Posts Tagged ‘catholic

24
Sep
15

On Catholicism and the sanctity of life

Pope Francis gave an address to a joint session of Congress today. I hope to have an essay on the broader themes of his speech for tomorrow, but today I want to focus on one aspect which seems to have tarnished his halo with leftists who have pinned their hopes on him and are now disappointed, just as they did with President Obama.

Here is the offending passage:

The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

That’s it. That was his only glancing reference to abortion. And he didn’t even use the word abortion.

But look at what he said: human life must be protected at every stage of its development.

As I’ve written before, I was raised Catholic. And although I can’t in good conscience call myself a believer any longer, that upbringing undergirds who I am. I can no more dispense with it than I can dispense with all the skeins of life which have made me who I am.

I’ve always been a liberal. And as early as I can remember, I’ve always disagreed with the Church’s position on abortion and birth control. Many times, I’ve disagreed vehemently with the Church, wanting finally to cast aside that part of me.

But as I’ve grown older, I have, I hope, grown wiser. What used to be black and white in my youth has become a symphony of grays. I still disagree with the Church on abortion and birth control. But I can respect its stance, at least on abortion.

How can I do this? Because unlike many of the evangelical Religious Right, the Catholic position on life is a total one. Again, turn to Pope Francis’ words: life must be protected at every stage of development.

Continue reading ‘On Catholicism and the sanctity of life’

09
Jun
15

ObamaCare: The President’s Day

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President Barack Obama speaks at the Catholic Hospital Association conference in Washington, DC. President Obama discussed what healthcare reform has meant to millions of Americans and the affordable coverage options for individuals in general

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President Barack Obama waves to the crowd during Catholic Hospital Association Conference in Washington on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.  Obama defended the health care overhaul just days ahead of an anticipated decision by the Supreme Court that could eliminate health care for millions of people.  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

President Barack Obama greets a nun in the audience after speaking to the Catholic Hospital Association Conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, Tuesday, June 9, 2015, about healthcare reform. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama greets a nun in the audience

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President Barack Obama waves as he arrive to speak at the Catholic Hospital Association Conference about healthcare reform, Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

12
May
15

The President’s Day

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President Barack Obama participates a discussion on poverty at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Georgetown hosted the Catholic Evangelical Leadership Summit on fighting poverty in America

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President Barack Obama participates in a discussion on poverty with (L-R) moderator E.J. Dionne, Jr., Robert Putman Professor at Harvard University, and Arthur Brooks President of the American Enterprise Institute

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23
Feb
12

evening all

People reach out to grasp hands with President Obama after he spoke at the University of Miami, February 23

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Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla

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First Lady Michelle Obama views The Slave Pen exhibit while touring the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb. 23. Pictured, from left, are: Dina Bailey, Associate Curator of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center; Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory; Verna Williams; and Allison Singleton. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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Friday:

11:15 AM: PBO attends the Democratic Governors’ Association meeting.

3:00 PM: PBO holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark.

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More photos from Miami:

Denver Post

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ThinkProgress

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Greg Sargent: It’s becoming clearer and clearer that the auto bailout will be central to Campaign 2012’s argument over government and the economy, and Pew Research releases some striking numbers….

The latest national survey …finds that 56% say the loans the government made to GM and Chrysler were mostly good for the economy, while 38% say the loans to the automakers were mostly bad for the economy.

Opinion about the auto loans has reversed since October 2009. At that time, just 37% said the loans were mostly good for the economy while 54% expressed negative views…..

…. independents think the auto bailout was good for the economy by a wide margin, 54-40. Even moderate/liberal Republicans agree, 57-39. And Pew tells me that non-college-degree whites – a key swing constituency that will be pivotal in the Rust Belt states – also agree, 51-40.

More here

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Mother Jones

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ThinkProgress: Earlier this month, the nation was barraged with media coverage of the Catholic Bishops’ opposition to regulations promulgated under the Affordable Care Act protecting working women’s access to contraception. The loudness of the bishops’ complaints ….  easily could have conveyed the misimpression that churches and other religious groups are at odds with the Affordable Care Act.

On Friday, however, a broad coalition of religious organizations filed an amicus brief supporting the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion that should give the lie to any claim that the faith community opposes the ACA …. the brief’s signatories include a wide range of Catholic groups….

More here

Thanks Loriah

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ThinkProgress: As further proof that conservative efforts to paint President Obama as the enemy of religion are a red herring, nearly two dozen leading Catholic nuns filed a brief in the Supreme Court last week supporting the president’s signature legislative accomplishment. The Catholic sisters who joined the brief include the leaders of many prominent religious orders providing health care and other services to the needy…

More here

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Full interview here

Thanks CTGirl

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Thanks Edwina

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The Clowns:

Esquire

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Get your iPhone case – now!

