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Goldberg: Obama Played ‘Political Games’ with Immigration Policy



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Light at Noon



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Six blocks up from NR headquarters in New York is the Cuban mission to the U.N. Our publisher, Jack Fowler, has passed the mission many, many times in his walks to and from the train station. He has been known to give it a digital salute. I have been known to give the same salute.

At noon today, democracy activists gathered across from the mission to mark the 20th anniversary of the Tugboat Massacre. This was the atrocity in which the Castro dictatorship murdered 37 men, women, and children as they attempted to flee the island.

Not only will totalitarian dictatorships prevent you from living freely in your own country; they prevent you from fleeing to another. In this sense, they are slaveholders and hostage-takers. When assessing a dictatorship, I often ask, “Does it allow people to leave?” The first freedom, in a way, should be the freedom to vote with your feet: to leave, if you don’t like the way things are going at home. The worst dictatorships prevent this.

I will quote a press release of the Human Rights Foundation on the Tugboat Massacre:

On July 13, 1994, Cuban coast guard vessels were deployed in pursuit of the 13 de Marzo tugboat after state security forces learned of the massive attempt to escape the island. Acting on direct orders from the government, state agents chased and intercepted the boat, which carried 72 men, women, and children, seven miles from the Havana harbor. The Cuban agents had no intention of returning the boat to land; instead, they first used high-pressure water hoses to sweep the boat’s occupants off the deck, and then rammed the boat repeatedly until it collapsed and sank. 37 Cuban citizens, mostly women and children, drowned as a result. As the result of a decision made by the Cuban government, no attempt was made to recover the bodies.

The activists who gathered at noon today were from HRF, based here in New York, and the Directorio Democrático Cubano, based in Miami. NR and NRO readers are well familiar with those organizations. They are “points of light,” as the first Bush might say. The activists held pictures of the dead — the victims of the massacre. (For a picture of the demonstration itself, go here.) Janisset Rivero, of the Directorio, called the roll. That is, she read the names of the dead, and gave their ages, too. After each name was read, the group said, “Presente,” meaning “Present,” or “Here.” They said this directly to the dictatorial outpost across the street.

It seemed so little, in the face of this vicious, long-lived, and excused dictatorship. But it was something, and better than nothing.

Fidel Castro, I believe, is the most popular dictator in the democratic world. Stalin lost his luster after the Secret Speech in 1956. Mao lost his luster, or some of it, in the wake of publication of honest books: such as the one by his doctor, Li Zhisui, and the Chang-Halliday biography. Ho is no longer a poster boy. Chávez is popular, though dead — and a small fry in any case. A Castro wannabe.

For years, Cuban democrats have been defamed as gusanos, meaning worms, or “Batista stooges.” Luminaries in our culture have treated Castro gently, when not bathing him in adulation. Carole King, the singer-songwriter, crooned to him “You’ve Got a Friend.” He sure does, many of them. But his victims have friends, too. And a handful of them were present on Lexington Avenue in New York today.

(A courtesy to those needing to know: The heading of this post alludes to the title of an important anti-totalitarian novel, Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. Koestler himself must have drawn the words or image from the Bible.)

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Re: Senate Democrats’ Religious Deprivation Bill



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How extreme is that bill? It means that if the Hillary Clinton administration decided that employers have to cover surgical abortions, neither Hobby Lobby nor the Little Sisters of the Poor would any longer have a defense under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Web Briefing: July 13, 2014

Pro-Life Sentiment Hits an All-Time High, According to Rasmussen



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On Wednesday, Rasmussen Reports released a new poll on the issue of abortion suggesting that pro-life sentiment has reached an all-time high. The findings indicate that 44 percent of likely voters describe themselves as “pro-life,” while 48 percent describe themselves as “pro-choice.” This 44 percent figure may seem unremarkable, but Rasmussen polls consistently show lower pro-life sentiment than Gallup polls. This is partly because Gallup surveys all adults, while Rasmussen surveys likely voters. On average, voters earn higher incomes than non-voters, so this likely skews Rasmussen’s results in a more “pro-choice” direction.

Overall, Rasmussen has conducted 16 polls on abortion since 2010 and, in general, opinion on abortion has remained relatively stable since that time. Many pollsters, including Rasmussen, did find slight decrease in pro-life sentiment in 2012, but the results from this week’s poll add to a body of polling data suggesting that pro-life position has made gains since the 2012 presidential election.  Indeed, this poll also found short-term gains in both the percentage of respondents who felt abortion was “morally wrong” and the percentage who supported a waiting period before an abortion. 

