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Our good friends at the nationally acclaimed polling firm, Public Policy Polling generated a lot of national headlines today when they reported that a huge chunk of Republican voters in Mississippi and Alabama (Surprise!!)  have some pretty distorted views of reality.

“In Mississippi only 12% of voters think Obama’s a Christian to 52% who think he’s a Muslim and 36% who are not sure. In Alabama just 14% think Obama’s a Christian to 45% who think he’s a Muslim and 41% who aren’t sure.”

Of course, if you think about it, this all makes a lot of sense. After all, the President’s name obviously sounds downright Mooslim, er ah, Muslim, right? In the words of George Cleveland, “I mean come on. Give me a break!”

Not surprisingly, however, it appears that Deep South voters continue to be thrown off by the names of other major candidates as well. According to a recent, less-well-reported poll result, more than two-thirds of Alabama and Mississippi Republicans also think that:

  • Newt Gingrich is a rare South American salamander. 
  • Rick Santorum is the name of the Albanian parliament.
  • Ron Paul is a famous guitar inventor.
  • Mitt Romney is the back-up catcher for the Atlanta Braves.
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A diverse group of more than a dozen North Carolina Christian pastors and theologians (including state NAACP President, Rev. William Barber) have authored an open letter to Rev. Franklin Graham and the broader evangelical Christian community in light of Graham’s recent controversial statements regarding (and rather tepid apology to) President Obama.

It is a long, powerful and obviously heartfelt letter. You can read it in it’s entirety by clicking here.

Here are a few passages: Read More

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President Obama signed the new payroll tax cut bill into effect last night — another piece of legislation that shows the Republicans in Congress are finally backing down at least a little bit on their market fundamentalist obstructionism.

One of the best and most under-reported aspects of the bill is a provision that encourages employers to promote work-sharing as an alternative to layoffs. Such programs have worked well in Germany and other countries.

One of the nation’s best economists, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy Research, has been touting the concept for years and released the following statement in praise of the new law: Read More

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If you’re looking for an insightful, big-picture overview of the Obama administration’s 2013 budget plan, you would be hard-pressed to find a better place to start than a statement released this afternoon by the President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Robert Greenstein.

Greenstein’s statement makes a key point that should put to rest some of the deficit hysteria that’s already accompanied the release of the new budget plan:  the Obama administration’s budget would stabilize the federal debt over the next decade through a balanced mix of spending reductions and additional revenues.

The whole statement is worth reading, but here are the top-line messages:

The President’s budget would, if enacted, make significant progress in reducing deficits, although policymakers would have to take further steps, especially for future decades.  Under its economic assumptions, it would achieve what most budget analysts, and all recent bipartisan commissions or panels, have identified as the crucial fiscal goal for the decade ahead — stabilizing the debt so that it no longer rises faster than the economy. Read More

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Our good friends at Think Progress are annoyed that NBC and the GOP are accusing President Obama of making a “class warfare” argument.

Here’s another take on the matter: If only that were true!

In truth, President Obama has been a model of middle-of-the-road civility, repeatedly bending over backwards to try and negotiate deals with right-wing ideologues who have zero interest in masking their commitment to class warfare (i.e. the kind that occurs when the wealthy attack and marginalize the middle class and the poor).

As many progressives have noted in recent years, one of the highpoints of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency occurred when he delivered his famous retort to the nation’s plutocrats: “I welcome their hatred.”

In the final year of his first term, the President would actually do the country a great service if he would actually live up to this accusation by bringing a health measure of combative FDR-like populism to his governance and campaigning. He might even listen again to the following:

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