Pew Research Center

BIG TROUBLE…

 

The Huffington Post

Democrats Have A Shot At Taking Back The House As Republican Popularity Continues To Drop: Poll

A new survey of 25 GOP-held districts shows dwindling favorability for Republican members of the House in the wake of the recent government shutdown.

The survey, conducted by liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling and funded by MoveOn.org, is the third in a series of polls that indicate Democrats have a shot at taking back the House of Representatives in the 2014 election cycle.

The results of the latest survey show that incumbent Republicans in 15 of the 25 districts polled trail generic Democratic candidates. When combined with the results of the previous surveys, the polls show that generic Democratic candidates lead in 37 of 61 GOP-held districts.

When voters were informed their Republican candidate supported the government shutdown, 11 more districts flipped and one race became a tie.

Democrats in the House only need to see a net increase of 17 seats in order to take back the majority. This poll indicates that Democrats could see an increase of as many as 49 seats.

Public Policy Polling indicated several caveats to the results. The surveys were conducted during a high-profile budget crisis debate, a year before the elections will take place. And incumbent Republican candidates were compared to “generic Democrats,” who may not represent the actual candidates each district will see.

“Democrats must recruit strong candidates and run effective campaigns in individual districts if they are to capitalize on the vulnerability revealed by these surveys,” Public Policy Polling’s Jim Williams said of the caveat, “and they must maintain a significant national advantage over Republicans.”

Recent polls conducted by the Pew Research Center and NBC/Wall Street Journal are consistent with the survey’s claim that the Republican party took a hit from the fiscal crisis. Pew found that more Americans blamed Republicans for the shutdown, and NBC/Wall Street Journal found that the Republican party was “badly damaged” by it.

The President’s Pivot

I like the author’s analogy.  I tend to speak about President Obama’s strategic moves in terms of playing chess, but having read Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War, I think Mr. Blow’s comparison is spot on…

The New York TimesCharles M. Blow

That quote, from Sun Tzu’s ancient Chinese treatise “The Art of War,” perfectly captures President Obama’s strategic victory over Tea Party members of Congress on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate. It also explains his immediate pivot to another topic that Tea Partyers hate and over which their obstinacy is likely to get the party hammered again: comprehensive immigration reform.

This is a brilliant tactical move on the president’s part. And Republicans know it.

As the G.O.P. was nearing its moment of collapse on the shutdown and debt ceiling, Representative Raúl Labrador, Republican of Idaho, said, “I think it’d be crazy for the House Republican leadership to enter into negotiations with him on immigration.” He continued: “And I’m a proponent of immigration reform. So I think what he’s done over the last two and a half weeks — he’s trying to destroy the Republican Party. And I think that anything we do right now with this president on immigration will be with that same goal in mind: which is to try to destroy the Republican Party and not to get good policies.”

The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer laid out the president’s calculus more bluntly on Fox News: “With immigration, he wins either way. I’m not sure he thinks he can get it passed, seeing the resistance among the Republicans to the deal over the budget. I think he knows he’s not going to have a good chance of getting immigration through, but he thinks — and he’s probably right — that he can exploit this for the midterm election as a way to gin up support, for the Democrats to portray the Republicans as anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic, etc.”

Republicans have a tough choice.

They can ride shotgun once again with the politically suicidal Tea Party faction, a group that the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found this week to be “less popular than ever.” They can allow the most strident voices on the far right that oppose comprehensive immigration reform — Rush Limbaugh has likened it to the Republican Party’s “authoring its demise” — to direct their path and further alienate Hispanic voters, who are increasingly coming to see the party as an unwelcoming place. Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by 44 points last year, and the Republican National Committee’s own autopsy on that loss surmised:

“If Hispanic Americans perceive that a G.O.P. nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.”

Or Republicans can take the less likely path and demonstrate that they’ve been cowed enough to move ahead on a major piece of legislation that is supported by the majority of the American people — a July Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans believe that passing immigration reform is important. And that would be good not just for the president’s legacy but for the health of the country as a whole.

In a 2012 paper published by the Cato Institute, Raúl Hinojosa Ojeda, director of the North American Integration and Development Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, used computing models to estimate the following:

“Comprehensive immigration reform generates an annual increase in U.S. G.D.P. of at least 0.84 percent. This amounts to $1.5 trillion in additional G.D.P. over 10 years. It also boosts wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers.”