The crosstabs of this survey are consistent with previous polls: Pro-life sentiment is somewhat higher among men, the elderly, and low-income earners. However, the differences between various demographic groups are not all that dramatic. 

One crosstab in particular should provide encouragement to pro-lifers. Among respondents who said that the issue of abortion was “very important” in terms of how they would vote in the next congressional election, 58 percent said that they were pro-life, while only 39 percent identified as “pro-choice.” Many polls show that the pro-life position is politically advantageous, and these results should provide some reassurance to pro-life candidates and officeholders.

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What the Hobby Lobby Dissenters Think, and Why They’re Wrong



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This column of mine drew this e-mail a couple of days ago (sorry for my delay responding):

I’m not a “gullible liberal,” or any kind of liberal, but I too thought that the [liberal dissenters in Hobby Lobby] were against granting religious freedom to corporations. I thought that was the main dividing line [in the case]. You’re telling me that’s not true because Breyer and Kagan did not agree with Ginsburg [and Sotomayor] about that. So what was the main point of the dissent? Thanks! (I try to stay informed but I’m afraid I don’t have time to read Supreme Court opinions.)

First of all, it’s entirely reasonable not to read Supreme Court opinions. But you can’t always trust the coverage of them, and the coverage of this one has placed too much emphasis on a liberal argument about corporate rights that got only two votes.

Ginsburg and Sotomayor do not think the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects for-profit corporations. Breyer and Kagan refused to endorse that part of the Ginsburg dissent. So, you’re asking, what’s the argument that all four dissenters made?

As I read it, the argument has two parts. First, the dissenters claim that the HHS mandate does not impose a substantial burden on the objectors’ exercise of religion because the connection between their act and the conduct to which they object is “too attenuated”: The objectors are not being forced to use the contraceptives they oppose. Second, they deny that there is any less burdensome way of achieving the goal of improving access to contraception at no cost or inconvenience to the user.

On this second point, Ed Whelan has explained that the dissent gets the burden of proof backward: It’s the administration that has to show that it has chosen the means of achieving its goal that is least burdensome to the exercise of religion before it can impose that burden on objectors.

On the first point, the dissenters are simply second-guessing–in a way inconsistent with both the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the broader tradition of religious liberty–the objectors’ religious convictions. Their relevant religious conviction is not precisely that the use of Ella (for example) is wrong; it is that facilitating and appearing to condone the use of Ella is wrong. Many people, of course, disagree with Hobby Lobby’s owners’ view, either on the ground that there is nothing wrong with the use of Ella or that the owners’ complicity in its use is “too attenuated” to be problematic. But as Justice Alito’s majority opinion rightly notes, the law does not ask the Court to judge whether the owners’ view of the morality of the action the government is trying to force them to take is sensible. The law wouldn’t be much of a protection of religious liberty if it did ask the Court to judge religious views.

Once the Court establishes that the government is demanding that someone take an action he considers contrary to his religious beliefs — that it is, in other words, imposing a burden on the exercise of religion — the next question before it is not “does this violation of religious beliefs strike me, the judge, as substantial?” It’s “is the consequence the government imposes for following the belief substantial”? Large fines and a prohibition on offering employee health benefits would seem pretty obviously to count.

Senate Democrats’ Religious-Freedom Deprivation Bill



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Under the guise of “protect[ing] women’s health from corporate interference,” the bill that Senate Democrats are proposing in response to the Hobby Lobby ruling would deprive religious entities of all religious-liberty protections against having the HHS mandate directly imposed on them. Specifically:

1. The bill would apply to employers generally, not just (as the bill’s short title would suggest) to “corporate” employers. Subsection 4(a) would make it unlawful for any “employer that establishes or maintains a group health plan for its employees” to “deny coverage of a specific health care item or service . . . where the coverage of such item or service is required under any provision of Federal law or the regulations promulgated thereunder.” (Note that the “purpose” set forth in section 2 is likewise defined with respect to “employers” generally.)

As I understand it, subsection 4(a) wouldn’t itself override the existing “exemption” from the HHS contraceptive mandate (which applies to a very narrow category of “religious employers”) or the “accommodation” for religious nonprofits, because employers covered by the exemption and accommodation are not “deny[ing] coverage” of an “item or service [that] is required under any provision of Federal law or the regulations promulgated thereunder.”