20
Feb
12

evening all

@liberalgirl007

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Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi and Sen. Carmelo Rios unveil a bronze statue of President Barack Obama, along the “Avenue of Heroes” outside the Capitol building, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Feb. 20. Puerto Rican officials unveiled statues of Obama and former President Lyndon B. Johnson. Every sitting U.S. president who has ever visited Puerto Rico is honored with a statue, dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Obama became the eighth when he visited in June.

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Steve Benen’s growing list of achievements by PBO’s administration on gay rights:

* announced it will not defend the constitutionality of statutes blocking same-sex military spouses from receiving marriage benefits

* successfully repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law

* expanded federal benefits for the same-sex partners of executive-branch employees

* signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law

* cleared the way for hospital-visitation rights for same-sex couples

* lifted the travel/immigration ban on those with HIV/AIDS

* ordered the Federal Housing Authority to no longer consider the sexual orientation of applicants on loans

* expanded the Census to include the number of people who report being in a same-sex relationship

* directed U.S. agencies abroad to ensure our humanitarian and diplomatic efforts “promote and protect” the rights of gays and lesbians

* endorsed repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act

* stopped trying to defend DOMA against federal court challenges

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O……kay:

A carnival float depicts US President Barack Obama as Captain America during the traditional parade in Cologne, Germany, Feb. 20

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Charles P. Pierce (Esquire): ….. Having aligned itself in the mid-1960’s with the angry remnants of American apartheid, the Republican party – and the conservative “movement” which is its only real energy – is now scrambling, one state at a time, to undo the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement on the wrong side of which it decided to place itself for political advantage…..

….. The shift is driven by the fact that people do not want black people, or poor people, or Democrats in general, to vote. This was obvious from the voter cadging in Florida in 2000, and in the mischief with the voting machine placements in Ohio in 2004. It was energized recently by the fact that black people and poor people helped elect a black person president, and a substantial portion of the Republican party and its conservative base found that to be an illegitimate outcome and has worked ever since his inauguration to delegitimize him on the grounds that he is a black man who was elected and is, therefore, not really president.

Full post here

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SmartyPants: One of the things that concerns me as we watch the Republicans revert to their old culture wars against women, people of color, gays & lesbians, poor people, unions, etc. is that we will all divide again into our camps to defend our root causes and forget the bigger picture that binds us. Other than fear, the right’s most effective weapon against us is division.

What will keep us united is to always remember the big picture of what’s happening. As I’ve been saying, keeping an eye on the forest means recognizing that the old white male heterosexual patriarchy is dying and the Republican Party is in chaos. What we can expect is that the old beast is going to strike out at anything it perceives as a threat and therefore the cause of its demise.

Full post here

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Carter Eskew (Washington Post): I was thinking of taking today off, but Rick Santorum wouldn’t let me.

Rick Santorum went and said another stupid thing. “The Earth is not the objective,” he told “Face The Nation.” “Man is the objective. And, I think a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside down.”

I think he says these things not because he is, in fact, stupid, but because he is angry, and anger fuels his supporters.

More here

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Go to OFA for the interactive graphic

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Ed Kilgore: A good deal of the excitement over the recent contraception coverage mandate has resulted from the hopes of Republicans, and the fears of some Catholic liberals, that the controversy could prove to be a “wedge issue” that would drive significant numbers of Catholic voters into the GOP column in November.

The assumption behind such scenarios, of course, is that there is a self-conscious “Catholic vote” that operates independently of the rest of the electorate, and that can be moved by the pronouncements of Catholic religious leaders.

My latest column for The New Republic examines this assumption, and finds it uncompelling in several respects: Catholic voters are remarkably similar to all voters in their partisan inclinations; they do not have any overall inclination to follow the Church hierarchy on hot-button cultural issues; and in fact, they are not responding differently from other Americans to the contraception coverage mandate controversy. “The Catholic Vote” looks just like America.

More here

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Tuesday: 11:35 AM – PBO hosts a payroll tax cut event, VP Biden also attends.

The President and First Lady will invite music legends and contemporary major artists to the White House for a celebration of Blues music and in recognition of Black History Month as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series.

Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the construction site of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Thursday: The President will travel to the University of Miami to continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last.

Friday: The President will host Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark for a meeting in the Oval Office.

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Reverend Keith A. Gordon: Blues fans, circle Monday, February 27th, 2012 on your calendars, ’cause we’re going to paint the White House blue! The Emmy Award-winning PBS series In Performance At The White House is going to document a historic celebration of the blues with a taping of a February 21st concert to be held in the East Room of the White House, the event hosted by President and Mrs. Obama in recognition of Black History Month.

In Performance At The White House program host Taraji P. Henson will oversee the concert, which will feature performances by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark, Jr., Keb’ Mo’, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Shemekia Copeland, Warren Haynes, and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. Stax Records legend Booker T. Jones will serve as the concert’s music director and bandleader.