Comprehensive immigration reform is the right thing and the thing that Americans want. But the far right is hardly concerned with what’s right and has little appetite for agreeing with the will of the majority of the American people (despite talking ad nauseam about standing up for the American people).

The far right is angry at the government and the man at the top of it. According to a Pew Research report released Friday: “Anger at the federal government is most pronounced among Tea Party Republicans. Fully 55 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who agree with the Tea Party say they are angry with the federal government — about double the percentage among non-Tea Party Republicans (27 percent) and Democrats and Democratic leaners (25 percent).”

They have been blinded by that anger. The president knows that. And he knows that blind soldiers don’t often win battles. In choosing to pivot to immigration reform, he has created a win-win scenario for himself and the Democrats. Clever, clever.

What the GOP could learn from Pope Francis

Winning converts takes more than holding babies on the rope line.

Just sayin’…

The Week

The pope warns against being “obsessed” with gay marriage and abortion

Pope Francis is a hit. In July, he drew three million people to Mass at Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach. A Pew Research Center poll released this month shows that 79 percent of Catholics have a favorable view of him, compared to only four percent who view him unfavorably.

It’s not only Catholics who approve. “Seldom has a religious leader been embraced so warmly across the Christian world, including by many evangelicals,” Timothy George, executive editor of Christianity Today,wrote earlier this summer.

And he may have won over a whole new crowd who have grown disillusioned with organized religion, after he chastised the Roman Catholic Church for being “obsessed” with abortion, contraception, and gay marriage. Francis’ remarks, published in 16 Jesuit journals worldwide, have rocked the Catholic world.

“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” he said. “We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

The GOP could learn a few lessons from His Holiness.

To concerned Republicans (and especially Republican Catholics): No, the Pope isn’t advocating that priests start marrying gay couples in Catholic churches. In fact, for all the praise he has received from liberals, the Vatican’s official positions on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception are no different from when Pope Benedict XVI was running things.

But he is focusing heavily on problems that Catholics have traditionally cared about — namely, alleviating suffering and poverty — but which have fallen out of the spotlight due to a few divisive, hot-button issues.

The GOP, like the Catholic Church, didn’t always base its identity so fiercely on abortion and gay marriage. In 1972, the Republican Party platform contained no references to God or any religious issues.

Then, in 1980, the year of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority, it introduced an entire section on abortion. By 1992, Pat Buchanan was giving his fiery “culture wars” speech, in which he decried the “prophets of doom” of the Democratic Party who would usher in a “homosexual rights movement.”

As Republicans moved to the right on social issues, many Catholics — who were among the first to protestagainst Roe v. Wade — went with them, both on the abortion issue and other aspects of the culture wars. Indeed, Republican politicians stoked social issues as much as they could, knowing it would result in a larger conservative turnout at the polls.

As recently as last year, Pope Benedict XVI called gay marriage a threat to “human dignity and the future of humanity itself.” Compare that to Pope Francis, who said in Rio de Janeiro this summer, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

The GOP needs to make a similar shift, wrote conservative columnist and Crossfire co-host S.E. Cupp after the pope made that statement, especially since the majority of Americans now support gay marriage:

Popular opinion is never a reason for a group to abandon its principles. But when its principles are so obviously in conflict not only with the group’s survival, but with the group’s stated philosophy — in this case, one that abhors big government intrusion into private life and champions monogamy and stability within marriage — it’s time to consider softening, not abandoning, those principles. [New York Daily News]

Furthermore, Pope Benedict “always seemed to be the Dick Cheney of pontiffs,” wrote The Daily Beast’s John Avlon, “reaffirming strict doctrine and famously arguing that a smaller church of more devout believers would be more desirable than what might be called a ‘big tent.'”

Pope Francis is more of a populist. He famously broke Vatican tradition by washing the feet of 12 female inmates instead of 12 male priests on Holy Thursday. He regularly cold-calls ordinary people, like when he reassured an Italian woman that she would find a priest to baptize her baby even though it was born out of wedlock. His car? A 1984 Renault given to him to by an old priest.

