Saturday, July 29, 2006



Democrats Criticize Bolton as Ineffective
At Hearing on Extending His Term,
Republicans Defend U.N. Ambassador

By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 28, 2006; A05

Senate Democrats unleashed a sharp volley of criticism of President Bush'sforeign policy yesterday, arguing that John R. Bolton has done more harmthan good as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and does not deserve anextended term. If Bolton's style were less divisive, they said, he mighthave achieved more reforms at the United Nations and tougher sanctions against Hezbollah and North Korea.

But Republicans defended Bolton and the administration and said it would beunwise to change ambassadors when the Middle East is in crisis and Iran andNorth Korea are threatening nuclear advances. Democrats said it was unclearwhether they would try to filibuster Bolton's nomination this fall, as they successfully did last year.


Al Franken Getting Celebrity Support

WASHINGTON, Jul. 28, 2006

(AP) The list of contributors to comedian Al Franken's political actioncommittee reads like a celebrity who's who: singer Barbra Streisand,writer-director Nora Ephron, actor-writer Larry David and actor Jimmy Smits.

Franken, who hosts a radio show on the liberal Air America Radio network, is considering challenging Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., in 2008. Franken movedhis show from New York City to Minneapolis earlier this year, fuelingspeculation of a possible bid.

His leadership PAC, Midwest Values PAC, raised $500,000, according to areview of campaign finance reports. Franken couldn't use the money for hisown race, but he can contribute to other candidates, engendering goodwill.

He has used the cash to contribute to national Democratic Party organizations, Minnesota Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar and House candidates Coleen Rowley, Tim Walz and Patty Wetterling,



Division of uncivil rights
By Derrick Z. Jackson | July 29, 2006

PRESIDENT BUSH bragged last week to the NAACP, ``I come from a familycommitted to civil rights." He said Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther KingJr. were part of America's ``second founding, the civil rights movement." Hetalked about his recent tour of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphiswith the prime minister of Japan. ``If you haven't been there, you ought to
go," he said.

Three days later, the Globe's Charlie Savage reported that Bush is guttingthe civil rights division of the Justice Department. Savage obtaineddocuments under the Freedom of Information act and found that just 19 of 45lawyers hired for the division's voting rights, employment litigation andappellate sections since 2003 have civil rights backgrounds and of the 19,Savage wrote that ``nine gained their experience either by defendingemployers against discrimination lawsuits or by fighting againstrace-conscious policies."


House Approves Minimum Wage Increase

WASHINGTON, Jul. 29, 2006

(AP) Republicans muscled the first minimum wage increase in a decade throughthe House early Saturday after pairing it with a cut in inheritance taxes onmultimillion-dollar estates.

Combining the two issues provoked protests from Democrats and was sure tocause problems in the Senate, where the minimum wage initiative was likelyto die at the hands of Democrats opposed to the costly estate tax cuts. TheSenate is expected to take up the legislation next week.

Still, GOP leaders saw combining the wage and tax issues as their bestchance for getting permanent cuts to the estate tax, a top GOP priorityfueled by intense lobbying by farmers, small business owners and super-wealthy families such as the Waltons, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune.


Democrat who might have been vice president faces political abyss
By David Espo, AP Special Correspondent | July 29, 2006

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. --Anti-war Democrats bailed in droves. Teachers unionsleft over vouchers. Men are drawn to his challenger, and women aren't allthat crazy about the incumbent, either.

Once, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut seemed on the brink of the vicepresidency, a principled moderate in a party that didn't always warm tothem. Now, hewing to his support for the war in Iraq, he confronts apolitical abyss, abandoned by all groups but the poorer, older and less
educated Democrats in his state.

"The last three times I voted for him, but I will never vote for him again,"Cheryl Curtiss of West Hartford, Conn., said recently of Lieberman as shewaited for primary challenger Ned Lamont to speak at a campaign fundraiser.

"The war is the big piece," said Curtiss, 52. "I don't think it can beminimized. All of our tax dollars are going there. It's killing Americans. It's killing Iraqis. We went there on lies."


The New York Times

July 29, 2006

The Court Under Siege

One big thing we've learned from watching President Bush's assault on thebalance of powers is that the federal courts are the only line of defense.Congress not only lacks the spine to stand up to Mr. Bush, but is usuallyeager to accommodate him.

So it is especially frightening to see the administration use the debatesover the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and domestic spying to mount a newoffensive against the courts.

Wiretapping: This campaign is most evident in the debate over Mr. Bush'sdecision to authorize the interception of Americans' international phonecalls and e-mail.

Mr. Bush and his legal advisers claim the president is free to ignore the1978 law requiring warrants for such wiretaps, as well as the Constitution,because the eternal war with Al Qaeda gives him commander-in-chiefsuperpowers. But the administration knows the Supreme Court is unlikely toendorse this nonsense. So it has agreed with the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter, on a bill that is a mockery of judicialprocess.