….. The concert will be streamed live (from 7:20) on the White House, Public Broadcasting, and Black Public Media websites….

18
Feb
12

rise and shine

Thank you Video Queen Donna ;-)

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President Barack Obama sits in the cockpit of a 787 Dreamliner during his tour of the Boeing Plant production facility in Everett, Wash., Feb. 17, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House after a three day West coast trip, early February 18

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The week ahead:

Monday: No public events.

Tuesday: The President and First Lady will invite music legends and contemporary major artists to the White House for a celebration of Blues music and in recognition of Black History Month as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series.

Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the construction site of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Thursday: The President will travel to Miami, Florida, to participate in an official event.

Friday: The President will host Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark for a meeting in the Oval Office.

Thanks Meta

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John McDonough (Boston.com): I’ve written before about the Obama Administration’s breakthrough efforts to fight health care fraud and abuse. Now there’s more, $4.1 billion more.

Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the federal government recovered $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars from individuals and corporations attempting to steal Medicare and Medicaid payments to which they were not entitled.

What’s $4.1 billion? It is the largest amount of money ever recovered, by far, in the history of the programs since they were established in 1965. Here are the numbers from the most recent years….

More here

Thanks amk

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Robert Shrum: The unholy alliance between Catholic bishops and the GOP

Catholic leaders are self-righteously trying to infringe on the liberty of all Americans. And head-in-the-sand Republicans are cheering them on

The Episcopal Church used to be described as the Republican Party at prayer. Today’s GOP has moved far right, and suddenly the Catholic bishops are now the Republican Party in the pulpit.

For many Catholics — and I intermittently try to be part of the church I was raised in — this is a betrayal of their beliefs about the place of faith in public life….

Full post here

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The Week

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Morning everyone – will be back later ;-)

16
Feb
12

evening all

President Barack Obama poses for a picture during a stop at Great Eastern restaurant in the Chinatown section of San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 16, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Have we seen this WH Photo of the Day before? :???:

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Steve Benen: Here was the witness table at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as discussion about contraception access and health care got underway:

More here

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TPM

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First Lady Michelle Obama greets members of the general public as they enter the Blue Room during their tour of the White House, Feb. 16, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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Friday (all times ET)

12:00: PBO departs San Francisco en route to Everett, Washington

1:50: Arrives Everett

2:05: Tours the Boeing Everett Production Facility

2:25: Delivers remarks

5:00: Delivers remarks at a campaign event

6:45: Delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Westin Bellevue Hotel

8:00: Departs Everett en route to Washington, DC

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How excellent is this?

:cool:

OFA

Thanks Jessica!

14
Feb
12

afternoon all

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Greg Sargent: Despite birth control controversy, Obama suffers no erosion among Catholics

Since the birth control controversy broke, it has been an article of faith among even some neutral commentators that the battle would cause Obama to lose crucial support among Catholic swing voters.

But Gallup has performed a new analysis of its tracking data that should complicate this assertion: It finds that Obama has suffered no meaningful downturn in recent days among that consistuency, even among church-going Catholics.

More here

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TPM

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Later this afternoon, President Obama hosts another round of interviews with television stations – today’s lineup: KLAS, Las Vegas; WAGA, Atlanta; WFLA, Tampa; and WBTV, Charlotte, N.C.

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Steve Benen

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Ezra Klein

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President Barack Obama meets with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office

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13
Feb
12

rise and shine

USA Today: President Obama’s re-election team is seeking help from Internet and on-the-ground backers to spread the word about Obama’s record in office, and to bash his Republican critics.

The purpose of the “Truth Team” is to “promote the President’s achievements, respond to attacks on his record and hold the eventual Republican nominee accountable,” said the announcement from the Obama re-election team.

The overall website – BarackObama.com/TruthTeam – includes three specialty websites: KeepingHisWord.com (devoted to Obama’s record), KeepingGOPHonest.com (attacking Republicans), and AttackWatch.com (responding to critical GOP ads).

“The sites also contain tools for sharing materials via Facebook, Twitter and email, and empowers supporters to take further action by volunteering, writing letters to the editor, sending postcards to undecided voters with information about the President’s record, and more,” said the Obama announcement.

More here

The three sites: KeepingHisWordAttackWatchKeepingGOPHonest

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More ‘Keeping his Word’ videos here

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AP: President Barack Obama wants community colleges and businesses to work together to train 2 million workers in high-growth industries, and on Monday will request $8 billion to create a fund to encourage the effort.

Obama’s plan, to be spelled out at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., is called the “Community College to Career Fund,” the White House said. It would seek to train workers within areas such as health care, transportation and advanced manufacturing, and would be administered by the Education and Labor departments.

The proposed fund is part of a new budget Obama is sending to Congress. It aims to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade by restraining government spending and raising taxes on the wealthy. In an election year with a gridlocked Congress, nearly every aspect of the budget will face tough scrutiny.