Instead of spending his time preaching against supposed dangers like gay marriage and abortion, he has cast himself as a pope of the people, willing to go out and address issues that affect people every day.

That leads to another lesson that some conservatives think Republicans could learn from Pope Francis.

“Republicans are seen as defenders of the rich and powerful instead of the poor and vulnerable,” wrote Marc Thiessen, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, earlier this year in The Washington Post.

To change that, they “don’t have to abandon their principles,” he argued, but instead should “emulate Francis” and demonstrate that their values are meant to help the poor:

It’s not enough for Republicans to simply vote for school choice; they need to spend time with students struggling in failing schools. It’s not enough to rail against dependency; they need to spend time helping those trapped in dependency to get the skills they need to get off public assistance. It’s not enough to complain about Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric; they need to spend time fighting for the vulnerable. [The Washington Post]

Young people — including many young Catholics — overwhelmingly support gay marriage. Many are out of work and struggling financially. If the GOP wants to attract more of them in the future, they might want to follow the example of the pontiff.

 

Cheerios Ad With Biracial Family Sets Off Online Spew Of Racism (VIDEO)

See this cute little girl? She’s the face of the new Cheerios ad. Controversy? She’s depicted with a white mother and a black father… dear God, call out the dogs!!! @Gawker

See this cute little girl? She’s the face of the new Cheerios ad. Controversy? She’s depicted with a white mother and a black father… dear God, call out the dogs!!! @Gawker

I am so not surprised…

Addicting Info

Really, America? We’re going to get into a kerfuffle about a Cheerios ad featuring a mixed-race family? Really?? In 2013?

Let’s look at this reference before I carry on:

Post-racial America: “A theoretical environment where the United States is devoid of racial preference, discrimination, and prejudice. Some Americans believed that the election of Barack Obama as President and wider acceptance of interracial marriage signified that the nation had entered this state, while others believe that groups such as the Tea Party movement prove it has not. In January 2010 the Pew Research Center conducted a poll in conjunction with National Public Radio that indicated that 39% of persons of African-American descent felt they were in a better position than they had been five years ago, an increase of 19% from the previous poll taken in 2008. Actor and director Mario Van Peebles made a television documentary titled Fair Game that challenged the idea that the United States had become a post-racial society. [Wikipedia] 

Yes… “theoretical.” And do we really think we’re there yet, in that “theoretical” post-racial America? I see evidence of it, particularly among our younger generations, most (many) of whom grew up without the rabid mentoring of racist parents (forgetting portions of the south where getting an integrated prom is big news or 14-year-old black boys are put in chokeholds for the wrong kind of “stare”). But while the public face of our country may be more embracing and civilized, in the back corners of rural America, the town halls of middle America, even in the vaunted halls of Congress, the creaking, rotting bona fides of American racism remain as potent as ever. Will we ever get post-racial? As they say, “we’re working on it.”

Take Cheerios, for instance. A good, decent breakfast cereal enjoyed by many, the high-profile company decided to release an ad, similar to all its many other ads, but this one features a “modern family” of mixed race. Call out the dogs, mother, we’re losing the cereal demographic! Or so you’d think… from Gawker:

A nice Cheerios advertisement whose only discernible difference from other Cheerios commercials is that it depicts an interracial family was forced to disable its YouTube comments section today after it became inundated with virulent racism. […]

Segregationists still looking to tell the world how angry they are about a cereal commercial can do so at Reddit—”Shoving multi-culturism down our throats when we know it fails.. awesome.”

Yeah. Damn that ‘failing multiculturalism.’

Why is this still an issue, mixed race families? Seriously, are we incapable of adjusting to evolving culture, of transcending our most ignorant past? Especially since we got this worked out on a constitutional basis a while ago:

It was back in 1967, 46 long years ago, that the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that states could not prohibit marriages between “whites and nonwhites.” It was a 9–0 decision in the case of Loving vs. Virginia, in which a white man, Richard P. Loving, challenged the anti-miscegenation laws of his state to on behalf of his part-Negro, part-Indian wife, Mildred. The decision ruled that all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States were unconstitutional.