2. Subsection 4(b) states that subsection 4(a) “shall apply notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, including Public Law 103-441” (which is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act).

In other words, no employer – religious or otherwise, corporate or otherwise, for-profit or otherwise — would have any RFRA rights against being required to comply with subsection 4(a).

3. Subsection 4(c) states that the existing HHS mandate regulations on the exemption and the accommodation “shall apply with respect to” section 4. It further states that the regulatory agencies “may modify such regulations consistent with the purpose and findings of this Act.”

I don’t know what it means to say that the exemption and the accommodation “shall apply with respect to” section 4. I gather that it means no more than that the bill itself wouldn’t abolish the exemption and the accommodation.

In any event, it is clear from the second sentence of subsection 4(c) that the bill would allow the Obama administration (or its successors) to abolish the exemption and the accommodation in their entirety. (If the bill were instead intended to preserve the exemption and the accommodation against regulatory abolition, it would be a fairly simple matter to say so clearly.)

Under the bill, if the exemption and the accommodation were abolished, religious entities would be subject to the HHS mandate under subsection 4(a) and would have no RFRA protections against it.

I’ll note that (as a reader called to my attention) the metadata to the one-pager that Senator Murray issued about the bill yesterday identified its author as Hillary Schneller of the National Women’s Law Center. (I haven’t checked whether the metadata has since been scrubbed.) It’s a safe bet that activists at NWLC and similar organizations drafted the entire bill. I’m not going to pretend to be shocked that outsiders draft legislation for senators. But if you hand the drafting pen to ideological activists, you’re not likely to get a modest result.

(Among other things, that one-pager asserts that the bill “would restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.” But the so-called Affordable Care Act — which in its full Orwellian glory is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — does not mention contraceptive coverage at all, much less guarantee it. The HHS mandate is a regulatory implementation of a provision of the Act.)

Lowry: Latest Lerner E-mail Revelations Show ‘Culpable State of Mind’



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Lerner Cautioned IRS Employees about Use of E-mail



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E-mails released Wednesday by the House Oversight Committee show that disgraced Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner warned her colleagues about communicating via e-mail when Congress began investigating the agency’s targeting of right-leaning groups.

Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, called the e-mails the “smoking gun” in the IRS scandal, which his committee has been investigating for over a year.

“[This is] a smoking gun, this is Lois Lerner clearly cautioning people not to say things on email and be delighted to find out that the local instant chat they have, this Microsoft product, wasn’t tracking what they said,” Issa said Wednesday in an interview with Fox News.

In the April 2013 e-mail exchange, Lerner tells another IRS employee as well as the manager of the Exempt Organizations division, Nanette Downing, that she is “cautioning folks about email” because “Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”

The release of the e-mail exchange will fuel the continuing controversy over the records of Lerner’s communications. The IRS has said it cannot produce many of the e-mails she sent during a two-year period as a result of a hard-drive crash on her computer, and Lerner’s vocal concern about the contents of e-mail messages adds heft to Republicans’ charge that vital evidence has been lost.

Lerner, who retired from the IRS last September after she was suspended due to her role in the targeting of conservative groups, went on to ask whether “OCS conversations” — conversations conducted over the IRS’s electronic instant-messaging system — would be turned over to congressional investigators in addition to e-mails.

Issa said the exchange makes it clear that Lerner was “covering her tracks” and “didn’t want an audit trail of what they’d been doing and what they were doing was targeting conservatives for their views.”

The timing of Lerner’s message is significant because it was just a month later, in May 2013, that she disclosed the IRS’s inappropriate targeting of conservative groups by planting a question in the audience at a conference of the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C. At the time, she knew that the Treasury Department inspector general was investigating the targeting scandal at the urging of House Republicans, who had for months been asking questions about the complaints they were receiving from tea-party groups about seemingly invasive inquiries from the IRS.

‘I’m Not Interested in Photo-Ops’ (Except When I Am)



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Yesterday, President Obama defended his decision not to visit the southern border while he’s in Texas this week on the grounds that “I’m not interested in photo-ops.” All well and good, but the White House staff doesn’t appear to have gotten the memo. It’s shared at least five photos of the president in Dallas and Austin:

These Boots Are Made for Walking: Illegal Immigrants Sport Obama Apparel



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Some of the unaccompanied alien children apprehended crossing America’s southern border have reportedly arrived wearing shoes with images of President Obama on them:  

Critics of the president have contended that his lax immigration-enforcement policies and granting of temporary legal status to some younger illegal immigrants have attracted a number of the children now flooding across the border illegally — at least some of them do appear to be fans of the president.

