March 7th, 2012
Arabic/English (top) and Hebrew/English (bottom) billboards with a message from American Atheists that are slated to be erected in heavily Jewish and heavily Muslim neighborhoods this week.
For American Atheists, Tuesday was meant to be a big day for getting out their godless message — with the unveiling of a billboard in a heavily Jewish neighborhood in New York City. But plans to erect the sign in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn were altered at the last minute when the owner of site refused access to the installers.
Written in Hebrew and English, the sign was to have read: "You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice." It is an advertisement for the upcoming "Reason Rally" in Washington, D.C., billed as the biggest atheist gathering in U.S. history, and for the American Atheists' convention immediately afterward.
It was also intended to urge non-believers to overcome their fears and "come out" in their heavily religious communities.
"We believe that (these) communities are teeming with atheists due to the emails we regularly receive," said American Atheists President Dave Silverman, a nonprofit that seeks civil rights for non-believers and absolute separation of church and state. "We have received a dozen emails from Hasidic Atheist Jews since we announced the billboards. … They feel totally alone. We want to tell them they are not alone."
Silverman was at the site with the advertising company to erect the giant sign atop a residential building.
But landlord Kenny Stier refused to allow workers from the advertising company Clear Channel into the building, said Silverman. He told The Brooklyn Paper that he believes powerful rabbis in the largely ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish area persuaded Stier to block the billboard.
"It has been very disconcerting to see that the traditional victims of religious bigotry have become the purveyors of religious bigotry," said Silverman, who was raised in the Jewish faith.
Stier could not immediately be reach for comment, but The Brooklyn Paper quoted him as saying, "I don’t want to get involved in this."
Williamsburg Rabbi David Niederman told the paper the sign is "a disgrace. ... The name of god is very holy to us and to the whole world."
The atheist organization has already selected a new site along the Brooklyn-Queens expressway not far away, and will try again on Thursday to erect it there.
On Wednesday, American Atheists were slated to post another billboard to near the Islamic center of the heavily Muslim community in Paterson, N.J. — identical except written in Arabic and English. They have not received any blowback in that community, Silverman said.
"We’re not particularly disturbed about it,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations. "We believe it’s their First Amendment right to put them up. … Obviously they placed them to be provocative, but that’s also their right."
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March 7th, 2012
March 6th, 2012
CNN LIVE: Tune in to the CNN Election Center tonight at 7 p.m. for live coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries and follow real-time results on CNNPolitics.com, on the CNN apps and on the CNN mobile web site. Follow CNN Politics on Facebook and on Twitter at #cnnelections.
GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum both found reason to celebrate on Super Tuesday
By Paul Steinhauser and Tom Cohen, CNN
Columbus, Ohio (CNN) -- Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will each win three states in Super Tuesday primaries, while Newt Gingrich grabbed a vital triumph in Georgia, CNN projected.
However, the big prize of the night -- battleground state Ohio -- remained too close to call in a duel between Romney and Santorum.
Santorum's victories showed his continuing strength among conservative voters, while Gingrich's win in the state that sent him to Congress allows him to keep his campaign going.
The Santorum victories -- in Tennessee and Oklahoma primaries, and in North Dakota's caucuses -- also hurt Gingrich's Southern strategy after the former House speaker's triumphs in South Carolina and now Georgia, which both border Tennessee.
"It looks we're going to get at least a couple of gold medals, and a whole passel full of silver medals," Santorum told cheering supporters in Ohio, where he was running slightly ahead of Romney in a race too close to call.
Romney, meanwhile, easily won as expected in Virginia, Vermont and Massachusetts, the state where he served as governor and considers home. In Virginia, two of his challengers -- Santorum and Gingrich -- failed to qualify for the ballot.
The Super Tuesday contests in 10 states put 419 delegates up for grabs. Based on the partial results, CNN estimated that Romney had accumulated 292 delegates to 121 for Santorum, 77 for Gingrich and 52 for Texas Rep. Ron Paul. It takes 1,144 delegates to win the Republican nomination.
For Gingrich, who represented Georgia's sixth congressional district for two decades, the victory provided a new boost after a string of defeats since his only other primary triumph in South Carolina.
"Thank you Georgia! It is gratifying to win my home state so decisively to launch our March Momentum," Gingrich said Tuesday night in a Twitter post.
"There's lots of bunny rabbits that run through," Gingrich later told supporters in Georgia. "I'm the tortoise."