More here

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Today:

11:00: PBO delivers remarks on his FY 2013 Budget to students at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale

1:45: PBO awards the 2011 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal. Michelle Obama also attends.

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TPM: It was a long road back, but President Obama is now back in positive territory in our TPM Poll Average.

The shift comes on the heels of a completed Iraq withdrawal, a legislative win on the payroll tax cut before Christmas, and perhaps most importantly, good economic numbers in January and early February. The President’s numbers have jumped in the last few days in both Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls as well as individual national polls.

More here

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The Week

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BroadwayCarl: Many on the left have set their hair on fire over President Obama’s solution to the conflict between religious institutions, primarily the Catholic church, providing health care coverage which includes birth control to women and the teachings of the church. One would have to be in the wildest parts of Siberia to have missed this controversy, so I will not recount the drama that has unfolded.

However, once again the ubiquitous word “cave” has appeared in association with this decision. There was a time when this would infuriate me, but now I laugh at the predictability of the critical left.

Full post here

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White House

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ThinkProgress

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More ‘Keeping his Word’ videos here

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Washington Post

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TPM

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Morning everyone ;-)

11
Feb
12

rise and shine

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They Gave Us A Republic: ….…I admit to watching, dumbfounded, as contraception became, in the immortal words of the Vice President, “a big fucking deal” over the last week or so…. I had a busy week, and just left it up to Obama…..

What he was up to, it looks to me like, was positioning his pieces to call “checkmate” in one of those games of eleventh dimensional chess that I am starting to believe might actually exist.

He must have been laughing his ass off when the Bishops and their GOP allies picked this fight… Some pro-choice republicans were aghast, and pleaded with the leadership not to, but they charged ahead, like a two-ton bull, right through the doors of the china shop. And Barack Obama smiled and stood aside, holding them open.

…. Obama wasn’t boxed in. Not at all. But now the Bishops are. So far, they have been silent after thunderously declaring that nothing short of total repeal of the mandate would suit them. And as they lost the healthcare reform battle, they are going to lose this one, too. Because they are wrong and their time is past. And by their silence, I think they are telling us all that they realize they’ve been had.

Full post here

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Deaniac (The People’s View): Nontroversy resolved. Another stroke of genius by Obama.

… now the President has stripped off all the cover for the GOP’s anti-women agenda, and they are still not smart enough to hide it. Now women know for sure that this fight is about birth control and not about religious liberty. Now women also know who stands in their corner to protect birth control and which party wants to take this very basic health care right away from them.

Full post here

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Smartypants: In The Atlantic, James Fallows has written one of the most interesting analyses of the Obama administration that I’ve seen.

…. if you’re like me, you won’t agree with some of the things he says. But what I appreciated about it is that he doesn’t seem to have an ax to grind from either side. He’s not trying to defend Obama or take him down. I’ll admit that its rare to see an analysis these days that doesn’t at least seem to have one or the other agenda – no matter how deep people try to bury it.

More here

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TPM – thanks Loriah

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Addictinginfo: The Republican Party is tearing itself apart and many conservative voters are considering abandoning the sinking ship to vote for none other than President Obama in 2012.

According to a poll conducted by Wenzel Strategies on behalf of conservative publication World Net Daily, 1 in 5 Republicans will vote for or are leaning towards voting for President Obama in the upcoming Presidential Election in November.

Full post here

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Otrainofthought

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Steve Benen: Chronicling Mitt’s mendacity

Several weeks ago, I launched a new Friday afternoon feature, highlighting the most blatant Mitt Romney falsehoods of the week. It moved to Maddow Blog last week, and here’s this week’s installment. (It does not include mendacity from Romney’s CPAC speech this afternoon.)

More here

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Toons

Bob Cesca

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Maddow Blog

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Eclectablog

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Morning everyone ;-)

10
Feb
12

catching up

Greg Sargent: ….. anyone who comes out against the proposal Obama outlined today will be asked a simple question: Are you saying that employers should dictate to female employees whether they should or shouldn’t have access to birth control coverage?

….  What kind of impact do you think GOP opposition to free contraception for female employees of these institutions will have on that gender gap?

….. a new poll came out just today illustrating how perilous this position may be ….. It found that a big majority, 61%, approve of “requiring employer health plans to cover birth control for women.” Only 34% disapproved. Independents approve 58-34; women, 67-29 …. The polling organization that published these findings? Fox News.

Full post here

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Amanda Marcotte (Slate): …. The fun part of this is that Obama just pulled a fast one on Republicans. He drew this out for two weeks, letting Republicans work themselves into a frenzy of anti-contraception rhetoric, all thinly disguised as concern for religious liberty, and then created a compromise that addressed their purported concerns but without actually reducing women’s access to contraception, which is what this has always been about.

