Tags: War | on | Gay | Marriage

War on Gay Marriage; Obama Worries Israel; Pelosi's Communion

By    |   Sunday, 10 August 2008 04:53 PM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Both Sides Spending Big on California's Same-Sex Marriage Ban
2. Israelis Still Favor McCain Over Obama
3. Speaker Pelosi's Church Hasn't Withheld Communion
4. Big Donors, Not Just Small, Aiding Obama Campaign
5. Liberal Web Sites More Profane Than Conservatives
6. We Heard: John Zogby, Newt Gingrich

1. Both Sides Spending Big on California's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in California has been drawing large contributions from proponents on both sides of the issue.

The amendment, which will appear on the November ballot, was introduced following the California Supreme Court's May 15 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The amendment states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

The gay rights group Equity for All and a related organization raised about
$2.6 million in the first half of 2008 to fight the amendment, Proposition 8, according to an

analysis of campaign fundraising by the San Jose Mercury-News.

That's about $300,000 more than the amount raised by the major backers of the amendment, Protect Marriage and the National Organization for Marriage-California.

The amendment's largest boost before June 30 came from James Dobson's Focus on the Family organization, which gave $250,000 to Protect Marriage.

Focus on the Family spokeswoman Monica Marti told the Mercury-News that Dobson's organization believes the outcome of the vote on Proposition 8 will affect the rest of the country as well. California does not require couples to be residents to marry there.

Donations have continued to pour in since the end of June, and much of the money has been coming from outside California. The Mississippi-based American Family Association gave Protect Marriage $500,000 on July 21.

"The rest of the nation is watching," said Protect Marriage spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns.

Equality for All recently received $1.05 million from a political action committee of the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign, and $250,000 from the Gill Action Fund, a gay rights foundation in Denver.

Both sides believe they can raise between $10 million and $15 million by Election Day.

Back in 2000, a proposition declaring that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California" passed with 61 percent of the vote.

The Supreme Court ruling struck down that statue, meaning the constitutional amendment is needed to ban same-sex marriage.

Barack Obama opposes the initiative, calling it "divisive and discriminatory," but he remains opposed to same-sex marriage and supports civil unions and domestic partnerships.

His presidential rival John McCain announced his support for the amendment in June.

Editor's Note:

2. Israelis Still Favor McCain Over Obama

Despite Democrat Barack Obama's much-publicized recent visit to their nation, Israelis would still prefer to see his Republican rival John McCain elected president.

A new poll conducted after Obama's visit found that 38 percent of respondents said they wanted McCain in the White House, 31 percent said Obama, and 31 percent had no opinion or refused to answer.

The margin was only slightly narrower than the 9-point edge McCain held in a late June poll.

During his visit, Obama met with top Israeli politicians, visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and voiced a more hawkish stance on Iran, saying he would "take no options off the table" to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and asserting that "a nuclear Iran would be a game-changing situation not just in the Middle East but around the world."

But not all Israelis were satisfied by Obama's statements. Natan Sharansky, a former deputy Prime Minister, described Obama as a "risky" candidate for the Jewish state.

Obama "was well received and said all the things he needed to say from an Israeli perspective," Mitchell Barak, director of Keevoon Research Strategy & Communications — the Jerusalem-based company that conducted the poll — told Politico.

But pollster Barak told the Boston Globe that several factors are problematic for Obama among Israeli Jews. He cited Obama's willingness to meet with Iranian leaders as one.

A Keevoon poll in Israel on May 15, before Hillary Clinton bowed out of the Democratic race, had McCain the preferred candidate over Obama by a margin of 43 percent to 20 percent, the Jerusalem Post reported.

In the new poll, Israeli soldiers preferred Obama over McCain, 55 percent to
35 percent, despite McCain's heralded military service. That may be "a function of age," according to Politico, because the poll found that 18-to-24-year-olds preferred Obama by a 49 percent to 30 percent margin.

A Gallup Poll in May found that American Jews preferred Obama over McCain,
61 percent to 32 percent.

Editor's Note:

3. Speaker Pelosi's Church Hasn't Withheld Communion

Some Catholic politicians who support abortion rights have clashed with the Church over receiving communion, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not had problems receiving the sacrament.

In a recent interview with C-SPAN, Pelosi was asked about the objections some church officials have raised regarding whether presidential candidates, including John Kerry and Rudy Giuliani, should receive communion.

She responded that she has not encountered such difficulties at her San Francisco church.

"I think some of it is regional," the California Democrat said. "It depends on the bishop of a certain region and fortunately for me, communion has not been withheld, and I'm a regular communicant so that would be a severe blow to me if that were the case."

Pelosi did not directly talk about how her pro-abortion rights position is at odds with the Church, The Hill newspaper reported.

In 2004 when John Kerry was a presidential candidate, top Vatican prelate Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — the future Pope Benedict XVI — told American bishops that communion must be denied to Catholic politicians who support legal abortion.

Several bishops did say they would refuse communion for Kerry over the abortion issue.

