In the News: 11/8/06

Dobson quits as Haggard counselor Citing a lack of time, Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson withdrew from the team overseeing counseling for the Rev. Ted Haggard, the evangelical pastor embroiled in a scandal involving a male prostitute and illegal drugs.

Let’s Stop Stereotyping Evangelicals It was in 1976 — the “year of the evangelical,” according to Newsweek — that conservative Christians burst upon the political landscape. Critics have been warning about the theocratic takeover of America ever since. Thus the plaintive cry of a Cabinet member in the Carter administration: “I am beginning to fear that we could have an Ayatollah Khomeini in this country, but that he will not have a beard . . . he will have a television program.”

Same-Sex Marriage, Wages Top Ballot Issues Revving up their base with emotionally resonant issues, Democrats won increases in the minimum wage in at least five states, while Republicans pulled out their 2004 playbook and appeared to have won bans on same-sex marriage in at least six states.

A Voter Rebuke For Bush, the War And the Right The political pendulum in American politics swung away from the right yesterday, putting an end to the 12-year Republican Revolution on Capitol Hill and delivering a sharp rebuke of President Bush and the Iraq war.

Gay Marriage Ban Rejected in Arizona — In a triple setback for conservatives, South Dakotans rejected a law that would have banned virtually all abortions, Arizona became the first state to defeat an amendment to ban gay marriage and Missouri approved a measure backing stem cell research.

South Dakota scraps abortion ban Voters reject the law built with little leeway. The ban lost 55% to 45%. A prohibition of gay marriage passes.

The winners … After a dozen years in the wilderness, Democrats regain the House — and more.

… and the loser President Bush wasn’t on the ballot, but the election was a referendum on his divisiveness. Voters don’t like it.

Dems win House, 2 tight races leave Senate in doubt Americans threw Republicans out of power in the House of Representatives on Tuesday and were close to also putting Democrats in control of the Senate, demanding a check on an unpopular president and a new course for an unpopular war.

Exit polls: Iraq hurt Republicans, but scandal hurt worse WASHINGTON — The Iraq war hurt Republican candidates in the midterm elections, but corruption and scandal were bigger problems for them, exit polls found.

Same-sex marriage defeated A constitutional amendment in Tennessee defining marriage as between a man and woman passed easily Tuesday.

Democrat-led House will try to help with college costs With college costs surging, Democratic leaders in the House have made reducing those costs one of their top priorities.

Dem win means changes in tax agenda The Democrats have won control of the House. What will it mean for your tax returns? Here’s a look at what to expect.

FCC changes rulings on indecencyIt’s apparently OK to say the S-word on TV — as long as it’s on a program that the Federal Communications Commission says even faintly resembles a news show.

Democrats make gains in governor mansions Democrats reclaimed governorships from the Northeast to the Rockies, putting them on track to take a majority of the governorships.

Jet lag shortens life span of older mice, study says If flying to London throws off your body clock for a few days, be happy you’re not a rodent. According to a new study, elderly mice die earlier if they’re exposed to time shifts that replicate the effects of jet lag. Older mice have a hard time tolerating shifts in patterns of light and dark.

Virginia voters approve gay marriage amendment, two other initiatives Virginia voters easily approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday.

Vatican decries waning influence of Christian values in Western society The Vatican says divorce, abortion and gay marriage are signs of the weakening influence of Christian values in Western societies.

All Slander All the Time Politicians spend $1 billion to convince you that politicians are no good.

Ban on Same-Sex Unions Added to Va. Constitution A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in Virginia passed easily yesterday, adding the state to more than 20 others that have prohibited the practice.

Democrats Promise Broad New Agenda Democrats vowed to press a broad agenda of legislative change and to confront President Bush on issues such as the war in Iraq after seizing control of the House last night following 12 years of Republican rule.

Nancy Pelosi Set to Be First Female Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is set to become the first female speaker of the House, shattering what she herself has described as “not a glass ceiling but a marble ceiling” in the halls of Congress.

The Morning After Well, the media really dodged a bullet yesterday. If the Republicans had defied the polls and somehow hung on to the House, every journalist, pundit, analyst and other assorted loudmouths who bought into the Democratic takeover scenario would be so embarrassed they would have to go into hiding.

My ‘Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’ I’m a Muslim Kazakh woman who arrived in the United States two months ago to work on my master’s in public administration. Almost every time I meet people and tell them where I come from, they ask me about the “Kazakh journalist” Borat, “the sixth most famous man” in Kazakhstan. I answer that Borat is a satirical fictional character who has nothing in common with Kazakhstan or its people.

Pelosi’s Platform What would a Democratic House of Representatives under Speaker Nancy Pelosi be like? The Republicans have been painting an unattractive portrait of Democrats roasting young children on a spit in the Capitol Rotunda and whatnot. Hoping for a more encouraging view, I picked up “A New Direction for America,” a 31-page manifesto released to little acclaim by House Democrats in June.

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