The New York Times

July 29, 2006

A Right Way to Help Israel

There is a difference between justified and smart. Israel's airstrikesagainst Hezbollah targets are legitimate so long as Hezbollah wages waragainst Israel and operates outside the control of the Lebanese government.But the air campaign is now doing Israel more harm than good.

A better answer to the Hezbollah problem would be an immediate cease-fire,paving the way for an international force to patrol Lebanon's southernborder. That is what Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, was pushing forin Washington yesterday, and there were signs that President Bush may befinally coming around.


The New York Times

July 29, 2006

Guest Columnist

When the Parents Can't Know

Spring Adams, a 13-year-old sixth grader from Idaho, was impregnated by herfather. On the morning she was to have an abortion, he came into her room and shot her.

This awful story, which was brought to the Senate floor this week by Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat, isn't the kind of thing that most parents,fortunately, can relate to. Most parents, surely, love their children andbelieve that if they learned that a daughter was pregnant and seeking an abortion, they'd treat her with kindness and concern.

Love - blinding, misguided love - I would like to believe, is the chief reason why so many mothers and fathers support parental notification lawsfor girls seeking abortions and did not rise up and cry foul this week whena shockingly cruel and girl-hating piece of legislation passed in the


The New York Times

July 29, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Fetch, Heel, Stall

Oops, they did it again. That pesky microphone problem that plagued GeorgeW. Bush and Tony Blair in St. Petersburg struck again at their White Housenews conference yesterday. The president told technicians to make sure hisreal thoughts would not be overheard this time, but somehow someone forgotto turn off the feed to my office. As a public service, I'd like to reprint
the candid under-their-breath mutterings they exchanged in between their public utterances.

THE PRESIDENT: "The prime minister and I have committed our governments to a plan to make every effort to achieve a lasting peace out of this crisis."

"Actually, we talked about our plan to keep using fancy phrases like'lasting peace' and 'sustainable cease-fire,' so we don't actually have tocease the fire. Condi had a great one! Didya hear it, Tony? She said, 'The fields of the Middle East are littered with broken cease-fires.' Man, can she talk, and she plays piano, too!"


The New York Times

July 29, 2006

Iranian President Bans Usage of Foreign Words
Filed at 9:31 a.m. ET

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has orderedgovernment and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replaceforeign words that have crept into the language, such as ''pizzas'' whichwill now be known as ''elastic loaves,'' state media reported Saturday.

The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmentalagencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriateby the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, orPersian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.

The academy has introduced more than 2,000 words as alternatives for some ofthe foreign words that have become commonly used in Iran, mostly fromWestern languages. The government is less sensitive about Arabic words,because the Quran is written in Arabic.

Among other changes, a ''chat'' will become a ''short talk'' and a ''cabin'' will be renamed a ''small room,'' according to official Web site of the academy.


The Miami Herald
Posted on Sat, Jul. 29, 2006

There are limits to presidential power

Below are excerpts from a report by the American Bar Association's TaskForce on Presidential Signing Statements and the Separation of PowersDoctrine, chaired by Miami attorney Neal R. Sonnett. The report was issued on Monday and is available at

From the inception of the Republic until 2000, presidents produced signingstatements containing fewer than 600 challenges to the bills they signed. Inhis one-and-a-half terms so far, President Bush has produced more than 800. Perhaps the most prominent signing statements which conveyed refusals to carry out laws involved:

. Congressional requirements to report back to Congress on the use of
Patriot Act authority to secretly search homes and seize private papers;

. The McCain amendment forbidding any U.S. officials to use torture or
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment on prisoners. . . .

More ....


Some Foreign Made Paints Pose High Risk
by The Associated Press

Some paints in Malaysia, China and India contain dangerously high levels of lead, as much as 300 times the legal limit in the United States, presentinga health risk to children, researchers said Friday.

With safer substitutes readily available, researchers from the University ofCincinnati in the state of Ohio called for better regulation of, or aworldwide ban on the sale of lead-based paints.

"There is a clear discrepancy in product safety outside the United States,"said professor Scott Clark who led the study published in the Septemberissue of Environmental Research, a peer-reviewed journal.

"In today's global economy, it would be irresponsible for us to ignore thepublic health threat for the citizens in the offending countries - as wellas the countries they do business with."


New York Court rules sexually explicit e-mails are legal without pics

BY ANN GIVENS, Newsday Staff Writer, July 27, 2006, 9:11 PM EDT

One of the strongest tools local law enforcement officials use to prosecute
pedophiles was snatched away from them this week when a state appeals court
ruled that sending children sexually explicit e-mails is only illegal if the
e-mails include photographs.

The decision by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, Second
Department, hung on the meaning of the word "depict." Jeffrey Koslow, a
Manhattan lawyer who was convicted last year of attempted disseminating
indecent material to a minor, appealed his case saying that his e-mails did
not "depict" sexual conduct because they contained only words, not pictures