Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed into law a bill requiring voters to show some form of identification — such as a Social Security card or a birth certificate — before casting a ballot in 2012, and a photo identification card in 2014. If an individual does not have such a card, but qualifies for a photo ID, the state will provide this at no cost. At the signing, Chafee, the son of longtime Republican Sen. John Chafee, explained: Having reflected a great deal on this issue, I believe that requiring identification at the polling place is a reasonable request to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our elections.  Notably, I spoke with representatives of our state’s minority communities, and I found their concerns about voter fraud and their support for this bill particularly compelling.
Those on the conventional right incessantly lament the ignorance of history from which younger generations of Americans suffer. While it is true that Americans appear to know frighteningly little about their country’s past, perhaps this has something to do with the abuse to which the concept of history has been subjected.    The very concept of “history” is in an abysmal condition of neglect. For this, partisans from across the political spectrum are to blame. Much more frequently than not, when those on both the right and the left advocate the teaching of “history,” it isn’t a distinct, autonomous line of inquiry or discipline to which they want people exposed; rather, what they champion is the promotion of their respective political-moral visions under the guise of “history.” That this is so is readily born out by the titles of some of the more popular contemporary “history” books: A People’s History of America; The Last Best Hope; The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History; A Patriot’s History of The United States, etc.
Thirty percent of Americans believe that the Bible is the actual word of God, according to a recent Gallup survey. While nearly 50 percent agree that Scripture is “inspired” by God, only three in ten say that it should be interpreted literally. Another 17 percent say the Bible is merely an ancient book of stories recorded by man. According to Gallup, the view that the Bible is divinely inspired, but should not be taken literally, has been the most common opinion over the 40 years that the pollster has been querying Americans on the issue. Gallup noted that the “high point” in the number of Americans believing in the literal interpretation of Scripture was 40 percent in 1980 and 1984, with the low coming in 2001, when only 27 percent said they thought the Bible was the actual, literal word of God. With an increase in a respondent’s education, and with a decrease in one’s church attendance, a literal interpretation of the Bible goes down, found the Gallup pollsters. “A majority, 54%, of those who attend religious services on a weekly basis believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible,” noted Gallup, “more than twice the percentage of those who attend church less often.”
While other Transportation Security Administration employees were sticking their hands in other people’s pants, one of them was sticking other people’s property in his own pants, according to the Broward County, Florida, Sheriff’s office. Police report that 30-year-old Nelson Santiago, a TSA screener at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, was spotted stuffing an iPad from a passenger’s luggage into his pants. Under questioning, they say, he admitted to having stolen “computers, GPS devices, and video cameras from luggage he was screening” over the past six months, according to Miami/Fort Lauderdale TV station WPLG. Detectives estimate that Santiago expropriated over $50,000 worth of electronics. Although the TSA, like most bureaucracies, is not known for its speed, police say Santiago proved to be a very fast worker indeed where his personal profit was concerned, taking photos of the stolen items with his cellphone and posting them online, where they would often sell even before his shift had ended.  
Planned Parenthood is under attack again, this time from one of the nation’s leading pro-life legal groups, Americans United for Life (AUL). Following a study of more than 20 years of Planned Parenthood records, law enforcement reports, and other evidence, the AUL has released an intensive, 181-page report detailing what it charges are large-scale financial irregularities and circumvention of state laws committed by the nation’s leading abortion provider. During 2008-09 Planned Parenthood received more than $363 million in government contracts and grants, while its affiliates were responsible for performing more than 332,000 abortions. “Americans United for Life is calling for a congressional investigation and hearings into the nation’s largest abortion provider,” announced AUL president Charmaine Yoest with the release of the study. “This report provides the intellectual foundation for an investigation of Planned Parenthood, as well as revealing gaps in the information available to the American taxpayer, who is forced to subsidize the politically powerful abortion industry.”
Delegates at the most recent national meeting of the United Church of Christ (UCC) agreed overwhelmingly July 4 to strike the term “heavenly Father” from the denomination’s constitutional definition of the local church. By a vote of 613 to 161, the delegates voted to change language in Article V of the church’s bylaws from describing a local church as composed of persons who believe in “God as heavenly Father” to those who believe in “the triune God” — thereby relieving UCC members of the responsibility of acknowledging God as masculine. Explaining the change, which reflects a trend toward gender-neutralizing (and in some cases feminizing) God that has been in vogue throughout the denomination for years, UCC spokesperson Barb Powell told World Net Daily: “In the UCC, our language for God, Christ and the Holy Spirit ... is preferred to be more open for different expressions of the Trinity. Heavenly Father is just one vision.”
The RawStory.com headline blurted out a clear constitutional problem with the Michele Bachmann candidacy: "Bachmann pledges to ban ‘all forms of pornography.’" But the headline was a patent falsehood; Bachmann had pledged to do nothing of the sort. In fact, Michele Bachmann had signed a pledge by the Iowa-based "The Family Leader," a socially conservative organization pushing candidates and pastors to sign its pledge: "The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family." The pledge obligates signers to commit to: Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy — our next generation of American children — from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.
As the leading left-wing website, some parts of the Huffington Post are becoming concerned that Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's message of peace may draw large numbers of Democratic votes. "Rep. Paul's ideas are so extreme that no sensible voter would give him a second look if it wasn't for the Uncle Fuzzy persona," HuffPo columnist Andrew Reinbach warned his readers in a July 5 article entitled "President Ron Paul? Ron Paul and the John Birch Society." Reinbach then listed some of Rep. Ron Paul's substantial economic libertarian and constitutionalist credentials. How extreme is Ron Paul? Well, Reinbach claims he's "a very close ally" of The John Birch Society. Reinbach asks: "Where did Rep. Paul get these ideas? Well, mostly from the seed bank of the John Birch Society. While he's not a member, he's been close to it since at least the 1970s."
Vegetable gardens may be popping on abandoned land in Detroit, Michigan, but nearby Oak Park apparently likes broccoli as much as does George H.W. Bush. At least, that is, when it’s growing in a homeowner’s front yard. Resident Julie Bass is learning this the hard way. After Bass’s lawn was torn up during a sewer line’s replacement, an ambitious green thumb and the price of organic food inspired her to pursue a botanical project a bit more interesting than watching grass grow. The result was five large planter boxes boasting fresh basil, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, cumbers, and more — all visible from the street. Explains Bass, “We thought it'd be really cool to do it so the neighbors could see. The kids love it. The kids from the neighborhood all come and help.”   But one neighbor wasn’t so helpful. He called the city and complained, prompting a visit from a code enforcement officer. Bass related what happened next to ABC News, stating:
No one is more of a master of political talking points than President Barack Obama. Remember "shovel-ready projects"? These were construction projects where the shovels were supposed to start digging the moment the government gave them the "stimulus" money. Two years later, Obama can joke about the fact that the shovels were not as ready as he thought. In reality, the shovels were never ready. It can take forever to get all the environmental approvals to build anything in today's political and legal climate. If Obama didn't know that, his advisers surely did. He can treat it as a joke today but it is no joke for those who are saddled with the debts produced by his runaway spending in the name of "shovel-ready projects."
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