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Tags: Obamas | Coffee | Klatch | No-Conservatives | Roger Ailes | Jewish Fundraisers | Europe

Obama's Coffee Klatch: No Conservatives Please

By    |   Saturday, 24 December 2011 07:59 PM EST

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obama's Coffee Klatch: No Conservatives Allowed
2. Roger Ailes 'Most Powerful in Television News'
3. Jewish Fundraisers Still Support Obama
4. Europe Now Only Three-Quarters Christian
5. Hollywood Glitterati Max Out Donations to Obama
6. Plastic Bag Ban Could Harm Environment

1. Obama's Coffee Klatch: No Conservatives Allowed

President Barack Obama has drawn criticism for inviting an all-star list of liberal and progressive media people — including three MSNBC hosts — but no conservative voices for a chat over coffee at the White House.

Tim Graham, director of media at the Media Research Center, observed: "In the Bush years, it was considered a major scandal for [Fox News chief] Roger Ailes to send a note to the White House, but MSNBC stars meet with Obama, and it's just another day of 'hope and change.'"

Chris Tapper of ABC News reported the Dec. 19 meeting in the Roosevelt Room: "The group chatted with the president about economic messaging, his agenda for 2012, the various campaign arguments against different GOP candidates, the desire among some Democrats for him to highlight his foreign policy accomplishments, fighting corporate influence and the 'crappiness' of the Senate filibuster, as one attendee put it."

Those in attendance included Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes of MSNBC, Frank Bruni of The New York Times, Nation magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, Ezra Klein and Greg Sargent of The Washington Post, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, Faiz Shakir of ThinkProgress, and Joy-Ann Reid of The Reid Report.

The Inside Cable News blog also found fault with the liberal coffee klatch: "All I'll say is that if that many of [Fox News Channel's] hosts and contributors had shown up at the same time for a Bush chat, it would be all over the Web and probably the media as well," wrote the blog's author.

"It makes me uncomfortable for MSNBC to let that many of its people have open access to the president. It may be innocuous but at the very least it looks bad/smells fishy.

"I want more distance between D.C. and the people that cover it."

Editor's Note:

2. Roger Ailes 'Most Powerful in Television News'

Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes leads off this year's list of "The Most Powerful in Television News" in TVWeek's NewsPro magazine.

"In January it will be 10 years since Fox News Channel surpassed CNN to become the top-rated news channel. That dominance doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon," the magazine states in its December issue.

"The channel continually beats CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewership, and in the wider cable world is behind only ESPN and USA Network in total viewers.

"It's also one realm of News Corp.'s journalism empire that has stayed above the fray as a phone-hacking scandal engulfed the company's British newspaper operations and claimed a top Wall Street Journal executive."

NewsPro adds: "There's no reason to think that the upcoming presidential year, with its extended Republican nomination wrangling, won't give FNC a boost."

The cover story of Newsmax magazine's November issue, "The Most Powerful Man in the News," explored how Ailes single-handedly changed the way Americans get their news, building an audience that felt politically alienated by what they perceived to be the liberal bias of the big three networks.

Others on NewsPro's list include, not surprisingly, the heads of CBS News, ABC News, CNN Worldwide, NBC News, and MSNBC.

But also on the list are Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show"; Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report"; and Randy Falco, president of the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.

Editor's Note:

3. Jewish Fundraisers Still Support Obama

Despite a loss of support for President Barack Obama among Jewish voters due to his Middle East policies, top-level Jewish fundraisers from his 2008 campaign are staying with the president in 2012.

But their level of success in raising money remains to be seen.

In the last presidential election campaign, Obama's elite "bundlers" — fundraisers who collected more than $500,000 each for his campaign — included many prominent Jews.

With the exception of those who hold government jobs and are barred from political fundraising, all of them have returned on the 2012 campaign's list of volunteer bundlers, or are confirmed to be fundraising for the campaign, the Jewish publication Forward reports.

Several new prominent Jewish bundlers have joined the group as well.

Republican-affiliated groups including the Emergency Committee for Israel and the Republican Jewish Coalition have sought to weaken Obama's support among American Jews due to his policies on Israel and Iran. Remarking on Obama's Jewish fundraisers, RJC executive director Matthew Brooks told Forward: "These people are the committed of the committed. The question is what success do these people have when they go to their Rolodex and try to get contributions?"

And American Council for World Jewry Chairman Jack Rosen, who hosted a fundraiser attended by the president in November, admitted, "I think it's a challenging time to do fundraising. In the Jewish community, it may not only be the fact that many Jews are concerned about the U.S.-Israel relationship, but also the economy. I can't say that it wasn't difficult getting people to contribute."

Republicans have accused Obama of coddling Iran and being more sympathetic to the Palestinians than the Israelis.

A Gallup poll in September showed Obama's support among Jews at 54 percent, and a survey by the American Jewish Council that month put the figure at just 45 percent.

In 2008, 78 percent of Jewish voters supported Obama against John McCain.

