and its incumbent House members taking a sharp fall this month. Republicans have also slipped in the hypothetical congressional ballot with independent voters turning away from the GOP.

Especially troubling for Republicans is the fact that their ratings and vote advantage have slipped, while the Democrats’ overall party identification continues to slide among the likely electorate. Thirty–five percent of likely voters identify as Democrat, 33 percent as Republican and 31 percent as independent. This 2–point gap in Democratic–Republican identification is the narrowest in Democracy Corps polling over the last two years.

This analysis is based on a Democracy Corps survey among 1,016 2008 voters (850 likely 2010 voters) conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research from March 15–18, 2010.

The op–ed by Stan Greenberg first appeared on the New York Times webpage on March 23, 2010.

HealTh Care Reform Will Not be Repealed

"No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the "doughnut hole" and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents' insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?
David Frum, Former Assistant To President George W. Bush

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Message was sent out by Professor Robert Watson of Lynn University.


The following message was sent out by Professor Robert Watson of Lynn University. Please take note. and Forward



(From Robert Watson:)

Could you forward this email to your listserves? It is important.

Every day I get emails and calls from folks alleging that Obama said or did something horrific. As I check into the source of the allegations, I find them to be made-up and circulated by fringe organizations. Sometimes individuals who receive these emails innocently – but mistakenly – believe them to be true.

The new social media vehicles are being used to stir up fear and paranoia, and we need to be aware that many folks are making up "news stories" and interviews, and then circulating them online as if they were true. Everyone must be a bit more discerning… and do their homework regarding the legitimacy of these emails and tweets. I am now starting to see the same crazy stories making allegations not only about Obama, but about other Democratic leaders and the Democratic Party. I even received one about me! It attempted to discredit me by claiming I wrote some inaccurate nonsense about the War of 1812… and was so tricky that it took the first few lines of something I did write about the War of 1812, then added all sorts of inaccurate things I never wrote.

To that end, I am attaching another email that is going around. You may have seen it. Many people are asking about the legitimacy of it. The email claims Obama appeared on MEET THE PRESS and said all sorts of alarming things about not loving his country, not honoring the Pledge of Allegiance, and so on. The email, in an attempt to look real, even offers a supposed transcript of Obama's comments and the date of the appearance on the show.

Of course, the problem is that it is 100% untrue. It alleges that Obama appeared on MEET THE PRESS on September 7, 2008. He did appear on the show in 2008; for instance, on May 4 and on July 27. But not on September 7. You can go to the show's website and read the actual/real transcripts of his comments. They are at www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24445160 and at www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25872804, respectively. I have read the full transcripts for every appearance by Obama, and he never even said anything remotely close to the topics alleged, much less the anti-American spewings falsely attributed to him.

The email in question was, it appears, originally posted as satire through a silly "Semi-News" site. But it is being cited and forwarded by conservatives as if it were true. The website "Answers.com" has additional information on this false story. I am forwarding, below, the email that is going around. (Thanks for forwarding this information about the fake interview… So many folks approach me or contact me with fake stories like this. However, although I answer many of the queries and debunk the falsehoods, there simply aren't enough hours in the day to respond to all of them.)

Regards,

Robert

Robert P. Watson, Ph.D., Coordinator of American Studies,Lynn University

CONTACTS

Email: rwatson@lynn.edu

Campus web: www.lynn.edu

Personal web: www.thinkactlead.org

Twitter: professorwatson

Commentary: www.lynnipulse.org

Phone: 561.237.7432 Fax: 561.237.7216

CAMPUS ADDRESS

College of Arts & Sciences, Lynn University, 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, FL 33431








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Tell The Washington Post: Stop promoting torture

The op-ed pages of The Washington Post should be a place for serious debate about the direction of our country.

But by hiring former Bush administration speechwriter Marc Thiessen -- the second former Bush speechwriter to whom it has given a regular column -- The Washington Post has crossed the line. Thiessen is a serial misinformer. And he shouldn't be rewarded with the audience or credibility that a regular column provides.

In his latest column, Thiessen attacks lawyers who have represented detainees, warning that these lawyers may hold "radical and dangerous views" and that by giving detainees representation, lawyers are "using the federal courts as a tool to undermine our military's ability to keep dangerous enemy combatants off the battlefield in a time of war." These outrageous claims have been refuted by lawyers from across the political spectrum, including former Bush administration attorneys -- yet the Post gives Thiessen free rein to engage in baseless smears. He's even used misleading statements in support of torture.

Nearly 7,000 people have signed our petition to tell The Washington Post to say no to promoting torture. Will you join us?

Click here to tell The Washington Post: Stop promoting torture.

Thiessen is a proponent of torture, and in his quest to advocate for torture and attack torture opponents, he has resorted to misinformation and smears that have no place in the debate over national security policy.

Thiessen's willingness to distort the truth and engage in hysterical attacks doesn't just undermine his own credibility -- it undermines the ability of readers to trust The Washington Post as a source of honest analysis.