Dem. Candidate Shoots Elephant Piñata in New Ad



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Guns in political ads aren’t confined to the Right anymore: A new ad by a Democratic candidate from Washington State shows him shooting an elephant piñata.

“They call me a long shot — they say I can’t win in this district,” Estakio Beltran says in the ad. “But what happens to an elephant that stands around doing nothing for too long?”

Beltran goes on to shoot the elephant with a shotgun, before riding off on a donkey.

Showing off some marksmanship is a common theme in political ads, and reception varies depending on the candidate. Earlier this year, Republican senate candidate Joni Ernst in Iowa took target practice at a gun range during an ad in which she promised to “take aim” at Obamacare, which attracted some criticism on the grounds that she was making light of gun violence.

Beltran is running in Washington’s fourth congressional district, a seat from which Republican congressman Doc Hastings is retiring. The district is largely considered a safe Republican district, with the Cook Partisan Voting Index rating it R+14.

Michael Bloomberg: The People of Colorado Might Like the Second Amendment, But They Don’t Even Have Roads



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How to play down a series of devastating political defeats? Pretend your opponents are savages, of course. In Rolling Stone, Michael Bloomberg dismisses the series of unprecedented recall measures that Colorado’s new gun-control measures provoked by claiming that:

The NRA went after two or three state Senators in a part of Colorado where I don’t think there’s roads. It’s as far rural as you can get. And, yes, they lost recall elections. I’m sorry for that. We tried to help ‘em. But the bottom line is, the law is on the books, and being enforced. You can get depressed about the progress, but on the other hand, you’re saving a lot of lives.

Not quite, no. As Denver’s KDVR notes:

The successful recalls last September occurred in Colorado Springs, the state’s second largest city, and Pueblo, its seventh largest.

Colorado Springs is home to a significant number of military installations, including Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, the United States Air Force Academy, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). It also hosts Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Verizon, and Hewlett-Packard facilities, among others. There are 440,000 residents. Among those who were recalled last year was John Morse, the president of Colorado’s senate. Here is a photograph of the city:

Pueblo, meanwhile, is home to 100,000 people, and also to the Federal Citizen Information Center, run by the GSA. Here is a picture of its charming riverwalk:

This wasn’t in The Blueprint

The Establishment Position Isn’t the ‘Reasonable’ One on Ex-Im



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The fundamental case against the Ex-Im Bank is simple and unavoidable: It is not the role of the federal government to subsidize private businesses, period.

This is true whether the companies are small or large, whether they export or not, or whether they produce green energy or dirty energy. This is still true when you really, really like the company that receives government privileges or whether Boeing has a huge plant in your district, or whatever.

But this argument isn’t convincing to most lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike — since so many of them are slaves of special-interest politics. Consider the laughable Manchin-Kirk Ex-Im reauthorization bill being touted among D.C. insiders and lobbyists as a compromise. The bipartisan protectionist bill would reauthorize the bank for another 5 years and increase the Bank’s taxpayer-backed exposure limit from its current, already perilous level of $140 billion to $160 billion. Just close your eyes and try to forget about the Bank’s financial negligence, alleged internal corruption, and billions in projected losses. Boeing wants its taxpayer-backed goodies.

Kirk’s office isn’t even trying to hide the naked cronyism. An aide reports that Kirk’s “consistent support of reauthorization is rooted in protecting Illinois companies like Boeing.” His priority? To make sure that “Ex-Im funds support Boeing airplanes.” Welcome to Washington.

Only in a twisted culture like our nation’s capital can such corporatism be applauded while principled opposition is questioned. This bizarro world, pro-corporatist Ex-Im narrative has been hand-written by political insiders and gets uncritically repeated in many media stories. 

Take a Politico piece from this morning: Suggesting the anti-corporatism cause driving opposition to Ex-Im as a cynical fight for “ideological purity,” Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer suggest Representative Jeb Hanserling’s efforts to end the bank as a choice “not to govern.”