…. what most people will remember is that Republicans picked a fight with Obama over contraception coverage and lost. This also gave Obama a chance to highlight this benefit and take full credit for it.

…. hijacking two weeks of the news cycle to send the message that he’s going to get you your birth control for free is a big win for him in that department … It’s all so perfect that I’m inclined to think this was Obama’s plan all along.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress

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Ed Kilgore: …. make no mistake: it just got an awful lot harder for conservatives to frame the mandate (as now formulated) as an assault on religious liberty that will drive Catholics back into the catacombs – or even affect the operations of Catholic hospitals and charities. Indeed, it will look a lot like one of those interminable disputes between “modern” and “traditionalist” Catholics – with the latter backing a church hierarchy with a rather notably reduced credibility these days – in which Catholic lay opinion is decisively, if often quietly, with people like Sister Keehan who actually do the charitable work of the church.

Full post here

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The Economist: …..For the past three years America has been walking softly, and it’s working very, very well. Ten years back, America often found itself isolated, struggling to pull together “coalitions of the willing” packed with small client states. Lately, we have been finding ourselves in the majority, along with the democratic world, while Russia and China front a dwindling coalition of the unwilling …. this reflects a smart, subtle foreign-policy presence in which we have done a vastly better job of looking at what other countries actually want, and seeing where our interests align, rather than trying to bully other countries into supporting our goals…

And to some extent, there’s a personal factor. Look through the Pew Global Attitudes project data on confidence in the US president. In almost every country, you’ll see a dramatic or startling increase in confidence between 2008 and 2011.

…. When Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice try to win backing for American positions at the UN, the exceptional popularity of the president they represent in other countries is obviously a factor ….

Full article here

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Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s first post at The People’s View

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The Week

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Nice to see so much diversity at CPAC today:

Daylife

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Protesters from the Occupy movement and labor unions gather with an inflatable ‘fat cat’ outside the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference prior to an address by Mitt Romney

TPM: The awkward elements of Mitt Romney’s speech at CPAC Friday began even before the flailing GOP frontrunner opened his mouth.

….. he stood behind a pair of teleprompters and in front of a pair of fake Grecian columns … Just the other night, when he was giving his address amid the defeats in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, Romney took a shot at the man he’s trying to oust from the White House for – well – using teleprompters and standing in front of fake columns.

More here

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You know, if the dog came with the sweater I’d buy it right now

10
Feb
12

afternoon all

Steve Benen: …. It’s a safe bet the Bishops won’t be satisfied, but it’s a pretty straightforward fix: religiously-affiliated employers that don’t want to pay for contraception coverage as part of their benefits packages won’t have to, but these employees will still get the coverage because the White House will instruct insurers to pick up the costs.

…. several major stakeholders in this fight have already offered praise for the White House move. Planned Parenthood, for example, endorsed the compromise …. Similarly, EMILY’s List said it was “reassured” by the new policy, and NARAL Pro-Choice America’s statement struck a similar note.

What’s more, Sister Carol Keehan and the Catholic Health Association have also endorsed the administration’s position, which not only offers the White House some political cover, but also further isolates the Bishops…..

For the White House, having support from both the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood was critical…..

Full post here

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Greg Sargent: …. the Obama team is betting that any further objections to this policy will unmask opponents primarily as hidebound foes of birth control at any costs, a politically difficult position to sustain, rather than as defenders of religious liberty. Indeed, this looks like an effort to reframe the debate to Obama’s advantage: If Team Obama has its way, the argument will now be about whether all women should have access to contraception, and not about whether these institutions are having their religious freedom impinged upon.

More here

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For those who freaked out about a major compromise with the Catholic church (eh, me):

When will I ever learn?

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Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s first post at The People’s View – it’s predictably brilliant

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President Obama signs the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012 as former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly look on. The bill was the last piece of legislation on which Giffords voted before she resigned in January, a year after she sustained a gunshot wound to the head.

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TPM

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First lady Michelle Obama high-fives the Dallas Cowboys mascot Rowdy as she arrived at the Kleberg-Rylie Recreation center in Dallas

Michelle Obama judges food, along with assistant White House chef and food initiative coordinator Sam Kass and “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio, during a taping of the TV cooking show “Top Chef” in Dallas

10
Feb
12

heads up

White House live

CNN live streaming

09
Feb
12

evening all

Make sure you watch the video, the Science Fair clips are a hoot!

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First Lady Michelle Obama greets a chef while visiting the dining facility at Little Rock Air Force Base in Little Rock, Ark., as part of a tour celebrating the second anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” initiative, Feb. 9, 2012. Little Rock Air Force Base is part of a pilot program that has enhanced food service quality, variety, and availability through new acquisition processes and redesign efforts. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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TPM: In his 2006 Massachusetts health care law, Mitt Romney embraced a virtually identical contraception coverage mandate as President Obama recently has, experts say, and as a result expanded access to birth control for hundreds of thousands of women. And Democrats really want you to know that.

