While the focus of world attention has been on Lebanon, the situation has not improved in the south of Israel/Palestine where the people of Gaza continue to suffer.

For those with short memories, Gaza was being pounded indiscriminately in what many considered a collective punishment of the Palestinians to force them to release an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in late June.

It is too early to judge whether the war on Lebanon has helped or hurt the embattled Palestinians of Gaza. On the one hand, the vast majority of the political and media attention has shifted almost exclusively to put out the fires in Lebanon and the north of Israel, allowing the Israelis to continue punishing Palestinians without any international protest.


The New York Times

August 8, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Sinful Second Homes

Come August, there are two kinds of people in the world: those with country homes, and those without country homes. If you, unlike me, are in the first group, we need to have an inconvenient talk.

We need to talk about your “carbon footprint,” a concept you may have learned from Al Gore. If you’ve seen “An Inconvenient Truth” or read the best-selling book, you know how strongly he feels about everyone’s duty to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. He advises you to change your light bulbs, insulate your home, and cut back on driving and air travel. If you must make a trip, he notes helpfully, “buses provide the cheapest and most energy-efficient transportation for long distances.”

Fine advice, and it would be even better if he journeyed to his lectures exclusively on Greyhound. But he seems to prefer cars and planes. When you tally up his international travel to inspect melting glaciers and the domestic trips between his homes — one in Washington and another in Nashville, not to mention the family farm in rural Tennessee featured in the movie — you’re looking at a Godzilla-sized carbon footprint.



Civil War? What Civil War?

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; A21

Among the various awards to government officials -- presidential medal,etc. -- let me offer one of my own: the Oveta Culp Hobby Award for a trulydumb statement. I have twice before cited the late Mrs. Hobby, the nation'schief health official back in the Eisenhower administration, because shesomehow managed to remain oblivious to the polio panic that struck each summer. When the government ran short of the new and downright miraculousSalk polio vaccine, the rich and fortunate Mrs. Hobby offered the followingexplanation: "No one could have foreseen the public demand for the vaccine."

For sheer inanity, the remark is almost impossible to beat. Yet three timesin the past week I reached for the Hobby Award, thinking she had at leastbeen matched. The first came when Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the JointChiefs of Staff, was asked by Sen. John McCain whether a year ago heanticipated that Iraq might be on the verge of civil war. "No, sir," the general said.



Younger generation overwhelmingly gives President Bush low grades

By Heidi Przybyla
Bloomberg News

August 8, 2006

President Bush's hopes of attracting a new generation of voters to theRepublican Party might be fading, as younger Americans are far more criticalof his job performance than the broader population.

A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll of Americans ages 18 to 24 found Bush'sapproval rating was 20 percent, with 53 percent disapproving. That compareswith a 40 percent approval rating among Americans of all ages in a separateBloomberg/Times poll.

Much as Franklin Roosevelt attracted a new generation of voters with the NewDeal, Bush and his administration have had high hopes of attracting youngervoters. He has sought to do that through policy initiatives aimed atcreating an "ownership society," and public relations tactics like a YouthConvention at the party's 2004 national convention, in which his twin daughters took the stage.



Big Oil, still slippery

Palm Beach Post Editorial
Tuesday, August 08, 2006

BP hardly can claim that it couldn't afford to do proper maintenance on thecompany's Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, oil facilities.

Like other oil giants, BP is making record profits - $22.34 billion lastyear, a 31 percent increase. The company's second-quarter earnings this yearwere $7.27 billion, a 30 percent increase over 2005.

BP and friends are making out like bandits as oil prices spike because ofhigher global demand and tensions in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. Ironically -some conspiracy theorists would use the term conveniently - the oil industry can profit even from its own mistakes.

The news Monday that BP is shutting down Prudhoe Bay production of about400,000 barrels a day after finding severely corroded pipes immediatelydrove up the price of oil to more than $77 a barrel. BP said that 73 percentof the pipes would have to be replaced.



'Representative #1' Ends Reelection Drive

Ohio Congressman Bob Ney, implicated in former lobbyist Jack Abramoff's plea deal, quits the race, adding to election uncertainty.

By Noam N. Levey
Times Staff Writer

August 8, 2006

WASHINGTON - Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), whose links to disgraced lobbyist JackAbramoff put him at the center of a wide-ranging federal corruptioninvestigation, announced Monday that he was ending his campaign forreelection.

