Ronald Ayers

Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Christie: GOP should ‘show up’ for minority votes

In Political News, Republicans on November 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm

PHILIP ELLIOTT, AP

 

Sun Nov 10, 3:45 PM UTC

 

English: Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie

English: Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday offered his Republican Party a prescription to win: show up.

 

Christie, fresh off a 22-percentage point win for re-election, said the GOP must go into Hispanic and black communities, talk with seniors and campaign in traditionally Democratic-leaning areas. It’s what helped him become the first New Jersey Republican in a quarter century to capture more than 50 percent of the vote.

 

It also has done nothing to tamp down chatter about a 2016 presidential bid, something many have encouraged.

 

“I know everybody is going to be speculating about what may come in my future and lots of other people’s future in our party. But the fact is, I am focused on being the governor of New Jersey and being the chairman of the Republican Governors Association,” Christie said on “Fox News Sunday,” one of the four television news shows he appeared on Sunday. “And I think those two jobs will keep me pretty busy over the next year.”

 

It’s the year after that dominates conversations among Republican operatives, donors and rivals.

 

Asked directly whether he would serve all four years of his second term, which starts in 2014, Christie hedged: “Listen, who knows? I don’t know.”

 

Republicans are searching for a candidate who is true to the party’s beliefs, can appeal to voters in swing-voting states and can help the part win the presidency for the first time since 2004.

 

Christie’s win on Tuesday made him an appealing option.

 

“I got 61 percent of the vote in the state of New Jersey in a blue state that had just re-elected Barack Obama a year ago by 17 points,” Christie said. “That was nearly a 40-point turnaround between voting for a Democrat at the top of the ticket and voting for a Republican.”

 

Christie attributed his win to reaching out to traditionally Democratic demographic groups.

 

“Getting 51 percent of the Hispanic vote, I’m very proud of that,” he said. “Because I’ve worked hard with the Hispanic community to let them see how our policies can help their families. I’ve worked hard with the African American community. I’ve worked hard with seniors and students.”

 

Christie said the reason for his win was simple: better-than-average showing at the polls from minorities and Democrats.

 

“If you want to win a vote by that kind of margin, if you want to attract the majority of the Hispanic vote, if you want to nearly triple your African American vote, you need to show up, you need to go into those neighborhoods, you need to campaign in places,” Christie said.

 

Exit polls say Christie also carried one-third of Democrats and two-thirds of those who called themselves independents.

 

That’s not to say Christie is a natural fit for the GOP. He has favored an overhaul to the nation’s immigration laws that includes a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. He is not opposed to some gun control measures. And he’s been critical of some of the tea party’s most popular figures in Washington.

 

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a 2012 presidential contender who is weighing another White House campaign, said voters would have to judge Christie’s record as he visits early nominating states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

 

“Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country?” Perry said in an interview taped during a visit to Des Moines, Iowa. “We’ll have that discussion at the appropriate time.”

 

Christie spoke to “Fox News Sunday,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Christie and Perry appeared separately on ABC’s “This Week.”

 

Source: Associated Press

 

 

 

 

For Obama, a sudden struggle with personal appeal

In Barak Obama, General News, Political News on November 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm
Hundreds of FBI employees gathered to hear Pre...

Hundreds of FBI employees gathered to hear President Barack Obama’s speech and greet him afterward during his visit to FBI headquarters. White House photographer Pete Souza is to Obama’s left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JENNIFER AGIESTA, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, President Barack Obama’s personal favorability ratings served as a political firewall that sustained him through an economic recession, grueling fights with congressional Republicans, and the grind of a re-election campaign.

But after a rough start to Obama’s second term, Americans increasingly view the president unfavorably. And perhaps most concerning for the White House: an Associated Press analysis of public polling shows it has become more difficult over time for Obama to fully rebound from dents in his favorability ratings.

“It’s a slow cumulative effect,” Republican pollster David Winston said, adding that personal favorability “is a much harder number to move if it starts to go south.”

The public’s increasingly negative view of Obama may be less of a concern for his future given that he is barred from running for re-election. But the president still needs a strong connection with the public in order to rally Americans around his policy proposals and, in turn, to show Congress he remains politically relevant at a time when lame duck status is lurking.

The president’s advisers need only look at Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, to see the impact of a crumbling relationship with the public. Positive impressions of the Republican trailed off in the beginning of 2005 amid public frustration with the Iraq war and the government’s flawed response to Hurricane Katrina. Bush’s favorability rating never recovered and he struggled to fulfill significant policy goals throughout the rest of his presidency.

