Tuesday, July 18, 2006


The Washington Post


Giuliani a wild card in 2008 White House race

By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent
Sunday, July 16, 2006; 2:04 PM

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has the record,
reputation and travel schedule of a serious White House contender. But it
will not be easy turning "America's Mayor" into America's president.

Riding high on the acclaim for his leadership in New York after the
September 11 attacks, Giuliani is a huge draw on the Republican fund-raising
circuit and one of the party's most popular figures.

Some opinion polls show him joining Arizona Sen. John McCain at the top of a
crowded field of potential Republican candidates to succeed President George
W. Bush in 2008.

But Giuliani's support for abortion rights and gay rights is likely to anger
conservatives who wield considerable power in Republican primaries. And his
willingness to trade a lucrative and stress-free private life for the mud
pit of a presidential campaign remains uncertain.

"Giuliani is a real wild card in the race," said Republican consultant Whit

"If he were any other normal politician you would dismiss his chances out of
hand because so many of his positions are so far out of the Republican
mainstream. But he's not any other politician, he's an authentic American
hero whose leadership after 9/11 showed perfect political pitch."

Giuliani says he is evaluating his support and finances for a possible White
House bid and will make a decision after November's congressional elections.

"That is something I'm seriously thinking about," he said of a presidential
race before appearing at a fund raiser for Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich in
Baltimore, the last stop on a tour that included the battleground states of
Pennsylvania and Ohio.


The Washington Post


Stem Cell Debate Wedges Bush Between a Rock and a Hard Place

By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, July 18, 2006; A02

George W. Bush has signed 1,116 consecutive bills into law since becoming
president. He probably wishes he had vetoed just one of them.

Instead, Bush faces the prospect of casting his first veto this week against
embryonic stem cell research, defying the wishes not just of a majority of
Americans and their representatives but also of Nancy Reagan and those
representing millions of people with Parkinson's disease, diabetes, spinal
injuries and the like.

Thus did Bush find Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Judiciary
Committee, on the Senate floor yesterday comparing the president's position
to those who opposed Columbus, locked up Galileo, and rejected anesthesia,
electricity, vaccines and rail travel. Such attitudes "in retrospect look
foolish, look absolutely ridiculous," said Specter, daring Bush to join

Even Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a former transplant surgeon who got his job as
Senate majority leader thanks to Bush's influence, inserted a scalpel in the
president. "Stem cells offer hope for treatment that other lines of research
cannot offer," said Frist, who has rescinded his earlier support for the
Bush policy. "The current policy unduly restricts the number of cell lines."

Bush's congressional allies, meanwhile, were mailing it in yesterday. GOP
Reps. Joseph Pitts (Pa.), Mike Pence (Ind.) and Dave Weldon (Fla.) called a
"background briefing" on stem cells for 11 a.m. in the Cannon House Office
Building -- but none of the three showed up. "He's a host and sponsor,"
explained Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd. "I don't think we ever said he was

In the Senate, Bush's defense was taken up almost exclusively by the
chamber's two most ardent religious conservatives, Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)
and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). And they were having a tough time of it.

Brownback, beneath an oil portrait of George Washington, beckoned to a
photograph of a bald eagle and complained of a disparity between treatment
of human and bird embryos. "You can face . . . two years in prison for
destroying a bald eagle egg," he said, but "taxpayer dollars are used to
destroy a human at the same phase of life."


The New York Times


July 16, 2006

Clinton, in Arkansas, Says Democrats Are 'Wasting Time'

ROGERS, Ark., July 15 - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, returning to her
red-state ties, chastised Democrats Saturday for taking on issues that
arouse conservatives and turn out Republican voters rather than finding
consensus on mainstream subjects.
Without mentioning specific subjects like gay marriage, Mrs. Clinton said:
"We do things that are controversial. We do things that try to inflame their

"We are wasting time," the senator told a group of Democratic women here, on
part of a two-day swing through a state that could provide an alternate hub
to New York if she starts a national political campaign.

On recent weekends, Mrs. Clinton has been traveling the country and raising
money at an extraordinary pace. But the trip to Arkansas this weekend had a
more sentimental feel, reuniting Mrs. Clinton with her former political
allies and giving her a platform to broadcast her more centrist background.

After speaking to the Arkansas Federation of Democratic Women, Mrs. Clinton
was scheduled to visit the first home in Fayetteville that her husband
bought for her, and where they were married.

