Somewhat surprisingly, only a bare majority, 51 percent, say Obamacare is a good idea, while 21 percent believe it is a bad idea and 25 percent have no opinion.
Hispanics went 2-to-1 for Obama over John McCain in 2008 and were key in several swing states.
3. Obama Wrong on Yucca Mountain Repository: Researchers
The Obama administration's decision to withdraw funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository "presents a troubling picture" for the future of nuclear energy in the United States.
That's conclusion of the Institute for Energy Research, a nonprofit organization promoting "freely-functioning energy markets," which is calling on the president to revive the Yucca Mountain project.
Back in 1982, nuclear energy producers began paying fees to the federal government earmarked for construction of a safe and secure place to store their nuclear waste.
In 2002, Congress and President George W. Bush approved the Yucca Mountain site, located in Nevada about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Wastes were to be stored there in highly stable geological formations that have remained seismically inactive for millions of years.
But in March 2010, the Obama administration decided to withdraw funding from the project, the nation's only permanent repository for high-level spent nuclear fuel authorized by current law.
Critics of the project, including Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, cited environmental concerns. But the Institute for Energy Research pointed out that a 1,000-megawatt nuclear-electric plant produces about one metric ton of waste per year, compared to 1 million tons from a similar size coal plant.
"The Obama administration has been handling this critical issue with a complete lack of consistency," the Institute stated.
"On one hand the president extols the benefits of nuclear power in his speeches, and on the other he advocated closing the byproduct storage facility that ensures it can have a future."
Nuclear power currently accounts for 19 percent of the electricity generated in the United States.
The Institute makes several points regarding the project:
The government's failure to provide a viable repository has limited the growth of the nuclear energy industry.
The Institute concludes: "Being a relatively safe and environmentally efficient way of generating electricity, nuclear power will continue to be an important, even indispensable, part of the U.S. energy mix.
"For this reason, the revival of the Yucca Mountain facility makes the best economic and energy sense for America's nuclear-powered future."
4. UN-Backed Panel: Legalize Prostitution Worldwide
A report issued by a United Nations-backed panel and partly funded by liberal financier George Soros calls for the repeal of all laws banning "consensual adult sex work" — prostitution.
It also recommends the decriminalization of injected illegal drugs to help combat the HIV epidemic.
The report, "HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Help," cites a recommendation by the International Labour Organization that "sex work" should be recognized as an occupation "in a way that protects workers and customers."
The panel, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, is made up of 15 former heads of state, legal scholars and HIV/AIDS activists and is backed by the United Nations Development Programme and UNAIDS — the Joint U.N. Programme on AIDS/HIV.
The panel's report states that countries must "repeal laws that prohibit consenting adults to buy or sell sex, as well as laws that otherwise prohibit commercial sex, such as laws against â€˜immoral' earnings, â€˜living off the earnings' of prostitution, and brothel-keeping."
It also notes: "Criminal sanctions against human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of minors are essential — but the laws must clearly differentiate these activities from consensual adult sex work."
The report terms laws against prostitution "bad laws," and asserts that criminalizing injected drug use and prostitution stands in the way of "effective HIV responses."
As for drug use, the panel calls on nations to "reform approaches towards drug use. Rather than punishing people who use drugs but do no harm to others, governments must offer them access to elective HIV and health services, including harm reduction programmes and voluntary, evidence-based treatment for drug dependence."
The commission specifically recommends that the United States should repeal the federal ban on the funding of needle and syringe exchange services, saying the ban inhibits access to HIV services for people who inject drugs.
The commission's study received funding from the governments of Canada, Norway, Australia, the United States (through USAID), and from billionaire George Soros through his Open Society Foundations, according to CNS News.
Dr. Janice Crouse, the director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America in Washington, D.C., told CNS that liberals "like to legitimize the whole [prostitution] industry that way so that it can be regulated and so that it can be considered a â€˜legitimate option' for women and give it more respectability.
"But the sad fact is in every instance where prostitution has been legalized, illegal prostitution has flourished."
5. Pipelines Are Safest for Fuel Transport
The Obama administration has delayed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline bringing oil from Canada to the United States largely due to concerns over the safety and reliability of fuel pipelines.
But those concerns overlook the basic fact that oil and natural gas pipelines are far safer than other means of transport, including rail and road, according to a report from Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
"A review of safety and accident statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the extensive network of existing U.S. pipelines — including many linked to Canada — clearly show that, in addition to enjoying a substantial cost advantage, pipelines result in fewer fatalities, injuries, and environmental damage than road and rail," she observes.
"Americans are more likely to get struck by lightning than to be killed in a pipeline accident."
America has 175,000 miles of onshore and offshore oil pipelines, and 321,000 miles of natural gas transmission and gathering pipelines. Gathering pipelines bring raw natural gas from the wellhead to the gas processing plant.
In addition, there are more than 2 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines sending gas to businesses and consumers.
About 71 percent of crude oil and petroleum products are shipped by pipeline — 882 billion ton-miles in one recent year, according to the DOT. Tanker and barge traffic accounts for 22 percent, road accounts for 4 percent, and rail accounts for 3 percent.
"If safety and environmental damages in the transportation of oil and gas were proportionate to the volume of shipments, one would expect the vast majority of damages to occur on pipelines," Furchtgott-Roth notes. "This paper finds the exact opposite. The majority of incidents occur on road and rail."
Over a recent four-year period, rail had the highest rate of environmental incidents, 651 per billion ton-miles per year. Incidents include not only explosions or fires but also the release of five gallons or more of a hazardous liquid.
Road had 20 reported incidents per billion ton-miles per year, while natural gas pipelines had only 0.89 incidents per billion ton-miles per year and oil pipelines had just 0.61.
Pipelines were also responsible for far few fatalities and injuries — 2.4 fatalities and four injuries per year for oil lines, and one fatality and 6.2 injuries for gas lines. Road transport of oil and gas averaged 10.2 fatalities and 21.8 injuries per year, and rail averaged 2.4 deaths and 25.6 injuries.
"As America continues to ramp up production of oil and natural gas, our pipeline infrastructure becomes more important," Furchtgott-Roth concludes. "America needs more pipelines — the safest way to move fuel."
6. Air Force: Bunker Buster Weapon Ready for Use
The Air Force's 30,000-pound bunker buster bomb is operational and ready for use if needed, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley revealed.
The Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is designed to destroy deeply buried bunkers that protect chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, according to the Air Force Times.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta earlier this year said the bomb needed more development to be able to take out deep bunkers.
But Donley said on Wednesday: "If it needed to go today, we would be ready to do that. We continue to do testing on the bomb to refine its capabilities. We also have the capability to go with existing configuration today."
The precision-guided MOP, which contains more than 5,000 pounds of explosives, was originally designed to take out hardened fortifications in Iran and North Korea.
"Since then, Syria has disintegrated into full civil war, making the U.S. government worried about the Syrian regime's stockpile of chemical weapons," according to the Air Force Times.
And the Jerusalem Post observed: "The Western world is increasingly concerned over the potential proliferation of Syria's chemical weapons to Hezbollah."
The MOP is reportedly able to penetrate to a depth of about 200 feet. It was developed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and is made by Boeing.
The Post also reported that it is "unclear" how Israel might deploy such a bomb, which won't fit onto its current fleet of combat aircraft. The U.S. Air Force plans to deploy the 20-foot-long bombs on B-2 bombers, which can carry a far larger payload than Israel's combat jets.
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