“They are practically mirror images or each other,” John McDonough, a professor of public health at Harvard, said on a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee. “They completely reflect each other.”

More here

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F***ers:

NY Mag: …. The Telegraph finally admitted that their article about Michelle Obama shutting down a block of Madison Avenue so that she could go on a $50,000 “shopping spree” at Agent Provocateur with the Queen of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah, was indeed completely false. They also formally apologized for printing such total (but hilarious!) bullshit, but mostly to Sheikha Moza, not Obama – indeed, the title of the correction is “Her Highness Sheikha Moza – An Apology.”

Further to our article “First Lady’s luxury buys boost Agent Provocateur” (Jan 30), we would like to make clear that the “shopping spree” involving Her Highness Sheikha Moza and Michelle Obama that we referred to in fact never occurred, and that Her Highness has never been shopping with Mrs Obama, at Agent Provocateur or otherwise, and has never sought to have any part of New York closed off to enable her to shop undisturbed. We apologise for the distress and embarrassment this article caused.

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The Week

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First lady Michelle Obama at an Olive Garden Restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas

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A gazillion congratulations to our beloved Liberal Librarian who has been invited by Deaniac to post at The People’s View (even though he’s a Chelsea fan) – it’s just completely brilliant news. Thrilled for you LL, looking forward to reading you, you legend ;-)

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I’ve added a Video Vault section to the sidebar on the right – it’s a collection of videos of PBO from the archives, up to the 2008 election. I’ll add more soon(ish).

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Speaking of the archives, this is from Harvard in 1990 – hadn’t seen it before. I like. Very, very much.

09
Feb
12

afternoon all

Charles Pierce: …. Emboldened by enablers, the bishops have expanded their demands for exemptions from simply Catholic institutions to every business in America. There’s a reason for this …. they’ve been sitting back on their ermined duffs, believing that they were done so very wrong in the investigation of their crimes, and nursing the mother of all grudges, for over a decade. Now they’ve decided to strike back for the power they’ve lost. Women’s health is the issue they’ve chosen, because, in their little unindicted world, women don’t count, and never have….

There were a couple of ways all of this could have been avoided. One … would have been to toss a whole lot of bishops in jail for conspiracy to obstruct justice, enough of them so their power to influence the secular law was destroyed forever. They needed to be humbled, unmercifully, until the hubris was wrung out of every damn one of them. Now, a woman working a low-income service industry job under the supervision of a Catholic boss will have her access to essential health-care truncated by a discredited encyclical to which no Catholic has paid any heed since the administration of Lyndon Johnson. These bastards needed to be broken, publicly, and into a thousand pieces that were scattered to the winds. Instead, they are “voices of conscience” again. It is to weep.

Full post here

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Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Is media getting politics of contraception all wrong?

Since the controversy over the White House’s new contraception policy broke, it’s been widely assumed that the battle is terrible politics for Obama, because it will cost him among Catholic swing voters.

But some polling from August suggests a majority of Americans supports the White House position – and that the opposition to the provision from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops makes no difference to them. Even a majority of Catholic respondents said the same.

….. The White House very well may buckle in this fight. But these numbers do suggest at least the possibility that leading commentators have been far too quick to declare this a certain political loser.

Full post here

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You can sign the petition here

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Greg Sargent: Since details of the big foreclosure settlement began leaking out, liberals have been watching to see how New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would react, as a sign of whether the deal is a giveaway to big banks – or whether it contains the promise of real accountability.

In an interview with me just now, Schneiderman – who has gained a national liberal profile for his insistence on true accountability for financial institutions – conceded the settlement announced today was “small” in financial terms, given the struggles of underwater homeowners and people who lost their homes.

But he insisted that time will show that today’s settlement was a win – that it secured a framework that will ultimately result in a true accounting of the role big banks played in sparking the economic meltdown…..

More here

Attorney General Eric holder listens as President Obama speaks about a mortgage settlement in the Eisenhower Executive Office building

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President Obama arrives to deliver remarks on the No Child Left Behind law in the East Room of the White House

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Jonathan Bernstein (Washington Post): Today’s economic news is that new claims for unemployment benefits have fallen again, with the four-week average now at the lowest point since spring 2008. That’s not all; the stock market is also at its highest point since spring 2008, and Gallup’s economic confidence numbers are also approaching post-recession highs.

It’s no coincidence that the run of good economic news – and employment is only a part of that – has been accompanied by a climb by Barack Obama in the polls. Indeed, the Pollster average now has Obama with an average 5.5 point lead over Romney.

