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With Washington making little apparent progress in efforts to avoid going over the "fiscal cliff," most Americans are skeptical that the White House and Republicans will reach a deal. A majority would blame Republicans if talks fail. (from Pew Research)

The number was unchanged from the previous two years and a continuation of the sharp decline in this population since its peak in 2007. -- from Pew Research

Obama Wants to Work With GOP
Obama Waves Amidst Fallling Confetti
Read the AP article at US News

White evangelical Protestants voted for Republican Mitt Romney with as much enthusiasm as his other supporters did and they made up about the same share of the electorate as they did in the two previous elections. -- from Pew Research

It's Official! Barack Obama Wins!
Obama Wins!
Read the article at LSpot

State Democrat D% Vote Republican R% Vote
Arizona Richard Carmona 45% Jeff Flake 50%
California Dianne Feinstein 61% Elizabeth Emken 39%
Connecticut Chris Murphy 55% Linda McMahon 43%
Delaware Thomas Carper 66% Kevin Wade 29%
Florida Bill Nelson 55% Connie Mack 42%
Hawaii Mazie Hirono 63% Linda Lingle 37%
Indiana Joe Donnelly 50% Richard Mourdock 44%
Maine Angus King (I) 53% Charles Summers 30%
Maryland Ben Cardin 54% Daniel Bongino 27%
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren 54% Scott Brown 46%
Michigan Debbie Stabenow 58% Pete Hoekstra 38%
Minnesota Amy Klobuchar 65% Kurt Bills 31%
Mississippi Albert Gore 40% Roger Wicker 57%
Missouri Claire McCaskill 55% Todd Akin 39%
Montana Jon Tester 49% Denny Rehberg 45%
Nebraska Bob Kerrey 42% Deb Fischer 58%
Nevada Shelley Berkley 45% Dean Heller 46%
New Jersey Bob Menendez 58% Joe Kyrillos 40%
New Mexico Martin Heinrich 51% Heather Wilson 45%
New York Kirsten Gillibrand 72% Wendy Long 27%
North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp 50% Rick Berg 49%
Ohio Sherrod Brown 50% Josh Mandel 45%
Pennsylvania Bob Casey 54% Tom Smith 45%
Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse 65% Barry Hinckley 35%
Tennessee Mark Clayton 30% Bob Corker 65%
Texas Paul Sadler 40% Ted Cruz 57%
Utah Scott Howell 30% Orrin Hatch 65%
Vermont Bernie Sanders (I) 71% John MacGovern 25%
Virginia Tim Kaine 52% George Allen 48%
Washington Maria Cantwell 59% Michael Baumgartner 41%
West Virginia Joe Manchin 61% John Raese 36%
Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin 51% Tommy Thompson 46%
Wyoming Tim Chesnut 22% John Barrasso 76%
  25 races won (two independent) 8 races won

- from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Lady Liberty Likes It Hot! (from Freaking News)
Lady of Liberty Likes it Hot! from Freaking News
More Pix at 2nd Sight Magazine on Pinterest

Google News Links: The Great Race 2012
Where Are We Going, & Why Are We In This Handbasket?


Pew Research Center's Latest Prez Poll
Just Released: Obama's September Advantage. According to our latest poll (conducted September 12-16, 2012), Obama has an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters. This puts him in a strong position compared with past victorious presidential candidates. He holds a bigger September lead than the last three candidates who went on to win in November, including Barack Obama himself four years ago. Read more:

Pledging Allegiance...Under God?
And to the republic . . . whatever that is
A lot of people don't know that the man who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance was a Baptist minister, and that he purposefully left out any reference to God. I didn't know. A teacher at a local high school told me on Monday. She doesn't want me to use her name or to identify where she works because she's afraid that some of what she has to say might reflect poorly on her students. -- by E.J. Montini, The Arizona Republic

A constitutional controversy arrived just in time for the 4th of July -- in 2001, a federal court ruled that American school children should not recite the Pledge of Allegiance because the phrase under God endorses religion. Whether flag-burning is constitutionally protected is also being challenged in the courts. The revolution is not's being fought in the courts.

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Response to Court Decision on Pledge

There was an immediate furor in the United States, reported internationally, including comments from the average person all the way up the line to American President George W. Bush.

It was only at the appeals level that this controversial decision was made; now it will most likely go to the Supreme Court where it may -- or may not -- be reversed. Who knows? It won't be the first time that the Pledge has been amended. The Pledge wasn't even recited in the public schools until 1892, almost 120 years after America's independence from Great Britain was declared.

Atheists don't want 'God' included in anything compulsory in a country that has declared that the government of the people should be kept separate from all religion. However, others who do believe in 'God' or in a 'God' also see a problem with the Pledge's inclusion of these two little words. There are even some who think that their allegiance to their 'God' prohibits them from reciting the Pledge at all. Jehovah's Witnesses took the government to court and won the right to abstain from saying the pledge in public schools in 1953. This is not the first time that issues pertaining to the Pledge of Allegiance have been taken to court.

According to casual surveys, the majority of Americans believe that the word 'God' is flexible enough to fit any religious belief and should be acceptable to all Americans, and that Atheists or others who object should find these two little words harmless enough to overlook. However, when you consider this argument, 'God' could mean 'Jehovah', 'Allah', 'Zeus', or 'Odin' or whatever 'God' a person chooses to worship. Picture the following scenario in order to imagine just how cloudy the issue really is: If all the citizens of the United States recited the Pledge together, with each one substituting their chosen God's, Gods', or Goddess's name in place of the noun 'God', the results would be confusing and unintelligible.

This appears to completely dilute or even contradict the meaning of the word that immediately follows 'under God' in the Pledge: 'indivisible'. If we all can't agree on who God is and under whose dominion we place our pledge to America, how can we possibly be an indivisible people? Is an agreement on who we worship essential to be American? I sure hope not. -- Cat, the Editor

Every administration has blamed the last on economic woes. How did we do then and how are we doing now?

Ultimate Power: How Did the Economy Do?
Funny Money
Administrations Come & Go, & So Did the Cash

Separation of Church and State


Related Links:

The Man Behind the Pledge Case 
November 10, 2003 -- Supreme Court litigants' personal stories usually take a back seat to momentous constitutional issues. In the Pledge case, however, Michael Newdow's tangled tale remains front and center -- partly because his custody dispute is key to whether he has standing to challenge the Pledge, and also due to his insistence that he should present the case. His demeanor could lead the justices to appoint someone else to argue for him -- but his solitary persistence has paid off so far. (Legal Times)

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The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism.  On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. And during the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? 
No administration's patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies.  And the flag bestows no immunity from error.  When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's Little Red Book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread.
I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us.  The  flag belongs to the country, not to the government.  And it reminds me that it's not un-American to think that war -- except in self-defense  -- is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve, and diplomatic skill.  Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country.  What do you think?
-- Excerpts from an article from NOW with Bill Moyers

Pledge's Constitutionality May Get New Hearing

June 2002 -- NBC's George Lewis reports in this video on how a judge struck down his own ruling on the inclusion of the words under God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Court Ruling Striking Down Pledge Ridiculed

June 22, 2002 -- Congress is angry over a federal appeals court ruling disallowing the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. Meanwhile, the man who sued says he's receiving death threats.

History Of Pledge Of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance, attributed to socialist editor and clergyman Francis Bellamy, was first published in 1892 in The Youth's Companion, a children's magazine where he worked.

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