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Tuesday, Sep 23rd

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The Real Origins of the Religious Right

Bob Jones UniversityOne of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.

This myth of origins is oft repeated by the movement’s leaders. In his 2005 book, Jerry Falwell, the firebrand fundamentalist preacher, recounts his distress upon reading about the ruling in the Jan. 23, 1973, edition of the Lynchburg News: “I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wade story,” Falwell writes, “growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it.” Evangelicals, he decided, needed to organize.

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The NRA’s All-Out Assault on Accurate Information About Gun Deaths

NRAAs a shooting spree leaves seven dead in California, the gun lobby is trying to thwart attempts to study gun deaths and officials who see gun violence as a public health crisis.

Yet another massacre occurred last night at an institution of learning, this time the University of California, Santa Barbara. The price we paid for the National Rifle Association’s “freedom” was seven people murdered and seven injured at nine different crime scenes.

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RNC files lawsuit to raise unlimited cash

RNC cashThe Republican National Committee on Friday sued the Federal Election Commission for the ability to raise unlimited cash from individual donors.

The central committee, chairman Reince Priebus and Louisiana Republicans filed a joint lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking for permission to set up an independent account that could raise and spend potentially enormous sums of money to help federal candidates. Under the current rules, the RNC may only accept $32,400 each year from donors, and local-level parties are capped at $10,000.

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Republicans who designed Common Core say public has been misled by conservatives

Commom CoreFive Republican former governors who supported the Common Core from its creation during the Bush administration said Wednesday that disinformation from conservatives threatened to highjack the higher standards for what students should be able to accomplish in each grade.

“I’m a believer that facts ultimately prevail among most reasonable people,” said former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who helped lead the development of the standards and continues to support them. “I think it’s incumbent on us to speak out and defeat rumors and innuendo and allegations with facts about how the Common Core began, what its purpose is and how we believe it can be positive for American society.”

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Climate group to sink $100M in 7 races in 2014

Tome SteyerSetting his sights on Republicans who reject climate change, an environmentalist billionaire is unveiling plans to spend $100 million this year in seven competitive Senate and gubernatorial races, as his super PAC works to counteract a flood of conservative spending by the Koch brothers.

NextGen Climate Action said it plans to spend at least $50 million contributed by founder Tom Steyer, a retired hedge fund manager and longtime Democratic donor, and another $50 million the group is seeking to raise from likeminded donors. The money will be used to back Democrats and attack Republicans running for Senate in New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado and Michigan, and for governor in Pennsylvania, Florida and Maine.

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Pediatricians Take on the NRA Over Gun Safety

NRA vs AMAFor the past three decades, the American Academy of Pediatrics—some 62,000 members strong—has been an outspoken voice on the issue of gun control, a position that has landed it on the NRA’s (admittedly very long) list of enemies. In 1992, the AAP issued its first policy statement supporting a handgun and assault weapons ban, making it the first public health organization to do so, and it has long recommended that doctors talk about gun safety with parents. Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, the AAP has stepped up attempts to educate parents about gun safety around children.

But as the fight over gun rights grows ever more virulent at the national level, the AAP and individual doctors have quietly begun to take a softer stance on the issue, turning their focus to peddling realistic policies rather than clinging to a hard-and-fast no-guns line.

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The Worst Campaign Finance Ruling Since Citizens United

Scott WalkerWhatever one thinks about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his policies, the decision last week by federal judge Rudolph T. Randa to summarily halt an investigation into alleged campaign finance violations by Walker’s campaign and supporters—and to order prosecutors to destroy all the evidence they collected—was a striking instance of judicial chutzpah.

The accompanying opinion (PDF) is laced with ideological rhetoric seeking to undermine many of the remaining campaign finance laws on the books. Even following the Supreme Court’s evisceration of campaign finance law in the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, Randa’s ruling is a bridge too far. It should not stand.

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