….. It’s certainly possible that the new economic momentum will, again, dissipate. But the signs are mounting that people are being a bit too pessimistic. And if so, there’s a chance that Democrats and the president could be about to receive a whole lot of unexpected good news indeed.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: How many counties did Romney win in Missouri’s doesn’t-really-count primary this week? Zero:

TPM

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President Obama and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti meet in the Oval Office, February 9

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First lady Michelle Obama greets U.S. Air Force personnel in the dining facility at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville

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08
Feb
12

evening all

ABC: President Obama “reinforced” his stance on the controversial contraception mandate while speaking at the Democrats’ annual retreat at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. today, Senate Democrats said.

Following President Obama’s speech at the retreat, a small group of Senate Democrats, mostly women, left the retreat early in order to hold a news conference on Capitol Hill to counter the Republicans’ news conference today at which they called for the mandate to be overturned.

Democrats said they will “fight strongly” to keep the mandate in place …. “It’s time to tell Republicans ‘mind your own business,’” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. ”Ideology should never be used to block women from getting the care they need to lead healthier lives.

More here

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Michelle Goldberg (Daily Beast): Mitt Romney has been railing again the Obama administration’s refusal to exempt Catholic-affiliated institutions like hospitals and universities from its mandate that health insurance cover contraception …. Perhaps no one told him that such rules were in place in Massachusetts the entire time he was governor, because as far as I’ve been able to tell, he never raised a word of objection then.

…. many Catholic institutions are already operating in states that require contraceptive coverage, such as New York and California. Such laws are on the books in 28 states, and only eight of them exempt Catholic hospitals and universities. Nowhere has the Catholic Church shut down in response.

…. Nationwide, major Catholic universities including Fordham, Georgetown, and DePaul all offer birth-control coverage. So does Dignity Health, until recently known as Catholic Healthcare West, the fifth-largest health system in the country. In Massachusetts, the six former Caritas Christi Catholic hospitals, which were recently acquired by Steward Health Care System, all complied with the state law.

…. The Obama administration, then, was acting in line with several longstanding state and federal precedents when it issued these new regulations, something that’s been totally obscured amid all the caterwauling we’ve heard in response….

Full post here

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Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): Seriously? He lost to Santorum? …. At this point, it’s fair to start questioning how Romney can really unite this party behind him eventually and make people enthusiastic about him. It sure doesn’t look, on the evidence of last night, like he’ll seriously be able to compete with Obama in Colorado or Minnesota. Even Missouri, which Obama lost by 0.1 percent last time, looks problematic for him right now.

But the Romney contests to watch in some ways aren’t against Obama or Santorum or Newt Gingrich, but against himself and against history – his numbers, and the overall turnout numbers, from last time. If he doesn’t show impressively in Arizona and Michigan on Feb. 28, GOP power brokers are really going to start wondering what they’ve bought into.

More here

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USA Today: President Obama will sign the last piece of legislation sponsored by former representative Gabrielle Giffords on Friday, the White House announced today.

The Arizona Democrat and her husband, Mark Kelly, as well as Vice President Biden will be on hand in the Oval Office for the signing. The legislation gives law enforcement greater authority to combat drug trafficking between the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders.

The bill was the last piece of legislation that Giffords voted on before she resigned on Jan. 25 …

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with members of the national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the Situation Room of the White House, Feb. 8, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Sun Times: First Lady Michelle Obama to embark on three day national tour celebrating second anniversary of Let’s Move!

Thursday: Des Moines, Iowa / Little Rock, Arkansas / Fort Worth, Texas

Friday: Dallas, Texas / Homestead, Florida / Orlando, Florida

Saturday: Longwood, Florida / Orlando, Florida

More here

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08
Feb
12

catching up

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Steve Benen: …. The Romney camp will very likely spin the results as a momentary setback, little more than a speed bump on the road to Tampa. That may even prove to be true. But given Santorum’s clean sweep yesterday, Romney will now be forced to confront something he’d desperately hoped to avoid: doubt.

Romney’s been able to convince party officials and activists to overlook his weaknesses as a candidate – his flip-flops, his layoff-driven riches, his out-of-touch gaffes – because he was their inevitable nominee. But after Santorum’s hat trick, Republicans are likely to pause and consider just how strong a candidate Romney really is. Those aren’t the kind of questions the former governor wanted to hear at this stage in the process, and he may not like the answers.

The road to the GOP nomination just got a little longer.

Full post here

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Greg Sargent: They don’t like him. They really don’t like him.

…. The loss of Colorado, which should have been a lock for Romney, is particularly interesting: The state will be key in the general election…

…. I continue to wonder whether Romney’s weaknesses as a general election candidate have been papered over by the far more glaring weaknesses of his rivals. Republicans may look at yesterday’s results and see that paper peeling back a bit.

More here

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TPM

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Kevin Drum: President Obama has publicly condemned the Citizens United decision and has publicly opposed the role of Super PACs in campaign finance. Recently, though, he signed off on a plan to actively support Priorities USA Action….