The Post has offered Thiessen a platform to promote his views, despite the fact that he:

  • ...said in his book that lawyers who represented Guantanamo detainees were "aiding and abetting America's enemies."
  • ... falsely claimed in his most recent book that, since CIA interrogation of terror suspects began after 9-11, there were no attacks on U.S. interests at home or abroad.
  • ... falsely claimed in a Post op-ed that Bush oversaw "2,688 days without a terrorist attack on [American] soil," ignoring the anthrax mail attacks, the El Al shooting in Los Angeles and other domestic terrorist attacks.
  • ... misleadingly compared waterboarding of detainees with the training of U.S. troops.
  • ... called President Obama's decision to release Bush administration torture memos "irresponsible" and claimed that "Americans may die as a result."

Click here to tell The Washington Post: Stop promoting torture.

The editors of The Washington Post need to hear from you that falsehoods and outrageous smears in support of torture are not acceptable. We need more voices to join the nearly 7,000 who have already confronted the Post. Let's tell them: You've gone too far. Stop promoting torture.

Will you join us?

Sign the petition to The Washington Post.

Thank you for your help in holding the Post accountable.

Eric Burns
President,
Media Matters for America



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New York Times: Accomplice with Hoax and distortion about ACORN

Ignoring calls from numerous critics, the New York Times refuses to own up to mistakes in the paper's coverage of the now-famous right-wing videotapes attacking the community organizing group ACORN. Instead, the paper's public editor, Clark Hoyt, is relying on an absurd semantic justification in order to claim the paper does not need to print any corrections.

As conventionally reported in the Times and elsewhere, right-wing activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles dressed up as a pimp and a prostitute and visited several local ACORN offices, where office workers gave the duo advice on setting up a brothel, concealing a child prostitution ring and so forth. But many of the key "facts" surrounding the videos are either in dispute or are demonstrable fabrications.

Though O'Keefe appears in various scenes in the videos wearing a garish and absurd "pimp" costume, he in fact did not wear the outfit when he appeared in the ACORN offices (Washington Independent, 2/19/10); he was dressed in a button-down shirt and slacks. This fact undermines one of the key contentions of the ACORN smear--that the group is so hopelessly corrupt that they would dispense advice to an obvious criminal.

What's more, the "advice" that they received, according to the transcripts released by O'Keefe and Giles, does not appear to be as incriminating as it was portrayed in the videos--and echoed in outlets like the New York Times.

A review of the Times coverage:

--In an early piece (9/16/09), readers were told of the "amateur actors, posing as a prostitute and a pimp and recorded on hidden cameras in visits to ACORN offices.... Conservative advocates and broadcasters were gleeful about the success of the tactics in exposing ACORN workers, who appeared to blithely encourage prostitution and tax evasion." The Times explained:

The undercover videos showed a scantily dressed young woman, Hannah Giles, posing as a prostitute, while a young man, James O'Keefe, played her pimp. They visited ACORN offices in Baltimore, Washington, Brooklyn and San Bernardino, Calif., candidly describing their illicit business and asking the advice of ACORN workers. Among other questions, they asked how to buy a house to use as a brothel employing underage girls from El Salvador.

The paper also reported that O'Keefe "was dressed so outlandishly that he might have been playing in a risque high school play. But in the footage made public--initially by a new website, BigGovernment.com--ACORN employees raised no objections to the criminal plans. Instead, they eagerly counseled the couple on how to hide their activities from the authorities, avoid taxes and make the brothel scheme work."

--Three days later (9/19/09): "Their travels in the gaudy guise of pimp and prostitute through various offices of ACORN, the national community organizing group, caught its low-level employees in five cities sounding eager to assist with tax evasion, human smuggling and child prostitution."

--New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt weighed in (9/27/09), chiding the paper for not being more aggressive in promoting the ACORN videos--lamenting that Times readers weren't as up-to-speed on the story as "followers of Fox News," who already knew "that a video sting had caught ACORN workers counseling a bogus prostitute and pimp on how to set up a brothel staffed by under-age girls, avoid detection and cheat on taxes."

--The following week (10/4/09), Hoyt was on the ACORN case again: "To recap: Two conservative activists with a concealed video camera, posing as a prostitute and her pimp, visited offices of ACORN, the community organizing group, and lured employees into bizarre conversations about how to establish a bordello, cheat on taxes and smuggle in underage girls from Central America."

--After O'Keefe was charged in January with attempting to tamper with the phone system in Sen. Mary Landrieu's office, the Times reported under the headline, "After Arrest, Provocateur's Tactics Are Questioned" (1/28/10): "Mr. O'Keefe is a conservative activist who gained fame last year by posing as a pimp and secretly recording members of the community group ACORN giving him advice on how to set up a brothel."

---On January 31, 2010: "Mr. O'Keefe made his biggest national splash last year when he dressed up as a pimp and trained his secret camera on counselors with the liberal community group ACORN--eliciting advice on financing a brothel on videos that would threaten to become ACORN's undoing.