And yet here we are, in 2013, still railing and roiling over race, over mixed race families in a cereal commercial. Perhaps racism just sticks to the bottom of the shoes of those who can’t walk away from America’s past… but there are too many who appear to be more comfortable in the mud.

Over at AdWeek, writer Tim Nudd looked at the Cheerios ruckus and went with a sort of socio-anthropological approach:

The problem is that TV ads have always lagged TV programming in this regard, as so many brands are clearly scared of being perceived as making a political statement with the casting of their commercials. Thus, the Cheerios ad, despite its characters being representative of tens of thousands of actual couples in America, sticks out like a sore thumb. And then you have the YouTube comments section, which predictably has devolved into an endless flame war, with references to Nazis, “troglodytes” and “racial genocide.” At what point will an ad like this just seem normal?

When hell freezes?

And let’s comment for a minute on the YouTube comments: when the great video sharing site actually shuts down the comment feature due to the sheer volume of UGLY, that’s gotta be a shitload of ugly. Shame on you, non-post-racial Americans.

As much as it’s easy to get glib and sarcastic about the ignorance of anyone leaving vile, racist comments in response to this very sweet, every-day ad about oat cereal, in truth is it deeply disturbing that hiding behind the Internet “cloak of invisibility,” are our country’s most hateful, virulent people. Hard to reconcile the passionate, high-minded ideals of democracy and our melting pot citizenry with the bottom-feeding puke of hate-mongers.

But puke they do, all over comment sections, RedditYouTubeFacebook, wherever they can find a platform (pretty much anywhere these days) and a willing audience (pretty much anywhere these days… just see Rush Limbaugh and his endless herd of Dittoheads). Like locusts, cockroaches and those little nits that get into pancake mix, it’s hard to stomp them all out, but those working For The Good must keep trying.

I write about it, shine a light on it, drag it out from anonymity whenever I can; do what I can to bring it out into open conversation so those who are “just stunned” (said one reader who could not believe such heinous things are still happening in our country) can be made aware, can be compelled to speak up and do their share of stomping when they have the opportunity.

And, as writer Jorge Rivas of Colorlines pointed out, sometimes the good guys speak up too:

“Every commercial with an interracial family show a black man and white woman. You never see Asians or Native Americans or Mexicans or even a white man with a black woman,” wrote one user on Reddit. “I’m not satisfied with the family, they need to be more interracial.”

Everyone’s a critic. But at least this one is leaning in the right direction!

All I can say is, keep stomping.

Here’s the video:

 

Is The War On Drugs Nearing An End?

Beginning in the 1980s, many critics of the American criminal-justice system complained that the penalties for possession of crack cocaine, a drug most often used by poor blacks, were much harsher than the penalties for possession of powder cocaine, whose users were typically affluent whites. The implication was that the harsh anti-crack penalties, initially imposed in the eighties, were rooted at least partially in racism. –  Crack vs. Powder Cocaine

The Huffington Post

For four decades, libertarians, civil rights activists and drug treatment experts have stood outside of the political mainstream in arguing that the war on drugs was sending too many people to prison, wasting too much money, wrenching apart too many families — and all for little or no public benefit.

They were always in the minority. But on Thursday, a sign of a new reality emerged: for the first time in four decades of polling, the Pew Research Center found that more than half of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

That finding is the result of decades of slow demographic changes and cultural evolution that now appears, much like attitudes around marriage equality, to be accelerating. More and more people, including Pat Robertson and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), are rejecting the tough-on-crime rhetoric so long directed toward drug use.

But in its latest budget, the White House still requested $25.6 billion to combat drug use just at the federal level, with well more than half of that going toward a strategy centered around law enforcement. The drug war has helped swell America’s prison and jail population to 2.2 million people — meaning that a country with five percent of the world’s population contains one quarter of its prisoners.

recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found that few Americans think these efforts have been worthwhile. Only 19 percent of respondents to that poll said that the war on drugs has been worth the costs, while 53 percent said it has not been. That discomfort with the drug war was shared by respondents across the political spectrum.

The question now, experts and advocates say, is just how quickly Washington will catch up to public opinion, and what that shift will mean for the war on drugs and the criminal justice system in general.

The answer could have tremendous ramifications abroad — 10,000 people die drug war deaths every year in Mexico — and at home in the United States.

DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY

Much of the movement in public opinion toward marijuana use has been driven not necessarily by the arguments drug reformers have made for years — that it is safer than alcohol, that we waste too much money on incarceration, that drug use is a victimless crime — but by simple generational change, said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard University.

“Younger generations are much more supportive of having choices, they’ve had much more experience with it, and also in general on many social issues, people are getting more libertarian, more open to less restriction,” he said.

When Blendon studied public opinion on the drug war in the mid-1990s, the results were clear: although the American public believed the drug war was failing, they still thought of using drugs as morally wrong and worthy of punishment.

It was a time when Nancy Reagan’s maxim — just say no to drugs — was still treated as gospel. But two decades later, Blendon said, there are simply too many people who have tried marijuana themselves to believe in that.

According to the Pew survey, 48 percent of Americans say they have smoked weed themselves, up 10 percent from a decade ago. Fifty percent of Americans, meanwhile, say smoking marijuana is not a moral issue, compared to 32 percent who believe that it is. That’s a mirror image of the 50 percent moral opposition and 35 percent indifference Pew found just seven years ago.

The shift has come fast, Pew found. In just the past three years, pro-legalization sentiment has spiked 10 percent. And a relatively new phenomenon has emerged: it’s not just liberals or libertarians speaking out. Increasingly, it is the names most identified with conservatism.

Continue here…

 

Pew Founder: Republican Party Estranged From America

Alan Colmes’ Liberaland

Andrew Kohut says the only other time a party was this far from the center was the Democratic Party of the late ’6o’s and early ’70′s.

The Republican Party’s ratings now stand at a 20-year low, with just 33 percent of the public holding a favorable view of the party and 58 percent judging it unfavorably, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Although the Democrats are better regarded (47 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable), the GOP’s problems are its own, not a mirror image of renewed Democratic strength…

The party’s base is increasingly dominated by a highly energized bloc of voters with extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues: the size and role of government, foreign policy, social issues, and moral concerns. They stand with the tea party on taxes and spending and with Christian conservatives on key social questions, such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage…

According to our polling, three factors stand out in the emergence of the GOP’s staunch conservative bloc: ideological resistance to President Obama’s policies, discomfort with the changing face of America and the influence of conservative media…

Race has loomed larger in voting behavior in the Obama era than at any point in the recent past. The 2010 election was the high mark of “white flight” from the Democratic Party, as National Journal’s Ron Brownstein called it — the GOP won a record 60 percent of white votes, up from 51 percent four years earlier.

Why immigration reform won’t be enough for the GOP to win Latino voters

Latino protesters march by the hotel where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is scheduled to attend a fundraising event in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 17. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Latino protesters march by the hotel where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is scheduled to attend a fundraising event in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 17. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

The GOP remind me of the silent movie comedy group called The Keystone Kops.

The term has since come to be used to criticize any group for its mistakes, particularly if the mistakes happened after a great deal of energy and activity, or if there was a lack of coordination among the members of the group. - Wiki

Less then a year ago members of the GOP were saying this, this and this about immigration.  After the 2012 election which gave Barack Obama 71% of the Latino vote, they are now trying to change their tune, thinking that they can actually get away with this current folly of theirs…

By the way, in my opinion, the term “illegal” is reprehensible when referring to any human being.

MSNBC

Republicans need to win more Latino voters if they want to remain a politically relevant party. The imperative to win back those voters is so strong that Senator John McCain openly admits it’s the reason others in his party are willing to embrace immigration reform, an issue many otherwise oppose.

But the bad news is that immigration reform may not be enough to help the party close the gap on the growing part of the American electorate.

Two key polls from 2012 explain why. A Pew survey found a majority of Hispanics say education, jobs/economy, and health care are “extremely important.” Only one in three said immigration was equally important. Even the federal budget deficit ranked higher, and Republicans have failed to win over Latino voters on that issue.

The Republican “small government” mantra won’t appeal to most Latinos either, as two in three said they preferred a “larger federal government with more services” over a smaller one in a Washington Post poll from last year.

