In the News
Federation of American Immigration Reform Fights Back Against SPLC
The Federation of American Immigration Reform has put out a guide for journalists in reaction to reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and other groups showing its ties to nativists and xenophobes. It not only goes after the SPLC, but also the National Council of La Raza and America's Voice. In the guide, FAIR urges journalists to detect any overt or hidden agenda. Oddly enough FAIR does not appear to be moved to make the same emphasis when it celebrates and partners with pundits like CNN's Lou Dobbs. As we know, Dobbs floated a false story about immigrants triggering a rise in leprosy in the United States and said that the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was supporting drug cartels.... FAIR has dedicated itself to making that debate hostile and one-sided.
AAUP Defends University Labor Centers Against the Right
The right-wing Landmark Legal Foundation, which has been hounding 11 universities and colleges to close their labor centers,has been condemnded by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)as a "threat to academic freedom." In a new report, the AAUP dismissed Landmark's claims that the labor centers' research and programs for unions should be eliminated because they are promoting a "particular political ideology."
More Businesses Leave U.S. Chamber Over Climate Change Politics
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's hostility to climate change legislation is making for something of a hostile climate for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Picking up on the momentum of the high-profile defections of Apple and the PG&E Corp from the business association, the Environmental Defense Fund and Silicon Valley groups are running ads in the San Jose Mercury News and the National Journal's Congress Daily to let the Chamber know that "Silicon Valley is ready to lead the world in the next great technological revolution: clean energy."
Activists Fight Oklahoma Law Posting Abortion Info Online
Serious questions about right to privacy are being raised over a new Oklahoma law that will require physicians to disclose a detailed set of information about every abortion they perform to be published on the public website of the Oklahoma Department of Health.
Though proponents claim the law is not an invasion of privacy because the women's names will not be given, the website will publish the date and county in which the abortion was performed and the mother's age, marital status, years of education, state or foreign country of residence and number of previous pregnancies—a set facts that would make a woman easily identifiable in a small community. The Center for Reproductive Rights and two state residents filed suit to fight what they claim is an intrusive, unconstitutional law.
Toxic Tea Party Protests Have an Impact
We kid ourselves if we think the right-wing tea party protestors seen on the Mall are not capable of broader impact. We've seen it already: the degree to which self-identified independent voters flipped on health care over the summer from support to opposition, in part because of the toxic town-hall protests, was astonishing. One oft-quoted poll from mid-August by USA Today found that independents said, by 35 to 16 percent, that they had become more sympathetic to the town-hall protesters
Gun Advocates' Argument Shot Down
In a clear rebuttal of an argument made by many second amendment activists, a new study shows that individuals possessing a gun when assaulted were 4.5 times more likely to be shot than those without. In the study, which will be released in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health, the University of Pennsylvania researchers contend that people who see gun possession as a means of defense, especially in urban areas, should reconsider. "This study helps resolve a long-standing debate about whether guns are protective or perilous," said one of the study’s authors."Will possessing a firearm always safeguard against harm or will it promote a false sense of security?"
Irving Kristol and the Tea Baggers
In his famous essay defending Red hunters in the 1950s, Irving Kristol was writing as a sophisticated intellectual who understood that a pugnacious, rude, and hard-drinking senator from the Midwest could so easily take down effete liberals. Tough guys from the heartland -- no matter how truthful or civilized they were -- always won against those born with silver spoons in their mouths. American politics would never set a place for the high-minded or aristocratic version of European conservatism. American conservatism would have to be raucous, disruptive, and populist. That is, if Joseph McCarthy mattered, which he undoubtedly did.
Values Voters Challenged About Racist-Sounding Attacks on Obama by One of Their Own
In his Values Voter Summit remarks on Saturday, Bishop Harry Jackson urged attendees to be more careful about attacks on President Obama that might sound racist, because it was making it harder for him to convince black pastors to join his anti-gay crusade.
Glenn Beck and Left-Right Confusion
It's not surprising that confusion has arisen over someone who transformed overnight from a fairly typical Weekly Standard/Wall St. Journal Editorial Page/Bush-following polemicist into some sort of trans-partisan populist libertarian...Attempts to classify him on the conventional political spectrum are destined to fail, and attempts to demonize him as some sort of standard Republican bogeyman will inevitably be so over-simplified as to be false. Such efforts assume far more coherence than he possesses. Far more interesting than Beck himself is the increasingly futile effort to classify the protest movement to which he has connected himself. Here, too, confusion reigns. In part, this is due to the fact that these "tea party" and "9/12" protests are composed of factions with wildly divergent views about most everything.
New Right Strategists Viguerie and Phillips Jump on Tea Party Bandwagon
On September 11, the day before Saturday's big [tea party] march, I joined 100 right-wing activists for a fundraising workshop presided over by Richard Viguerie, who, together with Howard Phillips and the late Paul Weyrich, launched the religious right when they convinced who the late Rev. Jerry Falwell to lead an organization called the Moral Majority.... Viguerie has branched out, helping to build a broader coalition in the form of the Tea Party movement, which joins together the various interest groups of the right in the politics of resentment against the perceived loss of power by white men symbolized by the election of Barack Obama. Much of the Tea Party movement's messaging comes from the virtual one-man clearing house that is Howard Phillips.
Sarah Posner: Growing Symbiosis Between "Values Voters" and Tea Partiers
Judging by this past weekend’s marquee event on the conservative calendar, the center of gravity is moving from religious right to Tea Partiers, from homosexuality to taxes. A closer look, however, reveals the growing symbiosis between the two.
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