But she made the trip solo: Former President Bill Clinton has been in
Africa, visiting projects run by the Clinton Foundation. Mrs. Clinton said
her husband had called her to report that he had learned on his trip that
the American ambassador to Malawi was from Arkansas, part of what she
jokingly referred to as the "Arkansas diaspora."

Arkansas supported Mr. Clinton, its former governor, when he ran for
president in 1992 and 1996, but went for George W. Bush in 2000. Mr. Bush
made the northwest Arkansas region one of his final stops before the
election that year, confident that he could solidify Southern gains.

And he did: just 46 percent of Arkansas voted for Al Gore, and four years
later, the percentage of votes for the Democratic candidate fell, with 44
percent backing Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Although the state's
two senators are Democrats, Arkansas has been increasingly seen as a
Republican stronghold at the presidential level.

In front of an almost entirely Democratic crowd Saturday, Mrs. Clinton made
a glancing reference to the current turmoil in the Middle East.


The New York Times


July 16, 2006

An Uprising on the Right in a World That Leans Left

"THERE are exceptions to every rule," said the writer, director and producer
Charles E. Sellier Jr. "But I've been at this 34 years, and I really,
honestly, believe that the more creative you are, the more likely you are to
be a liberal."

"I think there is a huge disconnect between conservatives and film," said
the festival director Jim Hubbard. "I don't know if it's in their DNA or
what, but there's definitely a reason conservatives tend to shun the arts."

"The conservative movement has been about talk radio, maybe books," said the
filmmaker Michael Wilson. "Film - and music, to a large degree - has long
been considered in the realm of liberal thought."

It would be natural to assume that the three men quoted above labor
somewhere on the left side of Hollywood, or make movies about free-trade
coffee pickers and Chinese sneaker factories. None is the case. Mr. Sellier,
chief executive of Grizzly Adams Productions, has been responsible for
documentaries like "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House" and the
religiously themed "Breaking the Da Vinci Code." Mr. Hubbard, with his wife,
Ellen Gard Hubbard, founded the right-leaning, Dallas-based American Film
Renaissance festival in 2004. And Mr. Wilson was responsible for one of the
more successful conservative documentaries of recent years, "Michael Moore
Hates America."

What the three acknowledge, however, is that something besides liberal bias
is responsible for the striking shortage of conservative nonfiction cinema
at a time when filmmakers on the other end of the spectrum are flooding
screens with messages about global warming, the war in Iraq and the downside
of Wal-Mart.

Mr. Hubbard, for one, is out to fill the void. He said a philanthropist,
whom he declined to identify, had come forward with money to help finance a
series of six documentaries that Mr. Hubbard wanted to produce, on various
subjects, including the growth of government and whether it is "potentially
a threat to our freedom."

Mr. Hubbard traces his own passion for the hitherto missing conservative
cinema to an experience almost five years ago, when he was attending the
University of Arkansas law school. He and his wife, he says, went to their
local art house, where the menu was "Bowling for Columbine," "Frida" and
"The Life of David Gale" - films, respectively, by a liberal, about a
Marxist and against capital punishment. The Hubbards weren't pleased.



Voting Rights

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

July 18, 2006

ISSUE: The U.S. House of Representatives extends a key voting rights law.

Lost in last week's reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act debate was a
rare bit of bipartisanship that helped the measure, and offered some hope
that Congress isn't hopelessly mired in political gridlock.

Granted, the reauthorization of the federal voting rights law enjoyed wide
support going into the debate within the House of Representatives. Enough
Democrats and Republicans had already stated their support for extending the
40-year-old law that is still seen as the most successful civil-rights
legislation ever adopted by Congress.

The full House approved HR 9, which extends the 1965 Voting Rights Act for
an additional 25 years. The original law ended literacy requirements in six
Southern states and gave the U.S. attorney general and the federal courts
the authority to oversee elections and to intervene if legally qualified
voters are barred from participating in elections.

The law has been extended three times. It's also been revised to include
such provisions as a language requirement that mandates all election
materials be written in the appropriate languages in areas with a sizeable
number of non-English speaking residents.

It was refreshing to see two members of the Florida delegation, U.S. Reps.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, and Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, lead part of
the floor debate in support of extending the law. As the chair and ranking
minority member, respectively, of the House Subcommittee on Legislative and
Budget Reform, the two men played a major role in helping to shepherd the
resolution through the House.

Sure, it was a Kumbayah moment. Lawmakers remain bitterly divided along
party lines on other more substantial issues, ranging from the federal debt
and to the course of the war in Iraq.

