Voters Critical of Obama on Afghanistan, Iran

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Voters are split evenly on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan as General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander there, has requested, and they are also critical of President Obama, saying he is not doing what it takes to win, according to a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll conducted Sept. 29-30.


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Support for Legal Abortion Drops

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Support for legal abortion has declined over the last two years while the percentage of those opposing it has grown, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted during August.


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Poll: Abortion Support Slips Since Obama’s Election

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Americans have become markedly less supportive of legal abortion since President Obama’s election. The country is almost evenly split on the contentious issue, while views in both camps appear to be hardening — a trend that runs counter to Obama’s longstanding desire to find common ground on the issue.

The shift is not too surprising given the election of a pro-choice president after two terms of a pro-life president, George W. Bush. Pro-choice forces were galvanized by the challenge Bush posed, and a similar dynamic seems to be occurring now, with religion proving to be an especially potent factor in rallying opponents of abortion.

On the other hand, far fewer Americans believe abortion is a critical issue — just 15 percent, down from 28 percent in 2006 — and the percentage of Americans who believe abortion is “morally wrong” is unchanged.

In 2006, just over half of Americans, 52 percent, agreed that abortion is morally wrong, with 12 percent saying it was “morally acceptable” and 23 percent saying it was not a moral issue. In 2009, the same percentage of Americans, 52 percent, said it was morally wrong, while 10 percent said it was morally acceptable, and 25 percent said it was not a moral issue.

The data is found in a new, large-scale survey from the Pew Forum that offers a complex portrait of Americans’ often conflicting views on abortion rights, but one that will provide ammunition for all sides in the ongoing battles over abortion, especially as it relates to health care reform.


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Don Draper and James Grady’s Dante Reflect Our Own Infernos

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Soon my 30-day Netflix trial will end, and I will have caught up on Seasons 1 and 2 of “Mad Men.” While time consuming and a bit jarring, simultaneously watching old and new episodes of the show illuminates the breadcrumbs the writers dropped to lead us to Don Draper’s current juicy pickle.


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The Three Disgraces: Roman Polanski’s Defenders

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You know what I can’t believe? I can’t believe there is even a debate going on about film director/confessed pedophile Roman Polanski. The guy skipped town to avoid a legal sentence in a plea deal that he agreed to. He needs to be brought back to face the consequences of his despicable actions, as Bonnie describes here. That is the law in our country. Period. As you said, Mary, creative talent does not excuse criminal acts.

Just as disgraceful as Polanski’s craven behavior of avoiding the law for the past three decades is the misguided, contorted reasoning of those who have come to his defense or sought to explain away his actions. I am thinking of three high-profile people in particular:

1. Whoopi Goldberg, the actress and talking head on ABC’s “The View,” said this the other day: “I know it wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape.” Yesterday she clarified her comments, saying that what she was referring to was the charge that Polanski ultimately pled guilty to; not rape, but rather having unlawful sex with a minor — or, put another way, Ms. Goldberg, statutory rape.

The other five original felony charges Ms. Goldberg pointed out on Wednesday — furnishing a controlled substance to a minor; perversion; sodomy; committing lewd and lascivious acts upon a child of under 14; and rape by use of drugs — were dismissed as part of a plea bargain.

I guess Ms. Goldberg is right — it was not rape-rape. According to the unsealed testimony of the victim, which Bonnie links to here, Polanski plied the girl with drugs and champagne and, in spite of her repeated protests, forced himself on her orally, vaginally, and anally. So, I guess that would be rape-rape-rape, rather than rape-rape.

2. Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer, called for Polanski’s release, writing that the arrest was “a shocking way to treat such a man,” especially one who had suffered through the Holocaust and the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson family. He is now circulating a petition in support of Polanski.

“I will be organising the effort myself by emailing everybody I know to sign the petition,” Weinstein wrote in the Independent. “I’m not too shy to go and talk to the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and to ask him once and for all to look at this.”

So magnanimous and compassionate when it comes to aiding his Hollywood peer, and yet when it comes to Polanski’s then-13-year-old victim, this is all that Weinstein could muster:
“Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time.”

I guess Mr. Weinstein didn’t want to get bogged down in any gory details of that “so-called” crime — an odd omission from the producer of “Inglorious Basterds” and “Grindhouse.”

3. Anne Applebaum, the Washington Post op-ed columnist offered perhaps the most outrageous defense of Polanski. She sought to minimize the crime by calling “bizarre” the decision by a U.S. judge to pursue the case after “so many decades.” That reasoning itself seems bizarre to me when, in the next breath, Applebaum excuses Polanski’s “original, panicky decision to flee” because of the tragedy he and his family suffered during the Holocaust (which took place some three decades before Mr. Polanski committed child rape).

Applebaum asserted that Polanski has already paid dearly for his crime “in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers’ fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.”

After a blogger pointed out that Applebaum is married to the Polish foreign minister, who had indicated he might lobby for clemency on behalf of Polanski, she defended her position and said she was offended by the implication that she might be acting as a spokesman for her husband.

I’ll give her that; I’m of the opinion that Applebaum is mistress of her own views. Too bad they are so misguided.


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Castle Leads Biden in Delaware Governor’s Match-Up

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The two top names floated for next year’s governor’s race in Delaware still have not said if they will run, but if they do nine-term Rep. Michael Castle leads Democrat Beau Biden, the state’s Attorney General, 47 percent to 42 percent with 6 percent undecided and 3 percent preferring someone else, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted Sept. 30. The margin of error is 4.5 points.


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Nancy Pelosi: No Apology Needed For Grayson’s ‘Die Quickly’ Floor Speech

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There is a tradition in Congress of referring to members as “gentlemen” and “gentle ladies.” But recent bipartisan offenses on the floor of the House of Representatives have put members in anything but a polite mood with each other.

The most recent example comes from the gentleman from Florida Democrat Alan Grayson who excoriated Republicans for what he said was their refusal to work toward a solution on health care reform. Grayson spoke from the well of the chamber Tuesday and presented three posters that he said detailed the Republican Health Care Plan. They read: 1. Don’t get sick. 2. If you do get sick. 3. Die quickly.

The gentleman from Georgia, Republican Tom Price, called on Grayson to formally apologize, and filed a privileged resolution like the one filed by the gentleman from Maryland, Steney Hoyer, to reprimand the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson, for yelling “You lie!” at the president during a joint session of Congress last month.

Rather than retracting his words, however, Grayson returned to the floor Wednesday to give his regrets, but not to Republicans. “I would like to apologize to the dead,” he said, referring to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health that estimated the mortality rate because of poor access to health insurance. “I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven’t voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.”

Later, Grayson went to CNN to declare that he has “no intention of apologizing,” telling Wolf Blitzer, “I didn’t insult the president in front of 40 million people. What the Republicans have been doing is an insult to America.” He also said, “There are foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who think they can dictate policy to America by being stubborn.”

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Republicans are holding Democrats to a higher standard than they hold members of their own party, referring to Rep. Joe Wilson’s refusal to apologize for shouting at the president. “There’s no more reason for Mr. Grayson to apologize than for…” Pelosi said. “In other words, if anyone is going to apologize, everyone should apologize.”

Republican leaders did ask Wilson to apologize after his outburst, but he refused.

She continued, “I again want everyone on all sides to take the level of debate to a plane that is worthy of the subject that we have at hand.”

And with that, the gentle lady from California went on with the press conference.


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