Majority Now Favors Less Involvement By Church in Politics

There’s some good news in a new survey from the PEW Research Center. A narrow majority now believes that churches should stay out of politics by a margin of 52 percent to 45 percent. Back in 2004 a majority favored more involvement by the church in politics by a margin of 51% to 44%. What is especially remarkable is that the partisan differences are not present as in 2004. The previous survey showed that 30 percent of conservatives believed that churches should stay out of politics while 50 percent of conservatives now believe this. The Democratic Party is also seen as more friendly towards religion as compared to the 2004 survey.

78 Percent of Bush’s Signing Statements have Raised Constitutional or Legal Objections

Think Progress presents a House committee report which shows the extent of the problem with Bush’s signing statements:

Secrecy News notes that the House Armed Services Committee released a report this week criticizing the Bush administration’s extensive use of signing statements, saying that the practice has generated confusion, undermined oversight of defense policy, and is often “broad and unsubstantiated.” From the report:

– “While presidents have issued signing statements for quite some time, this President has issued a significantly larger percentage of signing statements challenging or objecting to various provisions of the law.”

– “78 percent of President Bush’s more than 150 signing statements have raised constitutional or legal objections, compared with only 18% of all of President Clinton’s.”

– In the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, signing statements from President Bush “appear simply to be hortatory assertions of executive power,” according to the Congressional Research Service.

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Factcheck Verifies Legitimacy of Obama’s Birth Certificate

One of the more ridiculous attacks on Barack Obama were the claims that he was not born in the United States. These attacks continued even after his birth certificate was posted, with a variety of crazy conspiracy theories being spread with claims that this was a forgery. has reviewed the birth certificate and writes that it is real. From their summary:

In June, the Obama campaign released a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate to quell speculative charges that he might not be a natural-born citizen. But the image prompted more blog-based skepticism about the document’s authenticity. And recently, author Jerome Corsi, whose book attacks Obama, said in a TV interview that the birth certificate the campaign has is “fake.”

We beg to differ. staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the document as “supporting documents” to this article. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.

The article provides further details along with debunking of the various conspiracy theories. PoliFact has also come to the same conclusion that the birth certificate is legitimate. Of course the right wingers and PUMA kooks who are promoting these conspiracy theories will not be dissuaded. Just as right wingers continue to claim that John Kerry never released his military records despite the fact that his full records were posted on line during the 2004 campaign, opponents of Obama will continue to deny the fact that his actual birth certificate has been posted.

Now The Campaign Is Over John McCain’s Inability To Count All His Houses

I imagine this was inevitable. Obama is attacking John McCain for having so many homes that he can’t answer a question as to how many he owns.

“Somebody asked John McCain, ‘how many houses do you have?’ and he said, ‘I’m not sure, I’ll have to check with my staff,’” said Obama at a Thursday morning campaign stop. “True quote! ‘I’m not sure, I’ll have to check with my staff.’ So they asked his staff and he said, ‘at least four.’ ‘At least four.’

“Now think about that — I guess if you think that being rich means you gotta make five million dollars, and if you don’t know how many houses you have, then it’s not surprising that you might think the economy is fundamentally strong,” he continued. “But if you’re like me and you’ve got one house — or you were like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so that they don’t lose their home — you might have a different perspective. …

He also said that there was a “fundamental gap of understanding” between McCain’s world and “what people are going thru every single day here in America.”

I don’t really care how rich John McCain is or how many homes he has, although an argument could certainly be made that this is relevant considering how John McCain’s tax plans are so heavily weighed in favor of the ultra-wealthy. I would prefer that Obama stick to the actual issues, but I also cannot blame him for attacking on this either. At least it is an honest representation of something McCain has said. In contrast, Obama has seen a loss of his lead in the polls following dishonest attacks from McCain and has come under criticism for not hitting McCain hard enough.

While this is not the type  of campaign I’d prefer to see, it was John McCain who decided to take the low road, and unfortunately such counterattacks probably will be more effective than a wonky talk about how McCain’s tax plans are so favorable towards the ultra-wealthy while Obama’s provide a bigger tax break to the vast majority of tax payers.