Saturday, July 22, 2006



The Washington Post

Ethanol's Promise Isn't False

By John Alejandro
Saturday, July 22, 2006; A17

The July 2 op-ed by James Jordan and James Powell, "The False Hope of
Biofuels," painted a bleak portrait of the potential for corn-based ethanol
as a long-term solution for meeting our future transportation fuel needs.
But although their piece contained various statistics and metrics that
appeared to be credible, the article overlooked other important factors that
contribute to ethanol's chances of becoming a viable, long-term alternative
fuel solution.

First and foremost, while domestic production may never meet total U.S.
demand for ethanol, importing ethanol from other countries such as Brazil
would bridge U.S. production shortfalls. Brazil's exports of ethanol in 2005
were valued at $600 million and are expected to rise to $1.3 billion by
2010. The United States imported 86 million gallons from Brazil in 2004,
about 5 percent of domestic production and 54 percent of all our imported


July 22, 2006

Inflation Crossroads

The stock market went a little manic last week. On Wednesday, prices surged,
buoyed by investors' belief that rising inflation would not (necessarily)
compel the Federal Reserve to continue in its two-year-old campaign to raise
interest rates. On Thursday and Friday, prices dropped, as those same
investors apparently changed their minds. But there's no such ambiguity when
it comes to the impact of inflation on consumers, especially middle- and
low-income people. It hurts.

The Labor Department reported this week that consumer prices rose 0.2
percent in June. That was half the pace of May, but the slowdown may be
short-lived, since the decrease last month was due largely to lower energy
prices, which have since risen. And even with June's relatively tame
cost-of-living figure, inflation over the past year came in at 4.3 percent.
Because middle- and low-income Americans spend a larger share of their
incomes on essentials that tend to rise the most - like gasoline, food, rent
and utilities - economists generally assume that inflation is more painful
for them than for more affluent Americans.


Bush and the NAACP: Too Much Left Unsaid

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, July 22, 2006; A17

It was good of President Bush to show up at the NAACP convention this week,
given his failure to make an appearance during the past five years. But to
listen to the speech Bush delivered on Thursday after Sunday's address by
NAACP Chairman Julian Bond was to hear a president playing his audience

It wasn't that Bond's speech was scintillating while the president's was
dull, ponderous or anything like that. Bush was, to no one's surprise,
appropriately self-deprecating -- a disarming tactic that often works with
an unfriendly audience. And he struck all the right notes about slavery,
racism, segregation and discrimination: "The record placed a stain on
America's founding, a stain that we have not yet wiped clean," and "I
understand that racism still lingers in America. It's a lot easier to change
a law than to change a human heart."

Bush even owned up to the GOP's back-of-the-hand to African Americans: "For
too long my party wrote off the African American vote, and many African
Americans wrote off the Republican Party."


Cheney uses Mideast as campaign issue

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday pointed to the fighting
between Israel and Hezbollah as fresh evidence of the ongoing battle against
terrorism that underscores the need to keep President Bush's Republican
allies in control of Congress.

"This conflict is a long way from over," Cheney said at a fundraising
appearance for a GOP congressional candidate. "It's going to be a battle
that will last for a very long time. It is absolutely essential that we stay
the course."

Cheney's visit to Tampa helped raise about $200,000 for the campaign of Gus
Bilirakis, a state legislator who is running for the Tampa Bay area
congressional seat his father, Michael, is vacating.

"Gus is going to remember that the first order of business is to protect the
American people and to support the men and women who defend us in time of
war," Cheney told the audience at a $500-a-ticket fundraising reception.
"There's still hard work ahead in the war on terror."


Senate debates parental consent for abortions

Bill targets evasion of home-state laws
By Laurie Kellman, Associated Press | July 22, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Senate reopened the abortion debate yesterday in advance
of the midterm elections, this time over a bill that would make it a federal
crime to take a minor across state lines to end a pregnancy without a
parent's knowledge.

Supporters of the bill say such situations often occur when a teenage girl,
or the man involved, wants to evade home-state parental consent laws.
Opponents say the bill would make criminals of well-meaning confidants, such
as relatives and clergy members, who might help a pregnant teen whose
parents are abusive.

Much of the discussion yesterday concerned how to balance a parent's right
to know with a woman's right to end a pregnancy as spelled out by the 1973
Roe v. Wade decision.

``How would you feel as a parent in a situation like that?" asked the bill's
Senate sponsor, Nevada Republican John Ensign.



Bush doesn't measure up
By Derrick Z. Jackson | July 22, 2006

PRESIDENT BUSH broke his boycott of the NAACP by copying the speech he gave
to the nation's oldest civil rights group as a candidate in 2000.

On Thursday, Bush said: ``I understand that many African-Americans distrust
my political party. . . . I consider it a tragedy that the party of Abraham
Lincoln let go of its historic ties with the African-American community. . .
. We need to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations. . . . I
understand that racism still lingers in America."

In 2000, Bush said: ``For my party, there is no escaping the reality that
the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln. . . .
While some in my party have avoided the NAACP and while some in the NAACP
have avoided my party, I'm proud to be here. . . . I will confront another
form of bias: the soft bigotry of low expectations. . . . Discrimination is
still a reality, even when it takes different forms. Instead of Jim Crow,
there's racial redlining and profiling. Instead of separate but equal, there
is separate and forgotten. Strong civil rights enforcement will be a
cornerstone of my administration."


Pose this dilemma to religious right

Barry Kirshner
Boca Raton

July 22, 2006

As a member of the "reality based" community, I recognize that the far right
often uses misleading or outright erroneous information to further its
political goals. It frequently misuses statistics, omits pertinent facts and
appeals to incendiary wedge issues. It has proven that it will do anything
to win. This is true on the issues of global warming, gay rights, flag
burning and freedom of choice. These issues seem to be important only when
an election is pending and there is a need to solidify its base.

President Bush's recent action against embryonic stem-cell research makes
this quite obvious. Despite widespread public and scientific support,
individuals on the far right absurdly state that stem cell research is
murder. Bush depicts this as the killing of "innocent human life" despite
the fact that many of these embryos are destined for the trash. The
potential to help people with severe illnesses and disabilities is ignored.
Those on the far right are much more interested in the pre-born and
individuals at the very end of their lives. They seem to ignore the living
in between. This is morally far-fetched logic.