"Ultimately this decision came down to my family," the six-term congressmansaid in a statement posted on his campaign website. "I must think of themfirst, and I can no longer put them through this ordeal."

Ney's withdrawal ends months of speculation about the man who more than anyother lawmaker is linked to the web of campaign contributions, lavish favorsand legislative payoffs that has been exposed in the Abramoff scandal.



A Preview For November
What Lieberman's Battle Tells Us

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; A21

Some events are so important that the battle to interpret their meaningbegins even before they happen. So it is with today's Democratic primarychallenge to Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut.

Most of the commentary is premised on the idea that antiwar businessman NedLamont will defeat Lieberman, one of Congress's strongest supporters of theIraq war. This speculation may be premature for reasons we'll get to. Butthe two lines of argument hardening into place tell us a great deal aboutwhat we'll be debating in this fall's campaign.

Republican supporters of Bush and the war are claiming that a Lamont victory would signal a dovish takeover of the Democratic Party by activists organized by anti-Bush bloggers -- and would show that there is no room left in Democratic ranks for moderates.



Lieberman's rise and fall might be nearing its final chapter

Today's vote also will help gauge Iraq war's repercussion on 2008 contests
Washington Post

FARMINGTON, CONN. - Exactly six years ago today, on a sweltering day in Nashville, Tenn., Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., was introduced to the nation as Al Gore's vice presidential running mate. Lieberman called his selection "a miracle" and described himself as part of an "American Dream Team."

From the pinnacle of that 2000 campaign, Lieberman has seen his support crumble in a way that appears unprecedented in modern American politics. Six years after making history as the first Jew chosen for a national ticket and being hailed as one of the nation's most respected politicians, Lieberman is in the last hours of a battle to avoid a humiliating rejection by his own



Medicare Payment Cuts Set for Doctors

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Medicare reimbursements to doctors are set to drop bynearly 5 percent next year, an amount that hysicians say could make itharder for elderly patients to see a doctor.

Mark McClellan, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and MedicaidServices, told reporters Monday that the agency would soon issue newregulations updating reimbursement rates for physicians. He did not providen exact amount the rates would change in 2007, but trustees for theMedicare program projected in May that the cut would be 4.7 percent.

The reimbursement rates are established by formula, which sets annual and accumulative spending targets for physician reimbursements. When spending increases exceed economic growth, payments to doctors are supposed to be cut.



Governors try to fix Medicaid

Governors, including Florida's Jeb Bush, have experimented with ways to
lower Medicaid costs.
Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Two years ago, the nation's governors were wrestling withexploding healthcare costs, soaring populations and agonizing choices overhow to keep their Medicaid programs afloat.

Now, as governors met Sunday for their annual summer meeting, healthcareseems less hopeless. Their choices are vastly different as many statesembark on unprecedented experiments to revamp the healthcare program for thepoor and healthcare overall.



Democrats Face Tough Primary Challenge

HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 7, 2006

(AP) Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, locked in a battle to keep his Senateseat against an anti-war challenger, said on the eve of Tuesday's primarythat the voters who were upset with him were trying to "send me a message,"and he assured them: "I got their message."

In Georgia, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who made headlines this year for a scuffle with a U.S. Capitol Police officer, faced a runoff for herdistrict's Democratic nomination.

Primaries are also being held Tuesday in Colorado, Missouri and Michigan.

Lieberman's seat was the biggest prize at stake. If defeated, he would beonly the fourth incumbent senator since 1980 to lose a primary election.

The three-term senator, nationally known for his centrist views, has enduredharsh criticism in his home state for supporting the Iraq war and has beenlabeled by some Democrats as too close to Republicans and President Bush.



Aug. 8, 2006, 12:46AM

Final order keeps DeLay on ballot
Next question: Will he campaign against Lampson?

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia rejected a request from TexasRepublicans on Monday to allow the GOP to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLayon the general election ballot.

"In terms of legal options, they are exhausted," Republican lawyer JamesBopp Jr. said. "The order will stand requiring Tom DeLay to stay on the ballot."

Republicans have reached the end of the road and it is now up to DeLay todecide whether to campaign for the 22nd Congressional District seat he heldfor more than 20 years. DeLay has suggested he is up for a fight if forcedto stay on the ballot, but he once walked away from the race and faces a serious challenge from Democratic nominee Nick Lampson.