A Gingrich campaign source also told CNN on condition of not being identified that the former House speaker will become the third GOP candidate to get Secret Service protection starting Wednesday. Romney and Santorum already have that protection.
Romney entered Super Tuesday off of three wins last week and a growing lead in the race for the nomination to face President Barack Obama in November.
In remarks to supporters in Boston, Romney focused on Obama in trying to sound like the presumptive nominee.
Citing unemployment that remains above 8%, Romney said the figure is just an "inconvenient statistic" in the eyes of the Obama administration.
"But those numbers are more than data on a spreadsheet; they are worried families and anxious faces," said Romney, who was interrupted repeatedly by chants and cheers. "And tonight, I'd like to say to each of them: You have not been forgotten. We will not leave you behind. Our campaign is on the move, and real change is finally on the way."
Romney also signaled a continued battle for his campaign.
"Tonight we've taken one more step towards restoring the promise of America," he said. "Tomorrow we wake up and we start again. And the next day we'll do the same. And so it will go, day by day, step by step, door by door, heart to heart."
Santorum also focused on Obama, saying the president's policies threatened the individual liberty of Americans. In addition, he targeted Romney for his health care law in Massachusetts, arguing it was the model for Obama's federal health care reforms detested by conservatives.
"I've never been for a mandate at a state or a federal level," Santorum said in challenging the requirement in both the Massachusetts and federal laws for people to have health coverage.
Tuesday was the biggest single day of the primary season, and included showdowns in several states that will determine the ability of Santorum, Gingrich and Paul to blunt Romney's momentum toward what many believe will be his inevitable nomination.
Georgia had the most delegates up for grabs on Tuesday with 76, but Ohio, because of its status as a crucial battleground state in the general election, is considered the main prize.
Romney and Santorum were running almost even in Ohio with more than 80% of unofficial returns counted. A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicated the state was a dead heat between Romney and Santorum, with each grabbing 32% of likely GOP primary voters. Gingrich was at 14% and Paul was at 11%.
Even if Santorum managed to win the Ohio vote, he wouldn't get a majority of the delegates because his campaign failed to properly register them in some districts.
Surveys released a week earlier suggested Santorum led Romney, but they were conducted before Romney's victories in Arizona and his native Michigan on February 28, followed by winning the Washington state caucuses on Saturday.
A leading GOP strategist thinks if Romney does well across the board on Tuesday night, he could come close to locking up his bid for the nomination.
"Even a come-from-behind win in Ohio won't give Romney the momentum he needs to put this race away, but Romney could seal this deal Tuesday if he takes not only Ohio, but Tennessee," said CNN contributor Alex Castellanos.
"If Romney demonstrates he can win in the South, GOP establishment and conservative voters will rally around him and money for his opponents would begin to dry up," added Castellanos, who was a top media adviser for Romney's 2008 nomination bid but who is not taking sides this cycle. "The real test Tuesday is this: Can Romney win not only in Ohio but in the South?"
Romney's campaign was bolstered by endorsements from leading conservatives this week including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and former Attorney General John Ashcroft.
The endorsements indicated a growing push in the Republican Party to show Romney can win the trust of conservatives, despite concerns that he is too moderate.
Thanks to a sweep of contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri on February 7, Santorum went from a long-shot candidate to a co-frontrunner, but going into Super Tuesday he hadn't had a victory since.
"Simply put, he needs to stop the bleeding after three straight losses by winning several states of his own -- including the big one in Ohio," said Gentry Collins, a former political director for the Republican National Committee and the Republican Governors Association.
Paul has focused his efforts on winning delegates in the caucus states of Idaho, North Dakota and Alaska so that he can wield influence at the Republican convention in August.
Here is a state-by-state breakdown:
* Alaska is holding caucuses from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. There are 24 delegates at stake, to be allocated on a proportional basis.
* Georgia held a primary, with polls closing at 7 p.m. ET. There are 76 delegates at stake, allocated on a proportional basis.
* Idaho is holding caucuses beginning at 9 p.m. ET. There are 32 delegates at stake, to be allocated on a proportional basis.
* Massachusetts held a primary, with polls closing at 8 p.m. ET. There are 38 delegates at stake, to be allocated on a proportional basis.
* North Dakota is holding caucuses from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET. There are 28 delegates at state, to be allocated on a proportional basis.
