Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Stressing Pork, Not The Party
Republican Hopefuls Play Down the Brand
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; A15

GLEN ALLEN, Va. -- Sen. George Allen, the Virginia Republican up for reelection this year, and Jim Webb, his Democratic opponent, have big differences on Iraq. Allen supports President Bush's policies. Webb opposed the war. But the big news out of their debate Saturday in Hot Springs had nothing to do with the Middle East. The geographic locale that mattered was Craney Island. Most people outside Virginia's Hampton Roads region have never heard of Craney Island -- and neither had Webb, an anti-politician whose career has taken him from the military to the Reagan administration to writing and now back to the Democratic Party.



July 25, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor
Raise Wages, Not Walls

THERE are two approaches to illegal immigration currently being debated in Congress. One, supported by the House, emphasizes border control and law enforcement, including a wall along the Mexican border and increased border patrols. The other, which is supported by the Bush administration and has been passed by the Senate, relies on employers to police the workplace. Both proposals have serious flaws. As opponents of the House plan have rightly pointed out, walls rarely work; illegal immigrants will get around them one way or another. Unless we erect something akin to the Berlin Wall, which would cost billions to build and police, a barrier on the border would be monitored by largely symbolic patrols and easily evaded.



It's Disproportionate. . .

By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; A15

Just my luck. I go away on vacation and it happens to be the week when George W. Bush's strategic view of the current world situation is revealed: Russia big. China big, too. World leaders boring. Lady world leaders need neck rub. Terrorism bad. Elections good (when the right people get elected). Israel good. Time to go home yet? I felt better when I thought the Decider didn't have a worldview, just a set of instincts about freedom and democracy. But even if you set aside the president's embarrassing open-mike performance at the Group of Eight summit, which is hard to do, events of the past week show that this administration
actually thinks it knows what it's doing. Bush and his folks haven't just blundered around and created this dangerous mess, they've done it on purpose. And they intend to make it worse.



From the Los Angeles Times
Some Democrats Unfurl a Map for a Middle Road
Pocketbook issues form the core of a Leadership Council centrist plan to
produce party members who are more "practical" and "accepting."
By Mark Z. Barabak
Times Staff Writer
July 25, 2006

DENVER - Centrist Democrats, led by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, unveiled a policy manifesto Monday aimed at winning Congress and the White House and distancing the party from its clamorous left wing. The prescription, directed at middle-class voters and focused on economic issues, capped a three-day meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council, another installment in the party's search for itself. Highlights included proposals to make college tuition and home-buying more accessible, expand the availability of healthcare, and provide greater retirement security - all leavened with a smidgen of Bush-bashing.



July 25, 2006
Read the Fine Print

Over 212 years, 42 presidents issued "signing statements" objecting to a grand total of 600 provisions of new laws. George W. Bush has done that more than 800 times in just over five and a half years in office. Most presidents used signing statements to get legal objections on the record for judges to consider in any court challenge. For Mr. Bush, they are far more: part of a strategy to expand presidential powers at the expense of Congress and the courts. His signing statements have become notices to Congress that he simply does not intend to follow the law, especially any attempt to hold him accountable for his actions. Some of Mr. Bush's signing statements have become notorious, like the one in which he said he didn't feel bound by the new law against torturing prisoners. Others were more obscure, like the one in which he said he would
not follow a law forbidding the White House to censor or withhold scientific data requested by Congress.



July 25, 2006
Drain America First

Congress's default response to the nation's manifest energy problems is to increase supply, while doing nothing to reduce demand. Earlier this year, the House rebuffed a modest effort to increase fuel economy standards while approving a bill whose main purpose is to end a long-standing federal moratorium on drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. In similar spirit, the Senate today will take up a bill
to open eight million more acres of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling.



Baptist Group's Leaders Convicted
Investors Lost $585 Million

By Terry Greene Sterling
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; A03

PHOENIX, July 24 -- Two former executives of a failed Southern Baptist foundation were convicted here Monday in what prosecutors said was the nation's largest fraud ever targeting members of a religious group.
William Pierre Crotts, who was president of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, and Thomas Dale Grabinski, the group's former chief legal counsel, were each convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of conducting an illegal enterprise in a scheme that lasted decades and cheated 11,000 investors across the country of about $585 million.



U.S. Says It Knew of Pakistani Reactor Plan
Congress Learned of Nation's Nuclear Expansion From Independent Analysts
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; A11

The Bush administration acknowledged yesterday that it had long known about Pakistan's plans to build a large plutonium-production reactor, but it said the White House was working to dissuade Pakistan from using the plant to expand its nuclear arsenal.

"We discourage military use of the facility," White House spokesman Tony Snow said of a powerful heavy-water reactor under construction at Pakistan's Khushab nuclear site in Punjab state.

The reactor, which reportedly will be capable of producing enough plutonium for as many as 50 bombs each year, was brought to light on Sunday by independent analysts who spotted the partially completed plant in commercial-satellite photos. Snow said the administration had "known of these plans for some time."