Editor's Note:

4. Europe Now Only Three-Quarters Christian

A century ago almost all Europeans were Christians, but today just three-quarters of the population identify themselves with that faith — and Europe is no longer the epicenter of Christianity.

A new study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life found that the proportion of Europeans who are Christian has fallen from 95 percent in 1910 to 76 percent in 2010. In the Americas, the percentage has dropped from 96 percent to 86 percent.

In 1910, two-thirds of the world's Christians lived in Europe. Today, only about a quarter of all Christians live in Europe, while 37 percent live in the Americas, 24 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa, and 13 percent live in Asia and the Pacific.

In raw numbers, the United States' population of Christians grew by 190 percent over the past 100 years, from 85 million to 247 million, while Europe's population grew by just 39 percent, from 406 million to 566 million, according to the study results released in "A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population."

Christianity has seen an explosion of new members over the past century in sub-Saharan Africa, with the share of the population that is Christian soaring from 9 percent in 1910 to 63 percent in 2010.

The study also disclosed that about half of the world's Christians are Catholic; Protestants make up 37 percent; Orthodox Christians comprise 12 percent; other Christians, including Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, make up 1 percent.

The United States leads all countries with nearly 247 million Christians, followed by Brazil (176 million), Mexico (108 million), Russia (105 million), and Philippines (87 million).

Rounding out the top 10 are Nigeria (81 million), China (67 million), Democratic Republic of the Congo (63 million), Germany (58 million), and Ethiopia (53 million).

Other interesting disclosures from the new report: Nigeria has more than twice as many Protestants as Germany, the birthplace of the Reformation; Brazil has more than twice as many Catholics as Italy; and just 4 percent of the population in the Middle East and North Africa are Christians.

Editor's Note:

5. Hollywood Glitterati Max Out Donations to Obama

George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are among the Hollywood celebrities who have given the maximum contributions allowable to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Oscar winner Clooney has made a $2,500 contribution to Obama for the primary election and another $2,500 for the general election, plus $30,800 to the DNC, according to campaign contribution data on the OpenSecrets.org website.

Under federal election campaign finance law for 2011-2012, an individual may give $2,500 to a candidate for each election — the primary and the general — and $30,800 to a national party committee, such as the DNC or the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Hanks, a two-time Oscar winner, also made two $2,500 contributions to Obama's re-election campaign and $30,800 to the DNC, as did filmmaker Spielberg.

Actor Michael Douglas has given Obama $2,000, and singer-songwriters Neil Young and James Taylor have both donated the $30,800 maximum to the DNC, plus two $2,500 contributions to Obama.

Directors Ron Howard, Rob Reiner and Cameron Crowe have contributed to the DNC.

But not all celebrities are backing Obama's re-election campaign. Comedian and political commentator Dennis Miller gave $250 to Herman Cain's campaign in September. Actor and economist Ben Stein gave $1,500 to Rep. Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign, and $250 to Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida.

Real estate mogul and host of "The Apprentice" Donald Trump gave $30,000 to the RNC, $1,000 to Rep. West, $1,000 to Republican Rep. Pete King of New York, and $2,500 to California Republican Rep. Ed Royce.

Editor's Note:

6. Plastic Bag Ban Could Harm Environment

Seattle has become the latest city to ban plastic bags — a move that some observers say will harm the environment the ban is designed to protect.

The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 on Dec. 19 to ban single-use plastic bags and impose a five-cent tax on paper bags to "protect marine wildlife." Retailers will collect the paper bag tax.

Many of the plastic bags, which are not biodegradable, end up in Puget Sound and break down into smaller pieces that can be consumed by shellfish, fish, turtles, birds, and marine mammals, according to the council's website.

But "moving consumers away from plastic bags only pushes people to less environmentally friendly options such as paper bags, which require more energy to produce and transport, and reusable bags, which are not recyclable," said Mark Daniels, vice president of sustainability and environmental policy at Hilex Poly, which makes plastic bags.

And Angela Logomasini, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment, said the manufacturer is "more in touch with the facts on this issue than environmentalists," according to CNS News.

Paper bags take up much more space in landfills than plastic bags, which generate 80 percent less waste and can be reused. Also, plastic bags are made from plentiful natural gas, while reusable bags are made from oil.

"Plastics are extremely energy efficient to make, so you have a lot of energy savings up front," Logomasini said.

She added that environmentalists "only look at one side of the equation."

"It is an important concern for litter — plastic bags stay around longer — but the answer to that isn't to get rid of them," she said.

Other cities that have banned plastic bags include San Francisco; Portland, Ore., Bellingham, Wash.; and Los Angeles County in California.

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Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Obama's Coffee Klatch: No Conservatives Allowed 2. Roger Ailes 'Most Powerful in Television News' 3. Jewish Fundraisers Still Support Obama 4. Europe Now Only Three-Quarters Christian 5. Hollywood Glitterati...
Obamas,Coffee,Klatch,No-Conservatives,Roger Ailes,Jewish Fundraisers,Europe,Christian,Hollywood Glitterati Obama Donations,Plastic Bag Ban
Saturday, 24 December 2011 07:59 PM
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