* Ohio held a primary, with polls closing at 7:30 p.m. ET. There are 63 delegates at stake, to be awarded on a proportional basis.
* Oklahoma is holding a primary, with polls closing at 8 p.m. ET. There are 40 delegates at stake, to be allocated on a proportional basis.
* Tennessee held a primary, with polls closing at 8 p.m. ET. There are 55 delegates at stake, to be awarded on a proportional basis.
* Vermont held a primary, with polls closing at 7 p.m. ET. There are 17 delegates at stake, to be awarded on a proportional basis.
* Virginia held primary, with polls closing at 7 p.m. There are 46 delegates at stake, to be allocated on a proportional basis.
CNN's Jim Acosta, Dana Bash and Dana Bash contributed to this report.
March 6th, 2012
The American Spectator
By Jeffrey Lord
Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center has caught out the real "archaic old dinosaur living in a warped, ugly swamp, who thinks it's okay to degrade decent young women for sport and ratings."
And who might that be? Yes indeed, none other than Mr. Morgan's CNN bosses, if not Mr. Morgan himself. It seems Mr. Morgan's network loves Bill Maher. As Brent details:
Dear Mr. Morgan,
I am disturbed by your ongoing double standard when it comes to coverage of political rhetoric. On your show, you recently called Rush Limbaugh out for his insulting comment about a Georgetown law school student: "Limbaugh's disgusting comments are the work of an archaic old dinosaur living in a warped, ugly swamp, who thinks it's okay to degrade decent young women for sport and ratings. Well, it isn't it. Shame on you, Rush Limbaugh." Fair enough. However you have seemingly turned a blind eye to the similar rhetoric of one of your guests -- Bill Maher.
Rush Limbaugh made the regrettable blunder of calling Sandra Fluke, who testified on behalf of the administration's mandate against religiously affiliated institutions, "a slut." Let's all agree Limbaugh crossed a line. He agrees. He issued an apology to Fluke "for the insulting word choices." This should be sufficient, but it's not and the skewering continues.
On the other hand, when Bill Maher and other leftist commentators make similarly inappropriate remarks, they are practically ignored. To be fair, you are not alone when it comes to such a double standard. Indeed, CNN and the media overall are guilty of such unacceptable hypocrisy.
Nearly a year ago (March 18, 2011), Bill Maher on his HBO show used far more vile sexist language to insult Sarah Palin as a "dumb twat." Even after NOW condemned Maher -- "Stop degrading women with whom you disagree and/or don't like by using female body terms or other gender-associated slurs" -- CNN never once bothered to report it.
Instead, CNN has warmly received Maher on its programs and elevated him as a leading "progressive" political pundit. Over the past year, Maher has appeared on CNN five times, plus another appearance on CNN's Headline News Network. Not once was he asked about his sexist comments, or the scores of other vulgar and offensive remarks he makes on a regular basis.
Indeed, when Maher appeared on CNN on March 22, just 4 days after attacking Palin -- interviewer Eliot Spitzer ("In the Arena") refused to raise the issue. Instead, he lavished Maher with praise: "Your show is brilliant. I love watching it."
During the current Limbaugh controversy, only one CNN host (Anderson Cooper) raised the double-standard issue, noting very briefly on March 2 that "Bill Maher, on the left," has "said some pretty outrageous things," but offering no examples or any further discussion of Maher.
And there are many more examples of such lewd comments made by Maher at CNN. For a year, CNN has been pampering and promoting Maher.
And it's not just CNN. Limbaugh has been singled out and condemned across the national media -- ABC, CBS, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, NPR, PBS, Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. How many of these outlets have condemned Bill Maher with equal vigor for his attacks on Palin? How many of these outlets condemned him at all? Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a "slut" on his radio show. MSNBC suspended him for a week, but none of Schultz's advertisers dropped his show under media pressure. There was no pressure. Some of the same sponsors now pulling out of Rush's show still support Schultz.
In the interest of promoting and cultivating a meaningful dialogue based on mutual respect, you and other prominent figures in the media, including other journalists at CNN, ought to report such defamatory personal insults made towards all public figures.
Double standards only serve to make these situations worse. If you are really serious about promoting civil discourse you should treat figures like Maher, Schultz and other liberal pundits the same way you treat Limbaugh.
I think a constructive conversation can be had in the media addressing such a double standard, and you are certainly in a place to do just that.
L. Brent Bozell III
March 6th, 2012
Infowars and Jerome Corsi