Contentious party politics remain counterproductive, so it's good to see a
break in the partisan, political impasse that still plagues the Congress.

BOTTOM LINE: Too bad the U.S. House can't reauthorize bipartisanship as
easily as it did the 1965 Voting Rights Act.



Democrats seek to increase minimum wage
David Crary - Associated Press
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Democratic activists are pushing aggressively to make the minimum wage an
election-year issue; they helped persuade several legislatures to boost
state minimum wages and want six other states to do likewise through ballot
initiatives this November.

Democrats hope any extra turnout for the wage proposals from low-income
voters would benefit their candidates, similar to the conservative-voter
boost received by some GOP candidates in states with gay-marriage bans on
their ballots in 2004.

"The right has been effective with wedge issues," said Kristina Wilfore of
the liberal Ballot Initiative Strategy Center. "The left is actually trying
to give voters something ... and get them to think about what's fair."

The federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour hasn't been raised since 1997; the
latest effort to increase it was defeated in the Senate last month.

Twenty-three states, including six this year, already have raised minimum
wages above the federal level - mostly by legislative action. Workers in
those places must be paid the higher state amount, which includes Florida.

In Montana and Nevada, proposed minimum-wage increases already are on the
November ballot, and signature-gathering campaigns also are expected to
succeed in Ohio, Arizona, Missouri and Colorado - all states with closely
contested political races.



Hunker Down With History

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, July 18, 2006; A19

The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that
Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned
mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a
nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has
produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now.
Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most
formidable enemy is history itself.

This is why the Israeli-Arab war, now transformed into the Israeli-Muslim
war (Iran is not an Arab state), persists and widens. It is why the conflict
mutates and festers. It is why Israel is now fighting an organization,
Hezbollah, that did not exist 30 years ago and why Hezbollah is being
supported by a nation, Iran, that was once a tacit ally of Israel's. The
underlying, subterranean hatred of the Jewish state in the Islamic world
just keeps bubbling to the surface. The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt,
Jordan and some other Arab countries may condemn Hezbollah, but I doubt the
proverbial man in their street shares that view.

There is no point in condemning Hezbollah. Zealots are not amenable to
reason. And there's not much point, either, in condemning Hamas. It is a
fetid, anti-Semitic outfit whose organizing principle is hatred of Israel.
There is, though, a point in cautioning Israel to exercise restraint -- not
for the sake of its enemies but for itself. Whatever happens, Israel must
not use its military might to win back what it has already chosen to lose:
the buffer zone in southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip itself.

Hard-line critics of Ariel Sharon, the now-comatose Israeli leader who
initiated the pullout from Gaza, always said this would happen: Gaza would
become a terrorist haven. They said that the moderate Palestinian Authority
would not be able to control the militants and that Gaza would be used to
fire rockets into Israel and to launch terrorist raids. This is precisely
what has happened.

It is also true, as some critics warned, that Israel's withdrawal from
southern Lebanon was seen by its enemies -- and claimed by Hezbollah -- as a
defeat for the mighty Jewish state. Hezbollah took credit for this, as well
it should. Its persistent attacks bled Israel.

In the end, Israel got out and the United Nations promised it a secure
border. The Lebanese army would see to that. (And the check is in the mail.)



The Washington Post

Pregnancy Centers Found to Give False Information on Abortion

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 18, 2006; A08

Federally funded "pregnancy resource centers" are incorrectly telling women
that abortion results in an increased risk of breast cancer, infertility and
deep psychological trauma, a minority congressional report charged

The report said that 20 of 23 federally funded centers contacted by staff
investigators requesting information about an unintended pregnancy were told
false or misleading information about the potential risks of an abortion.

The pregnancy resource centers, which are often affiliated with antiabortion
religious groups, have received about $30 million in federal money since
2001, according to the report, requested by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).
The report concluded that the exaggerations "may be effective in frightening
pregnant teenagers and women and discouraging abortion. But it denies the
teenagers and women vital health information, prevents them from making an
informed decision, and is not an accepted public health practice."

A spokeswoman for one of the two large networks of pregnancy resource
centers, Sterling-based Care Net, said that the report is "a routine attack
on us that's nothing new."

Care Net's Molly Ford said the centers criticized by Waxman received federal
grants for abstinence-only programs they conduct, but not for pregnancy
counseling. "The funds are kept entirely separate," she said.