A series of recent polls show Obama’s personal favorability now leaning negative, including an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll released last week that found positive views of Obama at the lowest point of his presidency and down 6 points from earlier in October. The drop follows the 16-day government shutdown, the cascade of problems during his health care law’s rollout, and another flood of revelations about U.S. government spying.

White House officials blame the shutdown in particular for Obama’s falling favorability, given that it resulted in shuttering many federal services and furloughs for hundreds of thousands of Americans, while again highlighting the troubled ties between the president and Capitol Hill. But Obama aides note that the impact of the shutdown on congressional Republicans has been even worse, with both their personal and job performance ratings at record lows.

Logo of the United States White House, especia...

Logo of the United States White House, especially in conjunction with offices like the Chief of Staff and Press Secretary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Everybody gets hurt when there’s dysfunction in Washington,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Throughout Obama’s presidency, his job approval and personal favorability ratings have generally risen and fallen in tandem. But his favorability numbers, which often reflect the public’s gut-level reaction to a politician, generally remained the more positive of the two measures.

That, the president’s supporters argue, made the public more likely to give him a chance even when they disagreed with his policies or the direction the country was headed. His strong likability was seen as a particular asset during his 2012 re-election campaign when most polls showed that voters saw him in a more favorable light than his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

“For the president, it’s meant that people have cared about what he had to say because they liked him,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster.

The question for the White House now is whether that dynamic will hold if the public’s personal opinions of the president continue to sour. An Associated Press-GfK poll from early October found that 52 percent of Americans didn’t think Obama was very honest and were split on whether he was even likable.

The president’s favorability has taken hits during other points in his presidency. Most polling found the public’s impression soured in late summer 2011 around the first round of debt ceiling negotiations and again last summer in the midst of his presidential campaign.

Although Obama’s favorability improved somewhat after each hit, he never fully recovered, with each rating rebound peaking below earlier average favorability ratings.

For example, Obama began 2011 with majority favorable ratings in most polling. When the debt ceiling fight pushed his favorability below 50 percent in late 2011, he came back to an average right around 50 rather than above it. This latest battle has led to average ratings in the mid-40s, worse than he’s seen at any point previously.

Past presidents have also struggled to recover from dips in their favorability ratings.

Bush left office with majorities saying they had both a negative impression of him personally and disapproved of his job performance. And former President Bill Clinton’s favorability numbers never recovered after a fall in 1998 as the Monica Lewinsky story unfolded, though his job approval remained strong through his last days at the White House.

Republican President Ronald Reagan evoked the warmest reaction from the American public, leaving office with high job approval numbers, 63 percent according to Gallup polling in December 1988, and a majority holding a favorable impression of him personally.

Source: Associated Press

 

Gay rights bill heads for first hurdle in Senate

In Homosexual rights on November 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm
English: US Senator Dean Heller

English: US Senator Dean Heller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DONNA CASSATA, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate prepared to push major gay rights legislation past a first, big hurdle Monday as Democrats and a handful of Republicans united behind a bill to prohibit workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The legislation could win Senate passage by week’s end, but its prospects in the Republican-majority House are dimmer.

Hours before Monday’s vote, President Barack Obama issued a fresh plea for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the first significant gay rights bill since Congress lifted the ban on gays serving openly in the military nearly three years ago.

“Americans ought to be judged by one thing only in their workplaces: their ability to get their jobs done,” the president said in a message written for Huffingtonpost.com. “Does it make a difference if the firefighter who rescues you is gay — or the accountant who does your taxes or the mechanic who fixes your car?”

All 55 members of the Democratic majority and at least five Republicans were expected to vote to proceed with the bill, giving Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the 60 votes necessary. Reid’s Republican colleague in Nevada, Dean Heller, announced his support on Monday, saying that the measure “raises the federal standards to match what we have come to expect in Nevada, which is that discrimination must not be tolerated under any circumstance.”

Current federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin. But it doesn’t stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire workers because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The bill would bar employers with 15 or more workers from using a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for making employment decisions, including hiring, firing, compensation or promotion.

Possible passage of the bill by week’s end would cap a 17-year quest to secure Senate support for the anti-bias measure that failed by one vote in 1996, the same year Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act. That law required the federal government to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages.

Today Americans have shown increasing support for same-sex marriage, now legal in 14 states and the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court in June affirmed gay marriage and granted federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, in Maine on Monday, six-term Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud, who is running for governor, said that he is gay.

“That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it’s just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation mill worker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine,” Michaud wrote in an op-ed article.