Even some Republicans admit the chances for winning over the Latino electorate are slim. “Anyone who believes that they’re going to win over the Latino vote is grossly mistaken,” Congressman Lou Barletta told the Morning Call. “They will become Democrats because of the social programs they’ll depend on.”

But the biggest indication that the GOP is hopeless when it comes to shrinking the 44-point gap by which Romney lost Hispanic voters may be the memo sent to House Republicans yesterday.

Fresh off the heels of retreat events like “Successful Communication with Women and Minorities,” the conservative Hispanic Leadership Network is circulating a memo on the do’s and don’t’s of how Republicans should address immigration reform issues.

The do’s:

  • Acknowledge “our current immigration system is broken”
  • use the phrases “earned legal status” and “undocumented immigrants”

The don’t’s:

  • start the conversation out with “we are against amnesty”
  • use the phrases “pathway to citizenship,” “illegals,” “aliens,” or “anchor babies”

It’s not a good sign that Republicans are still learning to master the language to not offend the fastest growing demographic of the American electorate, but it’s dangerous to bank on any group of that sized voting on a single-issue.

Full memo below.

HLN memo

Ann Romney Refuses To Answer Questions About Birth Control

I’m not certain I can stand much more of the Romneys obfuscation on the real issues in addition to the economy.

What thirty some odd states with Republican Governors have done to dictate to women about their reproductive rights is incredible.   The only thing I can attribute to Mrs. Romney’s hesitance to answer the question is that Mitt Romney knows it’s a liability to his campaign.

In 2010 the Republicans campaigned on “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”  However, in reality, it’s been about “the fetus” and person-hood.  The problem of course is that the Right has this way of loving and protecting “the fetus” but starving and ignoring “the child”.

By the way Republican politicians…where are the jobs?

Think Progress

In an interview with KWQC-TV6 today, Ann Romney refused to comment on the issues stemming from the ongoing War on Women, declining to address whether she believes women should have access to contraception through their employer-based insurance plans. Such questions are irrelevant, Romney said, because this election is not going to be about birth control:

KWQC TV6: Do you believe that employer-provided health insurance should be required to cover birth control?

ANN ROMNEY: Again, you’re asking me questions that are not about what this election is going to be about. This election is going to be about the economy and jobs.

KWQC TV6: Well, a Pew research poll shows those issues are very important to women, ranking them either “important” or “very important. […]

ANN ROMNEY: Listen, I’ve been across this country, I’ve been for a year-and-a-half on the campaign trail. I’ve spoken with thousands of women and they are telling me, they’re telling me a couple of things, one they say they’re praying for me which is really wonderful, and then they’re saying, ‘please help, please help. We are so worried about our jobs.’ So really if you want to try to pull me off of the other messages it’s not going to work because I know because I’ve been out there. […]

I’m going to talk to you about the economy and about job creation and about how my husband is the right person for the right time. This is going to be an election that is very important for women, and we are going to make sure that their economic prosperity is more certain under a President Romney.

Despite Romney’s attempt to pivot to the economy, her claim that birth control is “off message” ignores the real economic situation of women across America. In fact, women’s access to reproductive health services is inextricably linked to the economic issues that countless women face. For example, the Obamacare provision that requires employer-based coverage for contraception — which Ann Romney sidestepped after the interviewer brought it up twice — attempts to address the fact that one in three American women report having struggled to afford birth control at some point in their lives. And when women risk pregnancy without reliable access to contraception, they strain their own finances with the expensive addition of a dependent, as well as incur millions in taxpayer costs for medical care.

Scott Brown Touts Praise For Ad From Conservative Blog That Claims Obama Is Muslim

Scott Brown: What About All The Rich Schoolteachers?

This really dumb Senator who won Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat  needs to stop pandering to right wing radicals…unless of course he  is a right-wing radical.

The Huffington Post

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is raising money off praise from a conservative blogger who believes that President Barack Obama is Muslim.

In an emailed pitch last week, the Massachusetts Republican boasted that his latest ad — which seeks to tie Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren to Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comments — has been “cheered across the nation by patriots.” He then lists several positive reviews, including one from the conservative blog Libertarian Republican that claimed Obama is a Muslim as recently as last week.

