A new Pew poll finds that nearly one in five Americans — and 31 percent of self-identified Republicans — believe that President Obama is a Muslim. The poll found that only 10 percent of Democrats hold that belief.
The last U.S. combat brigade in Iraq has left the country, “a move that helps U.S. President Barack Obama reach his goal of 50,000 troops in the country by September 1.” “Operation Iraqi Freedom ends on your watch!” the head of the 4,000-strong brigade told his soldiers last night, as the State Department prepares to take over the U.S. mission in Iraq, backed by a “small army of contractors.”
The debate over religious freedom sparked by the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero might be derailed by a simple logistical issue: the planners aren’t ready to build. Politico reports, “The Cordoba Initiative hasn’t begun fundraising yet for its $100 million goal. The group’s latest fundraising report with the State Attorney General’s office, from 2008, shows exactly $18,255 – not enough even for a down payment on the half of the site the group has yet to purchase.”
In light of News Corp’s $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association, the Democratic Governors Association is calling on Fox News “run a ‘formal disclaimer’ when it covers gubernatorial races.” CNN reports that while the parent companies of most networks have made “at least six-figure contributions to political parties and candidates,” none has give such a large, lop-sided partisan donation.
At a town-hall style meeting in Columbus, Ohio yesterday, President Obama pledged that “the Social Security system won’t be privatized while he is in the White House.” While noting that Social Security needs “modest changes,” he pointed out that the economic recession and Wall Street collapse “would have devastated the savings of retirees” in a privatized system.
A community group in the Gulf of Mexico is debating the Obama administration’s rosy claims about the oil remaining in the Gulf, becoming the second group this week to do so. On Tuesday, The University of Georgia also published a paper saying that, contrary to the Obama administration’s claims that most of the Gulf oil has been cleaned or contained, as much as 79 percent still remained in the water and presented a danger to the ecosystem.
The United Nations now estimates that as many as 4 million Pakistanis have been left homeless by the flooding in that country. “Since it’s an evolving situation, things are unfolding. Our estimate has gone up and now eight million are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance,” a U.N. humanitarian spokesman told Reuters.
According to a National Coalition for the Homeless report to be released this week, killings of homeless people have risen to their highest level in a decade. The report, considered “the most definitive study of the problem,” notes that the 59 percent rise in attacks over one year “runs counter to national trends in other areas of crime.”
And finally: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempted to do what politicians visiting Philadelphia have done “since presumably the beginning of time” — order a cheesesteak. However, after getting flustered by the confusing ordering process, Bloomberg decided against finishing the mammoth sandwich, telling reporters, “I’m not going to eat it in front of you.”
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