The New York Times Company


Ending back-door vetoes
July 25, 2006

OVER THE LAST five years, congressional leaders have barely squawked as President Bush signed bills -- and then quietly but explicitly declared his intention to discount key provisions of them. He has attached such statements to more than 800 laws, at last count. Left unchallenged, the president's so-called ``signing statements" would represent a unilateral change to the structure of the US government, a change that no one outside the White House played any role in enacting. Yesterday, a bipartisan task force of the American Bar Association concluded that these statements violate the constitutional separation of powers. And the panel called for federal legislation that would allow for judicial review of any statement in which the president claims the authority to disregard all or part of a law.



July 25, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

Our Corner of Iraq

WHAT is the mission of the United States military in Iraq now that the insurgency has escalated into a full-blown civil war?According to the Bush administration, it is to support a national unity government that includes all Iraq's major communities: the Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds. O.K., but this raises another question: What does the Iraqi government govern? In the southern half of Iraq, Shiite religious parties and clerics have created theocracies policed by militias that number well over 100,000 men. In Basra, three religious parties control - and sometimes fight over - the thousands of barrels of oil diverted each day from legal exports into smuggling. To the extent that the central government has authority in the south, it is because some of the same Shiite parties that dominate the government also control the south.



July 24, 2006, 11:45PM

Poll finds blacks turn to faith in crisis
In Houston, most say v, for protection
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

With Hurricane Katrina fresh on their minds, the majority of blacks in Houston say they will depend on God to protect them during a disaster more so than the government, according to a survey released Monday. "We just thought that their responses were a little bit surprising," said Karen Callaghan, a professor in the political science department at Texas Southern University's Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. "But given the pervasiveness of religiosity in the African-American community, if they can't look for the government, they have to look some place else. God fills the bill in this case."



Ex-president takes step into Connecticut's fray
By Peter S. Canellos, Globe Columnist | July 25, 2006

WASHINGTON -- As president, Bill Clinton was a master juggler of issues and agendas. His every move seemed intended to address some problem of the moment, while also shifting the debate toward goals that he alone saw clearly. He could make Americans of all backgrounds feel respected, listened to, even cared for -- but also worked over and manipulated. After eight years, a cloud of ``Clinton fatigue" hung over the 2000 election, and many Americans were drawn to George W. Bush because of his
simple, direct style. Now, Bill Clinton has one obvious agenda -- the political career of his wife, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. And yesterday he followed it, and perhaps other unseen agendas, into the biggest political fight of the moment.



Clinton puts focus on the middle class
By Jeff Zeleny
Tribune national correspondent
July 25, 2006

DENVER -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has gone to great lengths to create a distinctive political footprint, but she declared Monday that ideas championed by the Clinton White House offer the best chance for Democrats to win back their majority. "To paraphrase the historic 1992 campaign," said Clinton (D-N.Y.) with a wry smile, "It's the American Dream, stupid." In a speech to the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group that propelled her husband to the presidency on his own riff of "It's the
economy, stupid," she unveiled a 20-page "American Dream Initiative." The familiar set of policies, which Clinton said should become a signature brand for Democrats, is aimed at improving the lives of the middle class. "This agenda is all about restoring the American Dream, but there is nothing dreamlike about it," Clinton said. "Democrats stand ready to lead again. Now all we have to do is win elections."



Put Grad School Within My Grasp
By Sui Lang Panoke
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; A15

Is access to graduate education in America exclusively for the upper class? As a first-year graduate student struggling to make ends meet, I believe the answer is yes. In my experience, searching for funding to pay the extensive costs of my higher education has been an upward climb leading only to dead ends. I am a single mother who qualifies for the maximum amount in federal aid for
graduate students. But this amount barely covers my tuition; paying for housing, books and living expenses is up to me. I have no college fund, trust or inheritance. I don't independently qualify for private student loans because I lack the substantial credit or
employment history that is required, and I do not have the luxury of having a willing and eligible co-signer. Furthermore, I can work only part-time jobs while in school; otherwise I would not qualify for child-care assistance.


The New York Times


July 25, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Another Man's Honor

To Hezbollah, there is no such thing as "collateral damage" from its missiles. Israel keeps telling the world that its army aims only at military targets, but Hezbollah doesn't even pretend to. Its soldiers proudly fire away at civilians.These terrorists consider themselves men of honor, and unfortunately they are - by their own definition. We in the West can call them barbaric, which
they also are, but they're following an ancient social code, even if we can't recognize it anymore. The best guide to this code is James Bowman's new book, "Honor: A History," which is not a quaint collection of stories about dueling noblemen in Heidelberg. If the obsession with defending one's honor seems remote now, it's not because the urge has disappeared. We've just forgotten how powerful it is.



Tactics of war on terror to occupy Congress
Posted 7/23/2006 10:09 PM ET
By Gail Russell Chaddock, The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON - After months of inaction, Congress is poised this week to move on two tough issues in the war on terror: warrantless surveillance of Americans and the treatment of detainees. How these matters are resolved could rein in the power of a wartime president, reversing half a century of retreat on the part of Congress - or not. Both cut across party lines and between House and Senate. But, for now, the most immediate battle is how open the resolution of these issues will be to the public. More than seven months after the leak of a top-secret warrantless surveillance program, the House and Senate are both pressing to get the program right with the law.