Ford said, however, that she agrees with pregnancy counselors who tell women
that abortion may increase the risk of breast cancer, infertility and a
condition described by antiabortion groups as "post-abortion syndrome."



July 18, 2006
Political Memo
G.O.P.'s Bid for Blacks Falters


WASHINGTON, July 17 - Even for some Republicans, the notion was hard to take
at face value: the Republican Party would make an explicit play for black
votes, a strike at the Democratic base and a part of a larger White House
plan to achieve long-term Republican dominance.

Starting after President Bush's re-election in 2004, the party chairman, Ken
Mehlman, filled his schedule with appearances before black audiences. He
apologized for what he described as the racially polarized politics of some
Republicans over the past 25 years.
And the White House, in pressing issues like same-sex marriage to appeal to
social conservatives, was also hoping to gain support among churchgoing

There has been no end to speculation about what the party was up to. Was it
simply a ploy to improve the party's image with moderate white voters? Did
the White House see an opportunity to make small though significant changes
in the American political system by pulling even a relative few black voters
into its corner in important states like Ohio? (Yes, and yes.)

But as Mr. Bush is tentatively scheduled to speak at the N.A.A.C.P.
convention in Washington this week - after five years of declining to appear
before an organization with which he has had tense relations - it seems fair
to say that whatever the motivation, the effort has faltered.

Mr. Mehlman's much-publicized apology to the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People seems to have done little to address the
resentment that built up over what civil rights leaders view as decades of
racial politics practiced or countenanced by Republicans. One example they
point to is the first President Bush's use of the escape of Willie Horton, a
black convicted
murderer, to portray his Democratic opponent in the 1988 election, Michael
S. Dukakis, as soft on crime.



From the Los Angeles Times
Why the Left Is Furious at Lieberman

A blogger's blast at the embattled Connecticut senator. Hint: It's not just
By Duncan Black

DUNCAN BLACK writes the blog Eschaton www.atrios.blogspot.com under the
pseudonym of Atrios and is a senior fellow at Media Matters for America.

July 18, 2006

SOME TIME AFTER having lunch in Iraq with the junior senator from
Connecticut, Time magazine Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware told an
interviewer, "Either Sen. Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's
completely lost the plot, or he knows he's spinning a line."

Although Ware was referring specifically to Joe Lieberman's observations
about Iraq, his characterization perfectly summarizes the former vice
presidential candidate's whole political approach, and it explains why so
many Democrats are eager to see him lose in a primary election next month.

Many political observers have tried to paint the candidacy of Lieberman's
challenger, Ned Lamont, as merely a referendum on the invasion of Iraq,
which Lieberman supported. This newspaper's editorial board declared it
"disturbing" that the senator has been "targeted for defeat by national
fundraisers based on his foreign policy views." The reason for Lamont's
popularity, explained the Washington Post's David Broder, "is simple: the




Court ruling a blow to pride of King George


With apologies to the makers of the 1994 film, it's never been ''the madness
of King George'' that troubled me.

No, it was the arrogance, a hubris so awesome and awful you tended to forget
George is not, in fact, a king but a president. One might have been forgiven
for forgetting, since President George W. Bush has governed pretty much as a
King George would have: by fiat and decree.

So the Supreme Court's recent rebuke of the Bush administration and the
administration's chastened acceptance of same comes like spring air into a
musty room. Frankly, the substance of the rebuke is of secondary importance
to me, though I will recount it here.


Late last month, the high court, on a 5-3 vote (Chief Justice John Roberts
did not participate), ruled that the president could not, on his sole
authority, put detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on trial before a military
tribunal. The court found that the effort to do so violated both
international law and federal statutes, a stinging rejection of the White
House's attempt to expand executive authority.

This week, as a direct result of that ruling, the White House conceded what
it has refused to concede for years: that the prisoners at Guantánamo are
protected by the provisions of the Geneva Conventions.

But, again, it's not the specifics of the court's ruling that enthuse me. It
is, rather, the fact that there's a ruling at all, the fact that somebody
finally told Bush no. In so doing, the court reaffirms that which never
should have been in question: Even presidents have to play by the rules.




Killing of kids a problem for the whole nation


We begin with the obvious: Florida is an American state. Miami is an
American city. And Sherdavia Jenkins, who died in Miami, Florida, just over
two weeks ago after being struck by random bullets, was an American child.

