Afternoon News Bytes: March 6, 2012

By the Web Editors 3-06-2012

ASSOCIATED PRESS: AP Survey: More Optimism About US Jobs And Economy
The U.S. economy is improving faster than economists had expected. They now foresee slightly stronger growth and hiring than they did two months earlier — trends that would help President Barack Obama's re-election hopes.
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THE HUFFINGTON POST: Rise Of Faith Within GOP Has Created America's First Religious Party
It's time for the pancake breakfast in the basement meeting hall of St. Peter's Catholic Church in this faded but proud industrial city on the Ohio River. It's Sunday morning before the 11 o'clock mass, and as swarms of kids dig into their syrupy meals, the parents talk politics and religion.
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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: U.S. Holds Conflicting Views On Poverty And The Poor
The tension over how best to assist poor people in America has deep roots. In a 1981 survey, a federal agency asked people which government programs should be curtailed. When "public welfare" was included on the list of programs, 39 percent of Americans said it should be cut. When replaced with the term "aid to the needy," only 7 percent voted for a reduction.
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FIRST THINGS: Religion Reporting Descends Into Meme
On February 25, the Associated Press ran a story with the headline “Santorum Benefits from Mistaken Religious Identity.” What does that mean? To anyone passably literate in contemporary American politics, it suggests that conservative Evangelical voters perceive Rick Santorum to be one of them. I was expecting to read about the results of another poll.
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THE HUFFINGTON POST: In Super Tuesday's Shadow, Ohio's Poorest Struggle To Rise
Exit the Madison Avenue Expressway onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, just beyond a road sign advertising the Museum of Industry and Labor, and an elegant, pre-war building, red brick and multi-gabled, rises on your right. Built in 1931 and the former home of the West Federal YMCA branch, it is now owned by the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley, which houses dozens of this town's homeless residents.
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THE NATION: How To Fund An American Police State
At the height of the Occupy Wall Street evictions, it seemed as though some diminutive version of “shock and awe” had stumbled from Baghdad, Iraq, to Oakland, California. American police forces had been “militarized,” many commentators worried, as though the firepower and callous tactics on display were anomalies, surprises bursting upon us from nowhere.
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THE ATLANTIC WIRE: Minority Students Get Arrested, Suspended More Than White Students
A new study of large school systems shows that the racial gap in the punishment of students is similar to the disparities found in the criminal justice system for adults. Data from the Department of Education show that African-American students are suspended or "referred" to law enforcement by school officials far more often that white students, even with in the same school.
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THE CHRISTIAN POST: Microsoft VP: God Can Use Whatever You Have To Spread The Gospel
A Microsoft executive, inspired by her Christian faith to help build a school and rescue center with World Vision for girls escaping female genital mutilation – encouraged Christian women on Monday at a conference to use their passion to serve God.
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THE NATION: America's Fossil Fuel Fever
It was not very long ago that America seemed headed on a path of reduced dependence on fossil fuels—oil, coal and natural gas—and greater reliance on renewable forms of energy, such as wind and solar. “Our addiction to fossil fuels is one of the most serious threats to our national security in the twenty-first century,” Barack Obama declared while campaigning for president in 2008.
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SALON: What If All Sides Are Wrong About Taxes?
What I am about to say will offend just about everybody, but it can’t be helped. Each of the major schools of thought about taxation in America—right, left and center— is trapped in its own particular fantasy world.
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THE ATLANTIC: It's Time To Clean House
America is mired in a tarpit of accumulated law. Reformers propose new laws to fix health care, schools, and the regulatory system, but almost never suggest cleaning out the legal swamp these institutions operate in. These complex legal tangles not only set goals but allocate resources and dictate the minutest details of how to meet those goals. Most are obsolete in whole or part.
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USA TODAY: Kim Kardashian, The Donald Trump Bible For Money Advice
More Americans would follow Donald Trump's financial wisdom than the Bible's and some Millennials would heed advice on riches from Kim Kardashian over the Good Book, a new survey finds.
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CNN BELIEF BLOG: Who Would Jesus Vote For? (OPINION)
So who would Jesus vote for? As the executive director of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group, I cannot legally tell you that.
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