The anti-discrimination bill faces strong opposition from conservative groups — Heritage Action and the Faith and Freedom Coalition said the vote will be part of their legislative scorecard on lawmakers. More to its immediate prospects, the legislation is opposed by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and it’s unclear whether the House will even vote on the measure.

Reiterating Boehner’s longstanding opposition, spokesman Michael Steel said Monday that Boehner “believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.”

Besides Heller, four other Republican senators are backing the legislation — Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — and proponents expect a few others to support it.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay and lesbian advocacy group, contrasted Heller’s backing with Boehner’s opposition.

“The speaker, of all people, should certainly know what it’s like to go to work every day afraid of being fired,” Griffin said, a reference to the unsuccessful, tea party-backed challenge to Boehner earlier this year.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have approved laws banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 17 of those also prohibit employers from discriminating based on gender identity.

About 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies have adopted nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign. About 57 percent of those companies include gender identity.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce remains neutral on the bill, a spokeswoman said Monday.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, said it was disappointing that Boehner may not bring the measure to a vote. “When the Senate passes this legislation, all options will be on the table in order to advance this critical legislation in the House,” Hammill said.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney sidestepped questions about whether Obama would consider issuing an executive order on workplace discrimination if Congress refused to act. Gay rights groups have criticized Obama for refusing to take that step, which would affect employees who work for federal contractors.

“We’re focused on getting ENDA through Congress,” Carney said, using the acronym for the workplace discrimination bill.

Source: Associated Press

 

Vatican celebrates Knights of Malta’s 900 years

In Catholic News, General News, World News on February 9, 2013 at 4:02 pm

 

English: Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Squa...

English: Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, Rome (2007). Polski: Papież Benedykt XVI podczas Audiencji Generalnej na Placu św. Piotra w Rzymie (2007). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By NICOLE WINFIELD, AP
 

The Knights of Malta, one of the most peculiar organizations in the world, marked its 900th birthday Saturday with a colorful procession through St. Peter’s Square, a Mass in the basilica and an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, himself a member of the onetime chivalrous order drawn from Europe’s nobility.

The Knights are at once a Roman Catholic religious order, an aid group that runs soup kitchens, hospitals and ambulance services around the globe, and a sovereign entity that prints its own passports and enjoys diplomatic relations with 104 countries — yet has no country to call its own.

Some 4,000 people — volunteers in neon orange civil protection suits, children in red berets and members each draped in a black cloak with a white, eight-pointed Maltese Cross on the front — processed through St. Peter’s Square and into the basilica for the Mass marking the 900th anniversary of the order’s recognition by the Holy See.

After the Mass, which was celebrated by the Vatican No. 2, Benedict came to the basilica for an audience during which he thanked the order for its service and urged it to continue providing health care for the world’s neediest while staying true to its Christian ideals.

The order’s work, he said, “is not mere philanthropy but an effective expression and a living testimony of evangelical love.”

The order traces its history to an 11th century infirmary in Jerusalem set up by a monk to care for pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. During the Crusades, as the order’s humanitarian efforts spread, it took on a military role to protect pilgrims and Christendom as a whole from Muslim attacks. In February 1113 Pope Paschal II recognized the order with a papal bull establishing its sovereign status by saying it was independent of both lay and other religious authorities.

During its heyday, would-be members had to prove nobility through all eight great-grandparents. Such requirements are now largely relaxed except in some European countries. Still, the order’s members are drawn from some of the world’s wealthiest Catholics, who fund its health clinics, homeless shelters and old folks’ homes in 120 countries and rally for special appeals when disasters strike.

Sixty of the 13,500 members are so-called “professed knights,” who make vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and live like monks, albeit without being ordained priests.

The order’s international legal status is entirely unique, a sovereign entity that prints its own stamps, coins, license plates and passports, yet has no territory over which it rules. Its forces once occupied Cyprus, Rhodes and Malta, but Napoleon expelled the order from Malta in 1798, depriving it of the final patch of land ove it ruled.

Nevertheless, the order still enjoys many of the trappings of a small country: U.N. observer status and diplomatic relations with 104 countries, most of them in the developing world where such ties can smooth the delivery of humanitarian aid. But the United States, for one, has no relations, precisely because it’s a stateless state.

In his speech Saturday, Benedict affirmed the sovereign status that the order enjoys. He acknowledged its peculiar nature, saying the order’s guiding spirit “aims not to exercise power and influence of a worldly character, but in complete freedom to accomplish its own mission for the integral good of man, spirit and body … with special regard for those whose need of hope and love is greater.”