So I would have thought it uncontroversial to observe, as I recently did in
this column, that her death and the indiscriminate slaughter of American
children -- in Miami or anywhere else -- qualified as ''an American
problem.'' Apparently, I was wrong. That is, at least, the feeling of dozens
of folks who've written in correction and rebuke.

True enough, they say, Florida is an American state and Miami an American
city, but Sherdavia was an African-American child. Her suspected killers
were also black. Therefore, her murder was not an American problem. It was,
rather, a black problem, and only a black problem, born of black
dysfunctions for which black people, as Bill Cosby has recently said, bear
the onus.

To call me appalled is to understate.

I suppose the first thing that needs saying is that these individuals are
wrong on the facts. Like it or not, we live interconnected lives on a small
planet. Take the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as illustration: They grew
out of grievances half a world away to which most Americans would have told
you on Sept. 10 they had no connection. We now know better.



The New York Times

July 12, 2006

Mass. Lawmakers Delay Vote on Gay - Marriage Ban
Filed at 8:37 p.m. ET

BOSTON (Reuters) - Days after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled
that state lawmakers could vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay
marriage, legislators on Wednesday put off the vote until after November

House and Senate lawmakers in a special legislative session voted to
postpone the gay marriage vote until November 9 -- two days after state and
national elections.

``They walked away to vote themselves back to office,'' said Democratic Rep.
Phil Travis, who sought to ban gay marriage. ''The majority decided to duck
the issue again.''

Senate President Robert Travaglini, a Democrat, could not be reached for
comment on the decision.

Julian Zelizer, a professor at Boston University, said he was not surprised
by the move.

``I don't think this is an issue that most legislators want to deal with at
this point,'' he said. ``Voters have very short memories and politicians
know that. So if you have something very controversial, do it right after
you are elected.''

Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage after a 2003
state court decision ruled that denying it was unconstitutional. More than
8,000 gay and lesbian couples have since wed.

Opponents of gay marriage in Massachusetts tried to introduce an amendment
to the state constitution banning gay marriage in 2002, before the high
court's landmark ruling.

On Monday, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled the Legislature could vote on
the amendment.

If 50 of the 200 lawmakers in the Legislature approve that amendment this
year, it would face a second legislative vote in 2007. If it clears that
hurdle, the measure would go before Massachusetts voters in 2008.



National Emergency Alerts To Ping Cell Phones, PDAs

Government Updating Cold-War Era Alert System
POSTED: 11:52 am EDT July 12, 2006

WASHINGTON -- We interrupt your cell phone call with this important
announcement: The government will soon be sending warnings of national
emergencies on wireless phones, Web sites and hand-held computers.

The new digital system will update the emergency alerts planned -- but never
used -- during the Cold War in the event of a nuclear strike. More likely,
these 21st-century technologies will carry warnings of natural disasters and
terrorist attacks.

The Homeland Security Department, through the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, expects to have the system working by the end of next year. Though
still in its pilot stages, the system is being demonstrated Wednesday at a
public television station in suburban Virginia.

The Association of Public Television Stations is partnering with FEMA to
transmit the alerts to receiving networks ranging from wireless devices,
cable TV channels and satellite radio to traditional broadcast outlets.

"Anything that can receive a text message will receive the alert," Homeland
Security Department spokesman Aaron Walker said Tuesday. "We find that the
new digital system is more secure, it's faster and it enables us to reach a
wide array of citizens and alert them to pending disasters."



The Washington Post

Beyond the Poll Numbers, Voter Doubts About Clinton

By Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 13, 2006; A01

Anna Shelley, a mother of three from Utah, says she is ready for a female
president, and she is sure that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has what it

But Shelley, a Democrat, is not sure she could ever pull a lever for
Clinton. Her reservations are vague but unmistakable: Something about
Clinton leaves her cold.

"I want to see her as a human being -- I can read a newspaper and see her
agenda," said Shelley, 27, whose husband did a tour in Iraq and who is
appreciative of Clinton's support of the military.

"I think she's a little hard," she said. "She may be strong, but at the same
time, if you're driven sometimes you're perceived as not having sympathy.
And perception is reality for most of us."

It is a reality that Clinton's advisers are confronting as they seek to
position the former first lady for a possible 2008 presidential run. They
expect that any campaign would begin after this fall's election, in which
Clinton, a Democrat, is running for a second Senate term from New York.

Never has a politician stepped onto a presidential stage before an audience
of voters who already have so many strong and personal opinions about her,
or amid arguments that revolve around the intangibles of personality and the
ways people react to it.