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Sunday, November 30, 2008

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New White House and Congress Hope to Have Bills Ready by Inauguration

By Carl Hulse & David M. Herszenhorn
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Democratic Congressional leaders and the nascent Obama administration are moving quickly to assert control over federal policy, aiming to have economic, health and spending legislation waiting on the new president’s desk almost the minute he gets back down Pennsylvania Avenue from the inauguration.

Given the severity of the problems facing the nation, officials on Capitol Hill and in the Obama team say Democrats have put their schedule on fast-forward rather than allowing the usual lull between the start of the new Congress, this time on Jan. 6, and President-electBarack Obama’s swearing-in two weeks later.

Lawmakers and staff members are already laying the groundwork for a running start, and Congress is scheduled to remain in session once its expanded Democratic majorities are sworn in.

“There is the sense that there is no time to have a sort of laid-back transition,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader. “It is being driven by crisis. Clearly, when you are confronted with the challenges we are confronted with, the public, the banking community needs to see that action is being taken.”

The ambitious Democratic plan and the growing rapport between the new administration and Congress could both be bolstered by the high-level Congressional expertise being absorbed into the executive branch....(Click for remainder).

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Murdoch hates Bill "Falafal" O'Reilly

By Michael Calderone
Politico.com

In Michael Wolff’s forthcoming biography of Rupert Murdoch, “The Man Who Owns The News,” the author writes that the media mogul has seemed to turn away lately from his cable news network, and isn’t fond its top-rated personality, Bill O’Reilly.

“It is not just Murdoch (and everybody else at News Corp.’s highest levels) who absolutely despises Bill O’Reilly, the bullying, mean-spirited, and hugely successful evening commentator,” Wolff wrote, “but [Fox News chief executive] Roger Ailes himself who loathes him. Success, however, has cemented everyone to each other."

“The embarrassment can no longer be missed,” Wolff wrote, in another section of the book. “He mumbles even more than usual when called on to justify it. He barely pretends to hide the way he feels about Bill O’Reilly. And while it is not that he would give Fox up—because the money is the money; success trumps all—in the larger sense of who he is, he seems to want to hedge his bets.”

Wolff describes Murdoch as not wanting News Corp. to be defined by Fox News. And so last year’s purchase of the Wall Street Journal, he wrote, “was in no small way about wanting to trade the illiberal—the belligerent, the vulgar, the loud, the menacing the unsubtle—for the better-heeled, the more magnanimous, the further nuanced.”

Politico obtained a copy of Wolff’s book, to be released Tuesday, under an agreement not to publish its contents before today. Two excerpts ran in Vanity Fair, and Murdoch already raised objections to the characterization of his relationship with Fox News, according to the NY Times. (Murdoch's son-in-law, the London PR executive Matthew Freud, obtained a copy and passed it along to him)....(Click for remainder).

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Mormons Losing Members Over Anti-Gay Campaigns

By Lisa Derrick
The Campaign Silo

While the Mormon Church hierarchy  was responsible for organizing millions of dollars and thousands of hours of manpower to pass California's Proposition 8 and Arizona's Prop 102, the church's tactics haven't sat so well with some of its members--including families, members with Mormon heritage going back 150 years, and gay members---who began speaking out in July on the website signingforsomething.org. 

Many have public resigned from the church, citing reasons like these:
  1. I think the church has no right to assume the inner thinkings of its members and take such an open stand of any political issue.

  2. The Church's involvement in the effort to rescind a basic Constitutional right from California citizens is shameful and misguided.

  3. The position the church took on this particular issue went against everything I learned from the church. Not only was the church's position discriminatory, but it was also hateful.
     
  4. The leadership fights for bigotry and hate. The God I grew up with was perfect in His Love and Justice. Shame on the men who act so disgracefully in His name.

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Dobbs Minimizes Impact of Hate Crimes, Bashes Immigrant Rights Groups

By Heidi Beirich

Last night [November 24, 2008], CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight” aired a segment criticizing the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) for holding a news conference earlier in the day calling attention to the link between anti-immigrant rhetoric and hate crimes against Latinos. The groups were reacting to the recent murder of Marcello Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant, who was fatally attacked in early November by seven high school students in Suffolk County, New York.

“Suffolk County is a particularly good example of elected officials stoking the fires of anti-immigrant sentiment,” NCLR head Janet Murguia said during the press conference. She spotlighted the anti-immigrant rhetoric of Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, saying he had been “notably hard line against immigrants in his county.” Earlier, Levy stated that the Lucero murder would have been a “one-day story” if the media hadn’t chosen to hype it. Levy later apologized for the remark.

Dobbs denounced NCLR’s use of the Lucero murder to call attention to hate crimes. Dismissing concerns about anti-immigrant rhetoric leading to hate violence, Dobbs called the groups “advocates of open borders” and mocked them for being “long on rhetoric and absolutely, absolutely devoid of facts or respect for them.”

Dobbs, who has a long track record of defaming immigrants by linking them to crime, disease and other horrors, would probably like to pretend that immigrant bashing doesn’t lead to hate crimes. But the facts of the Lucero case show otherwise. The teens implicated in Lucero’s murder specifically declared that they were going to “go jump a Mexican” and went out hunting in the ethnically diverse village of Patchogue. Latinos in Suffolk County have long reported being threatened and physically harassed and there have been other highly publicized attacks there, including the near-beating death of two Mexican day laborers in 2001 and the burning of a Mexican family’s house in 2003....(Click for remainder).

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