Is this hypocritical of Obama? For the thousandth time, no, no, no. The playing field is the playing field, and once a public policy has been legally put in place you’d be a sap not to play by the same rules as everyone else….

More here

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The Week

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Charles Pierce: Yesterday on the blog, we discussed the appearance on my man Chuck Todd’s Daily Rundown program of a certain George Weigel, alleged Catholic public intellectual and full-time fluffer of the Clan of The Red Beanie.

…. In arguing for the existence of some mythical “Catholic backlash” to the Obama administration’s decision to require that contraception be included in any health plans sanctioned under the Affordable Care Act, Weigel said the following:

“This has struck a tribal nerve in Catholicism. The Catholic Church has been beaten up over the last 10 or 11 years and I think Catholics are tired of the government and others beating up on the church.”

Holy mother of god, to coin a phrase …. The Church has been “beaten up” over the last 10 or 12 years because, at its highest possible echelons, it functioned as an international conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding the crime of sexual assault … Most Catholics I know don’t believe the Church has taken a beating over the last decade; in fact, they believe a lot of ermined layabouts haven’t gotten half of what they deserve.

More here

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;-)

07
Feb
12

afternoon all (updated)

Thank you ObamaBuilt2LastNZ!

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First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a tug of war with Jimmy Fallon in the Blue Room of the White House during a “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” taping for the second anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” initiative, Jan. 25. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

** NBC tonight at 12:35 am ET **

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AP: The number of available jobs in the United States jumped in December to near a three-year high, supporting other data that show a brighter outlook for hiring.

Companies and governments posted 3.38 million jobs in December, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s up from the 3.12 million advertised in the previous month and nearly matches the three-year high reached in September. Job openings in the private sector reached the highest point in almost three and a half years.

…. The report on job openings follows Friday’s optimistic employment figures. Those showed employers added 243,000 net jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent.

….. It generally takes one to three months for employers to fill job openings. December’s big jump in postings is likely one reason January’s jobs report was healthy. But it also suggests job growth may continue in the coming months.

More here

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TPM – thanks Loriah

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Steve Benen: For months, Republican presidential candidates have been eager, if not desperate, to accuse President Obama of waging a “war on religion”….

…. Mitt Romney seems to have settled on a policy to match the attack: the Obama administration’s decision to require coverage of contraception as preventive care under the Affordable Care Act is, according to the former governor, an “attack on religious liberty”.

…. As a substantive matter, Romney’s lying. The administration’s policy already exempts churches and other houses of worship and “doesn’t require any individual or employer to violate a religious belief – it simply ensures that their employees with different beliefs have the same access to birth control as all other women.”

…. he’s not only lying; he’s also denouncing Obama for adopting a policy similar to one Romney used to support …. as governor, a previous iteration of Romney required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.

More here

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Link

USA Today: Pundits and bishops warn President Obama he could lose the white Catholic vote over requiring a contraception option for insurance plans. But Catholic women say they want birth control covered in employee health plans.

…. The Catholic bishops, backed by conservative evangelicals, say the Obama administration shouldn’t include contraception coverage as part of free preventive care options in employers’ health insurance plans …. here’s where the Catholic women come in. According to the Public Religion Research Institute poll released today:

….58% of all Catholics agree employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception. That slides down to 52% for Catholic voters, 50% for white Catholics.

… the numbers might bring pause to pundits mulling the “Catholic vote”.

More here

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Steve Benen: For months, Republican super PACs have been raising vast sums from wealthy donors …. the political world, however, hasn’t heard much from Democratic super PACs, which have raised far less money.

That will apparently soon change … Jim Messina argued overnight that the Obama campaign just doesn’t have a choice.

He added that Republican super PACS, in aggregate, are “expected to spend half a billion dollars, above and beyond what the Republican nominee and party are expected to commit to try to defeat the President.” That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s a reasonable estimate. The Koch brothers alone are prepared to spend $100 million later this year to defeat Obama.

…. Democrats had a choice: stick to principle, refuse to play by the new rules, and make defeat far more likely, or level the playing field …. The only surprise here is that anyone would be surprised by the decision.

Full post here

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Thanks Mary

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NYT: The delicate Karl Rove said he was “frankly, offended” …. (by)…. the Chrysler ad that Clint Eastwood narrated, which many people who don’t share Mr. Rove’s political worldview thought was rather uplifting.

…. he suggested the words were dictated by “the President of the United States and his political minions,” who bailed out Detroit with taxpayer dollars. It’s just another example of “Chicago-style politics,” he said, whatever that means.

The White House said it had nothing to do with the ad, but it had a great deal to do with Detroit’s resurgence, and that’s what’s really offensive to Mr. Rove and other Republicans. They’d prefer to drown out the good news coming from the carmakers, such as these recent headlines…

More here

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Flashback … from 2004:

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I’m still catching up with the news – and all the comments! – after being out today, will post again soon-ish ;-)




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