“It has been called ‘powerful,’ ‘devastating,’ and ‘quite possibly the greatest ad for 2012 by any candidate in either party,’ ” Brown wrote in the fundraising appeal, which ends with a request for $100, $50, or $25 donations.

The third accolade comes from Libertarian Republican, which has suggested or stated that Obama is a Muslim on several occasions, although the president has repeatedly described himself as a Christian. As recently as Saturday, Libertarian Republican editor Eric Dondero wrote a blog post about the start of Ramadan under the headline “America’s Muslim President celebrates Islamic holiday.”

Dondero told The Huffington Post on Friday that he was pleased to hear the Brown campaign was promoting his endorsement of the blockbuster ad.

“I think Sen. Brown has always had an appeal to the libertarian wing of the GOP,” Dondero said. “He’s a fiscally conservative, socially tolerant Republican, kind of like a William Weld-type from the 1990s, and we love him.”

Dondero added that it is a “fact” that Obama is Muslim, pointing to a 2008 interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in which the president references “my Muslim faith” while acknowledging that his opponent then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain had denied such rumors.

The implication that Obama was proclaiming his own Muslim alliance was rated“false” by the urban legend-vetting website Snopes.

A Brown spokeswoman declined to comment Friday.

A Pew Research Center survey released Thursday shows that some Republicans continue to wrongly name Obama’s religion. Among the most conservative respondents, 34 percent said Obama is Muslim, a 14-point increase since Pew asked the same question in October 2008.

Warren’s campaign deferred to the Massachusetts Democratic Party when asked for comment.

“Scott Brown’s decision to cite praise from an extreme, far-right-wing website like this in a personal fundraising appeal speaks for itself,” spokesman Matt House said in a statement.

Dondero’s views on religious affiliation are not limited to Obama. Earlier this month, Dondero called Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) a member of “America’s Muslim Brotherhood,” echoing a controversial claim by some Tea Party lawmakers that the Islamic terrorist organization is trying to infiltrate the federal government.

In a live chat with Boston.com readers Friday, Brown kept the spotlight on the Dondero-backed ad. “The people of MA will have a very real choice this November,” Brown wrote in response to a submitted question about his major differences with Warren. “I would refer people to my ad ‘Let America Be America Again.'”

American kids of immigrants denied food stamps in Alabama

Apparently the term compassionate conservatism died the moment it was “invented”…

The Raw Story

A civil rights law firm based in Alabama says that children who are U.S. citizens from at least five families have been denied food stamps because their parents are undocumented immigrants.

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Legal Director Mary Bauer confirmed to Raw Story that Alabama’s Department of Human Services had cited the state’s anti-immigration HB 56 law, which makes it illegal to conduct “business transactions” with undocumented workers, as a reason they were denied food stamps.

“We have heard from a number of people that several localities in Alabama have adopted the policy that they’re required to verify the status of parents who are trying to help their kids apply for food stamps — even if they themselves are not applying for food stamps,” Bauer explained. “Of course, that is illegal under federal law.”

“The localities are essentially saying that they are required to do this by Alabama’s immigration law,” she added. “What that means is that we have hungry U.S. citizen kids who are unable to get the benefits to which they are legally entitled.”

Yahoo News’ Liz Goodwin first revealed earlier this week that at least five people had called into SPLC’s immigration hotline to make a report.

Department of Human Services spokesman Barry Spear has insisted that the agency had no policy requiring proof of citizenship for services.

“We are unaware of any violations of the policy,” he said.

But Bauer was skeptical of that claim.

“That may be — that he is not aware of it,” she told Raw Story. “But this is the way that it’s playing out in the field and in the real world. And we will bring specifics to the department’s attention and insist that they come into compliance with federal law.”

While federal law prohibits undocumented immigrants from obtaining food stamps and many other welfare benefits, U.S. citizen children are entitled to all benefits regardless of the status of their parents. A recent study  from the Pew Research Center estimated that there were at least 4.5 million born in the U.S. with at least one undocumented parent.

Alabama state Senator Scott Beason, who authored HB 56, told WBRC that SPLC’s claims were “not necessarily factual.”

Update (5:30 p.m. ET): The SPLC tells Raw Story that they have not ruled out taking legal action if Alabama’s Department of Human Services does not come in compliance with the law.