--On March 2, 2010, under the headline, "ACORN's Advice to Fake Pimp Was No Crime, Prosecutor Says, " the Times reported: "The ACORN employees in Brooklyn who were captured on a hidden camera seeming to offer conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute creative advice on how to get a mortgage have been cleared of wrongdoing by the Brooklyn district attorney's office."

But the story the Times continues to tell is wildly misleading, as a review of the publicly available transcripts of his visit (BigGovernment.com) makes clear. O'Keefe never dressed as a pimp during his visits to ACORN offices, seems to never actually represent himself as a "pimp," and the advice he solicits is usually about how to file income taxes (which is not "tax evasion"). In at least one encounter (at a Baltimore ACORN office), the pair seemed to first insist that Giles was a dancer, not a prostitute.

In the case recounted in the March 2 Times story, the transcripts show that O'Keefe did not portray himself as a pimp to the ACORN workers in Brooklyn, but told them that he was trying to help his prostitute girlfriend. In part of the exchange, O'Keefe and his accomplice seem to be telling ACORN staffers that they are attempting to buy a house to protect child prostitutes from an abusive pimp.

Throughout the months the Times covered the story, it made a major mistake: believing that Internet videos produced by right-wing activists were to be trusted uncritically, rather than approached with the skepticism due to anything you'd come across on the Web. O'Keefe and the Web publisher Andrew Breitbart refused to make unedited copies of the videotape public, and with good reason: A more complete viewing, as the transcripts show, would produce a much different impression.

While the Times decide to skip the standard rules of journalism, ACORN commissioned an independent investigation led by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger (12/7/09), which noted that the

unedited videos have never been made public. The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voiceover for significant portions of Mr. O'Keefe's and Ms.Giles' comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of the publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions.

So what has the Times done in response? As reported extensively by blogger Brad Friedman (Brad Blog), several Times staffers have been asked to justify the paper's lack of accountability. In the most remarkable exchange, public editor Clark Hoyt--who had criticized the paper for not doing enough reporting on the tapes--wrote that the paper had made no errors that merited a correction (Brad Blog, 2/23/10). He explained that the January 31 story "says O'Keefe dressed up as a pimp and trained his hidden camera on ACORN counselors. It does not say he did those two things at the same time."

It is hard to believe that Hoyt actually believes what he's saying here. The obvious implication from the language of the article (and the others documented above) is that ACORN was dispensing advice to someone dressed up in an absurd pimp outfit. The Times chose to believe that O'Keefe's work was journalism that didn't need to be treated skeptically. The videos were in fact a hoax, and the Times was duped. Its readers deserve to know as much--and ACORN, which suffered serious political damage as a result of the false stories, deserves an apology.

In his September column criticizing the paper for being slow to report the ACORN videos, Hoyt wrote: "Some stories, lacking facts, never catch fire. But others do, and a newspaper like the Times needs to be alert to them or wind up looking clueless or, worse, partisan itself." Worse than looking partisan, though, is being wrong.

ACTION: Encourage New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt to recommond that the paper investigate the ACORN videos and produce a report that clarifies the record.

CONTACT:
New York Times

Clark Hoyt, Public Editor
public@nytimes.com
Phone: (212) 556-7652

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Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists

From Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."

Considering Jefferson's huge contribution to the Constitution as a whole, it's plain to see his original take on the meaning of the Establishment clause. It's a wall, not a one-way entrance. The church shall not interfere with the state; and the state shall not interfere with the church.

It's served us well for 200 years. And as conservatives are wont to point out, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
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RNC document mocks donors, plays on 'fear'


The Republican National Committee plans to raise money this election cycle through an aggressive campaign capitalizing on “fear” of President Barack Obama and a promise to "save the country from trending toward socialism."

The strategy was detailed in a confidential party fundraising presentation, obtained by POLITICO, which also outlines how “ego-driven” wealthy donors can be tapped with offers of access and “tchochkes.”

The presentation was delivered by RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Boca Grande, Florida on February 18, a source at the gathering said.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/33866.html#ixzz0h9vHNUPN
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Obama's appeal for health reform- Transcript

RALEIGH, NC - JULY 29:  U.S. President Barack ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife


President Obama on pressing forward with health reform through budget reconciliation,

This has been a long and wrenching debate. It has stoked great passions among the American people and their representatives. And that is because health care is a difficult issue. It is a complicated issue. As all of you know from experience, health care can literally be an issue of life or death. As a result, it easily lends itself to demagoguery and political gamesmanship; misrepresentation and misunderstanding.

But that's not an excuse for those of us who were sent here to lead to just walk away. We can't just give up because the politics are hard. I know there's a fascination, bordering on obsession, in the media and in this town about what passing health insurance reform would mean for the next election and the one after that. Well, I'll leave others to sift through the politics. Because that's not what this is about. That's not why we're here.

...

At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem. The American people want to know if it's still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future. They are waiting for us to act. They are waiting for us to lead. And as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership. I don't know how this plays politically, but I know it's right. And so I ask Congress to finish its work, and I look forward to signing this reform into law. Thank you.

Full text here. Plus: How reconciliation works.


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