Opposing corporatism, the piece suggests, has to be seen as a radically conservative maneuver. In bizarro Washington, the same Democrats, progressives, and media members who were so sympathetic to the message of Occupy Wall Street now eagerly defend big-business subsidies. In fact, Senator Chuck Schumer, ever the opportunist, sees a chance to score some political donations from the traditionally-Republican big business contingent.

Keep reading this post . . .

Va. Democrat Offers Reward for Nude Shots of Texas Co-Ed



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A Democratic candidate for Congress in Virginia is asking his Twitter followers to help him target Kendall Jones, the Texas cheerleader who has recently provoked controversy by posting photos on Facebook of her with animals she’d killed.

Mike Dickinson, who is currently seeking the House seat held by Eric Cantor in Virginia’s seventh congressional district, has offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who can supply him with nude photos of sex videos of the 19-year-old:

He had some other special offers for his social-media followers:

In other tweets, he included some other kind names for her, including “garbage,” “white trash,” and “the OJ Simpson of white people.”

When he received angry or disgusted replies to his tweets, Dickinson managed to come up with some clever replies:

Apparently this is not Dickinson’s first inappropriate Twitter rant. He has previously tweeted about wishing death upon political conservatives:

There is some question as to whether Dickinson is actually a serious candidate. Although he has a campaign website, and claims on his Facebook and Twitter bios that he is indeed running for Congress, Ballotpedia says he failed to meet the filing deadline and he does not appear on the Virginia State Board of Elections candidate list.

Why Do People Keep Claiming All Races Use Drugs at the Same Rate?



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I’m just a poor but honest lawyer, not a statistician or social scientist, so maybe I’m wrong. But I keep hearing that, even though blacks don’t use drugs more frequently than whites and others, the war on drugs is locking them up at a wildly disproportionate rate. Now, of course one answer is that, even if use rates are the same, it doesn’t follow that the incarceration rates should be the same. People are typically locked up not for using but for dealing. And some kinds of dealing — for example, in open-air markets — are more likely to result in arrests than others. (And I have to note that most criminals are not drug criminals anyway.)

But my point today is just about the drug-use-rate claim. Take a look at table 1.19B here, which appears to be the most recent data from the federal agency that you’d expect to have the best data, namely the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The most relevant column is the one on the far right, since it is for the most recent year (2012) and the most recent use (past month) — click to expand the chart.

As you would expect, the age group that uses “illicit drugs” the most is 18–25, and males use drugs much more than females. But look at the racial groups: Not much uniformity there either. That darn model minority, the Asians, are there again busting the curve for everyone else, with only 3.7 percent using, versus 9.2 percent for all groups, which is also the white total. But blacks are at 11.3 percent, meaning that they use drugs at a rate 23 percent higher than the general population and whites.

Lately marijuana drug-law enforcement has been singled out for particular criticism in this regard, but now look at table 1.24B. Same thing: The 18–25 year-olds are by far the worst, and males smoke much more pot than females. And the racial breakdown is the same, too, so that, for example, blacks use marijuana at a rate that is again 23 percent higher than whites.

My point here is not to defend the war on drugs, but just to note one way (there are others) that the case has not been convincingly made that the war has been motivated and implemented with an eye on race.

Michael Eric Dyson Calls Impeachment Talk ‘Treasonous’. . . Even Though He Supported It in the Bush Years



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MSNBC fill-in host and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson is no fan of calling for a president’s ouster . . . unless it’s George W. Bush. Although he personally signed his name onto a group looking to “create a political situation where Bush himself is driven from office,” Dyson labeled Sarah Palin’s comments about impeaching President Obama as “treasonous accusations.”

“The president is acutely aware of the dire situation facing the children and their families crossing into the United States, as evidenced by his tireless effort to help them,” he said on Wednesday’s show in defense of President Obama. “The president’s push towards positive and crucial change was met with treasonous accusations.”

During the Bush years, however, Dyson was one of many signees to The World Can’t Wait! organization, which listed a series of grievances against Bush, including “moving each day closer to a theocracy” of a “narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism” and likening the former president to Hitler.

“People look at all this and think of Hitler — and they are right to do so,” the group says in the “About” section on its website. “The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. We must act now; the future is in the balance.”

In addition to Dyson, the organization’s supporters include other celebrity activists, such as Cornel West and Susan Sarandon. It also includes several lawmakers, among them Democratic representatives John Conyers of Michigan, Bobby Rush of Illinois, and Maxine Waters of California, as well as other former legislators, such as Senator Mark Gravel of Alaska and Representative Cynthia McKinney of Georgia.