Source: Associated Press

 

 
 
 
 

Most Americans Reject Abortion

In Abortion News, General News, Health News on February 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm
ABORTION // Fetus & Moron

ABORTION // Fetus & Moron (Photo credit: 666isMONEY ☮ ♥ & ☠)

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn – A new survey shows that most Americans support strict regulations on abortion, with half of Americans saying that abortion should never be permitted or permitted only in rare cases.

 

“After four decades of legalized abortion in this country, Americans have had ample time to understand that abortion has terrible consequences,” said Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, which commissioned the poll.

 

“They understand abortion’s true legacy – a child loses life, and parents lose a child. And after witnessing the effects of abortion for the past 40 years, Americans are not legally or morally comfortable with that legacy,” he said Jan.9.

 

The Marist Institute for Public Opinion conducted the survey of 1,246 adults in the continental U.S. from Dec. 4-6, 2012. It claims a margin of error plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

 

The poll found that more than 8 in 10 American’s — 83% — favor significant restrictions on abortion.

 

Of that 83%, 10% of respondents said abortion should never be permitted, 12% said abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother, and 34% said abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.

 

The cases make up a very small portion of abortions sought in the U.S., where abortion is generally permitted and more than one million legal abortions take place each year.

 

A 2005 report published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research organization formerly associated with abortion provider Planned Parenthood, found that only 1% of women seeking abortion said they did so because the child was conceived in rape, and even fewer sought abortion because the child was conceived in incest.

 

The report did not record the number of women who said they sought an abortion because their lives were in danger, though 12% cited physical health problems as a motivation.

 

The Marist poll found some support for legal abortion. About 27% of respondents said abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy at most; 6% would limit abortion to the first six months of pregnancy, while 12% said abortion should be available at any time.

 

The survey found that 43% of respondents describe themselves as pro-life, while 57% say they are pro-choice. Among Catholics, whose faith rejects abortion, only 45% say they are pro-life. About 59% of practicing Catholics say they are pro-life, compared to only 25% of non-practicing Catholics.

 

About 58% of Americans say abortion is morally wrong. Respondents generally rejected the idea that laws must choose whether to protect the unborn or pregnant mothers, with 84% saying that laws can protect both.

 

Anderson said, “It is time for our country to chart a new course on this issue – a course that protects both the mother and the child.”

 

Source: National Catholic Register

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schools Question Whether to Accept Funds From Walmart, Walton Family Foundation

In Economic News, General News, Gun Laws on January 30, 2013 at 12:08 am
This is a selfmade image from the english wiki...

This is a selfmade image from the english wikipedia. The photographer has uploaded it as GFDL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In the wake of the December 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the relationship between the Walton Family Foundation, one of the leading funders of education reform in the United States, and Walmart, the largest seller of guns in the country, has led some educators and school administrators to question whether they should continue to accept funds from the foundation, Bloomberg.com reports.

 

Members of the Walton family own more than 48 percent of Walmart, the retail giant founded by Sam Walton in 1962, while the Walton Family Foundation has awarded nearly $313 million for charter schools and school choice since 1997, more than any other private foundation or donor. But with Walmart’s revenue from the sale of guns and ammunition having increased 76 percent and 30 percent, respectively, between April and October, a growing number of educators and school leaders are voicing concern about the relationship between the two. “It’s a moral issue,” said Andrew Sweigard, principal of the Academy of New Media Middle School in Columbus, Ohio. “Can we take funding from a company that is liked to a potential disaster in our schools? Do we want to associate ourselves with guns?”

 

Indeed, Walmart has faced growing public pressure to stop selling semi-automatic firearms since the tragedy in Newtown, with almost three hundred thousand people having signed petitions calling on the company to limit its gun sales, SumOfUs.org reports. But while some of its competitors have suspended the sale of military-style firearms, approximately 30 percent of Walmart stores continue to sell them.

 

In Columbus, debate about Walmart and Walton family donations has divided the faculty of New Media Middle. Located across from a stretch of boarded-up apartments, the charter school received $30,000 in startup funds from the Walton Family Foundation in 2010 and an additional $220,000 in 2011. The middle school has no security guard and its doors are unlocked. Sweigard has met with his staff since the Newtown shootings to discuss updating the school’s security policy.

 

Meanwhile, some members of the faculty question whether the financially struggling school is in a position to pass up gifts from its largest funder. “It’s not up to me to criticize their financial decisions,” Mike Stuckey, a math teacher told Bloomberg. “That’s part of running a business.”

 

Dudley, Renee. “Schools Hit by Morality of Wal-Mart Guns Funding Charity.” Bloomberg.com 1/22/13.

 

%d bloggers like this: