Wednesday, July 19, 2006



Utah Governor Boards The McCain Bandwagon

By Chris Cillizza
Wednesday, July 19, 2006; A05

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has joined the growing list of Republican
officials supporting Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president in 2008.

Huntsman has agreed to serve as a co-chairman of McCain's Straight Talk
America political action committee. He will help coordinate politics and
policy for McCain in Western states.

"John McCain's understanding of America's role in the world is
unparalleled," said Mike Mower, a spokesman for Huntsman. "His knowledge of
the West, leadership and independence are indispensable to our nation's


Will Christian right embrace - and support - one of its own?

Updated 7/19/2006 7:13 AM ET
By Susan Page, USA TODAY

DES MOINES - The basement of Elim Christian Fellowship Church is so airless
in the summer heat that even the home-baked apple pies on the dessert table
are wilting, but Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback is just getting warmed up.

"It doesn't get much better than this," he tells several dozen people
perched on folding chairs and listening politely. "You've got a Friday
evening, the sun's going down - sitting in a church basement, talking about
big issues."

Big issues like ending abortion, banning same-sex marriage, battling
indecency on TV and refusing to fund embryonic stem cell research fuel
Brownback's long-shot hopes for the Republican presidential nomination in
2008. Most Americans have never heard of him, but the conservative Christian
leaders who play a critical role in the GOP take him seriously.


GOP Split Over Stem Cells Could Resonate

WASHINGTON, Jul. 19, 2006

(AP) Republican presidential hopefuls split on the scope of federal
involvement in embryonic stem cell research, reflecting a GOP rift on an
issue that could have political consequences in this year's midterm
elections and in 2008.

"President Bush and I do not differ about the need for strong guidelines
governing stem cell research," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist,
R-Tenn. However, the heart surgeon added: "The limit on cell lines available
for federally funded research is too restrictive."

Frist and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., abortion opponents who are considering
presidential bids, broke with Bush _ and the social conservatives who are
crucial to the GOP _ when they voted Tuesday for a bill that would expand
federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.


Experts rip Rove stem cell remark
Researchers doubt value of adult cells

By Jeremy Manier and Judith Graham
Tribune staff reporters

July 19, 2006

When White House political adviser Karl Rove signaled last week that
President Bush planned to veto the stem cell bill being considered by the
Senate, the reasons he gave went beyond the president's moral qualms with
research on human embryos.

In fact, Rove waded into deeply contentious scientific territory, telling
the Denver Post's editorial board that researchers have found "far more
promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells."

The administration's assessment of stem cell science has extra meaning in
the wake of the Senate's 63-37 vote Tuesday to expand federal funding of
embryonic stem cell research. The measure, which passed the House last year,
will now head to Bush, who has vowed to veto it.


Education Week

Published: July 7, 2006
Web Only

MIT Professor Touts $100 Laptops at Educational Technology Conference
By Rhea R. Borja
San Diego

About 6,000 attendees at the National Educational Computing Conference
packed the main hall of the San Diego Convention Center yesterday to hear
about an education project that aims to provide up to 150 million low-cost
laptop computers to students in developing countries by 2008.

Nicholas Negroponte, a co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology Media Lab and the creator of the ambitious One Child Per Laptop
project, told the audience of mostly district and state-level educators that
the laptop initiative, which began last year, aims to bring
wireless-enabled, human-powered computers, which will cost from $50 to $138,
to poor countries worldwide.


Education Week

Published: July 12, 2006

Teachers Recruited to Find Solutions to Vexing Policy Issues
Compensation is inaugural topic hand-picked group members tackle.
By Bess Keller

That the 18 teachers gathered recently in a hotel meeting room here included
14 with national-board certification, members of state and national
commissions and committees, eight winners of top awards from private funds,
and six teachers of the year was surprising enough.

But almost unheard of was this: Amid the clutter of water pitchers, laptop
computers, and thick binders, the teachers were single-mindedly focused on
education policy.

Specifically, they were seeking to define better ways of paying those in the
nation's public school classrooms, a topic that this year has snagged the
interest of almost half the nation's governors and grabbed headlines as the
Houston schools and then Florida and Texas very publicly unveiled new
teacher-salary plans.


The Washington Post

Senate Passes Stem Cell Bill; Bush Vows Veto

By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 19, 2006; A01

The Senate voted to lift restrictions on federally funded human embryonic
stem cell research yesterday, setting the table for President Bush's first
veto and producing an emotional campaign issue that Democrats believe will
help them this fall.

Senators voted 63 to 37 to approve a House-passed bill that would pour
millions of dollars into a field of medical research that is promising --
but also controversial because it requires destroying human embryos to
extract the cells. Bush announced in his first nationally televised address,
on Aug. 9, 2001, that he would ban government funding for research using
embryonic stem cell colonies created after that date, and he has vowed to
cast his first presidential veto to block the legislation rescinding his
executive order.


The Washington Post

Conservative Anger Grows Over Bush's Foreign Policy

By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 19, 2006; A01

At a moment when his conservative coalition is already under strain over
domestic policy, President Bush is facing a new and swiftly building
backlash on the right over his handling of foreign affairs.

Conservative intellectuals and commentators who once lauded Bush for what
they saw as a willingness to aggressively confront threats and advance U.S.
interests said in interviews that they perceive timidity and confusion about
long-standing problems including Iran and North Korea, as well as urgent new
ones such as the latest crisis between Israel and Hezbollah.

"It is Topic A of every single conversation," said Danielle Pletka, vice
president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise
Institute, a think tank that has had strong influence in staffing the
administration and shaping its ideas.


The New York Times

July 19, 2006

Ex-Lobbyist in Abramoff Case Loses Georgia Race

ATLANTA, Wednesday, July 19 - Ralph Reed, the former director of the
Christian Coalition and a former Republican lobbyist involved in the Jack
Abramoff scandal, suffered an embarrassing defeat in his effort to win the
Republican nomination for lieutenant governor on Tuesday.

Mr. Reed conceded defeat before 10 p.m., with his opponent leading by more
than 10 percentage points.
At early Wednesday, with more than 92 percent of precincts reporting, Mr.
Reed's opponent, State Senator Casey Cagle, led with 56 percent of the vote.

Mr. Reed's candidacy was viewed as a test of the effects of the Washington
lobbying scandal on core Republican voters.

Mr. Reed, the former leader of the Georgia Republican Party, was a close
associate of Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who pleaded guilty to charges of
fraud, tax evasion and bribery and who arranged for Mr. Reed to be paid by
Indian tribes that ran casinos to coordinate anti-gambling campaigns against
competing casinos.


The New York Times

July 19, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Animal House Summit

Reporters who covered W.'s 2000 campaign often wondered whether the Bush
scion would give up acting the fool if he got to be the king.

Would he stop playing peekaboo with his pre-meal moist towels during
airplane interviews? Would he quit scrunching up his face and wiggling his
eyebrows at memorial services? Would he replace levity and inanity with

"In many regards, the Bush I knew did not seem to be built for what lay
ahead,'' wrote Frank Bruni, the Times writer who covered W.'s ascent, in his
book "Ambling Into History." "The Bush I knew was part scamp and part
bumbler, a timeless fraternity boy and heedless cutup, a weekday gym rat and
weekend napster, an adult with an inner child that often brimmed to the
surface or burst through."

The open-microphone incident at the G-8 lunch in St. Petersburg on Monday
illustrated once more that W. never made any effort to adapt. The president
has enshrined his immaturity and insularity, turning every environment he
inhabits - no matter how decorous or serious - into a comfortable frat


The New York Times

July 19, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Not So Smart

Profiles of the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah always describe him as the
most "brilliant" or "strategic" Arab player. I beg to differ. When the smoke
clears, Nasrallah will be remembered as the most foolhardy Arab leader since
Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser miscalculated his way into the Six-Day War.

Yes, yes, I know. I am a too-rational Westerner. I don't understand the
Eastern mind and the emotional victory that Nasrallah will reap from all
this pain. It isn't whether you win or lose; it's whether you kill Jews.
Well, maybe - but, ultimately, wars are fought for political ends. An
accounting will be rendered, so let's do some math.

First, Nasrallah has set back the whole fledgling Arab democracy movement.
That movement, by the way, was being used by Islamist parties - like
Hezbollah and Hamas - to peacefully ascend to power.


The New York Times

July 19, 2006

Talking Points
The Rise of the Super-Rich

The gap between rich and poor is unfortunately an old story.
It is the stuff of parables and literature. It is a force in social history
and political economy, from electoral campaigns to reform movements and

But in the United States today, there's a new twist to the familiar plot.
Income inequality used to be about rich versus poor, but now it's
increasingly a matter of the ultra rich and everyone else. The curious
effect of the new divide is an economy that appears to be charging ahead,
until you realize that the most of the people in it are being left in the
dust. President Bush has yet to acknowledge the true state of affairs,
though it's at the root of his failure to convince Americans that the good
times are rolling.

The president's lack of attention may be misplaced optimism, or it could be
political strategy. Acknowledging what's happening would mean having to
rethink his policies, not exactly his strong suit.


The New York Times

July 19, 2006

Alternative Reality at the Summit

Pressing problems surrounded the leaders of eight of the world's leading
nations as they met in St. Petersburg, Russia, earlier this week. Oil prices
soared over $70 a barrel. War was spreading in the Middle East. Iran was
dodging straight answers about its nuclear programs. And trade talks neared
breakdown over subsidies to rich farmers.

There could hardly have been a better moment for the annual meeting of the
Group of 8 to prove its worth. Instead, it showed how pointless and
embarrassing these gatherings have become.

It did not take an awkwardly open microphone to display the huge gap between
the summit meeting's communiqu├ęs and political reality. The entire weekend
was an ill-disguised exercise in evasion on the major issues. The jet fuel
wasted transporting everyone to St. Petersburg probably outweighed any
positive contributions to global energy security.


Scientists Say Darwin's Finches Are Evolving
POSTED: 4:37 pm EDT July 13, 2006
UPDATED: 5:24 pm EDT July 16, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Finches on the Galapagos Islands that inspired Charles Darwin
to develop the concept of evolution are now helping confirm it - by

A medium sized species of Darwin's finch has evolved a smaller beak to take
advantage of different seeds just two decades after the arrival of a larger
rival for its original food source, researchers said.

The altered beak size shows that species competing for food can undergo
evolutionary change, said Peter Grant of Princeton University, lead author
of the report appearing in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

Grant has been studying Darwin's finches for decades and previously recorded
changes responding to a drought that altered what foods were available.


From The link takes you to Murtha's website,
where he lists all the things paid for - and not paid for - and how it
compares to the dollar amount spent on this war. This is the dollar cost -
not including the human cost.

In dollars and cents...

Rep. Murtha has a report on his website comparing domestic spending to what
we spend every day in Iraq.
We are spending $8 billion a month in Iraq. That equates to $2 billion a
week, or $267 million a day, or $11 million an hour.

$11 million an hour? That's $183,333 a minute. Truly mind-boggling.

Compare that to say, education - $3.4 billion/yr or 13 days in Iraq.

You must check out the entire post and see the comparisons for yourself from
everything to homeland security, to healthcare, to infrastructure.


July 14, 2006

Public Opinion on First Amendment Sets Stage For Supreme Court Rulings, Yale
Law Study Concludes

Study emphasizes the importance of educating the public on freedom of speech
and other civil liberties.

MIAMI - Do public attitudes about the First Amendment matter? The answer,
simply, is yes. And here's the latest reason why: Because public opinion
shapes how the Supreme Court rules.

Over the long term public attitudes about free speech controversies affect
the direction of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, according to a study released
today by the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, which analyzed
more than 50 years of research on the subject.

"This study confirms what social scientists have known for a long time -
that the Supreme Court's decisions tend to reflect long term changes in
public attitudes, and that is as true for First Amendment doctrine as it is
for other parts of the Constitution," said Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of
Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, who directed
the project.


Book stirs controversy at Clemson

Book stirs controversy at Clemson - Summer reading sexually explicit,
critics say

Published: Friday, July 14, 2006 - 6:00 am

By Lindsey Edmonds

Clemson University selected a summer reading book for incoming freshmen that
has been criticized by a member of the Commission on Higher Education who
says the sexually explicit scenes in the book aren't appropriate for
incoming freshmen.

Clemson University defends "Truth and Beauty: A Friendship" by Ann Patchett
as an intellectually inspiring text that will provide meaningful
discussions, according to Jan Murdoch, dean of undergraduate studies and
chair of the reading selection committee.

Ken Wingate, who is on the Commission on Higher Education, wrote a letter to
President Jim Barker outlining his concerns and requesting a second text be
added so students can choose which book they want to read.