Re: The Gay War on Smoking



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Spencer Case does good work in making the case that the LGBT community in America has to pay more attention to smoking than it does. That said, I’m a bit doubtful that many of the programs from the American Legacy Foundation, CDC and others will do that much good. Most them involve “doubling down” on efforts that don’t seem to be working now for gay Americans or anyone else.

The facts first: The first 40 or so years of stern public-health warnings about cigarettes resulted in a 50 percent decline in smoking amongst adult Americans (from over 40 percent to just about 20 percent.) But the declines have more-or-less stopped in the last ten years. Meanwhile, smoking rates amongst LGBT Americans remain just about where they were for the population as a whole 50 years ago. Doing more anti-tobacco advertising and expanding already broad smoking bans hasn’t done much to reduce overall smoking; adding rainbow flags to the same messages probably won’t either. This makes me think that some different approaches are worth trying. Three stand out in my mind.

First, gay teenagers — and even 18-to-21 year olds who can buy cigarettes legally but can’t drink — need special public-health attention to discourage them from picking up smoking in the first place. A lot of aspects of gay culture, the bar and club scene in particular, seem to encourage smoking. Directing anti-smoking messages to this group may work even if it doesn’t for the population as a whole.

Second, the simplest and cheapest approach to quitting smoking — going cold turkey — should get more attention from gay organizations. Most gay-community health centers were founded in response to the AIDS epidemic and, for both political and medical reasons, came to rely (correctly) on complex pharmaceutical approaches as a key tool in fighting that public-health threat. They often take the same approach towards smoking. The problem is that all “quit smoking” drugs have enormous failure rates over a period of a few years. While “abrupt cessation” (as medical professionals call it) works best when a doctor is involved, it’s also simpler and cheaper than using drugs and may have a higher success rate.

Third, harm reduction approaches that encourage “switching” for those who can’t quit should get some attention given the urgent public-health need to reduce LGBT smoking rates. Nicotine is very, very addictive and, as a stimulant, almost certainly can cause heart disease. That said, inhaling smoke does a lot more damage to one’s body and causes many more diseases than chewing tobacco or puffing on an e-cigarette. Switching should never be a first effort, but it’s worth looking at when all else fails.

The current smoking rate amongst gay Americans is a public-health crisis. Confronting it requires new approaches.

— Eli Lehrer is president of the R Street Institute and a member of the board of the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization for LGBT conservatives and their allies.

Jesse Jackson: If Congress Can Secure the Border, It Can Spend Money on Chicago



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Jesse Jackson suggests that if Congress can spend money securing the border, it can spend money on Chicago:

“If we can find $4 billion for those children — and we should — we can find $2 billion for Chicago. There are more children involved, and more have been killed, and more have been shot,” said Jackson.

Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, disagreed with Jackson blaming the president.

“I slightly disagree with the reverend,” Emanuel said. “I wouldn’t put this at the president’s door. I put this at the door of Washington, D.C. This has been a long time that they have stopped investing in our children, and they need to invest in our kids.”

It’s no surprise that Jesse Jackson doesn’t consider there to be an either/or component to federal spending. In the real world, though, there always is — even if the point at which we are expected to set our priorities is much further away from sanity than conservatives might like. Going forward, I wonder to what extent this question is going to highlight cleavages in the Democratic party’s coalition. By and large, the Left has a built a winning team by gluing together a series of interest group, two of which seem to be set against each other in the immigration debate. African-Americans are consistently the group that is most vocally opposed to reform; Hispanics consistently the most in favor. Glib as it is, “it’s time for some nation building at home” carries quite the appeal. If the federal government starts to throw money at dealing with foreign citizens rather than at those already here, at what point do black voters start to rebel — not by becoming Republicans, naturally, but by, say, staying at home in the midterms?

New War Over High School U.S. History



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Americans are only just now waking up to a quiet but devastatingly effective effort to replace the teaching of traditional American history in our high schools with a new, centrally-controlled, and sharply left-leaning curriculum.

The College Board, the company that issues the SAT and the various Advanced Placement (AP) exams, has created an elaborate new framework for the AP U.S. History Exam that will effectively force nearly all American high schools, public and private, to transform the way they teach U.S. History.

The traditional emphasis on America’s founders and the principles of constitutional government will soon be jettisoned in favor of a left-leaning emphasis on race, gender, class, ethnicity, etc.

There are serious questions about the legality of the new AP U.S. History Exam, insofar as it may conflict with existing history standards in a number of states.  These questions, however, as well as public debate over this massive and tremendously controversial change, have been largely suppressed by the stealthy way in which the College Board has rolled out the new test.

The new AP U.S. History Exam has been issued under the authority of David Coleman, president of the College Board and, not coincidentally, architect of the Common Core.  We are witnessing a coordinated, two-pronged effort to effectively federalize all of American K-12 education, while shifting its content sharply to the left.

While the College Board has publicly released a lengthy “framework” for the new AP U.S. History Exam, that framework contains only a few sample questions.  Sources tell me, however, that a complete sample exam has be released, although only to certified AP U.S. History teachers.  Those teachers have been warned, under penalty of law and the stripping of their AP teaching privileges, not to disclose the content of the new sample AP U.S. History Exam to anyone.

This is clearly an effort to silence public debate over these heavily politicized and illegitimately nationalized standards.  If the complete sample test was available, the political nature of the new test would become evident. Public scrutiny of the sample test would also expose potential conflicts between the new exam and existing state standards.  This is why the College Board has kept the test secret and threatened officially certified AP U.S. History teachers with severe penalties for revealing the test.

The College Board claims that its highly directive new framework for AP U.S. History is actually adaptable to the preferences of particular states, school districts, and teachers.  This is deeply misleading.  It is true that the new history framework allows teachers to include examples of their choice.  Yet the framework also insists that the examples must be used to illustrate the themes and concepts behind the official College Board vision.

The upshot is that James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the other founders are largely left out of the new test, unless they are presented as examples of conflict and identity by class, gender, race, ethnicity, etc.  The Constitution can be studied as an example of the Colonists’ belief in the superiority of their own culture, for instance.  But any teacher who presents a full unit on the principles of the American Constitution taught in the traditional way would be severely disadvantaging his students.  So while allowing some minor flexibility on details, the new AP U.S. History framework effectively forces teachers to train their students in a leftist, blame-America-first reading of history, while omitting traditional treatments of our founding principles.

Texas is at the forefront of the resistance to the new AP U.S. History Exam, but the battle is not going well.  Ken Mercer, a member of the Texas School Board, is attempting to introduce a resolution rebuking and rejecting the new AP U.S. History Exam.  Unfortunately, he is now being told that he must wait to introduce the resolution until September, when it will be too late.

Texas makes up about 10 percent of the College Board’s market.  Were Texas to reject the new AP U.S. History Exam, the entire project could be put into doubt.  It is imperative that Ken Mercer be allowed to introduce his resolution.

Texans need to wake up and demand that Mercer’s resolution be introduced and passed as soon as possible.  The rest of the country needs to wake up and demand similar action in every state.

The public should also insist that the College Board release its heretofore secret sample AP U.S. History test for public scrutiny and debate.  There is no excuse for withholding this test from the public.

Just as the Common Core became an established fact before most American parents, lawmakers, and school districts even knew it existed, the new AP U.S. History Exam is about to entrench a controversial and highly politicized national school curriculum without proper notice or debate.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and a full understanding of our founding principles are on the way out.  Race, gender, class, and ethnicity are coming in, all in secrecy and in clear violation of the Constitution’s guarantee that education remain in control of the states.

The time to oppose the new AP U.S. History Exam is now.

McCain: Obama Should Have Visited the Border



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Shortly after President Barack Obama’s Dallas address on the immigration crisis at the border, Arizona Senator John McCain criticized the president’s approach. Speaking on The O’Reilly Factor Wednesday night, McCain faulted Obama for failing to visiting the southern U.S. border.

“I think it’s pretty clear that by not going to the border or even to Lackland Air Force Base where thousands, hundreds of these children are, it showed a lack of sensitivity to the issue,” McCain said. “And one thing he could do, by the way would be [being] down there and thanking the people who are laboring 24/7 trying to care for these kids.”

McCain added that Obama’s proposals did not include plans for repealing a 2008 law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, that makes it easier for alien minors to stay in the U.S. without fear of expedited removal.

“The way that it’s going to stop is when those families see planeloads of those kids arriving back in the countries that they came from,” McCain said.

 

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