For a time, presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, a Catholic who also supports abortion rights, sought to avoid controversy by choosing not to receive communion.

New York Cardinal Edward Egan said Giuliani broke "an understanding" with the cleric when he received communion during Pope Benedict's April visit to the U.S.

Editor's Note:

4. Big Donors, Not Just Small, Aiding Obama Campaign

The Barack Obama campaign has often touted his ability to raise money from contributors of $200 or less, and cited that as a rationale for opting out of public financing.

But fundraising records show that Obama has raked in more money in donations of $1,000 or more than has John McCain or Hillary Clinton.

Contributions of $200 or less have accounted for half of the $340 million Obama has collected so far, with much of that money being raised via the Internet.

But roughly one-third of his record-breaking haul, $112 million, has come from donations of $1,000 or more, according to the fundraising records analyzed by The New York Times. In June alone, Obama raised more than $12 million in donations of $1,000 or more, the most since the first half of 2007.

In fact, Obama is on a pace to rival the $147 million raised by President Bush's network of Pioneers and Rangers in donations of $1,000 or more during the 2004 primary season.

Behind Obama's larger donations are more than 500 "bundlers," fundraisers who have each collected contributions adding up to $50,000 or more. Nearly three dozens bundlers have brought in more than $500,000, and more than a half-dozen have raised over $1 million.

"Many of the bundlers come from industries with critical interests in Washington," the Times notes.

About two-thirds of the bundlers come from four major industries: law, securities and investments, real estate, and entertainment. Lawyers make up the largest group.

Obama has pledged not to accept donations from lobbyists or political action committees registered with the federal government. But many of the bundlers from the lawyers group work for firms that also have lobbying arms.

Obama's efforts are "being packaged as an extraordinary new kind of fundraising, and the Internet is a new and powerful part of it," Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, told the Times. "But it's also clear that many of the old donors are still there and important."

Editor's Note:

5. Liberal Web Sites More Profane Than Conservatives

Liberal Web sites that allow feedback from readers are more than 12 times as likely to contain profanity as their conservative counterparts.

That's the finding of Washington Times' "Poli-Tech" columnist Matthew Sheffield, who used a search engine to find profanity on leading sites on both sides of the political spectrum.

Sheffield looked for occurrences of late comic George Carlin's "seven dirty words" and some popular variants on the top 10 conservative and top 10 liberal Web sites.

The search yielded 70,000 results at the conservative sites — and 1.9 million on the liberal sites.

"Dividing the number of instance of profanity by the number of pages of the sites on which they appear, then multiplying the result by 100, yields what might be called a ‘profanity quotient,'" Sheffield writes.

The top 10 left-wing sites have a profanity quotient of 14.6, while the right-wing sites have a quotient of 1.17, which means 14.6 percent of all pages on the liberal sites contain profanity, compared to 1.17 percent of all pages on the conservative sites.

"That's quite a disparity — liberals are more than 12 times as likely to use profanity as conservatives on the Web," Sheffield points out.

In an effort to explain the result, Sheffield adds: "More than likely, it is a reflection of how things are offline. Conservatives, especially those who are more religious, are less likely to use profanity in their daily conversation."

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .

THAT leading pollster John Zogby's new book won't be available in bookstores until August 12, but it's already the No. 1 seller on Amazon.com's list of books in the Public Opinion category.

In "The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream," Zogby digs through "thousands of surveys that sample Americans' views on everything from politics, spirituality, and education to favorite cars, stores, and comedians," according to the Web Site VeryShortList.com, which touts the book.

Zogby's unexpected findings: Americans are becoming less materialistic, less tolerant of political divisions, and more concerned about the rest of the world.

THAT former House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicts Democrats would lose a potential government shutdown fight over offshore oil drilling.

The ban on offshore drilling expires Sept. 30, and some conservatives who favor offshore drilling have urged President Bush to threaten to veto any bill that extends the ban,

including a routine stopgap spending bill to keep the government running, according to the Washington, D.C.-based newspaper Roll Call.

"Are they really prepared to close the government in order to stop drilling?" Gingrich asked of Democrats. "I think the public would think they're insane … I don't see how the Democrats could possibly sustain a suicidal strategy like that."

Gingrich played the key role in forcing the last government shutdown, in 1995 and 1996, when Congress sought to force President Bill Clinton to support the Republican budget.

Gingrich also predicted that due to widespread concern over gasoline prices, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lose a vote on oil drilling when Congress returns from the August recess.

He told Roll Call, "I think the pro-energy Democrats are going to split with her and they're going to join the Republicans … If the Democrats are smart they'll cave and pass a bill."

Editor's Note:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Both Sides Spending Big on California's Same-Sex Marriage Ban2. Israelis Still Favor McCain Over Obama3. Speaker Pelosi's Church Hasn't Withheld Communion4. Big Donors, Not Just Small, Aiding Obama Campaign5. Liberal Web Sites...
Sunday, 10 August 2008 04:53 PM
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